Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2016 by rgwallace


dayton-turkeyThe explosion, at last, lies down. As if, though–the two drug enthusiasts who got in and out of its last moment insist–out of pity, rather than because it must. –China Miéville (2015)

A season’s greetings may mark as much a farewell as a salutation.

By a full-throated onamonapia we channel our near-national bird, which, when the other national holiday is upon us, is suddenly lined up for death in the millions. And gobble gobble we continue throughout the day–and into the new year–gnawing Viking drumsticks while watching Meat Packers bludgeon Rust Belt Steelers into what for the team owners are lucrative cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

By way of zooarchaeologist Stanley Olsen, Heather Horn dates our enthusiasm back before the country, to the Mayans, who among others domesticated the ocellated turkey long before the arrival of the conquistadors. Raising them caught on so wildly in Europe that the birds–mislabeled Turkey in origin by explorers who once thought themselves in India–were brought back to America by colonial Patriots bound for Massachusetts and Virginia.

Continue reading

Springer Has Sprung

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2016 by rgwallace

Wallace_cover_FINAL_Front coverSpringer has just published our new book, Neoliberal Ebola: Modeling Disease Emergence From Finance to Forest and Farm.

It is arguably one of the more sophisticated treatments of globalization’s impact on disease to date, combining economic geographies with epidemiological modeling and the political economies of agriculture and science.

Learn more about the book’s scope, and access its preface and table of contents, at the book website.

With Zika and now yellow fever emerging out of a similar juxtaposition of laissez-faire agroeconomics and structurally adjusted public health, the arguments of the book are as apropos as they were way back in 2014.

The volume is academically priced, but we encourage those unable to afford it to

  1. ask their local library to purchase a copy
  2. consider purchasing a MyCopy print-on-demand for $25 through your local research institution.

Our team is proud of the volume. We hope it marks a turning point in the means by which the new diseases are conceptualized and–the point of it all–controlled.

Book Launch | East Coast

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Farming Human Pathogens book, Revolution with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2016 by rgwallace

Book Tour Poster 1The East Coast/Twin Cities tour for my new book, Big Farms Make Big Flu, has now been finalized!

A day after the book launch with the Marxist Education Project at Brooklyn Commons, I’ll be talking capitalism and the production (and destruction) of animals with Ashley Dawson, author of Extinction: A Radical History, and food systems analyst Siena Chrisman at the CUNY Grad Center.

We’ll be Levitating the USDA in Washington DC! With 25% book discounts for USDA employees.

And we’ve added an appearance at MIT with Science for the People.

Facebook pages for all events are listed here. All are welcome! Feel free to share the tour poster!

The book can be pre-ordered here.

The Hillary Clinton Boil

Posted in Ecological resilience, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2016 by rgwallace

The Hillary Clinton Strain2An outbreak of flesh-eating cutaneous leishmaniasis is disfiguring hundreds of thousands across Syria, Eastern Libya, Yemen, and Iraq.

As all are countries in which the leading Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. presidency green-lit war, for parsimony’s sake the so-called “Aleppo boil” or “Baghdad boil” should be appropriately renamed.

“Bombed out buildings,” Sarah Hiddleston reports,

disrupted insecticide control, and poor water and sanitation services create a ripe breeding ground for sandflies [that transmit the Leishmania trypanosomes]. Poor health systems mean treatment is difficult to reach or insufficient, and refugees fleeing conflict take the disease into non-immune areas or arrive in endemic areas without immunity themselves.

Continue reading

Flint State

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2016 by rgwallace

Flint1At Kent State, eight years ago, we killed our own children. We finally went ahead and made plain the substance of our hanging threat to all the lives of our children. If you do not do as we have done, if you do not continue what we do, we who have brought you here, we will take you out; we who feed and clothe you and teach you the words that you use, the name that is your name, we will destroy you even unto death. –June Jordan (1978)

The lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, offers a quintessential example of the social origins of our abiotic environments. Our sociality imprints upon even the most elemental of Earth’s matter.

Following up resident complaints about discoloration, taste, and smell, Virginia Tech researchers tested 271 Flint homes for lead in their tap water. From 27 parts per billion, five times greater than concentrations considered safe, an exposure leading to cardiovasular problems, kidney damage and neurological morbidity, the investigators found lead levels as high as over 5,000 pbb, a level the Environmental Protection Agency defines as “toxic waste”.

Continue reading

Business as Unusual

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2016 by rgwallace

Chicken in a business suit

John Huston told me he and [Orson] Welles were always trying to stick each other with the tab and once faked simultaneous heart attacks at a restaurant in Paris. –Jim Harrison (1988)

Some of you here in the Twin Cities may have noticed this past year the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis paper, has published almost its entire run of articles on the outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 in its business section.

The placement is telling. It reminds us the paper, owned by agribusinessman Glen Taylor, views the virus, killing 50 million poultry across 21 states, as a matter for food companies and investors. It seems the ecologies and epidemiologies in which we are all embedded are to be treated as mere externalities to the matter at hand–the trade in commodities.

An update last week, published–where else?–in the business section, reprinted unsupported declarations about the origins of the outbreak, claims the newspaper turned into facts by year-long repetition. The virus originated in Asia. Migratory waterfowl brought it here and spread it. Farmer error is to blame for the outbreak. Anything but the poultry sector itself.

Continue reading

Caligula of Albany

Posted in Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2016 by rgwallace

Andrew CuomoWould that the Roman people had but one neck! –Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula, as quoted by Suetonius (AD 121)

Nick Pinto’s piece on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is matched in its wincing iridescence only by its subject’s proverbial event horizon, from which no light seems to escape.

Pinto reports Cuomo’s budget calls for nearly a half-a-billion dollar gouge out of the City University of New York’s budget, a university system traditionally open to the poorest of students and already suffering two decades of devastating cuts.

Continue reading