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Ebola: Epidemics, Pandemics and the Mapping of their Containment

Originally posted on REMEDIA:

By Tom Koch

“It was about the Beginning of September, 1664, that I, amongst the Rest of my Neighbours, heard in ordinary Discourse, that the Plague was returned in Holland, for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Roterdam, in the year of 1663.”

Daniel Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year.[1]

That is how it always begins. There is an outbreak out there, somewhere, away in a place that is safely distant. If we care at all it is because we know the place and some of its people. Perhaps we have business with them. And, too, we care because the diseases affecting those distant places sometimes have traveled from out “there” to our “here.” That was certainly true for Defoe’s narrator, whose hopes that plague would not migrate to London were shattered in December of 1665 when the British Bill of Mortality listed…

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Goodluck Jonathan Should Resign Now For Muhammad Buhari – Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka

Originally posted on Welcome To Saving Grace Reporters:


It was a night of memory and surprises for many Igbo
people last night and early morning today at the popular
Catholic Adoration Centre, Emene Enugu, as the
controversial Enugu Diocesan priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka,
urged Ndigbo and every good Nigerian to vote out the
current Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,
for his political opponent, General Muhammad Buhari.


According to the man of God, President Goodluck
Jonanthan has disappointed Nigerians and means no
good anymore for the country. Full of passion and pity
for Nigeria, Fr. Mbaka knelt down in front of the altar of
God during his homily, cried and asked God to give
Nigeria a good leader and never President Goodluck
Jonathan. He used the opportunity to beg Nigerians to
vote wisely in the forthcoming election.

“I love President Goodluck Jonathan and I used to be his
ardent fan, but I want good for my people…

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The Translation of I Love You

Originally posted on Writes With Pencils:

Rosalie births a Francophile

For me, my early childhood didn’t exist before the book Rosalie the Bird Market Turtle was a part of it. The drawings were sketched out in improv jazz riffs of the early sixties. The palette was simple.  Shades of sienna and black line sketches were smudged with charcoal from a Montmartre street artist’s tray and stained with strawberry details, the old-fashioned kind that are red all the way through and smell like jam. The illustrator included all the classic Parisian scenes. The gendarme pointed with authority on a street corner. A waiter in a long, white apron and thin moustache served patrons at a busy sidewalk café. Lovers gazed at each other as they passed a green grocer in a cobbled market street. Vendors sold old books and artists painted along the Seine. And gargoyles perched on the towers of Notre Dame watching the street life below. I was fascinated…

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The Eroticism of Placelessness

Originally posted on Cody C. Delistraty:

On the way loneliness, freedom, and romance are intertwined.

For the past few weeks, I’ve woken up unsure exactly where I am. My bed, a modest full size, looks out onto a cobblestone courtyard framed by green linden trees and an intricately decorated castle. I’m in a pocket-sized one-bedroom apartment and although it is behind the Place des Vosges in Paris, by the looks of it I could be in Normandy or Toulouse, even Vermont. For that matter, there is no real way for me to know the year is 2014: save for the circle-pronged electrical outlet tucked behind my dresser, I could be waking up in the eighteenth century. In the haze of the early morning, these things tend to meld together.

The feeling of placelessness is a bit like a dream: the heightened romance, the intense brooding, the inherently transitory nature of the whole affair. Placelessness happens…

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Chaucer’s Funny Rape: Addressing a Taboo in Medieval Studies

Originally posted on Meny Snoweballes:

[TW: rape, sexual assault, victim-blaming.]

Rape is funny.

That’s the kind of first sentence that might get me some immediate unfollows from impatient readers, but bear with me; I trust if you’ve been reading my work for a while, you’ll know that’s an introduction, not a conclusion. I’ve been thinking about this post on and off since the International Medieval Congress in Leeds this July, but I couldn’t work out how to quite put what I wanted to say into words. I haven’t managed this time, either, but perhaps this may mark a start in a conversation I think we need to have.

Lately in the popular and geek media there has been a great deal of discussion about whether or not it’s ok for comedians to make jokes about rape and whether feminists are too “sensitive” for reacting negatively to said jokes. On the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!1! side, the…

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7 arguments against war in Iraq and Syria

Originally posted on Tim Holmes:

1. It won’t work – and is likely to backfire.


“What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?” muses neoconservative William Kristol. The media debate follows similar lines. Yet in Libya, former MI6 head of counterterrorism Richard Barrett points out, “military intervention without a proper plan to follow up had all sorts of unintended consequences and led to chaos and instability.” “It’s just reaching for a hammer because it is a hammer and it’s to hand,” he adds. Airstrikes “have to have a very clear purpose and objective … I’m not sure we have that”. Instead, we seem to be engaging in “gesture politics”.

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A Tragedy in Song: “Hot Nigga” by Bobby Shmurda

Originally posted on M.B. Watson:

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 2.27.34 PM

About a week ago, as I enjoyed abnormally slow Starbucks Wi-Fi, two young women walked up to my friends and me. They had a question that I did not expect until after it was asked. It was a cultural question composed of so many layers that I doubt they understood. I’m sure they failed to understand ONLY through lack of trying. That one question opened my already ponderous mind to a sea of worrisome thoughts. What was this awful question?

“Hey, can you guys teach us the Shmoney dance?”

Now, before (or after) you chuckle at how ridiculous my predicament was, understand that the song “Hot Nigga” had been on my mind for awhile. Not only because of how catchy it was or how infectious the featured Schmoney dance is. See, the song had plagued my thoughts because I couldn’t help but view it differently that most of the 8,000,000+…

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