May 2, 2009
Swine flu, aka A (H1N1) and North American influenza.
1994 Smithfield Foods Inc. who own half of the Granjas Carroll de Mexico, began operating pig farms in the region By the time of the pandemic in March 2009, they were the major producer in the country, with 907 workers, 500,000 thousand pigs in developing states of Veracruz and Puebla. Their website from their headquarters in Perote, Mexico claimed that they 56,000 sows in 2008 producing 950,000 hogs. They are 12 such mega farms surrounding La Gloria, Mexico, a hillside hamlet of c. 3,000 people in the located in the municipality of Perote, Veracruz. Residents of La Gloria, Mexico have long complained that some of the pits that hold pig waste are not properly lined; they fear their groundwater is contaminated. They’re frustrated and angry, too, about the stench and the swarms of flies that invade their village. Granjas Carroll de Mexico, half-owned by U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc., operates dozens of farms around La Gloria.
2009-02 In the end of February in La Gloria, Mexico, a hillside hamlet of c. 3,000 people in the located in the municipality of Perote, Veracruz, many people became ill with symptoms similar to a bad cold.
2009-03-18 Mexican government reported an unusually high level of flu-like illnesses.
2009-03-23 Veracruz health officials arrived in La Gloria, Mexico to take saliva samples. About a third of some 1,300 townspeople who sought medical attention – 450 or so – were diagnosed with acute respiratory infections and given surgical masks and antibiotics. (Washington Post).
Edgar fell ill a bit later; the energetic 5-year-old retreated to his bed with a high fever. Other kids in his school already were sick.
2009-04-12 “By early April, the Veracruz government notified Mexican authorities of a possible flu outbreak in La Gloria. This alert happened to come around Holy Week, a time when lots of people in this largely Catholic country travel to visit family. On April 12, Mexican health authorities notified the CDC and the Pan American Health Organization of the unexplained cases of severe respiratory illness. One day later, people started dying (Cohen and Rodriguez 2009-05-01).”
2009-04-13 Adela Maria Gutierrez, a 38-year-old mother of three, was the first to die of H1N1 influenza virus. She had “arrived at a hospital in Oaxaca, in far southern Mexico, gasping for air, her oxygen-starved hands and legs a ghastly shade of blue. Her death was not just tragic, but alarming: Gutierrez had worked door-to-door for Mexico’s tax collection agency, interviewing scores of people. As it turns out, one of her co-workers, a temporary employee, was from Veracruz, the state on the Gulf of Mexico where the first swine case was confirmed. Family members said that woman had a bad cough (Cohen and Rodriguez 2009-05-01).”
2009-04-12 First two cases of A (H1N1) in California BBC 2009 Outbreak Map.
2009-04-25 “A day after seven new cases are confirmed in the US, the World Health Organization declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. From April 17-25 1, 455 cases of suspected A (H1N1) flu investigated. BBC 2009 Outbreak Map.
2009-04-26 Canada had 6 confirmed cases of A (H1N1); US had 20; Mexico had 18 BBC 2009 Outbreak Map.
2009-04-28 Confirmed cases of A (H1N1): UK had 2, Spain had 2, US had 64; New Zealand had 3; Mexico had 20. BBC 2009 Outbreak Map.
2009-04-29 Confirmed cases of A (H1N1): Canada: 13; UK:5 (London, Polmont, Redditch, Paignton); Israel:2; Spain:10; US:91; New Zealand:3; Austria:1; Germany:3; Mexico: 26. Deaths caused by A (H1N1) Mexico: 7; US:1; BBC 2009 Outbreak Map.
2009-05-01 Confirmed cases of A (H1N1): Canada: 35; UK:10; Israel:2; Spain:13; US:109; New Zealand:4; Austria:1; Germany:4; Mexico: 300; Peru:1; Costa Rica:2; Netherlands:1; Switzerland:1; Hong Kong:1. Deaths caused by A (H1N1) Mexico: 12; US:1. The UK, US, Canada, Spain, Germany confirm cases of secondary transmission. BBC 2009 Outbreak Map.
2009-05 “Influenza A(H1N1) – update 8.1. 1 May 2009 — “The situation continues to evolve. As of 23:30 GMT, 1 May 2009, 13 countries have officially reported 367 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection. The United States Government has reported 141 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Mexico has reported 156 confirmed human cases of infection, including nine deaths. The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Austria (1), Canada (34), China, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region (1), Denmark (1), Germany (4), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8). Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis. WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.”
2009-05-01 “Swine flu has been confirmed in 16 deaths, all from Mexico (one Mexican toddler died in Houston). It has sickened nearly 350 people in Mexico, and about 200 others from New York to New Zealand, including children, teens, adults, students and tourists. It has rattled the world’s financial markets, pushed oil prices down, caused a run on surgical masks and hand sanitizers, closed schools and churches, postponed sporting events, prompted travel bans, rerouted cruise ships(Cohen and Rodriguez 2009-05-01).”
BBC. 2009. Outbreak Map.
Cohen, Sharon; Rodriguez, Olga R. 2009-05-01. “How swine flu virus hopscotched the globe.” Washington Post
WHO. 2009-05-01-23:30 GMT. “Influenza A(H1N1) Update 8.1.
January 2, 2009
The credit crisis erased $14 trillion (McKeef 2008-12-31) from world stock markets in 2008. Where does $14 trillion in world stock markets go? How can that much capital disappear from the market? The infamous year 2008 will be known in the future as the year that fundamental concepts in the moral mathematics of the market were forever changed. This credit crisis was the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s but its ramifications may be even deeper.
How can we visualize a billion dollars? How much more difficult is it to imagine a trillion dollars?
The most recent wiki entry (2009-01-01) describes how any attempt to visualize numbers higher than a million is complicated because there are too systems of numeric names and the difference between the two scales grows as numbers get larger. Million is the same in both scales, but the long-scale billion is a thousand times larger than the short-scale billion, the long-scale trillion is a million times larger than the short-scale trillion. The short scale system is used in the US and a long scale system is used in the UK. The short scale system of numeric names means every new term greater than million is 1,000 times the previous term: “billion” means “a thousand millions” (109), “trillion” means “a thousand billions” (1012), and so on. Long scale refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term greater than million is 1,000,000 times the previous term: “billion” means “a million millions” (1012), “trillion” means “a million billions” (1018). (wiki).”
6 zeros = 1 million, a thousand thousands or (106)1, 000, 000
8 zeros = a hundred million (108) 100, 000, 000 this image
9 zeros = 1 billion in the short scale system used in the US = a thousand millions or (109) or 1,000,000,000
12 zeros = 1 trillion in the short scale system used in the US = “a thousand billions (1012) or 1,000,000,000,000
12 zeros = 1 billion in the long scale system used in the UK: 1,000,000,000,000
18 zeros = 1 trillion in the long scale system used in the UK is a million billions (1018) or 1,000,000,000,000,000,00
1,000,000 6 zeros = 1 million, a thousand thousands or (106)1, 000, 000
“World stock markets ended on an uptick for the year on Wednesday, after some bourses registered their worst annual losses in history. Global stocks as measured by the MSCI world index ended up 0.76 percent for the day and posted their first monthly gain in seven months, but lost 43.36 percent for the year. About $14 trillion (9.6 trillion pounds) in market capitalisation was erased from world stock markets in 2008 in the wake of the worst credit crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. “It has been a shocking year, hardly anything was spared in the carnage,” said Michael Heffernan, strategist at Austock Group in Australia. U.S. stocks edged up on Wednesday and saw their first monthly gain in five months, but the year has been the worst for Wall Street stocks since the Great Depression (McKeef 2008-12-31).”
December 31, 2008
Deborah Yedlin (2008-12-30) of the Calgary Herald’s Business section succinctly summarized the economic nightmare of 2008 in which the investment banking industry collapsed, Chicago school economics theories were debunked and their heroes dethroned, trusted risk management managers were vilified, and the axis of financial power shifted from the West to the East.
“The consequences of the lack of regulation in the shadowy subprime housing market, and the ability of banks to get loans off their balance sheets and have investment banks repackage them as rated securities, allowed for the spreading risk. It was a practice that was supposed to ensure if something went bad, the damage would be contained because the exposure would be spread out. It was an axiom that was lent an even greater reliability because U. S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greens-pan was a believer in it. As many are now painfully aware, the dominos began to fall when two hedge funds at Bear Stearns collapsed in late 2007. This started the clock ticking on the 84-year-old investment bank, which proceeded to lose the confidence of investors and counterparties and was sold post-haste to JP Morgan Chase in March for $10 a share with the “help” of the U. S. Federal Reserve and its investment banking veteran, Hank Paulson (Yedlin 2008-12-30).”
“Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in opining on the multi-billion fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, suggested one of the reasons he was not discovered was because of society’s worship of the wealthy. Too many, he said, have drawn the conclusion that people who have made huge sums of money must be very smart and to question these individuals would be to insult them (Yedlin 2008-12-30).”
Webliography and Bibliography
Yedlin, Deborah. 2008-12-30. “Storybook year ends in economic nightmare.” Calgary Herald.