More micro in the news

I had literally an email about yesterday’s post, in which I lamented the frankly appalling image of microbiology in the news. And it turned out that the email was sent regarding a speling errer in the post, which I thought I had, and have now, corrected.

Still, despite the lack of support from the 6000 miles…  reading public, I set out with renewed vigour yesterday in an effort to find and document a better side of my favourite branch of science in the media.

I failed.

The most recent stories I could find which involved Microbiology were this one:

which included this line:

Staphylococcus aureus, which causes a range of conditions including MRSA, was found three times more often on the surfaces of air dryers compared to paper towel dispensers during an international study.

Well, MRSA is Staphylococcus aureus, it’s not ‘a condition caused by’ Staphylococcus aureus. It’s almost as if the S and the A in MRSA stand for… ag… you get my drift.

Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect anyone?

Anyway – the upshot of this whole thing is that there are fewer bacteria that are going to kill you while you’re in hospital if people use paper towels than if they use jet air dryers.

We found multiple examples of greater bacterial contamination on surfaces, including by faecal and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, when jet air dryers rather than paper towels were in use.

Nice. [dry heave]

And remember, folks: Hand dryers also terrorise the vulnerable.

… And this one:

No issues here though, because the chances of anyone picking up a virus and transmitting it to anywhere around the world in this scenario is… oh… is actually really high. Could there be a worse place for nasty viruses to be found? This is literally how pandemics start. Or at the very least, it’s how they become pandemics.

Not great.

The image that Sky News chose to illustrate this story is interesting.

Now, I’m not someone who travels an awful lot, but I’ve done my fair share of flying, and that looks highly illegal. I’m pretty sure that whoever’s plastic security tray that is, isn’t getting their stuff back.

But then, considering that it’s now all – from their Old Spice stick deodorant to their Maybelline foundation (mmm) – covered in nasty viruses from the tray anyway, maybe not getting it back is actually quite a good thing.

Perhaps the best professional advice I can give is for you to pick your hand luggage up from the plastic security tray, and then go and immediately wash your hands in the first public loo that you can find.

Unless there’s an air dryer in there, of course.
In which case, you’re already as good as dead.

Song for a Seagull

A really addictive, happy pop tune from London 4-piece Teleman: Song For A Seagull. This will improve your Saturday.

And a really original video too. Live Instagram (despite its problems) feed from the back of a black cab in London? Brilliant.

Apparently the usernames popping up on the screen, helpfully in time with the lyrics, are the handles of fans who wrote in asking to be in the video. A little bit of editing magic and it looks like they’re singing along.

Simple, but so, so clever.

This song has now made it onto my Inspired By 6 Spotify playlist. And in case you want to share that more easily, I’ve made a bit.ly for it:

http://bit.ly/InspiredBy6

Please share the wealth – enabling people to listen to really decent music is a public service.

Waves

“You’ve Never Seen Waves Like This Before” proclaimed the title of the WIRED article.

See?

And it goes on to detail some of the photography of Rachael Talibart, who:

…remains both frightened and fascinated by the sea, a tension she explores in her new series, Sirens, which was recently shortlisted for a Sony World Photography Award and will go on exhibition at the Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts in September.

Here are a couple of examples.

Wonderful. So much power and energy.

Thanks to an extra high tide, a strong wind, and a sun that kept breaking through the clouds, the waves were large and crashing—and perfectly lit. Lying on her back, her feet to the ocean, Talibart used telescopic lenses and an ultra-fast 1,000 frames/second shutter speed to capture the towers and troughs of foam-flecked seawater.

Umm. An “ultra-fast 1,000 frames/second shutter speed”?

So, a 1/1000 exposure then? Woo! Speedy! [/sarcasm]

But fair play: the results are incredible.

Bring on the next Cape storm and look out for me lying on Sea Point Prom.

Belated Take On Me News

Not sure how this one passed me by. But it has passed me by no more.

We’re off to Geelong, Victoria, Australia, and in particular to the Corio neighbourhood in which Alex Boros lives… well, lived…

Alex Boros might not live there anymore because he was jailed at the end of last year. “For what?” I hear you ask.

[waits expectantly…]

Thank you.

For this:

No adverbs necessary.

Hero.

Obviously, this is erroneous reportage: you can’t play the a-ha hit Take On Me too loudly. There is no upper limit to the volume for that particular track. Windows must rattle.

Filthy language aside, I think it’s pretty impressive that Mr Boros is on first name terms with the council official whose unfortunate task it is to come and ask him to turn it down a bit.

He’s wearing those sunglasses “because the bright light would trigger his migraines”, which is very much in the same vein as his insistence that he was playing his music so loudly simply “to block out his crippling back pain”.

Unsurprisingly, this cut no ice with the court:

Ouch.

Still, I bet his neighbours are glad that he’ll be gone, for a day or two.

Go somewhere else and read about leopards

I read a very informative article about Cape Leopards (Panthera pardus pardus) (which are actually genetically the same as other leopards, but they live in the Cape) on the Africa Geographic magazine website.

There are a few bits that scream out [citation required], but as an entry level, popsci post about our local groot kat, it’s pretty interesting.  I could copy and paste, but I’d much rather you go there and read it for yourselves.

Here’s the link.

Come back for (possibly) less leopardy news here tomorrow.