Plagues of the 20th century….

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non-SARS related disease post. Paul Orwin (back from blogbattical) posts on epidemiology (permlinks not working, go to “Morbidity and Mortality, and Counting the Dead”) in response to this Yglesias post lambasting some dude I don’t know for arguing for sodomy laws to discourage homosexuality because of the AIDS connection. One thing Orwin asks:

There are a number of infectious diseases, chronic ones especially, which are a major, major problem, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent, South America (note to self: why not so much South America?).

On the last part-I have two off-the-top-of-the-head thoughts. South America is more advanced and richer than either Africa or Southeast Asia (the latter is debatable). Additionally hominids have a much longer presence in the Old World than in South America so there might be less coevolution between indigenous pathogens and humanity.

Finally-why doesn’t Orwin fix the Javascript error already? And is Yglesias a Sephardic Jew? And why did he change his picture to one that looks like he’s cruisin’ for gals/guys?


  1. No, not Sephardic. My father’s family is non-Jewish and from Galicia in Spain by way of Cuba for a generation and my mothers family is regular boring Ashkenazi Jewish from Russia, Poland, and other familiar Eastern European locales.

  2. ok-that is so much more boring. i believe that galicia did not have many marannos either so it is more tenuous to even claim that heritage…. (though from what i remember only “spaniards” from the basque country did not have to make-up pure gentile ancestry upon elevation to the nobility because the basque provinces had no jews).

  3. Uhh, Dont call it “the basque provinces” before a Basque!

  4. I just don’t get it. (note; I am at best marginally computer literate, so use “Javascript for Dummies” language) What is the Javascript error?
    As to your point, I think you have answered my question well, although the issue of plagues (not nec. bubonic) in South America is answered somewhat differently in Guns Germs and Steel.

  5. orwin-diamond might be right in G,G,S, great book-but multiple reasons are probably correct.

    anyhow, the problem shows up in IE 6 and it says some stupid thing of a syntax error on line 2-but this is what DREAMWEAVER showed me:

    -script src=”″ language=”JavaScript”-
    blogsnob. show off your websites.

    i changed the script tags so they wouldn’t be stripped.

    wtf is that? it’s about line 150 on your current page (i just dumped the source). it is expecting a ; to end the line of code but you aren’t giving it anything.

  6. Somewhat off topic, but most of the thread is: does anyone here remember when genital herpes was thought to be a big deal? That was definitely a plague that entered the market at the wrong time.

    Or is it still?