Misc articles

31 Jan
Published by MatTodd



The Guardian Weekly's a lovely thing (particularly if you don't live in the UK). Two articles in yesterday's edition caught my eye.

1) The announcement of a new push against polio. The Gates foundation has pledged hunderds of millions to help eradicate this awful disease at a rotary meeting in San Diego. Everyone knows about polio, but what I didn't know is how few cases there are per year - 1,625 in 2008. I'm not sure I believe the statistic! The story gets nearly a whole page in the paper. Schisto, on the other hand, has never appeared in the pages of this great paper, but there are around 200 million cases. I guess that's why they call it a neglected tropical disease...

2) Another article, by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, started about Swiss firefighters, but concerned citizenship in action in general. Apparently Swiss firefighters are unpaid volnteers, whose 'only reward is serving their community.' The RNLI in the UK is another example. It occurred to me that a group of firefighters, on call with pagers, is a good example of a distributed, collaborative problem-solving effort that has been around for some time, with an unusual (or what ought to be usual, depending on your point of view) motivation to deliver.

Also, on the BBC site (anyone tell I'm British?) there was an interesting article on biodiversity's role in the spread of schisto. I was alerted to this by our very own feeds, bottom left of your screen. I'm starting to use friendfeed to note links like this.