A little pondering of How To Manage Communicable Diseases (which is what we've been paying the Top Professionals the big bucks for, lo these many years) leads to an idea whose time seemed long gone... but which seems really appropriate for managing outbreaks of dread diseases while the afflicted population is small.
See the post title for a hint.
Yes, designated isolation colonies were used for leprosy back in the day, despite its being not terribly contagious (and most of the population not even being susceptible).
If it's, say, the 1990s, and you have a fair-sized budget for preparing for contagion control, and you've heard of Ebola, and Marburg, and suchlike things... what's an obvious measure to take, in preparation for the day one of those diseases, or something else that's nasty, contagious, and incurable at the moment, breaks out?
Right. Take an unpopulated island, or some other controlled-access area. Build a low-budget resort, designed to be mothballed for extended periods, and partitioned into several zones, each with hospital facilities. Now mothball it, and post a nominal guard against inquisitive kids. Maybe have official tours on occasion.
When you have a few, or a few hundred, cases of a new disease to take care of, take the facility out of mothballs and send the patients and medical staff there. Have good electronic communication for all... but no outgoing physical mail, and no one leaves without a clean bill of health and sufficient time in the outgoing-quarantine zone.
Yeah, it would only handle a limited number of patients, and, as with any other measure short of a cure or vaccine, it buys us a limited amount of time. But sometimes that's enough... and it's better than turning the plague loose among the population at large.
Yeah, the latest Doctor Who. The one with all the trees.
Every attempt to inject sciencey content was completely wrong from beginning to end.
Monster CME is big enough to blow the whole planet away! But, adding some oxygen to the atmosphere will make everything fine. WTF?
Trees control the supply of oxygen, ergo, you can't set fire to one without its consent. WTF?
There were several more, which have mercifully faded from my memory overnight.
Oh, and that CME was in remarkably tight focus when it arrived. A tiny fraction of a degree off in either axis, a tiny fraction of a second off in arrival time, and it would have missed the planet completely. Had to be carefully planned and guided. Only the Ringworld meteor defense is so precise*.
* Actually, it's nowhere near that precise, but I couldn't resist the temptation to rephrase my original sentence there.
A more-or-less-serious mailing list brought a link to this.
Wack-job tin-foil-hattery, plus:
The nighttime launch will be visible along much of the eastern seaboard. At some point during its flight, the rocket will likely suffer a so-called “cyber-attack”, resulting in a massive EMP-like explosion, knocking out electricity on the East Coast of America for good.
What is this I don't even...?
How does a cyber-attack turn a chemical-fueled launch vehicle into a megaton-range nuke?
Or does the cyber-attack involve physically replacing the payload with a bloody huge warhead?
And by the time she's said 'Hoolima Kittiluca Cheecheechee' It is usually too late!
Now I can't remember what train of thought led me to "The Philological Waltz" this morning, but the affirmative-consent connection came later.
Might have been something to do with a bit of world-building that had me distracted during morning walkies, trying to come up with a plausible human-inhabited world of the distant future in which one could have adventures among the wild tribes. (It calls for some oddly specific geography, but the history isn't too farfetched.)
It's a two-bodied cat! The shaggy body is Top Hat; the one that matches the head is Huckleberry.
A bit over a week ago:
Everyone out under the avocado tree while the house is flea-bombed. The youngsters are in a big dog cage. That blue thing behind it is a foldable dog crate. If memory serves, it's meant to be a medium-sized dog crate.
A few days before that:
When she's not dreaming of being a mountain lion or perhaps a Siberian tiger, Southmoon sometimes contemplates a career as a seat cushion.
This flurry of incoherent posts brought to you by A Trip To The Dentist. 'Twas a planned day of non-productivity, on account of I had three teeth laminated in the middle of a Monday, and I'm still groggy*.
I haven't actually seen the bill yet, but as I understand it the procedure is priced per tooth. Which makes sense from the perspective of having defined billing codes for insurance, but:
The actual cost involves a substantial amount of fixed overhead in time and materials, plus a few minutes and a tiny amount of material per tooth.
So, if it's structured for the convenience of accountants, having three teeth done in one session is billed at three times the price of a single tooth, while the actual cost is perhaps (total WAG) 20% more than a single tooth.
That's what happens when you let bureaucrats define the billing system.
* Yeah, yeah, it doesn't work that way. Technically, only the right side of my lower lip is still groggy. But having my mouth poked at is stressful, and I need unwinding time before I can start making sense again.
With recent revelations about the application of civil asset forfeiture - the IRS seizing bank accounts without the bother of filing any sort of charges, and various "law enforcement" agencies engaging in outright highway robbery - the question is finally being asked in public:
Has civil asset forfeiture gone too far?
Why, yes. Yes, it has.
It had gone too far back in the 1980s, when Ed Meese was promoting it.
And it's gone even beyond the dreadful Meese Doctrine (paraphrased from memory*):
From the moment a crime is committed on a property, that property belongs to the government.
The logical implication being that, if you're the victim of a burglary - a crime being committed on your property - the government is thereby entitled to take anything the burglars left, including your home and land.
And the business about the Fifth Amendment not applying, because it's the property and not the owner that stands accused? Nonsense:
nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
The effect is to take the property away from its owner, thereby depriving the owner of it. The fiction that the thing is somehow guilty alters this not in the least.
If the property has an owner, or at least someone who'll say "Hey! That's mine! Where ya goin' with it?" as opposed to "Duuuuh, I got no idear how that got there! I never seen it before!", then due process most assuredly must apply.