Friday, April 27, 2007

Vaccine Hack

Quick - the year is 1803 and the world is getting devastated by smallpox. Good news, you have discovered a vaccine. Bad news, you have no way to transport the vaccine over long distances without it losing it's efficacy. How do you vaccinate people thousands of miles away from your home country?

Easy - you use 22 orphan boys as live carriers of the vaccine, and simply ship them across the ocean.

What a sweet hack.

I just learned about this famous expedition, the so called Balmis Expedition in a book on tape I'm listening to: Saving the World by Julia Alvarez. I had a bit of concern that the whole story was made up, but a quick check on Wikipedia showed me that it really did occur.

Talk about an elegant solution to a wicked problem.

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