Donald McNeil, a science reporter who covers plagues and pestilence for the New York Times has put together this book about a rapidly and recently emeDonald McNeil, a science reporter who covers plagues and pestilence for the New York Times has put together this book about a rapidly and recently emerging virus and done a fine job of it. Named for a forest in Uganda where the disease first was identified, Zika has been moving from Africa through Polynesia to Easter Island.
Then early this year it jumped, so far inexplicably, to the area of Briazil near Recife and for the first time it was recognized that pregnant women who caught the mild virus were having babies with severe neurological damage. People who had Zika had always been more likely than the general population to be struck with Guillain Barre syndrome but microcephaly was a new and frightening mutation.
It helps to know little bit about viruses and communicable diseases to read this book. But not knowing a filovirus from a flavivirus is not important. All you really have to understand about Aedes mosuitoes and their future threat in the US is that the aegypti - the little fly that spreads Zika - lives mostly in the Gulf Coast states.
However, as the author points out, in the past bug diseases didn't change to become the kind of thing you could catch from a pole on the subway. But the Zika virus has gone from being an arbovirus, spread by mosquitoes (which it remains, primarily), to a STD. No one knows where it's going and what it will do next....more
After reading 58 pages (out of 204) I gave up on this story of a man who gets a bill for nearly a million dollars from a mysterious bureaucracy and whAfter reading 58 pages (out of 204) I gave up on this story of a man who gets a bill for nearly a million dollars from a mysterious bureaucracy and who spends much of his time talking on the help line trying to figure out what's going on. This is the author who wrote My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry and A Man Called Ove, neither of which made much of a hit with me. All three are very popular books....more
A bitter but very interesting book by a Secret Service Uniformed Division officer who was stationed outside the door to the oval office during the dayA bitter but very interesting book by a Secret Service Uniformed Division officer who was stationed outside the door to the oval office during the days of Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. When subpoenaed by the Ken Starr Whitewater committee he was faced with not saying enough and being charged with obstructing a federal investigation or saying too much and being charged by the Secret Service with revealing privileged information about the man he was charged with protecting, Bill Clinton.
Until the evidence on the famous blue dress proved he was telling the truth and the Supreme Court ruled there was no privilege between a Secret Service agent and the person he was protecting - or trying to protect.
In the rest of the book I learned a lot about the author's work as a small arms instructor and later as a Federal Air Marshall. He contends that when a kiss-up-kick-down administrator from the Secret Service was put in charge of the Marshall Service many positions were given to the man's cronies and the physical requirements and training for the job were watered down to where an obese agent (she needed an extra buckle on a plane) with asthma never even took the quarterly physical and nobody dared to call her on it....more