November 10, 2014

Monthly Movie Review - Snowpiercer

Writers:     Joon-ho Bong
Notable Actors:  Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Tilda Swinton
Release Date:  August 2013

Movie Rating:   1   2    3    4    5    6    7    8     9   10


Wins:  Incredibly believable plot line, complete with the mistakes that the average 'Joe' would easily make faced with such a harsh reality. The visuals of the train once the poor started working their way through it were spectacular. The greenhouse and aquarium were honestly beautiful and something that we will hopefully see once the US starts upgrading its train infrastructure. The struggle throughout the film feels real, and also served as a reminder of how fragile both humanity and the Earth's ecosystems are in times of crisis. The politics and changes in human behavior were fascinating adds throughout the film, while at times hard to imagine possible, are all quite logical development in human coping mechanisms. I also firmly feel that the conspiratorial hoax was likely a near-accurate description of an all too possible reality.

Fails:  This would have made an excellent film series, but they don't really ever think to do that with disaster movies. Alternatively it would have been an excellent TV series as well, but I suppose the story line could be changed like that of Under the Dome in the future. (I sincerely have my fingers crossed, although I won't be holding my breath.) While we got quite a good look at the politics on the train, I find it incredibly fascinating and would have loved to have seen more of it in the movie. I can't really say that I didn't like the movie because I did, I can just imagine it with a thousand better plot lines. Ones where more people survive and we see more of the post-train reality. Or perhaps one with a contingency plan for not destroying the train at all. (I really liked the train, actually I think most people would find such a machine mesmerizing.)


Wait for it onDemand.

xoxo disaster girl

October 10, 2014

The Growing Ebola Crisis


  •  The Ebola Crisis began in late December of 2013 in Guinea, and later spread to Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal. [New England Journal of Medicine] It has since spread to Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. [WHO]
  • Patient Zero (the first to contract this version of Ebola) is thought to be a 2 year old boy who contracted the disease in early December of 2013, in an area of Guinea that also borders Sierra Leone and Liberia. [NY TIMES]
  • As per the CDC, Ebola symptoms manifest between two and twenty-one days after exposure, with the average being eight to ten days. The symptoms include: Fever, Severe Headache, Muscle Pain, Weakness, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Abdominal Pain, and Unexplained Bleeding and Bruising. [CDC] What seems to be special about how Ebola kills is that the virus doesn't kill you, your immune system going into full attack mode actually does. [NPR]
  • Recent calculations have shown that the disease could infect over a million people by January, if more effort isn't put into fighting it. [CDC/USA Today] Calculations just a month prior by the World Health Organization (WHO) were at 20,000, which shows how much can change with the disease in a small amount of time. [Washington Post]
  • Early in August of 2014 WHO declared Ebola an international health emergency [BBC], also citing that the disease was spreading too quickly and a greater effort would be needed to fight the spread of the highly contagious disease. [BBC] The CDC raised the Ebola crisis to its highest level emergency (Level 1) in early August of 2014, calling for 'all hands on deck' in West Africa. [AFP] Upon inspection in late August, the CDC also admitted the infection and spread was far worse than it appeared, and that a global effort would be needed to stop it. [AJC]
  • Genetic studies over the course of the crisis have shown that the virus is mutating rapidly, in most cases at twice the rate of animal infections, which could hinder efforts in trying to develop a vaccine for the disease. [Reuters] Five of the papers co-authors, which was published in Late August of 2014, have already died from the disease. Since the outbreak began Ebola has killed over 120 health workers in Africa. [USA Today]
  • As reported in Late September of 2014, the death toll sat around 3,000. [NY TIMES/WHO] [Huff Post] By October 10th, it had risen to over 4,000. [ABC] In one months time the death toll has practically doubled- on August 27th it sat just above 1,700. [CBS]
  • While the disease comes from bats, other animals (such as pigs) appear to be carriers for the disease as well. Dogs in Liberia who had eaten the corpses of Ebola victims appeared asymptomatic, and could possibly be transferred to humans if they receive a bite and/or lick from an infected animal. [CBS]
  • To date two Americans had been infected in Africa and were flown back to the US for isolation treatment. [CNN] The first survivor was given an experimental drug to cure the disease, and recovered. The second infected American had also been receiving treatment, including blood transfusions from the first survivor, and was released on September 25th 2014. [CNN] [ABC] A third American patient is believed to have contracted the disease sometime in September, although the patient information has yet to be released yet. [Washington Post]
  • In Late August the National Institute of Health and GlaxoSmithKline announced that they were beginning human trials on an Ebola vaccine, while they remain hopeful this has not been the first Ebola vaccine to make it to human trials. [NPR] Thousands of experimental Ebola vaccines are expected to become available in the coming months. [Huff Post] Out of desperation in September of 2014, a Liberian doctor began giving some Ebola infected patients an HIV drug, which although not in a controlled study setting, seemed to bring the mortality rate of the disease from 90% down to a small 7%. [CNN]
  • In 2012, there was a study published that warned the spread of Ebola could be airborne. In a study that housed infected pigs and uninfected monkey's, keeping them in the same room but never allow any physical contact, all monkey's had become infected with the virus within eight days time. [BBC] In 2013 scientist announced that they believed they had found a protein that inhibited the growth of Ebola on a cellular level. [Sci-News]
  • Although there are many efforts being undertaken to stop the spread of the disease and help the infected, the epidemic continues to worsen as of late September 2014. [NY Times]
  • The CDC confirmed their first case (diagnosed) within country borders on September 30th, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. [Fox] Since they confirmed that someone in the US tested positive for Ebola they have also stated that as many as 100 people may have been exposed to the deadly virus since US Patient Zero's arrival in the country. [Reuters] Patient Zero's family has also been quarantined since the diagnosis. [US Today] On October 8th, 2014, US Patient Zero - Thomas Eric Duncan, became the first US casualty of the disease and his body was cremated. [NBC] His family, some quarantined and some isolated, still have not shown signs or symptoms of the disease to date. [The Star] A police officer who may have had contact with Duncan is being monitored, although tests show he did not contracted the disease. [NBC] [ABC]
  • Since the first US patient was diagnosed with Ebola, there have been two incidents on US airlines. On October 5th, Newark International Airport in New Jersey had to quarantine a flight when a passenger who was traveling with his daughter began vomiting on board. The passenger was later cleared, testing negative for the disease. [Gothamist] On October 8th, a passenger joked about having Ebola on a US Airways flight to the Dominican Republic, causing the plane to be isolated on the tarmac until a Hazmat team could clear the situation. [USA TODAY] Since the scares US airlines and airports across America have begun taking extra precautions. [Wired] [Yahoo] [Washington Post]


xoxo disaster girl

P.F.S. Links for the Curious

September 30, 2014

Monthly Movie Review - Parts Per Billion

TitleParts Per Billion
Writers:     Brian Horiuchi
Notable Actors:  Josh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson, Alexis Bledel, Penn Badgley, Gena Rowlands, Frank Langella
Release Date:  May 2014

Movie Rating:   1   2    3    4    5    6    7    8     9   10

Wins:  Great cast and a mildly interesting scientific movie background. Hey, I'm trying here.

Fails:  This is not a 'good movie' nor is it a 'disaster movie', at least in any typical sense. It's one of those films you don't appreciate until you've had a fair amount of time to think about it afterwards- but let's be honest.. who wants to do that? On par with Another Earth it wastes a perfect interesting plot with existential and melodramatic non-sense. The thing with that is it's both a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Good because it's accurate, and highlights how even in moments where you know there is no future or hope humanity still occupies itself with thoughts of it. Bad because, well- that's life and I guess we all hope the end would be a little more interesting.


Wait for it on HBO.

xoxo disaster girl