The whole "OMG, SWINE FLU!!!" craze seems to be winding down, so I feel it's safe to share this story from Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's single pig was recently quarantined due to fears that it would spread swine flu, despite the fact that there is little to no danger of pigs spreading the H1N1 virus to humans. Pigs and pork products are more or less illegal in the Muslim country, the lone (and lonely) pig lived in the Kabul Zoo and was a gift from China.
Can you imagine being the only pig in an entire country? Even worse -- having to live in the Kabul Zoo, which looks exactly like what you'd expect from a bombed out third world country. Poor little porker.
To put the whole swing flu into perspective, consider that less than 30 people have died worldwide from the virus. On average, around 99 Americans die from the regular flu every single day. Around the same number of Americans die every day due to complications from air pollution, scores more die in countries around the world.
The now-waning uproar over the swine flu is a textbook example of a serious story, magnified beyond reason in order to retain an audience by frightening it. Hard confirmations of swine flu deaths worldwide are still only in the double digits, with some health experts now saying we’re doing more harm than good by hyping the threat. But swine flu -- now re-branded as the H1N1 virus -- is a convenient distraction for a news media that often cashes in on scary stories, and for a consuming public that not only puts up with it, but revels in it.