Defense against dark information

That’s the title of a freshman seminar I taught at UC Davis in 2003.  We explored parallels between biological viruses, computer viruses, and rumors, particularly the use of any of these as weapons.  Stuxnet and Pizzagate are examples of targeted computer viruses and rumors as weapons.  The current COVID-19 pandemic, terrible though it is, may end up saving lives if it motivates us to develop the tools needed to survive an even more  deadly pandemic in the future.  Would any world leader or rogue scientist with the capability to launch a pandemic be crazy enough to do so?  Not so far, maybe, although deliberate spreading of smallpox to American Indians was at least discussed by British colonists.  But if human populations keep growing, preventing new pandemics will be increasingly difficult.

Some of the links on the course web page are still live.

I am staying home, managing to make some measurements of nitrogen fixation by different soybean cultivars in my basement lab.

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