Don Francis, epidemiologist and member of the World Health Organization team that investigated the first documented Ebola outbreak in 1976, gave a fascinating interview on KPFA's "Letters and Politics" in September. Francis shared more recollections and some of his photos from the investigation with an audience at UC Berkeley in August.
A Contagion Of Violence
In exploring the occurrence of violence, researchers have recognized the tendency for violent acts to cluster, to spread from place to place, and to mutate from one type to another – similar to the infectious disease model, in which an agent or vector initiates a specific biological pathway leading to symptoms of disease and infectivity.Is It Time To Treat Violence Like A Contagious Disease? [more inside]
Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities: We show how the prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction p of randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize the opposing opinion and are immune to influence. Specifically, we show that when the committed fraction grows beyond a critical value pc ≈ 10%, there is a dramatic decrease in the time, Tc, taken for the entire population to adopt the committed opinion. [.pdf] [more inside]