Effect Measure

Melanie Mattson was one of the founding Editors of the FluWiki, its initial “public face,” the official publisher, and our colleague. More importantly she was our friend. We are grieved to announce her unexpected death.

On her blog, Just a Bump in the Beltway, Melanie was among the first on the internet to understand and write about the significance of reported human cases of avian influenza as a potential harbinger of a pandemic. She joined forces with us to start the FluWiki in June 2005 where she was a dedicated and innovative practitioner of a new medium, collective information generation and dissemination. At the time of her death she was engaged in expanding what she learned from her blog and FluWiki to a wide range of natural disasters.

Melanie was a wonderful human being, a lovely person and a Grand Lady in every sense of that term. Melanie sometimes used salty language, could be bluntly honest and had an irreverent and earthy sense of humor, so she would no doubt be amused to be referred to as a Grand Lady. But that’s what she was and still survives in the affection of those of us fortunate to have known her. She’ll be missed.

–DemFromCT, pogge, The Reveres


  1. #1 C. Corax
    July 11, 2008

    My condolences to you and all Melanie’s friends and family.

  2. #2 Wayne
    July 11, 2008

    Jeez, that’s sad news. Melanie was indefatiguable to me. Though I never exchanged communication with her she was something of an icon to me. Her hard circumstances, her seemingly boundless energies, her beloved Eddie and his death, and her wonderful recipes that made you feel so good you wanted to hug yourself informed me of her very fine and broad personality. I’m so sorry.

  3. #3 skdadl
    July 11, 2008

    I used to love going to Bump early in the mornings to see who Melanie had already vanquished before I’d made the coffee.

    I’m one of pogge’s minions, and when I first popped up there, Melanie was so kind to me, became a wonderful friend and support. She didn’t take no nonsense from nobody, but she cared very much for the people she knew and worked with, and she acted on her commitments, personal and political both.

    My thoughts are with her colleagues and family and friends as they grieve. It is hard to accept that we can’t talk to her any more.

  4. #4 M. Randolph Kruger
    July 11, 2008

    Melanie and I crossed swords often here. Like the Reveres she was totally committed to her beliefs and stuck to her guns when she felt she was right. Her idealism was and is admirable. We agreed rarely, but when we did it was upon the key issues that hold this place that we call the USA together. A Great American has passed.

    Melanie was an accomplished writer, musician, and theologian. I bet the emails between her and the Revere’s were always interesting when the subject of religion came up. But they were great friends as she was with Dem/Pogge. What a group….!

    I pause when people pass that I didnt know very well to define the moments that I did know them in. Its the little things that mold us. What the four of them have done has touched every man woman and child on this planet directly and indirectly. Her legacy will be that the four of them started something in a time of national need (Melanie, Revere, pogge, DemfromCT) that government seemed either too stupid or inadequate to the task to provide and that was information in a way that answered questions and gave the world a forum to discuss it. We cant get that from Congress on a good day.

    It grew quickly, taking on a life of its own and will be responsible in the long run for saving many, many lives through its information resources that it has already put out there. It has debunked myths, rumors and is much faster than government in providing useful and timely information on outbreaks. It has become the first line of defense in what could be the scourge of humanity.

    How many of us will ever come close to that kind of accomplishment in this world?

    Indeed, how many?

    May God Bless and Keep Her Always. INDEED, she will be missed.

  5. #5 Robyn
    July 11, 2008

    Condolences to you and all those for whom she was a colleague, friend, or mentor.

  6. #6 Tara C. Smith
    July 11, 2008

    Oh no. :( My condolences as well; she truly was one of the greats.

  7. #7 gilmore
    July 11, 2008

    My condolences also.

    FluWiki was where I became aware of H5N1. I hope she knew (as well as, DemFromCT, pogge, The Reveres) the way in which you have changed our lives and helped us to better protect our loved ones.

  8. #8 Goju
    July 11, 2008

    May she rest in peace. She was and still is quite an inspiration and beacon of hope.

    Condolences to all who knew her.

    Does anyone know what she died from?

  9. #9 Lea
    July 11, 2008

    Yep, Melanie had strong convictions. Under all the strength was a woman who never really had good health yet she persevered and accomplished much. Glad she no longer has to suffer physical pain.
    Baraka Bashad Melanie!

  10. #10 caia
    July 11, 2008

    I’m so sorry, Revere.

  11. #11 anon
    July 11, 2008

    she was the biggest fan of reveres ? (one of them)

  12. #12 gharris
    July 11, 2008

    This news makes me very sad as well – a death that diminishes us all!

  13. #13 janinsanfran
    July 11, 2008

    What sad news! My condolences to her friends.

    Melanie, along with the late Steve Gilliard, was one of the people whose work introduced me to the possibilities of this medium. It’s still a shock that people die here, as well as do living work here.

  14. #14 pft
    July 12, 2008

    I used to comment a bit on her old site, not so much the new site as her posting got irregular and comments were a pain. Man, she had a ton of stuff going with pancreatitis laying her low , financial woes, eddie passing, new business, partner, losing her purse in Atlantic City. But it never sounded whiny or like a plea for sympathy, it was just like “can you believe this crap that happening?”

    She was not a big fan of our HC system, thats for sure. She always seemed to be able to bounce back from her woes with a recipe or an attack on whatever pissed her off. Her recipes made me hungry so I only checked her site after lunch. I had noticed she had not posted anything in some time and thought something was up. Only 53, what a shame.

  15. #15 JJackson
    July 12, 2008

    I only knew her through here writing – and occasionally dialogues in comment threads. It was the belief that this is a media in which you can effect change not just comment and criticise that most appealed, and the forthright comments. Revere please make sure her friends know how many of us there are out here for whom what she was doing was important and here work was not just vanishing into the ether without causing echos or ripples.

    “Never doubt that a small group of commited citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margret Mead

  16. #16 clark
    July 12, 2008

    I never met Melanie- I couldn’t picture her- she was an anonymous poster on the fluwiki- a cyberfriend- yet over many months, I read her thoughts and conversed with her on the wiki. She is an entity whose existence is etched in my heart, an important person. She will be sadly missed! Now she is part of the big wiki in the sky. Gone, but not forgotten.

  17. #17 paiwan
    July 12, 2008

    I am a newcomer (less than 9 mnths), so I spent half day today to read EM valuable archives where Melanie posted, especially in the part of Freethinker Sermonette and instantly moved by her message. I believe that she will be remembered both one of the invaluable legacies of EM Blog and the United States Science Blog.

    Upon her completion of life, I would like to express my condolences to all who knew her. She has been back to her Creator triumphantly accompanied with the galaxies sing.

    I also like to quote Revere’s and our Grand Lady’s saying, “Dear Revere, God never gives up on us.” I believe that it is from her for everyone also.


  18. #18 tymbuktu
    July 15, 2008

    So, SO sad to hear of her death. A frequent reader here and at Flu-Wiki (both on my desktop) I was shocked and my heart goes out to those who knew her — and there were so many.

  19. #19 mistah charley, ph.d.
    August 4, 2008

    I was just looking for Melanie’s address – I wanted to be sure she heard about the State Dept’s wiki, subject of a New York Times article –


    and this is how I belatedly discovered the news of her death. I’m saddened to hear it. Even though we never spoke, we exchanged a number of emails in years past.

    Melanie explicitly believed in the Creative Forces of the Universe as an organized entity. May they stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above (speaking metaphorically).

  20. #20 paiwan
    August 4, 2008

    ” You may think that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

    May the Creative Forces have mercy on our souls. Indeed.

  21. #21 Charles
    June 18, 2009

    This swine flu pandemic is getting out of hand in my area. People aren’t talking about anything other than the swine flu.