Cats Saved the World?
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 96 11:37:26 -0700
Subject: Cats Saved the World?
Forwarded-by: elshaw@MIT.EDU (Libby Shaw)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (george m. anderson II)
cats saved the world-or did they?
ref-"the coming plague" by l. garrett- a great book for the chronicly
depressed. i love it, always makes me feel better by providing a
greater perspective on social problems and frustrations. (you think you
have it bad sceniaro, well what about this...)
background: (chapter 1, pp27-29). machupo virus outbreak in san
joaquin, boliva. johnson developes the following theory of the
outbreak. disease spread by mice shitting and defacating on human food
stuffs. the calomys field mouse, displaced from natural habitat by
agricultural clearing, invade village (whose cats have all been killed
off by overenthusatic ddt application). answer-air lift donated cats
to san joaquin. result-epidemic stops. preventing the spread to you
and me. ie-cats saved the world.
senior member of team, kuns, whose job it was to solve the riddles (and
didn't), responds thusly:
"its stupid! absolutely stupid," kuns said of the cat/ddt link, noting
that felines killed only the weak and sick members of the mouse
colonies and rarely had an enormous impact on the weak and sick members
of a rodent population. ((editor's (me) note: if the sick and dying
animals are the carriers then this is exactly what you would want- his
reasoning is thin here)).
even more intriguing is kuns' attack on his fellow teammates' theory
that they got sick after eating the food at a party (note kuns didn't
get sick): "you ought to think about what you did after the fiesta,
boys, and not what you ate."
so that ends the intriguing story of machupo. did the cats save the
world from hemorrhagic fever? what did they do after the fiesta?
aside: in "plagues and people", another great, but old book, the theory
is floated that the black plague in europe was caused by the catholic
church's belief that cats were the devil and should be killed, leaving
the mice to overpopulate and the plague-carrying fleas to thrive.
wonder if kuns is aware of that (surely he is).
© 1996 Peter Langston