Great piece in Reason, not utterly poo-poohing Ebola fear but pointing to a potential future where infectious disease is conquered.
REASON : Ebola: ‘Dress Rehearsal’ or Show Closer? Rapid biomedical progress will soon make epidemics ancient history
Read the whole article, Seven Surprising Truths about the World : A lot of the bad news you think you know is wrong, but this piece of it made me grin for a change:
Local Biodiversity Is Increasing
Ascension Island is about as isolated as a piece of land can get, sitting in the Atlantic Ocean about midway between Africa and South America. When the British claimed authority over the uninhabited, barren hunk of stone in the early 19th century, it was frequently likened to a “cinder” or a “ruinous heap of rocks.” The new owners named Ascension’s central peak White Mountain, after the color of the bare rocks of which it was composed.
In 1846, botanist John Hooker from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew visited and decided to try transplanting a wide variety of plants onto the island. A century and a half later, the result has been an “accidental rainforest.” White Mountain, now renamed Green Mountain, is covered with an extensive cloud forest consisting of guava, banana, wild ginger, bamboo, the Chinese glory bower and Madagascan periwinkle, Norfolk Island pine, and eucalyptus from Australia. Because of the man-made micro-climate, what used to be a desert island now features several permanent streams.
Ascension Island undercuts the conventional ecological wisdom that tropical rainforests are supposed to take millions of years to form. And what happened on Ascension has been happening all around the world, as people have moved thousands of species from their native habitats to new locales, increasing species richness. Wherever human beings have gone in the past two centuries, we have increased local and regional biodiversity.