Tuberculosis epidemic?

If TB really is endemic in Central America we may be in for a really bad time. Here’s a rather alarmed blog post on a potential TB epidemic brought on by the massive rise in illegal immigration from Central America.

Two anecdotes:

When I was teaching Latin at Henry W. Grady High School in Midtown Atlanta we had a round of universal TB tests – a student came back from Christmas break in Vietnam with TB and all faculty and students were tested. I don’t think anyone outside her own family had been exposed, but it was exciting for all of us.

I had a weird lung problem in the summer of 2000 or 2001 that was finally diagnosed as a cyst formed around some particle I had inhaled (and no one ever figured out where I might have done that, since the most common form happens to chicken farmers). The initial protocol is to assume TB until proved otherwise. Unfortunately for me, I went in on a Friday afternoon. The pulmonologist didn’t come see me again until Monday morning, so I spent the whole weekend in isolation with an air filter the size of a washer in the corner of my room and all my meals brought in by gowned, hooded, masked nurses. No one checked the results of the TB test (negative, thank goodness) and dropped the isolation protocol until Monday morning.

 

Symptoms of Stardom

There is a belief within American media that a successful person can succeed at anything. He (and it’s invariably he) is omnicompetent, and people who question him and laugh at his outlandish ideas will invariably fail and end up working for him. If he cares about something, it’s important; if he says something can be done, it can. The people who are already doing the same thing are peons and their opinions are to be discounted, since they are biased and he never is. He doesn’t need to provide references or evidence – even supposedly scientific science fiction falls into this trope, in which the hero gets ideas from his gut, is always right, and never needs to do experiments.

This is from an interesting essay on why Elon Musk’s Hyperloop won’t work. I don’t care at all about the technical details of exotic high speed transport on the west coast, but the first part and the last part of the essay, on why the culture of unquestioned superstar entrepreneurs, is well-worth reading!

via Prof. Cowen