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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
bacteriophage and balalaikas, we don't know how lucky we are, boys
Listening to:biotechnation
Reading:cobwebs forming in my read zone
Weather:70! rainy
It was 70 outside (and inside) when I woke up at 5:30a today. Dude. An inconvenient truth perhaps? Actually a very convenient one, I'm loving these days of neither heating nor cooling and it's still 70 in the wigwam. Saweet.

So in addition to global climate change y'all should probably be actively concerned about the rapid sudden increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It's no joke, and it's your fault. OK, partly your fault. This whole hygiene hysteria of swabbing everything with antibacterial crap has been a big reason for the mega-staph problem. Didn't you take chemistry in high school? Just good old SOAP, when used properly and with adequate amounts of clean water, rids you of bacteria. There's absolutely no reason for anyone to spray bleach everywhere or trash my planet with zillions of antibacterial wipes and goos when simple soap will do.

Now the staph that is all over ya and your environment, and with whom we mostly happily coexisted for millennia, has become supercharged because of your lazy better-living-through-chemistry behavior. And as Dr. Anthony Smithyman explains in this fascinating episode of Technation with the ubergroovy Dr. Moira Gunn, bacteria who encounter each other, say in your intestine, can share antibiotic resistances amongst themselves. Oh yes, it's just like your friends and the kindbud, if one has some they're all catching a buzz. Only this is not a good thing. At least for survival of the current human species.

But thank goodness for the Soviets. Again. When our brilliant minds at NASA were spending gagillions on developing pens that could write in zero gravity, those badass Russkies showed us the pencil. Now we learn, thanks to glasnost apparently, that while our doctors were continually increasing our antibiotic doses to deal with everything from the clap and otitis media to meningitis Soviet doctors were keeping their population safely healthy with bacteriophage.

That's from the Greek "phagein," to eat. Yeah, it's viruses that eat bacteria, dude. Seriously. Us hipsters just call it phage. And they are everywhere already in our environment, ya just gotta identify them and apply properly. See phages are very targeted: a particular phage only eats a particular bacteria. Sweet. Very much unlike our pathetic excuse for antibiotic therapy, which often starts with a synthetic drug that kills a half a shitload of bacteria, then progresses to a more broadspectrum one that kills several shitloads. Just to kill that one little bacteria that's giving you an earache.

Much like how Cuba pioneered large-scale organic food growing because the stupid US embargoed chemical pesticides (and everything else) from getting to infidel Fidel, the Soviets and their more limited resources were the mother of phage invention (OK, they didn't actually invent them, but you know what I mean). After WWII the pharmaceutical age was flourishing in the West and we left bacteriophage behind, most likely because you can't patent a naturally-occurring virus. That's right, follow the money. But Georgian and Russian scientists kept at it, and thankfully post-coldwar openness will enable us to get access to their work just in time, as what Dr. Smithyman calls the Golden Age of Antibiotics comes to a screaming halt.

Please stop with the germophobic bleaching and gelling, just wash with soap. I know it takes longer, but what the hell else do you have to do anyway, make your mani and pedi appointment? Ever wonder why suddenly everybody you know has irritable bowel syndrome? Perhaps you've all killed so much of the necessary flora in your gut with your antibacteriamania that you've totalled your own digestive systems. Oh, that and those supersize mega-meatslab gutbombs from the drive-through. Your bologna actually has 37 first names.

P.S. You've been touched by an atheist.

permalink posted by cat 6:30 AM

read 1 comments

If you are reading this, then you
have survivied US Pharm's campaign
to get every last dime from us
citizens as possible. Be patriotic and invest in un-Amerikan biotech like
the extremely personable Dr. Smithyman.
With love from Alaskan Pagan.
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bacteriophage and balalaikas, we don't know how lucky we are, boys