News and Opinions 8 April 2007

In a Washington Post book review, “Buyer Beware: Are we training our kids to be consumers rather than citizens?” Barry Schwart ( Sunday, April 8, 2007; Page BW08) noted that, “Viagra and Botox become readily available here while drugs to combat life-threatening malaria and diarrhea are not in developing countries.”

An opinion piece in The Nation entitled “Pigs in Space” (7 April 2007) observed that a millionaire Hungarian-American software programmer paid $20 million to be escorted to the Kazakh steppes, packed into a Russian Soyuz rocket and blasted towards the international space station. The Nation suggested that, “Simonyi might have spent his money fighting AIDS, or building housing for Hurricane Katrina survivors, or providing clean water to developing nations, or mosquito netting and medicine for malaria patients, or musical instruments for needy, photogenic, musically-gifted inner city school children or…well, depressingly, the list goes on and on.”

The Associated Press reported from the recently concluded climate change conference in Brussels that, “Two distinctly different groups, data-driven scientists and nuanced offend-no-one diplomats, collided and then converged this past week. At stake: a report on the future of the planet and the changes it faces with global warming.” The meeting reported that, “Malaria, diarrhea diseases, dengue fever, tick-borne diseases, heat-related deaths will all rise with global warming.”

In an upcoming issue of Newsweek International Jason Overdorf reports that along with global warming there is an increased movement of malaria bearing mosquitoes into highland regional of Asia, Latin America and Asia. He quotes another study that states, “temperature increases from 0.5 degrees to 3 degrees can double the population of Anopheles mosquitoes, which carry malaria.” Economic conditions that enable people in northern countries to afford window screens and air conditioning may stave off the spread of disease.

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