I’m getting very sick of this fear mongering performed by our government. United States authorities decided two papers published about bird flu were in need of revision, and when the government says revision they mean censorship:
US authorities have asked the authors of two controversial bird flu studies to redact key details after a government advisory panel suggested the data could be used by terrorists.
The papers show how a bird flu variant can pass easily between ferrets.
Holy shit, the terrorists may learn that bird flu can be used against ferrets! Not ferrets! We love those mischievous cute little critters! Quick demand the report be censored!
Let’s look at this under a more serious light. The United States government must believe Al Qaeda has a team of crack biologists who specialized in virology. That’s the only possible way that they could be in the least bit worried about this information spreading. Were I to read the report my brain would probably collapse in on itself due to complete stupidity regarding viruses. You can just read a research paper and gain a complete understanding of the material unless you also have the requisite prior knowledge on which the paper is based. Does the United States government believe real life is like Fallout where you can pick up a book, use it, and gain an instant +2% to a related stat? If Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or any other such entity had leading virologists I would think we’d have been attacked by some kind of super plague by now. Unfortunately for Al Qaeda and fortunately for us extremely intelligent researchers usually aren’t violent psychopaths.
You can just ignore everything I’ve said though because the government has a solution:
Editors at the journals Science and Nature say they will not agree to the redactions until they are assured the data will be accessible to researchers.
A spokesman for US health authorities said such a system was being prepared.
I’m sure anybody who passes a government background check, meets the government mandated qualifications to be a researcher, and pays an exorbitant licensing fee will have access to this new database system. On the other hand top level researchers in other countries (especially terrorist countries like not American) can just go fuck themselves along with the amateurs. We can completely ignore the fact that some of the world’s greatest scientific breakthroughs were done by amateur researchers who would likely not meed the government’s requirement of the title.
What this censorship will do is make finding a cure or vaccine much more difficult because only those blessed by the divinity of government will be allowed to participate in such research. In other words the potential number of researchers trying to find a cure or create a vaccine will be greatly reduced.