Thursday, 1 March 2001

Foot and Mouth Disease

Listening to:

Tchaikovsky, piano concerto #1 in B flat minor, op. 23.

Foot and mouth disease is ravaging the livestock herds of Great Britain. Well, actually foot and mouth doesn’t kill animals, it just makes them poorly for a bit. However, the disease is incredibly contagious. Britain had its last big epidemic in 1967. The first case was in the Isle of Wight, an offshore island. It spread to the rest of the country because the virus particles could float over the sea to the mainland and infect animals there. Scary stuff.

There’s a vaccine too, but apparently no-one in Europe uses it. I guess the calculation is that the money saved justifies the risk of having to slaughter huge proportions of the national herds every so often. In any case, farmers are compensated for animals that are killed.

The BBC has this overview site (including this story questioning whether the big slaughtering programme is wise). The Guardian's site on the story also has a lot of material.

A couple of linked articles, nominally about games programming. The first is more proselytizing for really modern languages (C++ doesn't count; Java doesn't really either). In my case, the author is preaching to the choir and I believe every word of it. The second is a humorous perspective on being a "normal" programmer and being envious of cool games programmers who get to do neat stuff with C++.