CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER make Stephen King sound like a wuss.
It was announced last week that U.S. scientists have just created a living, killing copy of the 1918 "Spanish" flu.
This is big. Very big.
First, it is a scientific achievement of staggering proportions. The Spanish flu has not been seen on this blue planet for 85 years. Its re-creation is a story of enterprise, ingenuity, serendipity, hard work and sheer brilliance. It involves finding deep in the bowels of a military hospital in Washington a couple of tissue samples from the lungs of soldiers who died in 1918 -- in an autopsy collection first ordered into existence by Abraham Lincoln -- and the disinterment of an Alaskan Eskimo who died of the flu and whose remains had been preserved by the permafrost. Then, using slicing and dicing techniques only Michael Crichton could imagine, they pulled off a microbiological Jurassic Park: the first-ever resurrection of an ancient pathogen. And not just any ancient pathogen, explained virologist Eddie Holmes, but "the agent of the most important disease pandemic in human history."
Which brings us to the second element of this story: Beyond the brilliance lies the sheer terror. 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
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My Question Is: What were these mad scientists smokin’? Can you tell me huh? Oh, I know, they want to give up working in science and write movie scripts instead. They thought this discovery would give them “street cred” with the horror/devastation people. Move over Stephen King.
Well, how long will this brilliance last before carnage ensues. JB