A medical historian narrates the last century of scientific struggle against an enduring enemy: deadly contagious disease. Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 “parrot fever” pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms. In The Pandemic Century, a lively account of scares both infamous and less known, Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. We also see how fear of disease often exacerbates racial, religious, and ethnic tensions―even though, as the epidemiologists Malik Peiris and Yi Guan write, “‘nature’ remains the greatest bioterrorist threat of all.” Like man-eating sharks, predatory pathogens are always present in nature, waiting to strike; when one is seemingly vanquished, others appear in its place. These pandemics remind us of the limits of scientific knowledge, as well as the role that human behavior and technologies play in the emergence and spread of microbial diseases.
It is absolutely time to panic about climate change. It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible... Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: MONSTER A-GO GO Season 4, Ep 21
"An Astronaut Went Up... A 'Guess What' Came Down!" "The Picture That Comes Complete with a 10-Foot Tall Monster to Give You the Wim-Wams!" "How did a 10-foot-tall monster get into that little bitty space capsule?" "You've Never Seen a Picture Like This--Thank Goodness!" It's never a good sign when the poster taglines themselves make fun of the movie. One of the absolute worst movies in MST history, and of all time. With short CIRCUS ON ICE: A newsreel report of the 40th Annual Carnival of the Toronto Skating Club. It's iceberg time again! You may think you know what a bad movie looks like. You may think you can handle bad movies. You may think badfilm is nothing to be afraid of. The punishment for your hubris takes the form of a viewing of MONSTER A-GO GO. If you're a fan or born MSTie this should not be missed, but it can be lethal if you haven't built up an immunity. One of a handful of the most terrible movies MST ever did, up there with the likes of Robot Monster and Red Zone Cuba. And don't relax yet, one its primary rivals is on the way in just three weeks.... YouTube (1h32m) Premiered January 1, 1993. Trailer - Unriffed (DO NOT WATCH) [more inside]
A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer. [more inside]
In what would cause a fantastic media frenzy, Clifford Irving sells his bogus biography of Howard Hughes to a premiere publishing house in the early 1970s. [more inside]
A biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes' career, from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s. [more inside]
Every Monday for the month of October we'll be discussing a film that incorporates fear, paranoia, or panic - or all three! It's trick-or-treats for adults, come join in. [more inside]