A History of Our Obsession with the Disease Apocalypse

The "plague plot" is a subgenre of horror that's become as common as zombie movies. But over half a century ago, Hollywood wasn't churning out tales of the disease apocalypse and deadly black goo viruses. Where did our love for pandemic panic come from? A look back at the history of the subgenre provides some clues. » 6/24/14 9:11am 6/24/14 9:11am

Will Smallpox Reemerge in Siberia as Corpses Thaw from Climate Change?

In an article primarily about the potential folly of holding onto stockpiles of smallpox virus for research purposes—a now-eradicated plague that humans no longer have natural immunity to and that would very likely cause a worldwide catastrophe should it escape from the lab—the BBC includes one awesomely horrible… » 2/03/14 4:07pm 2/03/14 4:07pm

I am a Mad Scientist: Using Real Science to Help Write Science Fiction

I am an actual, real-life "mad scientist." Don't believe me? In the past five years, my scientific expertise has helped create a horde of engineered monsters rampaging their way across a secret island research base, an evolutionary off-shoot of humanity that feeds on the weak of San Francisco, and a… » 1/21/14 11:49am 1/21/14 11:49am

The places where an epidemic is most likely to start spreading in the…

When humans travel, diseases travel with them. Events like the 2003 SARS outbreak and 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic have revealed the role that air travel plays in the spread of illness on a global scale. Now, researchers at MIT have developed a computer simulation that suggests which U.S. airports are most likely to… » 7/24/12 8:00am 7/24/12 8:00am

The origins of the Spanish Flu Pandemic go back even further than we…

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic was one of the worst disease outbreaks ever seen, leading to the death of some 50 million individuals across the globe. It was also the first H1N1 global outbreak — its followup in 2009 was decidedly less potent, at least in part because of advances in medical science since then. » 9/20/11 5:00pm 9/20/11 5:00pm