In retrospect, the only reason I did not want a pet squirrel was that it simply hadn’t occurred to me to want one. On some level this isn’t surprising: It’s against the law to own a pet squirrel in many states, and as charming as they seem from afar, it is also technically true that they are rodents. How many people keep squirrels as pets? Who knows. It’s safe to say, though, the number is not very high, since most people would sooner settle for a more traditional pet than risk coming across as crazy. But looking at squirrels on Instagram awoke something in me.
So what is wrong with listening to the drumbeat, to the endless calls to protect ourselves against the coming plague – against Ebola from Africa and bird flu from Asia? Is it possible that a huge pandemic could erupt from some as-yet unknown pathogen? Is apocalypse lurking out there, among rats or monkeys, or bats or flying squirrels or birds? The Black Death shows that you can never say never: there might be an animal pathogen out there that, under the right circumstances, can evolve and maintain both virulence and transmissibility among humans as well as animals.
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." Join their Learn To Swim program, and enjoy the song that won 2nd place in the 1974 Scarfolk Harvest Festival, Dormin Slowly Died With The Radio On.
The Snipist - a post-apocalyptic nightmare set in a post-rabies Britain (warning: absolutely bleak). A Gun For George - a short film about crime-writer Terry Finch, author of the 70s Kentish fiction masterpieces The Reprisalizer. [more inside]
Recently, 8-year-old Precious Reynolds became the sixth person in history to survive rabies without a vaccine. A few years back, Extraordinary People put out a documentary (1 2 3) on the first person to beat the only viral disease that hides itself completely from one's immune system.
Hey kids! Ever wanted a page about rabies just for you? Well now you have it!
China kills 50,000 dogs in rabies scare by bludgeoning them. Human rabies a big problem in China. Lack of animal vaccinations to blame. But will culling dogs really help, when effect rabies control includes creating a buffer of vaccinated domestic animals[pdf] between humans and wildlife? Meanwhile, some areas in the US and Canada are proactively vaccinating wildlife.
Last Saturday, a woman and her four-year-old son climbed a fence to get a closer look at two black bears in the care of the non-profit Maymont Foundation. Bear bites boy.