Or, for that matter, measles and rubella. #vaccine You can thank this man, Maurice R. Hilleman, who developed some 40 vaccines in his lifetime, saving millions of lives. Among the amazing stats in this piece in the New York Times this week, the strain of mumps that Dr. Hilleman collected from his daughter in 1963, and from which he produced the first successful mumps vaccine, has reduced the incidence of that viral infection to fewer than 1,000 cases a year in the United States, from 186,000.
I need to get a better spam filter on WordPress, but in the meantime, I can’t help marveling at the ability of spambots to sound remarkably like Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd’s “wild and crazy” Festrunk brothers trying to butter up some “American foxes!”
A few choice verbatim excerpts before I delete them permanently:
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Or, how about:
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And my favorite:
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Not only was there a full moon on March 27, but an extremely high tide of 8.9 feet (the record tide height for this spot is 9.8 feet) peaked at 4:44 a.m. — about 30 minutes before a 700-foot section of cliff tumbled into Puget Sound. (Also of note, the tidal coefficient was a “very high” 103, and it was an excellent day for fishing.)
The Whidbey landslide occurred a few miles down the beach from one of my favorite hiking spots, Fort Ebey State Park. The bluffs there are spectacular, almost spiritual; I often visualize them when I’m swimming laps or doing yoga. It’s humbling to remember that these remnants of ancient glaciers are works of erosive art in progress, continually buffeted by the elements, undermined by underground springs percolating through pockets of gravel, and at the mercy of “earth tides” caused by the moon’s gravitational pull. The human impulse is to climb them, build our houses topside, pretend these great earthen plinths will last forever.
Growing up on Whidbey, I often witnessed micro landslides on the beautiful bluffs as I played on the beach: sudden dribbles of loose earth trickling down, small bursts of rocks bouncing down the slope. Apropos of nothing, it seemed. My parents now live on a nearby island, in a house a few hundred feet from the edge of a cliff. As they gaze out at their awe-inspiring view, they seem unperturbed by what might lurk beneath them. This, despite a slow landslide in 1990 that did a number on a neighboring beach community up the road. (A local blog, Fidalgo Island Crossings, recaps that geologic event nicely.) Their attitude seems to be, hey, why worry? It’s not like we built our house over some sinkhole in Florida.