As panic mounts over the increasing number of swine flu cases, it looks like the world is ending, with a sniffle and sneeze. But this certainly isn't the first time humanity has had to gird itself against the threat of pandemic and, luckily for all of us, lived to tell about it. Here's a little background on four 20th century outbreaks.
1. The Spanish Flu of 1918: Don't Blame the... READ ON
At this point in the news cycle, it may be prudent to define "flu epidemic" and its far scarier sibling, "flu pandemic." "Epidemic" means simply that a sudden outbreak of the virus is spreading rapidly and affecting many people at the same time. In the UK, the National Health Services define it as when more than 400 people per 100,000 consult their doctor or go to the hospital with the flu or flu-like symptoms each week. In the US, a "flu epidemic" is defined... READ ON
After living in Boston for six years, I'm a bit of a marathon snob. Not that I've ever actually done one myself, it's just that getting (or taking) a Monday off to watch and celebrate the world's most respected road race has left a mark. So when I found out that the London Marathon "“ which has only been around since 1981 "“ was on for this weekend, internally, I sort of said, "Meh."
But the London Marathon, sponsored by Flora, a British margarine... READ ON
It's Friday night and you're a British female between the ages of 14 and 75 "“ what are you going to do? As likely as not, you're going out to get... READ ON
My last post highlighted seven museums dedicated to preserving some very specific aspects of British culture, like lawnmowers, Victorian toys, and witchcraft. But there are oh so many more and here are a few:1. The Teddy Bear Museum, Dorchester,... READ ON
Last week, The Independent ran a cheeky photo series on things that make Britain great "“ like blankets, Wimpy Burgers, and pigeons. The series, which was primarily lifted from a forthcoming book called We're British, Innit by Iain Aitch, did not mention Marmite, which seems a shame, because it is so singularly British, not to mention brown. But the book did mention corner shops, which also seems a shame, because where in the world aren't there corner shops? In any case, the exercise in... READ ON
Full frontal nudity on public television "“ before 9... READ ON
Since the time of our founding fathers (you know, the ones with the tea in the harbor and the complaints about that whole taxation without representation thing?) there have been more than a few Americans who took a stand against the man and said read my lips, no more taxes. Some have good reasons "“ after all, Mahatma Gandhi advocated tax protestation as a quick and nonviolent way to bring down a government "“ and some have really dumb reasons. So, in the spirit of tax season, here are a few of... READ ON
Linda Rodriguez recently moved to England, and she posts about happenings in her new country a few times each week. Her column needs a name. "A Broad Abroad" sounds demeaning and Sarah Lyall just published a book called "The Anglo Files." Got any other ideas? If Linda picks yours, you win a mental_floss t-shirt. So get... READ ON
The news media both here in London and in the States made much of the encounter between Michelle Obama and the Queen, during which the Queen put a tentative hand at Michelle's back and Michelle responded by putting her arm around the diminutive Queen.
The interchange lasted all of 10 seconds, but The Hug that Was Heard "˜Round the World was enough to keep news outlets in stories and op-eds for days. And for good reason: Physical displays of emotion, of whatever variety, have long been... READ ON
Atticus Finch's final speech in To Kill a Mockingbird was shot in one take.