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Monday Message Board, late again

February 9th, 2004

Here (late again, but on Monday at least) is your chance to comment on any topic (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). I may be a bit quiet for the next few days. (I’m in Melbourne to become a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society), so please do your best to fill the gap in my absence.

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  1. Dave Ricardo
    February 9th, 2004 at 17:48 | #1

    I saw in The Australian today that Lawrence Springborg has a framed poster of Lenin and Stalin in his office.

    I know the Queensland National Party isn’t averse to collective farms (this has been the organisaing principle for the sugar industry for decades), but surely this goes too far. Queensland National Party leaders sure aren’t what they used to be. I hope Springborg wasn’t planning to open a Gulag for political dissidents if he won the election (“The Whitsunday Archipelago”), or slaughter 12000

    Polish army officers in the Daintree forest.

    On the other hand, he might not know who they are.

  2. John
    February 9th, 2004 at 17:52 | #2

    I can just see myself as Bukharin, confessing all !

  3. observa
    February 9th, 2004 at 17:57 | #3

    Not having any expertise in virology or immunology I will probably raise a dumb question about the current response to the Asian bird flu. It appears at present that as soon as an outbreak occurs, the area is quarantined for kilometres around and all chickens in the area are killed on a large scale(millions?) Presumably after this happens, at some stage the farms, etc will have to be restocked with healthy birds and numbers bred up again for food. It is highly likely that such flocks,with no immunity, can be re-infected again by incidental contact with native birds. To my lay mind, wouldn’t it be better to quarantine the area (no movement of chickens from the infected area) and let nature take its course. If only a pitiful few survive, wouldn’t these, presumably immune survivors, make the best breeding stock, to protect against future outbreaks? I am assuming here, that even if a bird vaccine is available, cost and logistics will prevent universal immunisation of flocks.

  4. February 9th, 2004 at 19:20 | #4

    “I saw in The Australian today that Lawrence Springborg has a framed poster of Lenin and Stalin in his office.”

    See your Springborg’s Lenin photo and raise you Latham’s Nixon happy snap.

    I blame the interior decorators. (Or to give them their preferred job description … internal workspace ambiance advisors.)

    Personally, I’m happy with my framed portrait of Screaming Lord Sutch.

  5. February 9th, 2004 at 20:06 | #5

    Observa, I think the problem as with all flus, is that the thing mutates, so will circumvent any immune birds. So it wouldnt work, even though it did work for humans after the Great Plague.

  6. Homer Paxton
    February 10th, 2004 at 09:49 | #6

    I am wondering about property ‘investors’ since they were 40% of people building homes last year.

    If you invest in housing at the height of a boom or bubble et al you are not doing for the returns so are they mainly doing fit for tax reasons?

    If this is so does this mean they are less interest rate sensitive?

    Given the pumppriming by the present ‘conservative’ Government does this mean interest rates will go up more than is presently thought?

  7. Jim Birch
    February 10th, 2004 at 13:14 | #7

    Observa, a quarantine might work eventually but even if it did it would likely take way too long. The best place for developing and testing resistant strains is in labs not in the lives of farming families.

    In the meantime, of course, the quarantine would be broken accidentally and intentionally – e.g. by poor farmers selling suspect animals, human transfers, wild birds, and so on – resulting in massive global bird and human death.

    “Flu” is actually a broad family of virii that are recombining, jumping species and mutating on a regular basis. The genetically “larger” mutations can result in new versions with potential to evade current defenses and produce epidemics and occasional pandemics. Minimising the impact of flu is ongoing sophisticated activity and requires a variety of responses. Letting nature take it’s course will eventually produce a level of resistance but for many individual organisms like you, a chook or I that process could involve a confluence with death.

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