JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2007/04/credit-where-its-due.html (15 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1175864369-562527  Aglifter at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 12:59:29 +0000

My only issue is that bird flu is a very nasty problem -- it's a possible precursor to an outbreak similar to the 1918 one, but w. a much faster spread due to the modern lifestyle. It's also problematic due to most of the Asian governments' attitude toward disease outbreaks, which seems to be, "Ignore it, and it will go away."
If you know someone who can remember 1918, ask them about the epidemic, my grandmother talked about going to a couple funerals a week...it would be even worse now, since we no longer accept the idea of quarantine, and are even less likely to volunteer to enforce them. (Enforcing quarantine tends to involve lethal force, and burying/burning the bodies, and all personal effects.)

BTW, this isn't coming from an English major -- i doubled in biochem and genetics, and did my senior project on the affinitry of H2A (influenza's binding protein) for red blood cell walls.

jsid-1175869740-562530  Kevin Baker at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 14:29:00 +0000

Wouldn't some of the virulence of bird flu be offset by the better medical care available? Or is bird flu as quickly lethal as the 1918 version?

I understand that in 1918 you could feel fine one day, and wake up dead the next, but I thought the current bird flu took several days to kill, and most victims died from not receiving treatment early on.

jsid-1175878201-562533  DJ at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 16:50:01 +0000

Wake up dead?

That's some flu.

jsid-1175880695-562534  Rick B at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 17:31:35 +0000

Waking up dead, that's what I did at work today.

jsid-1175887179-562535  anon at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 19:19:39 +0000

"...one child under 10 drowns annually for every 11,000 pools. By comparison, one child under 10 each year is killed by a gun for every 1 million guns..."

Households with multiple guns are common. Households with multiple pools are decidedly not.

Thus, if you were to compare households with pools, vs households with guns, the ratio would be even greater than the stated 100:1.

jsid-1175893641-562537  LabRat at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 21:07:21 +0000

The 1918 flu achieved the death toll it did partly due to the quality of medical care at the time, yes. Influenza in general kills most efficiently through dehydration (high fevers dehydrate FAST) and bacterial secondary lung infections that lead to rapid system collapse.

Frankly we haven't yet really seen bird flu's virulency in a developed, Western setting at work yet... I'm not sure how it will go, but I AM fairly sure that in that context it's not going to be as bad as the 1918 flu.

Which is all I'm fairly sure about. Flu is an unpredictable little cuss of a disease.

jsid-1175900659-562540  Sarah at Fri, 06 Apr 2007 23:04:19 +0000

Tragically, one of my husband's coworkers recently lost his 4-year-old son to their new swimming pool. It's easy to put a gun out of reach of a child; not so with a swimming pool.

jsid-1175988412-562560  bob at Sat, 07 Apr 2007 23:26:52 +0000

I suspect that the 100:1 ratio does not necessarily indicate that pools are more dangerous than guns. I would not be surprised if the "interaction rate" between kids and pools is more than 100 time the "interaction rate" between kids and guns. Taking into account the amount of time in each interaction probably makes it even more lopsided (more time, more often, at the pool).
But there is also an education effect: children are routinely given instruction in swimming and floation; not so much with respect to guns.
This might indicate that proper education as to safe handling of guns would be a good thing. Especially if this was combined with a good philisophical basis relating to the proper usage of a gun. (/dreaming)

jsid-1176005494-562563  Stephen Rider at Sun, 08 Apr 2007 04:11:34 +0000

"Households with multiple guns are common. Households with multiple pools are decidedly not.

Thus, if you were to compare households with pools, vs households with guns, the ratio would be even greater than the stated 100:1."

I hate to say it, but that would actually _lower_ the ratio, not raise it. If instead of a million guns, you're talking about half a million "gun households", (for example) you've just cut the ratio to 50:1. Still a huge difference, and thus the argument still stands; but your distinction doesn't make the argument stronger.

jsid-1176040910-562566  anon at Sun, 08 Apr 2007 14:01:50 +0000

Stephen, I think you have your math backwards. The article compared the ratio of deadly pools (100) to guns (1). So, using your example numbers: if we consider that there are actually half the number of households with guns than there are guns, the ratio would be 100 to 0.5, or 200:1

And frankly, I suspect that 2 guns per gun owning household is way too low. Most people that I know (who have guns at all) have half a dozen or more - often many more.

jsid-1176101015-562582  Mike Williamson at Mon, 09 Apr 2007 06:43:35 +0000

Last figures I saw were 50% of households with guns, with an average of 3.2 guns each.

That was several years ago.

jsid-1176130847-562598  Kevin Baker at Mon, 09 Apr 2007 15:00:47 +0000

Where did you see those numbers? What I can recall is approximately 40% of households, but no solid data on numbers per household.

jsid-1176765005-562869  Robert Williams at Mon, 16 Apr 2007 23:10:05 +0000

As far as danger to children goes, I'd rather have a
100 guns in the house, than a pool in the garden any day

jsid-1177115369-563031  DJ at Sat, 21 Apr 2007 00:29:29 +0000

Robert, I just noticed your comment and I agree completely. I've had both at the same time (well, not 100 guns at once, but more than just a few). The probability that someone would be hurt due to the guns never caused me any worry, but the pool was just the opposite. How do you lock up a big, wet hole in the ground?

jsid-1177482291-503968  Trackback at Wed, 25 Apr 2007 06:24:51 +0000

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