Daily Archives: 7 May 09

Capitalism and the flu

“Mike Davis, whose 2006 book The Monster at Our Door warned of the threat of a global bird flu pandemic, explains how globalized agribusiness set the stage for a frightening outbreak of the swine flu in Mexico:

‘The Spring Break hordes returned from Cancún this year with an invisible but sinister souvenir.

The Mexican swine flu, a genetic chimera probably conceived in the fecal mire of an industrial pigsty, suddenly threatens to give the whole world a fever. Initial outbreaks across North America reveal an infection rate already traveling at higher velocity than the last official pandemic strain, the 1968 Hong Kong flu.’ ” (SocialistWorker.org).

Industrial livestock production and swine flu

Taken from EPA website (http://www.epa.gov/reg...

“…[I]ndustrial livestock production is a powerful driver of viral (and bacterial) evolution. […In an article published yesterday at Socialist Worker.org, Mike Davis] emphasizes that the transition “from old-fashioned pig pens to vast excremental hell, unprecedented in nature, containing tens, even hundreds of thousands of animals with weakened immune systems, suffocating in heat and manure, while exchanging pathogens at blinding velocity with their fellow inmates and pathetic progenies” creates a perfect storm for evolving pathogens likely to establish resistance to antivirals and antibiotics. This is not just the case in China (everyone’s favorite target for allocating bird flu blame) or Mexico (everyone’s new favorite target for allocating swine flu blame). To quote Davis, anyone “who has ever driven through Tar Heel, N.C. or Milford, Utah–where Smithfield Foods subsidiaries each annually produce more than 1 million pigs as well as hundreds of lagoons full of toxic shit–will intuitively understand how profoundly agribusiness has meddled with the laws of nature.” In short, in addition to animals raised for slaughter in cruel conditions, chemically enhanced and/or genetically altered meat products, environmental degradation, and unjust toxic factory work conditions, the global industrial food complex is producing some really scary microbes as well.” (Somatosphere).

Google Killer?

Twitter Search To Become Real Search: “The fact that Twitter’s search is now often faster and more relevant than any other search engine out there is not a secret anymore. It is, however, a very limited search engine: it merely indexes a bunch of tweets. In its current state, it’s great for tracking conversations, but it will never be a competitor to Google.

This is about to change. According to CNET, Twitter’s new VP of Operations, Santosh Jayaram, said that Twitter search will soon start crawling the links included in tweets. There’s a lot of links there, and given Twitter’s huge growth, soon these links might comprise a hefty portion of the overall web, making it a much more complete search engine that it currently is. It’s a big technical leap, but it shows that the folks at Twitter are serious about search.

Jayaram gave another very interesting hint at where they’re going: Twitter Search will also get a reputation ranking system. That means that not all tweets will be equal; rank will be calculated for each twitterer, probably based on several criteria such as number of followers, number of retweets and so forth.” (Mashable ).

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