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Avian flu and thinking Networkly

My pal Jon Christensen over at The Uneasy Chair has picked up on a new blog campaign to promote awareness and networked creativity in the face of the impending Avian Flu epidemic. So here’s a couple of links to get yourself up to speed if this hasn’t entered your awareness yet. I really don’t like catastrophist prognostications, but the more I’ve read about this the harder it is to resist the sense that yes, a calm and reasonable appraisal would indicate that it’s quite likely that the earth is due for a major flu episode. Mike Davis, who has a new book out on the topic (which seems to have delayed his new book Planet of Slums that I’m REALLY looking forward to), has an excellent column on this too.

I sure don’t know what the best response to all this should be, but I do like the basic idea of taking advantage of our growing ability to think “networkly”… maybe one of you will have a brilliant idea… And let’s refuse the silly “gaia’s wrath” or other religious explanations and try to confront our woeful public health capabilities…

UPDATE, Sunday, August 21: Here’s another blog I just discovered that purports to keep us abreast of developments. Fittingly it’s called Avian Flu! I was also sharing some skeptical thoughts with a pal on the street yesterday. He asked me, having read this post, what I thought he or I as individuals could actually do? And I don’t know. We both agreed that calling for a more robust governmental response was weirdly contradictory to our politics and in any case, VERY unlikely to lead to anything good. As is too often the case, the problem far outstrips our capacity to deal, since an “adequate” response would probably involve a major reconfiguration (and reconceptualization) of our sense of the public sphere, public goods, and human rights to public health care… still, maybe all the blogging and worrying will generate the kind of grassroots pressure that might start such a reconfiguration. We can at least try…

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