Immunology Fact of the Day

September 11, 2006 at 1:35 pm | Posted in immunology | 2 Comments

I haven’t been posting much here, and nothing science related, so here’s a cool fact I just heard*: there are 100 times as many bacteria in your gut as cells in your body that actually belong to you.

*now I’m hesitant to post this because maybe everyone else already knows this, but I didn’t realise there were quite that many bugs.

A Bad Week for Australian Icons

September 9, 2006 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First, the Crocodile Hunter, then author Colin Thiele, and race car driver Peter Brock.  At least Colin Thiele got to live to a decently old age, dying in hospital at 85.  Apparently you have to be killed reasonably young, while doing the dangerous thing that made you famous to be offered a state funeral, though.

I wasn’t a fan of any of theirs, really, especially not Irwin or Brock.  I enjoyed Thiele’s books, but they were too closely tied to schoolwork to be favourites.  Actually, reading the Storm Boy excerpt posted at Sarsaparilla makes me think I should reread some of them, this time without any resentment-inducing book reports hanging over my head.

Now that I live in Boston, the many references to Make Way for Ducklings always remind me of Farmer Schulz’s Ducks (sadly lacking a web presence – it’s about a farmer and his daughter who try to find a way for their ducks to safely cross the new highway that’s been built between their farm and the river).  I think Farmer Schulz’s Ducks is a better book, but whenever I try to explain the story to people, they seem horrified that a picture book would include the carnage that accompanies each failed attempt at a safe crossing.  I was a very easily traumatised kid (I refused to read almost anything by Hans Christian Andersen), but somehow I coped with the ducks’ deaths.

RIP Crocodile Hunter

September 4, 2006 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A friend at home instant messaged me when I was still up at 1am this morning, asking if I’d heard the news that Steve Irwin had been killed by a stingray. My first thought was to wonder if he’d been poking it. Something that was put more diplomatically by Victoria Brims in this story:

I am aware he was filming a documentary and his documentaries are usually very hands on. I can only assume that he had some kind of hands on or close contact with the animal who like us when we get afraid defended itself

We used to drive past his zoo on the way to visit my grandparents, back when it was a dodgy little reptile park, but I never went.  I did see him and his wife in person when their tv show was just starting out, though.

I always thought he was supremely irritating and pretty irresponsible, and was embarrassed that he was one of the few Australians people in the US could identify, but it’s still sad.  His two kids are very young.

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