Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bleg

I'm about done with a massive pile of grading and half way through the paperwork generated by plagiarism cases, so normal posting won't be back for a little while. In the meantime, is there anything good to read on flu and factory farming? I've seen some discussion of this around the blogosphere (here), but I'm wondering if there's something with more scientific cred on the issue worth reading.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The CDC set up a website that's updated more or less daily if you'd like to check it out...

http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/index.htm

Anonymous said...

I would not believe everything I read in the Puffington Past. Try living in unsanitary condition, unclean water, not washing hands with soap and hot water. How many out breaks have cropped up in the area of pig farms in the US? None, zero, nada. I wish that the Puffington Past would use something close to scientific assessment.

Your Dad

Clayton said...

Anon1,

Thanks.

Anon2,

I try not to. But, then again I don't believe everything I read in comments threads. Like, I'm sceptical that you're my dad.

You raise an interesting question. How many breaks have cropped up in the area of pig farms in the US? Maybe none. That seems like not particularly useful information if the question is whether there's something that is conducive to the creation of new strains of flu in pig farms. Suppose that it happens in 1/10,000 pig farms. Suppose that it happens in 1/100,000,000 non-pig farms. That's evidence that there's something about pig farms that is conducive to outbreaks. That's evidence we could have even if there's never been an outbreak on a US pig farm. That's why I want me a scientist to give me sciency stuff.

boramlee said...

Contra Anon2, Nicholas Kristof has reported on one such outbreak in Indiana here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/opinion/12kristof.html?_r=1&em

That's before the present Swine Flu outbreak. That article also mentions an outbreak in Netherlands, and links are provided to more authoriatative sources. (Kristof also discusses a different worry with factory farms: the animals are given antibiotics so it's more likely for them to incubate drug-resistant pathogens.)

On the swine flu, see this article, which links to plenty of sciency sources. :D

boramlee said...

Oops. Here's the article with the sciency links:

http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournews/swine_flu.html