Archive for Book

Book Bites Back

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2018 by Rob Wallace

The final proofs have been edited. The website is approaching the landing page. The guerrilleros are amassing along the capital’s limits. Our new book, at 68 pages, as one co-author put it, packs a punch of a 300-page heavyweight. It is dense with critical insight.

If by the scope of our analysis alone, we offer some of the more cutting-edge modeling for vector-borne diseases such as Zika and malaria. We connect a series of pathogen-vector systems of Itô stochastic differential equations to the political economies of deforestation and neoliberal austerity.

As infectious diseases in an age of nation states and global health programs cannot, as much of the present modeling literature presumes, be described by interacting populations of host, vector, and pathogen alone, we also offer a series of control theory models. These models, useful to researchers and health officials alike, explicitly address interactions between government ministries and the pathogens they aim to control.

The new modeling also bites back. We criticize cost effectiveness analyses and the agricultural concept of endemic stability, key moments in modeling disease interventions, as part and parcel of an ethics of economism organized around minimizing state health expenditures. We ask whether along the way these scientific models help undercut global disease control in such a way as to protect corporate bottom lines.

The book is due out April 2018. You can pre-order a copy here.

For those who don’t have the cheddar to cover the cost of a book from an academic publisher, we recommend you ask your library to order it. Or you might order a MyCopy print-on-demand for $25 through your local research institution or library.

Yellow Science Journalism

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Farming Human Pathogens book, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2016 by Rob Wallace

Apparently there’s a liberal equivalent to Donald Trump’s Sinophobic expediency.

In a New York Times op-ed yesterday, Sonia Shah, the author of a forthcoming book on pandemics, presents a nationalistic disease ecology, characterizing avian influenza as the dirty Chinese’s fault.

As if the industrial model of production didn’t originate in the States.

As if migratory birds haven’t been transporting influenza strains across the Bering Sea for thousands of years, even as those patterns also shift in response to environmental changes global and local. Continue reading


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

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.

Forthcoming Book

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

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.

Make It Your Book!

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Organic agriculture, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , on July 26, 2011 by farmingpathogens

Twenty-nine thousand hits in a little over two years. Not bad for a microblog. But it hasn’t been about the numbers (let’s hope not!). We here at ‘Farming Pathogens’ have much appreciated your thoughtful comments and questions, as well as your encouragement.

Today we are asking for a touch more.

We’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for completing a book based on the blog–largely on influenza and agribusiness. We are asking for contributions through our RocketHub site (which works a lot like Kickstarter).  We are also asking that you share the site’s link through your social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and–old school–your friends around the lunch table.

Continue reading


Posted in Farming Human Pathogens book, Influenza with tags , , on May 26, 2011 by farmingpathogens

‘Farming Pathogens’ will be taking a break while we finish up a book on many of the topics discussed here, including influenza and agribusiness.

Thank you for your support and feedback. We’ll be back soon, promise, and in all likelihood will drop a post now and again. Agriculture, disease and evolution are unlikely to enter any hibernation while we step out for a bite.

‘Farming Human Pathogens’ Now Available

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Farming Human Pathogens book, HIV, Influenza with tags on May 23, 2009 by farmingpathogens

farming-human-pathogens-book-cover3‘Farming Human Pathogens’  is now available for purchase.

The book introduces a cutting-edge formalism based on the asymptotic limit theorems of information theory to describe how punctuated shifts in mesoscale ecosystems imposed by human intervention can entrain patterns of gene expression and organismal evolution. The development is applied to several infectious diseases, including HIV and influenza.

The book is a technical book, no question about it. Its target audience includes researchers and graduate students working in computational biology and the mathematical modeling of biological processes. That said, the book describes a number of case histories, including the evolution and spread of drug resistant HIV in the United States and the emergence of bird flu in southern China, that a wider audience can understand and, we hope, appreciate.