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.

Exhibition Road bubble

A QP from our recent flying visit to London:

As we emerged from several hours in the Science Museum, a street performer was performing on the street by blowing huge bubbles, accompanied by some dreamy classical music from a dodgy stereo.

There’s something quite ethereal about seeing 2m diameter bubbles floating towards you down a busy city street.
Still: makes for an interesting (and challenging) photo op.

Sadly, many of my London and IOM photos are very disappointing. I’m not sure how many are going to make it as far as Flickr.

So you should probably try your very hardest to enjoy this one then, right?

Some more France photos

I’ve gone through more photos from our trip, selected some, edited them and posted them onto Flickr.

The latest batch is here, and they’ve joined the previous stuff in this album.

This latest lot details the final couple of days on the Canal du Nivernais and River Yonne, from Bailly to Migennes via the prettiness of Auxerre.

This night time view of the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d’Auxerre taken from the historic footbridge didn’t come out quite as I expected. For me, there’s a bit too much soft light on the building, but its position against the night sky together with its dark roof gives it an ethereal, otherworldly feel, so I’m happy enough.

Still lots of holiday photos to get through.

I can just sense your delight. Even from 6000 miles… away.

Soon

I’ve finally got started on editing some holiday photos.
Well, I say that. What I’ve actually done is to upload some of them (the first 8GB) to my laptop.

It’s something.

So I have randomly selected this one – taken in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – to illustrate the fact that I’m all over this photo stuff like a particularly aggressive moss.

Looking at the first lot of pictures, there are an awful lot of of images taken inside churches. But then, there were an awful lot of amazing churches. And you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the architecture and beauty of these places of worship.

Because of its location and size, Notre Dame is obviously well known and much visited, but we found equally breathtaking churches (if not quite to the same scale) in much smaller places like Auxerre, Clamecy and Châtel-Censoir. More of those later, but it’s worth noting that in many places, they would be huge tourist draws in their own right, yet they sit quietly and humbly with no signage, no pre-recorded audio guides, no nothing.

And I found that the experience of visiting them was better for that.

Not yet

Regular readers will have deduced from the rather technical, niche (but probably very useful) post published earlier this morning, that I have not had chance to look at any of the photos from our trip away just yet.

I’m still a bit knackered, to be honest.

And that’s raised an interesting and rather worrying question in my currently overstretched and under-rested mind:

Are long haul flights like hangovers?

There do seem to be some similarities: they are both self-inflicted, they both leave you feeling dreadful the next day, they both cost a lot (although if you knock back a CPT-LHR BA ticket’s worth of booze, you’ll likely be dead so it won’t matter anyway), and the recovery from each seems to be taking longer and longer as I get older.

I used to bounce back after a good night’s sleep. This time, I’ve already had two decent sessions (careful now), and yet I’m still very definitely struggling. And you don’t even know if I’m talking about a flight or an evening of boozing.

Or both.

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

I don’t like it. I don’t like the idea of it. I don’t like the way I’m still feeling so battered this morning. I don’t like the way that this sort of thing reminds me of my mortality.
And I fully plan to combat these negative thoughts with booze and travel.

Although I’m not sure that’s going to help.