Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Panic fatigue

I'm a little worried that people aren't more worried about SARS.

Like The Onion. I just get the feeling from reading stuff like this that the hip, smart people know that it's all just hysteria, and SARS isn't really that big a deal after all. It's all just groundless fear about terrorism, and racial bigotry against Asians, and the usual suspects.

Back on Earth, Ontario is widening its quarantines, asking people with even a single SARS symptom to stay home. That means, for example, everyone with a cough. Gee, all those hysterical public health folks. They're just not hip and smart like The Onion, I guess, or they'd know that SARS isn't really dangerous. Public health officials in Toronto say that the disease is on the verge of breaking out into the general population.

SARS is the most scary 'new' disease I've ever seen. AIDS has killed a lot more people, but it's had a lot more time, too. AIDS is also avoidable: don't have unsafe sex, don't share needles, it's highly unlikely you'll get it. We've all learned by now that if an HIV-positive person shakes your hand or sneezes, you're not going to get HIV. But if a SARS patient shakes your hand or sneezes, there's a very good chance you will get SARS. It appears to be a random mutation in a common cold virus, and it seems to spread about as easily as colds do. That's scary.

So why aren't we more scared than we are? Why is The Onion laughing it off?

I think it's panic fatigue. We've been panicked so much, we're all out of panic juice. And we've been panicked about infectious disease in particular. Recently, smallpox and anthrax. Smallpox hasn't happened (and, IMO, is unlikely to happen), and anthrax, which as definitely killed a few people, but which probably isn't going to happen on a large scale. Anthrax can't be transmitted person-to-person, anyway

Back in the 1970's, we were all panicked over the 'swine flu'. It never happened. More recently, we've been panicked over Ebola. Ebola has never even made it out Africa. West Nile virus? It's a real concern, and it's spreading (there'll be more cases in the US this summer), but it's still pretty unusual; it, too, isn't spread from person to person.

We've just been exposed to so many false alarms, we've heard the boy cry 'wolf' so many times, our panic reserves are depleted, we refuse to panic any more.

And SARS is something that maybe we really should panic over.

Two pieces of recent good news. It looks like they're close to a diagnostic test for SARS. And the number of suspected SARS cases in the US was recently decreased from over 200 to around 35. That's because there was no diagnostic test, and everyone with SARS-type symptoms who had traveled to Hong Kong/China/Singapore was automatically considered a possible case. Most, luckily, were not; they just turned out have run-of-the-mill colds and flu.

Still, SARS is very scary. It's still not contained in Hong Kong or Toronto, and it looks like Toronto may be teetering on the edge of a disaster. It's really too bad we're so panic fatigued, because this is a perfectly reasonable time to panic a little.

BTW, a quick Google of 'panic fatigue' doesn't get any hits for its use in the above sense. Remember, you heard it here first. Use it! Love it! Meme it! Make me a star!

I may just give up on the Brazilian kanji stroke order site. They've got a history of going down for days at a time, but this time they've been down for three weeks straight. I think it was a zombie site to begin with: they got about halfway through the Jouyou kanji in their stroke orders, and then quit. I don't think the site was being actively maintained.


meaning: storehouse
車庫 == shako == garage
冷蔵庫 == reizoko == refrigerator

Left/outer radical is 'building', inner radical is 'vehicle' (車).  Henshall suggests as a mnemonic:  'Storehouse is building containing vehicles.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Stroke order from Taka Kanji Database
Other info from Taka Kanji Database

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