The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History


Chicago Tribune:
“Monumental… powerfully intelligent… unflinching… Barry’s book is not just a masterful narrative of events of 1918 but also an authoritative and disturbing morality tale of science, politics, and culture… One of the strengths is that it goes well beyond medical facts and figures… a sweeping style that consistently focuses on real human beings… Barry has done a remarkable service in writing The Great Influenza.”

The Charlotte Observer:
“Sometimes the book reads like a detective novel; other times it reads like science fiction… A fascinating and frightening account of sickness, fear, stupidity, scientific exploration, and occasional heroism… If this book were merely about the causes and effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic, it would be an engrossing tale, but the story encompasses much more. Ultimately, Barry brings his narrative into the present with provocative implications.”

Journal of the American Medical Association:
“Here is a writer of distinction with a deep philosophical underpinning… I loved the range of this book, how it gives us so much more than its title… compelling and brilliant.”

The Seattle Times:
“Immensely readable… and as a piece of social history, invaluable. It shows the courage and cowardice of individuals under great pressure; it shows how institutions, captive to the ethics of the time, can rise to the occasion or abjectly fall… It’s a lesson to ponder in our times.”

The New York Review of Books:
“Magisterial… evocative… unusual literary panache… impressively up-to-date understanding… very artfully constructed… His message for our time is clear.”

“An enthralling symphony of a book, whose every page enthralls.”

“Terrifying… The lessons of 1918 couldn’t be more relevant.”

American Society of Microbiology:
“Barry provides enormous insight into the very nature of science… The Great Influenza is a must read for its unnerving relevance to today’s scientific challenges of emerging and reemerging diseases and the society’s tragic confrontations with war and terrorism… alarming similarities to today… gripping.”

The New York Times:
“Gripping… Easily our fullest, richest, most panoramic history of the subject.”


The cryptic text message

We have received notification from several of our friends in the Pacific Northwest area of the USA that a text message, coming from an anonymous source, has landed on several people’s mobile phones. The following is the text of that message. It’s a little more newagey than we would prefer, but as they say:

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans:

Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high-speed merry-go-round to a halt 
We will stop
the planes
the trains
the schools
the malls 
the meetings
the frenetic, hurried rush of illusions and "obligations" that keep you from hearing our 
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions, 
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well. 
None of us; all of us are suffering. 
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause. 
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India. 
You have not been listening. 
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives. 
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires. 
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs 
that you might hear:
We are not well.

Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? 
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?

Many are afraid now. 
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you -- in your stillness, 
listen for its wisdom. 
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness? 
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about the quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?

Notice if you are resisting. 
Notice what you are resisting. 
Ask why.

Stop. Just stop.
Be still. 
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you if you listen.

Coronavirus shutdowns have unintended climate benefits: cleaner air, clearer water

It’s like we’ve been saying around here for years; No more humans, no more problem.

“I think there are some big-picture lessons here that could be very useful,” one scientist said.

Tourists on a Venice canal in 2013; Water in Venice’s canals appeared to run clearer in the absence of boat traffic in early March.Getty Images; Marco Capovilla / Venezia Pulita

In Venice, the often murky canals recently began to get clearer, with fish visible in the water below. Italy’s efforts to limit the coronavirus meant an absence of boat traffic in the city’s famous waterways. And the changes happened quickly.

Countries that have been under stringent lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus have experienced an unintended benefit. The outbreak has, at least in part, contributed to a noticeable drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in some nations.

Though grim, it’s something that scientists said could offer tough lessons for how to prepare — and ideally avoid — the most destructive impacts of climate change.


How to Prepare Now for the Complete End of the World

Lynx Vilden teaches people how to live in the Stone Age.

“I don’t want to be teaching people how to survive and then come back to civilization,” Lynx said. “What if we don’t want to come back to civilization?”


Unabomber – In His Own Words | Netflix

One of the patron saints of this site, Uncle Ted.

The beginning of the Unabomber’s campaign of terror from 1978 to 1985; a look into his childhood to discover what might have turned a young mathematical genius with few friends into a sociopathic terrorist.


Someone else who gets it

There is a podcast that a friend of mine turned me, who’s creator clearly gets the ethos of this website. It will cost you $5 to dig through the podcast archives and pull these up but trust us when we say, it’s worth it.

#91: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Black Devouring Star (around the 35-minute mark when he begins to talk about terrorism as art)

#102: Terrorism as Public Art, pt. 1

#103: Mannequins with Kill Appeal (Terrorism as Public Art #2)

#104: He Felt the Marble Rising in His Veins (Terrorism as Public Art #3)

Second monarch butterfly sanctuary worker found dead in Mexico

Body of part-time tour guide Raúl Hernández found days after that of reserve manager Homero Gómez González in Michoacán

A man stands next to the grave of Raúl Hernández, a tour guide working at a famous butterfly reserve in the western state of Michoacán whose body was found on Saturday, at a cemetery in Angangueo, Mexico. Photograph: Alan Ortega/Reuters

Officials in the state of Michoacán said they were unsure if the two deaths were linked – or related to the men’s work in the butterfly reserve. The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.

Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.

The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.


Night Forest Journal Issue #2

Night Forest Journal Issue 2 is here!

Little over a year since Issue 1 was released, we are happy to bring this collection of poems, short stories, essays and art to you who have found this tribal space.

These words are for rebels, animals, anarchists, aestheticists and those who find the tame abhorrent.

We will let the pieces speak for themselves and encourage you to meet them, not as an attempt to provide something perfect and pure, but as personal works of raw poetic expression.



In which we get put on yet another list and are asked for our addresses

Some German moralist organization putting websites on a list and asking for their addresses? Really? Ever heard of freedom of speech? We have neither racist or pornographic content on this site. Violent? Well, yes. We’re guessing they were alerted by one of the many Internet crusaders that send us weekly death threats. 

Please forward this E-Mail to the owner/provider of  the website

Dear Madam/Sir,

the BPjM is an administrative authority of the German government called „Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien“. Our task is to protect children and adolescents in Germany from any media which might be harmful or dangerous to minors (e.g. racist / violent / pornographic content). This work is authorized by the “Youth Protection Law” (Jugendschutzgesetz – JuSchG). You can find further information about our work in the enclosed form.

A German youth welfare institution has requested the BPjM to examine the site and to enter its address into the “list of youth-endangering media”.

The owner/provider has the right to defend the website against the charges of youth-endangering content. When the board has decided to enter a product into the “index”, the author/distributor receives the full verdict by letter. As soon as the website is put on the „Index“, German guarding tools are able to deny access to minors. That is why we even put foreign websites on the „Index“, although we know, that our decision might have no effect in their native countries themselves. In all cases we have to inform the provider that his site is put on the „Index“.

We only have to inform you about the proceeding and you have the right to defend the above mentioned site against the charges of youth-endangering content. It is your right to do so, but you do not have to. We would like to ask you to forward us your postal address, so that we can then properly notify you about the request by the youth welfare institution and give you the opportunity to reply within two weeks after the notification.

Should you be acquainted with the addresses of (other) authors or creators of the website, we would like to ask you to give us their postal addresses within two weeks so that we are able to properly notify them as well.

Best regards,                                                                                                                               __________________________

Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien

Rochusstraße 8-10, 53123 Bonn

Telefon: 0228 99 962103-0

Fax: 0228 379014



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