*ding* Order up: a side of science!
- Doctors in Texas reported recently on a man who would get spontaneously drunk whenever he ate carbs. Turns out, the man (who home-brewed beer) had brewer’s yeast (aka Saccharomyces cerevisiae) growing in his intestines, turning his gut into his own personal brewery.
- Speaking of brewing things on the inside, researchers are working on ways to turn your bone marrow into personalized drug factories by engineering B cells, which normally manufacture antibodies, to manufacture other kinds of proteins as well.
- When citizen science and crowdfunding meet microbiology, you can discover some awesome things. In the case of the American Gut Project, those things would be the first hints of patterns relating the bacteria growing in their guts and the foods we eat and medications we take.
- You need to listen to Sir Martin Rees, the British Astronomer Royal, when he says that science is the key to our future. (On a side note, his was the first TED Talk I ever watched, and it was unforgettable. You should watch it too.)
- The CDC announced this week that highly-drug resistant bacterial infections — “superbugs” — now kill at least 23,000 Americans every year. As the Boston Globe reports: “If action isn’t taken immediately…our medicine cabinet may become empty of drugs needed to fight these infections.”
- Termites certainly aren’t running out of antibiotics anytime soon. A new study finds that they construct nests laced with antimicrobial compounds — compounds produced by bacteria that feed on the feces the termites use to build the nest walls. Yes, termites use their own feces as drywall.
- From the Department of Duh: “Science Confirms The Obvious: Pharmaceutical Ads Are Misleading.” Well, not always, but at least more than half the time.
- And from the Department of Lego is Awesome: conservators at a museum in the UK recently used frames built of Lego to save and restore a 3,000-year-old mummy sarcophagus.
- So which came first, the chicken or the blue egg? In this case, the answer is easy: the chicken, and the virus that made it lay blue eggs.
- The next chapter in the hunt for energy may center on an undersea material called methane hydrates, aka “flammable ice.” But it’s a chapter that will take a long time to write.
- The Muppets had it wrong: It should have been “Frogs in Space,” not “Pigs in Space.” (Yes, I’m that old.)
- You can read a blue whale’s earwax like a tree’s rings. What you read in the wax is a record of the chemical history of that whale’s life in the sea.