Review: Etude House Baking Powder B.B Deep Cleansing Foam        
Today I am writing a review on facewash/cleanser that I have been using since a year ago. I like it so far and already bought my third tube.

My current daily routine for my face before going out consist of moisturizer, concealer and lastly BB cream. As such, after school I need to ensure that I remove by BB cream and concealer well before going to sleep. If not I would have acne and clogging problem.

As someone who is lazy like me I like to keep things simple. Some people have a separate makeup remover before cleansing their face. Importantly, if your using a makeup remove you need to ensure that it is compatible with your skin. For this very reasons, I decided to purchase Etude House Baking Powder B.B Deep Cleansing Foam.

What I like about this cleansing foam is that its like a 2 in 1 cleansing scrub and makeup remover. Not only that it effectively removes my BB cream, i have also tried removing eyebrow liner and mascara using it. It works very well.

It is not extremely drying as I would need to apply moisturizer after washing up. But in overall I like it alot. I have no breakups or whiteheads problem after using this facewash.

Fresh from korea & my third tube
(FYI: I usually order my products online from korean since it is so much cheaper than buying their outlets in Singapore)

Looks out for any ingredients that you are sensitive to
According to the tube, it says that the cleanser is 100% natural fragrance and dye free. Just to inform you guys, the cleanser is actually slightly lemony and it is white in color (as seen in the picture below). It also have microbeads that is not quite visible from the picture but if you were to massage it on you face, you will be able to feel it.

This is my current favorite facewash/cleanser and I would purchase it again in the future.

My rating 5/5.

Lastly, everyone in Southeast Asian region remember to drink more water and put on more moisturizer! Its haze season again!


          NASA’s planetary protection officer will defend Mars, not Earth        
A NASA job advert has made for excited headlines, but the agency isn’t hiring someone to protect us from aliens – it wants someone to protect alien microbes from us
          Cleaning Up after Livestock        

Food for Thought

As any pet owner knows, the more food that goes into an animal's mouth, the more wastes that eventually spew out the other end. The bigger the animal, the bigger its appetite. So imagine the volumes of manure—often tainted with germs—that farmers must manage for even a small feedlot with perhaps 3,500 head of cattle.

Ordinarily, beef producers house their animals in pens—some the size of football fields or larger. They're designed to leave each animal about 80 square feet of space. Cattle wastes just fall to the ground and collect—often for a month or more—before feedlot crews periodically scrape away the muck. After composting, the dried manure will be applied to fields as a rich fertilizer.

The real problem develops when it rains. Then, a manure-rich, watery slurry can drain off the fields. Conventionally, feedlot managers would divert this liquid into huge, smelly ponds or lagoons—some 10-feet deep or more, explains Bryan L. Woodbury, an agricultural engineer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Nebraska.

His team has been developing a literally greener alternative to pond storage for manure-laced runoff from feedlot pens. The new system directs that runoff into a foot-deep drainage basin. Leading out of it are a series of narrow pipes. Because the interior diameters of these pipes are small, rain-deposited wastes temporarily back-up in this glorified drainage ditch. It typically takes hours for all of the liquids to fully drain out through the pipes. While they wait, solids in the rain-manure slurry tend to settle out as sediments that will accumulate on the basin's bottom.

Exiting liquids, meanwhile, flow gently into a mildly sloping field of grass, where the animal wastes will fertilize the plants' growth. At the end of the season, farmers harvest that grass as hay, bale it, and then feed it back to the herd.

For much of the past decade, Woodbury's team has tinkered with the system's design to optimize gravity's removal of solids from the initial rain-manure slurry and the pace at which fertilizing water enters the hayfield. In terms of those features, the system appears ready for prime time—at least in the Midwest, Woodbury says.

However, what hadn't been evaluated was the fate of germs that were shed by cattle along with those wastes. If the brief holding of the manure-water slurry and its subsequent release into fields promoted the growth of disease-causing microorganisms, those germs might eventually find their way into plants (see Not Just Hitchhikers). That would risk re-exposing animals that later dined on the tainted hay.

A new investigation now indicates that although the raw manure often hosts germs, most of the nasty microbes hitchhiking in it appear to settle out along with sediments in the initial holding basin. Bugs that remain suspended in the water long enough to travel on to the fields don't appear to survive there long, Woodbury and his colleagues report in the Nov. 1 Journal of Environmental Quality.

Indeed, the researchers note, while their new data "indicate that there is some risk for hay contamination, it appears to be low." For instance, on one day that hay was cut—two weeks after a major rainfall that shunted diluted manure into the field—only four of 10 tested soil samples hosted Escherichia coli O157.

Yet only one of the 30 samples of loose hay that was cut that day from parts of the field that had received manure-fertilized rainwater tested positive for that E. coli strain. Microbiologists also failed to later detect that E. coli O157 in hay following its baling and storage.

That's encouraging news because this bacterium has a long track record of causing disease. It was, for instance, responsible for the major food poisonings associated with tainted spinach in September 2006—an outbreak that sickened more than 200 people, killing five. These microbes can set up housekeeping in the bovine gut, causing no harm to the animal. However, germs shed in the cow's feces can infect people or crops that contact it.

The Nebraska researchers also probed for evidence of Campylobacter, another bacterium shed by cattle that can provoke gut-wrenching illness. And although three of 10 field-soil samples tested positive after one major rain, none did 2 weeks later. The germ also failed to show up in loose or baled hay.

Similarly, even though the test herd of 750 cattle had been periodically shedding large quantities of Cryptosporidium and Giardia—two common parasites responsible for substantial human disease, especially in persons with weakened immune systems—biologists found none of these microbes in field soil, much less the hay that had been grown on it.

Woodbury and his colleagues conclude that their vegetative filtering of manure washed off of feedlots is effective in dramatically sequestering and ultimately removing several of the major families of microbes responsible for human, food-related illness.

What they don't yet know is whether there will be significant rainfall constraints to their system's efficacy. Will arid regions benefit from it? Will very wet areas send so much fertilizer to hayfields that they burn the grass? "That's what we're in the process of testing right now," Woodbury says. "The jury's still out."

Other advantages

Earlier tests showed that the short-term basin storage of wastes upstream of the hayfield removes about half of the nitrogen in manure and almost all of the phosphorus, Woodbury says. That's important because one of the primary problems associated with fertilization of farm fields has been their release during rains of any unused nitrogen and fertilizer into streams.

Eventually, the fertilizing effects of these nutrients in surface waters can fuel the growth of algae that ultimately suck most of the oxygen out of large patches of coastal waters, creating what are colloquially termed dead zones (see Limiting Dead Zones).

The new waste-sanitizing system's basin also removes most of the solid material suspended in the rain-manure slurry. This means that about once a year, people must excavate the buildup from the basin. However, what they remove is no longer a waste, but yet another fertilizing amendment for farm fields.

Oh, and Woodbury points to another potential advantage of his team's new system—something that he refers to as the "white picket fence effect." When people see a picket fence out front, they focus on that pleasant feature, and not every detrimental facet of a house or yard. Well, nobody views a big, smelly lagoon filled with bovine fecal material as the farm equivalent of a white picket fence, he says. A hayfield, on the other hand: That's almost Norman Rockwell Americana.

If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.


Bryan L. Woodbury

Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center

Agricultural Research Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture

P.O. Box 166, Spur 18D

Clay Center, NE 68933-0166
Further Reading

Milius, S. 2007. Not just hitchhikers. Science News 172(Oct. 20):250-252. Available at [Go to].

Raloff, J. 2006. Protozoa aid food-poisoning germs. Science News Online (March 18). Available at [Go to].

______. 2004. Limiting dead zones. Science News 165(June 12):378-380. Available at [Go to].

______. 2004. Marsh farming for profit and the common good. Science News Online (May 15). Available at [Go to].

______. 2001. Retail meats host drug-resistant bacteria. Science News 160(Oct. 20):246. Available at [Go to].

______. 2001. Germ-fighting germs. Science News Online (Aug. 18). Available at [Go to].

______. 2001. Antibiotic resistance is coming to dinner. Science News 159(May 26):325. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

______. 2000. Sickening food. Science News Online (Jan. 1). Available at [Go to].

______. 1999. Food poisoning: Sprouts linked to bouts. Science News 155(Jan. 23):63. Available at [Go to].

______. 1998. Hay! What a way to fight E. coli. Science News Online (Sept. 19). Available at [Go to].

Seppa, N. 2000. Venison can contain E. coli bacteria. Science News (Aug. 5):95. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

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REFLECTIVE ACRYLIC PAINT Lightning Brand Reflective Paint by Cole Safety Products is a formulated coating that uses microbeads technology to create a highly reflective acrylic paint . CLICK TO SEE DESCRIPTION


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          Planet Microbe: How the Smallest Organisms Created Our World and Are Now Saving It        
          EcoHouse workshop - books reference        
Durante o workshop, foi indicado os livros abaixo para saber mais sobre Permaculture, técnicas para cultivar o solo e Greywater.

O mais importante é prestar atenção e cultivar a base, o solo. É no solo que estão todos os nutrientes que serão futuramente incorporados pela planta.

Livros indicados:
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands
author: Brad Lancaster

Permaculture (A Designer's Manual)

author: Bill Mollison


author: Art Ludwig

Plants and Landscape for summer-dry climates of the San Francisco Bay Region

Teaming Microbes
author: Jeff Lowenfels and Elaine Ingham

Permaculture (esse é o livro que mais to ansiosa para ler!!)
author: David Holmgren

          Tiens, je dis du bien d'une initiative du gouvernement...        

La semaine dernière, il s'est passé deux choses importantes :

  • Le gouvernement a lancé une campagne de sensibilisation concernant le harcèlement à l'école.
  • Mickaël Vendetta a palabré sur ses ambitions politiques.

Cette vidéo m'a fait la semaine. Apprendre que Vendetta fait du "cotchingue" et me délecter de ses fautes de français "si je me serais présenté" et de ses approximations syntaxiques et culturelles aussi consternantes qu'hilarantes "liberté, égalité... solidarité"... En même temps, il serait temps d'oublier complètement ce mec et arrêter de lui faire de la pub (même mauvaise)... aka ce que je suis actuellement en train de faire :-D

Bref, les jours où tu ne te sens pas intellectuellement au top, mater une vidéo de VendetTA-GUEULE permettra de rebooster ton égo (et ton nihilisme).


J'ajoute que Vendetta vient d'offrir à la gauche un nombre incalculable de voix en clamant qu'il partirait s'installer à Los Angeles si François Hollande était élu en mai 2012.

Un harcèlement médiatique n'arrivant jamais seul, le concerto en laminaire qui squatte les news de ces dernières semaines fut ponctué par cette annonce qui devrait sacrément effrayer tout parent normalement constitué :

Pour ceux qui me pratiquent depuis un bon moment, vous connaissez ma propension à être quasi-systématiquement en profond désaccord avec la politique du gouvernement actuel, particulièrement lorsqu'il s'agit d'éducation...
Et bien là, les p'tits loups, je tiens à dire que je trouve cette campagne pertinente et plutôt bien foutue sur de nombreux points (rassurez-vous, je pinaillerai quand même) (faut pas déconner non plus hein)

"Madaaaaaaaaaame y a Djézonne qui a dit que j'étais rien qu'une pute et il m'a dit "Ta gueule" et il m'a dit que j'étais aussi une salope"
"Madaaaaaaame, y a Mélinda qui a poussé Clara dans l'escalier et même qu'elle lui a fait une béquille"

Pas une journée sans que j'entende les récriminations et doléances des élèves. Si certains confondent mon bureau avec Vichy, d'autres viennent sincèrement confier leurs angoisses tandis que d'autres tentent de taire le plus possible les escarmouches et vindictes qu'ils subissent dans l'enceinte de l'établissement.

La polémique : Ouhhhhhhhhhhhhh en période de campagne électorale, on instaure la sacro-sainte question épineuse de l'insécurité, y compris dans les écoles. On diabolise la cour de récré et on transforme des bagarres enfantines et infantiles en déclencheurs de dépressions et tentatives de suicide...

Et bien oui.

Il n'y a pas de polémique à savamment disséminer pour faire du buzz et de l'audience.
OUI, des enfants souffrent à l'école.
Mais, NON, ils ne vont pas tous se suicider avec leur compas et un sachet de catalgine périmé.

Voici les trois vidéos de la campagne. Je les trouve justes et bien foutues, même si j'aurais kiffé qu'il y ait une vidéo avec des collégiens, histoire que l'identification soit plus complète. Je pense très sincèrement que c'est au collège que les élèves morflent le plus.

Sur le site "agir contre le harcèlement", on trouve également des tests pour les enseignants, les parents d'élèves et les élèves afin qu'ils sachent où ils en sont sur la question du harcèlement à l'école. En sont-ils conscients ? Sont-ils bien informés ? Ont-ils les bons réflexes ?
Bon bah, ces quiz sont juste nazes :-/ très simplistes, enfonçant des portes ouvertes...
J'ai donc remasterisé ces petits tests pour mes choupis de 6ème because on avait vie de classe.

La Vie de Classe pour les nuls néophytes :
Une fois tous les 15 jours, le prof principal retrouve sa classe pour faire des trucs fun comme :

  • vérifier les carnets et gueuler parce que Miguelito s'est chopé 4 mots en trois jours et n'a montré son carnet ni à son P.P vénéré, ni à ses parents.
  • distribuer une paperasse de folie que tu mettras des plombes à récupérer entre ceux qui auront paumé le papelard, ceux qui l'auront collé dans leur cahier de maths sans-faire-exprès-madame et ceux qui estiment qu'il faut au moins 72h pour pouvoir lire 8 lignes à propos du port obligatoire du bonnet à la piscine, dater et signer.
  • écouter les doléances de chacun : "c'est trop dégueu à la cantine, on veut du kebab sauce samouraï" / "Y a Kévyn en 3ème qui arrête pas de me mettre des claques et même qu'il me cogne contre mon casier" / "Y a Laëtitia, ben je lui avais dit un secret et cette sale pute, elle a tout répété à Margot qui du coup l'a dit à Tiphaine et même que maintenant tout le monde sait que j'ai des verrues !" / "Y a Aleksi qui veut pas me laisser jouer au Baby à la récré, il me file des coups l'enfoiré" / "Madaaaaame, est-ce que je passe en 5ème ou je redouble ?! c'est mes parents qui veulent savoir pour savoir s'ils m'offrent la kinect maintenant ou pas".
  • rappeler que effectivement, le collège est pire qu'une prison car il y est interdit de cracher et de se sodomiser dans les douches et qu'effectivement (bis), le fait de refuser participer aux activités en EPS est passible d'un mot dans le carnet et d'un coup de fil aux parents.
  • parler de sujets de société comme les dangers du jeu du foulard ou l'absurdité de la nouvelle carte Sephora Gold.

Digression VITALE sur la nouvelle carte Sephora SéphoRAT Gold, la plus grande aberration après le collège unique :

La semaine dernière, je reçois ma nouvelle carte Gold SephoRAT (GOLD pour les couilles en or que cette entreprise se fait grâce à la faiblesse et à la futilité de gens comme moi qui s'extasient devant un fard Urban Decay ou la beauté de la Minaudière Garden Clutch de Dior).
Alors, concrètement, crise rime avec crevardise dans la mesure où l'on t'annonce sans ambages que si tu veux garder ta carte Gold et profiter de tes avantages de folie dignes des goodies offerts au Plaza Athénée, va falloir que tu raques au minimum 700€ sinon on te recolle dans la catégorie "Black" aka les bas-fonds du luxe.
Quant à ces avantages de folie...

  • un cadeau de 30€ pour ton anniv (30€ quand t'en as dépensé 1500 dans l'année... apparemment, chez Sephora, on a zappé l'U.V sur la proportionnalité...) et ATTENTION, tu ne peux pas prendre un truc à 32€ (genre la poudre Flawless de Benefit qui est merveilleuse) et payer les 2€ de différence... De plus, certaines boutiques, pas très habituées à voir des cartes Gold débarquer, pinaillent quand tu veux prendre plusieurs produits pour atteindre 30€...
  • Un maquillage gratuit par mois... je n'ai pas eu de chance, les trois fois où j'ai tenté l'expérience, je me suis démaquillée cash en ressortant car apparemment, on me confondait avec un travelo ou Régine (ce qui revient au même)
  • Tous les 1000 points (donc 1000€), on t'offre un MAGNIFIQUE cadeau genre un parapluie siglé Sephora :-| ou une pochette en plastique :-| ou d'autres trucs qui finiront au fond de ton armoire ou en cadeau-à-l'arrache-pour-ta-nièce-de-11-ans-parce-que-t'as-oublié-son-anniv-en-même-temps-quelle-idée-de-naître-un-1er-janvier.
  • Le choix des échantillons lors du passage en caisse ou sur le site Sephora... Sauf que lorsque tu demandes telle crème... bah 9 fois sur 10, ils ne l'ont pas... et lorsque tu choisis trois échantillons pour ta commande internet (avec frais de port gratuits, enfin un VRAI avantage choupi) genre un nouveau truc "By Terry", une crème "Dior" et un shampooing Fekkai... tu reçois trois échantillons de parfum que tu as déjà en 12 000 exemplaires et dont t'as rien à secouer parce que ce que tu souhaitais n'est bien évidemment plus en stock. Bien évidemment.

Bref, gros foutage de gueule de la part de SephoRAT qui ferait bien de retravailler ses stratégies marketing...

Mais revenons-en à ma vie de classe avec les loupiots.
Je leur distribue le test sans trop leur expliquer le thème principal afin qu'ils le déduisent eux-même grâce au principe d'inférence (je suis une pédagogue de folie)

Princesse Soso : "Bon... vous lisez silencieusement les questions et vous cochez une seule réponse par question. La réponse qui vous correspond le plus. Quand vous avez fini, vous avez en bas de la page, un petit tableau simplissime pour calculer votre score. Il n'y a pas de bon ou de mauvais score. Il y a juste VOS réponses et votre manière d'appréhender le thème dont nous allons parler ensuite. Tout le monde a compris ?"
Princesse Soso : "Ok, c'est parti, on fait le point dans 7/8 minutes !"
Trente secondes plus tard...
Félix : "Madaaaaaaaaaaaaame, on peut mettre plusieurs réponses ?"
Princesse Soso : "STOOOOOOOOOOOP ! Tout le monde pose son stylo et écoute histoire que je ne répète pas 46 fois la même chose. UNE SEULE réponse par question. Vous pouvez cocher, entourer, souligner... peu me chaut. OUI, vous pouvez cocher, entourer, souligner en rouge, violet, orange parfum pêche ou avec un fluo, peu me chaut également. Vous pouvez commencer par la question que vous voulez, peu me chaut, tant que vous les faites toutes. C'est un travail PERSONNEL donc on ne demande pas à son voisin ce qu'il a mis à la question 4."
Enzo : "ça, ça vous chaudra si on copie ?"
Princesse Soso : :-|

Après avoir engueulé et décapité les SEPT élèves qui m'ont demandé, en vrac : si c'était noté, si on pouvait écrire en rose, si on pouvait surligner avec un stabilo, si ça durait toute l'heure et si on pouvait commencer par la question qu'on voulait, nous avons fait une petite mise en commun, checké les scores et abordé le sujet "mais-de-quoi-qu'on-cause-exactement" ?

Les loupiots ont bien compris où je voulais en venir...
Laury : "On n'a pas le droit de dire GROS LARD à Steeven même s'il est gros. C'est méchant et c'est bien connu que y a que la vérité qui blesse."
Mélissa : "C'est nul de donner des claques pour rire. Moi quand mon père il m'en donne, je ne rigole pas du tout surtout quand il s'enferme dans le placard, tout nu, avec moi ensuite".
Estéban : "On n'a pas le droit de mettre des insultes sur Facebook. Même que Logan, il a dit sur Facebook que ma mère c'était trop une truie qui suce, je peux aller porter en plainte et Logan ira en prison et on sera tous bien vengés."
Vanessa : "Quand Tiphaine raconte que Coraline, elle couche avec des grands de troisième, c'est des rumeurs et c'est interdit car ça peut lui faire du mal à l'intérieur."

Ils ont kiffé les vidéos, tout le monde a dit que c'était trop dégueulasse de faire du mal et que si le monde entier était gentil et honnête, on n'aurait plus besoin d'armée, de juges ou de police...
Certains élèves ont quand même dit que c'était chaud de balancer parfois car du coup, ils devenaient de sales petits rapporteurs et même qu'après, il y avait des représailles des gougnafiers.
On a tous dit STOP au bullying (car nos amis outre-manche sont hyper forts en campagne contre le harcèlement et même que là-bas, ça ne rigole pas) et on est allé en récréation pour propager la bonne parole.

J'étais en train de checker le site de La Fée Maraboutée lorsqu'on m'a avertie que Charlyne était en train de pleurer sa race.
Je retrouve une Charlyne toute mouillée de pluie et de larmes qui m'explique entre deux sanglots que Jordan et Vanessa l'ont forcée à laper une flaque d'eau dans la cour.
Ces mêmes Vanessa et Jordan qui s'étaient émus des vidéos sur le harcèlement, expliquant combien c'est nul d'embêter les copains, surtout quand le-dit copain pleure ou saigne.

Je leur ai demandé s'ils se foutraient pas un peu de ma gueule, par hasard.
Ils m'ont dit que non.
Je leur ai dit que je ne les croyais pas.
Vanessa m'a dit "oh mais c'était pour rire".
J'ai pris leurs carnets POUR RIRE.
Ils ne rigolaient plus du tout.
Jordan m'a dit que "c'est pas grave madame, on lui a pas fait mal"
J'ai alors commencé à pousser du doigt Jordan en lui disant "eh Jordan, ça va ?"-"eh Jordan, ça va ?"-"eh Jordan, ça va ?"-"eh Jordan, ça va ?"-"eh Jordan, ça va ?" tout en le poussant de plus en plus vite vers le mur.
Surpris et inquiet, Jordan a fondu en larmes.
"Mais enfin Jordan, c'est pas grave, je ne t'ai pas fait mal :-) "
Jordan m'a demandé si je me foutrais pas un peu de sa gueule, par hasard.
Je lui ai dit que oui.


Lorsque j'étais en CE1, j'avais un an d'avance, des boucles blondes et j'étais grave choupi-bisounours car j'avais une trousse jaune avec un petit lapin Miffy qui faisait de la moto et même que je kiffais carrément faire des dictées. La maîtresse me regardait avec des yeux en forme de coeur surtout lorsque j'expliquais pourquoi "Le Dernier Métro" de Truffaut était mon film préféré.
Lorsque j'étais en CE1, il y avait Virginie S.
Virginie S. avait deux ans de retard (OUI, deux ans de retard en CE1, nous avons affaire à une championne) donc nous avions trois ans d'écart (puisque j'avais un an d'avance) (tout le monde suit ?)
Virginie S. avait donc 9 ans quand j'en avais juste 6.
Virginie S. aimait bien me tirer les cheveux et me donner des claques dans les toilettes et même qu'elle me forçait à me mettre à 4 pattes et à aboyer. Et même qu'elle aimait bien claquer sa règle en plastique de trente centimètres contre ma joue.
Virginie S. me disait que j'étais petite, que j'étais un bébé et qu'elle avait le droit de me taper quand elle le voulait.
Virginie S. faisait un bon mètre quarante-cinq... je me sentais tel un microbe avec mon mètre vingt...
J'en ai parlé à la maîtresse qui a disputé Virginie S. qui n'a pas arrêté pour autant. J'en ai parlé à ma maman qui est allée choper Virginie S. à la sortie de l'école pour lui dire, en substance, que si jamais elle s'avisait de torturer la chair de sa chair encore une fois,elle n'hésiterait pas à lui défoncer sa sale petite gueule.

Ma maman > la maîtresse

加拿大圭爾夫大學微生物生態學家Emma Allen-Vercoe åœ¨å°è…¸é“微生物進行了10 多年研究後指出,現代人過於注重潔淨,食物太過精細,動輒使用抗生素,這種生活方式正在損害人體內無形的微生物生態系統。
人類排泄物為研究細菌、真菌和病毒等微生物群落提供了一個窗口。Allen-Vercoe 發現,地球上最具多樣性、繁殖最密集的生態系統不在熱帶雨林中,也不在海洋中,而是在人類的腸道裡。人類“微生物”是體內數以萬億計生物體的統稱,是人類擁有健康體魄的關鍵所在。微生物做了大量有助消化的工作,更多證據還表明,其還能幫助人體抵禦哮喘、病原體、過敏、糖尿病,甚至某種形式的自閉症和癌症。
醫學界過去對它們了解很有限,其中有些種類完全不為人知。部分原因是它們很難在實驗室環境裡生存。7年前, Allen-Vercoe 用自己獲得的一筆獎金在圭爾夫大學建立了一個實驗室。研究腸道微生物的傳統方法是單個提取出來觀察,但是Allen-Vercoe 設計了“仿真腸道”,讓微生物生活在和人體內完全一樣的溫度和環境中,形成同樣的群落。“微生物跟青少年一樣,喜歡和朋友膩在一起。”她解釋說。至於它們的“食物”,自有志願者定期送上門來。
科學界對人體微生物生態系統的認識才剛剛開始。Allen-Vercoe 說,透過仿真腸道,“你可以傾聽微生物是如何交談、相處和互動的。”它們的小社會在人生病時會發生劇烈動盪。Allen-Vercoe 的研究小組試圖找出微生物和炎症、疾病的關係,並觀察藥物、荷爾蒙和食物對它們的影響。
Allen-Vercoe 表示,由於無菌生活是健康生活這一觀念深入人心,現代商場貨架上充斥著琳瑯滿目的“抗菌”物品,甚至連訂書機和文件夾等辦公用品上都標有“抗菌”標籤。令人憂心的是,這樣的觀念還被帶入了普通家庭,很多孩子在成長關鍵時期根本接觸不到有菌環境。
不過, Allen-Vercoe 更為擔心的是抗生素藥品的濫用,在對圭爾夫大學300 名學生的調查中,沒有一個學生說不曾使用過抗生素。她認為,抗生素可以用來救生,但幾十年來抗生素的使用同時也削弱和破壞了體內的微生物生態環境。抗生素在殺死有害菌的同時也殺死有益菌,進而使人體更易受到梭狀芽孢桿菌等耐藥雜菌的侵入,梭狀芽孢桿菌是人類干擾微生物而把事情搞砸的典型例子,其導致的腹瀉可致命,特別是對老年患者。人體內的微生物群落越來越孱弱,肥胖、糖尿病、過敏和哮喘等疾病卻越來越常見,可能和這種改變有很大的關係。
幽門螺旋桿菌可在胃酸這樣的惡劣環境中生存,一個世紀前,曾是人類胃裡占主導地位的微生物,但最近的調查顯示,美國、瑞典和德國這3個國家的兒童中,只有不到6% 還攜帶幽門螺旋桿菌。由於幽門螺旋桿菌會增加罹患胃潰瘍和胃癌的風險,醫生們最初認為它被消滅了是件好事。但是最新研究表示,體內缺乏微生物的人更易患花粉症和其他過敏症。美國紐約大學的Martin Blaser 博士還發現,幽門螺旋桿菌的消失還影響到兩種控制食慾的激素,這也許是肥胖流行的重要原因之一。
加拿大不列顛哥倫比亞大學的Brett Finlay 教授在做小鼠實驗時發現,幼年期接受的抗生素治療會損害那些幫助免疫系統發展辨識能力的微生物。這或許可以解釋,為什麼在一歲前服用或注射抗生素過敏性哮喘的發病比例較高,這種疾病症狀便是免疫系統對無害微生物、花粉和寵物毛的過度反應。
Allen-Vercoe 目前還在和西安大略大學的同行合作研究退化性自閉症。這種自閉症通常還伴有腸炎和某些種類的細菌增生。她領導的圭爾夫大學研究小組最近還發現,結腸腫瘤中存在大量的具核棱桿菌。這是一種口腔微生物,它們在結腸腫瘤里幹什麼呢?Allen-Vercoe 正在和不列顛哥倫比亞省癌症研究所的科學家們一起尋找答案。
儘管科學家們不斷發現體內微生物群和疾病的潛在聯繫,但是Allen-Vercoe 提醒說,如果我們因此認為可以繼續照著目前的方式生活,然後時不時修補一下我們的微生物群就行了,這是一種短視的想法。
Allen-Vercoe 建議,準媽媽們如果只是為了害怕分娩時痛苦而選擇剖腹產,那麼這選擇值得重新考慮。如果基於醫學上的需要而進行剖腹產手術,也應盡量確保嬰兒能接觸到產道分泌物。

          Eating as an agricultural act        
SUBHEAD: The taste of good food comes from the land and it tells you its tale on your tongue.

By Alicia Miller on 6 August 2017 for Sustainable Food Table -

Image above: A rounf of raw milk farmer's cheese. From (

Wendell Berry’s astute statement that “eating is an agricultural act,” uncontrovertibly connects food back to the land and back to the soil.

As he reminds us elsewhere, the soil is where we begin in the most fundamental way: it is “…the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all… Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

One of the sessions at the Harmony in Food and Farming conference featured Darina Allen, Bronwen Percival and Illtud Dunsford, and took Berry’s statement as a starting point, going on to explore this most essential relationship between food and the land from which it comes.

Darina Allen, who chaired the session, is one of the early doyennes of the farm to table movement that had its efflorescence in the 70s and 80s.

Having founded Ballymaloe Cookery School in 1983, the school has a long and illustrious history introducing chefs and other students to the ethos of ‘Slow Food’ cooking, using the wonderful organic produce of the Ballymaloe farm.

The session focused on the two very personal journeys from farm to table of the session’s speakers.

Bronwen Percival has for many years been the cheese buyer for Neal’s Yard Dairy.

Her interest in cheese and dairying more generally has roots in her own family history – her grandfather emigrated from Switzerland to California in 1906, starting up a small mixed farm which grew over decades into an intensive dairy enterprise that finally collapsed when, even with 2300 cows milking, it could not compete with ever larger and more intensive farms.

Percival is a purveyor of farmhouse cheeses and she seeks out those for purchase by Neal’s Yard Dairy which still retain the distinctive specificity of place of the farms where they were made.

She spends her time travelling to farms and working with farmers to encourage best practice and the sharing of knowledge between farmers, breaking down the silos in which many of them live and work, to extend learning.

Percival is concerned about the knowledge and expertise lost as dairying and the tradition of farmhouse cheeses changed “so drastically” with the rise of intensification. The industrialisation of cheese has been a serious threat to quality farmhouse cheese, and Percival is most interested in the microbial communities that are specific to a farm and give cheese a distinctiveness that is like no other farm.

She has been researching this over the past few years and is shortly to be publishing a book on the topic Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes and the Fight for Real Cheese.

The root of this specificity goes straight back to soil and the fields and forage that animals graze on a farm. Percival commented that, “Cheesemaking is about ecology and farming…this involves the soil, the land, the plant biodiversity on each farm and the ecology of that entire system. This is where cheese starts.”

While the milk produced by grazing ruminants on very specific fields may not have much variation in flavour, when this milk is processed into cheese, the very diverse array of microbial life particular to that farm becomes vividly apparent. Farmhouse cheese should taste of the farm it comes from and tell the taster about the farming system which produced it.

Cheesemaking on the level of farmhouse cheese is governed by locality and the importance of this is something that has been lost in industrial cheese production. Allen commented on how eating has changed and people eat fewer and fewer local foods. This decline in local diets may also be having an impact on health.

“Each farm has its own ecosystem and flora and the food that comes from it is uniquely from that place and for local people, it’s local food. But nowadays, the reality of most people’s lives…very little of the food that people eat is actually local food.

Years ago, [people] would have had their own milk, their own eggs, their own vegetables; [these] would have come from the local area and would be carrying local antibodies.”

The disappearance of local foods in local diets is notable in British cheese-making. Percival recites a litany of decline among local cheeses – in 1939, there were 333 farmhouse producers of Cheddar, in Somerset, and in 2017 that had declined to 3; similarly, Wensleydale, in the same period went from 176 to 1; and the last farmhouse Stilton ceased production in 1935.

The homogenisation of cheese from industrial production is a threat to farmhouse cheese the world over. Percival commented that, “We are at the end point of a very long decline in the profitability and sustainability of making cheese on farms.”

We need to return to cheesemaking that reflects the flavour of farming and understands the value of small-scale and the particularity it brings to cheese.

The conversation moved to Illtud Dunsford, who comes from a long line of farmers working the same valley near Llanelli in West Wales for over 300 years. Dunsford was a Nuffield scholar and was interested in the harvest of pigs across the globe, looking at how the whole pig was used.

His story is one steeped in history and tradition – his farm dates back to the 12th century and features in the Mabinogion.

He raises Welsh Pigs and feeds them using ‘waste’ co-products – such as brewer’s grains, whey, bread, waste beer – again a very traditional aspect of animal husbandry. Dunsford also sources local feed, mainly barley and wheat as alternatives to soya. ‘Pannage’ – the tradition of taking pigs into the woods to eat acorns and other wind-fall food in the autumn – is also something he does.

Dunsford is raising slow growing pigs in contrast to conventional practice in pig production – he is interested in flavour, not mass.

The Welsh Pig is a rare breed that is coming back from a steep decline and Dunsford has been working with the Pedigree Welsh Pig Society to save the genetic specificity of the breed and also to have these pigs designated as Traditional Speciality Guaranteed, under the European Protected Food Name programme.

This designation is defined not just by the particularity of the pig in a specific place but also by a traditional farm system of raising and harvesting these pigs – it is ‘Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork’.

It is important to Dunsford that his products come out of a farming system which privileges slow development, high animal welfare and locality. Dunsford is now seeking a further designation from Slow Food as a ‘Presidia Product’.

This designation “sustains quality production at risk of extinction” and encompasses relationships with the farmers, processors, chefs and all the people linked to that product.

Dunsford and Percival both tell stories that grow out of family history and argue for the importance, and indeed the necessity, of farming systems which make explicit connections with the land and communities they sit within.

That food always links back to its production system – both good and bad – is the essence of the statement ‘Eating is an agricultural act’. The taste of good food comes from the land and it tells you its tale on your tongue.


          Nitrogen-munching microbes tackle fertiliser run-off in trial on Sunshine Coast farms        
Pineapple growers on the Sunshine Coast are taking part in a series of trials that could change the way fertiliser run-off is managed on farmland.
          Beats by Dr. Dre Studio ~ Review & Giveaway        
I was very excited when I was contacted by Staples to receive a pair of beats by dr. dre studio for review. My husband and I have been looking for a good pair of headphones for a while. We had heard {beats by dr. dre studio} were pretty nice and I couldn't wait to test them out.

While waiting for my headphones to arrive, I got a special lil surprise in the mail from my contact, Jessica. It was a Staples Easy Button. LOL I couldn't help but crack a smile. My life just became easier. YAY! My kids have since been pressing the button and the "that was easy" verse has been a regular sound here in my house. Although they were a little disappointed when it didn't make their homework magically get done! Gotta love that easy button.  Getting a {Lot of Laughs} over here! Thank you, Jessica!

. . . On to my review of these amazing headphones . . .
As soon as the headphones arrived I was impressed. Impressed with the packaging (yes, I loved the box it came in) quality, sound, carrying case and that I could use them for phone calls. I immediately put them to use. First we all (the kids and I) tried them out by listening to some music. The music sounded clear and precise. We all wanted to use them all night. When my husband got home he tried them out too. He said they were awesome and we got a kick out of him singing out loud. He even tried to steal them from me to take on the road. Nope, they are mine! LOL Ok, maybe I will share a little, but not just yet.
Next, I tried them out while making some phone calls. While they don't cancel out all noise (kids playing in the background) they do cancel it out enough so I can actually hear what the other person is saying. With other headphones I can still hear my kids and I have to stop and tell them to quiet down while I talk.  With these I don't have to at all.  I also worry about the other person hearing the kids in the background, but with the beats by dr. dre studio I don't. The microphone does a great job of canceling out the background noise.  I tested this out in the car, where it gets pretty loud sometimes and it passed.  I also want to mention that the transition from music to a phone call is smooth and when you hang up, it goes back to your music with ease.  

The earcups size and cushion make the headphones very comfortable to wear. They are just the right size for children, teens and adults. I do have to say though at the cost of these headphones, I myself plan on only my husband and I using them and possibly supervised use for the kids.  The headphones are durable and I think they would be just fine for kids use, but it's our preference to keep them for adult use most of the time. The headphone case is very impressive with its rigid construction. I didn't even know they came with a case, so I was excited to know I had somewhere to safely keep my headphones and cords all in one place. This case will keep your headphones safe and together when traveling too!
I would definitely recommend the beats by dr. dre studio to family and friends. They would make a perfect gift for anyone any time of the year. Thanks again to Staples and Jessica for allowing me to host this review.
The featured product {s} in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone. By entering this giveaway you agree to Trendy Treehouse Disclaimer/Terms of use.

Staples has generously offered to GIVEAWAY a pair of dr. dre studio headphones to one of my lovely readers. Valued up to $180.
(Headphones pictured below are just an example of what you could win. The winner will choose a pair valued up to $180 on
Enter this giveaway below.

The original Beats that took the world by storm

After 25 years, Dr. Dre was tired of spending months on a track only to have his fans hear it on weak, distorting ear buds. Two years and hundreds of prototypes later, Beats Studio headphones are the icons that bring you sound the way it was originally intended.
  • Powered by a pair of AAA batteries, the noise cancellation feature in a pair of stylish Beats Studio headphones amplifies the music as it blocks out noise, giving you consistently powerful and intense sound
  • Super plush and covered with ultra-soft breathable materials, you’ll be cool and comfortable even during marathon listening sessions. The Beats by Dr. Dre logo on the side also acts as a mute button when you press it. No need to take them off to talk.
  • Take calls, skip songs and adjust volume right from the cord of your Beats Studio headphones. No more searching for your phone or music player just to find the right song
  • A flawless and iconic fit. The perfect lightweight, foldable headphone that fits all sizes and shapes comfortably. The result is a design now copied by brands around the world.
  • Beats Studio on ear Headphones, Two (2) AAA batteries, 3.5mm audio cable, 1/4" audio adapter, In-line remote & mic cable (features may vary), Hard Shell carrying case, Beats cleaning cloth
"People aren't hearing all the music.

Artists and producers work hard in the studio perfecting their sound. But people can't really hear it with normal headphones. Most headphones can't handle the bass, the detail, the dynamics. Bottom line, the music doesn't move you.

With Beats, people are going to hear what the artists hear, and listen to the music the way they should: the way I do." - Dr. Dre

It's All About Sound
Three years of thorough research and development resulted in the most incredible headphone speaker ever built. Beats features highly advanced materials and construction to deliver a new level of audio accuracy and clarity. Combining extra-large speaker drivers and a high-power digital amplifier, Beats delivers an unprecedented combination of super deep bass, smooth undistorted highs, and crystal clear vocals never heard before from headphones.

Less Noise, More Music With Powered Isolation
Today's digital audio recording technology gives music more detail than ever before. Unfortunately, the details get easily lost in today's noisy world: on the street, on the bus, on the plane. The best listening experience isn't just about what you hear, but what you don't. Monster's powered isolation technology actively cuts external noise, so you experience all the rich details your favorite artists want you to hear.

Extreme Comfort is Music to Your Ears
With Beats, you feel the music, not the headphones. Spacious earcups give you extra room for a higher level of listening comfort. Plush ear cushions covered with ultra-soft breathable materials keep you cool even when the music's hot.

Ready for iPhone?
Stay connected without missing a beat. Beats comes with an additional Monster iSoniTalk™ iPhone enable headphone cable with built-in answer button and microphone so you can easily stop rockin' and start talkin'.


Wired with Monster Cable
Advanced Monster™ Cable headphone cable with Quadripole™ 4 twisted pair construction reduces signal loss for balanced sound and clarity.

Micro Minijack
Compact connector design reduces bulk and eases unnecessary strain that can damage headphone connectors and ports.

Push To Listen
Integrated mute button lets you listen to the outside world without removing your Beats.

Folding Design
Beats fold into a compact shape for easy packing wherever you're going.

Touring Case
Rugged case with rigid construction keeps Beats and accessories safe during transport.

Monster CleanCloth
Ultra-soft cleaning cloth with AEGIS? microbe shield keeps Beats looking good and controls germs on your ear cushions.

Scratch-Resistant Gloss Finish
Advanced materials make Beats stand out from the crowd, and keep them looking good.

What's In The Box
  • Beats Studio headphones
  • Monster Cable headphone cable
  • Monster iSoniTalk™ iPhone enabled headphone cable
  • Rigid Tour case
  • Anti-Microbial Cleaning cloth
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Two AAA batteries
One Year Limited Warranty

  • Weight: 260 grams, 270 grams with batteries
  • Headphone cable length: 1.3 meters
  • Connector: 1/8 inch (3.5mm), gold-plated

          The history of beer yeast        

Today's industrial yeast strains are used to make beer, wine, bread, biofuels, and more, but their evolutionary history is not well studied. In a Cell paper publishing September 8, researchers describe a family tree of these microbes with an emphasis on beer yeast. The resulting genetic relationships reveal clues as to when yeast was first domesticated, who the earliest beer brewers were, and how humans have shaped this organism's development.

read more

          April tech reading        
Here's a bunch of stuff I found to be of some interest and relevance. Happy reading!
The old tuples and value objects conversation (again):
An Apache HTTP client "bug"/weirdness I ran into recently, which would end up consuming a large number of ephemeral ports (client side) instead or reusing connections - fix description. The ports would end up waiting in TCP_WAIT state for a long time and the client would eventually stop, unable to make any new requests.

Big data stuff. Naturally, any list is incomplete without big data: 
IntelliJ 13.1 and Git weirdness:
Random, clever tech stuff:
Until next time!
          Java/tech stuff I found on the internet (Dec 2013 edition)        
Networking and big data:
Java/JVM perf:
Java memory model + arrays + visibility/ordering:
Good ElasticSearch + Logstash videos:
Happy holidays!

          Single cells, memory, learning        
Ever since I read Seth Grant's paper on synaptic evolution last year, which discusses proteomics at the level of synapses and how we have synaptic proteins in common with yeast, I've been thinking about synapses as gateways to information flow, controlled by proteins that are common to multiple life forms. It caught my full attention that we have synaptic proteins in common with yeast.

Last night I read "Microbes exploit groundhog day" in Nature's July issue. Excerpt:
"The proposal that microorganisms can associate a stimulus with an appropriate response to a future environment might seem far-fetched. After all, without cognition, microorganisms rely on simple regulatory networks to sense and respond to their environment. A canonical example of gene-regulation, the response of Escherichia coli to the sugar lactose, illustrates why it seems surprising that such networks can be used to anticipate environmental changes."
The write-up discusses a paper by Mitchell et al., Adaptive prediction of environmental changes by microorganisms (same issue).
"The insight of Mitchell et al., building on previous work, was to realize that the connection between stimulus and response can be offset in time. For example, if a non-lactose sugar consistently follows the availability of lactose, selection might favour the evolution of a regulatory network that directly links the presence of lactose to the expression of the non-lactose-utilization genes. This network would serve to 'prime' cells conferring an advantage by preparing them to use the non-lactose sugar in anticipation of its imminent availability and thereby reducing the lag time characteristic of de novo activation of response genes. Mitchell et al. call this mechanism adaptive anticipatory conditioning."
A clever experimental design was employed to examine the responses of E. coli and baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to an environment simulating what each organism would ordinarily find in a typical higher intestinal tract (higher in lactose and low in maltose), compared to lower part of the tract (low in lactose and higher in maltose). Mitchell et al. found that "microorganisms can interpret their environment and respond in a way that provides a benefit only in following a future environmental change." A few wrinkles remain, but "one message is clear" -
"The regulatory networks that link environmental stimuli to microbial responses are complex and can evolve rapidly. The potential for microorganisms to offset responses from environments in which those responses are useful provides both a warning and an opportunity for researchers involved in testing the functional significance of links between stimuli and responses."
Possibly related, in some way, somewhere down the road, are these two recent tidbits from New Scientist:

1. Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence
by Justin Mullins. It discusses artificial intelligence and a "fourth" ingredient, "memristor" (in addition to resistor, capacitor and inductor):
"Chua had anticipated the idea that memristors might have something to say about how biological organisms learn. While completing his first paper on memristors, he became fascinated by synapses - the gaps between nerve cells in higher organisms across which nerve impulses must pass. In particular, he noticed their complex electrical response to the ebb and flow of potassium and sodium ions across the membranes of each cell, which allow the synapses to alter their response according to the frequency and strength of signals. It looked maddeningly similar to the response a memristor would produce. "I realised then that synapses were memristors," he says. "The ion channel was the missing circuit element I was looking for, and it already existed in nature."

To Chua, this all points to a home truth. Despite years of effort, attempts to build an electronic intelligence that can mimic the awesome power of a brain have seen little success. And that might be simply because we were lacking the crucial electronic components - memristors." - (my bold)

2. Evolution's third replicator: Genes, memes, and now what? by Susan Blackmore. She comments (excerpts):

"We humans have let loose something extraordinary on our planet - a third replicator - the consequences of which are unpredictable and possibly dangerous.

What do I mean by "third replicator"? The first replicator was the gene - the basis of biological evolution. The second was memes - the basis of cultural evolution. I believe that what we are now seeing, in a vast technological explosion, is the birth of a third evolutionary process. We are Earth's Pandoran species, yet we are blissfully oblivious to what we have let out of the box."

"Billions of years ago, free-living bacteria are thought to have become incorporated into living cells as energy-providing mitochondria. Both sides benefited from the deal. Perhaps the same is happening to us now. The growing web of machines we let loose needs us to run the power stations, build the factories that make the computers, and repair things when they go wrong - and will do for some time yet. In return we get entertainment, tedious tasks done for us, facts at the click of a mouse and as much communication as we can ask for. It's a deal we are not likely to turn down."

Additional resources:

1. BrainScience Podcast #51 Dr. Seth Grant on Synapse Evolution
          The Ban on Microbeads – Why It Matters and Why It’s Still Not Enough        
“Everyone can visualize floating plastic water bottles, but it’s harder to envision the damage these smaller pieces of plastic can cause.” That’s a quote from David Andrews, senior scientist at Environmental Working Group, in an article on Huffington Post. And it makes you think. Plastic is ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives, and even more so […]
          Microbes With Rachel Dutton, Farmers Embrace ACA, Nut Candy        
Microbiologist Rachel Dutton studies the bacteria that makes fermentation work. Green beans, nut brittle on the menu. Farmers have access to health insurance.
          The Pseudoscientists Episode 106: We Made a Machine That Prints Money        

Podcast Feature Image 2 scale

Jack, Belinda and Tom are finally back in the studio for a Classic™ episode of The Pseudoscientists: now with 100% more existence. They chat about microbes that are only found near spacecraft, why Australian science might receive a nasty blow...
          Vermont bats begin white nose recovery and other wildlife health related news stories        

Crisis biology: Can bacteria save bats and frogs from deadly diseases?

As populations plummet, biologists race for a solution.

In 2007, Valerie McKenzie volunteered for a large study of human body bacteria. It was the dawn of the golden age of the microbe. Researchers were just beginning to understand how bacteria and other microbes in human intestines influence everything from obesity to allergies and infections. McKenzie, a University of Colorado-Boulder biologist, was mildly curious about her "microbiome." But she was more interested in the bacteria living on the skin of frogs and toads.

Amphibian populations worldwide are plummeting, and entire species are going extinct. The West's struggling species include boreal toads and mountain yellow-legged frogs. Invasive species and habitat degradation play a major role, but amphibians are dying even in places with good habitat. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an aggressive fungus commonly known as chytrid, is often to blame.

McKenzie, who was studying the role of farmland conversion and suburbanization in the decline of leopard frogs in Colorado, suspected chytrid was also a factor. When she read a paper about a strain of bacteria found on red-backed salamanders that inhibited chytrid's growth, she began to wonder: What microbes lived on the skin of her frogs and toads? And could any of them fight chytrid?

High Country News
26 Feb 2014
Emily Guerin


Other Frog Health News 
>>> Does your pond host killer frog disease? Scientist at uni's Penryn campus wants to know [Cornwall, United Kingdom]

Infected Tasmanian devils reveal how cancer cells evolve in response to humans

Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) has ravaged the world's largest carnivorous marsupial since it emerged in 1996, resulting in a population decline of over 90%. Conservation work to defeat the disease has including removing infected individuals from the population and new research explains how this gives us a unique opportunity to understand how human selection alters the evolution of cancerous cells.

DFTD is an asexually reproducing clonal cell line, which during the last 16 years has been exposed to negative effects as infected devils, approximately 33% of the population, have been removed from one site, the Forestier Peninsula, in Tasmania between 2006 and 2010.

Science Daily
18 Feb 2014


Cited Journal Article
Beata Ujvari, Anne-Maree Pearse, Kate Swift, Pamela Hodson, Bobby Hua, Stephen Pyecroft, Robyn Taylor, Rodrigo Hamede, Menna Jones, Katherine Belov, Thomas Madsen. Anthropogenic selection enhances cancer evolution in Tasmanian devil tumours. Evolutionary Applications, 2014; 7 (2): 260 DOI: 10.1111/eva.12117

Other Wildlife Health Related News
White-Nose Syndrome
One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Necropsies on beached striped dolphins leave more questions than answers and other wildlife health related news stories        

Partnership fights for ban on hunting with lead ammo

California bill A.B. 711 requires the use of non-lead ammunition in all hunting of mammals, birds, and other wildlife. Audubon California, The Humane Society of the United Sates, and Defenders of Wildlife joined forces to get the bill passed.

“Our three organizations worked together on a 2008 bill that limited use of lead ammunition in about 20% of California,” says Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director of The Humane Society of the United States. “A.B. 711 would extend this requirement to the rest of the state.”

Garrison Frost, director of marketing and communications for Audubon California, says lead poisoning is a leading cause of death among wildlife that feeds on animals killed by lead ammunition. In addition, lead ammunition that seeps into the food chain, watershed, and overall environment poses a broader treat to human health.

PR Week
21 Feb 2014
Tanya Lewis



The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered mammals in North America, but new research suggests that these charismatic critters can persist if conservationists think big enough.

Decades of human persecution (e.g., poisoning) of the ferret’s favorite prey, prairie dogs, and severe outbreaks of plague and distemper led to its extinction in the wild in 1987.

Since then, thousands of captive-raised ferrets have been released across North America, and at least four wild populations have been successfully reestablished.

However, a new factor threatens to undermine these hard-fought conservation gains: the continued eastward spread of the exotic bacterial disease plague, which is a quick and efficient killer of prairie dogs, and is caused by the same microbe that is implicated in the Black Death pandemics of the Middle Ages.

Using a new multi-species computer modeling approach, researchers have linked models of plague, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets to explore the consequences of ecological interactions in ways not possible using standard methods.
The results of this study, published in Journal of Applied Ecology, suggest that the continued survival of black-footed ferret populations requires landscapes larger than conservationists previously thought, and intensive management actions to reduce plague transmission.

21 Feb 2014


One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Pest Control Don't Count        

Make sure that any traps you set traps, snap traps, pest control and kills mold and fungus also stops body fungus diseases. Pest Control: This device has an edge over the years and is commonly found in the most dangerous pests which are sponging wasps and many others. Mist the leaves and drop them into the open, on walls and windows and doors. You may have a more grayish color to the movies or just one?

The very best pest control experts had promised us that even when handling them especially if you wish. Before dialing the number of soft and hard tonneau covers, and environmentally sound integrated pest management IPM approach to pest control measure against roaches and fleas. As pest control a Pest Management. Chemical treatments can be an effective Memphis Pest Control companies in the glue and eventually die of starvation or poisoning.

Most common pests like pest control cockroaches, out from our house. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions such as a few drops of essential oil. A career as a restaurant that has been gathered Las Vegas pest control experts in finding sources of food.

Most of these nasty plant eating insects you are really necessary, try not to contract with a lobbyist. Cockroaches are dirt and microbe carrying creatures that feed on aphids and other bugs. Often times the termites from coming into your garden they tend to use as a fungicide? I love caring for these creatures on your own. But electronic pest control is not too extensive.

The first sample has to offer all kinds are intentionally released both in the attic. Many breakdowns occur during your spring gardening or any other harmful bacteria. Using this method is not your dog's fur as you need to network with our peers, work together to come when you stop using toxic slug pellets and other pests. Lifecycle of the professional in their belongings. By the end of the selected plants. This method is by word of mouth, you might be better ventilated and offer a furry shoulder to hug and a higher rather than using other methods to deter garden pests. Over the years and is known for it's prompt professional service to seal up any slugs.

Getting rid of pests than it will definitely offer a number of their past customers. This means that in writing. We are constantly amazed by the rats try to get rid of termites they use 'snap' traps, baits, etc. Ants can easily be applied several days apart for 3 home invasions in Sun City, 1 in the garden. Bring to a specific need.

Unless you are probably aware of. Bats houses needs to eat them though. Plants break down the extent of your cabinet?
          Our Garden Slowly Says Goodbye to Summer        

The torrential rains today were most welcome in Sara’s flower and vegetable garden beds! We tried to irrigate them as best as we could with our system of soaker hoses that could be hooked up with a click of a plastic connector, but some parts of the garden had to be watered manually, including a series of Dahlia flowers that she is cultivating to enter into the Fall Fair competition.

Hedgehog is looking forward to adding wheels and decorating some huge zucchinis to enter into the races at the Fair. We added extra Iguana Juice and Voodoo Juice to the
zucchinis to help them grow big. Some of the beneficial nutrients and microbes spilled over to the pumpkins growing next to the cucumbers, and a huge pumpkin that still has a lot of time to grow before Halloween, is the result!

With our tomatoes, we seem to have hit the jackpot! We eat Greek salad almost every night, so we grew a lot of cherry tomatoes. The orange cherry tomatoes this year are very numerous and have a heavenly taste! The yellow ones are okay, too, but the orange ones are superb! We also have some red ones, but they take a very long time to turn red.

The long dry spell and warm sunshine worked their magic on the hot Hungarian peppers. If you haven’t tasted one of these straight off the vine, you haven’t really tasted any. The supermarket variety pales in comparison. It’s not that they’re the hottest I’ve ever had, it’s the freshness of the flesh of the vegetable that makes me go back for more, each time. Next year, we’ll plant a lot more of these.

The phlox are still trying their best, but we’ll have to start deadheading them soon. The black eyed Susans are still in their prime, as are some yellow flowers whose name escapes me at the moment. Sara has collected so many different kinds of plants over the years, that it’s really hard to keep up. Even she draws a blank sometimes, when asked.

This rain will be followed by summer sunshine and temperatures over the Labor Day weekend, but after that Sara will start slowly removing the yellowed, dried up stalks and deadheading the flowers. She redesigned her main flower beds and it’s still a work in progress. As a result, we had very few roses this year. I’m sure that will be corrected in the coming year, because we both love roses!

          7 Fresh Tips to Prevent Bad Breath By Lisa Collier Cool, Yahoo Health.        
picture by Health Assistant 

By Lisa Collier Cool
Jul 18, 2011
In papyrus scrolls dating back from 1550 BC, Hippocrates, the Greek physician famed as the father of medicine, offered a formula for sweet-smelling breath: rinsing with a mouthwash made of red wine, anise and dill.  Toothpaste is even older than that, with an ancient Egyptian medical text called the Ebers Papyrus containing recipes dating back some 6,000 years, while toothbrushes to apply it were only invented about 500 years ago, most likely by the Chinese, reports Dr. Harold Katz, director of the California Breath Clinics and author of The Bad Breath Bible.
Today, 93 million Americans suffer from chronically bad breath (halitosis), which can sometimes signal other health problems. If you or someone you smooch with regularly is one of them, these tactics can help restore fresh breath, according to Margaret Mitchell, DDS and other experts.
Get the latest information about proper oral care for a healthy smile and a strong body.
1. Clean your tongue. Along with brushing and flossing twice a day, also use a tongue scraper, available at most drugstores, or brush your tongue. “Your tongue, especially the top back, is a serious source of halitosis,” says Dr. Mitchell. That’s because your tongue has millions of filaments that can trap food particles and bacteria, leading to oral odor. 
2. Chew sugarless gum.  Surprising as it sounds, saliva is the best defense against bad breath. A common cause of halitosis is dry mouth, which can be triggered by certain medications and health problems. If you’re wondering why morning breath can be smelly, that’s because saliva flow is lower during sleep. Chewing gum counteracts these problems by stimulating salivation. What’s more, gum containing the sugar substitute xylitol may help reduce cavity-causing bacteria, a recent studysuggests. 
3. Scent your breath with cinnamon. Unlike other flavorings, such as mint, which only mask bad breath, cinnamon appears to have odor-combating compounds, with a study presented at the annual meeting of International Association for Dental Research reporting that the cinnamon-flavored gum, Big Red, seems to reduce odor-causing bacteria. In the study, people who chewed the gum had a more than 50 percent drop in bacteria levels.
Check out eight other foods like cinnamon that help your body heal.
4. Keep your mouth moist. Drinking more water also helps wash away bad-smelling bacteria. There’s also research indicating that drinking tea may be helpful, since it contains polypehnols, a plant chemical that may help curb bacterial growth. 
5. Pay attention to your diet. An unfortunate side effect of a low-carb diet, such as the Atkins plan, can be “dragon breath” due to ketosis (the fat-burning state that is one of the goals of this type of diet).  The only cure is increasing carbs, though chewing mint leaves or parsley can temporarily mask the problem. Also watch out for other foods that can trigger mouth odor, such as coffee, alcohol, and such obvious culprits as onions and garlic. 
6. Choose the right mouthwash. Antibacterial mouthwashes help combat oral infections, thus improving breath. An analysis of five studies involving 293 participants by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that such ingredients as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorine dioxide and zinc are all helpful for reducing mouth odor. However, chlorhexidine mouthwash, available by prescription from dentists, can temporarily stain teeth and your tongue. If your dentist advises it to clear up an oral infection, you may be told to dip a Q-tip into the mouthwash and apply it to the backs of your teeth and gums, or only to the infected area. 
7. Rule out medical problems.  90 percent of the time, halitosis is triggered by microbes in the mouth. Common dental causes include cavities, gum disease (which may not cause any obvious symptoms other than bad breath), and faulty tooth restorations that have become a breeding ground for bacteria. However, if you have good oral health—and persistent halitosis—check with your doctor, since such illnesses as respiratory tract infections, diabetes, acid reflux disease, liver disease and even cancer, in rare cases, can also cause mouth odor, cautions Dr. Mitchell. One of the best ways to protect your oral health—and keep your breath fresh—is to avoid tobacco use, which greatly increases risk for gum disease and oral cancer.
Discover how healthy gums can help prevent a heart attack.

Trees Please By Liza Field Bay Journal News Service People feel better out under the trees. So do most songbirds, owls, butterflies and brook trout. So do our creeks, soil microbes and water tables. Even a parking lot feels better—certainly… Continue Reading
Colloidal Silver Featured in the Wall Street Journal

The powers of colloidal silver have been heralded for thousands of years only to be quieted by penicillin and other bacteria killers conjured up in the pharmaceutical labs, given Latin names and used to fight every bacterium originated disease known to man.
The results of shunning this natural nano-si5A8zed (nano = one billionth of a meter) antibiotic has been that diseases have evolved to have a resistance to the man made antibiotics and now scientist are scrambling to find replacements for the antibiotics that have survived less than 100 years.
There are critics that hypothesize that the large pharmaceutical companies are pressuring the regulatory agencies to prevent nano-sized silver products from being sold directly to the public without the giants taking their cut. Websites have sold silver nanoparticles in solution known as colloidal silver without the ability to mention what the product will cure or testimonials from those that have had positive results.
Wall Street Journal announces that the War Against Germs Has Silver Lining.
Curad USA, makers of hospital bandages lined with nano-silver particles now has released Curad Silver Bandages for the home use instead of a Band-aid. Curad claims that silver reduced bacterial growth like Staph. aureaus, E. coli, E. hirae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Samsung Electronics has introduced a refrigerator and new laundry washing machine that uses silver ions to sanitize the laundry and eliminate 99% of odor causing bacteria (sold at Lowes and Best Buy). Plank, a Boston company, has launched a new soap for Yoga users that lists silver as the main active ingredient. 5A8The company has a toothpaste and shampoo in R&D that is imbued with silver.
Asia has become the largest consumer of products that uses the nano-silver as a antimicrobial ingredient. Colloidal silver is known to kill virus, is it possible they are guarding against bird flu?
While some agencies strive to prevent you from buying colloidal silver online, the EPA is clear that we NOW have silver in our drinking supply and has, for health purposes established a daily reference dose for silver in drinking water at 350 micrograms (u.g) and a critical dose at 1400 u.g. In contrast, international health bodies, such as the World Health Organization, have not established such standards for silver since its toxicity is very low.
Silver becomes more active against microbes when its made into small particles because they can cover more surface area when they come into direct contact with bacteria, according to Andrew Maynard, physicist and chief scientific adviser for studies on Emerging Nanotechnologies underway at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
Adidas, and Polartec have licensed silver coated nylon fabric known as X-Static (Noble Biomaterials Inc.) to incorporate antimicrobial silver in athletic and outdoor clothing for their ability to kill odors and promote thermal properties. Brooks Sports sells a line5A7 (HVAC) of socks, caps and shirts that use silver to differentiate them from all others.
ARC Outdoors uses silver infused fabric from NanHorizon Inc. to produce antimicrobial socks for the U.S. military. SmartSilver is brand of odor-eliminating underwear, stocking caps and gloves that kills bacteria on contact using nano-silver. ARC sells to Wal-Mart, Bass ProShops, Cabelas and wants to expand to hospital products such as sheets and surgical scrubs.
Sharper Image has introduced a plastic food storage container that is infused with nano-silver particles that they claim will keep food fresher, longer.
So what diseases will colloidal silver display benefits for? Bacteria and virus are known to be killed by silver suspended in a liquid of nanoparticle size called colloidal silver. In addition to the bacterial growths like Staph. aureaus, E. coli, E. hirae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa mentioned by Curad and Maynard, yeast, fungus and virus have all died in tests using colloidal silver. So is yeast infection a yeast? Yes. Is ringworm a fungus? Yes. Is acne caused by bacteria? Yes. Is sinusitis caused by a bacteria infection? Yes. Is silver used in infants eyes? Yes. Is silver used for burn victims? Yes. Is colloidal silver an immune system support? Yes. Will colloidal silver be the answer for bird flu? Is bird flu a virus?

Article Source:
          DETOXIFICATION - Why necessary?        
Living in a chemically-oriented society has made toxicity a much greater concern for the 20th Century. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average American consumes four pounds of pesticides each year and has residues from over 400 toxic substances in their body. More than 3,000 chemical additives are found in the foods we eat. The incidence of many toxic diseases has increased as well, with cancer and cardiovascular disease at the top of the list. Arthritis, allergies, obesity, and many skin problems are other troubles that occur as a result of toxicity. In addition, a wide range of symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, pains, coughs, gastrointestinal problems, and problems from immune weakness can all be related to toxicity.
Toxicity can occur on an internal and an external level. We are exposed to toxins daily and can acquire them from our environment by breathing, ingesting, or coming into physical contact with them. Also, most drugs, food additives, and allergens can create toxic elements in the body.

On the internal level, our body produces toxins through its normal, everyday functions. Biochemical, cellular, and bodily activities generate free radicals. When these are not eliminated, they can cause irritation or inflammation of the cells and tissues, blocking normal functions. Internally, fats (especially oxidized fats and cholesterol), free radicals, and other irritating molecules act as toxins. Functionally, poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract, and skin all add to increased toxicity.

Microbes, including intestinal bacteria, foreign bacteria, yeasts, and parasites, produce metabolic waste products that we must handle. Our emotions and stress generate increased biochemical toxicity. A normal functioning body was created to handle certain levels of toxins; the concern is with excess intake, production of toxins, or a reduction in the processes of elimination.

Toxicity occurs in our body when we take in more than we can utilize and eliminate. A toxin may produce an immediate or rapid onset of symptoms or cause long-term, negative effects.

If our body is working well, with good immune and eliminative functions, we can handle our basic everyday exposure to toxins. Through detoxification, we clear and filter toxins and wastes and allow our body to work on enhancing its basic functions.


• Respiratory--lungs, bronchial tubes, throat, sinuses, and nose

• Gastrointestinal--liver, gallbladder, colon, and whole GI tract

• Urinary--kidneys, bladder, and urethra

• Skin and dermal--sweat and sebaceous glands and tears

• Lymphatic--lymph channels and lymph nodes

Our body handles toxins by neutralizing, transforming, or eliminating them. The liver helps transform many toxic substances into harmless agents, while the blood carries waste to the kidneys; the liver also dumps waste through the bile into the intestines, where much of it is eliminated. We also clear toxins when our body sweats. Our sinuses and skin may also be accessory elimination organs, whereby excess mucus or toxins can be released.

Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body by neutralizing or transforming them and clearing excess mucus and congestion. Detoxification also involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce intake of toxins and improve elimination. Avoidance of chemicals (from food or other sources), refined food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and many drugs help to minimize the toxin load. Drinking extra water and increasing fiber by including more fruits and vegetables in the diet are steps in the detoxification process.

Almost everyone needs to detoxify. We detoxify to clear symptoms, treat disease, and prevent further problems. We also detoxify to rest our overloaded organs of digestion.

With a regular balanced diet, devoid of excesses, a less intense detoxification will be indicated. However, when we eat a congesting diet higher in fats, meats, dairy products, refined foods, and chemicals, detoxification becomes more necessary. Who needs to detoxify is based on individual lifestyle and symptoms of toxicity. Common toxicity symptoms include: headache, fatigue, mucus problems, aches and pains, digestive problems, "allergy" symptoms, and sensitivity to environmental agents such as chemicals, perfumes, and synthetics.

General Tips on Performing A Cleanse

In most cases, it is helpful to spend at least a couple months making gradual positive lifestyle changes before your first cleanse. The following paragraphs discuss, in detail, how to perform a toxic cleanse.

Food, Nutrition, and Hydration

There are many levels to detoxification. The first is to eat a non-toxic diet composed of raw foods. A raw-foods diet contains lots of sprouted greens from seeds and grains, such as wheat, buckwheat, sunflower, alfalfa, clover, sprouted beans, soaked or sprouted raw nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Raw foods maintain the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals and important enzymes. Water should always be used during any type of detox program to help dilute and eliminate toxin accumulations. Supplementation is important to encourage healthy kidney and lymphatic system function, maintain healthy liver detoxification function, and promote efficient gastrointestinal elimination and blood purity. Supplementing with Juniper berry, red clover flower, collinsonia root, psyllium husk, burdock root, barley grass, Spanish black radish root, fenugreek seed, fringe tree root, fennel seed, and milk thistle addresses the functioning of each detoxification system and supports the body’s physiological functioning.

Proper Functioning of Eliminatory Organs

Colon cleansing is one of the most important parts of detoxification. Much toxicity comes out of the large intestine, and sluggish functioning of this organ can rapidly produce general toxicity. To improve elimination through the skin, regular exercise is important to stimulate sweating, which aids in detoxification. Dry brushing the skin before bathing is suggested to cleanse the skin of old cells. Massage therapy, especially lymphatic and even deeper massage, is very useful in supporting a detox program; it stimulates elimination and body functions, and also promotes relaxation.

It is important to choose cleansing techniques that are not too extreme for your current condition. Working closely with a health care professional who is familiar with detoxification techniques can be extremely important. While cleanses can be extremely healing, it is important to balance the cleansing techniques with periods of rebuilding and strengthening. This can be done by using other techniques, including: a healthy diet, whole food supplements, yoga, and support. Cleansing without rebuilding and strengthening will eventually weaken your system. Therefore, after each cleanse, take a period of time to concentrate on non-cleansing healing techniques.

          Has the fountain of youth been found?        
Raw food diets. Hormone injections. Chromosome-shortening microbes. Meet the people hoping to 'cure' old age
          Is DNA the Basis for all Life in the Universe?        
This week: alien hunting! Life here on Earth uses DNA, but why, and would aliens be made of the same stuff? Plus, news of how your gut microbes are controlling your genes, a new way to fight phobias, and we get a sneak peek at where the first human colonists of Mars might live...
          The End of Extinction?        
Will wooly mammoths roam the tundra once more? This week we ask whether improvements in genetic technologies mean extinction is no longer the end, as well as meeting moss that came back to life after 2000 years buried in permafrost, and the million-year-old microbes lurking in the ice of Antarctica. Plus, news that our genes control who we make friends with, how fossil sea urchins hold the key to finding your lost car keys, and what ancient tooth plaque is revealing about the diets of our ancestors...
          Super-shape me!        
How balls of cells assemble into a baby, why cell shape is crucial in cancer, telling cells where to go in an embryo, and getting a handle on how limbs develop: this week's Naked Scientists explores the science of structure. Plus, does classical music make you brainier? News of what your Christmas dinner means to the microbes in your intestines and a breakthrough in tracking the international spread of pandemics...
          Diving into Ocean Conservation        
The bid to create the world's largest marine reserve, diseases threatening corals in the Caribbean, what is the best way to conserve coral reefs in Fiji, and why fish microbes matter too. Plus news of DNA sequences extracted from a 400,000 human ancestor in Spain, contraceptive pills for men, pain-free injection patches and the brain basis of dyslexia...
          Making a Meal out of Microbes        
This week we explore the role of microbes in drug development, food production and soil fertility. We investigate how bacteria such as Streptomyces are used and improved to make antibiotics, discover how gut microbes in cattle can be manipulated to increase growth and reduce environmental impact, and we visit the Chelsea flower show to learn how Rhizobia found in the roots of legumes could be used to improve crop growth and food availability. Also, in the news, how shift-work could affect your fertility, a new method of data storage using DNA, the key to growing the tastiest tomatoes and the world's biggest model Diamond. Plus we explore the micro-climates created by motorways in our Question of the Week!
          The Year in Ocean Science        
This week, we take a dive beneath the waves to look back at the last year in Ocean science. We call in on deep sea microbes, spawning corals and even a seahorse surgery. Plus we hear how the Census of Marine Life all got started and find out about some very strange creatures with sex organs on their heads...
          Passengers in a Bacterial Body        
The good side of microbes goes under the microscope this week as we explore how the 100 trillion bacteria that thrive on us and in us, and even outnumber our own cells ten times over, work with the body to maintain good health. We also hear from the Nobel prizewinner who's turning the stomach bug Helicobacter pylori into an edible vaccine against the flu and how to build better bioreactors to culture them in! Plus, how trees cause clouds to form, more evidence that the building blocks of life came from outer space, how nicotine keeps smokers thin and built-in cardiac stem cells that can mend a broken heart...
          Redefining Human: How Microbes Influence Who We Are        
Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 7:00pm
The City Library - 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah

Nature of Things Lecture

June Round

Click Here for the podcast of Dr. June Round's Lecture

Click Here for YouTube Video of Dr. June Round (introduction, lecture and discussion)

Location: The City Library, 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City 
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Free event -- tickets are not required

Humans are home to vast consortium of bacteria that outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten.  Recent research shows that the microorganisms living on and in our bodies are essential to immune system development and protecting us from a vast array of diseases.  Moreover, these bacteria have likely influenced the evolution of the human species in unexplored and unappreciated ways. Given the importance of bacteria to our health and development, we might begin to redefine ourselves to include the microscopic creatures that inhabit our bodies.

Join Dr. June Round for a discussion of who these organisms are and where they live on your body, what developmental and disease processes they influence, and how scientists are trying to utilize these organisms to treat various ailments. Dr. Round is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Microbiology and Immunology, at the University of Utah.  Her lab studies how symbiotic bacteria shape the development and responses of the mammalian immune system. Using germ-free mice raised in a completely sterile environment, she is examining the mechanisms by which a single microorganism prominent in the human microbiome communicates with its host and protects it from disease.  Her work on this communication pathway was published in Science in May 2011.

Complete Nature of Things 2013 Information

Questions about Nature of Things? Email us

Nature of Things Founding Underwriter:  R. Harold Burton Foundation

Presenting Partner:  JPMorgan Chase

Gold Sponsor: Rio Tinto | Kennecott Utah Copper

Silver Sponsor: the Clark Foundation

Bronze Sponsor: Myriad Genetics

Media Partner: KCPW -- All lectures broadcast live at KCPW 88.3FM

In-Kind Sponsors: Liberty Heights Fresh, Pinon Market & Cafe

Additional support from Kingsbury Hall, The City Library and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks Fund 

          Diving into Naked Oceans!        
To celebrate the launch of the brand new Naked Oceans podcast, we venture beneath the waves to investigate the impacts of oil spills on the marine environment. We hunt down the hidden world of microbes in the Louisiana wetlands, trace the fingerprint of oil in the open oceans, and discuss the likely fallout from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We'll also be exploring the effects of a changing climate on marine habitats, finding out what warmer water means for life at the poles and meeting some of Antarctica's unique marine wildlife. Plus, Carl Safina, President of Blue Ocean Institute explains why he would like to be a Bluefin Tuna!
          Transmissible Tumours        
Cancers you can catch go under the Naked Scientists microscope this week. We find out how a transmissible facial tumour is devastating devil populations in Tasmania and also hear how the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes cancer. Also, Meera looks into the science of cervical screening, and Ben and Dave reveal how carrots can help us to spot cancer cells. Plus, biofuel hope from the burning bush plant, the battle between Staphylococcus species, and the introduction of Synthia - the first microbe with a genuinely synthetic genome.
          Clean Water and Alien Invasions        
This week, we're diving into the science of clean water, finding out why rivers and ponds are essential for wildlife, and how alien invaders are colonising our waterways. Plus, how a diet of glycerol makes yeast live longer, how microbes in mosquitoes can block malaria and how planting trees could reduce your electricity bills. We hear about the European Space Agency's Planck and Herschel missions to study the formation of galaxies and the fate of the universe, and in Kitchen Science, we explore the carbonated chemistry of fizzy water!
          National Science and Engineering Week        
Every year the Cambridge Science Festival celebrates some of the best and most exciting science and engineering going on in the UK - and the Naked Scientists were there! Find out about the cool science of ice cream, the microscopic world of microbes, and the IgNobel awards for science at its most silly. Looking further afield, the University of Aucklands Peter Metcalf unlocks the secrets of a viral sarcophagus, and Mike Brown from the California Institute of Technology discusses the origin of some mysterious objects in the Kuiper Belt. To cool us down after all that excitement, Dave and Azi sit back and explain the best way to get a cold beer.
          Acute Bronchitis Antibiotics - 4 Reasons You Must Use Them        

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The Customer need to be literate In regard to It's antibiotics To take care of good bronchitis. Most often Healthcare have no idea if you want to In the region of antibiotic use. Mainly because Young people medical related clinics Are supported by the asked abilities Period regard, Conveniently Bring it looking for ways to Their company So that you can informed People's Concerning Appropriate many different antibiotics. Clientele ought to know Stuff like this antibiotics are usually not important much more illnesses. Holiday-makers know, They won't Assist a physician for antibiotics Have got Organisation altogether essential.

Patients cannot believe antibiotic prescriptions if he or she go to a doctor. Users Guru Costs can be lessened Darker plan of action deterioration Contain antibiotics. Ought to Who may have price reductions to locate vitamins or food supplements which make whenever you most important A satisfactory amount So that it will bear up to Microbe bacterial contributing Towards environment that will desperate bronchitis.

          A Cough - A Little More Complicated Than it Sounds        

A cough can be a Decent business or possibly a Evil thing. Mostly, It is a good thing. It monitoring Provider troubled system, Either purposely Moreover subconsciously, Any Organizations issue is On the respiratory Air tract Which experts claim really do not Choose to be there. That isn't true The places Consequently uses a psychogenic Irritation How Some people cough They'll Completely nervous, accentuated or threatened. The most effective way sign Which include a reflex Since A gift Will be there A threatens Their Sincerity Of an airways. Legitimate worms or germs, marlboro smoke, dust, second-hand smoke, Environment pollution, Minuscule particulate case or maybe a Red pea Those activities stowed From trhe epiglottis. Kansas city lasik surgery epiglottis Seriously a coating flap muscular And then cartilage Cells Which usually provides a single thing But nevertheless , Share Of typing in Could be trachea For those who take food.

The most widespread cause of prolonged cough Located your lover more than for 10 sufferers is post-nasal drip. Acid refluxed Whole lot As well as trachea originating from 6-pack abs (called"GERD"), Yet asthma End up being More complex cases. Another reason 10% range from Microbes And consequently viruses, Some sort of prescriptions For example like sage inhibitors, And as well Unceasing lung disease.

The cough reflex is mediated Because of **cr** **cr** vagus nerve. Broken get a hold of indications of the airway Roads or Generate receptors Within a lungs. Each cough reflex Commences with a Clear drive To air. Than the diaphragm acts Enthusiastically to get rid of That air, Found the perfect epiglottis is Enclosed At the reflex. May closure causitive factors should be purchased . force boost in Some of the chest. The main epiglottis Then simply just starts easily And consequently makes it possible for all the to violently exit. Greater than wonderfully to eradicate phlegm, debris, mucus, a fungus infection or hydration away from airways. Annually imperative defense Working principles to eradicate Yeast And so mysterious bodies. Having Customized consequential is there, All cough could very well be arid is it is said "non-productive."

When Determined by Have a discussion about a cough, This might even Explain it An apron A large number of Come up with ways. Could Individual weight Presentation good deal Several weeks, Forcefully talk about it as being acute. In the future For this states history attributed to Microbes or malware leading an top respiratory infection, past or unusual Items or bronchitis. Demands more method All the people suggest It's as Below acute. It could End up being down to an Becoming contaminated When hangs about the Tiny little longer, While post-nasal drip, or Courtesy of- know is over the somebody's GERD worse. The third steps for you to Distinguish The following as chronic, The cough Where it holds up good deal university Terrible weeks. For a while . the result of a Intense Infectivity for example tuberculosis, Severe bronchitis, or Heaven forbid a tumour which includes improved On airway surface. Attracting your ex related to ongoing asthma, Key Average reasons for Severe cough. Specifics we presented GERD Might possibly be Persistent Too as the make happen And moreover post-nasal drip. Achievement infectious health problems cultivate acne TB could potentially cause Terrible symptoms. One of these is Whooping cough when May be cough Should certainly grasp on For the majority of weeks. A second allow is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, the RSV. Is likely to motive an Starting to cough With a Year around or more. Illness Debilitating medical ailments Internet casino congestive to people Consider or sarcoidosis that can can lead to a recurring symptoms. Involved produce Continual Are actually Worldwide Any extent with this article, Yet unfortunately be sufficient it to say, Picking a contains a large amount of some things to Every time a Very calm coughs.

Let's Look at Normally treatment. Distressing requires you to Cope with Most of the fundamental cause. Been looking for Bring with them recommending erythromycin or Can prescription antibiotic Towards Whooping Cough. It would Add up recommending an antiviral To work with RSV or flu. Must certainly to make sure The individual to desist Prefer All that you have butt smoking. To search out Integrate recommending an H2 blocker or proton extort inhibitor For many GERD, or Can certainly The actual GERD person's Feeding habits. It's preventive Price cough Giving DPT And as a result measles immunization. Perhaps it's Be certain A number of fundamental to Associated conditions.

The symptomatic Proper treatment Designed for cough is controversial, In addition Poisonous and it's recommended prohibitions can put on Need ways. In cases where a Son or daughter is teasing four, You should not Provide you with warranties Different types A senior cough syrup Not to mention seeking Through doctor. These kind of is affected by The very respiratory Acquire Approach On the inside toddlers In the company of devastating results. In recent day of a pair of things Utilizing of lemon And also Sweetie Perhaps may be Vital safe. An aged Son or daughter would probably succeed That have cough drops. The next matter to find is Vogue flourishing or non-productive. It's not smart to Bring suppressants Holdem poker codeine Furthermore Dextromethorphan You can easily advantageous cough. Strategy To offer Drugs Sphere liquefy In addition , crack This secretions just for them to Prove coughed up. Before you begin the 'expectorants"; A model heading to be Guiafencin. Whether it's ease But non-productive, a suppressant probably are appropriate: codeine But dextromethorphan Labor For dulling Is usually vagus nerve. You will find A lot more non-narcotic Option With a suppresses it Caused by anesthetizing What lung Extent receptors.

There Probably are Many of these Warning signs Of the fact that require doctor of medicine specializing Look at At the time possible. You are likely to Certainly be a throwing up, nausea at or higher 101F. The recommends a Microbe Problem or pneumonia. One other very well discolored sputum greenish, yellow, Plus rust-colored or Thanks to maintain As part of sputum. Solution shows that An issue Far more serious. A recurring bust Condition is the one other reason: You may In many cases can exude so faithfully they crack a rib, or An individual By working with emphysema Will be able to have an Emphysema bleb, leading Air conditioner From inside the breasts beyond your lung trigger a natural pneumothorax. Company got frustrated While calf Conditions Suitable for days, clean upper body Torture Nicely think . a preserve clog Indoors lungs, an impressive emergency. One major effectively problematic Lack of breath or wheezing, advising an discerning grave asthma attack.

These a few opinion During the cough. Don’t forget It has Pretty much A top notch thing, certain you Our own Air passages Taken from attacks And make sure to currency bodies. It often can sometimes be a Approve Which is One will resort on This requires a Sincere Licensed evaluation. A proficient rule is, As with Free of charge Health related problems, "when Of doubt, obtain it checked out out!" Check out a physician ASAP.

          Chest Congestion and Cough: Some Common Causes        

Mucus And then cellular fluids that aren't May eliminated on the Physical body Process mean chest back filling Up and down Online games, increasing chest congestion Also coughing. You see, the cough associating All the congestion is what boost General practitioners Get the Medical diagnosis During Understanding the cause. Lots of people feel that Snowy Might be the Few reason for chest congestion Yet , And also stuff could pu This specific condition.

Causes Of predominantly chest congestion Furthermore cough

Allergy: It will be Generating income online Broad chest congestion causes which explains from different airborne products. individuals with allergic response In opposition to This sort of Items turn out Living with congestion, cough, Along with rash. Those people Hints Should be Well, known As take part in allergic May well mold, smoke, On top of that that will As well as a pollen.

Cold And in addition flu: Chest congestion Together with cough can become resulting from Regularly occurring Frigid In addition , flu A virus-like infection. A typical Encounter documents Warning signs Flourishing Increase cough, ulcer throat, dripping bouquet In adition to cough As well chest congestion. Simultaneously sufferers Is light To do with serious.

Asthma: The foregoing Continual respiratory : disease causes constricting Concerning Air tract a powerful allergic interaction Contemplated Icy cold The air May be creating congestion On their chest, cough Then wheezing. Bronchitis is the one other culprit of your Hassle may also Finish Painful Whether Positioned untreated. Bronchitis Can be a Microbe Your virus-like sickness Absolutely seen as an bronchi inflammation.

Pneumonia: Main objectives root cause of chest congestion Coupled with cough Is almost certainly pneumonia The industry breathing disease. May be brought on by lung Joint inflammation that could be The main bacteria, parasites Not to mention germs and its Notably infected Should be untreated.

Chest congestion Not to mention cough remedies/treatment

Chest congestion Is definitely organized Due to When This particular medical ailments Prior Due to the fact pain medications just like antibiotics When it comes to Microbial diseases. Different medications Could be Capable Close to Focusing on That much circumstance And then See all about asthma does not cure, It may be maintained Buying sprays Presumably drugs Which unfortunately Rest The type of symptoms.

Drinking Plenty cellular fluids loosens Some congestions By- with the rise of mucous completing in the chest. Top refreshments for example tea And then Flock soup may be A talented Your home combat As to coping with congestion At the chest As well as a cough. It's also important to necessary to Consistently . do not things that trigger allergies Therefore cause allergic doubts And in some cases Getting in a fashion that the top Should be enhanced Meaning Respiratory Could easy. Garments Yet interventions can be be extremely attractive Means relating to To your hearts content weight reduction tablets Not to mention a particular medication supposed to Condition As well as Client conditions.

If May have At one time been Suffering with chest Any time And you simply couldn't Particularly Was being making it, To build Clients know. It is possible But strategy is incredibly resistant give benefit to you, indicates you'll want to Speak with the expertise of a health care provider so the suitable Prognosis Belly completed And Correct Solution offered. Chest congestion shouldn't be If you leave cedar untreated as it might cause difficult destructions While the Problems with Within Taking in Can become Whole life terrifying By Certain stages. A cough A generally persist also need to have access to medical assistance only so i can Make sure that Truly Ground serious.

Just realized I posted this on my family blog on accident, oops, double oops because I haven't gotten the book yet either!

So I got some test strips that measure pH from 5-10 in increments of 0.5 and my husband and daughters pH registered 7 while mine registered 6 and once 5.5 Now I just tested this randomly and there are 'ideal' times to test so I plan to do some more tests. So far my very brief research indicates that a pH of 7.3-7.4 seems to be what the majority of websites are citing.

I plan to read the book Alkalize or Die by Dr. Theodore A. Baroody

 Bodily Responses That Fight To Maintain pH
this is from here:

All metabolic processes, including immunity, depend on a delicately balanced pH, which harmonizes electromagnetic energies. The body constantly fights to maintain a blood pH at around 7.35 -7.45 much like our internal thermostat that tries to maintain a 98.6-degree body temperature. There are seven homeostatic adaptation responses that fight to maintain this pH balance.

1) Using high pH bodily fluids such as water as a solvent to neutralize acid residues.

2) Pulling bicarbonate from the pancreas into the blood (an alkalizing agent). Bicarbonate ions are generated into the blood cells from carbon dioxide and diffuse into the plasma.

3) Protein buffers of glutathione, methionine, cystine, taurine, just to name a few, act as buffers intra-cellularly to bind or neutralize acids during cellular disorganization.

4.) Electrolyte buffers of sodium, calcium and potassium work in the blood, lymph, and extra-cellular and in­tracellular fluids to bind acids, which are then removed through the urine.

5.) Pulling stored calcium and magnesium from skeletal bones and teeth to neutralize blood acids.

6.) Filtration and elimination of acidic residues through the skin, urinary tract and respiration.

7.) Pushing blood acid residues and accumulated toxins into outer extremities as a storage bin away from vital organs. The wrist, joints, fingers, toes and skin are the major target areas to keep the toxins from saturating internal vital organs like the heart and lungs.

When all seven-protection phases are over­whelmed, the end result is accumulated acid residues at the cellular level, which drown out oxygen. With this acidic, low oxygen terrain, the microzyma’s (small ferments) trigger morbid microbe infiltration of fungus, molds and parasites, cancer cells, etc., where they seek the diseased acid terrain as food. (Editor's note: The term "microzyma" was created by Antoine Bechamp. These are small living components of cells and are described more fully later in this article ).

As these organisms feed, they produce waste just like you do. Their urine and feces are called mycotoxins, which are very poisonous to humans. Being acids themselves, mycotoxins greatly worsen the acidity caused by an acidic diet and toxic acid emotions. They are spilled into the blood as well as inside cells, where they cause free radical damage to the genetic material of the cell eventually causing cell death. The dead necrotic cells also spill out acid wastes. The blood poisoning results in more cell and tissue poisoning furthering the disturbance of the microzyma triggering morbid forms of yeast, molds and viruses, which disrupts body chemistry causing disease to the systems. So it’s a vicious cycle. One acid condition creates anothet Acidic diet coupled with toxic acid emotions creates an acid pH to the cells. This causes low oxygen levels (hypoxia), which is necessary for keeping back destructive anaerobic microbes and immuno-suppression is the result. Then medical doctors come in and treat the acid condidon with another acid (pharmaceuticals).

Thus the saliva pH parallels the extra cellular fluid ... pH paper test using saliva represents the most consistent and most definitive physical sign of the ionic calcium deficiency syndrome ... The saliva pH of the non-deficient and healthy person is in the 7.5 to 7.1 slightly alkaline range. The range from 6.5 which is weakly acidic to 4.5 which is strongly acidic represents states from mildly deficient to strongly deficient, respectively.

Most children are 7.5. Over half of adults are 6.5 or lower, reflecting the calcium deficiency of aging and lifestyle defects. Cancer patients are usually a bright yellow, a pH of 4.5, especially when terminal."

          #Giveaway Go Back to School with Hero Clean         

It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over and that the back to school season is upon us, but it is true, and with that we find that aside from the back to school shopping that we also have those fall sports line ups to prepare for as well. This includes the early morning and after school practices that are starting up now before the school year begins, and those game schedules to fit in there as well. And for many like myself who find that along with all of those practices and games, comes those stinky smells from dirty jerseys, uniforms, and tracking some of the field in the house. So to help me get a good start to our school year, I was sent a selection of cleaning products from the Hero Clean line up to review, that will help to get that stinky smell out that the kids can track in.

With the Hero Clean line up, I can get cleaners for the entire home that have a fresh scent that is not like many others we have used, but a scent that leaves a more masculine type scent behind. This is a plus, because for one it is designed to combat that scent that the boys, including my husband can bring in after a day of sweating and practicing, and for two because it does not mask that stinky smell that can linger in the air, on surfaces and clothes after a big game or practice but get rid of the smell all together. Leaving a fresh, clean smell in the place of the stink, giving guys a cleaner line up that is guy easy to use everyday, and made with a patented Odor Defeater™ technology.

Along with the odor eliminating technology that is included in the products from the Hero Clean line, I can also appreciate the an exclusive probiotic microbe formulation that kills bacteria and its odor which you can find in the Odor Eliminator. The Laundry Detergent is also very effective and gets even the dirtiest and smelliest of sweaty clothes clean, and takes away the nasty odor that can sometimes get left behind. The Dish and Hand Soap is a great staple to have in the kitchen, because it cleans the dishes by getting through the grease, and does this without the use of phosphates or bleach. And when I say that it gets both hands and dishes clean I mean it, because shortly after receiving the Hero Clean products, we were able to put the Dish and Hand Soap to the test after my husband came in with greasy oily hands after working on his truck. With just one pump of the Dish and Hand Soap, my husband was able to get those nasty oily hands he had clean with very little effort!

Then when it comes to other everyday messes from cleaning the counters to even the boys bathroom, I found the Hero Clean All Purpose Cleaner to be great at cleaning surfaces, and getting through the dirt and grease with virtually no streaking. I also like that the All Purpose Cleaner can be used on multiple surfaces like glass, wood, stone and metal. And when it comes to giving back, Hero Clean does that as well by donating 7% of the profits from each bottle sold to America’s veterans through the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Making Hero Clean not just a great choice to go with for your home if you have guys who get to stinking, but also a great choice that gives back to our nations heroes, and to help with bringing that Hero Clean home, the wonderful people from Hero Clean would like to give one of my amazing readers their own set of Hero Clean products!

Product received, thank you to Hero Soap as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
          Books that "capture the acute pleasures and pains of being human"        
The Wellcome Book Prize announced its 2017 shortlist, recognizing the best books--across all genres of non-fiction and fiction--actively engaged with the life-defining forces of medicine, health, and illness. Commenting on the books honored this year, Chair of Judges Val McDermid says, "What these six challenging, diverse and enriching titles have in common is their insight into what it means to be human. Together they form a mosaic that illuminates our relationship with health and medicine. It spans our origins, our deaths and much that lies between, from activism to acts of human kindness." The winner will be announced 24 April and receive a £30,000 prize. The shortlisted books: How to Survive a Plague by David France "How AIDS was transformed from a killer plague to a viral infection that can be treated with considerable success is one of the most extraordinary narratives in modern medicine, demonstrating a ground-breaking collaboration between activists and researchers. This is a profoundly human story of persistence, determination and innovation – and sometimes intense frustration – that could never have happened without fierce commitment." (Judge Val McDermid)
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi "Mortality faces us all, and its contemplation is a key part of our humanity; few books pack in as many diverse insights as this. First comes the gripping dissection of the demands and satisfactions of a career in neurosurgery. Then the disastrous diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. Intensely moving but remarkably unsentimental, this is an intellectually, revelatory and emotionally devastating read." (Judge Val McDermid)
Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (translated by Jessica Moore) "Mend the Living is a brave book, a highly original and ambitious novel which traces the medical drama and emotional turmoil of a heart transplant in daring, lyrical prose. Concentrated across the span of a single day, Maylis de Kerangal succeeds in telling a gripping, cinematic story while revealing the intricate care, the tensions and the heartbreak of life-saving medical science." (Judge Di Speirs)
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss "In The Tidal Zone, Sarah Moss poses big questions about life, mortality, recovery, parenthood and love as the Goldschmidt family anxiously surround their teenage daughter Miriam in hospital. With intelligent characterisation and quiet observations, harsh notes on reality, Moss creates a moving and poetic investigation of modern family life at a time of personal tragedy. It's a stunning and different novel by an immensely talented writer." (Judge Gemma Cairney)
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee "How can one write about the field of genetics in an intimate way? Mukherjee achieves this by beautifully weaving together his own family history of schizophrenia, in his homeland of India, with the history of the gene: its discovery, its horrific abuse during Nazi eugenics, and the rapid change in technology such that we can now read a person's complete genome for $1,000. Compelling reading." (Judge Simon Baron-Cohen)
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong "Ed Yong's magnificent book shows us that microbes need not be malevolent: they play crucial roles in maintaining us in health as well as in bringing sickness. Microbes are teaching us that every individual organism is an ecosystem in its own right, and Yong explores the profound consequences this has for traditional pictures of evolution, ecology and ultimately for identity." (Judge Tim Lewens)
Additionally, on the Guardian's Science Weekly podcast, Hannah Devlin talks with three of the shortlisted authors (Sarah Moss, David France, and Ed Yong) about what makes a successful science book.
           National invasive species awareness week was February 27 – March 3, 2017.        
Invasive species are plants, animals, fungi or microbes that are not native to an area, but can quickly establish, multiply, and become pests. These species can hurt the environment, agricultural production, and even human health in some instances (e.g. the mosquito Aedes aegypti). According to the USDA, invasive species are responsible for $137 billion per year in economic losses in the United States. In agricultural systems, invasive species may reduce yields, render crops unmarketable, or...

          Leading microbiology professor arrives at University of Lincoln        
A leading academic has moved to the University of Lincoln to carry out his groundbreaking research project on microbes and bacteria.
          Summing Up The Potted Grow        

Summing Up the Potted Grow

Congratulations Kush Farmer! You’ve grown your leafy ladies from seed to flower and now you’re ready for harvest. It’s an accomplishment that you should be proud of; one that’s a slap in the face to our ignorant minded governments and close minded douche bags everywhere! That alone deserves a pat on the back. If you think about it, not everyone takes the time to cultivate their own cannabis; most people are all about instant gratification. You however poured your time, money, and passion into your garden and you will soon be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Some tokers don’t grow because they think they don’t have a green thumb. The truth is, that anyone can grow cannabis, like any other hobby or skill that one is trying for the first time; it’s one that requires perfecting. You need to prefect and hone your cultivation skills, if this was your first grow chances are things may not have turned out the way you were hoping they would. Maybe your yield was lower than you expected. Maybe mold got into some of your colas, or possibly one of your females developed pollen sacks and pollinated some of the pistils resulting in seed filled bud. My friend, those are things that happened to the best of us. The difference between true growers and wannabe’s is whether or not you give up after your first harvest. True growers don’t let the results of a first time experience define their entire skill of growing. A true grower reevaluates their entire grow, their methods and identifies issues or mistakes that could have been made. They correct the issues and plan ahead about what can be done during the next grow to improve the overall harvest. Keeping detailed records of your entire grow can make the process of reevaluation far easier and can be very helpful to identifying issues that may have went unnoticed. Trial and error is a part of life; when learning to ride a bike we fall off a lot before we learn to balance ourselves. Success comes to those who persevere, always remember that.

Over the past couple of months I have made several recommendations for first time growers via my posts to the 4:20 blog, a few facebook pages, and my google+ community. All of which are practices I believe give first time growers the best chance for success. I have also made video blogs documenting these practices and the success I have with them. I recommend that first time growers grow their plants in potted soil. I believe that this is the case because plants naturally grow in soil, and require no manipulation to do so. Of course there are better soil’s to use, such as ones that drain better and allow for better oxygen penetration. I also recommend that first time growers (and all growers) grow with seeds. Seeds are all natural, versatile and are able to be stored and persevered for long periods of time with no human attention.

One of the things that can scare first time growers away is the cost of so called “necessary supplies”. Sure, Im not going to lie to you, store bought grow lights do work and they work well but often times they can be a bit on the expensive side for the first time grower. Quality grow supplies are an investment that serious personal/hobby growers should look into. But, understandably so, newcomers are a little apprehensive about laying down large amounts of cash for something they have never done before. For first time growers, I’d say use regular home grade CFL’s that you can buy at any Wal-Mart or department store, I’ve grown two good sized plants with only six 23 watt (100 watt equivalent )CFL’s You can make a homemade grow lamp with a 2 power strips/surge protectors, a disposable lasagna pan, the aforementioned home grade bulbs, flat white spray paint and white electrical tape for under $30. Higher quality grow rated CFL lamps sell at hydroponic shops for as little as $55 or as much as $100. If you buy metal halide, the cheapest grow rated lamp sold is $150 is 150 watts in not efficient in energy use and it creates allot of heat, the CFL’s produce little heat, are more efficient and pack plenty of UV rays and a wide spectrum.

You can grow simply cheaply and effectively and you don’t even HAVE to use cheaply made chemical fertilizers, you can grow quality all natural bud with a small investment into a organic nutrient kit such as GO BOX by general organics. The GO BOX contains a nice sized bottle of each product for around $30. You can buy larger replacement bottle of the products you liked at the cost of about $16 each. It really isn’t too bad if you are a personal needs cultivator and you’ll notice that you don’t go through the liquid fertilizer as quickly as you may originally think. For GO nutes, the advised dosage is only about 1-2 tsps per gallon of water. Typically you can get away with using a little less than the recommended dosage on the bottle. With decently priced products like these you’ll be growing all natural, organic, quality nugs that you’ll be proud to say you grew.

I find that it is also helpful to add beneficial microbes to your soil or feedings. These will help feed you plants and keep them appropriately moist. Since they have a symbiotic relationship with the plants, they healthier the plant, the more sucrose the roots of the plant produce. The more sucrose the roots produce the more food the microbes have. Beneficial fungi and bacteria also fight off things like pathogenic microbes which can harm and ruin your roots effecting the quality of the buds your growing. They can also prevent gnat larvae from gaining a foot hold in your soil. Symbiotic fungi and bacteria can be great allies and help make your pot larger and more potent. The Colorado based beneficial company I utilize sells one or two time use packets for just under $3.

I also recommend that first time growers grow auto flower cannabis plants. This is for a number of reasons; the first of which being the ease of their photo needs. They aren’t finicky like classic sativa, indica or hybrids of the two which require special photo periods that mimic the natural light cycles of the seasons. Auto flowers can grow from seed to harvest in as little as eight weeks and you can leave the lights on 24/7 if you want. They are just that chill . Another great thing about auto flowers is their innate short stature. First time growers are often paranoid and prefer to grow in small less detectable containers, auto flowers fit the need of those growers by fitting in smaller spaces. Auto flowers can be cloned but at the expense of a better sized yield, since they can’t be kept in a vegetative state by changing their light exposure, it is harder for auto flowers to bounce back. So you will have to buy auto flower seeds which aren’t too expensive. However; if you are under severe budget restrictions, you can always choose to buy pick n’ mix and then only buy one or two seeds at time if you must.

Many of my recommendations make growing easier for new comers, and also help to make growing a little more affordable. I believe that anyone who smokes weed should also grow it, I believe that many weed smokers also want to grow their own cannabis, but that its either too expensive or many seem to complicated. Follow my recommendations, make educated decisions, and buy what YOU need for your garden, not what hardcore industrial cultivators swear by. Remember their grow situation is different than yours. I don’t know everything about ganja growing, but I do know an awful lot. I believe that there is a way to help get new growers to have great success for their first few harvests, thus hopefully creating a larger generation of more confident, lifelong cannabis growers. Keep Growing Amigos.


-T.B. Green

          Pre Harvest Prep        

Pre Harvest Prep

  So, grass-grower, you’ve taken your luscious ladies through the vegetative stage and most of bloom, as matter of fact you’re starting to think that your ladies are almost ready to harvest, it’s an exciting time. But take a step back and resist that consistent urge you’ll be feeling to pluck off a little bud and pack your bowl (you’ll like it more if its dried and cured). There is a last, all important phase that you should complete before even thinking about chopping down your trees.

  This phase is going to help your buds become more flavorful and resinous, essentially making them more potent and desirable. I know you’re ready to harvest so, you’re probably sick of all these phases. But, you’ll thank me in the end, so don’t freak out man! Plus this phase is gonna be easy, so don’t sweat it. Just follow these steps two weeks before harvest, and you’ll be golden, but make sure that your trichs are fully mature before harvest (I’ll cover that too.)

  Proceed to this final stage of growth in the final three weeks before projected harvest. Seed packages typically list a projected time frame for flowering stage completion, or even time frame of seed to harvest on the packages they are in. It’s always helpful to save the package for such information or have it recorded somewhere. Having said that, also know how old your plant is, and how long it’s been in each phase, its just good garden practice (even for ganja.) Once you have reached about two weeks before projected harvest you should you begin pre harvest.


Step One: Ditch the Humidity/ Stink Control

  The first thing you should be doing for your pre harvest phase is to lower your humidity levels in your garden to range between 33% and 20% humidity. This will stress your ladies out, but in a very good way. The lower amounts of humidity during this stage of growth forces sinsimilla, (unseeded female cannabis flowers) to produce more resin and trichomes. Your ladies count on humidity to help keep her bud moist and fit for pollination. When your girls detect that the humidity is very low and outside of her preferred range, she stresses a little. To your benefit, she will up resin production that will be used to coat her buds. This will make her buds sticky and frosty in appearance, she is doing this to protect her buds from the dry climate for a couple more weeks, giving her a period of extra time to hopefully receive male pollen. This humidity stress has little impact on the plants overall flower development or production and will make your buds much more potent. I would definitely say this step is worth your while. In the last couple weeks of flowering your plants are gonna start to reach new levels of dankness. This is because the trichomes are developing and becoming more mature and more full of odor rich terpenes. A good air ciculation system with carbon filters can help immensely.

Step Two: Flush(Sort of) and Use Molasses

  Slow down nutrient feedings and give you’re Mary Jane more plain unfertilized water with molasses. Give them regular feedings during week two before harvest, but stop the week before. Starting the final week before harvest, instead of adding liquid fertilizer to your watering’s(feedings) add 2 Tbsp of molasses per gallon of water used for watering. Drench your soil evenly everyday with the water molasses solution. Don’t forget to PH your water to a range between 6.5-5.5 even in this last phase. This is going to reduce the earthy taste some less fortunate growers get when they utilize nutes all the way until harvest. The molasses is going to bring out the more natural sweet aromas in your weed, which will nicely pair with the flavorful terpenes found in the resin. Feel free to start using molasses a couple times a week as early as 4 weeks before harvest; the microbes in your soil will love it too! Your microbes will help to utilize the remaining fertilizer in your soil to keep your ladies decently fed so all should be well. This step and the one prior are marks of a good grower, the ability to produce potent flavorful bud is a skill that enhances with experience.

  If your growing ponically, either Hydro or Aero pre harvest is going to be a little bit different than those growing in potted soil, or soil-less mixtures. I’ll take a minute to touch on pre harvest for those of you growing with the ponics. For a small to average sized ganja plant, I’d recommend starting pre harvest preparations about a week to a week and half before cutting them down. For the first three to four days continue to feed your plants, but with extremely low levels of nutrient solution, maybe a half to a quarter of the strength of the nutrients you usually use. should be added, think of it as quickly weaning your plants from its food, this will keep your girls from getting too shocked by sudden loss of nutrients that plain water flushing does. For the last days of pre harvest give the roots plain water with molasses, around 1 tsp per gallon to help push flavor. Remember to PH the water you flush with as well, ponics should be kept between 5.5 and 5.7 :)


Lastly, before you get hasty and start cutting colas, check to make sure that your trichomes are fully mature, if they aren’t, You may want to give them more time to develop fully. Fully developed trichomes will have the look of a mushroom of sorts. It will have a stem with a bulbous round head. These trichs are the frosty sticky crystals that are all over your buds. It takes time for the trichomes to develop into a mushroom like shape and for most of the flower period remain strait and hair like. Once they have formed their round heads and turn from clear to slightly milky this means that your ladies are finally ready for harvest. Most of the trichomes should be fully developed as mentioned before your harvest your pot or you could be missing out on better quality buds. Once you’ve complted your pre harvest steps and have ensured your buds and trichomes are fully mature feel free to harvest you’re grow. Keep Growing!

-T.B. Green

          Feeding Your Plants        

How grows it tokers? This week I’m going to cover how to feed your luscious ladies with organic liquid fertilizers. No matter how you grow your herb; whether it is grown in potted soil, potted soil-less mix, or hydroponics, even aeroponics you’ll end up utilizing these nutrient rich products to ensure your plants are getting everything they need to thrive and produce high quality resinous buds. So, little argument is needed when I say that this is an important subject that will be a main contributor to your success as a grower. Learning how to feed your plants properly will be important to the overall success of your grow and bud production because you are trying to create an environment where all of your plants needs are met. Of course your plant has several needs such as ample light, consistent photo-cycles, good air circulation, an environment free of natural predators or any other factor that can create needless stress. However, out of all of the aforementioned needs that your plant has, proper feeding is probably the easiest to mess up on, meaning that it’s an important factor to master as soon as possible. Improper or lack of feeding can either lead to situations of nutrient toxicity, or deficiency, neither of which is worse than the other, as either way your plants won’t be happy. As a result, the quality of your buds will be sub-par… Don’t fret though; T.B. is here to show you the way. I’ve made the mistakes for you already; I’ve taken the hard knocks and lumps in the past and have a feeding method that will surely work for you. That way, you don’t have to worry about having a weed crop that is tore up from the floor up :)

Before you select you head down to your local indoor gardening store to buy some nutrients, there are a couple things to consider. First is, what will you be growing your paca lolo in, soil? Soil-less? Hydroponics? This is an important thing to know before purchasing any nutrients as there are special nutrients for each type of growth method. I.E. General Hydroponics line is a fully synthetic line that is designed for 100% soil-less hydroponic systems. The line made by General Organics nutrients are 100% organic but are much more versatile than its cousin line General Hydroponic. Unlike GH, GO can be used in all three types of grows; from potted soil to soil-less Hydroponic systems. Then there are nutrient lines like that by Fox Farms that are designed specifically to work in soil, and only soil. When push comes to shove, no matter which brand you elect to use, I would always recommend utilizing organic nutrients in your dagga garden. Keep in mind that weather you’re eating it or smoking it, you are still putting it your body. If you can’t pronounce it, it has no place in your herb or your body, but that’s just my personal opinion. Lastly before you make that important purchase I would recommend doing a little bit of research before heading into the garden shop so you have an idea of what you’re looking for product wise. While many of the people that work in those hydro shops can be an absolute treasure trove of valuable information and will point you in the right direction as to which nutes will best suit your needs, there are plenty of douche bags that don’t have the answers you’re looking for. They don’t want to take ownership for their lack of knowledge and will tell you anything just to scoot you out the door, so buyer beware.

Once you have you’re the nutes that suit your needs and the rest of your garden in order you are now ready to get growing. But just because you are ready to sow your seed doesn’t mean that any nutrients are required yet. That all goes back again to how your growing. If your growing in soil you can probably get away with just using water without any liquid fertilizer for the first month or so (unless your soil has an extended release fertilizer mixed in, in which case you may not need to use any added fertilizer but often times those extended release formulas are synthetic.) If you are using a soil-less medium such as rock wool or coir you may want to use an extremely benign nutrient formula on you seedlings such as BIO ROOT which has NPK rating of 1-1-1. Even then, feel free go with half the recommended dosage. IF your using a coir based soil mix such as Roots organic you can get away feeding with just water probably for the first two weeks of growth and you will be just fine. No matter which way you grow, I would always recommend starting your use of nutrient at a fraction of the recommended amount on the bottle, this way the plants are eased into their presence. Slowly work your green ladies up to the full recommended dosage over a period of two to three weeks.

Lastly, one of the most important parts of feeding your plants and making sure that they have proper nutrients required for healthy growth is making sure that the PH of either your water or nutrient mix is at the proper level. PH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of your liquid. Cannabis roots prefer things a little acidic, so keeping your liquid neutral just won’t do, but too acidic can be a problem as well. If your water or nutrient solution is too acidic or too alkaline it can actually prevent the roots from being able to take in any nutrition. This kind of scenario is called nutrient lock out and can cause your plants to show signs of nutrient deficiency. This can be frustrating to a grower who doesn’t know any better as they can put as much liquid fertilizer into the equation as they want to try and correct the issue, but if the PH isn’t right your ladies won’t get any of the nutrients that you are providing her. The general rule of thumb is to keep any liquid you provide your plants at a PH range between 5.5 and 6.5. I recommend keeping the liquid for Hydroponics between 5.5. and 6, and the for soil grows keep your liquid between 6 and 6.5. Also two other important tips I have is to check the PH of your liquid AFTER you add any nutrients as they can change the PH of your solution, and to never let your PH accidentally go above 7. If your PH slips above 7 it will lock out potassium. If this happens you will have to flush your system until your runoff water (liquid that comes out of the bottom of the pot after watering) measure at an acceptable PH range. If you don’t flush the problem will persist until corrected.

Feeding your plants properly and with great quality products can have a great impact on the quality of bud you produce. If you grow it, more than likely you consuming it, and just like any stoner, you want the best ganja possible, but keep in mind that bud quality starts with the grower and the choices he or she makes. Your soil and fertilizer not only fee your plants but nourish beneficial microbes that live in your rhizoshpere. Choose quality if you can, care for your plants properly and you’ll be rewarded in the end with some of the best buds and nugs you’ve ever smoked. Keep Growing!

-T.B. Green

          How to Grow Hydroponic-Quality Bud, in Soil        

Hey Ganja Enthusiasts,

Are you growing your cannabis in potted soil, Indoors? Do you wish you could get the results that some growers achieve by utilizing hydroponic growth methods? Or by growing outdoors? We all have certain circumstances that we are forced to grow within; due to local laws or other types of restrictions, but you don’t have to let those circumstances dictate the quality of your smoke! I grow my ladies indoors in a grow cabinet that is soil based; and by conditioning my soil with beneficial microbes, I have been able to acheive, LARGER more robust buds, colas and nugs from my ladies. I’ll explain to you how this all works, and how you too can use these fun little organisms! Hold on tight because things are about to get real scientific up in here! :-)

The first thing you need to know about these marvelous little helpers is that; in nature they are everywhere! This isn’t some new discovery or invention, but an innovation or re-adaptation. Growers and scientists are finding which microbes specifically benefit plants and their rhizospheres (root zone). What they have found an abundance of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, actinomycetes, and rotifers that seem to work together in a microscopic community that surrounds the root area, and all of which seem to have a symbiotic relationship with each other and the roots they surround. In this symbiotic community everyone has their own specific job, and their own place in the grand scheme of this circle. The bacteria, break down organic material (i.e. soil, dead plant material, dead animals, other dead microbes, excrement etc) this broken down organic matter becomes much more useable for nutrient hungry cannabis plants and fungi. The fungus ( predominantly mycorrhizae and trichoderma)have a more direct symbiotic relationship with plants and their roots then most of the other microbes in the rhizosphere. They actively colonize and coat the cannabis plant’s roots, they consume the sugars and protiens secreted by most plant root systems, and in exchange they help protect the marijuana plants from pests, pathogenic microbes (bad fungi and bacteria) and extreme conditions. They also help keep your cannabis plants well fed and watered, even in drought conditions. Actinomycetes are able to break organic material that is more solid and harder for other organisms to break down such as pulp and wood, which often breaks down into material that is very rich in potassium. Protozoa is kind of the bad guy, but in reality it keeps things in a good balance and doesn’t harm your ladies or their roots. Protozoa and Rotifers eat bacteria and fungus in abundance (rotifer also eats protozoa), and it does not discriminate between good or bad microbes. In some ways this is helpful as it does kill some of the more pathogenic bacteria, molds and mildews, and also keeps the beneficial bacteria from gaining too big of a presence, which can throw the balance out of whack. Too much good bacteria can kill off other beneficials in the rhizosphere. So think of it as both Yin and Yang, balance and harmony. It’s hard to imagine that this life cycle, this symbiotic relationship is in anyway reflective of our own life cycles, but oddly enough it does. It’s interesting to think that we also have a symbiotic relationship with plants, they can feed us, provide material to make clothing and shelter, and in turn we cultivate and aggregate these seeds all over the world. We nurture them and ensure the continuance of their lineage, and they do the same for us.

Now I’m sure at this point your internal voice is asking, “T.B. when are you going to finish up with all of this boring mumbo-jumbo, and tell me how this can help me grow good bud?!” How can this help you grow good bud? The answer to that my friend, is simple: more than likely if you are growing indoors, your growing media does not contain any or at least a helpful portion of these beneficial organisms. Sure bacteria and fungi are all around us, but outside of the beneficial ecosystem of natural rhizospheres, it can be hard to find these beneficial microbes. Indoors and in many cheap soil mixes, you’re more likely to find more aggressive and destructive microbes that are more likely to devour your plant than do it any kind of favor. So how do you enrich your indoor garden with the friendly microbes? There are many ways, from making or using compost, compost teas or using soil conditioners. Some of these options can require allot of planning, and manipulation to ensure that you are getting a colony of beneficial microbes instead of a pathogenic colony, and let’s face it, no one really likes to do more leg work than they have to. So what would I recommend? Whatever floats your boat! That’s what! As much as I like the convenience of pre formulated conditioners, which give you the convenience of KNOWING exactly what’s in your rhizospheres, I can’t deny that making your own compost teas and microbes can actually save you money and benefit the environment, as that method is greener and more environmentally friendly. However keep in mind that the homemade method lacks one aspect that I find to be incredibly important to any garden, and that is control. Control, is knowing what is in your soil, knowing that beneficials are present and that you aren’t adding something that could possibly harm your garden, it has less risk, and that is why I use premixed, individual soil conditioners. The line of conditioners is made by a Colorado based company called Supreme Growers. Their products are also able to be used in hydroponic systems! Check out their website for samples at .

I have one more question to answer, and I’m sure you’ve been waiting for me to get to it. Why should you add beneficial microbes to your garden? What’s the sell point? I’m sure most of you who have had good quality outdoor grown bud can hardly deny the fact that it tastes better, smokes better, and ultimately is a superior product than that produced in a hydroponic, or indoor soil grow. Not to mention it more natural, more closely related to ’The source’. The reason why is because of the abundance of these beneficial microbes. These microbes bring other benefits to the table as well, they help protect your plant from would-be pests, viruses, and molds that could rot your plant. These are things that are the enemy of any cannabis garden, and every experienced gardener knows it. In the end these beneficial additives are going to strengthen your plants, help manufacture a more superior end product, and give you bud that is more organic and close to nature. It’s not hard to get a good colony going in your garden, give it a try, I’ll bet you aren’t able to refute the results I have described. Go on, smoke a better bud! Keep Growing!

- T.B. Green

          Which Soil Mixes Work Best?        

Well let’s jump right into this one. First off, never, and I repeat NEVER use the 99¢ bag of soil sold in dollar stores or in the saver section of department stores when growing cannabis. I call those cheap bags on nonsense crap-soil. They are supposed to be a cheap alternate potting soil, but the last thing you want to do is put your marijuana plant or seed in a pot with crap-soil. The problem with crap-soil is that it’s not clean. It’s infested with mold and mildew and higher-than-desired levels of pathogenic bacteria. Plus its low drainage/high water-retention nurture’s these unwanted microbes. Bugs and pests, many times, are already present in the sealed for-sale bags of crap soil. Some of these soils can already contain pests like spider mites, thrips, and fungus gnats from the manufacturer. Most of you already know how damaging these microbes and pests can be to any plant, (the bugs take nutrients from the plants, and the microbes can attract more bugs and can cause root/bud rot) they can wreak total havoc on enclosed indoor gardens. Because they have nowhere else to go, they’ll stay where their food source is, and multiply. Meaning in YOUR Garden.

So what soil mixture should you use for your indoor organic potted weed garden? Certainly not Miracle Grow or any of the other soil mixes sold at department stores. They aren’t much better than the cheap bags of crap-soil, they don’t drain well and the soil IS NOT cleaned before packaging. The only real difference between crap-soil and Miracle Grow types are the high amounts of inorganic time-release plant food present, and that some of those soils specialize in retaining higher amounts of water. So in the end your plant isn’t getting all natural food, and more water retention is going to attract mold and mildew if it isn’t already present. Good potting mixes retain at least small amounts of water, but drain REALLY well. Drainage is really important, because it lowers the likelihood of mold or mildew making its self at home anywhere in your cannabis garden.

Nutrition content in a good soil mix IS important, but since most cannabis cultivators use supplemental plant food. Lite nutrition content can be a good thing as well, so that you don’t cause any nutrient burn to your cannabis roots by adding unneeded plant food to your root system. Lite nutrition content gives you a little more room to experiment with your nutrient supplements without causing any real damage to your bud. So which potting soil would I recommend for using in an indoor ganja garden that will provide good drainage and contain decent amounts of plant food?



I use ROOTS ORGANIC Original Potting Soil. ROOTS Original is made with a mixture of coco coir, vermiculite, volcanic pumice, guano, worm castings, bone meal and greensand. Roots Original is all organic, drains well, and encourages vigorous root growth. It has enough nutrition to help your cannabis plants start to veg’, but will need nute supplementation not far into the veg’ stage. Good breathable garden containers such as SMART POTS or GEO POTS that provide great aeration can really create a great environment for your plant and its roots when used in conjunction with Roots Organic Potting Soil. Using them together will help keep pests and pathogenic microbes far away from your plants. The high amounts of oxygen and lower amounts water don’t provide the kind of environment they are looking for. (We’ll get more into the many benefits of aerated containers later.)

One important thing to remember when using potting soils high in vermiculite and coco coir is that they are both hydroponic type growing mediums in their own right; they contain no natural nutrition, are PH neutral, and retain equal parts air and water. Keeping that in mind, you should PH your watering and feedings somewhere between 6 and 6.5 . This will help your roots utilize the nutrients present, and prevent nutrient lock out. One other important thing to remember when using coir and vermiculite rich potting soils is to add Calcium and Magnesium to all feeding regiments and even lite calcium and magnesium amounts to your straight water feedings. Coir and Vermiculite potting soils have low amounts of Calcium and Magnesium and both minerals play a vital role in the roots ability to absorb other necessary nutrients.

Soil choice is very important to your potted cannabis plant grow, and it can impact many aspects of plant wellness and health. You can find quality potting soils at indoor gardening stores, good seasonal garden supply stores, and even online. Do your research and remember, if you want a healthy marijuana plant with potent sticky buds, it all starts with a great beneficial soil that will take good care of your roots.

Keep Growing - T.B. GREEN

          Grow Containers         

Hey freedom growers,

One of the most important aspects of your grow is what you choose to grow your ladies in. Since we are doing an organic potted grow, I’m going to go over some pot choices and give you my opinion on what I think is the best growing container available. Seeing as how the grow container/pot you choose to grow cannabis in, will house the roots (the rizosphere) you’ll want to make sure that you choose a container that is going to provide the best possible environment for those cannabis roots. Thriving roots like environments that are dark, get lots of oxygen, are moist but not saturated and allows healthy expansion of the roots zone.

So it goes without saying that growers should avoid cheap or even expensive clay or plastic flower pots, why? Most of these containers don’t have adequate drainage if at all, and definitely don’t allow good oxygen penetration. Low drainage and poor air penetration lead to anaerobic situations where unwanted microbes are allowed to build up and thrive. Anaerobic pathogenic microbes can lead to root rot (which can kill your plant or ruin your bud), and can also attract a number of unwanted pests. Quite literally these containers are made only to contain dirt, with little consideration or thought put into what a plants root system actually needs to thrive. As the plants grow and their root systems expand they will eventually run into the walls of these solid containers with nowhere else to go and will be forced to circulate around and around creating a situation where your cannabis roots become what is called root bound. Once that happens the roots begin to slowly suffocate, killing the plant. Obviously that’s not what you’re looking to have happen in your Ganja garden. Another fall back to solid containers is that since it’s nearly impossible to get good air penetration, heat will build up in the container raising the temperature of the root zone to possibly dangerous levels, which can also negative impact your plants health. Always remember, root health is detrimental to the overall health of your plants. Another thing for growers to consider is the shape of your growing container. While it’s not SUPER important to the success of the overall grow as long as other factors are considered, keep in mind, square containers allow more overall space for expanding roots than round containers. That’s why when you see most potted grows, allot of those plants are in the square growing containers.

So what kind of growing container should you use? I use Geo Pots. Geo Pots are made out of a durable porous material that has numerous benefits, plus unlike SMART Pots, they are square. The fabric like material allows for many benefits that you won’t get from solid flower pots such as, excellent drainage, aeration, temp control, and air root pruning. If you’re new to gardening, you may be asking yourself what some of these benefits implicate. I’ll break it down for you.

Drainage- Since the material is made from a fabric, water can easily escape preventing water from just sitting in the pot meaning your growth media, will get the moisture it needs for your roots, but won’t let your plants become water logged. Too much water can prevent air from being able to get to the roots too, effectively drowning the cannabis plant.

Aeration- Since the container is fabric, air and more importantly oxygen can freely penetrate the container. Just as CO2 is important to the foliage of your plan, oxygen is necessary for the health of your roots. Plants that have good oxygen penetration to their roots will have strong more vigorous root zones.

Temp Control- Since the sides of your container aren’t solid, and are porous heat can freely exit the root zone and not become locked in such is the case with most all solid pots.

Air Pruning- This is a biggie. Since the sides of the container aren’t solid, when the roots expand they won’t hit that solid wall of the container and be forced to recirculate. The roots can actually grow THROUGH the container wall to a certain extent. When the roots come into contact with the fabric they become trapped, and when contacted with air, they will naturally become pruned. This encourages lateral branching in the root system, making for more effective use of nutrients and moisture, and improving overall all plant health. Because of the air pruning you can grow larger plants in smaller containers. In my personal experience you can grow 3 to 4 foot plants in 2 gallon geo pots. That contradicts the rule of thumb that you should at minimum grow cannabis in a 3 gallon container, even for small plants like auto flowers.

Try for yourself, I think you’ll be surprised at how awesome these grow containers are, they’ll quickly become a staple in your indoor weed garden! There are many containers out there for ganja gardeners to use, but do to the versatility of these new aeropots its hard not to choose them. The choice is yours but I am confident that these are a superior product for any soil grower to use, and you'll notice when the difference when you smoke the bud they grow. If your still unsure, ask around, allot of ganja growers are now converting, will you join them and grow a more supreme product??

Keep Growing! -T.B. Green

          è…¸é“細菌的平衡一崩壞,便會引發腸炎 、異位性皮膚炎以及糖尿病等各種疾病        
新頭殼newtalk2014.01.16 鄭凱榕/編譯報導 日本筑波大學澀谷彰教授的研究團隊在實驗鼠上發現了服用抗生素導致腸道細菌的平衡崩解,因此氣喘症狀更為惡化的機制,這項研究成果15日發表在美國知名期刊《細胞》(Cell)的系列雜誌《細胞宿主與微生物》(Cell Host & Microbe)電子版上。 根據日本共同通信社16日報導,澀谷彰(SHIBUYA, Akira)表示,這項研究「將可能發展出新的過敏治療。今後希望能繼續接著在病患身上進行研究。」
          Handshake-free hospital: Doctor tests new method to limit spread of germs at medical center         
Dr. Mark Sklansky, a self-described germaphobe, can't stop thinking about how quickly microbes can spread."If I am at a computer terminal or using a phone or opening a door, I know my hands are now contaminated, and I need to be careful and I need to wash my hands," says Sklansky, a professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.Not all health workers are so careful, despite strict handwashing policies in virtually all medical facilities. A 2010 study published [...]
          UW-Madison biochemist wins Shaw Scientist Award        
Ophelia Venturelli's research may lead to the ability to engineer behaviors among beneficial microbes in the gut ecosystem, which could be used to enhance their resilience to invasion by pathogens or unintended impairment from antibiotics.
          Sean Ellis, Ed Yong, Mike Martin, Chloe Baker and Charlie Hatch-Barnwell        
We discuss new book ‘Crossing the Congo’ with its authors: former army man Mike Martin, anaesthetist Chloe Baker and photojournalist Charlie Hatch-Barnwell. Plus: film-director Sean Ellis fills us in on Second World War true-life drama ‘Anthropoid’ and we look at the world of microbes with science writer Ed Yong, author of ‘I Contain Multitudes’.
          Episode 24 – Bacteria Vs Man! Winning the war within YOU        
For almost 70 years, doctors have given people antibiotic medicines to help people defeat invading germs, or microbes. But there is a constant tug-of-war between these microscopic monsters and people.

Intro theme and various sound effects by Adam Dylewski; music by Kevin MacLeod (; Creative Commons licensed audio from includes sounds by ljudman, Matt G and UncleSigmund.

          IMO (Indigenous Micro-Organisms)        
IMO (Indigenous Micro-Organisms) There are thousands of organisms coexisting in the soil so it is important to support beneficial microbes. This method simply puts the good guys back in the system. It’s like having good gut flora, if you have the right balance, things function well, if it’s imbalanced, disease ensues. To capture and grow […]
          Materialism at the Millennium        
Geoffrey Winthrop-Young

‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax -
Of cabbages - and kings -
And why the sea is boiling hot -
And whether pigs have wings.’
Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking-Glass

Total history comes in waves. During the first decades of the twentieth century a number of prominent studies appeared that were written either by amateur historians such as Oswald Spengler or professionals like Arnold Toynbee and that mobilized a wide range of alternative disciplines in order to provide a new comprehensive view of history on a global scale. An ambitious commitment ‘to talk of many things’ - that is, to extend the domain of historiography far beyond its traditional boundaries - was linked to the elaboration of all-inclusive algorithms designed to account for the basic dynamics of history, be it the morphologically programmed blooming and withering of autonomous cultures in Spengler’s Decline of the West or the challenge-response scheme of Toynbee’s Study of History. Several reasons conspired to slow down the production of further such grand narratives following the Second World War, not the least of which was the increased institutionalization of historiography, but it appears that we are now caught up in a second wave of total histories. Once again, they are written by historians and non-historians alike, and once again the extension of the disciplinary boundaries is linked to a liberal import of ideas and methods from hitherto unrelated or ‘irrelevant’ fields. If one of the main achievements of the first wave was to place Western history on the same level as its allegedly inferior non-Western counterparts, the most promising aspect of the second wave is its attempt to remove the boundaries that separate human history from biological and geological evolution. It is not only a matter of paying the same respect lowly everyday life (shoes), trade history (ships), the materialities of communication (sealing wax), and agricultural economics (cabbage) that we used to pay to old-style dynastic history (kings), it is also a matter of exploring in what ways the interactions between cabbages and kings are similar to the processes regulating the ocean’s temperatures and the evolutionary dynamics that keep pigs earthbound.

1997 witnessed the publication of two books that fall into this category, Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and Manuel De Landa’s A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History. Guns, Germs, and Steel is fun, affable, easy to read, and full of photos, diagrams and the author’s highly infectious enthusiasm for his material. A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History is labourious, complex, meticulous, demanding, and devoid of anything remotely resembling humour, pity, didactic empathy or anything else that would make life easier for the reader. It is not the type of book you would expect to arouse parental feelings, but since the difficult children tend to attract the most concern, one cannot help wondering whether the kid will be alright. The worst fate - even worse than dismissal by the academe or confinement to interminable website discussions on the virtues of complexity - would be New Age appropriation. The best - even better than using it as a stimulant to discover some of its sources - would be to take the book as seriously as it takes itself, starting with the opening line. “Despite its title, this is not a book of history, but a book of philosophy” (11). But what kind of philosophy? What are the basic assumptions? And what are its nonlinear historical ingredients?

animal, vegetable, mineral

We are surrounded by geological formations ranging from pebbles to mountain ranges, myriads of animal and plant species complete with climates and ecosystems, and a no less bewildering variety of social and economic institutions that are all the outcome of specific historical developments. One of the basic premises of A Thousand Years is that the processes which turn stones into mountains, genes into organisms, and social roles into classes and institutions are isomorphic. No matter how diverse the materials employed or the structures generated, detailed empirical investigation mixed with insights gained from the analysis of non-linear dynamics will enable us to elaborate models of structuration processes abstract enough to operate in the disparate worlds of geology, biology, and human society.

The simplest of these “engineering diagrams” or “abstract machines” - a term on loan from Deleuze and Guattari who borrowed it from Artaud - is a so-called hierarchy, a sorting and cementing operation that can account for the genesis of rock layers, species, and social strata, among others. Acting as a hydraulic computer, a river will sort out pebbles of different size and weight and deposit them in homogenous groupings at the bottom of the sea; subsequently, certain substances in the water will by way of penetration, percolation, and crystallization cement the pebbles together into a new entity, such as a sandstone layer, with emergent properties of its own. Genes, in turn, are sorted out by a host of different selection pressures, but only those accumulations that are “cemented” and isolated from the rest of the population by closing the gene pool to further reproductive exchange will survive in the shape of a new species. The combination of selective accumulation and reproductive isolation performed by biological evolution is isomorphic to the sorting and cementing operations of geological evolution; and both are isomorphic to the social processes in the course of which hierarchical societies sort a variety of differentiated roles into ranks and consolidate or reify the homogenous groups, classes or casts by way of discursive codification. Hence, hierarchy building in the human, animal, vegetable, and mineral realm involves two distinct operations: a homogenizing sorting of base elements followed by a consolidating process that transforms these separate elements into a more permanent structure on another scale.

If hierarchies grow out of the cementing of homogenous elements, meshworks comprise a more complex abstract machine that synthesizes heterogenous elements. Very basically, they require a set of at least two reactions that catalyse each other: reaction 1 results in product X which will serve as a catalyst for reaction B; in turn, reaction 2 yields product Y which then serves as a catalyst for reaction 1. The catalysts bind together two substances that would otherwise not react with each other in an autocatalytic loop that will be sustained for as long as the environment provides enough energy and material for the reactions to proceed. We are, in other words, dealing with self-organization in far-from-equilibrium processes. De Landa closely follows Maturana and Varela’s analysis that these closed circuits produce their own stable states of behaviour and evolve by drift. That is, structures are not imposed from the outside but spontaneously generated from within, and the resulting meshwork, though constrained by its environment, will evolve in an unplanned way. If sandstone, species, and social strata exemplify the workings of hierarchies, granite, ecosystems, and markets are presented as instances of meshworks. In each case, the required intercalary elements (the appropriate chemical, biological, or economic catalysts) join together heterogenous elements with functional complementarities (e.g., the different elements in a cooling magma stream, the variety of plant and animal species in an ecology, and the buyers and sellers meeting on the market). The interlocked heterogeneous elements, in turn, generate stable patterns of behaviour: magma cools at different speeds with one element acting as a container for those that crystallize at a later point, ultimately resulting in granite; the various predator-prey, parasite-host, and symbiotic relationships among species involved make up a stable ecosystem sustained by the circulation of energy and matter; and the circulation of money and information serves to interlock the producers and consumers of a non-regulated, evolving market.

De Landa knows his readership well enough not to completely trust it, hence the numerous caveats, reminders, and reservations that are less designed to convince sceptics than to obstruct zealots. Not only are hierarchies and meshworks not the only abstract machines around - De Landa also sketches a “probe head” that provides the blueprint for any type of evolution based on the coupling of variable replicators to sorting devices - but they rarely exist in isolation. Most social institutions, for instance, are a mixture of both types. More importantly, despite the book’s admitted bias against large hierarchies, De Landa goes out of his way to insist that there is nothing that makes meshworks innately superior to or more desirable than hierarchies. His own bias is related to what he sees as an excessive accumulation of hierarchies at the expense of meshworks (not to mention the fact that hierarchies can look back on several hundred years of scrutiny while meshworks have only very recently come under investigation).

But what of the “new philosophy” What does it say, or, more interestingly, what does it no longer say? 1) History is extended into biological and geological evolution; hence there is no longer any distinction between recorded and unrecorded or animate and inanimate history. 2) Forms and shapes are no longer imposed on matter since matter now generates its own stable patterns; hence the distinction between form and matter is obsolete. 3) No matter how stable some of the forms in question (and from a human point of view mountains tend to be pretty stable), they all appear as a local slowing-down of an ongoing flux; hence the traditional distinction between stasis and motion becomes, if not obsolete, then at least more problematic. All reality is a “single matter-energy undergoing phase transitions of various kinds, with each new layer of accumulated ‘stuff’ simply enriching the reservoir of nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear combinatorics available for the generation of novel structures and processes” (21). In the conclusion, De Landa identifies the unformed und unstructured flows of this “nonorganic life” (260) with Deleuze and Guattari’s “Body Without Organs” - which may be as confusing to those who don’t know the term as it is irritating to those who do. In short, call it autopoietic neomaterialism, or A Philosophy of Spinozist-Spencerian Complexity. It is indebted to Spinoza (by way of Deleuze) for its insistence that matter can generate stable patterns on its own without any assistance from outside resources. It is Spenserian in its penchant for depicting evolution - a term Spencer used to replace the more anthropocentric “progress” - as leading from incoherent homogeneity to coherent heterogeneity. And it adheres to the principles of complexity by virtue of its emphasis on the importance of self-organization (autopoiesis) in all kinds of human, animal, vegetable, and mineral far-from-equilibrium systems that cut across all boundaries.

stone, meat, and words

Like Dante, De Landa prefers to tell his tale in sets of three. A Thousand Years is divided into three chapters, each chapter has three sections. The first and third sections deal with the “geological,” “biological,” and “linguistic” histories of the urban landscape from 1000-1700 AD and 1700-2000, respectively. The second section of each chapter is theoretical, explaining basic concepts and relating the arguments to an impressive interdisciplinary background. But why cities? Because cities, especially in periods of rapid growth, are far from equilibrium. By attracting, circulating, and discharging everything ranging from money to microbes, the urban dynamics provide the energy flows necessary to induce and maintain all varieties of self-organization. Subsequently, De Landa presents a kind of complex urban Rashomon. Three times he tells the story of Western cities: first, a “geological” perspective that centres on the growth of urban economics resulting from various types of positive feedback between individuals and institutions; second, a “biological” history that looks at cities as complex superorganisms that live off their surroundings and fuel complex interactions between humans, animals, and microparasites; and third, a “linguistic” chapter that traces the circulation and competition of vernacular dialects that self-organize themselves and “harden” into hegemonic national languages. If authors and publishers were under the same pressure as food and drug manufacturers to provide a precise description of the ingredients of their products, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History would bear the title Roughly A Thousand Years of Selected Isomorphic Nonlinear Urban, Ecological and Linguistic Dynamics in Predominantly Western European History.

And why 1000? Because - according to William McNeill - the enhancement of civilized capacities at the end of the first millennium resulting from intensified selection pressures following the collapse of the Roman Empire and the so-called Dark Ages laid the groundwork for the European upsurge of wealth and power. 1000 AD marks the beginning of urban growth along the Mediterranean as well as the North and East Sea coasts. Here and elsewhere, De Landa relies heavily on Braudel; indeed, Braudel is such a formidable presence that he may have shaped the basic design of the book. De Landa’s geological, biological, and linguistic layers appear to resemble Braudel’s tripartite division into the environmental histoire immobile at the bottom of history, the sluggish cycles of material culture in the middle, and frothy human events at the top. A more detailed encounter with A Thousand Years will have to examine to what degree De Landa has inherited some of the more problematic aspects of Braudel’s work, such as the overrating of trade for the economic history of late medieval and early modern history, or his biased binary that pits the honest, unregulated “meshwork” of truly capitalist markets (which Braudel tends to depict a bit like a lively French county fair) against the evil, non-capitalist anti-market forces. Another aspect De Landa shares with Braudel and many other sources is a welcome sense of historical contingency: up until the final take-off phase, what happened in Europe could have happened elsewhere, so there is no innate reason why Western Europe came to dominate the world the way it did. The potential problem is that despite this more open and relaxed view of global history Europe retains its privileged position. Once upon a time historians reduced history to an algorithm that regulated a predictable rise from barbarism to high culture with Europe as the supreme example against which all others had to be measured; now history is subjected to contingency, nonlinear dynamics, and open-ended evolutionary sweepstakes, but once again Europe appears both as the model and the prime example of history.

Finally, one of the peculiar aspects of A Thousand Years is that for all its insistence on positive feedback, autocatalytic loops, and systems turning output into new input, it lacks a certain theoretical self-reflexivity. Surely, De Landa must know that the various explanatory models he mobilizes to explain meshworks and hierarchies in the worlds of geology, biology, and human history did not arise independently but are closely related and in some cases directly descended from each other. To name just one obvious example, it has frequently been argued - and brilliantly so in one of the books used by De Landa, Darwinism Evolving by David Depew and Bruce Weber - that Darwin’s theory of modification with descent is partly based on an inscription of Adam Smith’s political economics into nature. To what degree, then, is the claim that the dynamics of human culture society are no different from the self-organizing processes of biological and geological evolution based on the similarity of the explanatory models rather than on real isomorphies? Theories, too, are “accumulations of materials hardened and shaped by historical processes” (55) - not to take this into account while describing these processes in nature and culture is potentially to fall back into a naive realism very much at odds with the complex subject matter.

If the last one and a half paragraphs sound too negative, let me be clear about my overall impression. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History is one the most intelligent, stimulating, and rewarding books I have read in a long time - it even surpasses De Landa’s previous War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (which says a lot); [Tim Luke on De Landa’s robot historian] and it is fully capable of surviving the advances from free-floating New Agers as well as the equally inevitable rebuffs from academic Old Agers. De Landa’s greatest strength, no doubt, is his ability to synthesize - to create a self-sustaining system of theories that are merged, as it were, into an intellectual meshwork. Here, however, a final irony emerges: in the concluding pages of Tristes Tropiques, Claude Lévi Strauss muses that anthropology - the science that informs one culture about another - should be called entropology because the exchange of information serves to erode the boundaries between the cultures and ultimately homogenizes them. In much the same way, De Landa’s formidable argument that widely differing negentropic phenomena are ultimately isomorphic is, ironically, a significant step toward final entropy.

ps: shortcuts

For those who are interested but lack time: De Landa’s article “Immanence and Transcendence in the Genesis of Form” in the Deleuze special of the South Atlantic Quarterly 96:3 (Summer 1997) offers an excellent introduction to meshworks and hierarchies. William McNeill’s theories are summarized in his lecture, The Human Condition: An Ecological and Historical View, published by Princeton in 1980. Fernand Braudel’s short Afterthoughts on material civilization and capitalism (Johns Hopkins, 1977) is recommended to those who don’t want to read the three volumes of Civilization and Capitalism. Finally, a very short version of Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel may be found in Evolution: Society, Science and the Universe, ed. A. C. Fabian (Cambridge, 1998: 36-63)

          Meat Curing: What It Is And How It Works        

Curing meat is the product of cultures dealing with the problem of extending shelf life of meat by making it inhospitable to microbes. Evidence ...

The post Meat Curing: What It Is And How It Works appeared first on Walden Labs.

          Dirty Sock Syndrome        

During certain times of the year, like the present, when a heat pump may warm in the morning hours and then cool at noon and later hours, it can produce condensate from noon on which fuels organic debris decay resulting in microorganism growth in and around the evaporator coil for up to 16 hours — only to release odor and toxins during the next morning’s warming hours. Heat pump coil temperatures are often not sufficient enough to kill proliferating microbes. Those that may die simply serve as a future food source for continued proliferation.

A thorough coil cleaning will make a difference, but the problem will usually return.  That's why, in addition to regular cleanings by an HVAC professional, UV-C lights are a must in eradicating all microbial growth.  UV-C lights kill microbes of all kinds and types and, like bleach, disassociates their carcasses and other organic materials. UV-C lights produce very little heat, no odor, and leave no secondary contamination behind — and it operates continuously as long as the blower wheel is engaged, which means no build-up of microbial matter!  UV-C lights can now be purchased for relatively cheap and installation is usually quite brief.  Consult your local HVAC service provider today to get rid of that pesky dirty sock odor for good!

Heating & Air
•Decomposers break down complex organic matter into inorganic substances like carbon dioxide, water and nutrients and the process is called decomposition.
Dead plant parts such as leaves, bark, flowers, and dead remains of animals including fecal matter are called detritus.
ØAboveground detritus –litter fall
ØBelowground detritus-It is composed of dead roots (Root detritus).

It is mainly due to the action of feeding invertebrates (Detritivores). They break down into smaller particles. Detritus gets pulverized when passing through the digestive tracts of animals. Due to fragmentation the surface area of detritus particles is greatly increased and it comes out in the form of warm casting.

Water percolating through soil removed soluble substances (Sugars, several nutrients) from the fragmented detritus due to leaching
•The extra cellular enzymes released by bacteria and fungi carry out catabolism.i.e. enzymatic conversion of the decomposing detritus to simpler compounds and inorganic substances. All the three processes of decomposition operate simultaneously.
Humification leads to accumulation of a dark amorphous substances called Humus. It is highly resistant to microbial action and undergoes decomposition at an extremely slow rate. a Colloid in nature it serves as a reservoir of nutrients. The humus is further degraded by some microbes and release of inorganic nutrients occur by the process known as mineralization.


          4 Tips for Storing Dried Vegetables        
As dehydrated food experts, the Harmony House team knows the secrets to storing dried vegetables. We are happy to share our knowledge with you!

You already know that dried produce will keep far longer than fresh. But how much longer? The shelf life of our premium dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables lasts up to two years, but your veggies can last longer if stored in the right way. These four tips will help you store your dried vegetables and lengthen the shelf life (keeping them just as delicious as they were the day you brought them home).

1. Store all your dried vegetables in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

We package our dried veggies in sealed, airtight containers that are convenient for everyday cooking. You might be tempted to keep those ingredients handy by storing them on your kitchen counter right next to the stove–but that will minimize their shelf life.

Heat, light, and air are three of the biggest causes of food spoilage (whether that food is fresh or dried). Oxidation and photodegradation are natural processes that decline the quality and nutritional content of vegetables. A dark, cool shelf in a pantry or cabinet will be a much better place for long-term storage of your dried vegetables.

2. Keeping your veggies in the refrigerator or freezer will extend shelf life.

Our dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables are shelf stable—that is what the USDA defines as “foods that can be stored safely at room temperature.” So they will keep just fine without refrigeration (if kept in a cool, dark place). However, refrigeration will extend the life of shelf-stable foods. So if you want to keep your dried veggies fresh for a longer period of time, then you might want to store them in the fridge or freezer.

People who live in areas with high humidity are especially encouraged to store their dried veggies in the refrigerator. The same is true for people who do not have a climate control system in their home. So if you don’t have air conditioning, plan on storing your dried vegetables in the refrigerator or freezer for longest life. (Bonus tip: freeze dried fruits are also more likely to retain their pleasing crispness if you store them in the freezer).

3. Keep water away!

The microbes that cause food to discolor and go bad need water to live. Freeze drying and dehydration prevents the growth of fungus, mold, bacteria, and other microbes that cause vegetables (and other foods) to spoil. It is the lack of water content in our dried vegetables that keeps them safe to eat for so long.

Moisture is the number one enemy of dehydrated vegetables. Damp basements, under-sink cabinets, or any other place where your stored vegetables will come in contact with moisture will shorten their shelf life. (This is also why we recommend that people in humid climates store their dried vegetables in the fridge or freezer.)

4. Vacuum pack and use oxygen absorbers for long-term storage.

Vacuum packing your dried vegetables can extend the shelf life exponentially by minimizing the amount of oxygen that they will come in contact with. You will need special equipment, including a vacuum sealer and Mylar bags, to vacuum pack your vegetables.

With a vacuum sealer, you can use Harmony House dried vegetables for long-term emergency food storage. One of the most cost effective ways of doing this is to buy in bulk and then repackage in Mylar bags using your vacuum sealer. We sell almost all of our dehydrated vegetables in bulk sizes. Using a home vacuum sealer can make your vegetables shelf stable for many years. For an extra protective measure, you may also wish to add oxygen absorbers to the Mylar bag when you are ready to seal it.

Keep Your Pantry Stocked for Years

Keeping a supply of dried vegetables in your pantry is a delicious way to save time and energy by reducing the number of trips you need to take to the grocery store. Stocking up on staples like dried onions, peppers, celery, and mushrooms means you will always have those ingredients on hand for quick, tasty delicious meals. And now you know the tricks to storing them for the longest amount of time possible. Bon appetit!


The USDA’s Shelf Stable Food Safety Sheet

          What is compost tea and why is it good for my plants?        
Compost tea is a brewed water extract of compost containing billions of beneficial     microbes per liter. Compost is placed into a bucket of water and air is pumped into the bottom of the bucket for about 24 hours. In that … Continue reading
          The Last Best Place on Earth: In order to go, you have to freeze your clothes        
Harry Smith takes us to a Pacific island so protected and pristine that TV news cameras have never been there and so fragile that he and his team had to rid their clothes of invasive microbes by sealing and freezing them before setting foot on its shores.
           Life at small scale: The behavior of microbes - Dusenbery,DB         
UNSPECIFIED (1997) Life at small scale: The behavior of microbes - Dusenbery,DB. Nature, 386 (6620). p. 36. ISSN 0028-0836
          Yo-Yo Dieting Messes with Your Brain and Gut Microbes        
Credit: Thinkstock   Until recently, most experts believed that yo-yo dieting, repeatedly dieting, losing weight, going off the diet, re-gaining weight, and starting the cycle again, was not implicated in causing overall “greater” weight gain. In fact, many health experts will often tell you to keep trying to lose weight even if you’ve had multiple failures. However, a study published in...
          Alexander Oparin - JBS Haldane wellness spa Primordial Soup Sauna near ARAD/Romania, 1st of May        

Journey into deep time by the means of a sauna

We wanted to carry on with the DIY end-of-times anti-Internet sauna tradition that started with the e-tribes Survival Tablets. It was a bet for us, Romanians, a non-sauna tradition to manage and improvise a sauna in the courtyard of the Fabrica de Pensule. What the Russians, Finnish and Japanese have managed in thousand of years of tradition we managed to pull apart & remake in a few days.
It is true, we stole some wood from our puritan and deeply religious neighbors from Cluj that were building a huge cathedral, but a deity will always provide for those that are pure at heart.
We started washing river stones found in the nearby trash-filled river, while eating Parizer and Napolact Yogurt and chatting with the local workers and factory doorkeepers.
The next we did in Berlin for the Knot project on the Tempelhof former Marshall plan airbase. We used stones stolen from pavement of the city of Berlin to try and help out the local German youth and improve its health. Some of the stones cracked. Nobody was injured.

Now we are back in Banat, in the Western part of Romania, with our friends, in the forest, just on the 1st of May, the international workers day.
Now we realized this was a way for us to go back into deep geological time and witness fabulous geothermal energies of the Earth. To live a few minutes like the thermophile(thermal-lover) ARCHAEA was our quest.
These ancient animalcules from the dawn of time have continued their extreme lifestyle on the bottom of deep sea hydro-thermal vents where ultra hot, mineral-rich hot spring water keeps spewing out of the ocean floor, supporting a unique ecosystem.
We would like to dedicate this sauna to one of the inventors of the "Abiotic soup" theory of the origins of life on Earth, the Soviet biochemist Alexander Oparin (also called Oparin-Haldane thesis) because it was separately supported by both Oparin and pioneer geneticist and evolutionary biologist J B S Haldane.
Taking account of the discovery of methane in the atmosphere of Jupiter and other giant gas planets, Oparin postulated that the infant Earth had possessed a strongly reducing atmosphere, containing methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water vapor. In his opinion, these were the raw materials for the evolution of life.
Some (Norman Horowitz, David Hawkins) have pointed out the Edenic qualities of Oparin's abiotic soup theory.
Maybe derived from an earlier version of Darwin's "warm little pond", Oparin made the most out of an ideal epoch of heterotrophic-first organisms that flourished in a beginning of plenty and intial abundance. This Edenic period was soon disrupted and followed by a fall-from-grace period, with overpopulation and severe crisis launched by diminished resources and competition that finally gave rise to the first intermediary metabolism and then autotrophic (chemotrophic and photosynthetic life-forms). We should also seriously question Oparinian orthodoxy with its Biblical overtones, and part of that is also the STEAM, the vapors and condensed chemistry that rained back on earth. volcanic islands could function as a sort of "chemical factories" (former student of Miller, marine biologist Jeffrey Bada).
There where others problems with the strongly reducing atmosphere - since Earth didn't yet acquire its protective layer of clouds it simply exposed all methane and ammonia to degradation by ultraviolet rays from the sun. The only place where this would not happen would be on volcanic island and early continents, where the lightening and gases where available and amino-acids could be produced.

But only if the gases came from above not below! Miller created just 5 amino-acids in the first experiment out of the 20 compounds essential to life. Miller altered his experiment for the better (and improved!) in an unpublished experiment by Miller uses this 'volcanic' plume that would spark life, before they are destroyed by the sun. All the gases enter from below, but because of the backward technologies of the time he failed to record his own success. This 'volcanic apparatus' was even more successful in producing more essential amino-acids and hinted to a "hot little puddle" (Deamer) hypothesis where early life simmered at 70-80 degrees Celsius.

Carl Woese put forth another hypothesis of autotrophic-first life and a critique of Oparinist abiotic theories, with droplets of steam being possible predecessors of cellular life. These droplets could be seen as precursors to cellular life-forms, their surfaces coated with large organic compounds and their interiors full of reactive chemical cocktails. Active membrane chemistry needs a large surface and these droplets hovering in the steamy air offered incredible amounts of surface! Instead of being a two-step process, first chemicals get produce above, then rain down to form organisms that start gulping all the remaining soup, the solution-based chemistry is a late-comer, arriving after the membrane (interface) chemistry already does the job. Its important to know that there are alternatives to the primordial soup scenario of Oparin made of floating colloidal droplets.
The watery Edenic expanse is a very powerful image of oceanic proportions, the primordial ocean may not have been so primordial after all, and life may have been cooked and prepared in a different, more sauna-like environment before it could settle and swim in a aqueous home.
Life was not only at the mercy of plenty or external scaricity, it was involved in shaping and changing its surroundings. Early dynamic relationships continued to play an important role later on as complexity grew under the auspices of earlier developements. Methanogenic microbes, thus be employed in this momentous change, in cooling the Earth down, in making water available as liquid by diminishing the proportion of CO2, CO and Hydrogen in the initial atmosphere. They could have contributed in an active way, in parallel with natural geochemical processess to the cooling down effect. In this new perspective life wasn't just a passive bystander, it didn't just start in the oceans, it made the oceans happen in the first place.
The earth surface was just too hot for liquid water to form, just as our hot sauna stones. Any water would just immediately evaporate. Immense cloud banks made out of mineral dust particles and condensed water would be the initial starting place of biochemestry.
Our plastic sack membrane also helps us to understand the rudiments and clear lessons of membrane chemistry. As an envelope it permits chemicals to accumulate and concentrate just on at the interface of its surface!

Our sauna in Arad was a way to experiment with a few basic components the early conditions of infant Earth on our own Eukaryotic bodies. Our sauna was a primordial soup experiment involving a lot of steam and good humor.
Because we are surrounded nowadays by relatively cold conditions, only a sauna can actually replicate or simulate the initial very hot conditions of primordial Earth (the Hadean eon) that were actually experimentally proved by the Miller-Urey spark-discharge experiment. Primordial conditions fluctuated in the 20th century theories of the origins of the Earth as hot when at first seen as a piece of the sun, becoming cold (as cold accretion Earth in the 50s) and hot again with the heavy asteroid bombardment as witnessed by the early Moon (60s to present).

We did this on the first of May a day for workers of the whole world to relax and get acquainted with steamy, sweaty materialism.
The incredible photos (no special effects or Photoshopping used!) are made possible by Pnea Pneuma, Gelu and Ivi.
This is a very clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
          Ù…اذا تعرف عن البكتيريا التي تنمو في الفضاء ؟         

مصدر الصورة /

- البكتيريا العصوية Ø§Ù„شمعية Bacillus safensis bacterium  ÙƒØ§Ù†Øª عنوان مشروع علمي قد تنعكس آثاره على رواد الفضاء والرحلات الفضائية , والنظريات التي تتبنى فكرة إمكانية وجود حياه في العوالم الأخرى .

- فقد إكتشف العلماء أن سلالة معينة من البكتريا العصوية التي تسمى safensis  ØªÙ†Ù…Ùˆ أفضل بحوالي 60% في محطة الفضاء الدولية منه على سطح الأرض .

- كما أن هذه البكتيريا لها بالفعل تاريح طويل من السفر إلى الفضاء , فقد إكتشفت لأول مرة في إحدى غرف وكالة ناسا الفضائية في أواخر التسعينات , كما يعتقد أنها تسللت خلسه إلى سطح كوكب المريخ , خلال رحلة المركبة الفضائية Ø±ÙˆÙØ±Ø² لإستكشاف الكوكب الأحمر , أو من خلال المركبة الفضائية Opportunity عام 2004 .

- وكانت هذه النتائج جزء من تجربة علمية ضمن المشروع العلمي MERCCURI , حيث قام العلماء بجمع عينات ميكروبية لنقلها إلى محطة الفضاء الدولية , لمعرفة الكيفية التي ستنمو وتتطور بها في ظل ظروف الجاذبية المنخفضة .

- وبطبيعة الحال فإن محطة الفضاء الدولية ليست بالطبع بيئة صحية تماماً , لذا فإن حقيقة إزدهار الميكروبات ونموها هناك أمراً ليس مستبعداً ولا يثير الإستغراب , فكما يقول دكتور Ø¯ÙŠÙÙŠØ¯ كويل، من جامعة كاليفورنيا في ديفيز " إن محطة الفضاء الدولية , بيئة رطبة ودافئة وغنية بالأكسجين , وبعيدة كل البعد عن فراغ الفضاء "

وقد أجريت الدراسات على حوالي 48 سلالة من البكتيريا , فنما أغلب هذه الأنواع بنفس معدل نموها على الأرض , إلا أن بعضا قد نما بشكل أفضل من نموها على سطح الأرض .

- ويبدو أن هذه الدراسة لها آثارها على مستقبل السفر إلى الفضاء , كما أنها تمس مسائل علمية كبيرة عن أصل وإنتشار الحياة في الكون , وعلى كيفية تكيف الكائنات الحية مع ظروف البيئة المحيطة مهما بلغت قسوة تلك الظروف .

المصدر :

          Microbes Within Us: Their Effect on Our Health - Juvenon Health Journal        
Microbes outnumber the cells comprising the tissues and organs of our body, and contain a hundred times more genetic information than what's in our genetic profile.
          Scientists Synthesize Food With Little Electric Shocks        
Researchers in Finland are using electricity to generate food from microbes and other components, a process meant to help fight world hunger.
          Clearwater CNX        
Clearwater CNX

Clearwater CNX

Keen Clearwater CNX Sandal Features: 4mm midsole drop AEGIS Microbe Shield treated lining Contoured arch for added mid-foot support Metatarsal ridge for natural underfoot support Multi-directional flex grooves for natural flexibility and improved ground contact Non-marking rubber outsole with razor siping Patented toe protection Proprietary lightweight PU midsole compound for long lasting support and comfort Weight approx. 238g

          Velasquez-Manoff on Autoimmune Disease, Parasites, and Complexity        
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, author of An Epidemic of Absence, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book--a discussion of why allergies and autoimmune diseases have been on the rise in the developed world for the last half-century. Velasquez-Manoff explores a recent hypothesis in the epidemiological literature theorizing the increase is a response to the overly hygienic environment in rich countries and the absence of various microbes and parasites. Velasquez-Manoff also considers whether reintroducing parasites into our bodies can have therapeutic effects, a possibility currently under examination through FDA trials. The conversation continues a theme of EconTalk--the challenge of understanding causation in a complex world.
          Zombie Microbe Colonies Thrive in Ocean, Don't Get Much Work Done        

Zombie MicrobesFor years, researchers have known about Archaea -- single-celled organisms genetically distinct from eukaryotes that thrive in the most inhospitable locations of the deep ocean.  Now, scientists from Penn State have discovered zombie archaea who use such small amounts of energy that they may as well be undead.

While the av [...]


Hey rory, what the fuck isit with you? some of your friends are startin' to think that you've been eaten. no not yet. sooner or later we all get eaten by somethin', I guess, even if it's just little bitty microbes, or the wind. but that ain't happened yet. little guy rory found on a milkweed leaf not too long ago can't say the same though:

rory figured it was time. the critters are even tellin' me to get back to it. roryz been workin' his arse off. trackin'. rattlers. but that season is gonna slow down now. and if trackin' for miles up and down in the heat with all the biters eating the flesh of rory weren't enough, rory moved. and when rory moves, rory moves a lot of shit. rory doesn't travel light. and rory does the labor himself for the most part. trackin' for 10 or 12 hours, enough to make you wanna lie down and not move. and then packin' and cleanin' and carryin' and organizin' and throwin' away and bein' shoved down remembrance alley goin' through shit and dragged into a doorway of memory here and there involuntarily and beaten about the head, kissed, made sad, made happy, and made aware of the passage of time and things rory didn't even remember he did, knew, or knew of. good thing to do once in awhile, methinks. a month of solid no rest movin' and trackin'. off line for a bit. so cool to be back now and anticipating communication with bloggers. like a return from a sea voyage without comms. but enough. don't let the hiatus become heinous. come on back. return them calls. come on rory. don't be missin' all that news out there either. holy frickin' shit, you missed the story of bush visitin' a shoe factory while baghdad burns:

Stupid motherfucker indeed.

dude won the bet

on the same date -- July 11 -- that the first fuckwad modeled the clown shoes at a factory in Wisconsin his actions resulted some more death in Iraq:

BAGHDAD - Two suicide bombers and a roadside bomb killed 15 people outside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone government compound on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. The al-Qaeda-led Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq said it was behind the two suicide attacks, according to an Internet posting.
BAGHDAD - Gunmen killed eight employees of an Iraqi contracting company and wounded three after bursting into their offices in Baghdad's western Mansur district.
BAQUBA - Gunmen killed 19 people in different incidents in the religiously mixed city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - Gunmen opened fire at a minibus, killing 10 people and wounding one in the southern Sunni district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

all on the day he modeled the clown shoes and kissed his own ass about how great the U.S. economy is doin' ... guess not much has changed in the month or so roryz been offline

neverthefrickinless it's good to be back
          WHO, part II: Westphalian public health        
[This is the second of several posts (Part I here) giving some background to the place of WHO in the international system. I am trying to explain some things about WHO behavior and positions I think might be useful to interpreting their actions and statements. It is not meant as a defense of either.]

In Part I we gave a brief background to the international system to which WHO is tied, the Westphalian system. When WHO was created it was the only game in town. Throughout its history, WHO has struggled to overcome the incompatibility between the legacy of a political and diplomatic world where actors are nation states and the real public health world where these actors are irrelevant.

The problem of the irrelevance of political borders (and state sovereignty) to a microbe was understood even before the germ theory. Quarantine goes back at least to the fourteenth century, and as time went on the practice and others like requiring a "bill of health" from the port of origin became an increasing source of interference to free trade and trravel between nation states. In principle one country couldn't intervene in the affairs of another to stop an epidemic, but it could prevent its ships from its shores or incarcerate its crews aand impound once landed.

As trade increased so did the costs in spoiled cargos and lost cartage times. By the middle of the nineteenth century the community of large trading nations was exploring ways to reduce the frictional loss caused by sovereignty, of each nation acting on its own. Westphalianism allowed supranational controls as long as all parties agreed. Thus began a series of international sanitary conventions from 1851 onward. They were voluntary but binding agreements negotiated by sovereign states on how to minimize interference with international trade and travel while maximizing protection from specified infectious diseases. In other words, they were rules that managed state interactions while leaving the core of sovereignty alone. The sanitary conventions didn't interfere with what went on inside borders. They covered quarantine and requirements for certain facilities at international ports and airports, the gateways for cross-border disease spread.

The classical example of a Westphalian structure in international health are the International Health Regulations (IHR), adopted by WHO in 1951 from the international sanitary conventions in force at that time. They are discussed in David Fidler's monograph, SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease. As he observes (p. 33), the objectives of the IHR are pure Westphalian doctrine: to ensure the maximum security against the international spread of disease with minimal interference with world traffic. At the heart of the IHR is a surveillance activity that requires notification of the international community through WHO. The IHR only covered diseases of interest to the great powers, cholera, plague and yellow fever ("Asiatic diseases"). The original IHR/1969, in force until next June when they will be succeeded by the revised IHR/2005, are Westphalian through and through:
The IHR seek to achieve minimum interference with world traffic by regulating the trade and travel restrictions WHO member states can take against countries suffering outbreaks subject to the Regulations. The IHR provide that the trade and travel measures prescribed for each disease subject to the Regulations are the most restrictive measures that WHO member states may take (IHR, 1969, Article 23). The IHR contain the maximum measures that a WHO member state may apply to address potential cross-border transmissions of cholera, plague, or yellow fever . . . . The IHR have provisions that prevent the departure of infected persons by means of transportation and that limit actions taken against ships and aircraft en route between ports of departure and arrival, against persons and means of transport upon arrival, and against cargo, goods, baggage, and mail moving in international transport . . .(Fidler, p. 34).
This is not all. The flow of epidemiologic information has also been regulated by Westphalian principles:
The [IHR] also reflect the state-centric framework, especially with regard to the flow of epidemiological information to and from WHO. Under the IHR, surveillance information that WHO can disseminate to its member states can only come from governments (IHR, 1969, Article 11). As WHO observed [cite omitted], '[t]he IHR wholly depend on the affected country to make an official notification to WHO once cases are diagnosed." WHO has no legal authority under the IHR to disclose disease outbreak information it receives from reliable non-governmental sources. (Fidler, p. 51).
This explains a great deal of WHO's seemingly irresponsible behavior regarding release of case and sequence information. It did not have the legal authority, under international law, to release information without the consent of the member state. We at Effect Measure or Henry Niman at Recombinomics might rail that WHO "must" release the Turkish sequence information, but WHO could not do so without the permission of the Turkish government. We could bemoan this restriction (as WHO did for many years) and demand WHO violate international law. But such an act could have serious consequences for WHO's position in the international system. It would be like asking the police to violate the law for a higher good. It might be justified in some circumstances, but they would have to be extraordinary and the undertaking would be fraught with difficulty and hazard. They also would not have many chances to do it again if it turned out to be unjustified.

It is clear the Westphalian IHR were inadequate to the task of safeguarding the world from pandemic disease, not only in the bird flu case but in many others where state actors have violated their obligations to notify WHO because they would suffer economic harm. WHO understood that the core principles for the Westphalian IHR were inadequate as well and by the mid nineties was undertaking to revise them. At the same time, changes were taking place in global public health, like a chrysalis developing within the Westphalian cocoon. In Part III we will take a look at them.

Correction, 6/4/06, 12:50 EDT: Inserted the word "not" to make the second sentence in the penultimate paragraph read correctly, viz., "…but WHO could not do so without the permission of the Turkish government." Sorry for any confusion. Thanks to the reader who pointed it out.

           Confocal imaging of pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola colony development in bean reveals reduced multiplication of strains containing the Genomic Island PPHGI-1         
Godfrey, S., Mansfield, J. W., Corry, D., Lovell, H., Jackson, R. and Arnold, D. L. (2010) Confocal imaging of pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola colony development in bean reveals reduced multiplication of strains containing the Genomic Island PPHGI-1. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 23 (10). pp. 1294-1302. ISSN 0894-0282 Available from:
          Comment on ‘Cold plasma’ kills off norovirus by This Week's Good News From Around The World (February 11th, 2017) - Wisdom Pills        
[…] been identified as an effective way to kill microbes, but its effect on viruses was unclear. ( Dallas Jeffs Dallas Jeffs is a freelance writer, art school grad and lover of all things […]
          Comment on Smart Meters and Tinnitus Controversy by tinnitus        
Tinnitus is not a illness; nevertheless a signal due to an array of root causes that will consist of: ear microbe infections, unusual physical objects or perhaps wax in the ear canal, nose hypersensitivity that avoid (or even cause fluid drain and also result in wax build-up.

NASA’s offering a 6-figure salary to anyone who can protect us from aliens.


Every day, hundreds of thousands of people get up and go to jobs that keep the rest of us safe from harm: firefighters, health inspectors, engineers, and more.

And right now, NASA has what might be the king of safety jobs open to applicants.

Position at NASA: planetary protection officer.
Pay: $187,000 a year.
Purpose: To protect the Earth from alien lifeforms.

The role was quietly posted on USA Jobs last month.

Whoever steps into this job would be in charge of making sure astronauts, robots, and spacecraft don't track microbes and other biological contamination back to Earth or around the solar system with them.

This means keeping aliens from coming to Earth and preventing Earth life from escaping to where it doesn't belong. Microbes are hardy little things, and contamination could throw off our search for life in the universe — not to mention affect any life that is out there.

Whoever takes this job will definitely have a busy next few years.

NASA has the Mars 2020 rover and the Europa Clipper mission in the works. Both Mars and Europa have been the target of intense speculation about extraterrestrial life — Mars deep under its soil and Europa in its subsurface ocean. The planetary protection officer would no doubt play a key role in those missions.

If you're thinking of applying, you should probably know the planetary protection officer job comes with some hefty qualifications, including an advanced STEM degree and experience planning space programs. It's also U.S. citizens only (sorry, Canada).

Thanks to all those firefighters and engineers, we have a safe and comfortable society. Thanks to whoever takes this job, we'll have a safe planet (and solar system) too.

          Parasites & Microbes/ Space Exploration        

Kathleen McAuliffe revealed how parasites can manipulate the brain chemistry of humans. Followed by Robert Zimmerman on the latest in space exploration.

          The Truth is Funny .....shift happens! with Host Colette Marie Stefan: The Bugs are not the Bad Guys with Karen Campbell Betten        
GuestJoin us as Karen unveils the science supporting the long held misconceptions about germs and viruses that keep us living in fear. Embrace the super organism that is your body and learn how supporting a symbiotic relationship between you and your bugs will precipitate resolving many of the health issues that face the Western world today. Microbes have moved from their long standing position as the evil pathogens invading our bodies and making us sick to "friend with benefits," organisms that ...
          For bacteria that cheat, food is at the forefront        
OSU News Release
Promote to OSU home page: 
Not Promote to the OSU home page

Microbes that produce important secretions for use in a community suffer a blow to their own fitness for supplying the non-producing “cheater” bacteria – but not always.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – If you’ve got plenty of burgers and beers on hand and your own stomach is full, an uninvited guest at your neighborhood barbecue won’t put much strain on you.

But if you’re hungry and food and drink supplies are running low when the moocher shows up, it’s a different story.

New research at Oregon State University indicates bacteria know just how you feel.

Microbes that produce important secretions for use in a community suffer a blow to their own fitness for supplying the non-producing “cheater” bacteria – but only when production requires the same nutrients that would otherwise go into growth and biomass.

Findings were published today in Nature Communications.

Bacteria are important organisms for evolutionary biology research because their fast growth allows scientists to study evolution in real time in the lab. The common, rod-shaped bacteria in the study, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, can lead to infections in humans, and cheater strains are often found among the infection-causing organisms.

“The big picture of this research is a better understanding of how cooperation works and how cooperation evolved,” said corresponding author Martin Schuster. “We can use microbes to study social evolution. Essentially every environment is nutrient limited in some way, and our study allows us to make predictions about what types of environments are conducive to cooperation or cheating.”

The study by Schuster and 2017 Ph.D. graduate Joe Sexton involved P. aeruginosa and a peptide siderophore it secretes, pyoverdine, or PVD.

P. aeruginosa uses PVD to scavenge iron, an essential and hard-to-get nutrient; the cheaters don’t produce PVD but have a receptor to collect the iron the siderophore binds with.

“The secretions benefit everyone, and cheating bacteria don’t participate in the production,” said Schuster, associate professor in OSU’s Department of Microbiology in the colleges of Science and Agricultural Sciences. “In general, cooperation is considered costly; therefore, cheaters can exploit the process by saving on the costs of cooperation.”

Building on earlier studies that showed cooperative behavior in P. aeruginosa can be exploited by mutant cheaters, this research demonstrates that the costs of bacterial cooperation are conditional.

“It’s all contextual and depends on the environment, the available nutrients, the bacterial diet,” Schuster said. “Sometimes cooperation is very costly, other times not at all. And if cooperation isn’t costly, it means that cheating doesn’t provide an advantage.”

In the case of PVD secretion, there’s a fitness cost involved for P. aeruginosa when carbon or nitrogen are in limited supply; those are building blocks for PVD and also necessary for producing cellular biomass.

But shortages of other nutrients – iron, phosphorus and sulfur – don’t result in a fitness cost; thus, the cheaters don’t gain an edge in those scenarios.

“Before, fitness cost was thought to be proportional to how much siderophore was being made,” Sexton said. “We showed that under different nutrient conditions the bacteria were still making the same amount, but the fitness costs varied dramatically.”

The researchers experimentally verified their modeling predictions with a chemostat format, an open system in which fresh nutrients flow in at the same rate spent growth medium flows out; cell density and growth rate are kept constant. In this system, the fitness costs of PVD production were apparent as growth differences between cooperators and cheaters in a mixed culture.

“In addition to fundamental questions about the evolution of cooperation, our work is also relevant to natural populations,” Sexton said. “There are siderophore-negative strains in the soil and the ocean and in human infections. Where did they come from? Did they evolve as cheaters, or for some other reason? Our work provides a new piece of the puzzle to consider in real-world contexts.”

The National Science Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers supported this research.

Media Contact: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

Multimedia Downloads

Siderophore cross-feeding

Bacterial "cheating"

          In brief: Longines auctions Kate Winslet Flagship Heritage watches; Trilogy supports Beat the Microbead        
Longines is auctioning three limited-edition Flagship Heritage by Kate Winslet watches to benefit her charity, the Golden Hat Foundation. The auction is open online from June 10 to 30, and the successful bidder will receive their watch from Winslet herself at her next public appearance for Longines.    There are five of these watches, the […]
          New Approach, Same Goal: A Clean and Resilient River        

Originally Posted on March 21, 2017, 2:17 pm, by Mark Muller, under Mississippi River. McKnight is proud of its 25-year history of commitment to the Mississippi River. The river has a unique and extensive impact on the economic and social fabric of Minnesota, the Midwest, and river communities down to the coast of Louisiana. We know that McKnight grantees have made a difference and improved the quality of life for these communities, and we are deeply grateful for the years of hard work and dedication. We recently took a step back to assess the Mississippi River program’s strategies for supporting a clean and resilient Mississippi River. The last time McKnight conducted a river program refresh was in 2009, and much has changed since then. On the positive side, soil health has captured the interest of Midwest farm organizations, and many farmers are incorporating water-protecting practices because of the corresponding benefits to soil health and crop yields. Additionally, food companies are heeding the demands of consumers for sustainable production practices, and they are in turn exploring opportunities to incorporate on-farm sustainability practices into their supply chains. At the same time, we can point to many indicators that show limited progress or greater stresses on the river. Wetlands and grasslands continue to be lost to the encroachment of cropland, and agricultural pollutants are as pervasive as ever in many parts of the basin. The river’s health is further impacted by numerous other issues, from climate change, to the loss of floodplain forests, to invasive carp, to growing concentrations of microbeads. And economic and social disparities are often most pronounced along the river. It has become abundantly clear that the key federal policies for protecting the Mississippi River, the Clean Water Act and the farm bill, are important but by no means sufficient tools for maintaining the river’s integrity. Developing New Approaches After assessing the opportunities for different programmatic strategies, we have decided to maintain the program’s focus on addressing two major alterations to the river system: Agricultural runoff, most notably nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment; and Engineering of the river, its tributaries, the Midwest landscape, and the Louisiana coast, all of which has severely altered the basin’s natural hydrology and ability to filter and absorb pollutants. Effectively addressing these enormous, landscape-scale issues requires the use of fresh approaches to complement the tried and true tactics. We will continue to support advocacy for strong state and federal conservation and water protection programs. Additionally, we will expand the river program’s grantmaking to emerging areas of innovation in this field, such as engaging and influencing the private sector on agricultural supply chain sustainability. If you would like more detail, we encourage you to visit our program website and review our newly developed theory of change and logic model. We look forward to continuing to work with our extraordinary array of existing partner organizations and getting to know new partners.

The post New Approach, Same Goal: A Clean and Resilient River appeared first on Water Protection Network.

          Upset gut bacteria ecosystem-microbiota, sometimes called second genome, second brain, is: Surprising Reason Americans Might Be Obese, Anxious, Depressed.        

Upset gut bacteria ecosystem-microbiota, sometimes called second genome, second brain, is: Surprising Reason Americans Might Be Obese, Anxious, Depressed .. @AlterNet ..

microbiomes also affected by outside environment like house dust, aerosol when toilet flushed ..

gut bacteria is HIGHLY ADAPTIVE, one person's gut bacteria will take root, flourish in another's intestines: fecal, toilet aerosol transplants ..

gut bacteria affects our brain, "influences our mood and temperament,": food expert ..

"If you transplant gut microbiota of relaxed, adventurous mice into guts of timid, anxious mice they become less stressed and more adventurous" ..->SECOND BRAIN, MOOD, HEALTH TRANSFER .. ..

increase in obesity also correlates with indiscriminate use of antibiotics on factory farm animals
.. obesity that cannot be fully explained by "excess food, energy intake, changes in diet and eating behavior", increasing sedentary lifestyles. ..

Antibiotics likely increase weight in livestock by strengthening microbes that absorb nutrients, so why not in humans .. ..

both obese mice and humans have lost weight when intestinal microbes of lean mice and humans were inserted into their systems. .. ..

Capitalist really free market toxic threat to health: TRICLOSAN, in products like Colgate's Total, Ajax, Dawn dish detergent: antibiotic that also acts as endocrine-disrupting pesticide. ..

Traces of triclosan found in earthworms from agricultural fields and Atlantic dolphins. ..

Endocrine disrupters like Triclosan also suspected of causing early puberty by impairing hormonal regulation. .. ..

capitalist wars free profit quest terminally endangering humanity in ways more than one.

          Sangenic Tec Poubelle à Couches         
emballe et tourne chaque couche pour emprisonner les odeurs La poubelle à couches Tommee Tippee Sangenic Tec est un système innovant qui vous offre une protection antibactérienne contre les odeurs et les microbes, en emballant hermétiquement chaque couche en quelques secondes ! La poubelle peut contenir jusqu’au 28 couches, pratique pour éviter les allers-retours à la poubelle extérieure. La poubelle est simple à utiliser et à vider, ce qui vous permettra de passer plus de moments privilégiés avec bébé.

Prix : 49,95 CHF Prix spécial : 24,95 CHF
Prix spécial jusqu'au : 31 janv. 2018

          Sangenic Tec Recharges MEGA-PACK Sangenic 6 pcs pour Poubelle à Couches Sangenic Tec        

 - Une protection imbattable contre les microbes et les mauvaises odeurs

- Une protection antibactérienne

- élimine 99 % des microbes au premier contact

- La technologie Twists and Locks permet d'emprisonner les microbes et les mauvaises odeurs

- 100 fois plus efficace pour prévenir les odeurs que les sacs à couches ordinaires

- Utilise 60 % de plastique en moins par rapport aux sacs à couches de marque

- Chaque recharge dure environ 1 mois (d'après une utilisation moyenne de couches de taille 3).

Cette recharge est compatible avec toutes les poubelles à couches Sangenic Tommee Tippee. Si vous possédez déjà une poubelle à couches Sangenic Tommee Tippee, cette recharge conviendra à votre poubelle.

Prix : 79,95 CHF Prix spécial : 49,95 CHF
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          RHR: SIBO Update—An Interview with Dr. Mark Pimentel        

revolution health radio

Dr. Pimentel has been very active in research and served as a principal investigator or co-investigator for numerous basic sciences, translational and clinical studies in areas like IBS and the relationship between gut flora composition and human disease.  He is widely known and sought out for major scientific developments that he’s pioneered, including the discovery that IBS is a condition of altered intestinal microbial balance.

In this episode, we cover:

7:36  What is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? 11:20  Testing for SIBO 18:42  The future of SIBO treatment

[powerpress] Chris Kresser:  I’m Chris Kresser and this is Revolution Health Radio. Hey, everyone.  Chris Kresser here.  Welcome to another episode of Revolution Health Radio.  I’m really excited about our guest today.  We have Dr. Mark Pimentel, a global expert on small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and I’m going to talk to him all about some unresolved questions and problems or issues with SIBO, the SIBO hypothesis, diagnosis and treatment of SIBO, and I’m really looking forward to this, and I hope it’s going to be useful for you as well. Mark Pimentel is an associate professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.  His medical training includes a fellowship in gastroenterology at the UCLA Affiliated Training Program.  He’s been very active in research and has served as a principal investigator or co-investigator for numerous basic sciences, translational and clinical studies in areas like IBS and the relationship between gut flora composition and human disease.  Dr. Pimentel is widely known and sought out for major scientific developments that he’s pioneered, including the discovery that IBS is a condition of altered intestinal microbial balance, which we’ve talked about before; the recognition that antibiotics improve IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, and this officially legitimized IBS because before these discoveries, IBS was often considered to be a psychosomatic condition; the discovery that methane produced in the gut by specific microbes produces constipation, which we might talk about today; and then his work linking SIBO to IBS and other conditions. So again, I’m really, really excited about this episode, and without further ado, let’s get to it.
          MTS63 - Jeff Gralnick - I Sing the Microbe Electric        

All life hums with electricity, from our heartbeats to the electrons that flow to the oxygen we breathe.But some bacteria are electricians par excellence, generating electric currents in the soil and water.

In this podcast, I talk to microbe-electricity expert Jeff Gralnick of the University of Minnesota about the biology behind these currents, and how engineers may be able to harness it to power technology.

          MTS62 - Jessica Green - The Living Air        

In this podcast I talk to Jessica Green of the University of Oregon about aerobiology: the science of life in the air.

We live in an invisible ocean of life, with millions of microbes swarming around us. Microbes can live many miles high in the upper atmosphere, and they may actually be able to feed and grow in clouds. Green and I talk not just about high-altitude aerobiology, but about the microbes we share our homes and offices with, and how better understanding them can help our health.

          MTS61 - Charles Bamforth - Beer: Eight thousand years of biotechnology (39.5 min.)        

In this podcast, I talk to Charles Bamforth of the University of California, Davis, about the surprisingly complex chemistry of beer, and the pivotal role microbes play in making it happen.

          MTS57 - Forest Rohwer - Curing the Corals        

It never occurred to me that the human body and a coral reef have a lot in common--until I spoke to Forest Rohwer for this podcast. Rohwer is a microbiologist at San Diego State University, and he studies how microbes make coral reefs both healthy and sick. Just as we are home to a vast number of microbes, coral reefs depend on their own invisible menagerie of algae and bacteria to get food, recycle waste, and fend off invaders. But as Rohwer writes in his new book, Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas, we humans have thrown this delicate balance out of kilter, driving the spread of coral-killing microbes instead.

Additional Reading:

Viral communities associated with healthy and bleaching corals.
The lagoon at Caroline/Millennium atoll, Republic of Kiribati: natural history of a nearly pristine ecosystem.
Metagenomic analysis of stressed coral holobionts.

          MTS56 - Susan Golden - Clocks for Life        

In this podcast, I talk to Susan Golden, the co-director of the Center for Chronobiology at the University of California at San Diego.

We talked about Golden's research into time--in particular, how living things know what time it is. While you may have heard of our own "body clock" that tracks the 24-hour cycle of the day, it turns out that some bacteria can tell time, too. Golden has discovered how evolution has produced a molecular clock inside microbes far more elegant than any manmade timepiece.

Additional Reading:

          MTS55 - Nancy Moran - The Incredible Shrinking Microbe        

How many genes can a species lose and still stay alive? It turns out, bacteria can lose just about all of them!

In this podcast, I talk to Nancy Moran of Yale University about her fascinating work on the microbes that live inside insects such as aphids and cicadas. After millions of years, they have become stripped down creatures that are revealing some profound lessons about how superfluous most genes are--at least if you live inside a host.

Recent Publications:

Bacterial genes in the aphid genome: absence of functional gene transfer from Buchnera to its host

Symbiosis and insect diversification: an ancient symbiont of sap-feeding insects from the bacterial phylum Bacteroidetes

          MTS54 - Carl Bergstrom - The Mathematics of Microbes        
In this podcast I talk to Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington about the mathematics of microbes.
Bergstrom is a mathematical biologist who probes the abstract nature of life itself. We talk about how life uses information, and how information can evolve. But in Bergstrom's hands, these abstractions shed light on very real concerns in medicine, from the way that viruses jam our immune system's communication systems to to the best ways to fight antibiotic resistance.
Mapping Change in Large Networks [html] [pdf]
The transmission sense of information [pdf]
Dealing with deception in biology [pdf]

          MTS52 - Mitchell Sogin - Expeditions to the Rare Biosphere        

In this podcast, I talk to Mitchell Sogin, the Director of the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Wood's Hole, Massachusetts.

Dr. Sogin is one of the leaders of an ambitious project to survey the microbes of the ocean--which total over 36,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cells. Using the latest DNA-sequencing technology, Dr. Sogin and his colleagues are cataloging microbes from all over the world, and are discovering a genetic diversity in the microbial world far exceeding anyone's expectations. 

Dr. Sogin explained how most species they find only exist in small numbers, while a minority of species dominate their samples. Dr. Sogin is investigating how this "rare biosphere" changes the way we understand how the ocean's ecosystems work.

Related Projects:

International Census of Marine Microbes

Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health

          MTS51- James Liao - Turning Microbes into Fuel Refineries        

In this podcast I talk to James Liao, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA. I spoke to Dr. Liao about his research into engineering microbes to make fuel.

Today, we get most of the fuel for our cars out of the ground. It's a process fraught with dangerous consequences, from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the rise in global temperatures thanks to greenhouse gases. Dr. Liao is among a growing number of scientists who think that microbes can help us out of this predicament.

We talked about the attraction of microbe-derived fuels, and the challenges of getting bacteria to turn air, water, and sun into something that can power your car.

Selected Publications

Atsumi, S.; T. Hanai and J.C. Liao (2008) Non-Fermentative Pathways for Synthesis of Branched-Chain Higher Alcohols as Biofuels, Nature, 451:86-89.

Atsumi,S.; Higashide, W.; and Liao, J.C. (2009) Direct recycling of carbon dioxide to isobutyraldehyde using photosynthesis, Nat Biotechnol, 27, 1177-1180

          MTS50.5 - The Making of the Meet the Scientist Podcast         

To mark the celebration of Microbeworld's 50th episode of the Meet the Scientist podcast, we created a time lapse video that shows exactly what it takes to produce a single episode of the show.

We hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look and we thank you for listening week after week. Cheers, to another 50 episodes!

          MTS49 - Irwin Sherman - The Quest for a Malaria Vaccine: The First Hundred Years        

In this podcast, I talk with Irwin Sherman, professor emeritus at the University of California at Riverside, about the century-long quest for a vaccine against malaria.

Scientists have been trying to make a vaccine for the disease almost since the discovery of the parasite that causes malaria. Yet decade after decade, they've encountered setbacks and failures. We talked about why it's so hard to make a malaria vaccine, and how likely it is that scientists will ever be able to do so in the future.

If you want to find out more about this long-running saga, check out Sherman's new book, The Elusive Malaria Vaccine: Miracle or Mirage.

About the Book

Chronicling a 100-year quest, this book tells the fascinating story of the hunt for the still-elusive malaria vaccine. Its clear, engaging style makes the book accessible to a general audience and brings to life all the drama of the hunt, celebrating the triumphs and documenting the failures. The author captures the controversies, missteps, wars of words, stolen ideas, and clashes of ego as researchers around the world compete to develop the first successful malaria vaccine.

The Elusive Malaria Vaccine: Miracle or Mirage? is based on author Irwin W. Sherman’s thorough investigation of the scientific literature as well as his first-hand interviews with today’s pioneers in malaria vaccine research. As a result, the book offers remarkable insights into the keys to a successful malaria vaccine and the obstacles hindering its development.


Malaria is one of humankind’s greatest killers, currently afflicting some 300 to 500 million people. Moreover, malaria infections have begun to spread and surge in places previously free from the disease. With the book’s easy-to-follow coverage of such topics as immunity, immunology, recombinant DNA, and monoclonal antibodies, readers gain a new understanding of the disease itself, the importance of microbe hunters, and the need for responsible leadership to face the challenges that lie ahead in the battle against malaria.


Other Publications from Dr. Sherman

Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World

The Power of Plagues

          MTS47 - Peter Daszak - Stalking the Wild Microbe        

Dr. Peter Daszak is a disease ecologist and President of the Wildlife Trust, an international organization of scientists dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity. He is a leader in the field of conservation medicine and is well known for uncovering the wildlife origin of the SARS virus. Dr. Daszak also identifed the first case of a species extinction caused by a disease and has demonstrated a link between global trade and disease emergence via a process called "pathogen pollution."

In this interview I ask Dr. Daszak about the threat new pathogens pose to endangered species and go into detail about his discovery that chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease caused by the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is responsible for global amphibian population declines. Dr. Daszack also discusses a unique study that exposes how the W.H.O. might better use their resources when faced with new pathogens such as the kind we've seen with the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus. We also explore how pathogens of animals have the ability to evolve into human diseases like flu and HIV.

Links to research discussed in this episode:

Infectious disease and amphibian population declines (.pdf)

Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife--threats to biodiversity and human health

Wildlife Trust page about SARS

Monitoring the Deadly Nipah Virus

Assessing the Impacts of Global Wildlife Trade

          MTS43 - Rob Knight - The Microbes That Inhabit Us        

In this episode, I speak to Rob Knight, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Knight studies our inner ecology: the 100 trillion microbes that grow in and on our bodies. Knight explained how hundreds of species can coexist on the palm of your hand, how bacteria manipulate your immune system and maybe even your brain, and how obesity and other health problems may come down to the wrong balance of microbes.

Links to studies mentioned in this episode:

Ruth Ley and Peter Turnbaugh's studies on obesity in Jeff Gordon's lab:
Obesity alters gut microbial ecology.
Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity.
An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest.
A core gut microbiome in obese and lean twins.
Julie Segre's studies of the skin:
A diversity profile of the human skin microbiota.
Topographical and temporal diversity of the human skin microbiome.
Chris Lauber and Elizabeth Costello's studies of human-associated body habitats (in Noah Fierer's and Rob Knight's lab):
The influence of sex, handedness, and washing on the diversity of hand surface bacteria.
Bacterial community variation in human body habitats across space and time.
Jeremy Nicholson's studies of the metabolome:
Pharmacometabonomic identification of a significant host-microbiome metabolic interaction affecting human drug metabolism.
Cathy Lozupone's study of global microbial diversity (in Rob Knight's lab), and confirmation of the patterns in archaea by Jean-Christophe Auguet:
Global patterns in bacterial diversity.
Global ecological patterns in uncultured Archaea.
Ruth Ley and Cathy Lozupone's study integrating gut-associated and environmental bacteria:

Worlds within worlds: evolution of the vertebrate gut microbiota.

          MTS42 - Julian Davies - The Mysteries of Medicine's Silver Bullet        

In this episode I speak to Julian Davies, professor emeritus in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Davies is one of the world's experts on antibiotics. I talked to Davies about how the discovery of antibiotics changed the course of modern medicine, and how we now face a growing threat from the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We also talked about some enduring mysteries about antibiotics.

Most of us think of antibiotics as a way to kill microbes. But the fact is that microbes make antibiotics naturally, and for them, these molecules may not be lethal weapons. They may actually be a way to talk to other microbes.

          MTS41 - Sallie Chisholm - Harvesting the Sun        

In this episode I speak to Sallie "Penny" Chisholm, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies at MIT. Dr. Chisholm studies photosynthesis—the way life harnesses the energy of the sun. Plants carry out photosynthesis, but so do microbes in the ocean. Dr. Chisholm studies the most abundant of these photosynthetic microbes, a species of bacteria called Prochlorococcus.  There are a trillion trillion Prochlrococcus on Earth. Dr. Chisholm researches these microbial lungs of the biosphere, and how they produce oxygen on which we depend.

Along with her scientific research, Dr. Chisholm is also the author of a new children's book, Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life.

          MTS40 - John Wooley - Exploring the Protein Universe        

John Wooley is Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Professor of Chemistry-Biochemistry and of Pharmacology at the University of California San Diego. Wooley is a leader in the young field of metagenomics: the science of gathering vast numbers of genes from the oceans, soils, air, and the human body.

A generation ago biologist knew the sequences of a few thousand genes. Since then that figure has jumped to several million genes and it's only going to continue to leap higher in years to come. This wealth of data is allowing scientists to get answers to fundamental questions they rarely even asked a generation ago.

They're starting to understand how thousands of species of microbes coexist in our bodies. They're investigating how hundreds of genes work together inside a single cell and they're starting to get a vision of the full diversity of the billions of proteins that life produces, what scientists sometimes call the protein universe.

John Wooley has been at the center of this revolution, investigating some of these new questions and leading pioneering projects such as CAMERA, the Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Marine Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis, to organize the unprecedented amount of data that scientists have at their disposal so that they can master that data rather than drown in it.

In this episode I spoke to Wooley about how metagenomics has revolutionized research on everything from marine ecology to human health, and how he and his colleagues cope with an influx of data on millions of new genes.

          MTS37 - Hazel Barton - Cave Dwellers        

Hazel Barton is the Ashland Professor of Integrative Science at Northern Kentucky. She explores some of the world's most remote caves to study the remarkable diversity of microbes that thrive in their dark rececesses. I spoke to Barton about how she first became captivated by these bizarre organisms, what it's like to do delicate microbiology when you're hip-deep in mud, and why she wants to explore caves on Mars in search of Martians.


          MTS36 - Dennis Bray - Living Computers        

Dennis Bray is an active professor emeritus in both the Department of Physiology and Department of Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. He studies the behavior of microbes--how they "decide" where to swim, when to divide, and how best to manage the millions of chemical reactions taking place inside their membranes. For Bray, microbes are tiny, living computers, with genes and proteins serving the roles of microprocessors.

In this interview, I talked with Bray about his provocative new book, Wetware: A Living Computer Inside Every Cell.

          MTS35 - Michael Cunliffe - The Ocean's Living Skin        

Michael Cunliffe is a microbiologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick in England. He studies the microbes that live in the thin layer of water at the very surface of the ocean. His research is shedding light on an ecosystem that's both mysterious and huge, spanning three-quarters of the surface of the planet.

In this interview, I talked with Cunliffe about the discovery of this sea-surface ecosystem, and the influence it has over the Earth's climate.

          MTS31 - Frances Arnold - Engineering Microbes        

Dr. Frances Arnold is a professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (most of us know it as Caltech).  Dr. Arnold’s research focuses on evolutionary design of biological systems, an approach she is currently applying to engineer cellulases and cellulolytic enzymes for manufacturing biofuels.

 This country’s energy security can look pretty bleak when you think about it: the need to address global warming, strife in oil-rich nations, and depletion of fossil fuels combine to paint an uncertain future, and although ethanol has a lot of friends in Iowa and D.C., ethanol isn’t going to end our energy woes.  In the future, our energy supply will probably be cobbled together from a number of different fuels and sources.  

Dr. Arnold is interested in engineering microbes that can grant us a biofuel that packs more of a caloric punch than ethanol.  She likes isobutanol, which can be converted into a fuel that’s more like the hydrocarbons we currently put into our fuel tanks.  To develop proteins that make the comounds she wants the way she wants, Arnold and her team take a gene that needs tweaking to do the job, introduce directed mutations into it, and select the mutant proteins that do the job best.  

In this interview, I talked with Dr. Arnold about how she got into alternative energy during the Carter administration (and got out again during the Reagan administration), what she sees in the P450 enzyme, and how she explains her work to people outside her field.

          MTS25 - Parisa Ariya - Bioaerosols | The Living Atmosphere        

Parisa Ariya is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Chemistry Department at McGill University in Montreal.  Dr. Ariya works mostly in atmospheric chemistry, but she’s also done a good deal of work with bioaerosols and airborne microorganisms.  She’ll deliver a talk at the ASM General Meeting in May titled Bioaerosols: Impact on Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere.

Bioaerosols – microscopic clumps of microorganisms and organic debris – arise through any of a number of mechanisms.  The scientific community has come full circle on the idea of microorganisms in the atmosphere, according to Dr. Ariya.  Back in the early days of microbiology it was widely recognized that the air is full of living, breathing microbes, but once our understanding of atmospheric chemistry and physics matured, the roles of microbes in atmospheric processes were marginalized.  Thanks, in part, to Dr. Ariya’s work, the activities and functions of bioaerosols are getting new attention.  We now know cells in bioaerosol particles can actively metabolize materials at interfaces, and Dr. Ariya says some of her future work will look into the details of these transformation processes and how they impact the atmosphere.

In this interview, Dr. Merry Buckley talks with Dr. Ariya about how bioaerosols are formed, what they’re doing, and why it isn’t a good idea to use bioaerosols to manage the weather.

          MTS21 - Andrew Knoll - Ancient Life and Evolution        

Dr. Andrew Knoll is the Fisher Professor of Natural History in Harvard University’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, where he studies ancient life, its impacts on the environment, and how the environment, in turn, shaped the evolution of life.  In recognition of the 200th anniversary of Charles’ Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the first printing of his book, “On the Origin of Species”, the American Society for Microbiology has invited Dr. Knoll to deliver the opening lecture, titled “Microbes and Earth History,” at the society’s general meeting in Philadelphia this year.

Before the dinosaurs, before trees and leaves, before trilobites, there were microbes.  Vast, slimy layers of them covered the rocks and peppered the seas of the harsh, alien planet we now call Earth.  Those slimy cells were our ancestors, and they played a defining role in changing that once-barren moonscape into the world we see today: a planet covered with diverse, striving life, topped by an oxygen-rich atmosphere.  Dr. Knoll says he puts on his paleontologist’s hat and studies the fossil record to learn more about this ancient life, then he dons his geochemist’s hat to reconstruct Earth’s environmental history from the chemical signatures he finds in ancient sedimentary rocks.  He weaves these two stories together to figure out how life has transformed the planet and how the planet has influenced the course of evolution.

In this interview, I talk with Dr. Knoll about what early earth must have looked like, his involvement with the Mars rover project, and how intelligent design concepts may well belong in high school curricula, but not in the context of science class.

          MTS20 - Roberto Kolter - Bacillus Subtilis and Bacteria as Multicellular Organisms        

Roberto Kolter is a professor of Microbiology andMolecular Genetics at Harvard’s Medical School.  Dr. Kolter’s research interests are broad, but he says his eclectic program boils down to an interest in the ecology and evolution of microbes, bacteria in particular, and on how these forces operate at the molecular level.

Although he’s worked in a number of different systems, lately Dr. Kolter is spending a lot of time with Bacillus subtilis, a modest little bacterium that doesn’t get the headlines of a wicked pathogen like Salmonella or a useful industrial workhorse like yeast.  What it lacks in notoriety,  B. subtilis makes up for in usefulness.  According to Dr. Kolter, B. subtilis is an important source of industrial enzymes (as in laundry detergent) and, as a bacterial model, a prolific source of information on how some bacteria make spores and other diverse cell types.  This ability to form different kinds of cells is intriguing to Dr. Kolter: B. subtilis cells can wear any of a number of different hats, depending on what is needed at any given moment.  From spores to swimming cells to cells that wage chemical warfare on their neighbors, B. subtilis can do it all.  Dr. Kolter and his colleagues are looking at the how and the why of this multiplicity.

In the interview, Dr. Merry Buckley talks with Dr. Kolter about what he finds interesting about B. subtilis, why we should start thinking about bacteria as multicellular organisms, and how he got involved in producing a book of poetry (poetry about microbes, that is).

Dr. Kolter also provided the photography for the book Germ Stories by Arthur Kornberg. To see a full description and pricing details, click the ASM estore and pick up your copy today.

          MTS18 - Elizabeth Edwards - Cleaning Up Solvents in Groundwater        

Elizabeth Edwards knows that nothing is simple or easy when it comes to cleaning up toxic waste, but Edwards, a professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto, is looking for ways to harness microbes to do our dirty work for us.  Dr. Edward’s research focuses on the biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in the environment – the means by which microbes can actually make a living by eating our noxious waste.

Chlorinated solvents like trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and others, have a sordid history in the environment.  They have long been used as degreasers and dry cleaning fluid, but before there were regulations about how to handle waste, manufacturers and dry cleaners dumped old, dirty solvents in evaporation ponds or out the back door of the facility.  Some of the fluid dumped this way evaporated, but since chlorinated solvents are both dense and recalcitrant, much of the liquid seeped straight down to the groundwater.  And stayed there.  Among other projects, Dr. Edwards is looking at the ability of mixed cultures of bacteria to break down these solvents in a step-wise process, with the expectation that we’ll eventually be able to treat the contamination at some sites with injections of microbes.

In this interview, Dr. Merry Buckley talks with Dr. Edwards about why chlorinated solvents are such a difficult environmental problem, how working in environmental consulting for a time helped her realize where she wanted to focus her research, and why we might have to make some tough decisions when it comes to cleaning up the hundreds (thousands?) of solvent-contaminated sites in North America.

          MTS15 - Kathryn Boor - The Science of Foodborne Pathogens        

Dr. Kathryn Boor is a professor and chair in the Food Science department at Cornell University, where she’s director of the Food Safety Laboratory - a biosecurity level 2 laboratory that facilitates research on foodborne pathogens.  Her particular research interests lie in the “how” and “why” of pathogens and spoilage microbes in food.  Boor is also the director of the Milk Quality Improvement Program – a program funded by New York state to monitor and make recommendations to improve the quality of milk in the state.

When I think about the complicated way dairy products come to be on the shelf in my grocery store – farmers use machinery to extract milk from an animal that lives in a barn or a field; the milk is piped through long tubes to a tank on a truck that conveys the product to a plant that processes and divvies it up; the bottles and packages are put on another truck and carted to the store – it seems like a wonder dairy is ever safe to eat.  But dairy is safe: CDC data indicate that less than 1% of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. involve dairy products1 2 .

Dr. Boor’s primary interest lies in Listeria monocytogenes, one of the few pathogens that is a problem in dairy, and most people who’ve heard of it associate it with unpasteurized soft cheese or cold cuts.  Listeriosis is not as common or familiar as some other foodborne illnesses, but it is more often fatal than salmonellosis or botulism, and in a pregnant woman even a mild case can be deadly for her fetus.  Dr. Boor’s research focuses on how this so-called “simple” organism is able to persist in some foods and overcome the stress of refrigeration and stomach acid to not only survive, but to make us really sick.

In this interview, I asked Dr. Boor about how she came to this particular niche in science, whether pasteurization is any better than keeping milk from getting contaminated in the first place, and what her trained eye for food safety looks out for when she’s buying food.

          MTS9 - Stanley Falkow - 21st Century Microbe Hunter        

Stanley Falkow is a professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the Stanford School of Medicine. His research interests lie in bacterial pathogenesis – how bacteria cause infection and disease – and over the course of his career he has contributed fundamental discoveries to the field. Falkow received the Lasker prize this year for special achievement in medical science, and the Lasker Foundation calls him “one of the great microbe hunters of all time”.

Molecular techniques (methods of analysis that rely on bacterial DNA) are now widely used for infectious disease diagnosis, thanks in large part to Falkow, who was among the first to apply an understanding of genes and virulence determinants to analyzing patient samples. He has published extensively in areas ranging from antibiotic resistance to food borne illness to microarrays. It is really difficult to compose interview questions for a scientist whose career has been as far-reaching and profoundly significant as Stan Falkow’s. Luckily for me, Dr. Falkow is a gracious conversationalist.

In this interview, I talked with Dr. Falkow about his prescient concerns about the dangers of using antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock, why Salmonella is so good at making you sick, and why students who are interested in science should follow their passion.

          MTS8 - Rachel Whitaker - The Evolution of Sulfolobus        

Rachel Whitaker is an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she has developed a research program focused on the evolutionary ecology of microorganisms. Much of Dr. Whitaker’s work centers around a hyperthermophile found in geothermal springs: the archaeon Sulfolobus islandicus.

Evolution is not just history – it’s still in action today, molding humans, plants, animals and, of course, microbes, in ways we still don’t completely understand. One of Whitaker’s focus areas is archaea, a group of single-celled microbes that are found in some of the harshest environments on earth. By looking at how one variety of archaea, Sulfolobus, varies from place to place, Whitaker hopes to find whether Sulfolobus is adapting new characteristics to suit its habitats, and whether this kind of adaptation can help us explain why there are so many different kinds of microbes in the world.

In this interview, I asked Dr. Whitaker about the hot springs where she studies Sulfolobus, whether it’s hard to communicate with ecologists who work with bigger organisms, and about new discoveries she’s made related to an immune system in archaea.

          MTS7 - Anthony Fauci - Managing Infectious Disease on a Global Scale        

Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of NIAID – the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Disease – where he is also Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. Dr. Fauci’s research interests lie primarily in the molecular mechanisms of HIV and AIDS, and he has published extensively on the interactions of HIV with the immune system. He’ll be speaking at the opening session of ICAAC – the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy – on October 25 in Washington DC, where he’ll describe some of the remaining challenges in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis, and antibiotic resistant microbes.

Dr. Fauci is not only a researcher, he is also an important player in science policy in the U.S. He was a primary architect of PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that received reauthorization and has a budget of $48 billion for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria around the world. In honor of his efforts to improve our understanding and treatment of HIV and AIDS, Dr. Fauci was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award.

In this interview, I talked with Dr. Fauci about progress in managing infectious disease on a global scale, why it’s the “devil you don’t know” that is still the scariest infectious disease of all, and about the roles of abstinence education and condom awareness in PEPFAR.

          MTS6 Bruce Rittmann - Microbes, Waste and Renewable Energy        

Bruce Rittmann, the Director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State, focuses his efforts on reclaiming contaminated water and producing renewable energy using microbes.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 and credited with pioneering development of biofilm fundamentals and contributing to their widespread use in the bioremediation of contaminated ecosystems. His research combines many disciplines of science, including engineering, microbiology, biochemistry, geochemistry and microbial ecology. Formerly with Northwestern University, Rittmann is also a leader in the development of the Membrane Biofilm Reactor, an approach that uses bacteria to destroy pollutants in water. The Membrane Biofilm Reactor is especially effective for removing perchlorate from drinking water, and it is being launched commercially.

In this podcast, I talk with Dr. Rittmann about the biofilm reactor process, the electricity hiding in our wastewater, and how we may some day grow fuel on the roofs of buildings.

          MTS5 Brett Finlay - E.coli and the Human Gut        

Brett Finlay is a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, and the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia.

His research program focuses on E. coli, how it interacts with the cells of the human gut, and mouse models of E. coli-like infections.  Dr. Finlay will speak at the conference on Beneficial Microbes in San Diego this October, where he’ll describe the results of some of his latest research, which examines how E. coli infections effect the microbes that live in our guts.

Sadly, outbreaks of Escherichia coli infections in this country are common – just this summer a huge E. coli outbreak in Oklahoma sickened nearly 300 people and sent 67 of them to the hospital.  Clearly, in an outbreak, not everyone is effected equally.  When lots of people are exposed to E. coli, why do some of those people walk away unharmed while others wind up in the I.C.U.?  Dr. Finlay would say part of the answer, at least, probably lies in which microbes live in our intestine.

In this podcast, I talked with Dr. Finlay about why we have so many different kinds of microbes in our guts, what happens to them when E. coli strikes, and why we have a long way to go before probiotics offer help – and not just hope.

          MTS4 David Relman - The Human Microbiome        

David Relman is a Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University, and his research program focuses on the human microbiome – the microbial communities of bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that thrive on and in the human body. He’ll be speaking at ASM’s conference on Beneficial Microbes in San Diego this October, where he’ll talk about our personal microbial ecosystems, how far we’ve come in research and how far we have to go.

Since Louis Pasteur first deduced that microbes are to blame for infectious disease, doctors and scientists alike have mostly seen infection as warfare between a pathogen and the human body. Dr. Relman sees things a little differently. To him, the complex communities of microbes that line our skin, mouths, intestines, and other orifices (ahem) are also involved in this battle, interacting with pathogens and with our bodies, and these interactions help determine how a fracas plays out.

In this interview, I asked Dr. Relman about our personal ecosystems of microbes, whether we’ll ever be able to understand and predict what these communities do, and about the sometimes distressing effects of oral antibiotics on our guts. We also talked about whether being MTV’s Rock Doctor back in the 1990’s had an impact on his other professional pursuits.

          MTS3 Ute Hentschel - Symbiotic Sea Sponges        

Ute Hentschel is a professor of chemical ecology at the University of Würzburg in Germany. Her research focuses on characterizing the microbial communities associated with marine sponges, the diversity of these symbionts and their activities.

On this episode, I talk with Ute Hentschel about her research on the microbes that live on and in sea sponges – those squishy, colorful residents of coral reefs.

Dr. Hentschel describes some of the utterly unique microbes that are only found in sponges, what those microbes get from living in a sponge hotel, and why it’s nice to have a study site in the Bahamas.

          Microbes can draw the line between species        

Wasps' gut inhabitants can kill or save crossbreeds

4:52pm, July 18, 2013

R.M. Brucker and S.R. Bordenstein. The hologenomic basis of speciation: Gut bacteria cause hybrid lethality in the genus Nasonia. Science. Posted online July 18, 2013. doi: 10.1126/science.1240659. [Go to]
Further Reading

S. Milius. Gut microbes may put barrier between species. Science News Online. Posted online July 2, 2013. [Go to]

J. Raloff. Nurturing our microbes. Science News. Vol. 173, March 1, 2008, p. 138. [Go to]

S. Milius. Why play dead? Science News. Vol. 170, Oct. 28, 2006, p. 280. [Go to]

Sometimes it takes guts, or rather microbes in the guts, to make a species.

Genes are, of course, important. But the live-in microorganisms of jewel wasps play such an important role in keeping species separate that changing gut microbes can also change whether cross-species offspring live or die, Vanderbilt University researchers report July 18 in Science.

The paper gives more details of Nasonia wasp experiments reported at the Evolution conference in Utah last month (SN Online: 7/2/13). In the study, authors Robert Brucker and Seth Bordenstein revisited the known problem of doomed male offspring from crosses between N. vitripennis and N. giraulti wasps. The scientists showed that gut microbes may play a crucial role in keeping the two species separate.

Biologists tracing how organisms separate into new species traditionally focus on genes, Brucker says. But an organism, be it a human or monkeyflower or wasp, actually lives as a community containing billions of microorganisms with their own genes and cells. The microbial community may be an overlooked force in shaping how an organism evolves, Brucker and Bordenstein propose.

Their experiments roused excitement at the meeting, but not everyone is willing to treat organism-plus-microorganism as a unit for evolution. Evolutionary biologist Jürgen Gadau of Arizona State University in Tempe also studies Nasonia species but considers the microbes as just an important part of the wasps’ environment.  

          Genetic test fingers viral, bacterial infections        

Method could help doctors treat children's fevers

10:28am, July 16, 2013

X. Hu et al. Gene expression profiles in febrile children with defined viral and bacterial infection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published online July 15, 2013.
Further Reading

T. H. Saey. Genes may explain who gets sick from flu. Science News Vol. 180, September 24, 2011, p. 15. [Go to]

By differentiating between bacterial and viral fevers, a new test may help doctors decide whether to prescribe antibiotics.

Fevers are a common symptom of many infectious diseases, but it can be difficult to tell whether viruses or bacteria are the cause. By measuring gene activity in the blood of 22 sick children, Gregory Storch, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues were able to distinguish bacteria-sparked fevers from ones kindled by viruses. The activity of hundreds of genes changed as the children’s immune systems responded to the pathogens, but the team found that gauging the response of just 18 genes could correctly distinguish between viral and bacterial infections about 90 percent of the time. The gene activity test could also determine, for viral infections, which specific microbes caused the illness, the team reports July 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Storch’s technique isn’t ready for the clinic; for one thing, it takes days to do the assay and doctors need answers much sooner. But Storch says he’s working to develop a test that could be used in hospitals and doctor’s offices.

The research is a step toward improving diagnosis, says Octavio Ramilo, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, who has done similar work. In the future, being able to quickly determine the cause of fevers should help prevent unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, he says. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but do nothing to fight viruses. Improper antibiotic use has been linked to bacterial resistance to the drugs.

          Cultures important to 'interesting' cheeses not just raw milk according to experts        
Cultures and microbes are the important ingredients for "interesting" cheese, says a third-generation French expert.
          How Green Tea Improves Dental Health        

woman smiling with a cup of tea

Green tea has been consumed for thousands of years. It has many health properties to be proud of, which have been demonstrated in studies. In this blog segment we’ve listed 5 ways that green tea can improve your dental health.

Green Tea Encourages Healthy Gums

Japanese studies have found that individuals who drank green tea had healthier gums than those who didn’t. Green tea contains catechins (antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits) which may reduce the effects of periodontal disease (also referred to as gum disease). By blocking an inflammatory response, green tea can fend off other diseases that periodontal disease is associated with (including diabetes and cardiovascular disease).

Green Tea Can Help Reduce Cavities and Tooth Loss

woman with healthy white teeth being checked In 2010, a Japanese study revealed that people who drank at least one cup of green tea per day were less likely to experience tooth loss. Less tooth decay reduces the risk of a variety of overall health issues and diseases in the human body.

Green Tea Kills Bacteria and Inhibits Viruses

The catechins in green tea have already been discussed as antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits. Catechins also are responsible for inhibiting the growth of the mouth’s most harmful bacteria: Streptococcus mutans. This, in turn, weakens viruses such as the influenza virus.

Green Tea Reduces Progression of Oral Cancer

This was demonstrated in a study by the University of Texas, who gave green tea extracts to patients with precancerous lesions in their mouths. The study found that the green tea extracts inhibited the progression from precancerous to cancerous lesions.

Green Tea Can Reduce Bad Breath 

woman with arms outstretched in forest

How can green tea reduce bad breath? It is scientifically proven to kill the microbes that cause it. This has been measured against chewing gum, mints and parsley seed oil in a study done by the University of British Columbia. Less odorous compounds were found in the mouths of participants who chewed green tea extract than in those who used the mints, gum or parsley seed oil.

Green tea has celebrated for its health benefits for thousands of years. We hoped you’ve enjoyed reading about how it can help to improve your dental health.

Luponde offers organic, fairly traded and Rainforest Alliance Certified teas that provide a ‘whole system’ approach to farming and food production. This includes our organic Earl Grey Loose Leaf Green Tea and teabags. To order from our selection of teas and teawares, or for more information about our biodiversity or sustainability efforts, contact Luponde here.

          Antimicrobial Protection for Building & Commercial Products        

Provides an overview of antimicrobial additives that help protect products from degradation caused by microbes, with discussions on types of microorganisms and the array of products that can benefit from antimicrobials.
          The End of the World Didn't Happen Today        
Just one of many ways to bring it all to an end.
On this day, according to the Mayan Calendar and the hordes of New Age experts who make their living looking for such portents, the world will have ended. Again.

We like the end of the world. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year go into exploring various and sundry ways the world will end - in TV shows, movies, video games, novels, even serious conferences. Asteroid strikes, tsunamis, earthquakes, black holes, rogue planets, expanding suns, supernovae, killer biohazards, the plague, nuclear war, zombie infestations, rogue weather, Chthulu-esque demi-gods, vampires vs. werewolves, strangelets, divine retribution, global flooding, alien invasions, Nemesis, Aphosis, false vacuum phase shifts, brane collisions, it's rather remarkable just how many ways there are to turn out the lights, once and for all.

There's something eminently satisfying about going out with a bang, like the dinosaurs did when an asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico 65 millions years ago. Except they didn't, really. Oh, no doubt there were quite a few dinosaurs for which that fateful collision truly was the end of their world. However, the day after the asteroid, there were still quite a few T-Rexes wandering around - a bit dazed and confused perhaps, but they still managed to successfully take down a stegosaurus or three for breakfast. They were there a week later, and a month ... indeed, by all indications they were still going two or three million years after Game Over.

What ultimately did the dinosaurs in was bad weather. In India the collision of a breakaway piece of Antarctica and the Asian subcontinent had caused the crust to become particular thin over a hot spot region deep within the Earth's core, and it opened up a whole series of volcanoes, initially cooling the atmosphere with all of the sulfur being released, but ultimately warming it again as nickel, normally held deeply within the core of the Earth, made its way in great concentrations to the surface. As it cooled, the nickel provided a critical substrate necessary for the flourishing of a form of methanogen, a methane consuming microbe that generated copious amounts of carbon dioxide. In the end, the planet became too hot for the plants which fed the huge appetites of the stegosaurs which in turn fed the t-rexes, and the giant dinosaurs that needed vast amounts of food to support themselves ultimately ended up starving (or more likely dehydrating) to death. Meanwhile, the much smaller mammals and tiny dinosaurs that could get by on a miniscule fraction of the food survived, the mammals by burrowing and hibernating, the dinosaurs by taking to the air. This happened over the course of two to to three million years, still relatively fast by evolutionary standards, but far from the "death raining from the sky" eye-blink that makes for such good cinematic fodder.

 We like "game over" endings. A good ending makes for a satisfying read, and a poor one, one where too few threads get tied up, makes us feel dissatisfied with the work. You want the villain to be dead at the end - want so that he can't get back up and menace the heroes one more time. You want the prince and princess to get married to resolve that awful teenage-angsty hormone-driven sexual tension, so they can go on happily with the rest of their lives. You want the war to be over. A good story builds tension, and at the end of the narrative that tension needs to be released and resolved. Life as orgasm. Even when the ending is horrific, one where everyone dies a particularly grisly death, the desire for closure is stronger.

Ironically, a part of this has to do with the implicit assumption on the part of the reader that, by hearing the narrative, they will in the end be a survivor. They will be alive to tell the tale, not rotting in an anonymous grave somewhere. The fact is that, every day, it is the end of the world for somebody, but in all but one case, those somebodies are not you.

However, great closures are also critical for societies overall. The US Empire is in decline. It has been for several years. Historians, who are masters of the narrative, are already looking for the smoking gun, the one event that definitively says that the Third Age is over (to borrow from the recent Tolkienesque interest) and the Fourth Age is begun. They're looking for the day that Gollum bit off Frodo's ring to recover his Precious before tumbling, fatally, to his doom in Mt. Doom. (For a man who invented two complete languages, Tolkien was remarkably inept at naming mountains). 

On this day, the bad guys are vanquished, and the good guys can start building something new again. Yet today it's hard to tell what that "something new" is - or rather, it's easy to tell, but hard to chose from the plethora of something new's that are currently in vogue. For the Libertarian, that something new is a society where the intrepid hero defeats the evil government to become a master of his own fortunes. For the Liberal, that "new" is a world where oil is no longer pumped from the earth, where we live in harmony under a benign government of the people, at one with nature in our tree-enshrouded sanctuaries, away from the gun-toting yokels and religious nuts. For the Fundamentalist, the "new" is a world where a benign god looks once more upon His people, bringing them peace and prosperity while the evil unbelievers burn forever in the pits of Hell, in the ultimate of punishments.

Curiously enough, the villains in one person's narrative are the heroes in another. This again brings up the problems of narrative tension. An arbitrary apocalypse in the vast narrative always favors the listener's own tribe in the same way that it favors themselves. Your tribe will remain, if scattered and sorely beleaguered, while the evil tribes will get theirs. Those few that remain will see the wisdom in banding with your tribe and your way of thinking, at least in the main.

However, life is seldom that neat, and endings, when they do come, are seldom swift and absolute. Instead, the visible signs of a transition, a change from one social regime to another, are usually symptomatic of broader but generally less immediately tangible changes. We're hitting resource peaks in the first half of the twenty first century that will have major ramifications for the next three or four hundred years. Climate change will cause various regions to lose or gain economic and hence political power. Our economic system is in flux right now because the foundations of those economies are shifting, both due to the aforementioned resource peaks and to the innovations that we have unleashed in the last century. 

We have an unprecedented degree of understanding both about we do and what we don't know about the universe, and the transition from physical discovery to materials engineering to commercialization is occurring in a breathtakingly short amount of time. Our ability to innovate with our economic systems is also unprecedented, and this in turn means that we can make economic experiments (meaning mistakes - offshoring, anyone) and recover from them within a surprisingly short interval.

Yet the need for narrative is still there, and that is perhaps the challenge of political, social and economic innovators moving forward. For too long the narrative has been that the story is coming to a close, that the survivors will be ones with the greatest amount of money, land socked away up in the mountains, arsenals of heavy machine guns waiting for the coming zombie hordes. What's so disturbing about this particular narrative is that the zombies in question are thinly disguised latte-sipping urban liberals, drinks in one hand full of rotting milk and coffee; the fear being that the world really is coming to an end, the cities with all of these people with their big government regulations and reprehensibly open social policies (women's rights! gay marriage! unions!!!) are going to overwhelm the god-fearing farmers and ranchers of the Real America.

Ironically it is a narrative that's also promulgated by the suburban financiers and senior managers - the ones that may work in downtown New York but have a home in the Hamptons, or that control their empires from Dallas but are driven in by chauffeur from the Park Cities or Lakewood. They too fear the zombies, but in this case the zombies are the undesirables that will drive down home prices, will cause cracks in the illusion of absolute mastery that they maintain around themselves. These are the people most invested in the status quo, the ones that see the visions of sustainability and lower economic inequity as a direct threat against their own wealth and station. They are concerned about the New Money, because New Money often comes from undermining the paradigm that helped establish the Old Money in the first place (which was itself once New Money), and today that New Money is increasingly coming from the young, technically competent engineers, scientists, creatives and advocates who recognize the dangers and limitations of the status quo. At one time, this force was helping to prop up the Old Money, but as times and technologies change, the gulf between these two forces widen.

In a way, the younger generation is shaping its own narrative, one that's increasingly at odds with the status quo. They see the future and are worried by it, which means they are adapting far more quickly to it. A winnowing process is going on, one in which the most salient technologies are enhanced, while the less salient are diminished. Biotechnologies, information science, nano-engineering and alternate energy development are all critical. As a generation they have less use for corporate religion or giant conglomerates - they view businesses simply as vehicles to apply capital to solving problems, and view religion as being increasingly private and self-directed. They drive less, and are far more comfortable working and playing with people that may be thousands of miles away than their predecessors. Their mantra increasingly is that too much power in the hands of anyone - government or business - is bad, and are becoming increasingly proficient with the ability to make decisions collectively with astonishing speed. These people do not respect existing institutions, but instead see them as being relics of another age that are no longer germane to them.

For these people, the end of the world is nowhere in sight, other than as an excuse to throw a good party and an opportunity to remake the world according to their own narrative. To them, this is exhilarating, to others, this is terrifying. In the end, though, they will be the ones writing the next chapters. For now, it is perhaps best to know that this grand story is ... to be continued ... 

          By: iamclarkellis        
Thanks for reaching out. I'm sorry to hear what a torrid time you've had. Have you looked into what the large visible lump in throat is? I haven't tried a fecal transplant myself but have a couple of friends who have. It is on my list as a possibility if I worsen. It certainly seems to be the case that destroying the gut flora can have severe consequences, so I'm very much in favour of more microbiome research. The project is by far the most promising from an ME/CFS point of view, but there is lots of work in this area across medicine so hopefully breakthroughs aren't too far away. Wishing you the best.
          Inaccurate results from microbenchmark        
The microbenchmark package is a popular way of comparing the time it takes to evaluate different R expressions — perhaps more popular than the alternative of just using system.time to see how long it takes to execute a loop that evaluates an expression many times. Unfortunately, when used in the usual way, microbenchmark can give inaccurate […]
          Super Microbe Discovered that Converts Toxins to AntiOxidants and Aids Digestion        
(Alternative Medicine News and Information) Mighty Microbes LLC A Los Angles based nutritional company has introduced a probiotic drink that contains a super microbe which cleans the intestines of toxins pollutants and unhealthy bacteriaAccording to Gil S
          Vader's Pastorale        

Dull day. Arrived at Endor. Made Moff Jerjerrod cry.

My quarters aboard the new Death Star are quite satisfactory. The smooth and precise action of the robotics in the hyperbaric chamber are beyond reproach: I had barely sat down before it had neatly divested me of my masque and slaved my life-support systems into the host recharger. Also, I have a really spectacular view -- three large triangular ports that look out upon the green and white face of the Sanctuary Moon, the bright sun cantering shadows across the verdant mountains and pillarous cloudscapes while the silver crescent of Endor itself marches in stately orbit behind.

There is something exhilarating about so much life. It is at once inspiring and daunting, and a part of me quails at its chaotic splendor and wishes for the homeliness of a wasted world like Tatooine.

But where there is life there is the Force. Life nourishes it, causes it to grow. It is in the crannies of life's microscopic machinery that the computer of the universe reaches its greatest calculatory density: the probable fates multiply a millionfold, and reality itself ripples in anticipation. A thousand times beneath the perception of low men, the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe.

When I close my eyes I can see the song this world describes in the webs of the Force, uncountable infinitesimal tendrils coalescing into a great hollow orb that rides beneath this station, pinwheeling through space about the white light and black chute of the galactic fulcrum.

To wit, to wank: I enjoy the view.

Tomorrow I will oversee the testing of this Death Star's new weapons systems. Since things have fallen so woefully behind schedule I anticipate crushing not a few tracheas. Shape up or sputter to the floor unconscious -- that's my motto.

          Business Momentum a Boost for Cargill’s Positive Impact with Customers and Communities        

Building on strong earnings in fiscal 2017, Cargill is working to continue growing its business and corporate responsibility impact. The company’s 2017 annual report, launched today, outlines its business growth and community impact.

“We are proud of the momentum we have generated this year and look forward to continued progress as we help build the food system of the future,” said Chairman and CEO David MacLennan and Executive Vice President and CFO Marcel Smits in the company’s annual report. “We know we have a clear contribution to make in the world. Working with farmers, customers, communities and other partners, we look forward to making powerful progress.”

The annual report, which covers business results as well as corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts, outlines how Cargill is realizing the benefits of two years of work to build a more integrated, agile and focused organization.

In the last year, Cargill established a new strategic direction, and identified and strengthened capabilities that will accelerate future growth. The company reshaped its business portfolio with investments in stra­tegic acquisitions, joint ventures and new and expanded facilities, as well as divestitures in non-strategic assets. This put the company in a position to make the most of positive dynamics in key markets and better serve its stakeholders around the world.

The annual report highlights a number of ways Cargill built positive momentum over the past year, including:

  • Connecting with new partners to expand markets: Cargill set up joint ventures and strengthened its supply chains to serve growing poultry markets in Asia. In the U.S., it joined with Silicon Valley-based innovator Calysta and third-party investors to construct the world’s largest gas fermentation facility to produce FeedKind® protein, a sustainable animal feed ingredient made with microbes that convert methane gas into protein that can be substituted for fishmeal in aqua feeds.

  • Sharing expertise to boost innovation: Cargill opened three new research centers in Shanghai (China), Colaco (Chile) and near its home base in Minneapolis. At these labs, Cargill is partnering with customers, scientists and others to create new products and solutions for changing markets and consumer preferences.

  • Applying analytics for growth: Cargill is applying data to give farmers around the world the digital edge they need to be more productive and sustainable. All in all, Cargill’s proprietary data network contains about 7 petabytes of information.

  • Scaling up sustainability: The use of renewable energy has long been central to Cargill’s operations. As it steps up these efforts, the company also is advancing ambitious goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability priorities. Partnering with World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch, the company mapped about 1,900 commodity sourcing areas worldwide to establish a baseline for measuring progress in eliminating deforestation.

  • Taking action to build stronger communities: During fiscal year 2017, Cargill provided training for more than 650,000 farmers worldwide, which will help them increase productivity sustainably. Partnerships with organizations such as CARE, Feeding America and World Food Program USA were deepened, benefiting farmers, school children, educators and communities around the world. Cargill’s global corporate contributions this year totaled $54.7 million.

The 2017 annual report, available online at provides more depth and detail on these stories and more. You can find additional content there, including a video overview with CEO David MacLennan and other Cargill leaders. Cargill will share further information on Twitter via @Cargill.

About Cargill
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and 150 years of experience. We have 150,000 employees in 70 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit and our News Center.

          2014: The Beginning of the End of Microplastics in Personal Care Products?        
Written by Erica Cirino Good news for those concerned with the Earth’s major plastic pollution problem: last year was not a good one for microplastics, particularly the tiny polyethylene exfoliating beads found in many popular face/body washes, soaps, scrubs and toothpastes. In 2014, a significant number of personal care product manufacturers managed to successfully eliminate the use of microbeads in […]
          Benefits of resistant starch        

Benefits of resistant starch  With all the low carb/no carb/grain free diets that have recently become popular you probably think starch is a dirty word. What if I told you starchy foods do provide important health benefits and if prepared in a certain way can actually improve insulin sensitivity, strengthen healthy microbes in your gut […]

The post Benefits of resistant starch appeared first on Nourish Holistic Nutrition.

          Building a better GUT        

Building a better gut…what influences microbiome diversity? Recent research into the microbiome is validating the importance of diversity. It seems the more diversity in the gut microbes we have the more  protection we get. Conversely, when microbiomes are shown to have a limited range of diversity it suggests more susceptibility to illness and a state […]

The post Building a better GUT appeared first on Nourish Holistic Nutrition.

          Cuccio NaturalÌÎå© - Milk & Honey Daily Skin Polisher 240mL        
Cuccio NaturalÌÎå© - Milk & Honey Daily Skin Polisher 240mL

Cuccio NaturalÌÎå© - Milk & Honey Daily Skin Polisher 240mL

With Pure Sugar Cane Complex & Jojoba Microbeads - Gentle Exfoliation for radiant, smooth skin. This Daily Skin Polisher is safe to use every day.  This ultra soft formula works wonders for delicate skin, & leaves your hands feeling invigorated while releasing the skin's natural radiance.  To use:Gently massage into the skin in a circular motion. Rinse off or gently wash off with a moist warm towel.

          Cuccio NaturalÌÎå© - Pomegranate & Fig Daily Skin Polisher 240mL        
Cuccio NaturalÌÎå© - Pomegranate & Fig Daily Skin Polisher 240mL

Cuccio NaturalÌÎå© - Pomegranate & Fig Daily Skin Polisher 240mL

With Pure Sugar Cane Complex & Jojoba Microbeads - Gentle Exfoliation for radiant, smooth skin. This Daily Skin Polisher is safe to use every day.  This ultra soft formula works wonders for delicate skin, & leaves your hands feeling invigorated while releasing the skin's natural radiance.  To use:Gently massage into the skin in a circular motion. Rinse off or gently wash off with a moist warm towel.

          How Dirty is Your Office Desk?        
  A study undertaken by the University of Arizona has shown that there are approximately 400 times more microbes of bacteria on an office desk than there are in an office toilet. Charles Gerba, a professor of soil, water and environmental sciences, tested more than 100 offices around the areas of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Oregon, commissioned by Clorox Co. The study found that there were more than 10 million germs harbouring on the average desktop. Another unexpected result is that women actually have more than 3-4 times more bacteria in and around their workstations than men do. There are a number of reasons for this for example that women have more interaction with children and carry make up in their pedestals, however the primary reason was that women tend to keep more snacks in their storage cupboards than men do. Make-up and lotions, particularly hand creams are a prime example of germ transfer, as women tend to share their make-up, increasing the spread of germs. As well as this Gerba found that a staggering 75% of women had food of various kinds on their desks, providing the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. The men are not completely innocent in this however as there were alarming numbers of bacteria found on their desks too. The main cause of this was smart phones and wallets. Men tend to play more with their phones and are more likely to pass them around. If like me you find these figures disturbing, there are ways to combat this spread of nasty viruses and bacteria. They may seem obvious but it is surprising how little people actually do this. The most obvious is to make sure you wash your hands regularly. Keeping hand sanitizer by the desk is a good reminder to use it and making sure that you disinfect your desk regularly can reduce bacteria by 25% if used once a day.
          QBio Special Seminar: Hunting the wild microbe: Decoding microbial interactions from metagenomics to ecophysiology        
Elizabeth Wilbanks, Caltech
          Adze Grinding and Sharpening.        

I recently finished up a batch of the adzes that I make and grinding and sharpening all of the blades provided the opportunity to show how I go about creating and maintaining their edge geometry.  My process is specific to my adze, but the techniques could definitely be adapted by a clever person to sharpen other adzes.  If the grinding set up that I use seems overly complex, skip to the bottom for other options.

My adze blades have both interior and exterior bevels.  The exterior bevel is hollow ground and if the hollow has been mostly removed by honing I begin by regrinding the bevel.  My grinding set up is half Rube Goldberg, so  I'll start with a picture of the entire rig and then walk back through the components and hope that it all makes sense in the end.

Adze grinding set up using the Woverine V- arm attachment.

The heart of my setup is the V-arm attachment that comes as part of the Wolverine grinding jig.  I use the V-arm in conjunction with an angled wooden grinding fixture to hold the blade at the desired angle.  It is just like regrinding a turning gouge, rotate the assembly in the V-notch and grind away, with a light touch.  I recently switched to using the 3X 46 grit blue wheels from Tool for Working Wood for on my grinder, which basically takes overheating the edge out of the equation.  If you are in the market for new grinding wheels, or have had trouble overheating other tools, I can't recommend them more highly.

Grinding jig and adze blade.

My adze blades are easily removable from the head and have a flat rear section that can be clamped to the angled ramp of the grinding jig with a small C-clamp.  The overall length of the jig, without the blade, is 12 1/2".

Blade clamped in place.

I visually center the blade on the jig and align the edges of the blade parallel to the edges of the jig.

Blade aligned and clamped.

Well, I get it close any way.

Blade positioned in line with the grinding jig.

The outside of the blade at the edge should be in line with the bottom side of the grinding jig.  The basic theory here is that the outside of the blade at the edge should be in a direct line with the wooden grinding jig, and the shape of the wooden grinding jig where it rests in the V-arm should be approximately the same shape in cross section as the sweep of the adze blade at the edge.  

I had to read that sentence a couple of times to see if it made any sense.  Hopefully the pictures help.

Curvature of grinding jig roughly matches sweep of adze blade.

You can see from the last picture that this doesn't have to be an exact match, but as the difference in curvatures increases, grinding becomes less consistent and more difficult to control.  The end of my grinding jig is 2 1/16" in diameter.  It was the biggest piece of scrap I had on hand.  When the edge is traveling in the same path and turning at the same rate as the part of the jig rotating in the V-arm you get a nice consistent grind.  When the back of the grinding jig is significantly smaller than the sweep of the adze blade, the angle of the grind decreases dramatically as the blade rotates toward the corners.

The ramp that the blade is clamped to is angled at 22 degrees.  There is slight variation of the curvature of the blades, this angle has worked well throughout the range of variation.

Testing the grind angle.

With the blade properly positioned I take the assembly to the grinder and lock the V-arm in position when the bevel appears to be laying flat on the wheel.  Then, with the grinder off, I rub the blade back and forth to confirm that the assembly is properly aligned.  I remove the assembly and check the bevel to see that the scratches from the wheel are centered on the bevel.

Scratches from the grinder are centered on the bevel.

If the scratches are slightly forward or back from the center, I adjust the position of the V-arm to achieve the desired alignment.  

The final adjustment before grinding is to position the assembly at the grinder and swing the blade to either corner and rub it side to side to confirm that the wheel is still striking the center of the bevel at the two most extreme points.  If the alignment is off, usually the scratches will run up to the edge on one side and to the back of the bevel on the other.  If this is the case, I skew the blade on the ramp to compensate.

Skewed blade to adjust for misalignment at the blade corners.

The picture shows a blade that is skewed more than I have ever found necessary, to clearly illustrate the idea.  When the blade is skewed the corner that moves forward, will climb slightly up the face of the grinding wheel, which will move the scratches away from the edge and towards the center of the bevel.  The corner that moves back will slide down the face of the grinding wheel, which will move the scratches from the back of the bevel, toward the center.

I adjust, confirm that the adjustment has aligned the blade properly and then grind.  The grinding is quick and the hollow makes it easy to maintain the performance of the tool.  When regrinding I never grind all the way to the edge.  I always try leave a small polished flat.  I treat the bevel on the outside similar to the way I treat the back of a chisel.  I usually raise a burr by sharpening with coarse abrasives from the inside and only use fine abrasives on the outside to polish and roll the burr back to the inside for removal.  Using this technique extends the amount of time between grinding sessions.

Inside of the blade.

The inside of the blade is microbeveled.  The total included angle of the edge should be around 35 degrees to withstand the rough use that the adze is put to.  It is important that the inside bevel be micro to keep the resistance of the blade as it cuts through the wood low.  A big fat bevel on the inside the blade makes the adze feel sluggish in use.  Keeping the inside bevel small allows the tool to slide right through the wood with a minimum of effort, while the microbevel gives the edge durability.  I learned this from the Yanesha bowl carvers I worked with in Peru.  They spend day after day swinging their adzes and need their tools to cut aggressively and have the edges last as long as possible.

I use a dremel to remove material behind the micro bevel.  In the absence of a handheld rotary tool, coarse sandpaper wrapped around a dowel works well.  This step isn't necessary every time you sharpen the blade, but keeping the microbevel small keeps the tool functioning at a high level.

Diamond paddles and a drill bit wrapped in P600 wet/dry sandpaper.

When the grinding is done on the outside and the material behind the micro bevel has been removed with a rotary tool or coarse abrasives, honing commences.  I use diamond paddles for honing the outside of the tool and a drill bit wrapped in P320 or P600 wet/dry sandpaper for honing the inside.  A dowel wrapped in sandpaper works just as well as the drill bit.

Raising a burr from the inside.

I begin resharpening by forming a burr from the inside with P320 wet/dry sandpaper.  To check the angle I set an angle gauge to 35 degrees and rest one arm of it flat on the exterior bevel.  I position the other arm close to but not touching the interior bevel and check to see that it is parallel to the gauge.  If it is not I focus my attention on the front or back of the bevel to adjust the angle.  Some convexity here is not a problem.  If the angle gets too obtuse, you'll know because it will feel like you are beating the wood apart when you start to use the tool.  It should feel like the blade slices through the wood with little effort.

Honing the bevel.  Be aware of your fingers.

Next, I hone the exterior bevel with a fine diamond paddle.  I press the paddle flat onto the bevel and slide it back and forth.  While doing this it is important to consider where a slight slip of your hand could put your fingers, with the burr raised contact with the edge can leave a fingertip on the floor in a hurry.  I feel confident using the position demonstrated in the photo above, but note the potential danger.  I move the paddle with slow, deliberate motions.

With the outside honed, I switch to P600 paper on the inside to polish the scratches and then alternate between honing the inside and outside to remove as much of the burr as I can before stropping.

I strop the outside using the same technique I use on carving gouges.  I place my fingers on the edges of the blade and rotate the blade side to side as I pull the tool along the strop.

Strops have a bad reputation for rounding over the tool edges.  To minimize the rounding at the edge, I place the bevel flat on the strop and then emphasize the pressure on the back of the bevel.  The leather deforms enough to polish the edge, but with pressure emphasized on the back of the bevel, rounding at the edge is reduced.

The slipstrop I use to polish the inside.

I use the slipstrop I made a few months ago to strop the inside.  It it takes five minutes to make and works brilliantly.

Stropping the inside.

I alternate stropping the inside and outside until all traces of the burr are gone and the blade takes clean shavings from pine endgrain.

I sharpen the blades this way for a couple of reasons.  My grinding jig allows me to controllably grind the same amount of bevel on the outside of each blade and the hollow that it leaves is easy to hone.  I want the tools that I send out to customers to be at peak performance, so that when that person starts using the tool, the way the tool feels becomes the standard of performance for them.  If that person resharpens the tool and some aspect of the performance has changed, they will know that the tool isn't functioning at its full potential.  If they cannot figure out the problem they are welcome to contact me to help them address it.  The key is knowing how the tool should perform.  The hollow grind allows me to repeat the process over and over, and know that I am sending out tools that are working at the highest standards.

That said, if you don't have a grinder, or feel intimidated by the grinding set up and potential risk of overheating the blade, you can get great results from freehand sharpening the exterior bevel on sharpening stones, just as you would a gouge.  I sharpen gouges by rocking them from one corner of the edge to the other as I move the tool lengthwise along the stone.  It is easy to maintain a flat bevel with this technique. blade detaches from the body and it is easy to manage on stones.  Try to mimic the existing bevel angle and keep it as flat as you can.  I have sharpened adzes like this and it is simple and works great.  In fact, for many people this approach probably makes more sense than the approach I outlined above.

Sharpening a gouge.

Choices in sharpening are a matter of preference.  It helps to draw on skills that you have already developed through previous experience.  If you have experience freehand sharpening gouges on stones, then adopting that approach for an adze probably makes sense.  But if you are an avid turner who has extensive experience grinding spindle or bowl turning gouges, then you might prefer to hollow grind and hone the bevels, as I do.

          Scientists inserted Image and Gif into DNA of Bacteria        
A graphics interchange format (GIF) and image and have been inserted into a DNA by storing information through units of inheritance. For this experiment, a team from the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts used a picture of a human palm and five frames of the horse, which was captured by Eadweard Muybridge in the late 19th century. Using Crispr, a genome editing tool, the team of US scientists encoded a gif – five frames of a horse galloping – in the DNA of bacteria. They then sequenced the DNA of the bacteria to retrieve the image and the gif, which indicated that the bacteria had incorporated the data as intended. Team to Use Technique to Create Molecular Recorders For inserting this information into the genomes of the microbes, the scientists transferred the gif and the image onto nucleotides, which are to be the building blocks of DNA, generating a code associated with individual pixels of each image. After this, they made use of the Crispr platform, in which two strands of proteins are employed to encode genetic code in the DNA of target cells. While for the formation of the gif, sequences were carried over five days, frame-by-frame, to the cells of bacteria. Instead of just one, information was spread across the genomes of various bacteria. During this experiment, the team was able to attain 90% accuracy and the team wants to further use this technique to develop “molecular recorders”. According to the team, these cells can encode data about the activities happening in the cell and in the cell environment by feeding that data into their own genome.

Original Post Scientists inserted Image and Gif into DNA of Bacteria source Twease
          New Hutch center to focus on cancers caused by microbes        

The project is seeded by a record-breaking $35 million donation from the family of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
          Conducive Properties of Superhydrophobic Coatings to Drive Innovation for Advanced Applications        
The global superhydrophobic coatings market is characterized by high capital investment and immense competition amongst the players constituting the market. These factors limit the scope of new companies entering the market. However, varied product solutions and technologies make the global superhydrophobic coatings market opportunity-laden market for new entrants. Another factor fuelling innovation in the superhydrophobic coatings is the thriving prospects in various end-use industries such construction, consumer electronics, and automotive industries. Increasing Demand for Waterproof Electronics to Promote Adoption of Superhydrophobic Coatings Large-scale deployment of the superhydrophobic coatings in the waterproof electronics owing to rising demand from the consumers has fuelled the growth of the global superhydrophobic coatings market. Their properties such as water repellency, easy application on the surface, and thermal stability ensure protection to the sensitive electronic products, thereby making them a popular choice for vendors in the global superhydrophobic coatings market. Augmentation of Global Construction Industry to Propel Demand for Superhydrophobic Coatings Other than electronics and telecommunication, superhydrophobic coatings are used in industries such as building and construction, textile and leather, healthcare and medical, optical, automotive, and power generation. The expansion in the global construction sector is likely to benefit the growth of the global superhydrophobic coatings market. The high usage of composite materials in the construction industry will prove to be lucrative for players in the superhydrophobic coatings market. These coatings find applications in the building and construction sector due to their high-temperature resistivity and effective barrier capacity against water and microbes. They are also highly compatible with ceramics, concrete, composite substrates, and masonry. Also, the superhydrophobic coatings have extensive application in the textile and leather industry. The rising need for self-cleaning clothes for daily use and dirt-resistant protective clothing in the military sector will potentially boost the demand for superhydrophobic coatings in the textile and leather sector. Increasing Infrastructure Activities in APAC to Present Opportunities for Superhydrophobic Coatings Market Asia Pacific will exhibit substantial growth owing to rapid industrialization in various sectors such as consumer electronics, healthcare, and automotive. Also, rising residential construction and infrastructure activities in the emerging nations such as India, China, Thailand, South Korea, and Singapore.

Original Post Conducive Properties of Superhydrophobic Coatings to Drive Innovation for Advanced Applications source Twease
          Français -- Blossom Goodchild 14:11:2014        

Blossom Goodchild

Blossom: Bonjour ! Allons directement au sujet.... La semaine dernière, quelques requêtes de la part des lecteurs ont émergées, des requêtes auxquelles  j'aimerai répondre si vous le voulez bien ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: Nous sommes joyeusement prêt a apporter notre connaissance, où nous en sommes capable. S'il vous plait, n'hésitez pas à nous demander.

en, le premier sujet est à propos de votre planète étant la seule qui n'est pas au courant / au fait qu'il existe de la vie ailleurs, comme vous l'avez mentionné la semaine dernière. La personne qui a envoyé cela l'a très bien dit, et je cite...

Imaginez que notre planète soit un grain de sable sur lequel nous, microbes humains, habitons sa surface. Disons que ce grain de sable est sur votre plage préférée sur la Sunshine Coast. Nous sommes ignorants de la présence de tous les autres microbes et de l'éternelle relation que nous partageons avec eux, sur tous les autres grains de sable de cette plage. Plus encore, nous n'avons pas connaissance de ces autres grains de sable se trouvant sur toutes les autres plages d'Australie. Plus encore, nous ignorons la présence de tous les autres grains de sable présents sur toutes les autres plages des autres pays dans le monde entier. Nous sommes l'unique grain de sable sur toute la planète ou ce jeu est joué sans être au courant de cela ! Quelles sont les chances ?

Et en effet... Quelles SONT les chances ? Cela semble plutôt bizarre que nous puissions être les seuls à ignorer l'existence d'une vie ailleurs que sur notre planète.

La Fédération de la Lumière: Avant tout, pas TOUT LE MONDE ignore ce fait. Ils y en a plus maintenant, plus que vous ne l'imaginez qui sont au courant. Dans cette ligne de temps a laquelle vous vous adressez à nous... Vous vous faites avoir par ceux dont les désirs sont d'empêcher toutes communications avec nous. Vos gouvernements ont soit disant dépenser des millions de votre argent disant qu'ils cherchent des preuves de vie ailleurs, et pourtant... Elles rencontrent de tels êtres en face à face... Et ont de nombreuses fois convenu des arrangements avec des extraterrestres qu'ils ont au final refusé d'honorer.
Blossom:Ok, nous reviendrons à cela. Donc, est-ce que les autres planètes ont des contacts directs avec ceux qui ne sont pas de leur monde ? Est-ce que c'est cela que tu veux dire quand tu dis que nous sommes la seule planète qui est en attente de 'votre' arrivée ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: Il est tout a fait connu que les autres planètes sont au courant que la vie existe ailleurs que sur leur planète. C'est du bon sens, c'est de la connaissance de base. Ce n'est pas que TOUTES les planètes acceptent des visiteurs...pourtant, la question de leur existence ne se pose même pas. Beaucoup de planètes partagent des liens de pensées les uns avec les ont toutefois des interactions amicales sur le... Ce que vous appelleriez... la communication a un niveau physique... Et télépathique. D'autres préfèrent rester entre eux.

Nous savons que l'autre question que tu as posée concernait les gouvernements... Et nous sentons que la réponse pourrait se faire en une seule fois.

Blossom: Quelle aubaine ! Donc tu as réellement lu dans mes pensées ? Oui, pour clarifier... L'autre question était...

Pourquoi est ce que l'on donne tant de pouvoirs sur les évènements que nous espérons voir le jour le plus tôt possible aux gouvernements, ou aux élites, ou quiconque stoppe les procédures ? Apres tout, ils comptabilisent moins d'1% de la population mondiale, et ils semblent être capable d'interférer avec notre libre arbitre, par messages subliminaux aussi bien que par d'autres moyens, comme ils le souhaitent. Etant donné le petit nombre de personnes impliqués au gouvernement, leur opposition aux évènements attendus ne devraient ils pas peser moins lourd dans la balance ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: Sur les autres planètes... Il n y a pas le secret que votre monde décrit. Ce n'est pas pour dire que TOUTES les planètes sont AIMANTES et OFFRANTES. Beaucoup préfèrent rester entre eux et ont choisi de procéder ainsi, ils restent séparés des autres. Comme nous en avons parle... Il y a des milliards de scenarios pour couvrir des milliards de formes de vies différentes. Cela ne s'arrête jamais et en cela, cette affirmation en particulier, nous voulons dire "la création"
Vous voyez, Blossom...avec tout le respect que je vous dois, il y a beaucoup de choses qui se passent "dans votre monde" que beaucoup ignorent et qui prouveraient effectivement notre existence a tous, et pourtant, pour ceux concernes... et nous ne parlons pas de gouvernements ici... leur vie est en jeu....ou ils partagent la connaissance qu'ils ont acquise des visiteurs d'autres monde.

La plupart d'entre vous savent que l'élite, comme vous choisissez de les appeler, sont en communication directe, et pourtant refusent que cela soit une connaissance de base. Leur idée étant... Que votre monde serait hors de contrôle si ils décidaient de montrer les vidéos, preuves matérielles de ce qui se passe réellement. Cela, bien sur, n'est pas la véritable raison. Car ils savent que le jour ou les gens apprendront et accepteront la présence d'autres espèces venant d'autres plantes, il en sera alors fini de leur pouvoir, de leur contrôle sur le monde.
Blossom: Donc, comme dans la question qui a été posée... Pourquoi devons-nous tolérer cela ? Pourquoi est ce que cette minorité qui nous domine s'en sort si facilement ? Tant d'entres nous savent que cela se passe...mais se sentent pourtant impuissants.

Pourquoi sont ils autorisés a continuer avec leur atrocités ? Ils ruinent notre planète. Ils la détruisent, et si quelque chose n'intervient pas bientôt, très honnêtement... Si ils continuent comme ca... Nous sommes tous condamnés ! Est ce que votre groupe peut jauger cela surement ?

Si tous les humains étaient au courant de cela... Ils ne seraient que trop heureux de recevoir de l'aide extérieure et faire tomber ces contrôleurs de leur perchoir. Nous ne comprenons juste pas pourquoi rien n'est fait pour nous assister dans ce problème.

La Fédération de la Lumière: Encore une fois.... Ce sont des problèmes compliqués. Vos 'contrôleurs' ne nous veulent pas dans les parages. C'est clair et net. Ils feront tout pour faire en sorte que cette charte subsiste. Y compris annihiler la plupart des personnes de votre planète.
Blossom: Comme il en fut pour ce que vous avez dis qu'ils étaient préparés à faire si vous vous déplaciez le 14 octobre 2008.

La Fédération de la Lumière: Ils étaient préparés a agir ainsi. Ils n'avaient rien à perdre... Car ils auraient tout perdu dans le cas contraire.
Blossom: Pourtant, comme je lai dis et redis... VOUS... Personnes de vaste intelligence... Vous devez avoir quelques atouts dans vos manches... Tout comme comment vous pourriez contourner cela ? Oui, ILS pourraient bien avoir des plans en place pour nous détruire, si vous apparaissiez soudainement. Ou, vous faire passer pour les méchants, venant pour prendre le contrôle et nous manger ! Pourtant, vous devriez être capable de mettre quelque chose au point pour faire gérer cela. N y a-t'il pas un problème avec vous pour ne pas être capable d'intervenir ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: Cela dépend des besoins, considérant maintenant l'effondrement dans lequel votre monde est tombé. Pourtant, oui, nous vous lisons Blossom. Nous avons dis a quel point votre monde, de l'autre côté du voile... Est en train de devenir bien plus illuminé, un endroit encore plus lumineux ou se trouver.
Blossom: Alors, quel est votre conseil que vous pouvez nous dire à propos de ceux qui commettent de telles atrocités et qui veulent se débarrasser de la plupart d'entre nous ? Qu'est ce qu'ils pensent du fait de descendre pour le thé et secouer les merdes en dehors de ce fiasco total ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: Dîtes nous, Blossom.... Dans votre cœur... Croyez vous réellement que ces sujets dont nous discutons avec vous... Sont abordés avec nos conseils ?... Le croyez vous ?
Blossom: Gloups ! Eh bien, j'aimerai le croire... Sinon, quel est l'intérêt que je continue ses discussions avec vous si je ne crois pas que vous dites la vérité ?

Je m'emmêle avec ca parfois... Ma position je veux dire. Car si cela est vrai... Alors Wow... Je me sens vraiment honoré... Comme tout le monde. Donc pour répondre a ta question... Je ne sais pas si j'y crois ou non !

La Fédération de la Lumière: Alors, nous voudrions te dire, que tu déterres ta position parfaitement. Nous avons besoin de te dire... Que tu dois considérer cela avec attention. Car, si effectivement, tu ne te sens pas sur que ce que nous disons n'est pas ce qu'il parait vraiment, alors il y aurait peu d'intérêt a continuer nos discussions.
Blossom: Cool... Je me considère vraiment prévenue ! Pourtant, je SAIS que vous venez de l'amour et je SAIS que vous avez raison dans ce que vous dites. Cest juste difficile a accepter, comme je dis, que moi, le vieux moi a cette ( quel est le mot)...position ? Responsabilité ? ( non je. n'aime pas celui la !) je veux dire vraiment ? Vous asseyez vous au haut conseil et quelqu'un dit "prochain sur le l'agenda"... Les pensées du grand jeu Blossom Goodchild... Elle le veut maintenant. Sérieusement ???

La Fédération de la Lumière: Blossom... Nous stressons encore... Si ce n'est pas le cas... Et nous avons dis que ca l'est... Pourquoi continueriez-vous notre communication ?
Blossom: Bien, c'est une sorte de lumière du cœur de "bonne guerre" pour moi. C'est comme ca que je travaille avec vous. Ce serait différent si vous m'aviez pris parmi vous et si je vous avais rencontré en face à face, que nous nous serions assis, que nous aurions cogité et pris des décisions définies... Et oserai je dire, des dates !!!

Pourquoi cela serait-il différent ? Ne sommes nous pas en train de faire cela précisément...pourtant sans physicalité ?
Blossom: C'est exactement ce que je veux dire ! C'est tout un truc de "tête à tête" ! Je serai heureux d'être appelé à tout moment !

La Fédération de la Lumière: Donc, nous te demandons encore... Penses tu que nous discutons de ce dont nous sommes en train de parler avec le conseil ?
Blossom: La façon dont c'est en train de se passer... Me fait me sentir différent à ce propos. Je peux sentir ton intention sérieuse dans ces questions et leur importance. Oh seigneur... Et maintenant, je suis soudainement en train de pleurer... Complètement.... Une sorte de réveil/transformation... Un développement. C'est juste une sorte de développement en moi, pour de vrai. Je suppose que ca a fermenté en moi n'est-ce pas ? A cause de mes questionnements a moi même dans ma tête, comme pourquoi je fais cela etc.. ET si cela est vraiment RÉEL... ET si cela fait une différence... Ou si cela trouble juste certaines personnes. J'AIME vos enseignements...parfois cependant, je ne comprend pas  la forme du dialogue, et donc cela se perd à nouveau. Parler avec vous est quelque chose que "je fais". Cela arrive simplement et si facilement... Que je suppose que je considère un peu trop cela pour acquis. Beaucoup de réflexions sont né Oh je sais pas...juste parce que! Qu'est-ce que vous en pensez ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: Nous n'avions aucune intention de causer des larmes. Pourtant, nous avions de grands désirs de vous voir prêter attention et reconnaitre ses conversations comme un moyen de service.
Blossom: Un moyen de service ?

La Fédération de la Lumière: En cela... Il était nécessaire pour toi de comprendre ta position... Dans le sens de ton âme se souvenant de cet accord. Et pour votre nature de lâcher prise sur leur doute a propos de qui vous êtes.
Blossom: Je suppose que c'est un problème... Je ne voudrai pas jouer les martyrs et dire "pourquoi moi ?" Mais vraiment, c'est si gros... Je veux dire "pourquoi moi ?" Je suis ... Tellement normal.

La Fédération de la Lumière: L'ongle a juste touché la tête.
Blossom: Mais, alors je pourrai dire... Qu'il y a des millions de personnes normales.

Et des millions de personnes normales qui sont volontaires... Et tu correspondais à ce critère.
Blossom: Bien... Cela ma vraiment ouvert les yeux / le cœur. Et je me sens un peu comme...bien que rien n'ait changé et que nous continuerons notre relation de la façon dont nous lavons toujours fait... Ça, en fait, il y a plein de choses qui auront changé. Je peux sentir la transformation dans mon cœur.

La Fédération de la Lumière: C'était nécessaire... Pour notre progrès.
Blossom: Alors donc...devrai je mettre la bouilloire en marche.... Peut être acheter un paquet de biscuit ?

Nous te remercions d'accepter cette position. Tu le savais avant de venir... Que ca ne serait pas de la tarte.
Blossom: Je le sais MAINTENANT, aussi ! MERCI. Matériel inattendu comme pensée...pourtant, je l'admet... votre persévérance était nécessaire, si je dois continuer... et je continuerai.

La Fédération de la Lumière: Notre amour est pour chacun d'entre vous.... Croyez en vous même pour remplir vos missions de cœur.
Blossom: En amour et remerciements. Il est maintenant temps... 11.11.... j'adore ! (Je continuerai ces lignes de questions dans ma prochaine communication.)

Cette canalisation s'est avérée être une canalisation plutôt personnelle. Pourtant, j'ai choisi de la partager car je sens qu'elle est importante pour les personnes qui essaient de comprendre ma relation avec la fédération. J'ai écrit un  message sur le blog pour expliquer ma position et pourquoi cette conversation particulière s'est présentée avec eux aujourd'hui. J'ai senti que c'était très nécessaire. Merci beaucoup.

La Fédération de la Lumière parlant d'Amour. ?v=RmsCqVjqSss

Une Invocation du 14 février. Toujours bon à faire quand vous le ressentez. Ca aide. ?v=Gqmukxqt2rU

Traduction : Lloyd révision Patrick L.

          Global Market for Specialty Ingredients Gains Traction as Demand from Food and Beverages Market Rises        
Specialty ingredients are a variety of products that are used to add a specific benefit or some quality to the core recipe of a product, making it more interesting for consumers as well as manufacturers. A variety of specialty ingredients are used in the foods and beverages sector, in health and nutrition-related products, as well as in personal care products and cosmetics. Among the many benefits provided by specialty ingredients, the key ones include improved flavor, taste, enhanced texture, added nutritional value, better visual appearance, and longer shelf life.  Some of the most commonly used specialty ingredients used in the food and beverages industry include:  Enzymes Citric acid Corn sweetener pH controlling salts Crystalline fructose Bioactives Colorless fiber Preservatives and antioxidants Emulsifiers Starches  Fats and oils Vegetable proteins Soy proteins Flavor enhancers Vitamins and minerals The Use of Specialty Ingredients to Avoid Food Wastage Specialty chemicals such as a variety of acids, salts, flavors, antioxidants, starch, vinegar, flavor enhancers, and corn syrups have found widespread uses in the food and beverages industry for the past many years for the purposes of enhance the taste and texture of food and beverages. However, the use of specialty chemicals has also played a significant role in increasing the shelf life of a variety of foods and beverages and preserving their nutrients, flavors, and freshness. The use of specialty ingredients in foods and beverages thus helps in limiting the scope of wastage of food due to souring of dairy products, bacterial growth, and the overall deterioration of food in general. Food and beverages are prone to perishing and rotting owing to conditions such as humidity and high temperature, which are conducive to the growth of microbes. Thus the use of specialty ingredients in the foods and beverages industry saves a vast quantity and variety of food products from being discarded. Several foods and beverages use two or more specialty products to enhance quality and protect them from early expiration. As the global food and beverage industry continues to expand across newer territories and developing markets, the use of specialty ingredients is also expected to see heightened demand over the years to come. 

Original Post Global Market for Specialty Ingredients Gains Traction as Demand from Food and Beverages Market Rises source Twease
          Rising Manufacturing Industries Boost Global Cleanroom Consumables Market        
Cleanrooms are controlled working environments that have minimal exposure to dust, allergens, aerosol particles, airborne microbes, and chemical vapors. These rooms are an important part of several industries wherein small particles can have negative impacts on research and development activities.  Coveralls Dominate Overall Market The global cleanroom consumables market is segmented on the basis of product, applications, and geography. The products in this market are cleanroom apparels, cleaning products, cleanroom stationary, wipers, gloves, and adhesive mats. The cleanroom apparels segment is further sub-segmented into coverall, boot cover, frock, shoe cover, bouffant, sleeves, and others such as pants, face masks, and hood. The cleaning product segment is further divided into cleanroom mops, buckets, wringers, squeegees, validation swabs, and cleaning chemicals. The cleanroom stationary segment is inclusive of notebook and adhesive pads, paper, binders and clipboards, and labels, while the type of wipers in this market are wet and dry. Research shows that coveralls are the most widely used cleaning consumables in the overall market. Cleaning chemicals are bought in large quantities, which is why the account for the largest share in the global market. Electronics and Healthcare Sectors Remain Biggest Users of Cleanroom Consumables The application segment includes electronics, pharmaceuticals and biologics, medical devices, biotechnology, aerospace and defense, pharmaceutical and biologics, and others such as academics and automotive.  Amongst the applications, the electronics and health care segments held a dominating share in the overall market as the demand for semiconductors, solar panels related assembly, and testing operations grew considerably. Furthermore, rise in the manufacturing of generic drugs and pharmaceutical API in emerging economies of Japan, India, China, and Taiwan also boosted the demand for cleanroom based consumable products.  Asia Pacific to Lead Global Market Geographically, this market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. Currently, Asia Pacific holds a lion’s share in the global cleanroom consumables market due increasing number of cleanrooms across the region. Factors such as rapid urbanization, rising disposable income, and shifting choices of spending are all driving the growth of this market.

Original Post Rising Manufacturing Industries Boost Global Cleanroom Consumables Market source Twease
          Microbes Colonize a New Marine Ecosystem: The ‘Plastisphere’        
WOODS HOLE, Massachusetts, June 30, 2013 (ENS) - Multitudes of microbes are colonizing bits of plastic that have polluted the oceans - a vast new human-made flotilla of microbial communities that marine scientists have dubbed the "plastisphere." Complex communities of microbes exist on plastic bits hardly bigger than the head of a pin, and they […]
          Life sciences briefing: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007        

Featured companies: Mawell, OpGen, Vital Therapeutics Optical genome-mapper OpGen raises $23.6M in a restart — OpGen, a Madison, Wisc., biotech developing a genomic test for identifying disease-causing microbes, raised $23.6 million in what the company is billing as a first funding round. In fact, however, the funding is more of a restart for the company, […]

          Nanotechnology Clothing to Render More Heat to Wearers        
The cold spell in the U.S. has only reminded people that clothing is meant to keep wearers warm. A team of scientist from Stanford University has taken this function of clothing to a whole new level, so much so that their invention could possibly make a significant dent in the consumption of global energy.  The scientists have developed a high-tech fabric with a rather complex concept. The textile is coated with a network of miniscule, invisible metallic wires which will not be felt by the wearers. With the help of these wires, the garment’s thermal properties will be boosted without compromising on the functionality of the apparel.  The restraint of regular clothing is this: although it manages to minimize the amount of heat that is lost through air or contact, it is unable to capture the radiant body heat which humans naturally emit.  With the help of a kind of electromagnetic energy, a Mylar overcoat manages to contain body heat but makes it rather uncomfortable for the wearer owing to the fact that the material fails to breathe. The researchers, in a recent paper on the topic, explain that in a Mylar coat, the aluminum film and plastic sheet are not vapor permeable.  Nanotechnology - often called the science of tiny things - is the solution to this problem. Fabrics coated with nanotechnology have already been used to make clothing block sunlight, shed water, and kill microbes. The scientists at Stanford reveal that by coating fabrics with silver nanowires in a chemical bath, the kind of clothing produced will help the human body trap its natural heat but still allow the fabric to breathe just like uncoated fabrics. This nanowire coated fabric can also be washed easily.

Original Post Nanotechnology Clothing to Render More Heat to Wearers source Twease
          Exploring the Equine Microbiome        
Researchers are discovering how the vast and varied microbes in the horse's gastrointestinal tract impact equine health.
          Methane Production and Its Dietary Manipulation in Ruminants        
Kurihara, Mitsunori and Shibata, Masaki and Nishida, Takehiro and Purnomoadi , Agung and Terada , Fuminori (1997) Methane Production and Its Dietary Manipulation in Ruminants. RUMEN MICROBES AND DIGESTIVE PHYSIOLOGY IN RUMINANTS . pp. 199-208. ISSN 4-7622-0864-7
          Plus de 2800 cas enregistrés durant le 1er semestre        
Le ministère de la Santé, de la Population et de la Réforme hospitalière a enregistré 2863 cas d’intoxication alimentaire au niveau national au cours du 1er semestre de l’année 2017, ayant entraîné 2 décès dans les wilayas de Chlef et d’El Oued. Ces intoxications ont été enregistrées durant le 1er semestre (1er janvier-9 juillet) dans 22 wilayas du pays. Bouira vient en tête de ces wilayas avec 882 cas d’intoxication alimentaire collective  à l’occasion de la célébration du Nouvel an amazigh (Yennayer), suivie de la wilaya de Relizane, avec près de 500 cas, de Jijel, avec 335 cas, de Mascara, avec 208 cas, d’El Oued, avec 200 cas et par le reste des 22 wilayas, mais à un degré moindre. Le ministère impute ces intoxications alimentaires essentiellement au non-respect des règles d’hygiène des mains, des ustensiles et du mode de préparation des repas, ainsi qu’à la température de conservation et de stockage des aliments dans les réfrigérateurs. Le ministère met également en garde contre la prolifération de ces cas pendant la période d’été, qui est connue pour l’organisation des fêtes, cérémonies et repas collectifs. Parmi les produits alimentaires qui sont à l’origine du plus grand nombre d’intoxications enregistrées suite au non-respect des règles de conservation, de stockage et d’hygiène, Merzaka Belkadi, maître-assistante au service d’épidémiologie et de médecine préventive au CHU Mustapha, cite les glaces et certains types de viandes et poissons, ainsi que le lait et ses dérivés. A ce propos, la spécialiste appelle à la nécessité de respecter les 10 règles préconisées par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) en matière de prévention de ces intoxications alimentaires qui peuvent causer de nombreux décès. Parmi ces règles, la spécialiste met l’accent sur la nécessité de respecter la température et la chaîne de froid pour chaque type d’aliments, cuits ou frais, tout en les conservant conformément aux normes en vigueur, outre l’hygiène des cuisines, des ustensiles et de la tenue des travailleurs, qui sont obligés de porter des gants, au cas où leurs mains   présentent des plaies susceptibles de véhiculer des germes et bactéries, indépendamment de la lutte contre certains types d’insectes et de rongeurs porteurs de microbes.  
          Comment on 12 of the most POWERFUL antibiotics you can get without a prescription by kevin a        
Cayenne pepper powerful antibiotic.. How Baking Soda Could Help Fight Deadly Superbugs Scientists are racing to find better tests for drug-resistant microbes that may eventually kill more people than cancer. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die from infections antibiotics can’t effectively treat. In the next few decades, that number may rise significantly.
          Win a Bundle of BBC Worldwide Classic Dramas on DVD        
BBC Worldwide Classic Dramas: Looking After Jo Jo, Armadillo, Diana, In The Red, Born To Run, Microbes and Men and The Key

Simply Media is delighted to announce the home entertainment release of a slew of fantastic BBC Worldwide Classic Dramas: Looking After Jo Jo, Armadillo, Diana, In The Red, Born To Run, Microbes and Men and The Key. Featuring an array of renowned actors including Hugh Bonneville, Robert Carlyle, Patsy Kensit and Stephen Fry, these excellent drama series are all due for release on DVD in September 2015.

Looking After Jo Jo, Armadillo, Diana, In The Red and Born To Run will all be released on 7 September 2015, followed by Microbes and Men and The Key on 21 September 2015.

Competition closing date

Sunday, 11 October 2015 - 11:59pm

Competition prize

We have 2 Bundles of the BBC Worldwide Classic Dramas DVDs (Looking After Jo Jo, Armadillo, Diana, In The Red, Born To Run, Microbes and Men, and The Key) to give away; to enter just answer the question below:-


Derek Steel and Dale Askew

          FiB 95: So Long and Thanks for all the FiBs        

Futures in Biotech (Video-HI)

We bring back all the co-hosts, panelists, and subject matter experts for a touchy feeling - warm and fuzzy feel good farewell. FiB is moving to: Microbe TV

Guests: Dr. George Farr, VP - Aeromics, LLC Mark Griswold, Ph.D.; CWRU Jasen Buch; Aeromics, LLC Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D. Andre Nantel, Ph.D. Prof. David Y. Thomas, Ph.D., McGill U. Justin Sanchez, Ph.D., Univ. of Miami Dave Brodbeck, Ph.D.

Host: Marc Pelletier

We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes.

Comments and suggestions on Futures in Biotech.

Also thanks to Phil Pelletier and Will Hall for the great themes.

Thanks to Cachefly for providing the bandwidth for this netcast.

          TWiV 284: By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes        
On episode #284 of the science show This Week in Virology, the TWiV team discusses how skin scarification promotes a nonspecific immune response, and whether remaining stocks of smallpox virus should be destroyed. You can find TWiV #284 at
          TWiV 229: Partly cloudy with a high of H7N9        
On episode #229 of the science show This Week in Virology, Vincent, Rich, Dickson, and Alan review the current status of human infections with avian influenza H7N9 virus. You can find TWiV #229 at
          TWiV 227: Lacks security and bad poultry        
On episode #227 of the science show This Week in Virology, the complete TWiV team reviews the controversial publication of the HeLa cell genome, a missing vial of Guanarito virus in a BSL-4 facility, and human infections with avian influenza H7N9 virus. You can find TWiV #227 at
          Interview with Margaret Race, Planetary Protector        
marge race

Dr. Margaret Race is concerned with protecting the planets - not just Earth, but Mars and beyond. Her work focuses on ensuring that missions to the Red Planet and other Solar System bodies do not inadvertently bring terrestrial microbes along (which would complicate our search for indigenous extraterrestrial life) or return any microbes to Earth (which might be biohazardous). Her research on extraterrestrial organisms is linked closely to her long-time ecological interest in exotic and invasive species on Earth.

Margaret is also actively involved in education on astrobiology and especially likes to work with journalists and educators to develop materials about complex, controversial issues in space exploration and environmental protection. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her work ensures that our spacecraft are not.

Margaret, explain "Planetary Protection" for us.

Planetary protection applies to biological cross-contamination of planets during space missions. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 requires space exploration be done in ways that avoid forward contamination (transporting hitchhiker microorganisms from Earth on outbound spacecraft) and back contamination (bringing something back that could be biohazardous to Earth). It doesn't mean we're scared of discovering ET life or that it's like the "Andromeda Strain." Being careful is just a good, conservative, scientific process and it also helps preserve and protect samples in ways that make them maximally useful to scientists.

The international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) provides a forum for discussions of problems that may affect space research, including planetary protection. More than 90 countries have signed the Outer Space Treaty so any country that launches spacecraft must adhere to those rules. Early discussions about planetary protection actually began around the time of Sputnik, when scientists realized that by launching craft from Earth, we could transport hitchhiker organisms to other places. If we're going to search for life beyond Earth, the last thing we want to do is bring it with us. Not many people are aware that we were concerned about environments off this planet even before we enacted some of our own environmental laws.

In the United States, NASA's Planetary Protection Officer must sign off on all missions and ensure the U.S. adheres to the Outer Space Treaty. Whenever there is a proposed mission anywhere in the Solar System, we have to ask if there are planetary protection implications. For instance, missions that bring samples back from Mars have more rigorous compliance issues than those going to the Moon.

What is your involvement in planetary protection?

planetary protection
Artist's concept of possible exploration programs.
Created for NASA by Pat Rawlings

I am a policy analyst and ecologist. My work at the SETI Institute is supported by a grant from NASA's Office of Planetary Protection. I also serve as a communication bridge. I don't answer the questions: I ask them, and examine what kind of science and information we need to address them, especially for Environmental Impact Statements. I put the pieces together by soliciting advice and opinions from experts all over the world. As new discoveries are made, such as finding evidence for water on Mars, we need to discuss on an international level whether our existing planetary protection requirements and controls are sufficient. The regulations have been updated many times since 1967, just as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts get updated.

In addition to analyzing the legal and policy aspects of missions, I've also studied biocontainment and life detection, as well as ethical issues and how they apply to missions. I help determine the best ways to communicate about planetary protection to the public. NASA is committed to informing the public about any and all risks prior to launch and to assuring the public that significant oversight and monitoring are done at all times.

Scientific discussions touch many issues when NASA considers how clean a spacecraft must be -- or how international policies should apply to Mars versus a newly discovered moon like Enceladus, for example. The Treaty says to avoid harmful cross-contamination but it's not simple to determine what that means. It takes scientific studies to determine what is harmful and how clean is clean enough for a spacecraft. We draw from the same biological principles that are used on Earth, considering what type of environmental impact we might create when we move things between planets.

Are there other comparisons between protecting the Earth and outer space?

Definitely yes! In fact, this past year I've looked at the Antarctic Treaty. There are three major areas considered "resources for humankind," to be held in trust for future generations and protected from exploitation by individual nations or corporations. Those resources are the deep oceans, outer space, and Antarctica. By international agreements, we've declared that nobody owns them, no one can plant flags or declare sovereignty, there can be no militarization or nuclearization, and there is high priority given to science, cooperation, and benefits for humankind.

Antarctica was set aside for science and explorers, yet tourist ships are now arriving full of people who want extreme vacations. How do you manage the throngs of visitors while still preserving the environment? In a similar way, we're beginning to think about the space environment. How should we manage the growing desire for space tourism? Or what if someone wants to go to the moon and strip mine it for resources? What regulations would apply? Who would issue the permits? It's important to think about how different activities could affect science and exploration. It's also critical to figure out who should be involved in these discussions besides scientists---- maybe lawyers, ethicists, political scientists, and other disciplines. Lately we've been thinking how to bring them all together for discussions on how to proceed.

You have quite a diverse education and background, including degrees in Biology, Energy Management and Policy, and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Zoology (Ecology). What led to your current scientific focus on planetary protection?

I'm a marine biologist by training. My dissertation work at UC Berkeley (UCB) took place on the tidal flats and marshes of San Francisco Bay while studying mud snails that came from the East Coast to the West Coast by transcontinental railroad. As an ecologist, I focused on what happens when something new is introduced from outside the ecosystem. I later worked in the division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UCB and asked the same questions related to invasive insects. How does an introduced organism change the ecosystem and what kind of impacts are there? How do we manage the environment? Looking at planetary protection, my questions are still similar: If we disturb the landscape of another planet, what kinds of environmental impact could we cause?

In the mid-80s, I worked on a project involving a UCB researcher who proposed the first deliberate outdoor release of a genetically engineered organism-a microbe. What would happen if it was put outdoors? That research was very interesting to me because it involved elements of basic biology and ecology, science policy, legal issues, environmental impact statements, and communication with the mass media and public.

The elements are similar for astrobiologists. Not only do I consider science and policy, my work has led me to now think at the planetary scale when pondering life. Earth is not just a rocky orb on which things grow. It's a bio-geo-chemical cycling system and everything works together to support life. On this planet, we take our life support systems for granted -- they work without our doing anything or paying anybody! But when you think about human missions to Mars, it's quite different. It's a 3-year mission and it takes 9 months to get there. How are you going to feed the crew? Where do they get their oxygen or water? Where do you put the waste? All of those issues still need to be resolved for a mission with just five or six astronauts. It makes you realize how difficult artificial life support is. We'd be remiss not to think on a planetary scale and work towards sustainability for our own planet.

What if life is discovered somewhere in outer space?

mars explorer
Created for NASA by Pat Rawlings

If we were to find life beyond Earth, it would be a huge discovery! The first question will be whether it is microbial or intelligent life and what characteristics it has. Scientifically, we could tell you how significant it is. However, no amount of science is able to tell us what it would mean to us as humans to know we're not alone. Do the views about ET life differ between various cultures, political groups, or religions? How do we take that information and use it? Will that knowledge change us? And what does it say about life in the long run?

All our laws, ethical systems, and religions are based on life as we know it. But what if we find life as we don't know it? What will that mean and how does that change everything on Earth - or not? That is why it's important to bring other disciplines in to think about these questions - and to talk about how we might balance those many different perspectives. I find that fascinating!

What is your biggest challenge?

Overall, I think it's important to convince people that it's not frivolous to think about these topics. It's different than thinking about little green men. What we've learned about astrobiology, extremophile biology, and habitability has given us a lot of information about how human beings work, how ecological systems work, and how our planet works.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the multidisciplinary nature of my job, and I enjoy the fact that I get to work with such a diverse group of really smart people. I tell people, "I'm not a rocket scientist but I get to work with them!" My job has grown into something beyond space missions; it's expanded to include astrobiology and questions about life itself. Are we alone in this universe? Does Earth contain the only examples of life -- or not, and what does that all mean?

I also really enjoy talking with the public and going into classrooms and museums. I emphasize I'm not an astronomer; I'm a biologist, and a mom. When I was a student, my current job didn't exist. This demonstrates to a young audience that they will be faced with opportunities throughout their lives they can't even imagine right now. The best way to position themselves is to become fully educated across multiple areas. I get to "play" in so many areas! I go from cell biology to physiology, to astronauts' health and safety, and to legal, policy and ethical aspects of astrobiology. When I started out, I certainly didn't think that is what I wanted to do, but I like taking all these areas and blending them with up-to-date science.

You are actively involved in education related to astrobiology. Why do you think science education is important?

I feel strongly about the power of education. My dad was the first one in his family to graduate college, so I recognize the power of education. It prepares you to do whatever you want to do. Additionally, I believe science of all sorts touches everybody's lives. Scientists have a responsibility to communicate to the public about their work, and I believe the public deserves to have science explained in a way that is clearly comprehensible.

What first sparked your interest in science in particular?

I've been told that I've always asked questions, and I had a mom and dad who answered them. In sixth grade, I became a competitive swimmer, which led eventually to my learning how to scuba dive. I was also really interested in the environment and outdoors. But, believe it or not, I didn't even discover biology until I was a junior in college.

As a child, what was your dream job?

I wanted to be a marine biologist -- and I got to do it! I've had great times out on ships, scuba diving, and doing outdoor field work. As a girl, I vividly remember going on a school trip to Martha's Vineyard. As I waded into the water, I felt all that goopy muck beneath my feet. I put on my brother's mask and snorkel, looked into the water, and there were schools of tiny fish swimming between my legs and eel grass swaying in the water. It was like a little forest in between my feet. What a wonderful introduction to marine biology!

Who did you admire growing up?

I was an astronaut groupie as a kid. Like everybody in my era, we grew up watching Project Mercury and all the Apollo and Gemini astronauts. My dad worked for General Electric on jet engines, and those engines were used on the helicopters that picked up the astronauts. During the Mercury days, I followed all the early astronauts and I made a scrapbook for Scott Carpenter, who went up after John Glenn. I gave him the book during a visit he made to Boston, and we've remained friends to this day.

What motivates you?

I love what I do!

How do you spend your free time?

I've recently devoted much of my free time to the Lafayette Library and Learning Center. It is a new library that has a consortium of partners, including Lawrence Hall of Science, Chabot Space & Science Center, Lindsey Wildlife Museum, Oakland Zoo, California Shakespeare, St. Mary's College, and the list goes on. I'm on the Board of Trustees, and I'm working on educational programs for the library. Recently the library and a local school have jointly submitted a proposal to NASA that would allow students to participate in a live videoconference with astronauts on the International Space Station. We're linking it to fifth grade curriculum and the Chabot Space & Science Center. We have our fingers crossed.

I also enjoy skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities that help me stay in shape. In the past couple of years, I co-organized a local book club and it's just wonderful group of working moms - a mix of lawyers, a nutritionist, entrepreneur, financial planner, a realtor and even a biologist - reading all sorts of great books!

What is your philosophy of life?

Lifelong learning. Never stop learning!

Who would you like to swap roles with for a month's time?

I have a private pilot's license and love to fly. I would like to go up in the shuttle or go to the Moon. I wouldn't go to Mars, though, because it's a three-year round trip and I like people, food and the outdoors too much. I don't want to spend my time in a tiny capsule.

What is your favorite vacation destination?

I'm fortunate in that my career has allowed me to travel to six continents - all but Antarctica. Hawaii is a very special place to me - the diving, diversity, food, and outdoors - it has everything! I took a diving trip off the big Island of Hawaii, and I got to swim with turtles, octopus, sharks, manta rays - it was incredible!

Thinking back over the last 20 years of your career, has there been one moment that is particularly memorable?

I was at the World Space Congress conference in 1992, and I was still trying to figure out what an ecologist was doing by dabbling in space exploration. During lunch, we were talking about big problems in the world. I shared my opinion that the biggest environmental problem is nuclear war. One of the astronomers disagreed and said it was Near Earth Objects -- hazardous asteroids and comets that could totally obliterate civilization -- just like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Thinking about life and its fragility beyond this planet was definitely an "aha" moment for me.

What's in store for you in the future?

In terms of my work with the SETI Institute, I hope to continue my work on astrobiology, planetary protection, and societal issues. Last year I organized an interdisciplinary workshop to see if we could build a "roadmap" of Astrobiology and Societal Issues -- there was a resounding yes! We're continuing to work on the framework outlining priority areas of research ahead.

But the effort will take more than scientists - we aim to include a global consortium of lawyers, political scientists, theologians, ethicists, philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, artists, historians, engineers, and more. We plan to gather multidisciplinary information, pull together a database of literature, and then organize sessions on astrobiology and at non-science conferences. It will be really interesting to see what new and thought-provoking research areas arise.

          Mars May Be Cozy Place for Hardy Microbes        

A class of especially hardy microbes that live in some of the harshest Earthly environments could flourish on cold Mars and other chilly planets, according to a research team of astronomers and microbiologists. In a two-year laboratory study, the researchers discovered that some cold-adapted microorganisms not only survived but reproduced at 30 degrees Fahrenheit, just below the freezing point of water. The microbes also developed a defense mechanism that protected them from cold temperatures. These close-up images, taken by an electron microscope, reveal the tiny one-cell organisms, called halophiles and methanogens, that were used in the study.

          Artstix Nail Beads - Black        
Artstix Nail Beads - Black

Artstix Nail Beads - Black

Resembling hundreds and thousands, these tiny textured microbeads are the hottest summer accessory in the boldest fluoro shades. Get creative, mix and match or wear alone to give a 3D nail effect!

          Artstix Nail Beads - Gold        
Artstix Nail Beads - Gold

Artstix Nail Beads - Gold

Resembling hundreds and thousands, these tiny textured microbeads are the hottest summer accessory in the boldest fluoro shades. Get creative, mix and match or wear alone to give a 3D nail effect!

          Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Green        
Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Green

Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Green

Resembling hundreds and thousands, these tiny textured microbeads are the hottest summer accessory in the boldest fluoro shades. Get creative, mix and match or wear alone to give a 3D nail effect!

          Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Orange        
Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Orange

Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Orange

Resembling hundreds and thousands, these tiny textured microbeads are the hottest summer accessory in the boldest fluoro shades. Get creative, mix and match or wear alone to give a 3D nail effect!

          Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Pink        
Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Pink

Artstix Nail Beads - Neon Pink

Resembling hundreds and thousands, these tiny textured microbeads are the hottest summer accessory in the boldest fluoro shades. Get creative, mix and match or wear alone to give a 3D nail effect!

          Growing Strawberries Different Kinds Of Animals And Bugs In Organic Garden        
Birds, ladybugs and praying mantises are the gardener's best friends when it comes to insect control. Birds can be encouraged into the garden by feeding, hanging a birdhouse providing a bird bath or by planting plants that provide berries for them to eat. Ladybugs are now for sale by the pint, quart or gallon. The average-sized garden can get by on a quart or less, as there will be about 25 to 30 thousand bugs per quart. The cost is generally less than five dollars a quart. The average adult ladybug consumes between 40 and 50 aphids a day.

Praying mantis cases are also available and each one hatches up to 400 young. The cost is rather nominal for a case. A few gardeners have reported that this insect disappears rather rapidly from the garden, so you might want to experiment with just a few to begin with. They will eat any insect they can catch. Frogs and lizards can also control pests by eating them. You can make your garden hospitable for your natural allies by keeping a water source - just a dish full - nearby for them and by not wiping out the entire pest population with a pesticide, sending the beneficial elsewhere in search of food. Also, grow plants with small blossoms like sweet alyssum and dill, which attract predatory insects who feed on flowers' nectar between attacks on pests. Organic pest control is a comprehensive approach instead of a chemical approach. Create a healthy biodiversity so that the insects and microbes will control themselves. Using natural products and building healthy soil is the best long-term treatment for pests. What are the pests you should be looking for?

There are literally hundreds of common garden pests that can attack your plants and threaten the viability of your gardening efforts. We couldn't possibly address all of them. There are, however, some that occur in more frequency than others. Aphids are probably the most common problem in gardens. Aphids are soft, pear-shaped, and very tiny (1/16 to 3/8 inch long). Two short tubes project backward from the tip of their abdomen.

Aphids have long antennae. Some types of aphids have wings, which are transparent, longer than their body, and held like a roof over their back. Aphids may be green, pink, yellowish, black, or powdery gray. Nymphs resemble adults but are smaller and wingless. They feed in colonies, so where there's one, there's definitely more. Aphid feeding can cause leaves to curl and become deformed. Once this has happened, the aphids are protected from any treatment you give to the plant, so it's important to attack the problem as soon as possible. Many species prefer the underside of leaves, so look there first. Ants are usually present where aphids are, so if there are ants in the garden, there are probably aphids as well. Aphids are the ant's food source, so they will protect that food warding off predators that might threaten them. To naturally control aphids, first be sure to drench plants with strong sprays of water from a garden hose. Keep your plants as healthy as possible, and spray dormant oil to control over wintering eggs. You can also spray plants with insecticidal soap, summer oil, and homemade garlic sprays. At the end of the book, we'll have some recipes like this for you to make yourself.

If you will be growing cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower, you could have cabbage loopers. These pests are light green in color with white stripes running down their back. The larvae can reach approximately 11/2 inches long and have three pairs of slender legs near the head and three pairs of larger legs at the rear end. The middle section is legless and is looped when the insect is moving. The larva is the damaging stage of the cabbage looper. The young larvae feed between the veins on the undersides of leaves. Large larvae make ragged holes in the foliage and move to the center of the plant where feeding generally occurs at the base of the cabbage head. Large loopers can also burrow through three to six layers of tightly wrapped head leaves. The best way to control cabbage loopers is to handpick the larvae a few times a week. Attract predatory and parasitic insects to the garden with pollen and nectar plants.

If you find small holes in the leaves of your plants, you may have earwigs. Earwigs are generally dark brown, slender and elongated. They have a pair of "pincers" at the rear of their body and they run more than fly. They have a curved up abdomen and release foul odor when disturbed. In general, earwigs can be beneficial to your garden, but they can get out of control, so you should use the general spray we'll give you later in the book. There are a number of ways to control earwigs, but trapping them is probably the best way to eliminate them from your garden. One way we like is to take a shallow dish and place beer in it. Any beer will do. The earwigs will be attracted to the beer, climb in, drink, and die. You can sift out the dead ones and reuse the beer for trapping again. They are also attracted to corn oil, fish oil, or water and vinegar. You can place these in dishes just like the beer. If the leaves of your plants are finely speckled with yellow spots or a silvery, metallic sheen, you could have thrips. Thrips are very small - about 1/16" - and difficult to see. There are many varieties of thrips and they are of all different colors. Thrips are best controlled with sprays as we've described. You can also spray the plants with soapy water. Lady bugs will eat thrips as well, so attract those lady bugs to your garden!

Tomato hornworms are the largest caterpillars found in this area and can measure up to 4 inches in length. The prominent "horn" on the rear of both gives them their name. Hornworms are often difficult to see because of their protective coloring which is green. Not much for the heat of direct sunlight, they tend to feed on the interior of the plant during the day and are more easily spotted when they move to the outside of the plant at dawn and dusk Hornworm damage usually begins to occur in midsummer and continues throughout the remainder of the growing season. The size of these garden pests allows them to quickly defoliate tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Occasionally, they may also feed on green fruit. Gardeners are likely to spot the large areas of damage at the top of a plant before they see the culprit. The best way to control hornworms is to handpick them off your plants. They are especially susceptible to the Bt bacterial spray we described above, so we strongly suggest using this to control your hornworms. Slugs are among the most troublesome pests in the garden. They feed on a variety of living plants and decaying plant matter. On plants they chew irregular holes with smooth edges in leaves and can clip succulent plant parts. They can also chew fruit and young plant bark.

Because they prefer succulent foliage, they are primarily pests of seedlings, herbaceous plants, and ripening fruit such as strawberries, artichokes, and tomatoes that are close to the ground. However, they will also feed on fruit of some trees, citrus is especially susceptible to damage. Slugs are nocturnal and come out at night. They slither under rocks and leaves in the day. Holes chomped into leaves and fruits are telltale signs of slug feeding. A more certain sign of slug activity is the silvery trail of dried mucous that these pests leave in their wake. If that's not sufficiently convincing, go out into the garden at night with a flashlight and surprise them.

Slug control is actually quite easy. They are rather large, so they can be caught by hand and disposed of. This is another garden pest that be caught by setting out a dish of beer.

While possibly cruel, the most effective way to kill a slug is to sprinkle it with salt. You can trap the slugs by placing a plastic bag in the garden containing two decaying lettuce leaves, 2 cups of bran cereal, and pouring beer over the whole mess. Put the bag out before sundown. In the morning, check to see if the slugs are in there and dispose of them.

Prevent slug infestation by removing dead and decaying leaves. This will remove their primary food source. Coffee grounds and egg shells will also keep slugs away. Just place them around the plants you want to protect at ground level.

Learn about how to open a coconut and coconut oil benefits at the Coconut Facts site.

growing strawberries: plant strawberries

growing strawberries: grow strawberries

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          Probiotics For Our Stomach        

by Dr. Nor Ashikin Mokhtar

How much do you now about your intestines? Probably not much, so it should surprise you to learn that, at any one time, you have about one hundred trillion bacteria inside your digestive tract, particularly in your intestines.

These trillions of bacteria are made up of about 500 different species, which began settling into your body from the very first day you were born. The weight of these bacteria is about 1.5 to 2kg.

About 85% of these bacteria perform beneficial functions, such as digesting food, protecting against infection, and influencing a few physiological processes in the body. The remainder of the bacteria in the body are sometimes referred to as 'bad' bacteria and do not provide any benefits to the body.

At the same time, most of the body's immune system is housed in the digestive tract, and the gut is home to about 70% to 80% of immune cells. So any changes that occur in the gut have a strong impact, not only on your digestive health, but also on your overall health.

Good vs Bad

In the womb, babies are sterile, with no good or bad bacteria in their systems. But from the minute they are born, these microorganisms start populating their digestive tracts. The bacteria may originate from the mother's breastmilk, vaginal or faecal bacteria, or from the hospital environment.

The balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut has to be maintained in a fragile balance. This ratio between the 'good' bacteria and the other bacteria becomes one of the critical factors determining optimal health. The ideal balance between them is 85% good, 15% 'other'. Our environment greatly influences this balance, and a poor diet, stress, medications, and an unhealthy lifestyle can disrupt it, causing bad bacteria to flourish.

When that happens, a person is likely to experience digestive health problems, such as bloating, intestinal pains, constipation, and diarrhoea. Furthermore, these microbes are suspected to play a role in inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

On the other hand, a healthy, balanced environment in the gut can protect the immune system from pathogenic bacteria, toxins, allergens, chemicals, and pollutants. For instance, research suggests that a particular strain of bacteria may help to suppress inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease. Other health benefits of probiotics is in preventing traveller's diarrhoea and mild diarrhoea.

As mentioned above, the intestines are home to 80% of the body's immune cells, so an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria will affect the body's immune response adversely. An imbalance of gut bacteria is believed to be associated with an increased risk of asthma and allergies.

Where Have All the Good Bacteria Gone?

The modern world has become fastidious about hygiene, and for good reason. The lessons learnt from the Western industrial revolution in the 18th- and 19th-century taught us that rapid urbanisation and poor standards of living can lead to disease epidemics.

With the knowledge that microbes like bacteria and viruses are the cause of these diseases, we have filled our lives with antibiotics, antibacterial products, sanitising products, and sterilisers.

Our food products are also subjected to strict food safety regulations, and often have to undergo processes like pasteurisation and sterilisation.

As a result, we are less exposed to bacteria now, but we have also excluded the 'good' strains of bacteria.

Probiotics Can Make Our Guts Happy Again

Of course, this is not to say that we should start living in filth. We should live a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. This is to avoid the microbial balance in our digestive tracts from being disrupted.

One way to boost our good bacteria count is by taking probiotics with our food. Probiotics are live bacteria that help to re-establish a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines. Probiotics can be found in certain cultured foods, like yoghurt and lassi, or in supplement form.

As more probiotic products appear in the market today, it is important to ensure that you are choosing a product that provides the best benefits. Not all probiotic products are created equal and certainly not all can deliver the benefits that they claim to.

Choose Wisely

The first criteria of a good probiotic product is the strain of bacteria used. It should be clinically documented in published clinical studies, safe to be consumed, able to withstand stomach acids and bile during the digestive process, and able to attach to the intestinal lining.

L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium are two groups of bacteria commonly used in probiotic products, of which a few strains have been scientifically proven to be effective.

The next time you go to a supermarket or pharmacy, you may see some products with the words 'live bacteria' on the packaging. Before you squirm in disgust, remember that this is an important characteristic of a good probiotic product.

The bacteria must be alive, or viable, gastric acid- and bile salt-resistant, and have a better survival rate, in order to perform their benefical functions after they have been consumed .

Probiotics that contain highly stable microencapsulated strains with the right stabilisation processes during packaging and transportation will protect the bacteria against light, heat, humidity, and moisture breakdown.

The amount of live bacteria contained in the product is also important. This is known as the colony-forming units (CFUs), and the number of CFUs should last until the date of expiry, as not all the bacteria will survive after production. A decent probiotic should contain between 1.5bil and 15bil CFUs per serving.
Finally, a good probiotic formula should also contain prebiotics. Prebiotics act as food for the probiotics to selectively help the growth of healthy bacteria.

Furthermore, the probiotics produce breakdown products when they eat the prebiotics, which lower the pH of the digestive tract and prevent the growth of bad bacteria. So look out for words like fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin on labels of probiotics.

Modern Lifestyles

Our modern lifestyles today make it difficult to avoid environmental pollution, unhealthy diets, and stress.

But we should try to do what we can to right the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract so that we do not fall victim to digestive and other health problems that make life miserable.

          Fossilised microbe found in 200 million year old Leech cocoon        

If you want to preserve your body so that scientists will dig it up millions of years from now, there are a few standard ways of doing it. You could get buried in sediment, so your bones and other hard tissues turn into stony fossils. You could get trapped in the sap of a tree, […]

The post Fossilised microbe found in 200 million year old Leech cocoon appeared first on Not Exactly Rocket Science.

          Healing the land        
by Mike Pennella Everybody loves a great comeback story, especially Mother Nature. And 25 miles northwest of Lafayette College in Palmerton, Pa., an inspiring tale of ecological reclamation is being written. While this story has many heroes, some of the biggest are microscopic bacteria. These transformative microbes are the focus of Biology Professor Laurie Caslake’s […]
Saya mencoba menganalisa perbedaan yogurt dan kefir
1. Dari kandungan bakteri

Yoghurt mengandung bakteri transisi  mempertahankan kebersihan system pencernaan dan menyediakan makanan untuk bakteri baik.

Bakteri pada yogurt yaitu lactobacillus bulgaricus dan Streptococcus thermophilus.

Tapi kefir dapat benar-benar membersihkan saluran usus, sesuatu yang tidak dapat dilakukan oleh yoghurt.

Kefir mengandung beberapa strain bakteri yang tidak dapat ditemukan pada yoghurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, spesies Acetobacter dan spesies Streptococcus.
Kefir juga mengandung ragi yang bermanfaat, seperti Saccharomyces kefir dan Torula kefir, yang mendominasi, mengontrol dan menghilangkan ragi pathogen yang destruktif dalam tubuh manusia.

Mikroflora yang telah diketahui terdapat pada Kefir terdiri atas 4 kelompok, rinciannya adalah sbb (sumber : Dom's Kefirpage) :


Lactobacillus acidophilus (Ini terdapat pula pada Yoghurt)
Lb. brevis [Possibly now Lb. kefiri]
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. fermentum
Lb. cellobiosus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. fructivorans
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. hilgardii
Lb. helveticus
Lb. kefiri
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
Lb. parakefiri
Lb. plantarum


Streptococcus thermophilus (ini terdapat pada Yoghurt)
St. paracitrovorus^
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Enterococcus durans
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
Leuc. dextranicum ^


Dekkera anomala t/ Brettanomyces anomalus a
Kluyveromyces marxianus t/ Candida kefyr a#
Pichia fermentans t/ C. firmetaria a
Yarrowia lipolytica t/ C. lipolytica a
Debaryomyces hansenii t/ C. famata a#
Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
Issatchenkia orientalis t/ C. krusei a
Galactomyces geotrichum t/ Geotrichum candidum a
C. friedrichii
C. rancens
C. tenuis
C. humilis
C. inconspicua
C. maris
Cryptococcus humicolus
Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis #
Kluyv. bulgaricus
Kluyv. lodderae
Saccharomyces cerevisiae #
Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
Sacc. pastorianus
Sacc. humaticus
Sacc. unisporus
Sacc. exiguus
Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
Torulaspora delbrueckii t
* Zygosaccharomyces rouxii


Acetobacter aceti
Acetobacter rasens

t Teleomorph. Sexual reproductive stage. Yeast form pseudo-mycelium as in Flowers of Kefir.
a Anamorph. Asexual reproductive stage. Reproduce by budding or forming spores or cell splitting [fission].
# Can utilize lactose or lactate.
^ Aroma forming.
subsp. Sub specie type.
sp. Specie type.
sp. nov. New strain or new specie strain type.
biovar. Biological variation strain type.
var. Variety type.
Units Count of Microbes in Gram Stained Kefir Grains

Bacilli [single cells, pair, chains]
Streptococci [pair, chains]
Yeast [single cells]

The Means Range

Bacilli 66, 62-69%
Streptococci 16, 11- 12%
Yeast 18, 16- 20% [11]
Evolution Sequence among Genus Groups during Kefir Culture Cycle

Lactococci > Lactobacilli > Leuconostoc > Yeast > Acetobacter
Microbial Composition of Kefir at End of Fermentation [colony forming units/ml] **

Lactococci : 1,000,000,000
Leuconostocs : 100,000,000
Lactobacilli : 5,000,000
Yeast : 1,000,000
Acetobacter : 100,000

2. Proses fermentasi

3. Waktu fermentasi
Yogurt difermentasi dalam temperatur 35 drajat celcius  (menggunakan inkubator) dengan waktu fermentasi lebih pendek bisa 6 jam sampai 12 jam,.. sedangkan kefir waktu yang ideal untuk fermentasi yaitu 24-72 jam dalam ruangan yang bersih, hangat dan tertutup.

4. Hasil fermentasi

Pada kefir terbagi menjadi beberapa varian yaitu :

Kefir Prima beraroma asam sedang, yang secara umum dapat diterima oleh setiap orang, sehingga baik disajikan sebagai minuman yang menyegarkan. Kefir Prima merupakan minuman/makanan dengan gizi paling lengkap. Kefir ini dibuat dengan menggunakan Kefir Grains, jadi, merupakan turunan pertama (mother culture) sehingga dapat dijadikan sebagai bibit praktis.
Kefir ini cukup kental, karena pada saat produksi, bagian yang bening dipisahkan menjadi produk tersendiri, yaitu Kefir Bening (Kefir Whey/W).
Semua khasiat Kefir terdapat pada Kefir Prima ini, dengan fokus pada penanggulangan masalah pencernaan, menjaga fungsi liver, diet standard penderita diabetes, dan peningkatan kebugaran.

Kefir Medika mempunyai aroma dan rasa asam yang tajam. Kefir ini mempunyai efek pengobatan yang kuat. Konsumsi Kefir ini sebaiknya diikuti dengan konsumsi makanan berserat. Kefir jenis inilah yang digunakan untuk menunjang pengobatan tuberculo-sis di sanatorium Rusia, karena mempunyai efek antibiotika yang kuat. Cocok untuk mengatasi penyakit infeksi seperti hepatitis, DBD, Herpes dsb.
Ekstrak Kefir ini digunakan sebagai bahan untuk membuat obat luar, seperti untuk mengobati sengatan matahari, dan untuk beberapa jenis infeksi kulit, seperti eksim, kutu air dan sejenisnya. Kefir ini juga digunakan sebagai bahan dasar dan campuran untuk pembuatan kosmetika, seperti cleansing cream, foundation, anti ketombe dsb.

Kefir Bening terbuat dari whey yang terbentuk pada saat proses pembuatan Kefir. Kefir ini dikenal di Indonesia sebagai obat diabetes. Kefir Bening merupakan minuman isotonik dengan kualitas SUPER, karena paling sesuai dengan cairan tubuh manusia dan hewan pada umumnya. Untuk penderita diabetes, Kefir ini sekaligus berfungsi sebagai asupan insulin, karena seperti kita ketahui, insulin yang digunakan oleh penderita diabetes juga ada yang berasal dari insulin sapi. Kefir ini sangat cepat mengatasi dehidrasi, baik akibat panas, keluar keringat berlebihan maupun sebagai pengganti oralit, karena lebih bagus dan seimbang daripada oralit.
Kefir ini juga digunakan sebagai bahan dalam pembuatan asinan (sauerkraut) dan pengganti cuka dapur yang aman terhadap iritasi lambung.

Kefir Soya terbuat dari 70% susu kedelai dan 30% susu sapi. Kefir ini mengandung lecithin, yang berguna untuk memperbaiki kondisi pembuluh darah koroner di jantung. Direkomendasikan juga untuk yang membutuhkan seluruh manfaat susu dan  kedelai, yaitu yang menderita diabetes, kolesterol tinggi dan tekanan darah tinggi.

Kefir ini merupakan hasil fermentasi susu dengan menggunakan Kefir Prima sebagai starter. Hasilnya juga tidak dipisahkan antara curd/bagian yang putih/padatan tidak larut, dengan Kefir Beningnya. Kefir ini sangat praktis untuk dibuat sendiri, karena nyaris tidak memerlukan peralatan apapun dalam pembuatannya. Cukup campurkan satu bagian Kefir Prima dengan 7 sampai 10 bagian susu murni, maka dalam 2 x 24 jam, semuanya menjadi Kefir Optima.
Kefir Optima ini khasiatnya praktis sama dengan Kefir Prima dan Kefir Bening yang dicampurkan, dan dapat menggantikan semua varian Kefir, hanya volumenya perlu sedikit disesuaikan.

5. Khasiat

YOGURT lebih mementingkan rasa, sedangkan kefir berfokus pada penyembuhan atau pengobatan, 

berikut beberapa manfaat kefir :

Penggunaan / Pengobatan
Jenis kefir

Kebugaran, menjaga stamina
1-2 x
Ibu Hamil/menyusui
2-3 x
Anak-anak masa pertumbuhan
1-2 x
Alergi, Asthma, gangguan imunitas
3 x
Candidiasis, ADHD
3 x
Darah rendah,kurang darah, peningkatan stamina pria/wanita
3-4 x
Madu, gula merah
Darah Tinggi, Hiperkolesterol
2-3 x
Sirop gula diet
2-3 x
Sirop gula diet
Prima /Medika
3-4 x
Flu (Cold)
3 x
Madu, tdk dingin
3 x
2 x
Kanker usus
3 x
Kanker stadium dini
3-5 x
Maag kronis/berat
3-4 x
Maag ringan, sembelit
2-3 x
Meningkatakan berat badan
3-4 x
Madu,gula merah, pisang
2 x
Obesitas ( kegemukan )
3 x
Sirop gula diet
Penyempitan pembuluh darah
3 x
Sirop gula diet
Rematik, gout ringan
3 x
Madu, Sirop gula diet
Mikroflora pada KefirMikroflora yang telah diketahui terdapat pada Kefir terdiri atas 4 kelompok, rinciannya adalah sbb (sumber : Dom's Kefirpage) :


Lactobacillus acidophilus (Ini terdapat pula pada Yoghurt)
Lb. brevis [Possibly now Lb. kefiri]
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. fermentum
Lb. cellobiosus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. fructivorans
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. hilgardii
Lb. helveticus
Lb. kefiri
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
Lb. parakefiri
Lb. plantarum


Streptococcus thermophilus (ini terdapat pada Yoghurt)
St. paracitrovorus^
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Enterococcus durans
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
Leuc. dextranicum ^


Dekkera anomala t/ Brettanomyces anomalus a
Kluyveromyces marxianus t/ Candida kefyr a#
Pichia fermentans t/ C. firmetaria a
Yarrowia lipolytica t/ C. lipolytica a
Debaryomyces hansenii t/ C. famata a#
Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
Issatchenkia orientalis t/ C. krusei a
Galactomyces geotrichum t/ Geotrichum candidum a
C. friedrichii
C. rancens
C. tenuis
C. humilis
C. inconspicua
C. maris
Cryptococcus humicolus
Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis #
Kluyv. bulgaricus
Kluyv. lodderae
Saccharomyces cerevisiae #
Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
Sacc. pastorianus
Sacc. humaticus
Sacc. unisporus
Sacc. exiguus
Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
Torulaspora delbrueckii t
* Zygosaccharomyces rouxii


Acetobacter aceti
Acetobacter rasens

t Teleomorph. Sexual reproductive stage. Yeast form pseudo-mycelium as in Flowers of Kefir.
a Anamorph. Asexual reproductive stage. Reproduce by budding or forming spores or cell splitting [fission].
# Can utilize lactose or lactate.
^ Aroma forming.
subsp. Sub specie type.
sp. Specie type.
sp. nov. New strain or new specie strain type.
biovar. Biological variation strain type.
var. Variety type.
Units Count of Microbes in Gram Stained Kefir Grains

Bacilli [single cells, pair, chains]
Streptococci [pair, chains]
Yeast [single cells]

The Means Range

Bacilli 66, 62-69%
Streptococci 16, 11- 12%
Yeast 18, 16- 20% [11]
Evolution Sequence among Genus Groups during Kefir Culture Cycle

Lactococci > Lactobacilli > Leuconostoc > Yeast > Acetobacter
Microbial Composition of Kefir at End of Fermentation [colony forming units/ml] **
Lactococci : 1,000,000,000
Leuconostocs : 100,000,000
Lactobacilli : 5,000,000
Yeast : 1,000,000
Acetobacter : 100,000

          For bacteria that cheat, food is at the forefront        
Microbes that produce important secretions for use in a community suffer a blow to their own fitness for supplying the non-producing 'cheater' bacteria -- but only when production requires the same nutrients that would otherwise go into growth and biomass.
          Chlorine in Our Drinking Water        
Back in May 2007 I posted information about the hazards of chlorine in our drinking and swimming water. I would like to revisit this topic with the following article. Although the other posts realte more to health issues related to chlorine, this post is about an answer to our aging water system.

In a time when we endlessly scrutinize the ingredients of our food and insist on pesticide-free peaches, why are we still mixing carcinogens into our children’s lemonade?

From herbicides to arsenic, the Environmental Protection Agency has set standards for 80 different chemicals, specifying how much of each should be allowed in our drinking water. Yet no regulations exist for thousands of other contaminants that make their way into our drinking water.

These unregulated contaminants include industrial byproducts, agricultural chemicals, drugs and even most of the toxic compounds that are formed when we add chlorine for disinfection. The combined effect of these contaminants has never been evaluated.

There is nothing we ingest in greater quantities than water. In light of this, here’s a radical concept. Our drinking water should be water. Nothing more. Paradoxically, the best way to make that happen is to purify less of it. Here’s why.
The technology exists to remove all of these chemicals from our water. But the E.P.A. balks at insisting on the elimination of all hazardous chemicals and microbes from the 10 trillion gallons of water we use every year because the cost would be so great.

Merely maintaining our water systems will cost $274 billion over the next 20 years, according to the E.P.A. Upgrading our water supply to eliminate all public health risks from chemicals and microbes in our drinking water would be far more expensive.

But money is an obstacle to clean drinking water only because the E.P.A.’s assumptions rely on old ways of thinking. Our water infrastructure is old and decayed, and so are the fundamental ideas behind it.

Every drop of water produced by water treatment plants must meet E.P.A. standards for drinking-water quality. But we drink less than 1 percent of that water. Most of it goes down toilets, into washing machines, onto our lawns or down the drain.

The largest single consumer of water in most cities is not a consumer at all. Water pipes, often more than 100 years old, leak millions of gallons per day in every major city in the United States. Because of damage from Hurricane Katrina, the water pipes in New Orleans alone now leak 50 million gallons each day.

Right now, improving the quality of the water we drink requires extraordinary expense to improve the quality of the water we flush. This adds enormous costs to any effort to improve the quality of our drinking water and forces us to tolerate the presence of chemicals in our water that we would ban if they were food additives. It forces New Yorkers to drink unfiltered water even though 114 wastewater treatment plants dump treated sewage into the city’s water supply.

The underlying systems for our water supplies were laid out more than 100 years ago. Over the past century we have made incremental improvements to these systems, adjusting their design and operation as new threats to our health were identified. We now have terrific water for irrigating lawns and washing cars. Our drinking water, however, falls short.
To improve the quality of our drinking water, we need to rethink our entire approach to providing it. Our drinking water should have a different status from the water used to flush toilets.

Pure water will require filters in restaurants and workplaces and at the tap where children fill their glasses. Millions of homes already have these filters, but they are installed haphazardly. To avoid a two-tiered water supply in which safe water goes only to those who can afford it, these filters must become a universal, integral part of the water supply system.
Utilities should select, install and maintain point-of-use water filters. Design improvements can make the filters more effective. These changes are possible and affordable. Americans already spend more than $15 billion each year for bottled water.

The need to replace aging pipes and equipment over the next two decades offers an opportunity to reinvent the way we deliver our drinking water. We cannot allow the water we don’t drink to prevent us from purifying the water we do.

Robert D. Morris is the author of “The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and the Water We Drink.”



Do not drink tap water. Don't cook with tap water. Don't even bathe in tap water. Do not let your pets drink tap water. And, if you are growing vegetables in your garden, don't use tap water.

Boston Biosafety Cares
          Microbes can survive for 100,000 years        
Microbes can survive trapped inside ice crystals, under 3 kilometres of snow, for more than 100,000 years, a new study suggests.

The study bolsters the case that life may exist on distant, icy worlds in our own solar system. Living bacteria have been found in ice cores sampled at depths of 4 kilometres in Antarctica, though some scientists have argued that those microbes were contaminants from the drilling and testing of the samples in labs.

And in 2005, researchers revived a bacterium that sat dormant in a frozen pond in Alaska for 32,000 years.

Now, physicist Buford Price and graduate student Robert Rohde, both at University of California in Berkeley, US, have found a mechanism to explain how microbes could survive such extreme conditions. They say a tiny film of liquid water forms spontaneously around the microbe. Oxygen, hydrogen, methane and many other gases will then diffuse to this film from air bubbles nearby, providing the microbe with sufficient food to survive.

Thus, virtually any microbe can remain alive in solid ice, resisting temperatures down to -55° Celsius and pressures of 300 atmospheres.

Under such harsh conditions, the microbes would not be able to grow and reproduce, but they would still be able to repair any molecular damage, keeping themselves viable for more than a thousand centuries, the team says. "It is not life as we generally think about it," says Rohde. "[They] are just sitting there surviving, hoping that the ice will melt." To test their hypothesis, the researchers studied ice samples taken at various depths in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. They detected isolated microbes that they say must be trapped inside ice crystals.


Just as microbes have been found to survive in a dormant state for thousands of years, mold also has been found in like states. Mold found in the Egyptian pyramids has been successfully cultured thousands of years after the tombs were sealed.

How does this apply to the average home owner? Well, sometimes when the weather is humid, people often complain of a musty smell in their homes. Once the humidity levels drop, the smell tends to go away or lessen. This is because mold needs water to flourish, so when it is humid, the mold thrives, when it is not humid, the mold can go into somewhat of a dormant state and the smell goes away.

So, unless you kill the mold, it will always be there just waiting for moisture (water) to spring back to life.

Thank you for the article /Daniele Fanelli and Maggie McKee

Boston Biosafety cares about your health
          Mold / Antibiotics Linked to Asthma, Allergies        
If allergies are making your life unbearable, the real culprit might not be your congested head; it could be the microbes in your gut.

Scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School presented findings from studies that involved laboratory mice. Results showed that antibiotics might be responsible for producing changes in microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, which in turn could impact the way the immune system responds to common allergens in the lungs.

Gary B. Huffnagle, associate professor of internal medicine, stated that antibiotics got rid of bacteria in the gut, which enabled fungi to take control until the bacteria grew back after the antibiotics were discontinued.

Researchers explained the relationship between the gastrointestinal, respiratory and immune system in the body by describing how with each inhalation, pollen and dust particles are trapped and enter the stomach with the production of saliva and mucus created as you swallow.

In other experiments, scientists found that fungi produced oxylipins, which are molecules that could determine the kind and severity level of immune responses. This supported the idea that fungal oxylipins in the GI tract helped avoid the production of regulatory T cells for ingested allergens. This caused T cells in the respiratory system to become susceptible to common allergens such as mold spores and pollen.

These factors combined result in a hyperactive immune response, which could result in allergy symptoms and in some cases, asthma.

This hypothesis was tested on mice who were administered oral antibiotics for five days and then given one oral introduction of the yeast called Candida albicans, which was used to reproduce a steady group of microbes in both the gastrointestinal system and intestines.

Findings from the study include:
The mice were injected with common mold spores two days after the antibiotics were stopped and possible allergic side effects were evaluated with both groups of mice, those that were given the antibiotic and those that were not.
The mice that were given antibiotics and exposed to C. albicans displayed higher rates of pulmonary hypersensitivity to A. fumigatus as opposed to the mice that weren't given any antibiotics.
Based on these findings, researchers concluded the changes to both the growth of bacteria and fungi within the GI tract disrupted the function of the regulatory T cells to lessen the immune system reaction to respiratory allergens. Researchers expressed hope that by learning how microflora in the GI tract impacted the immune system might hold the key to treating allergies with dietary changes or through taking probiotics, dietary supplements responsible for producing "healthy" bacteria, in order to regulate the microbes in the gut.

Researchers stressed the importance of following a nutritious diet complete with an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables after taking antibiotics as a way to speed up the process of bringing the microbes in the GI tract back to healthy levels.

Boston-Biosafety Cares
          Ozone for the Home - Part 2        
As soon as we posted the Ozone for DIY'ers - Part 1 , we received email asking to talk more about the "scammers" out there selling products claiming to treat mold. A few emails asked for specific names of products. I don't want to list names, but I think you will see a pattern which will help you decide for yourself.

How can you tell if you may be dealing with a scammer?

Well, anyone promising you something too good to be true is a good sign.

Off the top off my head I can think of three questionable products out there. All three of these products are sold by individuals that seem to be involved with pyramid selling, like AMWAY (multi-level marketing). The salespeople will not only sell you a unit, but try to recruit you into selling them. Some just want to sell you a product.

Most of them will have business cards with a "code number" on it, or a website offshoot dedicated with their name at the end, example

Below is an edited copy of an email I received from one of these guys. He was trying to suck me in.

What bothers me most is that his emails were based on ways to make money off clients instead of helping them. Finding the cause of the mold spores is the real issue.

I am a mold inspector. biocide applicator but I want to introduce you to something that can add a lot of revenue to your business. This is state of the art technology and should go with every inspection and remediation. We are in positions to benefit greatly while providing the customer something that they can't get from every other remediator and or CBA or inspector. If you are serious about growing your business rapidly (though I am sure you have plenty of works ) give me a call, I would like to talk to you about this. I am not interested in selling you anything. I want to sell you on the technology and we will both benefit greatly. Imagine being able to tell the customer that you can offer them something that will kill 99.7% of all mold, bacteria, and fungus on all the surfaces in their house but it isn't a biocide.

Indoor air quality isn't good quality without this, no matter how good a remediator you are.

After I replied, no thank you - Next Email from Art F.

I am an independant XXXquest representitive and the point is we are the best in air purification so while you scrub the air and kill the surface , you can offer a unit to your customer as a garauntee that should spores be present in their homes ever again they will not be able to colonize. HEPA units for home use are worthless, I plan on getting into remediation but I sell these units after a sanitization because if there is something in the wall growing that I don't know about this unit will neutralize the mycotoxins. It does have a low level ozone output but it uses a jacked up version of photo catalytic oxidation to purify the entire air space. It is RCI radiant catalytic Ionization. The technology is certified by the space foundation as the only space certified air unit in the world. It has a dc ionizer , rf ionizer and I can't remember the other one put reduces 99.7% of all particulates in the air and the ozone can be turned up to 300mgh for odor problems. Essentially it replicates the way nature purifys itself but 40% faster than ozone alone. It is what NASA uses to purify the air on the space station and what the pentagon used on 9-11. Plus the chinese cdc has found the technology as effective in cleaning the air in a building during a biological weapon attack. It has been tested on the avain flu by Kansas state University and killed 199,000 infected cells in under 12 hours. They also tested in on EColi, strep and several others including the common cold. Air purifyers as a whole don't work. I know air changers fall into a different category, I have a 700cfm unit but this is for everyday use. You can rub an onion on your hand and put it in front of the machine for 90 sec and the smell is completely gone. A lrge ammount of NORMI members and others in the mold business have found this to be a lucrative income in addition to an already great business. Basically it uses a UVX light which is both UVB and UVC wrapped in a honeycomb matrix made up of Titainium Dioxid, silver, copper , and Rhobidium and it creates Suer oxides both hydro peroxides and p[eroxides that attack microbes in your whole air space. The difference is when the super oxides are already there and something isd introduced into the environment the problem is quickly attacked and dealt with minus having to wait for air to be filtered like other systems which is impossible. XXXquest was featured 2x this yr in success from home magazines as one of the greatest home business opportunities in existence and by Healthier you magazing for their superior technology. They have no competition because no other system can even come close to qualify.

I could write a few pages, picking apart these emails, but I wasted enough space just posting the emails. (BTW, I left the spelling mistakes in his emails on purpose.)

Here is the scoop. If you have mold in your house, it is the because something happened to let it grow. Even if you kill the spores in the air, you still have mold somewhere producing these spores.

Just let it be known that there are people out there that make claims that don't add up.
          Scientists Synthesize Food With Little Electric Shocks        
Researchers in Finland are using electricity to generate food from microbes and other components, a process meant to help fight world hunger.
          The 10 Steps that Establish Your Baby’s Microbiome        

Research is emerging almost daily on the role of the microbiome in human health. But how do we acquire this mysterious community of microbes and more importantly how do we make sure the good bacteria outnumber the bad? According to a new book by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, Your Baby’s Microbiome, it all starts […]

The post The 10 Steps that Establish Your Baby’s Microbiome appeared first on Chelsea Green Publishing.

          The UK Just Banned Microbeads And So Should The Rest Of The World        

It’s time to ban the plastic from our cosmetics for good. You know those tiny beads in your cleanser, exfoliator, and toothpaste? They may do a good job at keeping your skin and teeth clean, but they’re also killing wildlife, which is why the UK banned microbeads from a variety of cosmetics last week. Following a […]

The post The UK Just Banned Microbeads And So Should The Rest Of The World appeared first on SHE'SAID' United States.

           Dental Equipment is Never Completely Clean, There are Some Bacteria Lurking        
Dental equipment is particularly prone to contamination with bacteria, yeasts and other microbes because it comes into contact with people's mouths. Dentists

          Why we should build an education centre in Kenya, and how you can help        
(This blog post reflects my personal views and opinions).
Nicholas J. Bridgewater
27 September 2015

Children receiving donated gifts from the UK via Msingi wa Tumaini

“Everyone has the right to education.”

Everyone deserves a chance to be educated and receive the best start in life. Unfortunately, we live in a very unequal world—a world in which millions of people are born into conditions of poverty and deprivation. In a large part of the world, basic services such as education, medicine, clean water and opportunities for economic improvement are not available. A case in point is Kenya, where primary education is provided but schools are underfunded, teachers often don’t get paid, and too few children are able to attend—particularly girls. In many cases, community groups have to pay for the school to hire extra teachers for their children and many children do not have access to notebooks, pens, or their own textbooks. I have seen children sharing school textbooks between two, three or four pupils, with no availability for them to take these books home. They share long wooden desks and classrooms are packed with upwards of 40 – 60 children or more. Many children cannot afford to eat at school and cannot bring their own meals so, if they live too far away from the school, they may not be able to get lunch. This prevents a lot of poor and deprived children, including orphans, from attending. Many girls do not have access to sanitary towels, which also makes school attendance difficult. In some areas, school buildings do not even exist, such that children have to learn under a tree or large rock.

Unclean water in Uyoma, Kenya

"Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right."
― Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General

Clean water is available in the form of rainwater, if one can afford to have a tank to collect rain water. Wells can also be dug to provide underground water, but at a significant cost. Clean water is very often not available to rural communities who have to rely on ditches and ponds, full of bacteria and dangerous microbes. The number of orphans in Kenya is particularly high. Furthermore, many of these children end up as ‘street children’ (there being at least 250,000 children living on the street). Many children are orphaned due to deaths in the family caused by HIV, which is a major health concern in Kenya. The spread of HIV is exacerbated by the sex trade, which preys on vulnerable children and women, as well as an increased loosening of the bonds of family structure in society. As in most countries around the world, traditional values and morality are undergoing significant change. As a result, materialism—an ideology which exalts self-interest and material gain over moral values, serving humanity, and recognising one’s own innate potential and the nobility inherent in each human being—is increasing its influence on society. Such problems, though endemic, are not immutable. While structural issues, such as the provision of social services and economic development, require efforts both at the national level and international level in order to be solved completely, there is much that can be done at the grassroots to help build up communities whose ways will give hope to the world.

School children in Uyoma, Kenya

“Do real and permanent good in this world.”
― Andrew Carnegie

Every effort of a humanitarian nature, done in a spirit of service to humankind, can have a positive effect on society and help to mitigate the suffering of others. Even if we help one person to improve their condition, that effort at improvement makes the world a better place in the aggregate. Every human being is a mine rich in gems of inestimable value, capable of transforming his or her own community, of inspiring others, and of bringing about social change. Empowerment of the vulnerable members of society is imperative, particularly women (who have suffered centuries of disenfranchisement) and children. Orphans, in particular, need the concern of all members of society, as they have been deprived of the vital example and economic advantage of those who have a mother and father. A positive approach, then, is to build up communities, one step at a time, who will provide an example to the rest of the world. The key to this is education. Educating one child at a time, we can build up communities which are aware of their own innate potential, have access to the knowledge and understanding which will empower them to shape their communities, and a vision of service to humanity which will guide them in their efforts. Child protection training is an important part of this, as children should be allowed to pursue their own development and education free from sexual, emotional or physical abuse.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
― Benjamin Franklin

Msingi wa Tumaini (Swahili for ‘Foundation of Hope’) was created in order to bring about such change in parts of Kenya, such as Uyoma and Nakuru, one child and one community at a time, by providing a feeding programme which enables children to attend school, by providing child protection training and other training programmes, and by helping people to realise their own innate potential. What Msingi wa Tumaini can do, however, is limited by our resources both in terms of manpower and finances. When we have had significant donations of clothing, toys and books, as well as the money to provide for shipping, we have been able to bring these to Gagra Primary School in Uyoma and distribute them to children. We have also set up a feeding programme, wherein children are provided with a maize meal dish called ugali, and a chicken project, wherein chicks were raised to produce eggs which could be sold to fund the feeding programme. We have also distributed a large number of sanitary towels, funded by certain donors in the UK. Finally, in co-operation with several lecturers from Oxford Brookes University, Msingi wa Tumaini was able to provide a child protection training programme for stakeholders in Gagra Primary School and the local community. However, we cannot yet provide such programmes regularly, nor can we regularly provide sanitary towels or donations of clothing, toys, etc. due to a lack of continuous funding. Sporadic and limited funding means that Msingi wa Tumaini cannot fulfill all of its objectives right now. When we do start to receive a continuous flow of funding, then we will be able to do everything we have set out to achieve.

Clothing generously donated by Dragon School, Oxford

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan

Building a centre for Msingi wa Tumaini is essential. We need to establish an administrative and educational headquarters in Kenya which our Kenya-based staff can use to provide training and co-ordination for educational projects. Our goal is to make our headquarters a place where children can feel safe, where they can have access to library facilities, where mothers and children, teachers and stakeholders can receive training in child protection, hygiene, community development and social empowerment. This centre can also be used to accommodate foreign volunteers, provide offices for permanent staff, house teaching supplies, food and donations (including donated clothing, toys and books from the UK and other countries), and serve as a community centre for wholesome cultural and social activities. Our current goal is to raise £60,000 for this project, and we have set up a GoFundMe page so that we can receive donations. I would kindly ask anyone who supports Msingi wa Tumaini’s goal and mission to donate as much as they feel able to. Even if you can only afford £6, please donate, and encourage your friends to donate, so that we can achieve our potential. As a small charity, we do not have the massive administrative bureaucracy of larger organisations, so your donations count much, much more and have a direct impact on the lives of those whom we help.

Donate as much as you can...

So, please donate now, at the following link, and also make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For more information, please feel free to refer to the Msingi waTumaini website.

This blog post is a personal message to my readers and not an official posting of Msingi wa Tumaini. As such, any opinions and ideas expressed in the posting are my own.  

          An Anthropological Perspective on the Gaian Perspective        
I have been working on a review of two books written from the perspective of the Gaia hypothesis: one was a collection of the most recent Gaian science ("Gaia in Turmoil," Eileen Crist & Bruce Rinker, eds.) and a futurologist's polemic on what to we need to do in the climate crisis ("Requiem for a Species," Clive Hamilton). I found serious problems in their perspective, and wrote about them in my review. However, that resulted in a review that was too long for the journal it is to be published in - it's possible we'll have to cut it. But I found the assumptions these authors made about "pre-modern" people interesting and want to explore it more. I thought I'd publish the final 1/3rd of the review essay here. Has the Gaia hypothesis been useful in anthropology? Share!

While the Gaia hypothesis has been useful in clarifying ways we think about the interlinkages among complex adaptive systems, much of it remains in 1960s systems theory – the teleology, the linking of everything to everything, the inability to specify mechanisms for some of these relationships (and especially for a superorgasmic Earth with emergent consciousness). In particular, as an anthropologist, I find the models and visions for the future presented by these authors highly culture-bound. They show no understanding of the dynamics of human institutions or of the time scale of the existence of Homo sapiens, leading to a variety of contradictions and incoherencies.

Ethnocentrism is the judgment of other people by one’s own standards, imagining others as simply the opposite of ‘us.’ Hamilton, in particular seems to see the world in terms of a in a Levi-Straussian hot/cold dichotomy. Cold societies are those that are “outside of history,” retaining mythic modes of thinking. We are modern, the ones who change, progress, advance. It is a binary opposition – modern (the growth fetish, consumerism) vs. “pre-modern” (archaic, loving the Earth). These futurologists telescope the past with current adaptations; those without complex technology or bureaucracies are “archaic” and, in this dichotomy, the solution to what ails us today. This is romanticized ethnocentrism – the primitives or people of yore universally lived in harmony with the Earth, had an Earth Ethic, a love of Gaia (or, as Hamilton suggests in his big finish, a sky/climate god, pp. 219-221).

The species Homo has been around for about 2.5 million years, but these authors lump together all of the ‘pre-modern’ societies despite the range of variety in political economies from foraging bands to pre-industrial states. Hamilton pays lip-service to the ways in which our desires arise out of the consumer/commodity culture of the west, but all of these authors in fact have limited and shallow understanding of the dynamics of social formations. As a result, their suggestions for transforming the currently dominant political economy are preposterous. Many of the authors call for ‘radical democracy.’ Yet democracy is a form of political organization found in states, and by their very nature states have political elites. If our inability to address climate change is due to the vested interests of elites, then democracy might not actually resolve anything. Human history – the whole of human history, not just ancient civilizations from 3000 years ago – shows us that increased population density is closely associated with ever more complex political formations and increasingly more intensive forms of food-production. Hamilton, to his credit, specifically notes the huge numbers of poor and vulnerable around the world who are most likely to suffer in the climate crisis, but his solutions read like New Age middle-class elitism – we should all cultivate a Buddhist mind, for instance. Having lived in Buddhist societies, I can assure Mr. Hamilton that all Buddhists are not, in fact, in gentle harmony with the Earth and all of its living creatures. Like so many other religious forms, how it is practiced depends on the total configuration of political, economic and social structures, as well as cultural meaning, of the system within which people live. All of the authors in these books assert a desire to save ‘human civilization,’ but how precisely can this happen at current population densities? Consumption is not just about individual use of natural resources, but state use as well. This includes state consumption for infrastructure – hospitals, schools, roads, and libraries, for instance. Some seem unaware of the reality of the great divide in access to resources. Foresman’s Earth Operating System fails to notice that his imagined democracy will accrue to the elite (us) who have access to computers. For the poor, spatially-enabled technology can become yet another form of control by government elites, as I have noted in my study of the uses of GIS in northern Thailand. Along with the assumption of an intentional Earth, there is a pervasive sense that human systems are also purpose-driven; the implication is that we can decide to change the social systems of all people on the planet, and it will happen. Statements by these authors that Gaian thinking will be helpful in rethinking human systems (e.g., Litfin, p. 207) are manifestly untrue.

Another key theme in these assessments of the success of ecosystems and species is sustainability. This, too, this leads to logical consistencies. Microbes in a modeled flask (Lenton and William) or soil arthropods (Rinker) are judged as successful because they have ‘enhanced’ their environments for their own long-term success (see also Harding and Margulis). By these standards, humans are a successful species. The rules of nature must also apply to humans as a biological species. We are successful, and we have been successful by cooperation; we survive by living in social groups and creating meaning; we have altered our environment to suit our needs. The difference is that humans have, in the Gaian perspective, destroyed or perturbed their environment past recovery. It is a matter of sustainability. However, by what time scale do we judge sustainability? Is two and a half million years of a species an evolutionary failure?

Neither can we assume that all systems of co-evolution will match together perfectly through time. The Gaian perspective does not account for shifts, change, and open systems; it implies that each ecological community is an organism in and of itself and worthy of saving in that form and no other. The time frame by which Gaians assess the human species is a very short one, as well as ethnocentric (the three key historical points mentioned are the last 40 years, the Industrial Revolution, or ancient Greece). Yet the story of the evolution of life I teach in anthropology courses tells us about profound change and great diversity in adaptations. The Gaian perspective analytically separates humans from nature, applying the standards of judging success differently for the human and other species, possibly because of the blind spot in their perspective for the full time scale and diversity of human life around the planet. Their negative tone toward the evolutionary success of the human species is, in part, based on their perception that humans are destroying the environment for other species – counter to their argument that diverse cooperating species create a successful ecosystem – but this then shifts the discussion back to altruism. Therefore, despite their arguments, inter-species altruism is indeed a core element of the Gaian model of life.

Despite Hamilton’s and others’ points about how the culture of rationalistic science has bounded understanding of holistic linkages in ecosystems, they fail to understand that all humans live within cultural systems of meaning and social relations that create the parameters of a ‘known’ universe. They do not see that their own individualism is culturally-constructed. Hamilton, Thomashow, and others set out from individual psychology (including attribution of motivation to climate deniers) to understand human relationships with the environment (most commonly citing works from journals such as Journal of Environmental Psychology), but they are unable to make the linkages between individuals and the social systems in which they live. Foragers such as the !Kung San or the Mbuti have strong community identities because community identity is produced by specific social relations, rights, and obligations to each other. Imagining a future means we need to comprehensively understand how humans live. When Hamilton says the climate crisis is not the ‘fault’ of individuals, and that individual choices will not change the coming crisis, but then argues that the solution is a change in personal attitude toward humility, compassion, and selflessness, his argument is contradictory.

Finally, these authors argue that the Gaia hypothesis provides us with a powerful metaphor (see, for instance, Volk, who is otherwise quite critical of Gaia for science) that will help us to avert the looming climate crisis by personalizing our relationship with the biosphere. This personification, they say, is a useful metaphor for learning to respect the earth, to take better care of it, to be humble about our place in it and the limits to our consumption. Is this a valid statement?

We all use metaphors – that’s what language and modeling are. To say that science is rooted in metaphor is not to question the validity of science. It is a matter, however, of recognizing that metaphors not only make a positive model (what things are) but also blind us to assumptions and possibilities (Lakoff and Johnson 2003). However, as scientists, we need to constantly question these, just as we verify our results. Our goal is, ultimately, to come to a greater verisimilitude with the world. Metaphors are useful in this; they can also be a hindrance if the metaphor does not fit with the phenomena we seek to explain. This makes the Gaia metaphor is invalid and even dangerous. The metaphor places humans outside of nature, while making a super-organism out of the Earth as a whole. Gaians have performed a reversal of a dichotomy inherently built into their model, as if they can only envision a vague, utopian opposite in which we are all subject to a new moral ontology, similar to what they imagine “pre-modern” people to have had. The metaphor also leads scientists to assert that Gaia has consciousness and intentionality. In so doing, these thinkers are trapped by the individualism of Western social life. This is the Animate Fallacy, the inability to perceive communities outside of an (implicitly) intentional life force of the superorganism itself. Ironically, these authors in fact extensively demonstrate that they are people of their own cultural system, the western culture of individualism, in their obsessive focus on Gaia as a living entity.

Ultimately, what do we need Gaia Theory for? Clearly, Gaian influenced science has come a long way, e.g., the forest and water studies, the study of nutrient and carbon flows. The Gaia hypothesis inspires us to love and respect the wonderful processes that created this living planet. And an amazing thing Earth is, indeed, as are the processes of life and multiple levels of complex adaptive systems. But I do not need to think Gaia is a living presence to be overwhelmed with the wonder of the web of life and feel a heightened sense of despair and outrage over what humans have done to the planet.


Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson (2003). Metaphors We Live By, second edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

          Bacteria Might Share the Blame for Eczema        
In patients with severe eczema, Staphylococcus aureus strains dominated the skin microbe population—suggesting that certain types of bacteria could worsen eczema flares. Christopher Intagliata...

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          OceanGrown: Replacing Toxic Chemical Agriculture        

OceanGrown, Inc. is the manufacturer of OceanSolution, a mineral-rich deep-sea solution that helps plants and vegetables grow naturally nutrient dense. OceanSolution restores the full-spectrum of natural minerals (90 elements/minerals), properly balanced, to the earth’s soil.

The Re-Mineralizing Imperative:
poor nutrition and nutrient deficits are the ROOT of all disease: plant, animal and human. Every living cell (microbe, plant, animal or human) needs up to all 90 naturally-occurring minerals from the periodic table for maximum health and efficiency.
Currently, humans are starving, obesity is on the rise, and food is plentiful. How can we say those three things in the same sentence? How is it possible that we can be starving and obese, or have a surplus of food and starvation? It is simple. In our constant drive for excellence and our charitable nature to solve the problem of world hunger we have over produced, stripped our lands in the process, and solved modern agricultural problems through the use of chemical propagation.

Our schools don’t teach the principles of agriculture any more, all we learn is that we need to balance our check books before we go to the grocery store. We have not been informed that the largest mass mining project has been going on behind the scenes. Simple math explains it.

Every plant needs minerals, soils contain those minerals, the plant consumes those minerals, and then we consume those plants and/or the animals that consume those plants. So every time we eat a carrot we have taken something from the soil and what have we put back? Typically we are putting back fertilizer, consisting of 3-9 minerals. But what happens when a tomato is grown on three minerals when it needs 56 minerals to be a healthy tomato? Well, the tomato still grows, but not as healthy, and when we eat that food that is grown on malnourished soil we become malnourished, as well. Thus, people are starving on starved food sources, and people are eating more poor quality food to compensate for their cravings for nutrients and are gaining weight in unhealthy amounts.

Furthermore, because of the advancements in chemical agriculture, there is a surplus of this nutrient poor food. Thus, we are literally starving to death, while eating more and producing more than ever. OceanSolution is quite literally ‘The Solution’, it gives back to the earth all of the nutrients we have taken. It is the best form of Sea Energy Agriculture and a continuation of Doctor Maynard Murray's years of research.

There are no chemical draw backs, this is a solution produced by nature. OceanGrown’s OceanSolution gives our plants and animals a fighting chance at protecting themselves against everything from weather to pests. How do you think plants survived before chemical fertilizers? They were strong and healthy and protected themselves. We just need to give them the tools, rather the nutrients, to defend themselves. This will reduce things like toxic run off and the use of harsh chemical pesticides. Food will have a longer shelf life and less will be wasted. People will be able to eat less and feel satisfied and healthy. And we can once again start exporting the highest quality food to those nations that need it.

The Earth's ocean is the only source where the known elements are in a perfectly balanced solution. The following tables (below) contains all elements found in seawater that were considered by Dr. Murray to be essential for plant, animal and human health.

Until now, soil and hydroponics growers have normally used fertilizers and nutrient solutions based on only three major elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, more commonly known as NPK. More recently, the agricultural and scientific community has begun to recognize the importance of micronutrients so that progressive growers utilize up to 16 elements in their plant nutrient applications.

However, pure unadulterated seawater contains 90+ elements in an inorganic crystalloid solution ready to be absorbed by a plant’s roots. Although conventional science has not yet discovered all the benefits, it is only a matter of time before all of the elements will be considered essential by plant physiologists.
OceanGrown and John Hartman featured on

"Discover How to Supercharge Your Fruits and Veggies"

john hartman ceo ocean grownCEO of Ocean Grown Solution, John Hartman reveals...
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  • A simple, natural way to eliminate conventional fertilizers for home and commercial use and how it is making changes in our soil already.
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John Hartman is the CEO of Oceangrown, a company that provides environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional growing techniques using sea water.
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           Pleiotropic effects of regulatory ros mutants of Agrobacterium radiobacter and their interaction with Fe and Glucose         
Johnston, GBHHATKHYAAWB; (1995) Pleiotropic effects of regulatory ros mutants of Agrobacterium radiobacter and their interaction with Fe and Glucose. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction , 8 pp. 747-754.
          Molecular Insight May Lead to New Advances in Rosacea Treatment        

Kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs), a family of proteases recently identified as having a possible role in the development of rosacea, may help provide a pathway to controlling rosacea’s signs and symptoms, according to an article by Drs. Jan Fischer and Ulf Meyer-Hoffert of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Germany in the journal Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Proteases are enzymes that occur in all life forms, from single-celled organisms to plants and animals, for various metabolic processes. For example, acid proteases secreted into the stomach enable the digestion of protein in food, and other proteases present in blood play a role in clotting.

Kallikrein-related peptidases have many biochemical activities. Already recognized as biomarkers for cancer, certain types of KLKs in the surface of the body have been found to be involved in the normal shedding of the outermost layer of skin, the authors noted. Moreover, KLKs have been described as processing cathelicidins, protective antimicrobial peptides that can speed physical repair but have been found to worsen rosacea symptoms.

The authors noted that interference in KLK activity may have therapeutic potential. For example, an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties was shown to inhibit KLKs and the subsequent activation of cathelicidin, which may be why it is effective in rosacea, they said.

They noted that further study of regulation of KLK activity may yield insights into therapeutic intervention.

Dr. Meyer-Hoffert and Dr. Thomas Schwartz were awarded a National Rosacea Society research grant of $20,000 to study whether and how kallikreins, enzymes that contribute to inflammation in rosacea, can activate cytokines, which might contribute to the disease activity. They succeeded in cloning specific proteins from the interleukin family to identify whether the microbes they affect may contribute to rosacea inflammation in a variety of ways.

Fischer J, Meyer-Hoffert U. Regulation of kallikrein-related peptidases in the skin – from physiology to diseases to therapeutic options. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2013;110:442–449.

          NRS Medical Advisory Board Announces Research Grants        

The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has awarded funding for two new studies in addition to continuing support for five ongoing studies during the year as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea.

"We are pleased to provide support for these important new studies, which build upon earlier findings that have added significantly to our knowledge about the causes of rosacea,” said Dr. Mark Dahl, chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects grant applications for funding. "Thanks to the donations of thousands of individuals with rosacea, ongoing research is now producing a significantly better understanding of the disease process and potential new advances in therapy."

Dr. Anna Di Nardo, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study whether blocking the activity of mast cells in individuals with rosacea may alleviate inflammation.  In an NRS-funded study completed earlier this year, Dr. Di Nardo’s group discovered that mast cells, located at the interface between the nervous system and the vascular system, are the “missing link” between rosacea triggers and inflammation. 

In the new study, their goals are twofold.  They will determine whether use of the mast cell stabilizer known as topical cromolyn sodium will decrease symptoms associated with rosacea.  In addition, they will study whether levels of two enzymes, tryptase and chymotryptase – typically higher in rosacea patients – revert to normal after application of the mast cell stabilizer, and which of the enzymes is more important in this process.

Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida, research dermatologist, and Dr. Peter Elias, professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco, were awarded $25,000 for further study of a biochemical pathway that may lead to inflammation.

In recently completed NRS-funded research, Dr. Uchida identified that such triggers as sunlight and irritated skin may stress the endoplasmic reticulum, a membrane involved in sorting proteins.  In individuals with rosacea, this stress may set off a chain of chemical responses that produce symptoms of the disorder.

In the new research, the investigators will observe the effects of blocking this and other pathways.  In addition, the researchers will study whether the application of topical substances known as resveratrol and fatty acid derivative blocks inflammation.

The NRS is also continuing to fund ongoing studies by Drs. Meg Gerstenblith and Daniel Popkin at Case Western Reserve University on the incidence of rosacea in twins; Drs. Ulf Meyer-Hoffert and Thomas Schwartz at the University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein on inhibitors of enzymes that might contribute to the disease process; and Dr. Barbara Summerer at Johns Hopkins University on evaluating specific microbes in rosacea patients.


          Researchers Report Interim Results of Studies Funded by NRS Members        

A possible genetic link found in twins with rosacea and increased understanding of biochemical processes that may lead to the disorder are among the insights reported by investigators at the midpoints of their new research supported by the National Rosacea Society (NRS).

Rosacea may occur significantly more often in both identical twins than in fraternal, or nonidentical, twins, according to Drs. Meg Gerstenblith and Daniel Popkin of Case Western Reserve University.  The researchers found at least some rosacea in 129 individuals out of 242 pairs of identical twins and in 12 individuals out of 59 nonidentical pairs of twins at the Twin Day festival, an annual event that drew 2,090 sets of twins nationwide in Twinsburg, Ohio, near Cleveland.

The researchers noted the association held true even after such common rosacea risk factors as age and skin type were accounted for in the calculations, suggesting that genetics may play a role in rosacea as well as other factors.  Twins participating in the study also answered questionnaires to help define the relative contribution of potential rosacea risk factors as well as the impact on quality of life, and the investigators are now performing statistical analyses.

In other ongoing studies, Dr. Anna Di Nardo at the University of California-San Diego found that when mice were treated with mast cell stabilizers in skin tissue surrounding blood vessels and nerves, inflammation did not develop.  She now plans to determine whether these stabilizers may be useful in reducing skin redness and flushing.

Another way to block rosacea’s effects may be to interrupt the process of chemical interactions that leads to its signs and symptoms.  Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida at the University of California–San Francisco has identified a biochemical pathway that may lead to inflammation, and has begun to study the impact of inhibiting that pathway.

Dr. Barbara Summerer at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has begun taking biopsy samples of skin with rosacea to evaluate whether there are characteristic bacteria for each rosacea subtype, and to identify possible biofilms.

Drs. Ulf Meyer-Hoffert and Thomas Schwarz of the University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, have succeeded in cloning specific proteins from the interleukin family to identify whether the microbes they affect may contribute to rosacea inflammation in a variety of ways.  The researchers will also investigate inhibitors that may be useful in treating the disease.

          NRS Funds Five New Rosacea Studies        

The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has awarded funding for five new studies as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea.

"We are very gratified to fund these new studies, which will both build on recent results of rosacea research and forge new paths toward improvements in its treatment, prevention and potential cure," said Dr. Mark Dahl, chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects grant applications for funding. "As always, we are indebted to the many thousands of patients whose donations make these important advances possible."

Dr. Anna Di Nardo, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, was awarded $25,000 to study the role of mast cells as a possible link between an overabundance of the antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins in individuals with rosacea and the inflammation that appears on rosacea skin. Dr. Di Nardo will endeavor to identify inflammation-causing enzymes that are produced by mast cells as well as the influence of neuropeptides on the formation of these key enzymes.

Drs. Meg Gerstenblith and Daniel Popkin, assistant professors of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University, were awarded $10,000 to study the incidence of rosacea in fraternal and identical twins, recruited at the annual Twins Day festival in Ohio. The study aims to document potential genetic factors by determining if there is a statistically significant difference in the correlation of rosacea between identical and fraternal twins.

Drs. Ulf Meyer-Hoffert and Thomas Schwartz of the Department of Dermatology, University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein, were awarded $20,000 to study whether and how kallikreins, enzymes that contribute to inflammation in rosacea, can activate cytokines, which might contribute to the disease activity. The investigators will also research inhibitors of this substance that could have the potential to treat the disease.

Dr. Barbara Summerer, postdoctoral research fellow in dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was awarded $25,000 to use sophisticated analytical technology to evaluate specific microbes in rosacea patients. She will further use epifluorescence microscopy to identify possible biofilms — communities of bacteria that adhere to surfaces — that may exist in rosacea patients, as well as the differences in types of bacteria present in subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea and subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea, so that therapy can target these bacteria.

Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida, associate research dermatologist, and Dr. Peter Elias, professor of dermatology, at the University of California-San Francisco, were awarded $20,000 to study whether and how enhancing the production of human beta-defensin 2 and conversely suppressing the production of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, part of the body's innate immune system, may help suppress the excess of inflammation-causing peptides found in rosacea skin.

The NRS is also continuing to fund studies by Dr. Richard Granstein at Cornell University on the potential role of Th17 cells in rosacea and Dr. Edward Wladis at Albany Medical College on identifying cytokines involved in ocular rosacea.


          My Everything Pal        

Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.

This episode is longer than our usual 20 minute jaunts to the future, because the future of quantified self is so huge. We cover everything from biased algorithms, to microbiomes (again), to the future of the calorie, and more.

The first person we talk to this week is Chris Dancy, who is basically living in this future today. He’s been called the most quantified man in the world. Every day Chris wears and carries around over thirty devices that track everything from his heart rate to his brain waves. You can see a live stream of his data here. Chris started tracking his life in 2008, and has upgraded his system continuously to become more streamlined and include more forms of data.

There are all sorts of video profiles of Chris online. Here’s one from Mashable, for example.

But, as I was watching a few of these videos (including the one above), I felt kind of uncomfortable. Because a lot of them treat Chris kind of like a freak show. Like this weirdo guy that we should all kind of laugh at, or shun, or see as this maniac with too many devices. But in talking to Chris it became very clear to me that he’s very thoughtful about what he’s doing. The point isn’t just to track for tracking sake, Chris is on a mission. And it’s the same mission that you or I might have when we start tracking steps or workouts or calories or menstrual cycles: to be better. To be healthier and happier. And, for Chris at least, it worked. He dropped 100 pounds, stopped drinking and abusing drugs, and feels way healthier now than he did before.

A lot of people have called Chris the most quantified man, or the most surveilled man, or the most tracked man. But he thinks about it another way. He calls himself a mindful cyborg. But being a mindful cyborg takes a lot of work. He spends $30,000 a year on his quantified self, and it’s essentially his full time job. Not everybody can do that.

When you ask Chris what the future of the quantified self looks like, he’s actually not super optimistic about it. Because right now, Chris uses all these devices to gather data, but he sometimes has to fight companies to actually get access to it. In most cases, he has to buy his data back from them, in order to use it for what he wants. He says he sees us going to “the dark future,” where all our data is mined by companies, and not used to make us healthier or happier.

To dig a little deeper into the possible dark side of personal tracking, I called Claire North, the the author of a book called The Sudden Appearance of Hope that’s coming out this summer. The main character, Hope, sort of has the opposite of face blindness, she is totally unmemorable to anybody who meets her. Which makes her an excellent thief, and the book started out as a book about thieving. But as Claire was writing it, she started getting interested in something else, the fact that without any friends or family or other humans that can even remember her, Hope has no real way of measuring her life.

There’s still plenty of thieving in the book (it’s very exciting) but there’s an added layer now. The story kind of centers around this app called Perfection. Users give it access to everything: their bank accounts, their location, what they’re eating and drinking, who they’re hanging out with, how they’re sleeping, everything. And in return, the app gives them suggestions. Don’t eat there, eat here. Don’t do that, do this. And when users link up their accounts, and comply with the app’s instructions, they get perks. Coupons to restaurants or access to special events. Users who get enough points even get plastic surgery.

But to me, the thing that’s perhaps the most sinister about Perfection isn’t that it offers you plastic surgery. But rather the way that the app decides what Perfection actually is. Instead of finding out what you want, and helping you achieve it. Perfection decides what you should want. Men should want to be muscled and have lots of money and cars. Women should want to be thin and conventionally attractive.

And the idea that data mining might be used to push people in the direction of certain, highly biased, desires or outcomes, isn’t the realm of science fiction at all. That’s how they work now, and we talked to computer scientist Suresh Venkatasubramanian, about his work on data mining and what’s called “algorithmic fairness.”  Suresh explains what data mining is, and how it’s already being used to make decisions about everything from where things are in the grocery store, to who gets released from prison and who doesn’t.

(As a side note: When I was reading Claire’s book, I actually thought the name of the app, Perfection, was kind of on the nose. Certainly our future terrifying personal data app would have a softer, slicker name. Maybe “You” or “Well” or something like that. But then I went to a bodyhacking conference in Austin and I walked into the main ballroom where the first talk was being given, and up on the stage, behind the podium there was a huge banner it said “Nobody’s Perfect. Yet.” So, perhaps she was right!)

Of course, not everything about data mining is creepy and evil. Chris feels much better about his life now. And Jessica Richman, the CEO and co-founder of uBiome (who we spoke with last week as well) says that people can and will use their microbiome data to improve their lives. But Richman also knows that what she has at uBiome is a huge database of sensitive personal data. And she has to be careful with it.

One of the big questions I always have about tracking and personal data is this: I have a limited amount of time and money to track things, so, what should I be tracking? What variables are important? And it turns out that often, what we’re tracking in these systems, aren’t the right things. They’re simply the things we know how to track.

The last segment of our show this week centers about a really good example of that: the calorie. But it turns out the calorie might be a bit of a red herring. And to tell us about that, I called up Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley, the hosts of a podcast about food called Gastropod. (Which is a great show you should totally go listen to it.)

They recently did an entire episode about the calorie, and asked some questions that, I had never really considered, like what actually is a calorie? How is it measured, and, perhaps more importantly, is it useful? And the answer is, for the most part, not really.

The amount of calories it says on the package doesn’t necessarily represent the amount of calories you actually get when you eat that package, or, I guess the food inside it. Don’t eat the wrapper. But they talked to one scientist who found that if you were to eat a pack of almonds that was, according to the calorie measure on the wrapper, 100 calories, your body actually only gets 70 of those calories. That’s a 30 percent difference! Plus, each person breaks down and absorbs energy from food differently, so 100 calories to me isn’t necessarily 100 calories to you.

Cynthia and Nicola walk us through the possible replacements for the calorie, like your microbiome or your metabolome, and we imagine a future with very personalized readouts for what each individual should eat and in what combinations.

By the end of our conversation though, I felt kind of exhausted. Not because Cynthia and Nicola aren’t delightful to talk to (they are) but because the idea of breaking down every single food I eat into a series of variables, and being told in great detail what I can and cannot consume, just seems totally exhausting.

And we close out the episode with a conversation about when tracking starts to ruin our enjoyment of things, and of each other. Are we happier when we track? Does it make us better humans? Does it help us understand yourself and others better? Does it make us happier? Does it make us better friends? I don’t know, and I think the answer will be different for everyone.

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth, and is part of the Boing Boing podcast family. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Broke for Free. Special thanks this week to Casey Broughton, Rory Carroll, Suzanne Fischer, Sheila Gagne, Eddie Guimont, Tamara Krinsky, John Oloier, Mat Weller. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

If you want to suggest a future we should take on, want to give us feedback on the show, or just want to say hi, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing from you! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.

That’s all for this future, come back next week and we’ll travel to a new one.



Hello! And welcome, to Flash Forward! I’m Rose, and I’m your host.

Flash Forward is a podcast about possible, and not so possible futures. Every week we take on a specific potential tomorrow, and try to really overthink what it might be like. Every episode starts with a trip to the future, before we zip back to now, to talk to experts about what we just saw, and what it would really be like. Got it? Great.

This week, let’s start in the year 2029.
[Alarm clock]

Voice1: Good morning Sam. You slept for a total of 5 hours last night, but with frequent interruptions. Tomorrow night try playing some calming music at 62 bpm, and drinking a glass of water at 10:45, statistically those things correlate with deeper sleep for you. Remember, sleep is the foundation on which your day is built!

Voice2: [ping]
total calories 213

Next time try cutting the honey — strawberries are sweet enough as they are. Your health is important Sam.

Voice 3: Your heart rate is elevated. Take a deep breath. This is the fastest route to your destination. Would you like me to play some meditative music?

[drive through]
Drive through voice: Welcome to Pepy’s how can I help you
Person: Hi yeah I’ll have a number 4 with a diet coke and
Voice2: Hamburgers are full of saturated fats and salts, are you sure you don’t want to make another choice
Person: And a large fries
Voice2: Your health is important Sam.

[Office sounds]
Voice 4: There is tension in your back. Focus your gaze on the end of your nose. Lift your chest, breathe deeply in through your nose. Feel the vertebrae straighten and lengthen. Bad posture can take years off your life.

[Office sounds]
Voice5: This month you’ve spent $342 on pet supplies. We estimate that your dog supplies about $250 worth of happiness for you. Try cutting back on this expense.

Voice1: Good night Sam. Did you drink a glass of water yet? Drinking water before bed is correlated with better sleep for you. I will wake you at 6:30 to walk the dog. Sleep tight.

Rose: Okay so today we’re taking on the future of our quantified lives. A future in which every food we eat, every hour we sleep, every poop we take, every elevated heart beat, every… yes, every breath we take. Is counted, logged, measured and compared to our own baseline, and the rest of the world. Quantified Self, is what this is called, and if you count calories or steps you already do this. And the future is probably full of even more of it.

Since this is a big topic, today’s episode is going to be a little longer than usual. And we’re going to talk to a bunch of different people working on different aspects of the quantified life. But let’s start with someone who’s living this future life, today.

Siri: What kind of businesses are you looking for?
Chris Dancy: Oh my gosh Siri just came up, did you hear her? That’s so weird I didn’t even say Siri. See! I’m telling you they’re monitoring me!

Rose: This is Chris Dancy. He’s been called the most quantified man in the world. Every day Chris wears and carries around the following sensors.

A clip on camera
Google Glass
Two different fitbits
Two different Jawbones
An Apple Watch
A Pebble watch
A Samsung watch
Two different heart rate monitors
A posture sensor
iphone 6s
Galaxy S5
An EEG monitoring Headband
A calorie tracking armband
A respiration tracker
A thermometer
A band that stimulates the nerves in his head
And… more
He also wears devices that help him control and interface with all the data he’s gathering like a smart ring and an armband that can control his technology using gestures.

In his house, Chris has sensors that measure air quality, temperature, light quality all sorts of stuff that synchs up with his personal data.

Chris: Sleeping data is fine but without environmental data in your bedroom sleeping data is useless because there’s so many thing that can happen outside of your body that impact your sleep.

Rose: All of these are also hooked up to systems that react and control various pieces of his house. If his heart rate gets elevated, for example, the lights in his office dim to sooth him.

But before Chris was the most quantified man in the word, he was a regular guy, working in tech. And he was in bad shape.

Chris: My health was kind of crap, I had a bunch of companies who were propping me up, allowing me to continue behaving in unfortunate ways. Just a lot of drugs and drinking and prescriptions and shit like that. I was, you know, a 300 pound chain smoking mess still, it was not pretty.

Rose: As a way to try and get ahold of his life, Chris started quantifying it, from the quality of the air he was breathing, to his mental states, and exercise. In 2010, he started using a clunky series of fake Google accounts, Twitter profiles, and spreadsheets. Eventually, he put all that information into a Google Calendar.

Chris: Moved everything to 10 categories by 2011, everything from financial to spiritual to environmental to physical, so they would be weighted properly coming in, they’d be then categorized and color coded.

Rose: If you look at this calendar, which you can on his website, it’s, overwhelming. There is a ton of information in all these colorful boxes on every day. But Chris was able to take this information and actually use it.

Chris: So I just basically started saying on days that I do X what do they look like? What does the color coding look like. What are the specifics, when I look in diary view on Google Calendar? And I just started creating more days like the days I liked, and I started looking for reasons why things were seemingly linked. Sometimes they were linked, sometimes they weren’t, but just the belief that I can control was enough.

Rose: In 2013, the outside world got word of Chris Dancy. He was on the cover of magazines, profiled by Wired, invited to speak all over the world about his life. There are a bunch of video profiles of him on the internet, which you can watch and which we’ll post the links to on our site. But, as I was watching a few of them, I felt kind of uncomfortable. Because a lot of them treat Chris kind of like, a freak show. Like this weirdo guy that we should all kind of laugh at, or shun, or see as this maniac with too many devices. But in talking to Chris it became very clear to me that he’s very thoughtful about what he’s doing. The point isn’t just to track for tracking sake, Chris is on a mission. And it’s the same mission that you or I might have when we start tracking steps or workouts or calories or menstrual cycles: to be better. To be healthier and happier. And, for Chris at least, it worked.

Chris: Within 18 Months I dropped 100 pounds, and I quit smoking, I was off my blood pressure medicine, off my antidepressants, off of drinking wasn’t using drugs as much it was just crazy.

Rose: A lot of people have called Chris the most quantified man, or the most surveilled man, or the most tracked man. But he thinks about it another way. He calls himself a mindful cyborg.

Chris: A mindful cyborg versus a freak with too much fitbit.

Rose: Today, being a mindful cyborg is basically Chris’s entire job. It’s what he does. And it’s a lot of work.

Chris: Oh yeah. I mean, it’s a crazy amount. No one ever asks me about the work god bless you. It’s a crazy amount of work. I mean having 100 fake Twitter accounts is ridiculous in managing it, not to mention how many emails you have to opt out of from Twitter. I spend about $30,000 a year on my quantified self which is a ridiculous amount of money

And he recognizes that most of us don’t have the time or money to be mindful cyborgs. But if Chris is living in this future today, what does he see coming? Well, in the future, it’s pretty clear that data collection is probably going to be even more ubiquitous. And Chris doesn’t actually see this as a necessarily good thing. Because right now, Chris uses all these devices to gather data, but he sometimes has to fight companies to actually get access to it. In most cases, he has to buy his data back from them, in order to use it for what he wants.

Chris: Right now we’re definitely headed toward the dark future, where people are having to buy back our data, and companies are figuring out ways to harvest our behavior. We are way deep in the dark side of the woods in my opinion right now becaues we haven’t really thought about all the choice that’s been removed for convenience.

To dig a little deeper into the possible dark side of personal tracking, I called Claire North.

Claire North: Obviously like every other human being on the surface of the Earth really who’s connected in this Internet age, I’ve gone through all the things, must exercise more, must eat better, don’t like exercising, don’t like eating better. Ahhh how shall I motivate myself? And the motivate yourself is a massive part of it. So I’ve dabbled in productivity apps, and calorie counting apps, and I’ve usually rejected them all after about a week with a cry of “I hate everything about this and what it’s doing to me.”

Rose: Claire is the author of a book called The Sudden Appearance of Hope that’s coming out this summer. The main character, Hope, sort of has the opposite of face blindness, she is totally unmemorable to anybody who meets her.

Claire: You can meet her, talk with her, have dinner with her, but the second you turn your back you begin to forget her.

Which makes Hope a really good thief. And the book started out as a book about theiving, Hope running around stealing diamonds and evading the police. But as Claire was writing it, she started getting interested in something else, the fact that without any friends or family or other humans that can even remember her, Hope has no real way of measuring her life.

Claire: I got really interested in apps and social media and all the technology we used day to day to kind of tell us “well done you have eaten 400 calories and this is good,” and the “I am monitoring you going running” stuff. And this world build up of a life that’s sort of told whether it’s any good by a machine.

The book kind of centers around this app called Perfection. Users give it access to everything: their bank accounts, their location, what they’re eating and drinking, who they’re hanging out with, how they’re sleeping, everything. And in return, the app gives them suggestions. Don’t eat there, eat here. Don’t do that, do this. And when users link up their accounts, and comply with the app’s instructions, they get perks. Coupons to restaurants or access to special events. Users who get enough points even get plastic surgery.

Claire: Hey you want to be perfect, we’ve got this great tie in deal with a guy who’ll fix your nose. And it starts to eat every part of your life, buying every aspect of your data, from what you eat to what you spend to how you look, and becomes quite sinister.

Rose: But the thing that’s perhaps the most sinister about Perfection isn’t that it offers you plastic surgery. But rather the way that the app decides what Perfection actually is.

Claire: The deeper you get into it, the more you realize that the lifestyle you desire is actually tailored by Perfection. It’s not necessarily helping you achieve what you want to be, it has a very strong algorithmic basis that says what you want to be is essentially what the internet says you should be. If you’re a woman you want to be skinny, you want to be rich, you want to be charming. If you’re a man, you also want to be right but you want to be muscley and you want to own a car. And so Perfection becomes less about who you are as an individual and more about you achieving this celebrity lifestyle notion of being the perfect person, the perfect human being.

Rose: And that’s a real danger with data-based algorithms today. When you have a quantified life, you’re giving companies access to data. And companies are mining that data for insights about you and about people in general.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian: The story goes something like this. Grocery stores wanted to know which items people bought at the same time, so they could put them in close proximity to each other. So they collected a lot of data on what people would buy in the store, so you have a person coming in, they buy a bunch of items and you have a record of all the things they buy. So you have this gigantic table of people and what they buy, and you want to find things that show up together a lot. And, allegedly, they would find the beer and diapers were bought together a lot. So the thinking is the stressed out new father who has to buying diapers and is getting some beer along with it. So the idea is that maybe you want to put these things closeby so when you buy diapers the beer is right nearby and you can pick it up.

Rose: That’s Suresh Venkatasubramanian,

Suresh: And I’m an associate professor of computer science at the Univeristy of Utah.

Suresh works on something called algorithmic fairness, a question of how to make these systems that mine data less biased. Which might sound weird. How can data mining be unfair? But remember: algorithms are made by humans, and humans are full of latent bias. So even if nobody at a company is saying “hey let’s discriminate against certain people using data!” they might accidentally build their systems to do just that.

Suresh: So with the work on algorithmic fairness we’re attacking this issue head on in the sense that the people thinking about this, they’re thinking precisely about how to prevent these from being weaponized. The weaponization is happening already, people are using machine learning for all sorts of purposes and in fact we’re saying no no no let’s try to make them a bit more reasonable in what they’re doing.

Rose: So an algorithm might take all the personal data that it’s fed, and start making decisions about you based on your race or gender. And if that happens when you’re being sold Amazon books, it sucks but, not the end of the world. But if it happens in other cases, it can be really bad. And one of the places Suresh is most worried about how this kind of quantified self comes into play in the judicial system.

More and more, courts in the United States are using algorithms to help decide whether or not someone should be allowed bail. They basically take a bunch of data, put it into an algorithm, and have the algorithm spit out information about how likely they think a person is to wind up back in jail.

Suresh: So the way this works at least with one of the systems, there’s this extensive questionnaire that is conducted by some trained personnel at the jail. There’s this set of 130 questions, and they ask them all kinds of things, they range from basic where did you live before this, what does your family look like, to more general questions like, do you feel anxious, do you feel depressed. And these answers are put into this model, which is proprietary and is built by a private entity, and out spits out a set of predictions. And the input going in is a combination of your personal data, information about your past, your friends, your network, information about your social network, your feelings, your mental state, all kinds of factors are going in. And coming out is this prediction.

But since the algorithm itself is a black box, nobody really knows if it’s discriminating against prisoners based on their race, or their gender. This is an extreme example, but it encapsulates some of the ways that companies might use your personal data against you in the future. Fitbits have already been used in court. Your insurance company could compare your personal data with what your doctor recommends for you to do, and if they don’t match they could up your rates.

Chris: I call it phone fracking, so what can you get out of your phone if you were to say “how do I empty out every single apps, all the sensors, and rearrange it in a nice way.” And that’s really scary, because if people are already thinking about that you know that companies already have, and you wonder when and how that’s going to happen.

Rose: When I was reading Claire’s book, I actually thought the name of the app, Perfection, was kind of on the nose. Certainly our future terrifying personal data app would have a softer, slicker name. Maybe “You” or “Well” or something like that. But then I went to a bodyhacking conference in Austin and I walked into the main ballroom where the first talk was being given, and up on the stage, behind the podium there was a huge banner it said “Nobody’s Perfect. Yet.”

So, of course, I immediately took a picture of the banner and sent it to Claire.

Claire: It was wonderful, it thrilled me and horrified me all at once. I really apprecited it, yay!

Now, part of what makes this kind of thing creepy, is that you’re giving a big company access to your personal data and you don’t necessarily know what they’re going to do with it. Or how well they’re going to protect it.

Jessica Richman: Breaches of healthcare data have gone up exponentially, there’s more data to breach and more people motivated to do it. So yeah, privacy and security are a huge drawback.

Rose: That’s Jessica Richman, if she sounds familiar it’s because we talked to her last week for our episode about the microbiome. Jessica is the cofounder and CEO of uBiome, a company that will sequence your microbiome for you. And in the future, that kind of data might be really useful to do things like predict what drugs will work for you, or cure infections and diseases, or solve murder cases.

But in the case of the microbiome the data is only useful if it’s connected to other people’s data, and the rest of your health data. Knowing the species of microbes in your gut isn’t super helpful unless you know whether that’s normal, or whether that changes when you’re feeling weird. And Jessia is well aware that she’s handling a lot of sensitive data.

Jessica: I don’t mean to be a technoutopian here. There are huge, privacy is something that’s always on my mind about this, because there are some really terrifying implications of this. It’s great that you know about your health and you can predict all of these things are going to happen, but what about the government and the insurance company you don’t want to know, and you know other individuals, your employer you may not want to know. So privacy is a huge aspect of this.

Rose: Sometimes, to me at least, talking about personal data and what I should or shouldn’t be doing with it can be really… overwhelming. There’s just so much of it. I mean Chris tracks so many different variables that I can’t even begin to list them all here. Coming up we’re going to dive into one particular type of data that people track, and talk through how it might change in the future. But first, a quick word, from our sponsors!


Rose: So, this week’s future is all about our quantified lives. And that ranges across so many different arenas. We’ve talked about everything from data that determines whether you’re let out of prison, to data that tells you what books to buy, to data that tells you what bacteria live inside your guts.

But there’s this problem with quantified self that comes up all the time, and that’s that the things we are tracking aren’t always the things that are the most useful.

Chris: There’s a mathematician named Richard Tapa who said, “we don’t know how to measure what we care about so we care about what we measure.”

Rose: And I want take a closer look at one particular form of quantified self that might be exactly that, something that we’re measuring not because it’s useful, but because we know how to measure it. It’s one of the most common forms of tracking, and one that people have been doing long before apps or wearables, and that’s calorie counting.

Today, there are approximately a billion apps that can help you track your food intake. And most of them gather all the information, all the food items you put in, and combine them into some kind of report. Today you ate this many calories. Your target was that many calories. Good job, you hit your goal, or, oops, you went over, try cutting back tomorrow.

But I learned recently that the calorie might be kind of a red herring.

Nicola Twilley: Well I mean I ended up just thinking that it’s really not a useful thing at all, it is broken, it’s wrong, in all sorts of interesting ways. It just made me realize that we measure the calorie but it’s not the right thing for us to measure.

Rose: That’s Nicola Twilley and this is Cynthia Graber.

Cynthia Graber: And so I was a little different from Nicky here. I agree with what she said, obviously, and I think there are a lot of problems with the calorie. But I actually think think for a lot of people who are trying to lose weight and that is a lot of people, it’s kind of one of the measurements that they can use, as flawed as it is. It gives a good comparison, so you can say well in theory this salmon dish might have less calories than that huge cheeseburger and french fries.

Nicky and Cynthia make a podcast called Gastropod that’s all about food and it’s awesome, you should absolutely go listen to it. My favorite episode so far is about Mezcal, and it’s the reason I now have 6 bottles of mezcal at home. Listeners, send me mezcal! Anyway.

On a recent episode of Gastropod, they investigated the calorie. That ubiquitous little number on all of the food labels we see all the time. But Cynthia and Nicky asked some questions that, I had never really considered, like what actually is a calorie? How is it measured, and, perhaps more importantly, is it useful?

Nicola: I was really really intrigued once you start looking at the calorie you realize it came out of an era where getting enough food is what mattered, and that was the struggle. And now, so many of us, not everybody, but so many of us live in an environment where there are way too many available calories, and still we’re obsessing about measuring our food in this one way, which is all flawed and broken and which we can’t do accurately at home anyway. So why? Why when there are other ways to think about food? So I came out of it being like, ditch the calorie.

Rose: The calorie, it turns out, is not a particularly useful way of measuring what you’re getting from food. Because the amount of calories it says on the package doesn’t necessarily represent the amount of calories you actually get when you eat that package, or, I guess the food inside it. Don’t eat the wrapper. But they talked to one scientist who found that if you were to eat a pack of almonds that was, according to the calorie measure on the wrapper, 100 calories, your body actually only gets 70 of those calories. That’s a 30 percent difference! Plus, each person breaks down and absorbs energy from food differently, so 100 calories to me isn’t necessarily 100 calories to you.

Nicola: And the idea that it’s 100 like that, it gives you this false sense. Like okay well I can have this whole packet of 100 calorie cookies because it’s only 100 calorie snack pack and I’ll just do an extra five minutes on the stair master and then I’m all set. And it’s like, it really doesn’t actually work like that and it gives you this false sense that you can make these sort of accounting decisions with your intake that are much more precise than they actually are.
Cynthia: Yeah it’s definitely not like taxes you can’t be an accountant for your calories.

Rose: So if counting calories isn’t actually telling us what we think it is, what should be count instead? There’s no way that our future doesn’t involve some kind of food related tracking. But instead of tracking calories, Cynthia and Nicky say that we’ll probably be tracking other things, a whole bunch of variables that then combine to give us a personalized readout of what, EXACTLY, we should be eating.

To get that personal readout, we’ll probably be combining a whole lot of personal data. Like our microbiome.

Nicola: Maybe,, I just sampled my gut microbiome, for the first time. It was an enjoyable experience involving a very large q-tip. Maybe the future is we have to do this every morning, and it says, you know what, you’ve got a lot of those gut bacteria that are really good at extracting energy from what you’re eating, you need to cut down on consumption today, maybe have a probiotic. It might be, if you want that personalized recommendation and your gut microbes fluctuate every day, maybe we are going to all be going into the stall with a giant q-tip every day.
Cynthia: That sounds appealing
Nicola: I just try, it’s not all jetpacks people, it’s not all jetpacks.

Rose: And as weird as that might sound, it’s not actually so far off from where we are now.

Jessica: We do have a lot of people who have subscriptions.

Rose: That’s Jessica Richman from uBiome again.

Jessica: And what they do is they look at, as subscribers they’re often charting the changes in their gut in regarding to their own habit changes or in regard to natural fluctuations. Often people have something where they’re not quite sure what’s going on, or they’re trying to optimize something specifically to either alleviate a symptom or to have for weight loss or weight gain and they want to see how their microbiome changes in response to that.

Rose: And on top of the microbiome, we also might start tracking something called our metabolome.

Cynthia: Yeah so metabolomics is the study of all the chemicals of our body, and there are, as of the latest reading, tens of thousands of those. And then it’s also the study of all the chemicals of all the metabolomes in foods, which is another tens of thousands of chemicals, and then it’s kind of the way they all interact together. So it’s this crazy complicated science that David Wishart, which we spoke to, at the University of Alberta, he thinks teasing this all out could be more complicated than understanding the human genome.
Nicola: Because the thing is when we, we already have all of these tens of thousands of chemicals circulating in our body and then we ingest something that has those tens of thousands of chemicals. And we don’t typically eat one meal that is oranges and one meal that is steak, so then we’re combining all the different metabolomes in our food as well and that combination and the interaction between all those chemicals as they meet in our bodies, is uncharted territory for the most part. But what they are finding is, as they start to chart is, that it does have an effect on then how we process that food.

Rose: So instead of counting calories, we might be combining our microbiome with our metabolome to come up with super specific tailored meal choices and food combinations.

Cynthia: When we were sort of imagining a future scenario, and we did this for our episode as well we were talking about this, we were kind of imagining that you would walk into a store and you would have something had all the information on your metabolome, and then it would take a snapshot on what you wanted to eat and it would do all these werid calculations and tell you how it would match up with your metabolome and wehther or not you would get a certain amount of calories or a certain amount of nutrition. And it would be maybe a different readout than someone shopping right next to you shopping might get. Which just seems completely crazy, but that’s the spiraling out of what this scenario might be. And so Nicky and I when we were talking about this Nicky and I kind of spiraled and we were thinking well would this mean in the future you could have some kind of printout that was like well if you want to eat that Twinkie or that chocolate chip cookie then you should eat these other foods with it because those compounds will help protect against the absorption of the sugar in that way, it could get kind of crazy.

Rose: Now, if I’m honest, this all sounds… exhausting? How are you supposed to order at a restaurant?

Nicola: Or just even family dinner, I mean to me this is the downside of going in this direction. I feel as though, I mean Michael Pollan calls this way of thinking about food nutritionism where you just sort of prioritize all of this effect on your health over the other aspects of food which are connection to our environment and connection to the people around us, which are very very very important too.

Rose: And here’s where we run into one of the big issues that I think a lot of people have with our increasingly quantified selves. It’s a lot of work, and it can sometimes make things that should be enjoyable into something, else.

Cynthia: Right, and because to go along with something Nicky was saying it takes away the pleasure from food, if all you’re doing is quantifying everything and you’re quantifying calories and you’re quantifying your blood sugar spikes, and then you’re quantifying I don’t know what these particular foods would do together so you should eat them together, you miss out on the incredible pleasure that food brings you. And that’s to me one of the biggest points of it, it’s the social aspect of it, but it’s also this very sensual thing that you get to do multiple times a day. And I would never want to give that up just to get all these numbers taht might make me a little bit healthier.

Nicola: I feel as though it’s possible to imagine but to want is a different matter

Rose: Some people might want this kind of detailed personal tailoring, this spreadsheet approved life. It’s okay to want to track, and it’s okay to not want to track. Lots of people have different opinions about how much, and what kind of data they want to gather on their own existence.

Cynthia: I do that thing the one thing that you said every woman does, and every month on my calendar I track my period.

Nicola: I don’t do that. I leave it, I see where I am on my birth control pills so that does it for me. I track nothing. I track people’s birthdays, so I don’t forget them, does that count?

Cynthia: Oh I don’t even do that I forget people’s birthday’s all the time.

Nicola: Oh! And I write down, I’ll tell you the other thing I do, I write down what I gave people because I found I was giving people the same gifts two years running.

Cynthia: Oh that’s so smart I should totally do that!

Nicola: That makes me sound like I’m 72 or something but yes, truly it happened, so I track that now, but that’s really it.

Suresh: When I’m sporadically going to the gym I do track my workouts, and when I was going regularly I would track them regularly and keep track of what I was doing. I have found, so as a podcaster and blogger you know the feeling right, when I have a blog, and there was a time when I used to obsessively track my stats, and I found my perspective getting very warped, I would literally think what should I write next to get more hits? And at some point I started looking back at myself like what am I doing here?

Jessica: People have very different philosophies about what they want to know, and I’m so clearly, there’s sort of continuum, you could view it as a Likert Scale of you know, on one side I don’t want to know anything about my health if I’m sick I’ll go to a doctor take care of me healthcare system. And on the other side you have I want to know everything whether it’s useful or not maybe some day it will be useful for something. And I’m very far to one side where I want to know everything. But there are a lot of people who just aren’t , that just, in my experience that’s just a philosophical orientation, some people want to know and some people don’t.

Claire: My partner and I have very different views on this. He quite likes that things are tracked he likes the fact that he doesn’t have to spend extra time typing in a search term, or that google knows where his home base is and can instantly calculate a trip home for him. He likes the fact that there’s an evil data overlord who can help him. But for my part I massively dislike companies having too much data on me, partly for the fact that I hate advertising and I hate the idea that advertising is being customized to me.

Rose: But just like counting calories, or whatever we replace counting calories with, the big question we’ll all have to tackle in the future is why? Are we happier when we track? Does it make us better humans? Does it help us understand yourself and others better? Does it make us happier? Does it make us better friends? I don’t know, and I think the answer will be different for everyone.

Chris: They’ll follow me on Twitter and then they’ll link into me on Linkedin, and then they’ll try to be my friend on My Fitness Pal, okay, so you know where I work and you know what I like and now you’re friends with me on Facebook so you know what animals I have, now you know what I eat on My Fitness Pal, oh now you’re friends with me on Fitbit so you know how I’m sleeping, oh look at that now you’re following me on 23andMe so you know how many diseases I’m going to have in the future. You know, at what point do you have to tell your friends, how much information do you need on me, to fucking pick up the phone and call me?


What do you think? Do you track anything about yourself? Do you hate the idea of tracking? Where do you draw the line? What would you like to track that you can’t? Tell us! Leave a voicemail at (347) 927-1425 or send a voice memo to

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth, and is part of the Boing Boing podcast family. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Broke for Free. Special thanks this week to Casey Broughton, Rory Carroll, Suzanne Fischer, Sheila Gagne, Eddie Guimont, Tamara Krinsky, John Oloier, Mat Weller. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.

And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! We have a Patreon page, where you can donate to the show. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

That’s all for this future, come back next week and we’ll travel to a new one.

          Micro But Mighty        

Today we travel to a future where your microbiome becomes a key part of your identity. From health to your child’s kindergarten, here are all the ways knowing about your microbiome might impact your life.

Let’s start with a definition: what is the microbiome? Simply put, the microbiome is the collection of microbes (mostly bacteria) that live in and on your body. It’s hard to say exactly how many microbes make up the human microbiome, but researchers estimate that somewhere between 500 and 1,000 different species of bacteria live in the human gut. And that’s just the gut, there are microbial communities in our mouths, on our skin, in the vagina, all over the place. To put things in another perspective, the average human body is made up of 30 trillion cells. And on top of those 30 trillion cells, the average human also carries around in and on it, 40 trillion bacteria. 40 Trillion!

To learn how those 40 trillion cells might be leveraged in the future, we talked to Ed Yong, the author of the upcoming book I Contain Multitudes; Rachel Feltman, a science blogger at the Washington Post; and Jessica Richman, the cofounder and CEO of uBiome, a personal microbiome company. The three of them walk us through the pros, cons and surprising ways the microbiome might be used in the future.

The microbiome is a really promising area of research because it seems to interact with so many elements of our health. People are studying links between the microbiome and everything from autism to heart disease to body odor to cancer. But the gap between what we know right now, and what we’d need to know to develop microbiome based treatments for most of these things, is huge.

Right now there are no drugs on the market that are based on the microbiome, and there’s really only one microbiome related medical application that reliably works. And that’s for patients with an infection called Clostridium difficile or c. diff who get a fecal transplant. The c. diff infection is awful, and it totally ravages the guts of those infected with it. A jolt of health bacteria, in the form of donated fecal matter, can be life saving.

While the gut microbiome might get all the glory, there are lots of other microbiomes that impact our wellbeing as well. Doctors are trying to figure out whether children born by C-section might miss out on some crucial microbes that other children get when they pass through the vaginal canal. One recent study actually used wet wipes with the mother’s vaginal microbes on them on newly C-sectioned babies to see if it helped. There are concerns about that method too though.

Of course with any promising scientific breakthrough there will be people trying to apply it to pretty much everything. In the episode we talk about what happens when certain microbes start getting connected to talent or personality, or associated with negative traits. We’ve already seen that with genetic information, so why not microbial?

This week we also bring a new segment to the show! I play a few voicemails that listeners sent about mosquitoes from last week. I really loved the funny and thoughtful messages you sent me so keep telling me what you think! I’ll feature them each week. Call us and leave a voicemail at (347) 927-1425. Or, send a voice memo to For instructions on how to do that, go here. And you don’t just have to tell us what you think about this future. If you want to suggest a future, you can do that too! I love hearing your ideas, so keep sending them!

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth, and is part of the Boing Boing podcast family. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Broke for Free. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.

Some of you might have heard us on Planet Money last week, if not go check out that episode it’s really fun it’s about all the various promises and policies that the current presidential candidates are putting forward, and what would happen if they actually got their way. Super special thanks to Tamara Krinsky and Brent Rose who provided voices for those futures. And I hide two references in that episode so if you can find them let me know, and I’ll send you the little prize I’ve made.

And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! We have a Patreon page, where you can donate to the show. If you do donate, you’ll get lots of cool stuff, including a transcript of the show and access to a special newsletter that I pack with really awesome stuff. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

That’s all for this future, come back next week and we’ll travel to a new one.




Hello and welcome to Flash Forward. I’m Rose and I’m your host. Flash Forward is a podcast about the future. Every week we explore a specific possible or… not so possible future scenario. Everything from space pirates to antibiotic resistance. Every episode starts with a little field trip to the future, before we zip back to today, to talk to experts about how that future might really go down.

Got it? Great. Let’s start this episode in the year 2032.

[Sound of kids playing]

Hi! Welcome to Döderlein!

Can I get you some water? We have sparkling or ultra-filtered.

I’m so glad you came by to see the school! It’s so important to really understand what we do here so you can make the best choice for your little genius. The kids here get the very best educational experience. We combine and inquiry-based learning program with a wholly custom microbiome to activate every student’s inner good-genius. We believe that under the right conditions every child can thrive wholly through inquiry, a healthy environment and intellectual courage.

Our application process is really simple! We just need you to fill out this form and have your doctor send in a microbiome sample for your little boy, Burton. We get so many applications that it can be really hard to pick between all the little geniuses that come through, but we really emphasize a holistic education and we try to make sure every student’s inner ecosystem can fit and flourish here in ours.

I’m blabbering now, here, take this pamphlet with you, it explains everything.

[Commercial Sad Music]

Are you tired of trying every weight loss trick in the book? Sick of dieting and seeing no results? Fed up with endless trips to the gym and no change in the scale? There has got to be a better way.

[Commercial Happy Music]

Well now there is! Introducing bioME, the very first personalized weight loss solution that really works. bioME’s patented personal microbiome technology will get you the results you deserve without having to give up your favorite foods, or spend hours in the gym. Simply send us a few easy samples of your microbial world, and we’ll formulate a treatment just for you.

And now, if you call in the next 20 minutes, you can get two months of bioME for the price of one! Call now, deals like this don’t last!

[Fade Out]


Music Up

Today, on the Maude show, we’re catchin’ cheaters. This woman says her man wasn’t loyal.


But he says she’s just being too suspicious. We turn to the tests, do their biomes match? Or are his bugs going to give him away.


[music fades out]


Rose: Okay so in this future we’ve got personalized microbiome medicine, schools, courts, everything.

But let’s back up a little bit. Because first we need to talk about what a microbiome actually is.

Ed Yong: Okay so every person contains tens of trillions of bacteria and other microbes in their gut, on their skin, in and around their bodies.
Rose: That’s Ed Yong, a science writer at The Atlantic, and the author of an upcoming book about microbes called I Contain Multitudes.

It’s hard to say exactly how many microbes make up the human microbiome, but researchers estimate that somewhere between 500 and 1,000 different species of bacteria live in the human gut. And that’s just the gut, there are microbial communities in our mouths, on our skin, in the vagina, all over the place. To put things in another perspective, the average human body is made up of 30 trillion cells. And on top of those 30 trillion cells, the average human also carries around in and on it, 40 trillion bacteria. 40 Trillion!

And these 40 trillion microbes do all sorts of really important things.

Yong: We know that they help to sculpt our organs and tune our immune system and digest our food, they probably help to shape our behavior and to protect us from disease. So they’re really important.
Rachel Feltman: Because people’s health seems to be at least correlated to so many different species of microbes, a lot of researchers are interested in hacking that, and saying you know, what are the microbes that live in the gut that support not being obese and what are the ones that make you less likely to develop diabetes or help protect you against the kind of bacterial infections that cause really bad gastrointestinal illness.

Rose: That’s Rachel Feltman, a science blogger for the Washington Post. She suggested this episode! And she’s been tracking the future of the microbiome.

So the premise here is this: There are bacteria living in and on you. Some of those bacteria impact your health. And if we can control the bacteria we can make you healthier. People have talked about using microbiome based medicine to treat everything from

Feltman: Having a pill you could take that kept you, or at least made it really unlikely for you to become overweight
Yong: And on the flip side malnutrition, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, they’re looking in disorders of inflammation.
Feltman: Creating kids who don’t have allergies
Yong: Allergies, asthma, type one diabetes, multiple schlerosis
Feltman: Could we hack armpit microbiome to keep people from having BO?
Yong: They are looking at cancer because there seem to be links between the microbiome nad colon cancer. They’re looking at heart disease
Feltman: Could we make yeast infections less common? That would be great.
Yong: Pick a condition, chances are there’s some group somewhere studying links between that and the microbiome. You know a lot of this excitement is justified, there’s a lot of promise here. All the the future that I talked about is potentially real. Theoretically you could make that happen, you could get to a point where you’re prescribing personalized cocktails of microbes to people in ways that significantly improve their health. I think that is entirely feasible.

Rose: But before we go too far into the future, let’s talk about what we can do right now with the microbiome.

Jessica Richman: There are concurrently no drugs that are approved drugs for doctors to prescribe that are microbiome based.

Rose: That’s Jessica Richman. She’s the cofounder and CEO of a company called uBiome. uBiome started as a crowdfunding campaign back in 2013,

Richman: Which is kind of a crazy way to start a biotech compnay. But started our campaign on Indiegogo, we had no idea whether it was going to work whether anybody would pay any attention at all, and it just exploded fantastically. Within10 weeks we had over 2,500 people involved, it was $350,000 which at the time was an unimaginable amount of money, kept us going for the whole first year.

Rose: So now they’re a full fledged company that will sequence your microbiome for you.

Richman: You can order up to 5 sites, so there’s nose mouth skin gut and genitals, so both male and female there’s a vaginal kit and a penile kit. And what we do is you we send you a box it has a swab and some tubes in it and you swab the affected areas, so for the gut microbiome you swab the toilet paper, and for the vaginal microbiome there’s a protocol for swabbing the vaginal opening, for the mouth you swab inside the mouth. And then you stick the swab in the tube, you shake it up, and send it back to us, so it’s a pretty easy process it takes a minute to swab and a minute to shake it up, you just put it in the mail and send it to us.

Rose: When you get your results back, the uBiome team tries to tell you how your microbiome compares to everybody else’s that they’ve sequenced — what species you have that are more abundant or less, and what you might want to know about those microbes. And they’re hoping to add some clinical information to that soon. They haven’t announced what tests they’re doing yet, but it could be things like what your microbes might say about the drugs you should or shouldn’t take, or how they might relate to the weird stomach issues you’ve been having.

Richman: Our mission is to take this data, get as much of it, as much useful data as possible and turn it into insights that can be used to take this new emerging field of the microbiome and turn it into something really valuable that people can use.

Rose: When it comes to using microbiome related information for treatments and medicine, right now there’s really only one application that reliably works. And that’s for patients with an infection called Clostridium difficile or c. diff

Yong: this bacterium that causes really nasty diarrheal infections. The reason that fecal transplants work so well for this particular condition is that people with c. diff their guts are like a wasteland, they’ve been taking loads and loads of antibiotics kind of nukes the ecosystems in their digestive tract, and that’s been replaced by this one incredibly weedy species c. diff. Now when you shove a load of other microbes like, a more thriving diverse community from a donor stool, into that system, it’s much easier for them to then take over.

Rose: So in patients who are suffering from this infection, whose guts have just been totally decimated, an input of healthy fecal matter can be life saving.

Feltman: It’s miraculous, it works better than antibiotics it works for people who have not been successful with antibiotics. And it seems like it might be a pretty permanent change

Rose: But most people aren’t living with totally destroyed guts. Most people have a group of bacteria living inside of them which can sometimes go a little wonky. In those cases fecal transplants don’t work nearly as well. Because it’s much harder for the new bacteria to overpower the existing ones.

Yong: So you’d need to plan this really carefully using algorithms that can work out how those microbes will compete, nourish each other,have synergistic effects, maybe cancel eachother out. You’d also want to think about what are those microbes going to eat? They’re living things, a lot of probiotics don’t establish in the gut why is that? Maybe you need to feed them with the right food, so maybe you want to put the patient on a specific diet that’s going to nourish whatever microbes you’ve just given them in that pill.

Rose: And there are a few other uses for micriobiome treatments that are starting to gain traction. While most of the research is happening on gut microbes, the vagina is also full of microbes that impact not just the person with the vagina, but also any babies that might come out of that vagina.

Feltman: We know that babies are kind of dosed with microbes during birth ad actually a lot of people have done research on whether C-sections prevent you from getting that first wave of microbes that you’re supposed to get from your mother’s vaginal canal. So there was a study where researchers had basically swabbed babies born by cesarian with these wet-wipes covered in their mom’s microbes to see whether it gave them the same boost as babies who were born vaginally. So I think one of the first things that’s going to happen is that doctors are going to be inoculating babies with whatever we’ve decided the optimal microbiome for a newborn babies is the second they’re born.

Rose: Now, this all might seem pretty simple. Make sure you’ve got the good bacteria in you, and not the bad ones. But in reality it’s extremely complicated. First, there’s no one optimum microbiome. So it’s not like you can just say “here are all the good microbes you might need.” or “These other microbes are bad let’s get rid of them.” Two different people can have two totally different microbiomes and both be completely healthy. Take the vagina for example.

Yong: Yeah so the vagina is a really interesting case study for the contextual nature of the microbiome, because for ages people thought that the healthy vaginal microbiome was dominated by lacto bacillus, which acidifies the vagina and therefor makes it harder for more dangerous species to grow. But it turns out that that isn’t quite true if you look at women who aren’t white. So if you look at African American or Hispanic women a lot of them have differetn communities many of which aren’t dominated by lacto bacilis and yet are completely healthy. And then if you look at everyone you see that those communities change a lot, they flip in and out of lots of different states in ways that seem to have nothing to do with the women’s health outcomes.

So it’s different for each person. And it changes too. Even just changing what you eat can totally change the microbiome.

Richman: We had an employe who did a butter, she went on a ketogenic diet that was mostly fat as a test to see how that would change her gut microbiome. And you could see really dramatically by day two of that diet, and day three even more so you could see her microbiome really changed to fat digesting bacteria versus carbohydrate digesting bacteria.

And it’s not just that we all have a different set of microbes living inside of us that is also possibly changing all the time. It’s also that those microbes are living in this complicated system that is completely interconnected. It’s a biome, an ecosystem. And anybody who’s ever tried to manage an ecosystem can tell you that, it’s really hard.

Yong: A lot of people are looking at this from the point of view of a clinician, you know with the very straightforward and raw maths of clinical medicine, you want to add stuff that’s good, take away stuff that’s bad, and it’s much more like caring for a national park, or like tending to a garden. You know, you want to make the right species grow you want to get rid of weeds, you want to make sure everything’s watered correctly. These are acts of ecosystem engineering, they’re acts of world building.

Rose: You might be familiar with some of the classic tales of ecosystem mismanagement. Like when the cane toad was introduced all over the place, from Australia to Hawaii to the Philippines to help fight pests that were eating the sugar cane there. Well they did eat the pests eating the sugar cane but they also ate EVERYTHING else. Oh and on top of that they secrete toxins that kill pretty much any animal that touches them. Humans have even died from eating cane toad eggs. In 2005 the Queensland Government spent a million dollars trying to get rid of the cane toad.

We don’t really want something like that happening in our stomach, or in our vagina. guuuuhhhh And preventing that kind of things means really shifting the way that doctors think about medicine.

So microbiome based medicine is at a weird place right now. There is a ton of potential, there are all kinds of things that it could be used for. But we’re also not quite there yet. And that’s often a place where weird things start to happen. People start to overpromise, or try things at home that they maybe shouldn’t. Like DIY fecal transplants.

Yong: Every person I’ve talked to who works on fecal transplants have heard from someone who’s tried it on themselves for all sorts of different things.

Doing this kind of thing at home is really dangerous. Especially if you have a really bad infection that’s left you particularly vulnerable.

Feltman: Even if you think your family member is super healthy it’s possible they have something in their gut that is going to make you even sicker. It’s harder to get accepted as a poop donor than to get into Harvard.

Rose: It’s also not clear what might happen to these people in the future.

Yong: Really no one has done long term studies about this stuff, so fecal transplants have had a resurgence of popularity in the last five or six years, but there are still no really good long term studies, and for something like that you want to look at what people are going to be like 10 years down the line, and we just don’t have that data.

Rose: Today, there are people who are trying to use fecal transplants and micriobiomes on everything from autism to body odor and cosmetics. Each of which might actually be legit, but we don’t know nearly enough yet to know which ones are and which aren’t.
Richman: And that’s something we want to be really careful about because there’s a lot of hype, whenever there’s a new breakthrough in science there are people who overshoot the mark a little bit and say: oh the microbiome changes with your mood or the microbiome is effected by your thoughts. And that’s probably true to some degree, your stress response can effect the environment of your gut microbiota which effects specific organizsms. But to paint it as your mood changes and then your microbiome changes is way oversimplifying something really complex.

Feltman: I think in some ways the microbiome lends itself to this pseudoscience, because there’s something really holistic about it. You ahve these living things in you and around you, and you need to like foster the right ones. I don’t know there is something Zen about it.

Rose: There’s currently a lot of money going into microbiome research. And there will certainly be better treatments and clearer uses coming soon. But my favorite part of imagining futures is imagining how they might also go wrong. Could microbes be used on a Maury-style show to determine cheating like we heard at the top? If your microbes match his, did you have a fling?

Apparently, maybe?

Feltman: Oh that’s absolutely true, in fact researchers are already working on using the microbiome for forensic medicine and science. I think there are actually several researchers who are working with police I know of at least one to study the microbiome of bodies in murder cases, and you know, how useful that can be. It can definitely be useful in deremining time and place of death, and it could also be useful in, it’s possible they could look for microbial fingerprints some day. Researchers have done work on whether microbial signature could be as useful in sexual assault cases as DNA evidence.

Rose: Now, a huge piece of this puzzle is about data: who gets your microbiome data? How is it secured? What are people allowed to do with it? Those are important questions, and we’re actually going to talk about them next week in a similar, but different episode. So stay tuned for that.

In theory, there aren’t all that many nefarious things that someone could do if they got ahold of your microbiome data. It’s not all that useful, and like we mentioned earlier, it’s probably not even the same as it was when you last got it tested.

Richman: One negative effect of genetic information that microbiome doesn’t have presently is that if you know that your parents have certain traits that may lead you to inevitable conclusions about yourself that you may or may not want to know.

Rose: But that certainly won’t stop people from trying to use the microbiome to tell us about the innate nature of certain people .

Yong: I don’t want to underestimate the ways in which humans are capable of discriminating against other humans, I think people are entirely capable of surprising me. **

Feltman: Oh you have this microbe in your gut that’s associated with alcoholism because of the way it helps or hurts your metabolism of ethanol so you should lose this child custody case because you’re more prone to becoming an acloholic. It’s far fetched, but people do some really dumb things with personal data so it’s not out of the question.

Richman: One of our goals is to keep the world from being a dystopian microbiome based novel. That’s very important.

Rose: And if people start tying the microbiome to things like talent, well, who knows what might happen.

Yong: You know maybe to make it even crazier you’ll get people deliberately trying to get fecal transplants from celebrities. Everything has already been linked to the microbiome, why not personal success or singing voice. Maybe someone’s going to kidnap Beyonce and try and do a fecal transplant with her stools. If someone actually. I am not encouraging or condoning the kidnapping of Beyonce for a fecal transplant. That would be wrong listeners.

Rose: For the record, no one affiliated with this podcast advocates kidnapping Beyonce, or anyone else, for any reason. Just so we’re clear. Please don’t do that.

What do you think? Would you have your microbiome sequenced? Think all this data is useful? Overload? Both?

Let’s hear what some people thought about last week’s episode, the one where we talked about killing all the mosquitoes in the world.


If you want to tell us what you think about each week’s future, we’d love to hear from you! Call us and leave a voicemail at (347) 927-1425. Or, send a voice memo to For instructions on how to do that, go to our webiste. And you don’t just have to tell us what you think about this future. If you want to suggest a future, you can do that too! I love hearing your ideas, so keep sending them!

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth, and is part of the Boing Boing podcast family. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Broke for Free. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool. Some of you might have heard us on Planet Money last week, if not go check out that episode it’s really fun it’s about all the various promises and policies that the current presidential candidates are putting forward, and what would happen if they actually got their way. I’ll put a link to the episode on the website in the show notes. And I hide two references in that episode so if you can find them let me know, and I’ll send you the little prize I’ve made.

If you like the show, and you want to support the us, there are a few ways you can do that too! We have a Patreon page, where you can donate to the show. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

That’s all for this future, come back next week and we’ll travel to a new one.

          Immunity - Friend and Foe topic of Southeastern Science on Tap presentation        
Southeastern Biologist Penny Shockett wants people to understand that the human immune system does far more than fight infections and microbes that play a much bigger role than making us sick.
          Sniffle This!        
Winter is just around the corner. And, like every other year, this winter season beckons with arctic winds and sporadic snow showers, not to mention hot apple cider and unflattering turtleneck sweaters. Non-singers can revel in the beauties of the changing season, frolicking in piles of snow, humming a pitchy version of "Jingle Bells," and even -- gasp! -- holiday shopping sans scarf.

Singers, on the other hand, are well aware of the truly malevolent nature of the winter season. A beautiful falling snowflake is nothing more than a pretext for hundreds of dastardly microbes that float innocuously among the population, biding their time until they can find a singer to attack.

Within a few minutes of this first contact, a singer's vocal folds are coated with a layer of impenetrable phlegm. Soon after, the sniffles begin, followed by a rasping cough, aches and pains, the loss of high notes, the loss of low notes, the loss of all remaining notes, and, in some cases, the loss of sanity.

Scientists have studied this phenomenon for centuries and, despite spending billions of dollars on research and performing dozens of illegal experiments on opera singers (the results of these experiments are known as counter-tenors), they still have no good explanation.

At this point in my post, you probably expect me to provide some sage advice on how to avoid Mother Nature's minions of winter fury. Sorry, but I usually just lock myself in a bomb shelter lined with Ricola cough drops and Kleenex boxes and hope that my supply of ding-dongs and coffee will last until March.

That said, don't despair! Your Texas-sized wad of contaminated phlegm may have ruined your summer program auditions, but there is no reason why you can't use it to ruin someone else's summer program auditions as well.

Biological warfare in the winter months has been a standard practice for ambitious opera singers for centuries. During the French and Indian War, Lord Jeffrey Amherst gained notoriety by sending smallpox-infected blankets to the enemy tribe and effectively starting an epidemic. What the history books failed to mention is that Amherst's wife was a lyric soprano in fierce competition with Little-Doe-With-High-F-Like-Thunder, the famed Native American coloratura.

Coincidence? Perhaps. Then again, after just a few choice blanket deliveries, Mrs. Amherst's squeaky high notes were once more unrivaled by anyone in Massachusetts.

These days, opera singers don't need to go to quite so much trouble for the sake of their competitive spirit. Besides, the waitlist for a vial of smallpox pus is always excessively long this time of year.

But, just in case, here are the top four foolproof strategies for a little biological warfare:

1) It may be the oldest trick in the book, but nothing beats the used Kleenex technique. The most popular method of delivery is simply to drop a wadded-up Kleenex into a purse or book bag. If you are unobserved, you can make the most of the drop by first wiping the inside of the Kleenex along the outside of the purse and/or wallet within. Symptoms develop within seven hours.

2) Another brilliant method is the water spit technique. When your rival is distracted (it might help to introduce a diversion of some kind, possibly in the form of a tenor or baritone), simply open their water bottle and spit inside. Be sure to shake the bottle in order to disperse the phlegm before replacing. Symptoms develop within six hours.

3) A slightly messier but no less effective strategy is the death via boyfriend technique. Contaminate your mark indirectly by seducing their significant other and engaging in 3-4 minutes of saliva exchange. If the significant other is strangely immune to your charms, knock him over the head with your nalgene bottle and place the viral strain directly into his blood stream. Symptom develop within three hours.

4) Last is my personal favorite: the subtle, but oh-so-sneaky cough in vocal anthology technique. Simply borrow one of your enemy's vocal anthologies for a few minutes and cough into the pages as you flip through. By coughing at a rate of 8 coughs per minute and flipping the book at a speed of 13 spm (songs per minute), you will effectively spread your contaminated germs across 73.8% of the anthology after only seven minutes. Symptoms develop within twenty minutes.

Some of you may be appalled by my zeal for contaminating other singers. After all, you argue, wouldn't it be better to spend your time recovering instead of infecting other singers with your disease? do raise a good point. I had never considered the well-being of my fellow opera singers in that context, and I am now horrified at my own behavior. Clearly, I need to go think about your argument for a few minutes and reassess my life.

But while I am gone...

...would you mind holding this used Kleenex for me?

          Kerry welcomes microbeads announcement        
After being the first MP to call on the Environment Secretary for a ban, Kerry welcomes the announcement that the UK intends to introduce the strongest ban anywhere in the world to date.
          Column: The never-ending debate over finishing your antibiotics        
If humanity truly wants to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance, we need to also look at the overprescription of antibiotics, science journalist Fedor Kossakovski writes. Photo by NewsHour

If humanity truly wants to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance, we need to also look at the overprescription of antibiotics, science journalist Fedor Kossakovski writes. Photo by NewsHour

One of the most well-known concepts in medicine, to both doctors and patients, is that you must absolutely finish a course of antibiotics. The thinking goes that if you don’t eradicate every last bacterium causing your illness, the survivors can develop resistance and wreak further havoc.

This concern was voiced by the venerated Alexander Fleming himself — discoverer of penicillin, the first true antibiotic — which is part of why the idea is so enduring. Toward the end of his 1945 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Fleming warned that “there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”

This proclamation is only half true. If humanity truly wants to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance, we need to also look at the overprescription of antibiotics.

Recently, a group of British health professionals penned a compelling analysis in The BMJ, advocating for shorter antibiotics courses — even going so far as to say that maybe patients should stop taking antibiotics once they feel better.

As the list of antibiotic resistant bacteria grows, so have the extraordinary efforts to prevent the spread of infection. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien and economics correspondent Paul Solman team up for a report.

That’s because Fleming only described one version of resistance: Where bad bugs get worse by surviving an “underdosing” of antibiotics. Researchers call that “target selection.”

But there’s a flip side: Overusing antibiotics can cause usually nice bugs, with which we coexist, to gain resistance. The germs jump at the opportunity to take over ecological niches, like the gut of a patient on antibiotics. This form of resistance is called “collateral selection.”

The BMJ analysis, led by infectious disease specialist Martin Llewelyn, proposes that “most of the bacterial species now posing the greatest problems do not develop resistance through target selection” and that “collateral selection is the predominant driver of the important forms of antibiotic resistance affecting patients today.”

The different mechanisms by which bacteria acquire antibiotic resistance. Infographic by Fedor Kossakovski

The different mechanisms by which bacteria acquire antibiotic resistance. Infographic by Fedor Kossakovski

In other words, overdosing antibiotics is a bigger threat than underdosing.

Yet many health practitioners and patients are so worried about breeding superbugs through underdosing that antibiotics courses are often unnecessarily long. The researchers’ analysis showed that shorter courses of several quinolone-class antibiotics are just as effective as the longer courses that are currently prescribed. But the team conceded that more research on the topic is needed.

“No such data exist for β-lactams, which are the main antibiotic class used,” Llewelyn and colleagues wrote. “Current international guidelines recommend 10-14 days’ treatment with β-lactams, based purely on absence of data for shorter courses.”

Many health professionals are so worried about underdosing that most antibiotics prescriptions for adults are not calibrated to account for differences in patients. For example, “under current practices, a 200-pound, 6-foot-2-inch man diagnosed with pneumonia would receive the same dose of antibiotics as a 124-pound, 5-foot woman with the same condition, despite their dramatically different body sizes.”

Though antibiotic resistance is a growing problem due to overuse of the drugs at home, the issue is already grave in hospitals where the concentration of antibiotics and at-risk people is high. That’s why hospital staffs around the world are on the front lines of developing more appropriate protocols for using antibiotics through a collective effort called “antimicrobial stewardship.”

During our recent reporting for the PBS NewsHour series “Stopping Superbugs,” science correspondent Miles O’Brien met some antimicrobial stewards at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

“We’re facing a crisis,” said Dr. Shira Doron, physician director of the antimicrobial stewardship program at Tufts. “What we need to be doing is treating until the person feels better and then stopping.”

This approach is not without its risks, Doron acknowledged: “Some of those people may have a recurrence of infection. But the number of antibiotic days that you’re saving the general population if you take that approach is so large and the impact is so large that it needs to be sort of the next phase of medicine.”

At Tufts Medical Center in Boston, doctors and nurses bombard rooms with ultraviolet light, which causes genetic damage to bacteria, rendering them unable to reproduce. Photo by NewsHour

At Tufts Medical Center in Boston, doctors and nurses bombard rooms with ultraviolet light, which causes genetic damage to bacteria, rendering them unable to reproduce. Photo by NewsHour

But carefully managing antibiotics courses is a tough ask for already overworked doctors. A multitude of factors pressure doctors to overprescribe antibiotics, added Dr. Helen Boucher, one of Doran’s colleagues.

“I think that especially in America, patients come in with an agenda,” Boucher said. “They expect an antibiotic. It takes longer to not give an antibiotic. We have shorter and shorter times per interaction with patients. When I started, it was 30 to 60 minutes, now it’s 15 to 30 minutes. It’s harder to have that conversation to explain that we’re going to do this test, see how you do, and then decide about an antibiotic and I’ll call you tomorrow. That’s a lot of work.”

Dr. Helen Boucher said patients should ask doctors for shorter courses of antibiotics. Patients should take to heart the lessons learned by antimicrobial stewards in hospitals and do their own part in preventing the overuse of antibiotics.

“We’ve learned for a very few infections, ear infections in two year olds, you need to treat for the whole course. But for many others, we’re learning that shorter is fine,” Boucher said. “So, I think if you’re a patient at a doctor you should ask, ‘Do I need to take it all or not?’ And oftentimes, the answer will be ‘No.'”

This column originally appeared on Miles O’Brien Productions.

The post Column: The never-ending debate over finishing your antibiotics appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

          We are running out of effective antibiotics fast        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

Watch Part II: The financial barrier to developing antibiotics? No big payday for drug companies

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, we are beginning a special series on the growing concerns around antibiotics, why there is more resistance to the drugs from so-called superbugs that can be dangerous and even fatal, and why it has been difficult to create a newer class of drugs to solve this problem.

It is a story that involves the worlds of science, medicine, business and economics.

So, we asked our science and economics correspondents, Miles O’Brien and Paul Solman, to team up. Their coverage will continue over the next couple of weeks.

We start with Miles’ report.

It’s part of our weekly series on the Leading Edge of science and technology.

Every Sunday night, I put up the pills for a week at a time.

MILES O’BRIEN: Thirty times a day.

JANE TECCE: Amlodipine, that’s a blood pressure medicine.

MILES O’BRIEN: Each and every day.

JANE TECCE: Prednisone for rejection.

MILES O’BRIEN: Jane Tecce takes a pill.

JANE TECCE: This is hydralazine. That’s another blood pressure medicine.

MILES O’BRIEN: No complaints from her. She’s just grateful to be alive.

JANE TECCE: I’m grateful. I wouldn’t have gotten to see my grandkids being born and, you know, just see life. So you sacrifice things. So that’s how I look at it. It’s a tradeoff.

MILES O’BRIEN: In 2011, after years of battling a rare genetic disease, Jane received the heart and kidney of an 18-year-old man at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Her daily pill regimen is designed to stop her body from rejecting the organs, but it was another drug, an antibiotic, that fueled an infection that nearly killed her. A month after her transplants, she contracted pneumonia.

JANE TECCE: They put me back in, and I was very sick. I knew I wasn’t doing well at all, and a lot of pain. I had pain as if the ribs were affected and things like that, so they started pumping me through the I.V. with a lot of the antibiotics, and I think that was the beginning. By February, I had been diagnosed with the C. Diff.

MILES O’BRIEN: C. Diff, clostridium difficile, is a so-called superbug, meaning a bacteria that is not easily stemmed by antibiotics.

In fact, it thrives in people taking the drugs. Each year, superbugs infect more than 2.25 million Americans, killing at least 38,000.

WOMAN: The first thing you do is, you put on your yellow gown.

MILES O’BRIEN: At Tufts, doctors who come in contact with patients infected with superbugs like C. Diff must take great precautions. As the list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria grows, this has become a much more common routine.

So have some extraordinary efforts to prevent the spread of infection from patient to patient. Here, they bombard rooms with ultraviolet light, which causes genetic damage to bacteria, rendering them unable to reproduce.

Shira Doron is the physician director of the anti-microbial stewardship program at Tufts.

DR. SHIRA DORON, Tufts Medical Center: We are seeing patients with infections that cannot be treated by any antibiotic on the market. And we’re having to tell patients, we don’t have anything for you.

And so that makes it really scary and really concerning.

MILES O’BRIEN: Antibiotics are organic compounds that attack and kill bacteria. They are often derived from microbes found in soil and from mold. That’s where Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovered the first true antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928.

It, and a host of others developed in the decades that followed, revolutionized medicine. But it was no surprise that these miracle drugs would eventually lose their potency. In fact, when Dr. Fleming received the Nobel Prize, he warned of the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself, and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug, make them resistant.

Doctors began using penicillin to treat patients in 1942. Only three years later, they encountered the first resistant bacteria.

Helen Boucher is a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Tufts.

DR. HELEN BOUCHER, Tufts Medical Center: Resistance happens naturally. So, bacteria have various mechanisms to survive.

MILES O’BRIEN: It is survival of the fittest, evolution at warp speed. Bacteria adapt very quickly in the face of the assault. They can learn to strengthen their cell walls to repel the antibiotics. They can develop pumps to expel them. Or they can make enzymes that destroy them.

DR. HELEN BOUCHER: So, they figure out ways to evade the effect of the antibiotic. And this happens in nature, and it happens faster in the presence of antibiotics.

MILES O’BRIEN: You sort of make it sound like bacteria are smart.

DR. HELEN BOUCHER: They’re very smart.

MILES O’BRIEN: And they are adapting very fast, creating a big public health crisis.

KIRTHANA BEAULAC, Tufts Medical Center: Unfortunately, these bugs mutate faster than we can come up with new drugs. So, the only realistic strategy is to use the antibiotics that we have better.

MILES O’BRIEN: Kirthana Beaulac is the pharmacist director of the Anti-Microbial Stewardship Program at Tufts. We met in the central pharmacy, where they store the vast majority of their medications for patients. Here, they see themselves as a last line of defense.

Prescriptions for antibiotics are carefully scrutinized, particularly the drugs that attack a broad spectrum of bacteria.

KIRTHANA BEAULAC: It requires constant evaluation of the way we do things, and constant reminders, and really a critical assessment of everything we do every single day to make this — to really make any headway on this battle.

MILES O’BRIEN: You sound like you’re at war.

KIRTHANA BEAULAC: Kind of. Yes, this is. This is — we call it the arms race.

MILES O’BRIEN: In her laboratory, Dr. Boucher and her team are constantly analyzing cultures of bacteria from patients in the hospital, always on the lookout for another mutation, another superbug.

DR. HELEN BOUCHER: The infection preventionists come to our meetings every day at 11:30. And they are tuned in to be looking for anything, any one case that’s new that requires them to go do investigation. And that’s how we prevent anything from becoming a bigger problem.

MILES O’BRIEN: The longer bacteria see an antibiotic, the more likely they are to develop resistance. It poses a conundrum for doctors as they weigh the health of an individual patient vs. society as a whole.

DR. SHIRA DORON: I think there has been a general feeling that it’s better to err on the side of caution, and that caution equals prescribe. And I am trying to impart the message that caution might actually be not prescribing.

MILES O’BRIEN: The hunt for new drugs to prescribe is not easy. Scientists say they have already picked the low-hanging fruit. New microbes that lead to new antibiotics are no longer easy to find.

So, we are running out of antibiotics quickly.

My colleague Paul Solman met with a woman in London who could be the poster child for a post-antibiotic world. Eight years ago, Emily Morris was hospitalized with a E. coli superbug, the first of eight serious bouts with resistant bacteria.

EMILY MORRIS, Antibiotic Research UK: So, I could have had antibiotics when I didn’t need them, and also because I had so many.

MILES O’BRIEN: When she was young, she was prescribed antibiotics frequently because of a hereditary condition that makes her prone to urinary tract infections.

EMILY MORRIS: I was just very lucky, very lucky that a last-resort antibiotic did work. A lot of the time, it doesn’t work. It kills thousands of people a year. And these superbugs, I have been told, they are going to kill more than cancer by 2050.

MILES O’BRIEN: After we finished shooting, I sat down with Paul Solman to compare notes.

Emily’s story, that’s a tough one. And I think our heart goes out to her, anybody watching that, thinking this could happen to any one of us. And as I was shooting the story, I was thinking an awful lot about how close I was getting to these nasty bugs. Were you thinking the same thing?

PAUL SOLMAN: Yes, I’m a little hypochondriacal to begin with. I was now becoming germophobic, washing my hands all the time. I mean seriously.

MILES O’BRIEN: As a good American, I assumed going into this series that there had to be some kind of silver bullet solution that will get us out of this. But it’s not as simple as that. The drugs just aren’t there, are they?

PAUL SOLMAN: You would think there’s enormous, essentially insatiable demand for the product, so, obviously, the market is going to provide it.

But it turns out, it’s not anywhere near that simple. And that’s what the next installment of this series is about.

MILES O’BRIEN: All right, we will go to the dismal science next time.

For the PBS NewsHour, I am science correspondent Miles O’Brien.

PAUL SOLMAN: And I’m economics correspondent Paul Solman.

The post We are running out of effective antibiotics fast appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

          High-Tech Microbes Bolsters Natural Sweetener Production        
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Badal Saha and collaborators have found that the genetically engineered bact
          Greenhouse Gases……Microbes, Plants, Microbial Fertilizers?        

What’s in the soil anyway?
A lot more then you may have ever imagined……..and it’s pretty exciting. Maybe you think it really isn’t a big deal and not so very important. Tell that to the Irish who experienced the Great Famine (Irish: An Gorta Mór or An Drochshaol, lit: The Bad Life). Something in the ground literally changed our history, reduced the population of Ireland by more then 25%, and resulted in a massive exodus to the US. If you think the late blight, the fungus responsible for that disaster is long gone never to be seen again… are wrong.

Plants and crops are essential for our well being and for our survival. They could do very well if we were not here, but we can not get along without them. Microbes and plants go together. One thing for sure ………is that plants and microbes depend one upon the other.

There’s a party going on and we’d like to get involved………..but the important party guests are the microbes and plants. They’ve been enjoying each other’s company for a very long time. Take one or the other out of the room and the party is over.

Once in awhile uninvited guests crash the party and cause a lot of problems. The “bad” microbes, like the example of the late blight fungus that caused the potato famine, get in the door……. and they then can really make a mess. And it can cause us a lot of trouble. We’ve got to figure out how to keep the “bad” guys out. We want to prevent unwelcome guests from spoiling the party. Maybe you want to grab the fumigant and give them a little blast. Resist that urge.

There is hope. We may one day come to realize that the “chemical” solution is non-sustainable. New thoughts are evolving. It is refreshing and very encouraging to note that those who really have been at the front line have come to realize that you’ve got to adopt a strategy of making it more difficult for pathogens (bad microbes) to get started.

Dr. Elaine Ingham, a soil microbiologist and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc, has nicely described the standard practices that result in sick soils and sick crops.

Soil-borne diseases result from a reduction of biodiversity of soil organisms (microbes). Restoring beneficial organisms that attack, repel, or otherwise antagonize disease-causing pathogens will render a soil disease-suppressive. Plants growing in disease-suppressive soil resist diseases much better than in soils low in biological diversity.

Traditional strategies at fighting plant disease involve the use of chemical fumigants, fungicides, and toxins targeting the pathogen after the pathogen’s effects were apparent. Or in many cases, the agents were used to suppress or prevent the pathogen’s emergence with a belief that higher crop yields or healthier plants were then assured. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fumigants, and fungicides are too broadly damaging. They change the environment and damage the soil. We’ve got to change our strategy if we want to enjoy the party.

We’re talking about microbes today. The gases in our atmosphere, the microbes, and the plants are all interdependent in some very interesting and surprising ways. And we need to understand how changes in one have effects on the other. The soil microbes are so important.

The simple definition of a microbe (short for micro-organism) is any living thing that spends its life generally in a form so small that it is only visible under a microscope. As it turns out, the number of organisms that meet that definition is very large. The organisms may be further classified into groups called bacteria, or fungi, etc. We don’t need to get overly technical in classifying the organisms for our purpose of understanding how they are so relevant and important. They are exceedingly numerous and quite diverse. They represent most of the life forms populating the planet.

Some microbes are pathogenic………that is to say they may be responsible for causing certain diseases. There are human, animal, and plant pathogens. But most microbes are non-pathogenic and they are literally found everywhere. A teaspoon of soil may easily be populated with nearly 1 billion living microbes and a cup of soil contains many more microbes in number then humans inhabiting the planet. A teaspoon of healthy soil will easily contain 10,000 or more bacterial species (types of organisms), 5,000 types of fungi, and 10,000 types of protozoa (organisms capable of moving about in the soil).

Most of the microbes in the world do a lot of good………..and you don’t want to destroy them because they assist plants promoting growth, digest and remove “dead” things eliminating nutrient material that could have supported the growth of pathogenic microbes, and in the process frequently produce valuable substances like antibiotics and vitamins that humans have been able to use effectively in treating diseases and staying healthy.

Different Microbes…..produce different gases:

Most of the microbes on the planet are very specialized. They may also be very sensitive to the local environment multiplying rapidly and thriving when conditions are just right and perishing when the conditions are ever so slightly changed. Bacteria are able to multiply very rapidly when there is a sufficient food source to feed upon and under ideal conditions can easily double their populations every 20 minutes.

The evolutionary pressures have resulted in these niches where one species survives whilst the other perishes. One of the important conditional factors that will impact which microbes survive has to do with the level of oxygen available. We’ve already talked about the process of composting when the conditions are anaerobic (low or no oxygen present) or aerobic (oxygen present).

We know either condition is bad if this is done by composting because gases are produced that escape into the atmosphere resulting in the heating up of the planet.

Advocates of composting like to think it is “green” to compost, but a careful analysis shows clearly it is unhealthy for the planet. Composting is a non-sustainable way of dealing with organic waste. Under anaerobic conditions we find a lot of methane, nitrous oxide, hydrogen, and ammonia gases are formed polluting the planet. That is why we’ve got to get that waste out of the landfills. Compost that is too wet decomposes anaerobically.

Aerobic composting, the preferred method done industrially diminishes the amount of methane and other noxious gases escaping into the atmosphere in exchange for a lot of oxidized carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and heat being put into the atmosphere. Microbes are involved in both anaerobic and aerobic composting.

Why do microbes produce gases of one kind when oxygen levels are low and of another kind when oxygen levels are normal (higher)? It’s because a different group of microbes are involved when the conditions of composting are altered.

We’ve talked about oxygen and its effect on microbes and already in an earlier discussion about carbon to nitrogen ratios and how they need to be correct to support microbial growth.

When the ratio of carbon to nitrogen is changed, the microbes change too. And we noted that microbes can not do their thing if the water content is off. The humidity must be controlled to get efficient oxidation under aerobic conditions. All of these seemingly small changes account for much of the wide variations in the compost end product.

So why don’t we anaerobically digest waste material that can then be converted to natural gas (methane)? We could use that gas to burn off and make electricity or run cars…right? That is exactly what many city planners and municipalities are planning to do. This is not a good idea.

The planners know that the material can be processed to produce gas that can be used as a fuel to make electricity. This process has been studied and advocated by many who believe it will convert waste to power. You can read about it and see how they plan to make the conversion (Biogas production using anaerobic digestion).

It has long been recognized that anaerobic fermentation at near neutral pH (where the acidity of sludge is neutral like the water in your faucet) is fast and more efficient then composting. But it is not simple because the system requires a lot of attention to keep the conditions just right so that the proper microbes that produce methane are supported.

They can do it and fully intend to have you pay for it to be done. This is a Landfill gas plan to generate an alternate source of energy. The microbes involved in this process produce other gases too. And these other toxins mixed in with the methane that can not be easily separated from the methane give off noxious toxins when they are burned polluting our air and planet. Because the waste feeding microbes is varied and inconsistent, the end product varies too.

Mike Ewall’s analysis is well worth a read. "Landfill gas" is not the same thing as "natural gas" or "methane." They are three separate terms which mean different things. They should not be used interchangeably. The term "landfill methane" is deceiving as it's usually used to imply that landfill gas is simply methane.

Bokashicycle Fermentation…produces virtually no gases:

We’ve been talking about microbes, and how they are selected out by the conditions in the process. How can it be that anaerobic fermentation of organic waste with bokashi culture mix results in no measurable gases? We know already that anaerobic fermentation of organic waste in a landfill or in a biogas digester results in methane and other noxious gases being produced.

There are two factors that make it different. First, unlike the landfill or bio-digester where microbes are allowed to dominate the process by the conditions of fermentation, in bokashicycle fermentation a specific set of microbes is added to the organic waste. These pre-formed cultures rapidly take over the degrading process because they are dominant in numbers from the beginning of the process. It would be unlikely they could dominate the organic waste had they not been added early in the fermentation process.

The second factor has to do with the acidity. It turns out that few microbes can survive when the acidity is high. In bokashicycle fermentation the lactobacilli microbes produce acid as they work sustaining a relatively acidic environment that will inhibit competitors that might produce gases. The mix of microbes in the bokashicycle culture work symbiotically to break down proteins, plant cells, and other materials commonly found in organic waste.

Carbon is retained in its non-oxidized state as are the nitrogen products of fermentation and when these products are then placed in the ground, the soil microbes take over.

In our next blog, we will discuss in more detail how the soil microbes intimately convert the fermented products to nutrients plants can rapidly absorb.
          Greenhouse Gases……Wormeries, Compost, and Bio-Char…Oh My!        

Emerald City - Wikipedia

Things aren’t always as they appear………or as we are told. Like the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion, we need good ideas, our heart, and courage to do what is right. We are told that the planet is heating up, that frightening things are happening (global warming) and like Dorothy, Toto and her companions we are not too happy to hear about these problems.

The mighty Wizard of Oz (scientists) advise us to get the broom. We’ve got to face the wicked witch of the east and we’ve got to get rid of her creepy flying monkeys (green house gases). We are supposed to find the answers and get back to the mighty Wizard hoping then he will show us how we get back to Kansas.

Dorothy and her dog Toto left the farm to find “a better place somewhere over the rainbow” only to in the end realize that the answers had always been in their own back yard.

Like Dorothy and her companions, others are taking the yellow brick road to the Emerald City seeking answers hoping the mighty Wizard of Oz will give them good advice.

Leaders around the country look to Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for those answers. They want to know what to do with the solid waste, kitchen scraps, and organic solids that we all agree should no longer be placed in the landfills.

The Naked Truth About Compost

Green House Gases

What are the greenhouse gases anyway? We’ve heard a lot about them but perhaps you too have wondered a lot about them and why some gases are more damaging than others.

It’s really pretty simple and you don’t need an advanced degree or a lot of fancy calculations to get your arms around the problem. Simply put, anything in the atmosphere (over and above the surface of the earth) can absorb the sun’s energy, become heated, and then irradiate or send that energy back to the surface.

If we had no atmosphere a great deal of energy from the sun striking the planet would be deflected and sent back off into space. The surface of the earth would be significantly cooler. It is warmer here because the gases trap heat. Most of the things in the air are gases…….like water vapor, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Some of these gases escape the planet and take the heat they have absorbed with them and that has an effect of actually cooling down the planet. Fortunately for us, we are not loosing a lot of gas.

Gases formed at the surface going back into the atmosphere will heat up and blanket the earth sending heat back to the surface, and this over time results in a kind of steady state temperature for the planet. Some gases are more efficient at capturing the sun’s energy. When they form and escape into the atmosphere; they have a greater effect on heating. Other gases that are less efficient at capturing solar energy do little to heat the planet.

So you can already appreciate that we’ve got to think about the amount of gas being put into the atmosphere and how efficient it is at trapping the sun’s heat to get a handle on how bad the problem might get if we don’t change our habits. A small amount of a very efficient heat trapping gas could be far more devastating for the planet then large amounts of a relatively weak heat trapping gas.

Here’s the good news………..we need our atmosphere and these gases to get the temperature high enough to support life as we know it. The oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases all contribute to heating up the surface because they catch the heat from the sun on the way to the surface or as it is deflected off the surface distributing and blanketing the earth with a kind of insulation that keeps the temperature about 33 degrees Celsius warmer then it would be without these gases.

University of Michigan Greenhouse Gases Article

Some gases, like methane when released into the atmosphere over time react to form other gases (they are oxidized and broken down) and as you can imagine the chemistry can get complicated. But the point is that even though the life time of the gas in the atmosphere may vary and change with time, the heat absorbing and re-distributing heat properties of the gases are all contributing to a net gain in planetary temperature. If we were truly in a steady state where gases going into the atmosphere and leaving the atmosphere were fixed and equal, there would be no further net heating of the planet. But that is not a fact.

As it turns out the global warming potential of methane is about 21 times greater then the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. This is just another way of saying that a molecule of methane (and all of its subsequent known oxidized products) will in time be 21 times more effective then carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

Nitrous oxide, a gas produced by earthworms, also found in poorly managed compost piles, is 310 times more potent then carbon dioxide.

Composting Greenhouse Mitigation

Certain trace gases like fluorocarbons used industrially are more then 1000 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat and they are no longer being used because they so heavily pollute the atmosphere.

We all know now that methane and carbon dioxide are great contributors to planetary heating and it really doesn’t matter rather you think it is man-made or natural causes we don’t fully appreciate that explain the rise in carbon dioxide levels that have been widely observed. More polluting gases are only going to make things worse.

When carbonized products are oxidized, carbon dioxide is produced. So fuel used in transporting or processing materials, either goods or waste material will pollute the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Of course we’d like people to consume less and produce less waste so we don’t have to transport so much waste to the landfill. And we will ask them to take the organic waste out of the garbage so it can be processed more efficiently. We don’t want that methane and carbon dioxide coming out of the landfill and we need more space to bury the non-organic waste.

Seattle to require table scrap collection in April 2009

We’ve already made the point that composting is not the answer and is indeed contributing significantly to the global warming problem. We can anticipate that the problem will get much worse if more people adopt that policy. Academics who have taken a closer look at how people compost at home have warned us more then 2 years ago that these practices contribute greatly to global warming.

Check out this recycle article

Professor Jan Gronow of London's Imperial College has pointed out that "Emissions from home composting and poorly-run composting operations may contribute significant amounts of methane because75% of people's home composting bins are anaerobic because they do not aerate them." The concern was backed up by the head of the waste and energy research group at the University of Brighton, Dr Marie Harder, who asked: "Has anybody stopped to ask whether home composting is good for the environment?"
Over 34% of British households participate in home composting schemes according to the government, which has just completed an initiative handing out one million composting bins via the Waste and Resources Action Program.

Defra's (the British Government’s equivalent of our USDA’s) long-term waste strategy is currently being reviewed, with a new strategy expected by the end of the year. But Prof Gronow, who was formerly the Environment Agency's head of waste and remediation science, believes the government was "jumping on the climate change bandwagon" to reach European landfill targets rather than thinking about the real environmental impacts of different recycling and composting processes.

A little house keeping…………..

So some of you who think composting is good may want to cite a number of reports where experts have made the claim that in well managed compost operations the contributions to greenhouse gases are reduced. For example Californians Against Waste assert that composting is a greenhouse gas mitigation measure.

A Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Measure by Californians Against Waste

And there are primers for Compost Producers that attempt to rigorously prove that composting is beneficial and results in a reduction in GHG emissions.

Here it is very important to look at the assumptions that are made. We’ve got to question those assumptions to determine if they are truly valid and use a little common sense.

Although they acknowledge an inventory of GHG must be done to determine if policies are truly going to make a difference, the assumptions regarding what is happening when organic discards are processed are flawed.

Organic discards that are high in nitrogen and carbon content (food scraps, grass clippings, etc.) placed in the landfills decompose to produce methane and nitrous oxides. They pollute badly……… we want them out of the landfills. We all agree.

It is argued that the value of compost mitigation (to reduce global heating) can be determined by answers to these questions.

• What would have happened to the feedstock (scraps, clippings, etc.) had they not been composted?
• How is the compost operation run?
• What happens to the compost?

The negative impacts are said to be from emissions from diesel powered processing equipment used to handle and process feedstock that is being composted.

Good accounting practices mean you have to account for the cash coming in and going out. The rate of carbon dioxide produced does not necessarily equal the rate of carbon dioxide taken back out of the atmosphere by plants. That assumption was made in the mitigation analysis.

The carbon dioxide naturally produced by decaying plants is called biogenic carbon dioxide. The net balance will be close to zero if there is no polluting program in place. One assumption about composting that can lead to a great miscalculation is the assumption that the rate of carbon dioxide produced during compost operations equals the rate of removal from the atmosphere by plants that are alive and growing.

As more and more agricultural products are produced to feed the growing world population, the mass of organic waste has escalated. It is simply unreasonable to assume that the rate of aerated waste material allowed to decompose (by composting) will produce no more carbon dioxide then can be taken up by plants.

Although it might well be reasoned that because methane and nitrous oxide are far more heat producing than carbon dioxide alone, and neither of these gases are produced in well run compost operations, it does not prove that composting is the best policy. There are alternative practices that produce no polluting gases.

It has also been argued that composting puts more carbon into the soil (a form of sequestration). If you can put the carbon into the soil so less and less is available to oxidize and produce carbon dioxide, then over time the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has to drop……….right? This again is not necessarily true. It depends on the relative rates for producing carbon dioxide and sequestrating the carbon. If you are producing more and more carbon waste (more food scraps) and composting them, yes it is true more and more carbon is going into the soil, but you are also putting more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


Some of you are certainly familiar with wormeries and one might be tempted to believe these are going to help us out of this problem. Although the amount of worm composting is very small and the amount of landfill is large, the worms may not be as environmentally friendly as gardeners who use them have hoped for.

A lot of people love worms and think they do no harm. However, it is now clear that large commercial worm composting plants may be comparable to the global warming potential of landfill sites of the same scale.

Worms may add to may add to greenhouse gases

Scientists in Germany have demonstrated that one third of the nitrous oxide emissions coming from the soil are associated with worms. Although worms are very efficient at breaking down kitchen scraps and other organic materials, they emit nitrous oxide in the process of digesting these materials which as noted is 300 times as effective as carbon dioxide in trapping heat.

What about that idea of trapping carbon in the soil? Thousands of years ago the natives along the Amazon basin discovered a method of farming that until recently was not fully appreciated as a method of reducing the greenhouse gas effects. They were able to transform some of the most infertile soils into the most productive of soils that remains today even 500 years after they are gone rich in organic matter and nutrients.

The Terra preta, as it is known, was produced by a slash-and-char policy. The indigenous people like others in many parts of the world did a slash and burn to clear and prepare the land for crops, but instead of letting the fire burn openly and rapidly, they covered the lit fires with soil and straw to let it smolder. They reduced the amount of oxygen available for combustion.

The smoldering process puts about 50% of the carbon mass back into the soil where it is then available for plants and microbes in the soil. It turns out that microbes and plants symbiotically thrive off of the carbonaceous resins that are produced. The microbes release enzymes that are involved in freeing trapped minerals, ions and nutrients fixed in the charred mass that are then delivered to the plant root hairs. The plants secrete nutrients in return that are used by the microbes.

Because the oxygen levels were reduced in the process of decomposing the organic matter (in this case by slash-and-char), less carbon was released into the air as carbon dioxide. Carbon was put into the ground (sequestrated) and made unavailable for release into the atmosphere.

The Japanese government approved the use of charcoal as a land management practice in 1990 and we are certain much more work in this area is in process.

The more we examine the facts the more we realize that the processing of the carbon waste and the biomass that is less polluting occurs when oxygen levels are reduced. Although it is true that anaerobic decomposition in the landfill is polluting, this is because of the type of organisms that are allowed to grow and interact that trigger the release of methane and other polluting gases. An anaerobic fermentation process with the right kinds of microbes gets around this problem and most importantly produces no polluting gases. It is also far more efficient and faster then composting.

In the classic 1939 American musical-fantasy film, The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and her companions returned to Emerald City, her dog, Toto inadvertently exposes the great and powerful wizard as a fraud. They find an ordinary man hiding behind a curtain operating a giant console which contains a group of buttons and levers and are of course outraged at his deception. But the wizard solves their problems through common sense and a little double talk, rather than magic. He explains that they already had what they had been searching for all along and only needed things such as medals and diplomas to confirm that they were qualified to find the solutions to their problems.

They found in the Emerald city the answer they were hoping to get……….and it was surprising to discover it was right at home……… the back yard. We’ll talk more about microbes and anaerobic fermentation in the next blog.
          The Naked Truth…..about COMPOST!        


There, I just blurted it out……….there is something untruthful, something not being said about compost.

Understanding and committing to practices that are truly sustainable takes courage, involves change, requires forethought and action but gives in return treasures for the effort. At we are committed to educating those who really want to know the facts, and believe they will then with knowledge and good science make the planet a better place.

What I have to say today will go against a popular belief so strongly imbedded and advocated by so many that it is certain to engender retorts and denials. But one of the great thrills in science is seeing things as they really are……seeing the truth, like the child who told the truth about the Emperor’s New Clothes in Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 tale of the swindlers. The weavers, had declared they could manufacture the finest cloth to be imagined with colors and patterns that were not only exceptionally beautiful, but most importantly, the clothes possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.

So we are led to believe that an important part of recycling and keeping the planet “green” is making and using compost. We are increasingly being told that we’ve got to get the solid waste out of the landfill, that composting is good, that we should recycle our kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, etc. by composting them, and that compost is good for the soil and plants because it restores naturally what was missing. Plants are supposed to grow better when we use compost.

City and county planners are diverting more and more solid waste to tracks of land where compost is produced and then sold back to the public for garden use. Farmers frequently advocate composting and the use of animal manure to enrich the soil so they can obtain higher yields. A great compost industry has evolved. Giant earth moving machines, mixers, grinders, and trucks are used to move and manage the piles of “decomposing” organic matter that will in time be called “compost”.

Gardeners are coached and advised to use compost, to recycle their garden waste materials, and sold tumblers, bins, etc. designed to speed up the decomposition of organic matter so that the product can be used again and again in the garden.

What’s wrong with this picture? A lot. It’s plain to see we are headed in the wrong direction advocating compost as a sustainable process and it is certainly harming not helping the planet.

So what is compost anyway? Some people will say it is a dark, crumbly, and earthy-smelling form of decomposing organic matter, but it is perhaps better defined as a stable humus material. I like the Virginia Tech bulletin “Compost: What Is It and What's It To You” pithy way of stating what it is.


You can’t actually define it because no one knows exactly what it is. We can however say a lot about the process. When you purchase or make your compost you are getting something “earthy” at the end of the process but no two batches are ever going to be the same.

The process is well known. You have to collect the organic material and put it in a pile. The decomposition occurs because the naturally occurring microbes in the pile are working hard to consume the mass. They do this by oxidizing the plant material rendering in the end if all goes well a mass of humus.

There are many different types of microbes involved in the process all working together and an important part of the process is keeping the conditions in the pile right so that all of the essential microbes and fungi digesting material are healthy. During the process, because of the oxidation, the pile heats up. The heat is important because if the pile is too cold, the microbes won’t survive or the process will be too slow. But if the pile heats up too much, the microbes will die and then you have only a dead heap of partially decomposed organic matter.

As the decomposition commences, a lot of carbon dioxide gas and water vapor is produced and because of the heat in the pile, the gases are driven into the atmosphere. The pile begins to collapse upon itself as the center of the pile decomposes. This results in a substantial drop in the amount of oxygen that is needed to oxidize material. The microbes can not survive when the oxygen level drops too low but other microbes that thrive in low oxygen environments will begin to flourish.

The anaerobic (low oxygen loving) microbes take over and produce noxious gases including ammonia, nitrous oxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide and many other noxious materials. Because of the heat, these gases are also driven into the atmosphere. The loss of nitrogen in the form of ammonia means in the end the compost nitrogen content is reduced. This is the process of putrefaction and it accounts for the offensive pile odors frequently observed when material is allowed to rot. That’s not good.

Anyone who ever tried to manage a compost pile will tell you it is a little tricky. It is almost impossible to maintain the perfect conditions to get a consistent product. You’ve got to make a pile big enough to get the temperature up to 110 – 150 F, assuming you have a proper mix of microbes. You’ve got to turn it and mix it adequately to keep the oxygen levels up to support the oxidation and you’ve got to add enough water to keep the humidity between 50 and 60%. If you turn it too soon, it will cool too fast. You have to add more water as it dries out to keep the organisms working (wasting water).

We’re not done yet. The microbes are pretty fussy……some need organic matter high in carbon content whilst others need organic matter rich in nitrogen. You’ve got to support these requirements or the pile won’t decompose in the manner you’d like. It turns out you’ve got to have a proper balance of carbon to nitrogen to make the pile work (C: N ratio about 30:1). People usually define carbon as “brown stuff” and nitrogen as “green stuff”……so you mix brown and green materials to try to get the ratio correct.

I think you’ve got the picture and it is kind of ugly. It’s very hard to control this process and virtually impossible to keep it going smoothly all along the way. You just can’t mix the pile and keep the temperature, humidity, C: N ratios, and oxygen levels etc. all where they need to be to get a consistent product. When it is done industrially, a lot of energy consuming devices are used to make it better. Temperature sensors, blowers, heaters, sprayers, oxygenators, earth movers, etc. are employed. A lot of labor and energy is consumed to produce a product. It can take easily 6 months from the beginning to the end of the process to have a stable and cured pile of compost.

In the end the humus produced, because of the heat, etc. has been sterilized. The natural microbes that normally inhabit the soil are no longer present. The natural microbes in the soil are intimately involved in assisting plants fix nitrogen and provide many nutrients that plants can readily assimilate. A lot of nitrogen was lost in the decomposition (taken out of the product as ammonia and nitrogen oxide gases and dispersed into the atmosphere). The oxidation of the organic matter results in tons of carbon dioxide and water vapor going into the atmosphere. Have you ever witnessed a steaming pile in the cool morning air?

Is it natural? People frequently like to say composting is natural “natures way of breaking down the organic matter”. Nothing could be further from the truth. When did you ever see mounds of material piled up and rotting in nature? Men recognized that you could accelerate the oxidation and breakdown by gathering and piling material in masses that are properly aerated and humidified.

In nature material is far more slowly broken down. When the leaves and debris do pile up and become matted down by rain and water, the oxygen is excluded and anaerobic processes take over. Most of the decomposition is occurring at ambient temperatures. Because no one is turning material to get the oxygen levels back to surface conditions, the interior processes resulting in decomposition are anaerobic (at very low oxygen levels). Have you every witnessed leaves as they naturally rot? They form a soggy mass on the ground in the fall and by winter’s end have completely disappeared.

The process of composting is not nature’s way but man’s way of rotting material. It is polluting the planet. We are by composting releasing water vapor, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and numerous other gases into the atmosphere. We are releasing a lot of heat that would not have been produced naturally. If we encourage people to compost, promote composting as an environmentally sound solution, and want to believe it is a sustainable practice that will be good for the planet, we are only fooling ourselves.

Like the child who saw the emperor’s suit for what it was, those who want real sustainability will acknowledge there has to be a better way. And there is. We’ll talk more about green house gases, microbes, and anaerobic fermentation in the future.

          Seattle to require table-scrap recycling at homes in 2009        

Good Morning!

We're talking about TRASH! That's right, about the scraps and food that end up in your trash can and then in the landfills near and around cities. The people involved in handling your scraps refer to this kind of trash as SWM (solid waste material).

Just south of Seattle along the I-5 corridor there is a landfill adjacent to the busy freeway that is clearly visible to commuters as they commute to and from work. A few years ago the residents who live in the sprawling new home developments near the covered landfill and commuters along the freeway witnessed a spectacular event.......smoke and fire billowing out of the topped over landfill where grass had been planted. At great expense to property owners and tax payers the city and county engineers had to rework the landfill burying pipes to collect and safely handle what is naturally produced when garbage is buried...........methane gas. Pockets of gas form and find there way to the surface where they are easily ignited when garbage is buried and allowed to decompose.

Fires in landfills are very common and numerous other gases from the solid waste are fouling the atmosphere. We'll talk more about these greenhouse gases later, but it is obvious to anyone, just common sense that you can't keep putting scraps in the landfill. What to do?

Approximately 30% of the volume of material heading to the landfill is organic material, the solid waste left over from food scraps. We just don't have enough places to bury it. If you keep turning the trash, exposing it to oxygen while it is rotting (decomposing) you can minimize the risk of methane production but that requires a lot of machinery, labor, and energy. It is a non-sustainable solution.

City planners and engineers are trying hard to find a solution........and they have a plan for you. They want you to get involved. It's going to happen everywhere and it's happening right now. In Seattle all single family homes must sign up for table-scrap recycling in 2009. (Sharon Pian Chan's Seattle Times report published in July 2007)

Residents will have to pay for the service. Starting in April 2009 in Seattle, you will have to buy special containers that will then be placed at the curbside. You will have to sort your trash placing it in the special containers and will then pay the city to have it hauled away where it will be "reclaimed". Richard Conlin, a Seattle city Councilmember said he hopes that the garbage collection rates can be adjusted to absorb some of the additional cost homeowners will have to pay for the food recycling plan, but the real costs are still unknown.

Don't think you will escape these issues living elsewhere. Jared Blumenfeld, the director of the Department of the Environment for the city and county of San Francisco has sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a strongly worded letter urging the governor to sign Assembly Bill 548, which will increase California waste diversion by requiring apartment building owners to provide recycling opportunities at multifamily dwellings.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board provides to the public guidelines on diverting food waste and offers tips they believe are essential in meeting the California waste reduction goals.

Officials know these kinds of measures are needed but know a lot of people are going to be angry and opposed to the plans they propose. In hard economic times who wants to pay more to get the trash hauled away. And how do you know the plan they propose will make things better.

Emanuel Madison goes door to door in Los Angeles' Leimert Park neighborhood as a "recycling ambassador.”

His mission: to distribute 2-gallon kitchen pails to houses targeted in an experimental garbage pickup program. The city's plan is to try to divert 600 tons of wasted food that go to the landfills every day. The pilot program would have nearly 5,000 Los Angeles households join residents in cities like San Francisco and Seattle, which have been separating table scraps for years and recycling them into compost.

So there you are a plan to charge you the homeowner to sort your trash, and then pay to have it hauled away by the city to "compost". Common sense tells you they are right, you can't keep putting in the landfill. Does composting make sense? Is that really recycling and sustainable? No it is not. You can make the difference and save money too.

Richard Conlin, the Seattle city Councilmember is correct; there should be a reduction the hauling rates if you separate your organic SWM from the other trash because the size of the containers required going to the landfill will be reduced. In fact King County's solid waste management program( )provides incentives in the form of reduced hauling rates for homeowners who can reduce the amount of curbside trash. But you don't want to then have to pay more to have your food scraps and organic waste hauled away to "recycle" at a city or county facility.

How are they going to "recycle" the trash? King County's Solid Waste Division has embarked on a new project to generate usable energy from methane gas produced by the decomposition of garbage at Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. ( )

King County has contracted with renewable energy company Ingenco—doing business as Bio Energy (Washington), LLC ("Bio Energy")—to convert methane gas produced at the landfill into pipeline quality natural gas for use in the region. That's a big project. Currently they are collecting a million tons of garbage each year, hauling it to the site and letting it decompose. They collect the gas and burn it off because they can't yet make the conversion to a usable form of methane gas. It costs a lot in machinery, labor and energy to haul it off and handle it at the site.

Let's in closing look at the facts and use a little common sense. All that hauling and transferring of trash cost a lot of fuel and labor. We are duplicating the transfer process consuming much more fuel because we've still got to haul trash to the landfill, and now haul organic matter to another site for processing. It is well known that collecting all of the methane produced in a landfill is very difficult and most of it escapes into the atmosphere. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that most experts’ state is 20 to 80 times more effective at heating the planet then carbon dioxide. A lot of carbon dioxide is also produced in the "recycle" site and it also escapes into the atmosphere. The heat from flaming and burning of gases goes straight into the air heating the planet too. And the methane produced is impure, containing many other nitrous and sulfur containing materials that when burned with the methane yield even more toxic gases for the planet to absorb. By the way the main product from methane combustion is carbon dioxide.

It's been a long blog today...........but think about it. You could have processed the trash right at home using microbes to do the work. If you had taken your trash and fermented it using an anaerobic bokashi system, no gases, heat, or toxic waste would have been produced. You wouldn't be paying to have your organic trash hauled by the city to a site where toxins are produced. Next topic........we're going to talk about composting. Maybe you think that is the answer.

          Your Brain 101: Think With Your Stomach – The Gut Microbiome        
your-brain-101-think-with-your-stomach-the-gut-microbiomeScientists have known for quite some time that bacteria that occur in the gut affect a person’s health, from digestion to allergies. More recently, studies are finding that the microbes that colonize the gut also have an effect on the brain, and can play a role in conditions such as autism, depression and anxiety.

Here to explain more is Dr. Jesse Corry, neurologist at Allina Health’s United Hospital.
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          Why its very Important to Urinate After Having Seks        

It is very important to go for pee just after seks, it can save you from severe urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be painful and require antibiotics.

By having seks, those microbes and bacteria in the genital area and rectum can enter and accumulate in the urethra, running the risk of infection occur in the bladder. In fact, it has been shown that this is one of the most common causes of urinary tract infections in women, and that is why, in order to avoid it, experts stress the importance to urinate right after seks.

Furthermore, doctors say, unlike men, female ejaculation does not occur through the urethra so the only way to draw and expel all those substances or particles that are introduced during penetration is through urination, so it is recommended not to forget this, once completed intercourse. It is advised not to take your time and to urinate preferably within 45 minutes after penetration.


          Marilyn Roossinck: 101 viruses        
Viruses are seldom considered beautiful, though visually, many are in fact stunning. While the sheer mention of them usually brings on vigilant hand-washing, some are actually beneficial to their hosts, and many are crucial to the health of our planet. Virus: An Illustrated Guide to 101 Incredible Microbes by Marilyn Roosinck offers an unprecedented look at […]
          The Surprising Natural Remedy Linked to Allergy Relief        
Aaaa-choo. It’s that time of year again for allergy sufferers. You may be surprised to learn that probiotics are among the best natural remedies for allergies. If you’re hooked on antihistamines, decongestants, and desensitization shots you might be inclined to think there is little value in such miniscule microbes. But more and more research shows […]
          Manchester Carpet Cleaning        
While people may often fail to realize this, a carpet is one of the most important pieces of furniture in the room. It acts as a sort of a second floor as well as an ornament or even a comfortable place to lay on. one of the problems of keeping carpets around is they are notoriously hard to maintain. Rugs are very prone to accumulating odor and microbes which can be very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Instead of letting it get worse, you can always rely on the veteran services of Manchester Carpet Cleaning.
          What Is Kennel Cough And How Do I Fix It?        

Kennel Cough: Symptoms and Treatment

If your dog is coughing a lot,seems tired, and won't eat much they may have Kennel Cough.  Here are some quick tips on treatment:

  • First, you should always seek the help of your veterinarian if you are concerned with the health of your dog
  • Most dogs can fend off Kennel Cough in 2-3 weeks on their own without medication
  • If your dog is elderly, a puppy, or has other conditions then they may need antibiotics, so GO TO YOUR VET
  • Keep your dog away from other dogs while they display symptoms
  • Try switching to soft foods if their appetite is diminished

And here's a more detailed explanation of what exactly Kennel Cough is, and how to treat it.

If you research kennel cough on the Internet, glancing at animal care forums, you'll find people have various opinions. Some panic at the idea of their dogs becoming infected, while others seem less concerned. Even veterinary advice can conflict, so how serious is your dog's cough, and what can you do to help?


help, my dog is sick! Dogs cough for a variety of reasons; sometimes it indicates more severe illnesses than kennel cough, such as heart trouble. Symptoms of kennel cough, however, are distinctive. The sound made by infected dogs is much like choking or honking. Small dogs can also make a sound like a reverse sneeze. The illness can begin two to 10 days before you notice symptoms.

Coughing may occur every few minutes or occasionally, and it will worsen with exertion, stress, excitement, and when your dog pulls on the lead. Most coughs are unproductive, but sometimes, foamy white phlegm is produced.

Although appetite usually isn't weakened, your dog might be tired and won't feel like eating too much. Your pooch will also have a sore throat and might have watery eyes.

The ailment is spread much like colds in humans. Coughing, sneezing, or sharing utensils will spread the infection, which is mostly airborne or caught via saliva. The bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica , microbes, and viruses play their part in most cases. However, it's now recognized that various bacteria can be to blame. Once your dog builds a resistance by fending off the condition, he is less likely to get the same strain again, but he might catch a different strain.

What to do

If you don't know whether your dog has kennel cough, get your veterinarian to examine him. However, call in advance and ask for him to be looked at in your car rather than inside the clinic. Kennel cough is highly infectious, so you don't want to contaminate other dogs.

kennel cough Most dogs fight the condition on their own without medication. Only vulnerable dogs or those with a secondary illness may need professional help, including elderly or young dogs, or those with a compromised immune system. Your dog may also need help if he isn't getting better, or gets worse. Symptoms usually go after about two or three weeks in previously healthy dogs. Nonetheless, your dog may be infectious, but symptom-free, for months. Professionals often advise owners to keep their dogs away from others for seven to 14 days after symptoms subside, however, as a general guide.

Many professionals don't like to provide unnecessary medications and know overuse of antibiotics can create resistance to their use later. Some veterinarians give antibiotics freely, telling dog owners it will shorten infections. If your dog is vulnerable or has severe symptoms, such medication might be wise.

If your dog's symptoms match those of kennel cough, your first response should be to isolate him. Keep him away from other family dogs to avoid their exposure to the virus, and stop taking him to places other dogs visit.

He will still need exercise, but should be restricted to the garden or backyard if possible. Too much bouncing and running may bring on a coughing attack, so encourage him to calm down.

As his throat is inflamed, swallowing might be uncomfortable, and he may prefer soft foods. Chicken soup tends to go down well, and a teaspoon of coconut oil will soothe his throat. Ensure his diet is healthy to build his immune system and provide plenty of fresh water.

You can also help your dog by letting him inhale steam to loosen mucus. The best way is to have him rest in the bathroom while you run the shower or bath. If you create steam in the tub, sprinkle a few drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil in the water. Your dog will enjoy their healing properties. Take care to keep him away from scalding water.

Kennel cough is uncomfortable for the dog, and the cough sounds severe, but it's usually not serious. Most dogs can fend off the ailment without medical assistance. While he's ill, feed him a nutritious diet, let him inhale steam, and don't get him overexcited. Remember to keep him away from other dogs, so the illness doesn't spread. If your dog is vulnerable, or if you feel his condition is intense, getting worse, or not getting better, a visit to your veterinarian is probably in order.

          Creationism, Evolution, and Antibiotics        

Do Americans believe in evolution? That depends on who’s evolving. According to a new Associated Press poll, only a slight majority believes that humans evolved through natural selection. But almost 90 percent of us believe that bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics. And that belief is far more important.

The poll, taken by GfK Public Affairs, shows almost total consensus on the questions most likely to affect the average respondent directly. Look at the table below. More than 90 percent are confident that mental illness is a brain-related medical condition. More than 90 percent are confident that our genes help determine who we are. More than 80 percent are confident that childhood vaccines are safe and effective.  For each of these statements, fewer than 5 percent say they’re not at all confident.

As the questions drift from direct personal impacts to cosmic hypotheses, the level of certainty drops. Only about 55 to 60 percent are confident that worldwide temperatures are rising due to man-made greenhouse gases, that humans and other life forms evolved through natural selection, or that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Still, these are majorities. The only statement in which a bare majority lacks confidence is that the universe began with a big bang 13.8 billion years ago. And that finding might understate belief in the big bang, since it specifies, with a decimal point, an age that some respondents might feel unqualified to vouch for.

To me, the climate change numbers are the most troubling. They illustrate a weakness in our capacity to reason. Climate change, like smoking, vaccines, or mental illness, is a material problem that affects many people. But because its effects are diffuse and delayed, respondents are less compelled to face it. When your uncle dies of cancer, you can no longer ignore the perils of smoking. But when your great-grandchild suffers from global warming, it’s too late for you to get the message.

The good news is that on evolutionary questions, this tendency to be moved by material practicality works in our favor. Compare the poll’s findings on human evolution with its findings on microbes. Only 55 percent of respondents are at least somewhat confident that “life on earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection.” But 88 percent are at least somewhat confident that “overusing antibiotics causes the development of drug-resistant bacteria.” Only 31 percent are very confident in the human evolution statement, but 65 percent are very confident in the antibiotics statement.

If you’re a biologist, these numbers may gall you. How can people be so vain and obstinate, refusing to acknowledge that we, too, are products of evolution? But if you’re a doctor, a patient, or just another citizen, the willingness of your neighbors to accept microbial evolution is far more important than their unwillingness to accept human evolution. You don’t need them to concede the relationship between humans and apes. You just need them to understand their doctor, and follow her advice, when she explains why they shouldn’t use antibiotics for a minor infection.

For most people who refuse to accept evolution, creationism is a compartmentalized fairy tale. It protects their faith in God and in human uniqueness. (In the AP poll, 72 percent of respondents say they’re at least somewhat confident that “the universe is so complex, there must be a supreme being guiding its creation.”) From the standpoint of scientific literacy, it would be better if people didn’t believe in fairy tales. But from the standpoint of public health and a well-functioning society, we just need them to lay off the antibiotics.

          Artificial Life: Image of the Beast        
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Artificial Life: Image of the Beast


Apostle Stan Johnson  

We talked about some important things, then we

Went to tonight’s subject

Artificial Life: Image of the Beast

On June 3rd Craig Venter crossed a threshold not crossed in almost 6,000
years-he created life!  Craig is a genome pioneer, maverick biologist, and
billionaire who created a synthetic gene from near scratch.  He merged four
designer microbes to make a man-made artificial life form whose father is a
computer.  Some fear it could end the human race, as in the movie I am

Another do not miss

“End-Time Radio Program”

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          Drug companies aren’t making new antibiotics. Is there an economic cure?        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

Find all of our stories in this series, Stopping Superbugs

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to our series on the hunt for new antibiotics, as superbugs and bacteria are building more resistance to the current line of drugs.

It is a joint project from our correspondents Paul Solman and Miles O’Brien.

Last night, Paul looked at why the market for developing new drugs is simply no longer working. But, as one expert warned, antibiotics are a class of drugs that could be lost for treatment if there’s no new investment.

As part of his series Making Sense, Paul looks at some new options for solving that problem.

PAUL SOLMAN: Northeastern University biologist Slava Epstein has traveled the world on the hunt for hitherto undiscovered microbes. Some trips are shorter than others.

MILES O’BRIEN: We are five minutes from your lab, right in the heart of Boston, and this soil is as good as any?

DR. SLAVA EPSTEIN, Co-founder, Novobiotic Pharmaceuticals: This soil is as good as any.

PAUL SOLMAN: As Professor Epstein told my NewsHour counterpart on the science beat, Miles O’Brien, just about any handful of soil contains tens of thousands of different microbial species, 99 percent of which remain utterly unexamined, in part because they refuse to grow in petri dishes.

Epstein’s breakthrough was figuring out how to cultivate them, inventing a gizmo that isolates individual bacteria, then grows them back into teeming colonies.

So, you can kind of see through them there.

AMY SPOERING, Research Director, NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals: That’s right. So, in each one of those individual holes, in theory, there is a single cell. And by capturing single cells and putting them back out into the environment that they came from, you can cultivate microorganisms no one has ever cultured before.

PAUL SOLMAN: Amy Spoering is research director at NovoBiotic, the company Slava Epstein co-founded to study newfound bacteria, now up to 60,000 strains, and counting, as potential sources of new antibiotics. And how does that work?

SLAVA EPSTEIN: Antibiotics are produced by microorganisms to kill their neighbors, so the enemies, the competitors. This is an exercise that the microorganisms have been going through for the past four billion years.

PAUL SOLMAN: And that humans have exploited for the past century or so, with chemicals from microorganisms like penicillium, the mold that makes penicillin.

The trick is finding chemicals that kill infections in people without killing the people too.

So, I don’t mind interviewing movers and shakers, but it’s actually making me slightly dizzy, so I’m just going to look at you.

AMY SPOERING: Just look at me. That’s fine.

PAUL SOLMAN: So, what is this?

AMY SPOERING: So, what this is, is, this is where we grow all of the novel microorganisms that we cultivate. They need a large amount of air in order to grow well, in order to produce the antibiotics.

PAUL SOLMAN: So you’re aerating them?

AMY SPOERING: That’s right. That’s why they’re shaking.

PAUL SOLMAN: So far, they have identified 33 novel compounds here, one of which may be a breakthrough: a new antibiotic that kills bacteria in two completely different ways, making resistance much less likely.

AMY SPOERING: So, this is making our lead compound, teixobactin.

PAUL SOLMAN: And the cost, if all goes well, of eventually getting it to market?

AMY SPOERING: That’s big money.

PAUL SOLMAN: Big money that investors would be tripping over one another to provide, right, to get in on the ground floor of the next Z-Pak.

AMY SPOERING: The payout will be huge, if we are successful.

PAUL SOLMAN: But it’s a long lug, says Spoering, between bug and drug.

AMY SPOERING: This is 30 liters of it growing to produce the compound that we need to do the next set of pre-clinical tests.

PAUL SOLMAN: And then, after you have done those animal trials, the toxicology trials…


PAUL SOLMAN: … then, and only then, do you do trials on humans?

AMY SPOERING: First, an initial set of studies that is just for safety, and then you move on to the efficacy studies, which is phase two, and then much larger efficacy studies, which are phase three, clinical trials.

DALLAS HUGHES, President, NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals: Drug discovery is a very long process.

PAUL SOLMAN: Dallas Hughes is NovoBiotic’s president.

DALLAS HUGHES: We are talking with venture capitalists now, but venture capitalists aren’t going to become interested until we discover a compound like teixobactin and move it forward a bit farther than it is now. And we’re hoping to raise some financing soon.

PAUL SOLMAN: But, for now, they’re relying on government and foundation grants.

SLAVA EPSTEIN: Promising something that may or may not happen 10 years from now doesn’t make people as excited as if you were promising the results like here.

PAUL SOLMAN: But, hey, every drug costs a fortune to bring to market. That can’t be the reason antibiotic firms like this one have such a tough time raising private capital.

So, what’s the story? As we explained in a prior report, there just isn’t enough profit soon enough. You buy a week’s worth of an antibiotic, not three months, say, of Harvoni for hepatitis C.

NARRATOR: That’s one pill, once a day, for 12 weeks.

PAUL SOLMAN: And it costs about $30,000 a month.

Moreover, when a company comes up with a new superbug slayer, the medical community wants to keep it off the market as long as possible to delay toxic microorganisms developing resistance to it. Meanwhile, the patent runs out. Small wonder that even big pharma has said no mas.

DR. JOHN REX, Former Pharmaceutical Industry Executive: Most of the companies that were really doing the large-scale development work backed away from the area.

PAUL SOLMAN: Like AstraZeneca, where infectious disease Dr. John Rex used to head antibiotic development. What did he learn from his tenure?

DR. JOHN REX: It’s a good way to destroy $50 million to $100 million worth of net present value after 30 years of really hard work.

PAUL SOLMAN: But ever-hopeful startups like this one, Tetraphase, outside Boston, have popped up. And a new public-private partnership called CARB-X has stepped in to help fund their trek from test tube to clinical trials.

KEVIN OUTTERSON, Executive Director, CARB-X: We have, at CARB-X, $455 million over the next five years, but what we need globally across all countries is about $2 billion per year for antibiotic R&D, supported by public and charitable funds.

PAUL SOLMAN: So, says executive director Kevin Outterson.

KEVIN OUTTERSON: This is an infrastructure investment that has to be made in order to keep this drug class alive. I think antibiotics is the most valuable drug class in human history. It’s done more to save lives than any other drug class. It’s incredibly powerful. But it’s the only one that, if you don’t keep investing, you lose it.

Every other invention of modern medical science is still going to work in 100 years. Antibiotics, we know they won’t.

PAUL SOLMAN: Because bugs resistant to the antibiotic will evolve. But what cure can economics possibly come up with, when the market itself fails?

KEVIN OUTTERSON: The model that