Sunday, November 28, 2004

OK, it is officially the season...We watched "It's a wonderful Life" last night on TV. Funny, Couldn't we all tell exactly who the Republicans were? They were the bad guys, of course...And tell me the love scene didn't get you going? I really mean the "love" scene, of course, there is no "sex" scene in this flick but that's what popped into your head isn't it?

I picked up a couple of really interesting things in my incessant reading this week.

Single celled bacteria have a social life. This is like the comic strip character B.C. yelling, "Clams got legs!" No wonder they've been trying to kill us! Here's the deal:
They work together to make the most of their food source. Well, this is an obvious thing to do for any social animal...only bacteria aren't animals! And they only have one cell and they are very small. Turns out that bacteria have been trying to let us know in all those petri dish experiments that they get together and party on, dude! Reseachers have known for centuries that we can determine the type of bacteria present by putting a bit in a glass dish with a food source and watching to see the growth pattern that develops. Different bacteria grow in different ways, and once there are enough of them we can see the colony with our naked eyes. Most of the time it is just a blue lump or something like that, but now and again we see very organized patterns of growth. At first this was thought to be something like the crystal development in chemicals, organized by atomic charge, but now we know better. The little bugs are talking to one another and getting organized for mutual benefit. They talk by emitting chemical signals that tell the adjacent bacterium where to line up in the colony. It's like one of them says, "Hey frank, why don't you crawl over next to Fred and then James you can get on top and reach the grapes, and we'll all share in the bounty!" This is intentional behavior by a cooperating colony for mutual benefit. It gives me hope that if single celled organisms that aren't even animals can do this...Maybe humans can learn to get along, too!

I thought about this some more and realized that this is going to cause a problem for the PETA folks. They can justify not eating animals because they can always eat plants...but if plants have feelings, too....

Scientists have come up with a weight reduction pill that works and doesn't seem to have long term side effects! Well I'm going to hold off on that last statement. until we know whether it kills the buzz, too! It seems that in studying the effects of marijuana on humans, they found that if they block certain canabinoid receptors, the patients don't get the munchies. Canabinoids are the goodies in pot that gets folks high. They occur naturally in lots of plants but not so massively as in pot. This has all the earmarks of a CIA sponsored study to prevent college students from having a good time, but it did reduce appetite in non-users, too. We'll see about that "No side effects" thing. Maybe that just depends on who's deciding what's a side effect and what's just an "Effect".



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