Thursday, August 6, 2009

How to Avoid West Nile Virus

Everyone is so concerned about the possible next out break of H1N1 (Swine) flu, I have chosen to instead remind my readers about another public health crisis with the following public service:

West Nile virus can cause encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain, which can in turn cause enlargement of the head. Contrary to the examples of encephalitis you see in the newspaper every day—such as Charlie Brown and Calvin—encephalitis is a deadly condition whose victims would be less likely to play with frisky beagles or stuffed tigers than to vomit blood and die.

West Nile virus is easy to avoid: like most viruses, it's very small, very slow, and not especially bright. Unfortunately, it's often carried by mosquitoes that are bigger, faster, and fiendishly clever.

It's not always easy to discern whether or not a given mosquito is carrying West Nile virus, so the prudent move is to avoid all mosquitoes.

This may be unfair to innocent mosquitoes who mean you no harm--the so-called "moderate" mosquitoes--but political niceties must be subordinated to threats to your survival.

It's important to remember that mosquitoes are masters of disguise. With a little makeup or a fancy hat, any mosquito can take on the appearance of several other species. They cannot, however, conceal their stingers.

Avoid all insects with stingers. If you encounter one that claims its stinger is merely a golf-club wedged into its rectum, do not believe it: insects don't golf.

Do not open your doors or windows to strangers before ascertaining whether or not they're mosquitoes. If they acknowledge being mosquitoes but deny carrying the West Nile virus, do not trust them. Some mosquitoes may even offer to show you a doctor's certificate, but such evidence is meaningless: they may have picked up West Nile virus in the time elapsed since their doctor tested them.

Be wary of delivery men, plumbers, electricians, and cable guys with stingers trailing from their jumpsuits.

Do not accept rides from unfamiliar mosquitoes.

Here's your Today in History:
August 6 is noted historically as the official end of the Holy Roman Empire, which collapsed on that date in 1806. As always, please note, the Holy Roman Empire was not holy, roman or an empire (per se).

Discuss amongst yourselves.

August 6, 1890 –
At Auburn Prison in New York murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person to be executed by electric chair.

The first shock of electricity did not kill Kemmler, and a second shock was required. Kemmler's body smoked. His flesh and hair were singed.

It was not a pretty sight.

August 6, 1926 -
Gertrude Ederle becomes first woman to swim English Channel .

Only five men had been able to swim the English Channel before Ederle. The best time had been 16 hours, 33 minutes by an Italian-born Argentine, Enrique Tiraboschi. Ederle walked up the beach at Dover, England after 14 hours and 39 minutes. The first person to greet her was a British immigration officer who requested a passport from "the bleary-eyed, waterlogged teenager."

August 6, 1926 -
Warner Brothers premiered its Vitaphone system in New York. (The film was the first feature-length film with synchronized Vitaphone sound effects and musical soundtrack, though it has no spoken dialogue.)

The movie was "Don Juan," starring John Barrymore.

August 6, 1938 -
An early pairing of this comedy duo, Porky & Daffy was released on this date.

As always, sorry for the colorized version.

The first atomic bomb used in combat was dropped on Hiroshima by the 'Enola Gay' on August 6, 1945.

In minutes the massive blast and the firestorm it produced destroyed the majority of the city and killed almost 100,000 people

And so it goes.

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