Archive for the HIV Category


Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Farming Human Pathogens book, HIV, Influenza, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming 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.

Poultry of Minerva

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, HIV, Influenza, Organic agriculture, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by rgwallace

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Peter Shea, the Bill Moyers of the Twin Cities, for The Bat of Minerva show.

What began as a kind of intellectual portraiture, in which we explored how I got studying the evolution of infectious disease, spiraled into about as broad a thesis on the nature of disease and agriculture and prospects for a just future as I have compiled in one place to date.

The reason–and there is a reason–we talked in such a noisy place is revealed halfway through the interview.

For those night owls out there–or nocturnal bats or poultry off their counter-seasonal photoperiods–the show will be broadcasted locally Sunday midnight (Saturday night) on Metro Cable Network/Channel 6

West West Africa

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, HIV, Influenza, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2014 by rgwallace

liberia-ebolaAt some points the fighters jumped off and pushed the skiffs over a sandbar into a cut of water…Just like in the wadi, there was concerns about the Americans. They sought to keep themselves out of sight under the branches. Uncle Sam knew nothing, Uncle Sam saw everything.        –J. M. Ledgard (2011)

TV comedian Stephen Colbert savagely satired media hysteria over West Africa’s Ebola outbreak,

Folks, I’m so glad you’re joining us tonight. If you are joining us, we tape the show at 7 o’clock, so by the time you’re seeing this you’re probably dead. Because this week the Ebola outbreak that’s been ravaging West Africa finally spread to West West Africa–America.

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Neoliberal Ebola?

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, HIV, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2014 by rgwallace

Ebola2With an update about David Quammen’s response at the bottom.

In spite of writing a long book on diseases spilling over from animals to humans, well-regarded author David Quammen can’t seem to get his mind wrapped around the possibility Ebola has likely evolved a new ecotype, for the first time spreading into a major urban area.

The first outbreak of Flaviviridae Filoviridae Ebola in West Africa apparently began in forest villages across four districts in southeastern Guinea as early as December 2013 before spreading to Conakry and the outskirts of Monrovia, the capitals of Guinea and Liberia respectively.

The number of deaths across West Africa presently stands at 149 killed out of 242 infected. According to the WHO, with a three-week incubation period cases are likely to continue to accumulate for months.

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Do Over

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, HIV, Influenza with tags , , on June 16, 2013 by rgwallace

SpilloverThe New York Times loved David Quammen’s new award-winning book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic .

I eye it more askance,

Explaining the ecosystemic dependencies out of which new pathogens arise isn’t nearly enough, however. Quammen rarely touches the processes occurring farther upstream. Pathogens are embedded in circuits of capital in such a way as to reverse conclusions based on ecology alone.

Read more of my review here at CounterPunch.

Beware the Blob

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, HIV, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by rgwallace

Gay Aids Protest Shame on ObamaFor World AIDS Day 2012 I post an edited excerpt of a speech I gave a decade ago to the Second Scholarly Conference on Women and Work: Health and Wellness held at the Center for Worker Education in New York City. I ask whether HIV can search for the most vulnerable populations.

Identifying trends in health and disease doesn’t mean we know how these patterns came about.

Why, for instance, is HIV/AIDS so prevalent in Africa? It’s where the virus first emerged, of course. Cases have had more time there to accumulate. But at 22 million HIV cases, initial conditions are hardly explanation enough. An array of interacting socioeconomic circumstances and cultural happenstance locks millions of people to precarious fates (and, in this case, greater risk of infection). Many of Africa’s countries are the poorest in the world and the workaday people live in are channeled in such a way that the term ‘choice’, at the heart of much public health commentary, loses its connotation of free will.

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We Can Think Ourselves into a Plague

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Farming Human Pathogens book, HIV, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2010 by rgwallace

The power of the mind is a New Age staple. But really, can I concentrate enough to levitate myself (much less get my laundry done today)?

The materialist answers, funny you mention it, but, yes, you can. A few minds thought through the ideas that produced the airplane and perhaps soon enough the personal jet pack with smart phone dock and coffee maker.

The dialectical materialist would modify science’s self-congratulations with the observation it’s taken many generations’ labor to produce the surplus permitting a few their deep thinking. Ingenuity is itself a social object.

And yet, despite, or perhaps because of, that backing, we can think ourselves into era-specific traps. Among these include animal and plant diseases that rope-a-dope us into a frustration we feel obliged by our lords and masters to fail to understand.

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