Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Summer of Smallpox

Hello All,

After spending so much time reading about smallpox this summer, it is hard to figure out what to write about. I guess I'll start off by saying what I have found most interesting thus far in everything we've read. I'm definitely a fuzzy, so my favorite things to read have had to do with cultural implications of smallpox, from biological warfare, to the creation of smallpox goddesses in different parts of the world. Also, after just having gone to the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, I was excited to read that Pharaoh Ramses V died of smallpox. (Is it weird that now whenever I hear about smallpox, this horrible virus that killed so many people, I get excited????)

I would have to say that my favorite book this summer would be Ken Alibek's Biohazard. While the information from all the other books seems to mix together in my mind to some extent, Alibek's book is very vivid. I guess this is because it had a very compelling story attached to it that is entirely applicable to our world today. I was captivated the entire time I read it, and it got me thinking about current US and world politics. After Alibek mentioned the anthrax outbreak that was covered up as a "bad meat incident," I wonder whether or not swine flu, for example, was just another "bad meat incident" of sorts. I understand that this is an extreme thought, but who knows? (dun dun dun....)

Looking forward to meeting all of you and talking about the oh so exciting smallpox virus!


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