Thursday, August 10, 2006


At the moment I'm getting over a weeklong bout of what I can only assume was the pneumonic plague. I seem to be recovering quite nicely, though, so maybe I'm related to those folks in Eyam, England. Eyam was a village that, during an outbreak in the 1600's quarantined itself for over a year. When people first ventured into the village, expecting a ghost town, they found over half of the population alive. This was during a time when the plague killed up to 95% of all infected. Scientist's have determined a genetic mutation(dubbed Delta 32) was responsible for the immunity, and that roughly 14% of the descendants of that village also have the mutation. In a lucky side effect, those people also seem to be immune to HIV, as multiple lab tests on various blood samples were never able to cause infection.

Earlier this week the Today show had a story about a new danger coming from your cell phone. I watched it, expecting new clinical studies proving a link between cell phones and brain tumors, and instead we were shown a probably redundant story dealing with how the technological gadgets you use everyday are just COVERED in germs, and apparently that's a HUGE problem.

Except it really isn't. Germs are everywhere, we all know this, but we keep getting sensationalistic news stories about the unseen threat around us. First off, germs really aren't the problem, viruses are, and viruses need an organic host to survive. The chances of catching anything REALLY bad from something like a cell phone, keyboard, or even hotel bed are pretty slim.

Consider this: 12 years ago on the Mir space station a Russian astronaut discovered a growth of mold that had been brought from earth. It was growing on one of the windows, and due to the confines and conditions of living in space, the mold had adapted to not eat organic materials, but inorganics such as glass, plastic and silicone. It was also nearly impossible to kill. That was one fo the reasons the aging space station was always falling apart. Can you imagine the repercussions of something like that reaching earth? An unkillable mold that eats plastics and silicone? Our entire society would be in jeopardy, and I don't think that's just hyperbole.

All told, I still think we all need to be a little less germophobic. Everytime I see one of those lysol ads claiming to kill 99.9% of germs, all I can think of is how dangerous that .1% is. Imagine it, thats .1% that remains on your toilet seat, immune to disinfectants. Every future generation stemming from that .1% will also be largely immune to disinfectant. Keep this up and it's gonna come back to bite us in the ass.

That's why so many diseases we once had under control are becoming threats again, that's why antibiotics are failing us, because we rely on them over our own immune systems. We've tried to circumvent the whole 'what does not kill us' idea only to find out it was pretty damn true.

Don't get me wrong, I wash my hands my hands nearly a dozen times a day, but that's because I work retail and am constantly handling money, which is the dirtiest stuff on the planet. But when I get a cold? I don't replace my toothbrush, nor do I take great pains to sanitize the environment around me. I keep clean, make sure I keep my phlegm to myself, but other than that I let nature take it's course. Besides, once your body recovers from any particular virus, your more or less immune to that particular strain. We only get colds and flus so often because they mutate from person to person.

It's like that old star trek episode, where the Enterprise picks up some space hippies on their way to some planetary Eden in the hopes of leaving behind the cold sterile federation(one of the characters actually has an incurable disease caused by the sterile conditions of a germ free life), only to find, once they get there, that paradise is poison to them.

1 comment:

Dr. WhoAmI said...


We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."