Tamiflu: Why is it that the best coverage of the H5N1 story seems to come out of Canada? Anyway, here's a headline we've been waiting for: "Sales of flu drug soar amid pandemic worries."
TORONTO — North American sales of the drug oseltamivir have more than tripled in recent months, a trend public health experts see as evidence individuals are stockpiling the once little-used antiviral as a hedge against a possible flu pandemic. With similar reports emerging in other countries as well, a leading advocate for pandemic preparedness is concerned public demand could soon outstrip the limited global supply.
"We are on a collision course to panic," warns Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "I think that what's going to happen is . . . that this drug - which has yet to really be demonstrated to have any clinical impact on H5N1 infection - is now going to become the 'I can't get product, therefore I must have it right away product.' The reality is going to come through that there is only so much available."
PressThink TrainWreck? Jay Rosen's interesting attempt at a joint-blog exchange with Austin Bay turned into an enormous, four-day, 168-comment Culture War ruckus. The original exchange between Bay and Rosen was moderately interesting, but the real story was what happened in PressThink's comments. A bunch of Bay's conservative readers just -- for lack of a better word -- invaded Rosen's blog, launching a stunning display of aggressive "shock and awe" partisan absurdity.
This afternoon, Jay pulled the plug:
"I'm embarrassed that this thread appeared at my weblog. I'm embarrassed that something I wrote and edited was the occasion for it. I embarrassed that the letters "edu" appear in the Web address at the top of this page, since most of this is the opposite of education. I'm embarrassed for having entertained, even for a second, the notion that Austin Bay, a Bush supporter and war veteran, might get a hearing for some of his warnings from those who agree with him on most things.
"And I've had enough of anonymous tough guys with their victim's mentality raging at their own abstractions..."
(Jay doesn't need to be embarrassed for trying something new, but the tone of the exchange is a good example of the unreasoning hatred of the press and "the liberals" -- typically expressed by anonymous men with macho-sounding handles like "Captain Wrath" -- that thrives in corners of the web. BTW, Weldon Berger pretty much put the coda on the whole argument, not that anyone seemed to notice or understand. Still, I believe in my bones that bad behavior like this has a karmic cost, and that the Right is running up a serious bill these days.)
Speaking of war: Make sure to check out Operation Yellow Elephant. ("It's their war. Why aren't they fighting it?")
"While I won't deny that the intelligent design proponents are clever, I realize there's one really basic question I've never even seen them try to answer. Since ID is basically just a spiffed-up version of the argument from design, why isn't it vulnerable to the same counter-arguments? ID says that if something is irreducibly complex, the only rational explanation is that it was designed. So the question is, can a thing be designed by something less complex than itself? ID is careful to say that we can't know anything about the designer, but as a matter of simple logic we can know the following: either the designer is or is not irreducibly complex. If it is (the obvious choice), then by ID's own premise it must have been intentionally designed. And that designer too must have been designed. It's turtles all the way down."
Meanwhile: Today is a big day in my journalism career. I'm writing my first-ever fashion story... on women's "Daywear." I didn't even know there was such a thing this morning, but now I know that word for this fall is "separates, separates, separates!"