Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bye bye polio, the depression, and worth-while PC roleplaying games

- In 1994 the U.S. government declared the eradication of polio from the natural environment.  In other words if you contract polio in the U.S., it's because a terrorist stole it from a lab and slipped it into your coffee.  

Even one hundred years ago, it was rare to become infected with polio, very rare to suffer paralysis from polio, and almost unheard of to die from polio.  Nevertheless, considering the type of people polio usually struck (children) and how it affected them (paralysis) the disease made it easy to stir people towards the cause of eliminating polio.

Ironically, the major reason why human life-expectancy has sky-rocketed in the past one hundred years is the reason why polio flourished in the early 20th century.  Your great-grandmother, your great-great grandmother, and all your ancestors before them had antibodies for polio.  Your ancestors passed those antibodies to each generation, but if a person is not exposed to polio while the antibodies are fresh in their system, that person will not generate their own antibodies later in childhood.  With the improvements in sanitation and hygiene during the early 20th century, newborns had their mother's polio antibodies, but never generated their own antibodies.  Consequently, later in childhood when a child became exposed to polio, they sometimes contracted the disease.

A few more facts about polio:
- Jonas Salk believed using a dead-polio virus would create a vaccine faster than using a live polio-vaccine.  Salk was right.  Salk went down in history as the person who cured polio, but his rival Albert Sabin created an oral live polio-vaccine a few years after Salk's success, and all future polio vaccines were based upon Sabin's vaccine.

- In 1953, Jonas Salk first tested his vaccine on prisoners and mental patients.  He didn't need any IRB hearings or government permission to test on these patients.  Such testing would be considered barbaric nowadays.

- Adults were much less likely to get polio, but the effects were also more severe for adults (kind of like chickenpox.)  Roosevelt caught polio at the age of 39.

More about polio:

- Speaking of FDR, your history books and history teachers were wrong. FDR didn't bring us out of the depression. In fact, he may have made it worse. Shortly after Roosevelt passed away, congress passed sweeping tax-cuts, and it's those tax-cuts that brought long-term relief. Proof:

- My top five greatest PC roleplaying games:
1. Ultima 4.  The first RPG that didnt require slaying a dragon or defeating an evil wizard.  The game was long, completely non-linear, difficult, and required enlightenment.  Game companies cannot make games like that anymore.  Would cost too much.
2. The Bard's Tale
3. Fallout
4. Knights of the Old Republic
5. Tie: Baldur's Gate/Ultima 7  

Another opinion on the top all-time PC roleplaying games:


Scott said...

Yes, I am an "old school" gamer, but WoW should at least be #2. Why not #1? Well, I am an old school gamer. Removing Ultima 4 from my top slot is just not gonna happen.

WoW is the Michael Jordan (hate to give MJ any face), Muhammad (sp.?) Ali, and Babe Ruth.

I am thinking the reviewer / writer of the linked article is my age, or older. And I am sure he does not have an "80." :)

Greymarch said...

My list is strictly for single player PC RPGs. I guess I should have mentioned that.

caris said...