So there’s finally a plan to start up smallpox vaccinations. The bad news is, it’s likely to become necessary. Worse news is, I may be at risk for some of the nasty side effects. As Katie pointed out, it worked so well the first time that no one made any effort to improve it. The good news is, they hope to have a safer vaccine by the time it’s made available to the public in 2004.
In other news, while looking for a reference to the NPR story, I found this story about London’s Killer Fog of ’52 and the history of smog going back to twelfth-century London. So smog not only predated the Industrial Revolution, it predated Shakespeare.
And finally, the other story I heard on the way in, about military-funded butterfly research. Apparently the Air Force is very interested in building insect-sized robotic flying cameras, and at that scale it makes sense to use insects as a model. They could be sent down into caves to locate enemy troops, or sent into buildings to check on hostage situations. (The paranoid in me is also saying they could spy on ordinary people, but it’s a lot cheaper to just search the place when they’re not home.) So if someone’s studying insect flight, the military is quite happy to fund it.