Bioterrorism  In an article in WIRED called Insanely Destructive Devices, Larry Lessig discusses one of the greatest of possible techno-disasters, a terrorist-engendered smallpox epidemic. What gives it a technological dimension is that experiments have shown that genetic alteration of the smallpox virus, utilizing biotechnological techniques and equipment that are inexpensive and widely available, including in Third World countries, could make the "juiced up" virus not only more lethal than "ordinary smallpox" (which kills a "mere" 30 percent of its victims) but also, and more important, impervious to smallpox vaccines (and there is no cure for smallpox). Smallpox is highly contagious and because its initial symptoms are not distinctive, the disease could spread so far, for example by aerosolizers placed in major airports around the world, before it was discovered that quarantining would be instituted too late to be effective, even if health workers and security personnel could be induced, without vaccine protection, to enforce a quarantine. [via Lessig Blog]


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