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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘bubonic plague

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer notes a new study explaining how climate change makes hurricanes more destructive.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a mosaic photo of the sky with Alpha Centauri highlighted.
  • The Crux shares a paper explaining why the bubonic plague rarely becomes mass epidemics like the Black Death of the 14th century.
  • D-Brief notes the new ESA satellite ARIEL, which will be capable of determining of exoplanet skies are clear or not.
  • Gizmodo consults different experts on the subject of smart drugs. Do they work?
  • JSTOR Daily explains why Native Americans are so prominent in firefighting in the US Southwest.
  • Language Log looks at evidence for the diffusion of “horse master” between speakers of ancient Indo-European and Sinitic languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the election of Chesa Boudin as San Francisco District Attorney.
  • The LRB Blog considers the apparent pact between Farage and Johnson on Brexit.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at a paper examining longer-run effects of the integration of the US military on racial lines in the Korean War.
  • The NYR Daily looks at how Big Pharma in the US is trying to deal with the opioid epidemic.
  • The Signal explains how the Library of Congress is expanding its collections of digital material.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how future generations of telescopes will be able to directly measure the expansion of the universe.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy explains why DACA, giving succor to Dreamers, is legal.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, after a century of tumult, the economy of Russia is back at the same relative ranking that it enjoyed a century ago.
  • Arnold Zwicky reports on an old butch cookbook.

[LINK] “Mortality Risk and Survival in the Aftermath of the Medieval Black Death”

Via the Russian Demographics blog I came across a paper by one Sharon N. Dewitt that argued that the aftermath of the Black Death seems to have include an improvement in mortality. This may be linked to the post-plague improvement in living standards.

he medieval Black Death (c. 1347-1351) was one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. It killed tens of millions of Europeans, and recent analyses have shown that the disease targeted elderly adults and individuals who had been previously exposed to physiological stressors. Following the epidemic, there were improvements in standards of living, particularly in dietary quality for all socioeconomic strata. This study investigates whether the combination of the selective mortality of the Black Death and post-epidemic improvements in standards of living had detectable effects on survival and mortality in London. Samples are drawn from several pre- and post-Black Death London cemeteries. The pre-Black Death sample comes from the Guildhall Yard (n = 75) and St. Nicholas Shambles (n = 246) cemeteries, which date to the 11th–12th centuries, and from two phases within the St. Mary Spital cemetery, which date to between 1120-1300 (n = 143). The St. Mary Graces cemetery (n = 133) was in use from 1350–1538 and thus represents post-epidemic demographic conditions. By applying Kaplan-Meier analysis and the Gompertz hazard model to transition analysis age estimates, and controlling for changes in birth rates, this study examines differences in survivorship and mortality risk between the pre- and post-Black Death populations of London. The results indicate that there are significant differences in survival and mortality risk, but not birth rates, between the two time periods, which suggest improvements in health following the Black Death, despite repeated outbreaks of plague in the centuries after the Black Death.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm