Here’s a fun way to lift your spirits:

http://outbreaks.globalincidentmap.com/home.html

Provides a constantly updating world map showing locations of reported disease outbreaks. Each little symbol corresponds to a certain type (the “!” symbols littering the US, for instance, are mainly Enterovirus), and if you hover over a symbols  a little window will pop up with the headline; you can click for the full story.

outbreakmap

Interesting how regions have their own illnesses. The US seems dominated by Enterovirus. Eastern Europe has African Swine Fever. The Caribbean has Chikunguya. India has Dengue Fever. Keep in mind, these symbols relate to *reports* of diseases. Here in the US, we have an active press that just *loves* to report every case of anomalous sniffles, so it looks like we’re undergoing a zombie apocalypse. While western Africa is getting stomped by Ebola, but apparently there’s not much of a news industry there.

There is also http://www.globalincidentmap.com/ if you want the same sort of maps for terrorism, but sadly it requires signing up to get the incident details.

I suggested previously that one of the early symptoms of Ebola seems to be stupid behavior that would risk spreadign the virus. Well, we got another case in the US today… and the evidence suggests that my little theory continues to be valid. Attend:

Dr. Craig Spenser recently (Oct. 17) returned from West Africa, where he treated people with Ebola.

Tuesday he started feeling unwell.

So Wednesday he hopped a New York City taxi and went bowling (you know, exercising in public, sweating, flinging said sweat around, wearing communal shoes…)

And today he came down with a serious fever and was diagnosed with Ebola.

Now, keep in mind that there is probably no cause for alarm. My issue here is with health care professionals who should really be particularly cautious going and behaving like fricken’ MORONS.

If you have worked with live Ebola, how hard is it, really, to stay out of high-population-density areas for three weeks? Sure, sure, the virus isn’t easily transmittable via normal means before the serious symptoms kick in. But prior to that time, you still have the virus floating through your blood. And is it possible that your fluids could get splattered around via non-plaguey means? Like, say, a traffic accident? A mugging? Simply tripping and falling and scraping yourself on concrete?

 

If you’ve worked with Ebola… take yourself a three-week staycation. How hard is that to accept?

So while plugging through the Word-to-Kindle process, I absentmindedly turned on the radio just to have some background noise. And by the time I realized that it was “Coast to Coast AM” with Alex Jones as the guest, I was busy working, and it was too much bother to get back up and turn it off. And so I wound up hearing stupid, stupid things. Things that gave me a sad. Thing like claims that the WTC were brought down with directed energy weapons. And that Ebola is a Bilderberger Group plot to take over the world. And that WTC Bldg 7 was intentionally imploded. And other drivel that makes me sad for the species to know that not only are there people so messed up as to dream this nonsense up, but that there’s a vast market of people ready willing and able to believe them.

Gah.

So a few days ago I released US Bomber Projects #11, US Transport Projects #01 and the 11X17 collection for USBP 07-09. Sales were… well, even more dismal than what I’ve grown accustomed to. So I wandered on over to Amazon to finally start trying to sell these through their system. I guess they don’t sell PDFs, but only Kindle format pubs… but the Amazon conversion process did *horrible* things to USBP #01. When I fed it the native Word document, the text got formatted all over the place, and the images were all replaced with red X’s. When i fed it the PDF version, the images were installed, but chopped up, and the text was still a mess. So I guess I’ll have to utterly repave every issue. Feh.

Anyone have any successful history with this? Specifically, half-image, half-text Amazon publications?

UPDATE 1

OK, I hammered away at USBP #01 and finally got it into a form that I think works (looks ok on the “Calibre” epub creator/viewer) and I seem to have walked it through the publication process on Amazon. However, it’s “in review,” and that could take 12 hours. So… there it is, I suppose. Assuming it all goes through, the selling price is set at $2.99. That’s a heck of a hit compared to the $4 price for standard PDF versions available directly from me (especially after Amazon takes their chunk), but I guess it’s ok for older issues. So if this works at all, new issues will be released on my website, and wind up on Amazon sometime down the line.

I will of course post a link to this when/if it becomes available. I have high hopes that there’s at least one somebody out there who just can’t wait to be first in line to get on board with this… and who will point out any formatting flaws or other problems that may appear on this first issue.

UPDATE 2

OK, it has gone through the approval process, and is now available over at Amazon. If anyone wants to be the first to take the plunge, I’d sure like to hear how it works & looks on your e-reader. On looking at the listing I realized that I left a lot out of the description, so I went back and edited that stuff in… but it appears that changes have to go right back into review, so for a number of hours the description is pretty sparse.

 

 

Winning an election, Illinois style:

‘Calibration error’ changes GOP votes to Dem in Illinois county

I’ve said it before: never trust an Illinois politician. No politician who has gone through the Illinois machine should be allowed to hold national office. No good will come of that.

Canadian Soldier Dies After Being Run Down By Suspected Militant

It seems that one “Martin Couture-Rouleau,” who became “radicalized” and changed his name to Ahmad, ran down two Canadian soldiers who were walking along a road near a shopping area in Quebec, killing one. The Surt worshipper then led the police on a chase and was shot dead, which is the only good part of the story.

More details and photos here:

Public Safety Minister: Car strike against soldiers a terror attack

And here:

Martin Couture-Rouleau: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

And the hits keep coming:

Maine school board puts teacher on leave after she traveled to Dallas

A teacher visited Dallas, attended a conference *ten* *miles* from Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, and has been put on 21 days suspension because some parents freaked out. The cool thing for the teach? It’s a *paid* suspension. A three week staycation, away from the horrible little brats with the nightmarish helicopter parents.

Additionally:

A Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist for the Washington Post, who photographed Ebola victims in Liberia in September, was disinvited from a photojournalism workshop at Syracuse University even though he showed no signs of the disease for 21 days after his return to the United States. On Thursday, a woman flying on an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago vomited in the airplane, and was subsequently locked in a bathroom by flight staff. In Hazelhurst, Mississippi, a crowd of parents pulled their middle school students from class Friday after learning that the school’s principal recently had traveled to attend a family funeral in Zambia, which is in southern Africa and about 3,000 miles from the outbreak in West Africa.

Collating the data would be a chore, but I’d be interested in seeing what the Venn diagrams look like of “people who are freaking out about Ebola” and “people who think that vaccinations cause autism” and “people who think that alternative medicine isn’t nonsense” and “people who think evolution is a myth.”

There’s being cautious, and then there’s freaking out. A bit too much of the latter going on these days.

Goliath Encounter: Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Scientist in Rainforest

Photo at the link. Knock yourself out.

But wait! There’s more!

The sound of little hooves in the night

The “hooves” in this instance are the claws of the puppy-spider in question clicking on rocks and stuff as it goes stomping around.

NOPE.

So, huzzah. My right shoulder has improved to the point that I could actually reach to the top of my head to wash my hair. Woo. Granted, there was a point between A and B where the nerves still went bonkers, but once past that, things worked. I can pretty well run a mouse now. Woo.

On the one hand, there is a good, rational case to be made for not freaking out, for not panicking, for maintaining a rational outlook. On the other hand, there is a good case to be made for caution. But Ebola seems to make people ignore both of these. And it seems to be making people *stupid.* For example:

Thomas Duncan*knew* he had been in contact with Ebola, yet thought it’d be a good idea to fly halfway across the planet.

Nurse Amber Vinson, who worked with known Ebola victim Thomas Duncan, decided to hop *two* jetliners and fly across the country.

A worker at the same hospital who “may have” handled Ebola samples thought it’d be a good idea to hop on board a *cruise* *ship* and has now been quarantined in the Caribbean.

It’s almost as if one of the symptoms of Ebola is an unaccountable urge to travel and spread the virus.

But at least now President Obama has selected an “Ebola Czar” to deal with the issue. Who? One “Ron Klain,” someone not immediately familiar. So who is this guy? What are his medical credentials? Well, fortunately he has a Wikipedia page:

Ronald A. “Ron” Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011).[1][2] He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election.

multifinger

 

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