Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus


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Rabies kills, and while it's doing that, it drives is victims mad, with interludes of lucidity when they know what's happening to them. It also, though most of history, mostly reached us through the most familiar of our domestic animals, our dogs. This is perhaps why rabies seems so tied to our myths of vampires and zombies. The authors present to us the history not only of the cultural effects of rabies, but of the efforts to understand and control it. For me personally, the most fascinating section is the one about Louis Pasteur.

One of the founders of medical microbiology, Pasteur didn't just give us the pasteurization that makes our milk products safe. He also took the principle of vaccination that Edward Jenner had discovered when he created the smallpox vaccine in the s, and expanded and developed it to create new vaccines--most notably for anthrax and for rabies.

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Pasteur is just an extremely interesting figure, and amazing in his dedication to, and success at, applying science to save lives. The most appalling section, in some respects, is the return of rabies to Bali, to a great extent because authorities were so resistant to following sound advice from experts and instead committed themselves to approaches that only looked cheaper and easier in the short run.


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It's a valuable example of how to do things wrong. Overall, an absorbing and revelatory book Highly recommended. I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. LisCarey Jan 14, This study of rabies, its involvement with and impact on human beings, is interesting and informative when it sticks to the subject. High point for me was the section describing Louis Pasteur's ultimately successful search for a preventative vaccine and the development of an effective treatment for humans exposed to the virus. There may in fact be deep archetypal human fears tying the very real threat of rabies to the fanciful tales of human-animal chimeras or undead bogeymen, but it feels here like an unnecessary, even self-indulgent digression from the main topic.

LyndaInOregon Dec 14, I'm hovering between three and four stars for this book. Rabies is a fascinating topic. Even now, it's uncertain whether a natural partial immunity exists within some people, or if the protocols recently discovered are responsible for people's survival. This uncertainty is something that has existed throughout all of rabies history. The question of what caused the disease ended in the discovery of viruses, and the creation of a vaccine created the very field of immunology.

Rabies demanded innovation, as it is the disease the lives on most prominently within our very psyches. The book digs deep into rabies' grip on us. It talks about rabies in folklore, how it relates to the vampire, the werewolf, and especially the modern zombie. The etymology of the name of the disease itself is fascinating, as is how it has influenced our feelings towards dogs, and more, how our very love of dogs has us vulnerable and how that love can't really be overcome.

This is a fascinating book, and a worthy one. I'm glad so many of my friends are intrigued by it and I hope they'll pick it up eventually. Lepophagus Jun 14, I found this to be an extremely interesting and quite amusing book. It tracks the history of rabies through the millennia and discusses various treatment attempts, vaccination protocols and methods of control.

There are many anecdotes told and scientific reports discussed with a real world review of the effects of the disease. It also discusses the human view of rabies through time including folklore reference to vampires and zombies. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of disease, the struggles to cope with it and have a bit of a laugh along the way.

The style is both serious and tongue in cheek in places so it appeals to a wide audience.

A good read. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist. I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Members Reviews Popularity Average rating Mentions 30 34, 3. Books Read in No current Talk conversations about this book. This theory, too, fails to convince […] [].

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Rabid A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus

Limpopo Apr 29, This is a cultural history of rabies. LisCarey Jan 14, This study of rabies, its involvement with and impact on human beings, is interesting and informative when it sticks to the subject. LyndaInOregon Dec 14, I'm hovering between three and four stars for this book. Lepophagus Jun 14, I found this to be an extremely interesting and quite amusing book. KatiaMDavis Dec 19, He covers this world in part as a journalist, following "buzz bands" as they rise and fall in the online music scene, visiting with viral marketers and political trendsetters and online provocateurs.

But he also wades in as a participant, conducting his own hilarious experiments: an e-mail fad which turned into the worldwide "flash mob" sensation , a viral website in a month-long competition, a fake blog that attempts to create "antibuzz," and more. He doesn't always get the results he expected, but he tries to make sense of his data by surveying what real social science experiments have taught us about the effects of distraction, stimulation, and crowd behavior on the human mind.

Part report, part memoir, part manifesto, part deconstruction of a decade, And Then There's This captures better than any other book the way technology is changing our culture. Bill Wasik plunges headlong into the twenty-first century media funhouse, yet manages to keep his moral compass in good working order.

Irreverence is not a bad starting point for making sense of the web, and Wasik takes full advantage, pushing buttons and pulling puppet strings. The combination of his restless mind and the explosive new medium yields insights that are provocative and, often, hilarious.

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It was a mistake. Bill understands not just how viral culture spreads ideas and scams and energy- drink-purchasing opportunities; it's also a completely new way to tell-and experience- stories. It's well researched, funny, irreverent, and addictive. Useful, too. One of those rare books that dissects a cultural phenomenon in a way that resonates.

It would begin with a flash mob disrupting business as usual and then die the following day, at a Ford Motor Company 'flash concert' echoing through Boston's New Brutalist downtown. And Then There's This is deeply troubling, but it's also the wittiest book I've read in years-an ingenious and, in the end, hopeful response to the sound and the fury of our twittering times.

An epistemological wonder to behold.

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A smart, unsettling, and strangely stirring piece of work. Wasik and Murphy chronicle more than two millennia of myths and discoveries about rabies and the animals that transmit it, including dogs, bats and raccoons. All along the books prose and pace shine—the book is as fast as the virus is slow. Wasik and Murphy grippingly trace the cultural history of the disease.

Rabid reminds us that the disease is a chilling, persistent reminder of our own animal connections, and of the simple fact that humans dont call all of the shots. Murphy and Wasik give life, context and understanding to the terrifying disease. Like the virus itself, this fascinating book moves quickly, exploring both the marginalized status and deadly nature of the virus. And as the authors trace the influence of rabies through history, Rabid becomes nearly impossible to put down. Yet those who are fascinated by how viruses attack the body, by the history of vaccination and by physicians efforts to save the most desperately ill patients will want to read it.

There is also a happy ending: scientists are working to harness rabies as a potent drug delivery vehicle. The pair convincingly link the history of rabies…with the history of mans fear of nature and the unknown, and our own latent capacity for beastliness. As Wasik and Murphy document. Its a rare pleasure to read a nonfiction book by authors who research like academics but write like journalists.

It turns out that the rabies virus is a good bit more fascinating and at least as frightening as any of those blood-thirsty monsters that have stalked our fairy tales, multiplexes, and dreams. Surprisingly fun reading about a fascinating malady. And yet it has cast a fearful shadow over all of human history. Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have produced an eerily elegant meditation on disease and madness, dogs and vampires. It's as infectious as its subject. All along the bookand ;s prose and pace shineand ;the book is as fast as the virus is slow.

Rabid reminds us that the disease is a chilling, persistent reminder of our own animal connections, and of the simple fact that humans donand ;t call all of the shots.


  1. Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy.
  2. RABID by Bill Wasik , Monica Murphy | Kirkus Reviews.
  3. Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik | LibraryThing.
  4. Yet those who are fascinated by how viruses attack the body, by the history of vaccination and by physiciansand ; efforts to save the most desperately ill patients will want to read it.

    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus Rabid: A Cultural History of the Worlds Most Diabolical Virus

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