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Omni Daily News

Beware the vectors: Responding to the story of the day, two authors have op-eds looking backward and forward at the swine flu threat. In the NYT, John Barry, author of The Great Influenza, argues that the previous flu pandemics have come in waves, first mild and then lethal:

In all four instances, the gap between the time the virus was first recognized and a second, more dangerous wave swelled was about six months. It will take a minimum of four months to produce vaccine in any volume, possibly longer, and much longer than that to produce enough vaccine to protect most Americans. The race has begun.

(Barry's historical perspective was also in demand a few years ago, when his history of the Mississippi flood of 1927, Rising Tide, became one of the go-to books after Katrina.) And in The Guardian, Planet of Slums author Mike Davis pins the rapid mutations of pig-to-human flu on industrial meat production:

This has been a transition from old-fashioned pig pens to vast excremental hells, containing tens of thousands of animals with weakened immune systems suffocating in heat and manure while exchanging pathogens at blinding velocity with their fellow inmates.

All those pathogens!: In better news about mass gatherings, the LA Times Festival of Books drew over 100,000 to two days of panels, readings, etc., this weekend. (Anne mentioned the LAT Book Award winners yesterday.) The LAT's books blog, Jacket Copy, has understandably, and admirably, been flooding the zone with coverage, including appearances by Marilynne Robinson, James Ellroy, and others.

Sie wird eine Berlinerin: Jessa Crispin, founder and proprietor of the pioneering (and still thriving) BookSlut, is leaving Chicago for Berlin in July, but she'll still be blogging regularly from there.

--Tom

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