Malaria tough to beat: Canadian Press review of The Fever

July 5, 2010

At Canadian Press, Carl Hartman reviewed The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, a dramatic work of non-fiction about malaria and mosquitoes by Sonia Shah (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2010).  Hartman concluded:

Evidence of mosquito resistance to the drug has been recently reported.

Shah is skeptical of a surge of private charity that emphasizes the use of mosquito nets following the decline of government-led anti-malaria programs in the 1990s. Acknowledging the contributions of Bill Gates and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, she lists Veto the ‘Squito, a youth-led charity; Nothing but Nets, an anti-malarial basketball charity; and World Swim Against Malaria. She quotes The New York Times as decrying “hip ways to show you care.”

Her own comment: “Just because something is simple doesn’t necessarily mean that people will do it.”

“(T)he schools, roads, clinics, secure housing and good governance that enable regular prevention and prompt treatment must be built,” she concludes. “Otherwise the cycle of depression and resurgence will begin anew; malaria will win, as it always has.”

Anti-environmentalists, anti-scientists, and other conservatives won’t like the book:  It says we can’t beat malaria cheaply by just spreading a lot of poison on Africa and Africans.

Especially if you’re doing the noble thing and vacationing in the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama, or Mississippi, or Louisiana, you may want to read this.  If you’re vacationing in the Hamptons, Martha’s Vinyard, or Cannes, buy several copies to pass out at dinner with your friends.


I get e-mail: July Econlib newsletter

July 5, 2010

A bit on the right, but generally pointing to useful current stuff for economics teachers, the EconLib Newsletter for July 2010 is out — download it to your e-book for beach or desert reading:

Dear Readers,

Around the world in the last three decades, governments have made dramatic moves toward more economic freedom. While retaining most of the welfare state, governments have cut marginal tax rates from the Olympian heights they had reached in the 1960s and 1970s, deregulated whole industries, and privatized major swaths of the economy. Scott Sumner details the “neoliberal” movement and shows that countries that moved closest to economic freedom also made major gains in per capita income. Read it here:

The Unacknowledged Success of Neoliberalism

This month, Anthony de Jasay extends his series, asking

Is Society a Great Big Insurance Company?

On EconTalk this week, Russ Roberts and Arnold Kling talk about the Unseen World of Banking, Mortgages, and Government:

Other recent podcasts include Caplan on Richter and Hayek, Sumner on growth and economic policy, and Blakley on fashion and intellectual property. Check them out at

On EconLog, David Henderson discusses the EPA, Bryan Caplan reviews whether students like school, and Arnold Kling talks about green jobs. Read all the latest on EconLog at:

This month in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics we feature “Fiscal Sustainability,” by Laurence J. Kotlikoff , and the biography of Milton Friedman, whose birthday is later this month. See

We welcome all our new registrants and wish all a fine summer.

Lauren Landsburg, Editor
Russ Roberts, Associate Editor
David R. Henderson, Features Editor
Library of Economics and Liberty

Helen Thomas and a famous illusion

July 5, 2010

Sometimes people grow into a role they had not intended.

During the recent, sad flap about Helen Thomas’s offensive remarks and forced retirement, some media outlets carried a photo of Thomas that looked almost posed to me.  In our creativity consulting years ago, we used the old, famous optical illusion of the “old woman/young woman.”

Make up your own commentary.  What do you see?  How do you know you’re not looking at an illusion?

Optical illusion, Old woman/Young woman

Famous optical illusion, Old woman/Young woman, color version – borrowed from Mighty Optical Illusions after Gryphons Aerie crapped out.

Helen Thomas in a photo prior to 2009

Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas, sometime prior to 2009

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