Emerging Science Note/Follow the Money
Researchers find that following the money may be the key to preventing pandemics. Living on Earth’s Emily Taylor reports.
TAYLOR: Who would imagine that Internet games could help us track the spread of epidemics? Scientists in Germany and at the University of California have developed a mathematical theory which can predict the path of a contagious disease by evaluating information from a simple online game.
“Wheresgeorge.com” tracks registered dollar bills for fun. In the game, when people receive bills, they are asked to log their location online. Scientists looked at the data from over 400,000 registered notes and found that humans, much like the currency they carry, travel in certain patterns.
But, currency isn’t the only thing people carry; they also carry germs. And with mobility at an all-time high, an epidemic, such as the Avian Flu, could spread at a rapid rate, killing millions before being controlled. So, researchers used the data from the “Wheresgeorge” website to create a mathematical formula that can be used to predict the paths of future epidemics.
Now, when we find where George is headed, we’ll know where the germs are headed…. and hopefully be able to stop them before it’s too late. That’s this week’s Note on Emerging Science. I’m Emily Taylor.
CURWOOD: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth