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h : 7 August 2008 • 9:53AM -0400

[Dark Matter] The World is a Village
by DarkMatter


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Living on the Edge
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C R Y P T  |  L I N K S | H O M E
Living on the Edge
Those clever bacteria

Bacteria genes far outnumber our human cells and we
have a symbiotic relationship with this other world which for the most  
part we don't even realize is there but there are 100 trillion bacteria,
about 3 pounds worth, in our gut to your 10 trillion cells there. The    
bacteria in your bowels outnumber the cells in your body by a factor of 10
to one. We are really outnumbered. Bacteria is life and it lives in us and
everywhere else. Another words there is 10 times more bacteria DNA in your
gut than your own DNA.
To take one example of how clever bacteria is, consider Vibrio fischeri
which lives in deep water. It produces a protein which glows; it emits
light - and it is called lux, but it takes a lot of energy to make this
lux so the bacteria doesn't make it unless other bacteria join with it in
the manufacture of lux. I signals other microbes using a hormone called  
lactone and V fischeri sense when there is enough bacteria density so the
energy expense is low and at the appropriate density level for ambient  
lactone there is at that high level a triggering of lux production - and an
entire population of Vibrio fischeri glows at once. A bioluminescence
occurs when the population reaches that threshold and where it resides in
the organs of deep sea fish, it causes those organs to then glow. The fish
uses the glowing bacterium so they can see and hunt their prey. When V
fischeri is not in the fishe organs and living in low density states it
does not need light and does not waste limited resources to cause this
bioluminescence to occur.
And when bacteria lives in colonies in your gut, about three pounds worth,
where it lines your intestinal tract, it is an extremely complex living  
system that aggressively protects your body from outside offenders.
Nothing is Dead

Viruses are not technically alive. But they may not be dead either? They're chunks of
genetic material and they only activate themselves when they get inside cells where they use
hijacked cellular machinery to replicate more virus material.  Then they are probably alive.
I say there is a probability they are then alive because this is one of those fine points
that is still being debated by microbiologists. Bacteria and Eukaryotes are alive; they are
self-sustaining and replicate. Archaea, which is anerobic, is the third Kingdom and is also
alive. You cannot build an antigenic blueprint without the virus. It takes immunity from
either your mother when you are a child - which is not complete and will dissipate quickly
or it takes exposure to infection. There is no natural immunity. All immunity is learned by
the immune system. Genes don't code for specific antibodies. There must be an immune
response to an antigen.

Recovery from the influenza virus creates immunity to that particular strain of influenza,
but the frequent genetic variation of the virus prevents life-long immunity. Vaccines that
include prevalent strains circulating in the population reduce the incidence and severity of
infection, if the HA and NA of the virus used for immunization match the infecting strain.
Current vaccine consists of 3 strains, influenza A (H1N1) influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B.
The H and N refer to proteins on the surface of the virus and affect virulence and efficiency.
(neuraminidase and hemagglutinin)

Your immune response often causes discomfort. A fever kills a virus but it is still
unpleasant to have a fever. Everyone experiences it though some may be slight and you might
barely be aware that you have had the flu. A flu attacks your respiratory system, but there
are other viruses which can be far worse.

But plagues throughout history have had devastating effects. In 79 A.D. malaria may have
been the cause of the downfall of Rome. In 166-180 the "Plague of Antoninus) was most likely
smallpox and killed as many as one third of the population of Italy.

In 542 - 543 the "Plague of Justinian" was ratbourne Bubonic Plague and caused a major
extinction of humans life. Propocopius, the Byzantine historian wrote that 10,000 people died
daily. The disease spread from Constaninople to Denmark.

And from 1346 to 1350 A.D. as many as one third of the population of Europe was wiped out
from Bubonic Plague and the disease spread from Asia to Europe by Mongol armies and fleas
carried the disease. Slave ships carried yellow fever in mosquitos in the 16 and 17

Smallpox was carried to the New World by Spanish Conquistadors
and killed millions of natives in the Americas. Europeans also brought with them
smallpox and measles. 95% of all pre-Columbian Native Americans were wiped out.

And the sexually transmitted bacteria disease Syphilis was carried to Europe from the
Americas. During the Industrial Revolution Tuberculosis killed tens of thousands and diseases
caused by contaminated food and water, Typhoid and Cholera was rampant. In 1918 the Influenza
outbreak killed as many as 50 million people.


Pinworms and other worm infestations were less a problem for hunter-gatherers
than the era which began with the agricultural period. Hunting and Gathering
communities were practically entirely free of intestinal parasites. There were
other differences also.
"...Pinworm infection is caused by a small, white intestinal worm called Enterobius
vermicularis about the length of a staple, that live in the rectum of humans. While an
infected person sleeps, female pinworms leave the intestines through the anus and deposit eggs
on the surrounding skin which causes itching. It was at this time that my mind turned to the
anthropology of pinworms. How is it that humans have suffered from these parasites for so long
and when did pinworms indeed first become a human health problem? To answer my questions I
turned to the research of Karl Reinhard AddThis Bookmark Button BEGIN -->
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Related Content
Excerpts provided here per the Fair Use Doctrine
for educational and discussion purposes per
Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,
Copyright Law.


     Today is Wednesday August 06, 2008*

Hank Roth - On the Internet since 1982
Hole (Home) - The Crypt -
Hank Roth (Bio)
* While I don't use a standard blog (weblog
software) mostly because I've been doing this too long - having been there with Ike when the
precursor to the Internet, Arpanet got started and every step of the way since, I can't get
into all the many fads over the years (now it is social networking), but I have been an
observer and participant in events which shape the world since my time with NSA and with
Army Security and as a voice security cryptologist in the White House for the President, and
the War Room at the Pentagon for the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff plus two wars.
You could say this site is one of the better kept secrets  on the InterNUT. You
are invited back as often as you would like to see what I and others, I trust, may be
saying. * *
-- Hank Roth*
[viewed 2005  times]*

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