There have been moments over the last couple of years when we tiptoed right up to the edge of global hysteria over the so-called Avian or Bird Flu. The various strains of the virus – H1N1 two years ago, H5N1 now – are so powerful that there was concern that they could sweep through the population at an uncontrollable pace. Obviously, that has not happened, which is reason for optimism. And now, here’s another reason to think the virus might not live up to the hype. In a blog post at CNN, Stephanie Smith  writes that new data from the World Health Organization indicates the death rate of those infected with H5N1 isn’t nearly what was initially thought. WHO data suggests that when H5N1 jumps to humans, odds are that the person will die – of 586 people infected by H5N1 thus far, according to WHO data, 346 died. But hold on a second – researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine conducted a study of other studies, and it indicates that there have likely been millions of people infected with the Bird Flu, but the overwhelming majority of them have not experienced any flu-like symptoms. If that’s true, it appears H5N1 isn’t nearly as deadly as most of us have feared.

Now is the time to see what is very likely the most spectacular show in the universe – the aurora borealis. The “Northern Lights” are at their most vivid in 11 years and are a great event around which to build a getaway. At the Wall Street Journal, Kathleen Squires gives you four travel options for watching the light show in the sky in style.

This is almost certainly the future of air travel – the Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama reports on the airline KLM’s new offering that allows you to choose your seatmate by viewing their profile on social media. In other words, you can look at their Facebook page (if they allow access) and decide whether or not this is a person you want to spend three or four hours sitting next to.

This headline shocked me this week – Escape to Sudan; not so long ago, you would’ve expected to the headline to be Escape from Sudan. Stephen Kreider Yoder writes at the Wall Street Journal about backpacking through Sudan and the Middle East.

And, how about getting married at sea? Cunard Cruise Lines is rolling out a new program for couples thinking of having their wedding on a cruise ship.


About The Author

John Miller is president of ScribeWise. He is an avid traveler and web-surfing junkie. Visit

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