Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Zika vs Bees

Sort of just depressing all round really. Caught between plague and famine.

“It’s a matter of weighing the benefits versus the risks,” he added, noting the critical place of bees, especially, in keeping crops growing.
“If you have to make a decision on whether it protects, say, your pregnant wife from being exposed versus killing a few butterflies, I suspect in most people’s minds it’s probably worth the risk.”
US beekeepers fear for livelihoods as anti-Zika toxin kills 2.5m bees

2 comments:

phil jones said...

Fun fact. I've had Zika.

Obviously I'm not a pregnant wife, for whom such things are serious. But for me, it was just like a heavy flu ...with a lot of itching at the end. And 30% of people who have it don't seem to have symptoms at all.

We should beware of hype here. Yes, it's a terrible thing for a mother to have a child disabled by the disease. But like all risks, it does have to be weighed up against all the others. And the costs and benefits of addressing them considered rationally, not driven by panic.

Scribe said...

Cheers Phil, no lasting effects then?

What fascinates me about bees is their complex, systemic nature, which seems to require a fundamentally different approach to preservation. I wonder if it's "easier" to tackle Zika because it's a "known" system and to "eradicate" it is a much simpler argument of "spray X until it's gone".

Modern approaches to problem solving seem to thrive on this distinction - easy, direct problems get solved quickly, while nobody knows what to do about "extreme phenomena" to borrow Baudrillard's term - or perhaps just organic networks. (Ironically we do seem good at *creating* new organic systems, such as the internet though?)