It seemed a tad early to go to bed so I looked at the Discover Magazine’s webpage and read five or so interesting articles about human-neanderthal sex, the possible extinction of the bacterium that caused the Black Death, using insulin to postpone Alzheimers and a planet half the mass of Jupitor just a hop, skip and a jump away that seems to be made up mostly of diamond. (good luck catching it. If it was in the Moon’s orbit around Earth it would travel around Earth about every hour instead of every month…..or something like that.
With the Texas School Books mandated to dumb down science and the entire American text book industry basing its contents on Texas standards we can expect the Chinese to eat our lunch all the more quickly.
Anyway, one article led to another and then I read this brief book review about a book about viruses that was hailed by a NY Times reviewer. I particularly noted the reviewer’s thrill that the book was a mere 100 pages long. Brevity may be not only the soul of wit but of learning as well.
This all got me to thinking about just how much of the world’s biomass is made up of bacteria and other microbes. I recall reading some jaw dropping figure like maybe that there was twice or twenty-five times as much microbial weight as everything else bigger. I did a hasty google search and failed to find the answer but ran across this webpage which had more fascinating information about bacteria. For instance, we all have about a quarter of a pound of bacteria living on us at all times. Without it we would die because much of it is necessary to keep the little universes that are our bodies alive. This reminds me of my cousin who had a boyfriend who washed everything himself because he, like Howard Hughes suffered from germ phobia. Poor fellow had 600,000 bacteria living on every square inch of his skin and didn’t know it.
My son does this all the time – stays up late reading science stories and hopping from one to the other.
Somehow his curiosity survived public education. [BIGOTRY ALERT] I hope it survives the Republican Party.
Until I get tired of doing it I will try to remember to insert an alert every time I am about to ridicule today’s Republican Party. [BIGOTRY ALERT] If you are a passionate pachyderm you will want to stay away from the link on the right “God’s Own Party.”