H1N1 Sources and Resources

Well, so much for living in interesting times. One begins to understand why the Chinese considered it a curse. The 21st Century is a morass of pervasive uncertainty blooming into paranoia, conspiracy theories and self-proclaimed skeptics whose ideology often masks a fundamentalist agenda.

While these reactions are predictable, if not understandable, one must take caution when discussing facts and factoids that may only serve to intensify the problem. But when I read the same kernel of a story coming from widely divergent sources that would not necessarily compose intersecting sets I become…intrigued.

So I offer them to you with little commentary. Read them; make of them what you will. I am not suggesting the pattern is anything more than that, an idea that happened to occur to more than one person.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A mostly hypothetical suggestion as to the ancestors and origins of the H1N1

As abruptly as it disappeared, the original virus emerged again to infect people in the former Soviet Union, Hong Kong and northeastern China in 1977.

Since the virus had not evolved since 1950 — which is unusual — and because scientists were examining swine flu viruses in light of a small, confined outbreak in Fort Dix, N.J., the previous year, Zimmer believes the infection was caused by an accidental release of a frozen sample preserved for study.

Virology Journal (report in PDF)

An interesting look at the genealogy of the virus.

“We contrast that suggestion with the possibility that laboratory errors involving the sharing of virus isolates and cultured cells, or perhaps vaccine production, may have been involved.”


Providing information on the current mutations in H1N1. The mutation has increased the virulence of the virus, but not its ability to transmit easily

Ukraine Plague Blogspot

A truly indiscriminate and wide-ranging gathering of information, spanning science journals to unverifiable dreck. A number of the resources here propose that the virus is human created. There seems to be some concern from the creator of this blog and others that the Winter Olympics will be subject to some sort of virus seeding; wherein people are dusted via airplane with infectious agents, then taking it home around the world.


From the blog Less Wrong: An Alien God

A musing on evolution and the popular understanding of the same.

The author rightly dismisses human tendencies toward anthropomorphizing insect and animal function and behavior; along with ideas of a gentle and merciful nature. Instead the process of living and evolving is described matter of factly: “Like water flowing downhill, and equally benevolent.”

When I reached the passage quoted below, I realized I had stumbled on someone whose view of the Universe bears a striking resemblance to my own. There is no “God”. But neither is the Universe random, chaotic chance.  There is something else. Some larger force is at work. And I cannot, without hubris,  claim to have the vast intelligence required to begin to comprehend it. Nor am I vain or foolish enough to suggest that I can declare without hesitation, that there was no Generating Force. Whether that force possesses anything I can comprehend as intelligence, is as pointless as suggesting I  give water flowing downhill the same consideration I give sentient beings more like myself. What would be the point?

“If we ask who was more correct – the theologians who argued for a Creator-God, or the intellectually unfulfilled atheists who argued that mice spontaneously generated – then the theologians must be declared the victors: evolution is not God, but it is closer to God than it is to pure random entropy.  Mutation is random, but selection is non-random.  This doesn’t mean an intelligent Fairy is reaching in and selecting.  It means there’s a non-zero statistical correlation between the gene and how often the organism reproduces.  Over a few million years, that non-zero statistical correlation adds up to something very powerful.  It’s not a god, but it’s more closely akin to a god than it is to snow on a television screen.”