In 2002 the Republican pollster Frank Luntz had some advice for conservative candidates seeking to address what was quickly becoming a hot-button topic. “It’s time for us to start talking about ‘climate change’ instead of global warming,” he wrote in a memo. “‘Climate change’ is less frightening.”
Back in 2012, Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system was hailed as a real, working battlefield weapon that could shoot down unguided rockets before they struck Israel. Iron Dome was lauded as a game changer in the Israel-Palestine conflict; at the time, Israel claimed that it shot down 441 Hamas rockets in flight, before they could do serious damage. Admittedly, normal life in Israel was disrupted, as its citizens had to scamper to bomb shelters when the siren sounded, but that was held to be acceptable.
Last week, six vials of smallpox virus were discovered in a disused closet at the National Institutes of Health, where they had lain, forgotten and misplaced, for over 30 years. Some of them were found to contain live specimens, meaning that this dangerous virus—once considered to have been eradicated from the face of the planet—had the capacity to infect and spread.