A few days ago, there was a sense among the addled death-shorting Twitter community that "Ebola stocks"—by then shorthand for a specific set of companies that mostly make protective equipment—weren't a great investment. Sure, demand for their products must be up, and their prospects for making money must have improved, but their ability to rain down hot cash on fast-clicking maniacs was diminished. Of course the existence of a horrible virus that has killed thousands of people and will kill thousands more is categorically bad news, but that's beside the point. What isn't beside the point, is a better question to ask of our financial markets.
There was [...]
This is the App Store ranking history for an app called Plague Inc. It's a game in which players design and deploy a disease into the world with the goal of infecting the entire planet—to win the game you must infect every country, no exceptions. The game has been around for a while—the CDC invited its creator to speak to the agency's staff last year. The pretense, according to a CDC spokesperson: "Meeting with industry leaders is a great way to learn more about reaching new audiences through mobile apps." The game's sales spiked on October 1st, immediately after the hospitalization of Thomas Duncan in Dallas. Ebola felt [...]
Which cascading threat are you afraid of, personally, as the end of the year crests the horizon? Cascading disease? In a worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014.
Cascading militancy? Turkey’s failure thus far to help choke off the oil trade symbolizes the magnitude of the challenges facing the administration both in assembling a coalition to counter the Sunni militant group and in starving its lifeblood. ISIS’ access to cash is critical to its ability to recruit members, meet its growing payroll of fighters, expand its reach and operate [...]
"Fears are growing that the most lethal form of the Ebola virus can mutate into an airborne pathogen, making the spread of the terrifying disease more difficult to check. It was previously thought the untreatable virus, which causes massive internal bleeding and multiple organ failure, could only be transmitted through contact with infected blood. But now Canadian researchers have carried out experiments showing how monkeys can catch the deadly disease from infected pigs without coming into direct contact."