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Workers unearth 'Black Death' plague pit


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#46    FurthurBB

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:14 AM

View Postealdwita, on 15 March 2013 - 05:41 PM, said:

Yes, I agree up to a point. As far as the 'Black Death' was concerned, most historians have gone along with traditional opinions and have opted for Bubonic-type plague, spread by the rat flea. but there are other schools of thought....for instance, in 2000, biologist Gunnar Karlsson pointed out that the Black Death killed between half and two-thirds of the population of Iceland, although there were no rats in Iceland at this time. Historian Norman F. Cantor suggests, in his 2001 book In the Wake of the Plague, that the Black Death might have been a combination of pandemics including a form of anthrax, a cattle murrain. He cites many forms of evidence including reported disease symptoms not in keeping with the known effects of either bubonic or pneumonic plague, the discovery of anthrax spores in a plague pit in Scotland, and the fact that meat from infected cattle was known to have been sold in many rural English areas prior to the onset of the plague.

As I said though, most historians go along with bubonic rather than either pneumonic or anthrax pandemics.


I have also often wondered if it was a hemorrhagic fever virus.  Though the lack of rats and the fact that the people themselves who were often exposed to bubonic plague thought it was different it could have been a very virulent strain that was well adapted to humans that almost always caused pneumonic plague so was exceptionally communicable.  This would cause a higher death rate than normal bubonic plague and is easily spread from person to person without any need for rats.


#47    FurthurBB

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:24 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 16 March 2013 - 01:26 PM, said:

You know bird flue is still lurking about.  Just a week or so ago a man in Cambodia died of it, and there have been several in China.  When a human being gets it, the mortality is very high.

It does appear that it's something more difficult than first feared for it to develop the ability to spread from person to person, so the world has relaxed.  Still, it could happen.

And that is not the only variety of influenza that could turn both deadly and highly infectious.  To my mind this is one of the possible disasters lurking about and the sooner a general influenza vaccine is developed the safer we all will be.

I hate that they call it bird flu all influenza was originally bird flu.


#48    FurthurBB

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:26 AM

View PostPersonFromPorlock, on 16 March 2013 - 03:41 PM, said:

Getting a bit OT, but it seems to me that the arguments for the Metric system are really arguments for a world-standard measuring system. It may be that such systems are perfectly arbitrary, so that the Metric system will do as well as any other, but it may also be that there are units that are more 'natural' for people: if "one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi..." approximates seconds, then presumably there is a shorter, 'natural', interval which people can count as "One, two...." Likewise units of mass,  length, temperature and so on.

A world-standard system is obviously a Good Thing: but it doesn't necessarily follow that the Metric system is the best possible design for one.

Well, the meteric system is much more accurate and easily converted from one size/weight to another (cm --> km).





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