Recession as a Disease Vector

When I grew up, one of my favorite movies when I was little was the Andromeda Strain  (I am not sure why, the science in it is so goofy -- why do the people outside of the controlled area holding the diseases have to be so sterilized?)

Anyway, in that movie, they had some sort of scan that showed the disease progressing from the victims's lungs.  That scan looks a lot like this interactive chart, which looks like the recession is a disease spreading from the Midwest and California.


  1. Evil Red Scandi:

    IIRC from the book, they had to be sterilized coming in so as not to bring in any terrestrial diseases or organisms that might contaminate their experiments. It's been several years, but it seemed to make sense when I read it.

  2. Dr. T:

    The sterilization of non-core personnel is needed in case a bug escapes. Since everyone is sterilized, detection of any bug in a worker would indicate a high probability of infection by the escaped bug.

    A second reason is the layered sterilization approach in the complex. The people outside the core provide food, clothing, and materiel to those within the core. Sterilizing the outside workers lowers the risk of contaminating the core workers.

    Michael Crichton, the author of the novel, is a physician. He went to Harvard Medical School with the stated intent of using his medical education to write novels. (He was never a practicing physician.) Most of Crichton's books get the medical science right. (Most of his competitors rarely get the medical science right.)

  3. Plungerman:

    Alas Mr./Dr. Crichton is no longer with us. I was not aware of that stated intent of his. I only heard that he worked on novels while commuting into town for, what must have been, his last job.


  4. TakeFive:

    Love that movie. Tried to show it to my kid a while back. It freaked her out too much when the germ started multiplying and she left the room. I guess watching Soylent Green with her at age 9 didn't completely desensitize her.

  5. A Friend:

    Also, if you brought back evil viruses from space, which was the intent of the facility, you wouldn't want them to mix with easily transmissible common viruses and produce an easily spread hybrid.

    I really miss Michael Crichton. Except for Looker, which mostly demonstrated the effects of cocaine and Playboy bunnies on otherwise intelligent physician/authors, he stuff was great.