Ghostface Killahs

Posted in Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2016 by rgwallace

My thoughts must be relaxed, be able to maintain / Cause times is changed and life is strange / The glorious days is gone, and everybody’s doing bad / Yo, mad lives is up for grabs –Ghostface Killah (1993)

Yesterday U.S. Representatives on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform scored rhetorical points on Martin Shkreli, the Pharma Bro whose Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

This is the same Congress, taking in $30 million a year in pharm contributions, that dismantled the sector’s regulatory infrastructure, legalizing the price spike.

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Posted in Farming Human Pathogens book, Influenza, HIV, Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Sustainable farming, Revolution with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by rgwallace

Book tumblrThe book rollout continues.

Here’s the Tumblr page for my new book, Big Farms Make Big Flu. It’ll include author appearances, reviews, events around the book, vids and articles, and related curiosities.

The book–essays on infectious disease, agribusiness, and the nature of science–is available for pre-order here.

Theory of Conspiracy

Posted in Revolution, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by rgwallace

20130619_G8leaders02In life it is never a mathematical proposition which we need, but we use mathematical propositions only in order to infer from propositions which do not belong to mathematics to others which equally do not belong to mathematics. –Ludwig Wittgenstein (1922)

David Grimes, a physicist, calculates large-scale conspiracies are impossible. Someone somewhere–a whistleblower or bungler–will leak the goods.

The issue missed here, however, as Stephen Colbert–channeling Slavoj Žižek–put it to Donald Rumsfeld the other night, are the unknown knowns, the crimes the brigades of ideological shock troops among us pretend ignorance of in the service of expediency.

That is, in a reading of the WikiLeaks cables ironically enough, is the business of empire really something other than an albeit open conspiracy? And who, then, are the more dangerous conspirators now dining in our best restaurants–the true believers or the manipulative cynics?

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Forthcoming Book

Posted in Farming Human Pathogens book, Influenza with tags , , , on January 13, 2016 by rgwallace

Big Farms Make Big FluI’m proud to announce Monthly Review Press is publishing my new book on infectious diseases, agribusiness, and the nature of science.

The book collects (and revises) many of the pieces I’ve posted here at Farming Pathogens, but in addition a number of my peer-reviewed publications and five additional essays never before published anywhere.

The book is slated for release this May and can be pre-ordered at the Monthly Review Press site.

Is Ebola Vaccine-Resistant?

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , on November 20, 2015 by rgwallace

Ebola vaccine 1The Freudian unconscious also has a formal aspect and is not merely a matter of content: recall the cases where Freud interprets a dream so that what is repressed/excluded from its content returns as a feature of the form of the dream…the true secret of the dream is not its content…but the form itself. –Slavoj Žižek (2014)

News of Ebola in West Africa is ping ponging between joyous declarations the outbreak is over to abashed announcements of its return.

One is reminded of the Onion‘s farcical September 1939 front page: “WA-“. Both a denouement denied and, in the other direction, the return of the repressed.

Our group’s latest commentary, just published online in the International Journal of Health Services, a review and extension of previous work, proposes an explanation for the never-quite-ending outbreak,

[R]egional neoliberalism may affix the stochastic ‘friction’ of ecological relationships imposed by the forest across populations, which, when above a threshold, keeps the virus from lining up transmission above replacement. Export-led logging, mining, and intensive agriculture may depress such functional noise, permitting novel spillovers [across species] larger forces of infection. Mature outbreaks, meanwhile, can continue to circulate even in the face of efficient vaccines.

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The Red Coates

Posted in Ecological resilience, Organic agriculture, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2015 by rgwallace

It’s been something of a mystery to me the extent to which so many white people are personally offended black people are objecting to being stopped and killed by police.

Of course it’s about oppression–each murder serves as a message to black and white communities alike–but where is the line of logic that makes the action an argument, however absurd?

Even the possibility of deescalating a confrontation with a clearly discombobulated Jeremy Dole in his wheelchair earlier this week, captured in the video above, is waved away in favor of a public execution on the streets of Wilmington, Delaware. A firing squad is repeatedly the default response.

As Alain Badiou on the Paris Commune persuasively argues, what happens out on the street is philosophy in practice.

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Eating the Brown Acid

Posted in Ecological resilience, Organic agriculture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by rgwallace

paintingThe surrealism packed in Stephanie Strom’s piece on a new ractopamine-free label the USDA approved turns the newsprint into blotting paper.

Ractopamine hydrochloride, developed under the Dickensian proprietary name of Paylean, is a beta-agonist given to up to 80% of U.S. hogs. It mimics stress hormones, adding muscle weight on less feed.

Greenwashing amok, Eli Lilly, which originally developed the drug as an asthma treatment for humans, argues in reducing the feed used, ractopamine lowers the carbon footprint of the livestock industry.

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