He chose three villages in the permafrost zone -- where the ground never thaws -- that had mass graves containing corpses from an epidemic that sounded like influenza.
The young graduate student surveyed the sites, all on the Seward Peninsula, which stretches westward into the Bering Sea. Of the three, a place called Teller Mission looked promising. Seventy-two of the 80 residents of Teller Mission died between Nov. 15 and 20, 1918.
Hultin went to the village, whose name has since been changed to Brevig Mission, and requested permission to excavate the grave. Through a translator, he emphasized the benefit of making a vaccine. The villagers had been vaccinated against smallpox, so they knew what he was talking about. At the meeting were three of the eight survivors from 1918.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer believes it's more of a Steven King:
We have brought back to life an agent of near-biblical destruction. It killed more people in six months than were killed in the four years of World War I. It killed more humans than any other disease of similar duration in the history of the world, says Alfred W. Crosby, who wrote a history of the 1918 pandemic. And, notes New Scientist magazine, when the re-created virus was given to mice in heavily quarantined laboratories in Atlanta, it killed the mice more quickly than any other flu virus ever tested.
Though he cites New Scientist, Krauthammer omits a few facts from the magazine's flu coverage that are worth considering before completely freaking out, as do Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy, who call this flu's published genome a "recipe for disaster."
The laws of probability suggest that if Earth sticks around long enough, scientists will eventually stumble upon a discovery that wipes out humankind and gives the rest of the universe one less thing to worry about. That's why we must colonize other planets as soon as possible. Our genes need places to store backups.
But I'm not ready to hit the panic button about the return of the killer of 1918. Most people have been exposed to milder descendants of that flu or vaccinated against them, both of which provide natural protection. Existing antiviral drugs also are likely to offer resistance.
The more pressing concern is the next pandemic flu, which hasn't been filtered through survivors and weakened by the collective might of antibodies and evolution. Learning from the publication of the Spanish flu's genome also may enable researchers to devise an effective response to the next killer flu or biological terror attack.
Besides, if hiding information from bad, bad people is Earth's best hope, we might as well max out the credit cards and stock up on beer, medicinal marijuana, and fatty foods, because we're screwed. As technologists like Kurzweil and Joy must realize, security through obscurity never works.
Inspired by the work of Immanuel Velikovsky, Zecharia Sitchin wrote a series of speculative books about our ancient past, starting with "The Twelfth Planet." A skeptical debate can be found here.
In his theory of ancient history, the biblical Nefilim are aliens who came from a planet which revolves around the sun on a highly elliptical orbit of 3,600 years duration. Needing our mineral resource, the Nefilim created mankind by manipulating the genes of Neanderthal man; making him upright, hips underslung, so that he could lift that bale and tote that load. In order to do so, they combined some of their genes with those of our primitive forebearers, and presto, they made homo sapiens, sapiens.
However, the aliens although able to live on Earth were not very well adapted to the environment and feared that their creation would overtake them by numbers, if not technologically. So, they created viruses to decimate mankind, whenever their planet was due to reenter the solar system proper. They placed the viruses on long term comets and which would infect the planet in passage prior to their return.
Interesting stuff to consider...and since mankind was adaptable, each comet contained a different virus, or differently modified, to avoid natural resistance...
So, the virus (plague) of the Exodus would be delivered by a different comet than would be the 'messenger' of the next...can you spell Kohoutek?
That's why we must colonize other planets as soon as possible.
I met a man in Amsterdam who told me that people who claim to have been abducted and examined by extraterrestrials, aren't necessarily lying.
He said that there are some people who can access their body's own naturally- occurring DMT, a potent hallucinogen.
One of the recurrent reports of DMT trippers who ingest it by smoking or injection, is the experience of "contact" with small beings who have big eyes and long fingers, and talk in metallic-sounding, clattering voices.
These trippers often report sensations of being "examined' by these beings, who chatter excitedly among themselves
about the human subject.
Yes, I have seen them myself, but they all looked and sounded just like Gilbert Gottfried.
Vince says, "One of the recurrent reports of DMT trippers who ingest it by smoking or injection, is the experience of "contact" with small beings who have big eyes and long fingers, and talk in metallic-sounding, clattering voices."
That's interesting because, from what I've read, the recurrent themes are of jungle foliage, various animals and complex fractal patterns, mandalas...possibly generated by visual purple stimulation. But, what do I know compared to an expert Amsterdam denison...?
Stay tooned for Asian bird flu then. Our chickens may be coming home to roost.
Denison is in Texas, my home state.
I have at times, been a denizen of another place, where live jaguars and serpents. That's in yage land.
For me, those little beings are a keenly felt presence, I'm just not a fan of Gilbert Gottfried. But he got fried, too.
Vince says, "I have at times, been a denizen of another place, where live jaguars and serpents. That's in yage land. For me, those little beings are a keenly felt presence, I'm just not a fan of Gilbert Gottfried. But he got fried, too."
Are you addicted to being abstruse, Vince, or was your new paragraph a mistake? Don't tell me that you have seen the little, big-eyed, big-headed aliens? Did you get an anal probe?
Otherwise, I presume that you support my contention that your Amsterdam connection is doing a bit of shoveling...
I like that Twelfth Planet concept and I'll have to read up on it.
As to the big eyed aliens, every culture has had the little creatures (aliens, sprites, elves, acadians). They often appear as people fall asleep. Have you ever seen a representation of the human body if we took all of the nerve receptors, spaced them evenly and stretched the human form to fit? Huge eyes, big heads, big hands, big genitals (well it's true), and small torsos. I think something happens perceptually when we drift into sleep where we cease to keep nervous impulses in perspective and voila! What we feel mirror the dimensions of an alien; then imagination takes hold. The only reason we see aliens instead of elves is because we've been obsessed with the rivetted gleam of technology for the last 100 years.
As to the extinction topic: I'm a strong believer in the Gaia concept. The real difference between the planet Earth and an amoeba is size. Just as an organism would fight off an environmental threat or a virus; the Earth is doing the same to shake off this runaway infestion of humans. Even if it has to do it through pandemic or hurricane or global warming. It's all about homeostasis and what our environment has to do to put itself back on an even keel.
Mike says, "As to the extinction topic: I'm a strong believer in the Gaia concept. The real difference between the planet Earth and an amoeba is size. Just as an organism would fight off an environmental threat or a virus; the Earth is doing the same to shake off this runaway infestion of humans."
A popular theory, in certain circles. I notice, not too pejoratively, that those espousing the Gaia principle, are also some of those who are extremely prejudiced against schools mentioning 'intelligent design' in their comparative religion curricula. An ironic contradiction...
I think the Gaia concept is a short-short way of summing up all of the complex interactions with our planet. For me, it's nothing more than physics-- cause and effect-- on a grand and complex scale. In many places you'll see self-correcting mechanisms. The non-self correcting mechanisms spin into oblivion.
If humans were few in number and sparsely populated, a pandemic couldn't wipe us all out. Because we're packed into every ecology on the globe and move around alot, a pandemic is going to correct the population levels.
And for the record, I hope you two can get past this little spat. :)