More Than Weather: NOAA Posts Links to Swine Flu Info


NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), generally associated with The National Weather Service, is pulling double duty by adding a green box of links marked “2009 Flu Info” to their home page. The links only lead to government health sites, of course, such as WHO, HHS (Human Health and Services), and the CDC. So if you’re someone who frequents NOAA’s website, you now have another place to get both the recent weather and health news.

Of course, this also shows the extent of the fear about the swine flu. Health may have a lot to do with climate, but to me, NOAA’s still seems to be stepping out of their boundary. Or maybe they’ve done this before—I don’t know. Can we go nowhere without getting the swine flu bulletin waved in our faces? As excessive as the hype is, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; that’s the intent of this move: to help people prepare.

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Swine Flu: Deadly Hype


Scientists have discovered the H1N1 virus lacks a key amino acid found in deadlier flu strains. This means the swine flu is not lethal. That doesn’t mean no one will die, as some people already have, but widespread deaths are unlikely. Influenza can mutate easily, so it could be temporary good news. However, a vaccine like the shot Americans get every year is in production, and just like with seasonal flu, health officials will monitor any mutation.

So, the situation isn’t as bad as it seems to be, yet everyone’s panicked about it. Is the fear more virulent than the flu itself?
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It’s the End of the World…Again


Swine Flu, Avian Flu, SARS, Hurricane Katrina, The Indonesian Tsunami, 9/11, the World Wars—every time there is a disaster, someone in the religious community declares it the beginning (or continuation) of the end, and they have Bible verses to prove it. Some people have gone so far as to mark our exact final day (sometime in 2012, if you have not heard). Well, here’s my two cents.

Yes, I believe the world will eventually end. When? I have no idea, and neither do the people who say they do. All anyone can do is speculate. Wars and disasters have been occurring since time began. What about the Black Plague? The American Revolution? The Civil War? These events were as horrific as recent ones—perhaps even more so—and “evangelicals” were as sure then as now that we had only a few years left on this Earth. Yet we’re still here.

Trying to pinpoint a date is useless. The more you get it wrong (and you will), the less people will believe you—it’s the simple “boy who cried wolf” phenomenon. Instead, if you’re so worried about everyone (or really everyone’s souls), get them saved so they will be ready when the last day sneaks up on all of us. There are better ways to do that than scaring people into being “desperate for God,” literally. (The term “fire insurance” comes to mind.)

The church is meant to be a house of refuge, right? Not a house of prophecy. God will handle those details.