Tag: bacteria

Where the germs are

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads//2012/06/Hotel-Room-Germs.mp3[/podcast] Ah, vacation time! Relaxing by the beach or in the mountains, retiring at night to a filthy hotel room, crawling with germs… Wait, what? Okay, that might be a slight overstatement of the hygienic challenges of hotel rooms, but the fact remains that hotel rooms are, ultimately, public spaces, inhabited by hundreds of different …

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The Black Death


Belly-button biodiversity

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/07/Belly-Button-Biodiversity.mp3[/podcast] It’s summer, that time of year when belly buttons escape their natural habitat of swimming pools and beaches and wander free in the oddest places, from the library to the shopping mall (although unlike the grins of Cheshire cats, they rarely appear without their owners). But as you survey these navel maneuvers, don’t think …

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The end of tooth decay?

We’ve all had the importance of tooth-brushing drilled (sorry) into us from an early age, and it’s not hard to understand why: humans have been plagued by tooth decay for as long as we’ve been human, and had teeth. Cro-Magnon skulls 25,000 years old show evidence of tooth decay, for instance, and as long ago …

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If this were a science fiction thriller…

…this would be bad news: An 8-million-year-old bacterium that was extracted from the oldest known ice on Earth is now growing in a laboratory, claim researchers. If confirmed, this means ancient bacteria and viruses will come back to life as ice melts due to global warming. This is nothing to worry about, say experts, because …

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Why am I confident the universe is teeming with life?

Because we keep finding it on Earth in even the most apparently inhospitable places…like the Rancho La Brea tar pits.

Trained bacteria…

…the next frontier in medicine! Seriously, this is neat stuff. If you can make bacteria go where you want them to go, you can use them like little tiny pack animals to deliver drugs, clean up pollutants, and other Good Things.

Universal blood

Blood is always in demand, and not just by vampires. Blood transfusions mean the difference between life and death when people suffer traumatic injuries, or undergo major surgery. But there’s always been a problem with transfusions: people don’t all have the same blood type, and giving someone the wrong blood type is worse than giving …

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You’ll never walk alone

Scientists have identified 182 species of bacteria that regularly live on our skin, and estimate the total number of species of bacteria on our skin numbers around 250. No need to go “yuck,” though: “Without good bacteria, the body could not survive,” added Dr. Zhan Gao, a scientist in Blaser’s lab involved in the study. …

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If I were Michael Crichton…

…this story of germs from the era of the dinosaurs found trapped in amber would be the beginning of a medical/biological/technological horror-thriller.

I used to think spelunking would be fun

That was before I knew that, along with stalactites and stalagmites, one can also find “snottites” in caves. Eeewwww.

A new way to kill disease-causing bacteria

Clay: not just for pottery any more.

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