Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just Follow The Money

I heard this story on the radio today and was intrigued. It seems researchers are studying the results on the Where's George? site, which hosts an internet game where marked dollar bills are tracked as they make their way from one person to another. The dispersal patterns of these bills are believed to be a scientific model that can be used to track the spread of infectious diseases.

The radio story also noted that, somewhat surprisingly, such infections spread much faster today than they did in the middle ages, when disease epidemics typically took about three years to move up Europe. Despite advances in medicine and higher standards of hygiene, rapid human mobility means that infections are nearly impossible to contain. I am reminded of the plot of my favorite Stephen King horror novel, "The Stand", in which a single careless guard is infected with a research lab superflu virus, and within weeks the virus wipes out over 99% of the country.

Also wondering whether a study of how the ever-present blog memes propagate from blogger to blogger, could yield scientific data of comparable import. I know they have to be good for something! Then of course there are the memes that don't spread at all, like the one I tried to start a few weeks ago. I guess those are like diseases that everyone is immune to, or else counterfeit dollar bills. Take your pick.


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