Some rational words about Ebola

I am scared of a lot of things.  Tornadoes.  Spiders. Venomous anything.  I am also scared of Ebola.  Terrified, really.  I am more scared of Ebola than pretty much any other disease, including things I might actually have a slight chance of getting, like breast cancer or AIDS.  I blame my sixth grade science teacher, who described the movie Outbreak to us in class one day.

Now, of course, this is totally irrational.  As a scientist I realize this.  So, let’s all calm down and talk about some facts.  Since my epidemiological knowledge is limited to some undergrad courses in biology and the mechanics of the game Pandemic, we’ll turn to the experts.

Tara C. Smith is a microbiologist/epidemiologist at Kent State University, which is just a short car trip away for me here in Northeast Ohio, and she also writes about infectious diseases for media, books, etc.  She has written a very nice piece describing why we in the US should not be panicking about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak here, because a lot of public “knowledge” about Ebola is exaggerated or incomplete.  Please read it, and take some deep calming breaths with me:

Everything you know about Ebola is wrong

Also, here are my suggestions for naming the diseases in Pandemic:

Yes, those are petri dishes to hold the game pieces
Yes, those are petri dishes to hold the game pieces


Yellow: AIDS (Ebola, yellow fever)

Blue: Spanish Influenza (Bubonic plague, Swine flu)

Black: Leprosy

Red: Bird flu (SARS)

Purple: ??


in Just-spring


The little lame balloon man is whistling…winter finally broke today.  My tulips have managed to withstand the late snows and are still making progress in popping up.

Last weekend was great!  My husband and I had a lot of fun playing games and drinking hot chocolate all weekend.  Some of the games I played:

  • Star Trek Deck Building game (TNG) –The co-op mode is pretty fun, but the rules are super vague and unhelpful.  At the end of the game we decided that: you cannot use Sensor Scan before exploring, and all players pool their stats to beat Locutus.
  • Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game–We zombies won pretty easily.
  • Carcassonne–Can’t beat a classic
  • Telestrations–Awesome party game
  • Dominion–Another classic.  And I won!
  • Pandemic: On the Brink–My first time playing with the mutation, very fun!  This expansion is awesome because it has petri dishes to put the cubes in, and you can label what the diseases are.  But I change my mind about that all the time.  Sometimes I think of yellow as AIDS, and sometimes as malaria.  Red could be bird flu, or SARS.
  • Eminent Domain –Love the scifi theme, but I’ll have to play this a lot more before I fell more confident about strategy.

I had a pretty rough week at work, so I’m looking forward to the holiday weekend.  I’m catching up on all the TV shows I’ve DVRed this week.  My favorite so far: the 100th episode of Psych!  It’s a cute take-off on the hilarious movie Clue.  And there were also a couple of references to another great murder-comedy, Murder by Death: the screaming doorbell, and the moose on the wall.  MbD is a classic: great cast, hilarious spoofs of famous fictional detectives, twist endings.  And thanks to this movie (as well as the new Pride and Prejudice), my husband knows that he can’t sit next to me at a formal dinner.