Bird Flu

Forget hurricanes. Forget global warming. For a good panic, consider Bird Flu.

Apparently it’s broken out of China and is now Epidemic in Indonesia. Or, at least, in the cautious language of bureaucrats “Indonesia could be on the brink of a bird flu epidemic if the virus continues to accelerate.” Normally when bureaucrats will go that far, it translates into something worse.

Having just had graphic proof that the US government cannot be trusted to protect us from the consequences of disaster, coupled with the fact that at present the US has no stockpiles of the relevant drugs — in part due to sloth, in part due to the speed at which this strain can mutate — some people are going all survivalist on us.

Take a look, for example, at Flu Pandemic Preparation. (And don’t forget your emergency gear.)

I’m not entirely sure I get the threat model here. Why do I need a month’s worth of food? Is the idea I hide in my house to avoid infection, or that everyone around me is sick and dying and the FEMA trucks don’t come?

On a slightly more positive note, there’s the FluWiki, “a new experiment in collaborative problem solving in public health” where presumably rather than work on self-directed survivalist, the objective is a community-centered response.

Meanwhile, I’m still scratching my head as to why I want to pack my brown rice in dry ice, which presumably will keep it cold in my very hot garage for only a very limited period. Does the CO2 have preservative qualities too? If I even knew where to get dry ice. Or 50 pound bags of rice, for that matter.

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4 Responses to Bird Flu

  1. Mojo says:

    I think the theory is that you let the dry ice vaporize for a while to drive the air out of the container (carbon dioxide is heavier than air) and then seal the container. The idea being that you’re keeping oxygen away from the product so it doesn’t go bad as quickly. I’m not sure that those containers would seal well enough to make that work but, if you’re digging a metaphorical bomb shelter in the back yard to protect yourself from chickens, I guess you might as well.

  2. mike says:

    I don’t know about brown rice, but you should be able to get huge bags of white rice at any Asian market.

  3. kcmarshall says:

    Re: rice and CO2 — think buggies. I’ve seen discussion by homebrewers who buy malted grain in bulk of storing the grain in plastic bins and then running some CO2 into it to kill/prevent infestation by bugs.

  4. Barry says:

    The idea is that dry grain products won’t mold or mildew, but bug eggs are already in them, and the eggs will hatch, giving you a wormy mess. From my experience, that is true; I’ve seen it a number of times (BTW, the moths produced will chew through plastic bags to get to grain, making them hard to eradicate). Storing the grain in a dry atmosphere with little oxygen will kill the bugs. This is a standard survivalist technique, supposedly popularized by the Mormons. Using a container with a tupperware-style locking lid is supposed to slow moisture and oxygen contamination for quite a while. I don’t know how well this would work with the cheaper, stackable, rectangular storage containers, which don’t have that style of lid. Experimenting in advance would help with finding that out.

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