“It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them… There is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.” —Alexander Fleming, 1945”—Prescient words from his acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize for discovering antibiotics, we’re seeing the dangerous outcome of his predictions prove more and more these days. It’s so easy to forget that simple infections which can result from any number of daily exposures to bacteria could cut down healthy individuals in the prime of their life prior to antibiotics. And overprescription and, as Fleming warned, ignorant usage, and abuse by agricultural livestock industries have rendered most of the ones we have near useless and lead to the emergence of dangerously treatment resistant bacteria. Medicine is driven by capitalism, and given that antibiotics are designed to be used post-infection, responsibly for short regimens, there is little capital gain in investing in their development, especially as the initial investments grow larger with the degree of difficulty from these new strains, as such, in the past few years the last corporation to have an antibiotic development team shut it down. We live with the increasingly real possibility that our future could be just as the past was, simple infections claiming countless lives.
FRONTLINE investigates the rise of deadly drug-resistant bacteria.
You can always count on Frontline to exemplify cutting issues through intimate human stories and efficient research reporting. A topic that has long needed to be at the forefront of conversations about today and posterity, not idiocy in Washington. Without public health security, all other debates are philosophical. Before things have really started to take a turn for the worse, drug resistant infections already claim more lives than HIV, and are so much harder to prevent the spread of even in the first world, and there is little hope for treatment. Misuse by overprescription and abuse by livestock farmers have rendered so many antibiotics useless and helped instill drug resistance, and now (as this episode does a great job of illuminating) no pharmaceutical companies research antibiotics because they’re designed to be readily available but prudently used for short regimens, meaning they’re cheap and not a source of perpetual customers.
Going through my hard drives today I was reminded of this project, the first assignment I had in a class about computers and music at Clark. Unfortunately it was hard to get a lot out of a music technology course when the assistant professor tasked with teaching it that semester knew basically nothing about music technology. He was an extremely affable young guy, a virtuosic violin player and continues to contribute greatly to our local classical music scene, but he was out of his depth here. Oh also that class will always be memorable to me for allowing me to remix Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” as a swing song and turn it in for a grade to said classical musician. Somehow we got an A, despite going overboard with vocal transformers thus rendering the artist the Kanye Family Singers (including deep soulful grandpa Kanye, and high-pitched Jackson 5 Kanye), I wish I could have seen his face when he first hit play though.
Anyway, this goofy 1970s soul and psychedelia inspired track always makes me smile, especially the over-the-top panning and dynamics effects on the hand clap percussion. Listen to it with headphones and it’s like the person performing those is walking on and off the stage and by the microphones.
“Freelancers are second-class journalists—even if there are only freelancers here, in Syria, because this is a dirty war, a war of the last century; it’s trench warfare between rebels and loyalists who are so close that they scream at each other while they shoot each other. The first time on the frontline, you can’t believe it, with these bayonets you have seen only in history books. Today’s wars are drone wars, but here they fight meter by meter, street by street, and it’s fucking scary. Yet the editors back in Italy treat you like a kid; you get a front-page photo, and they say you were just lucky, in the right place at the right time. You get an exclusive story, like the one I wrote last September on Aleppo’s old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, burning as the rebels and Syrian army battled for control. I was the first foreign reporter to enter, and the editors say: “How can I justify that my staff writer wasn’t able to enter and you were?” I got this email from an editor about that story: “I’ll buy it, but I will publish it under my staff writer’s name.”—