Anti-ScienceScience

Skepchick Quickies 8.8.8

Omg, it’s 08.08.08!  Surely someone somewhere has predicted that the universe will end on this date?  Also, it’s the beginning of the Olympics and I am already sick of the freaky little mascots. 

  • I madez a rainbow wif ma sprinkler! – Yeah, lady, what the heck IS in our oxygen supply?  Sent in by a few peeps.
  • Cloned dog is a miracle– Owner who sold her home in order to pay $50,000 to have her dog cloned now plans to sign movie and book deals about her story.  Miraculous, sure, that’s the word.  Sent in by Paul.  Wired raises a good question- no one’s mentioned if there were any defective puppies created in the process of cloning and what happened to them if they were created.
  • Maggot secretions could lead to new antibiotics– Sent in by Michael.  Bug_girl raises some concerns: “I’m a little worried about this–maggots are the last line of defense for MSRA infections. If we start using their chemicals as drugs (without the wound debriding effects of the maggots), I worry that we might loose a really useful tool.”
  • Support animal research, save lives– Sandra’s blog post on the necessity of animal research and also a roundup of Sciblogger posts on the recent lab bombings.  

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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36 Comments

  1. I’m just going to pretend that Rainbow Conspiracy Lady is some kind of elaborate tongue-in-cheek commentary. If I thought that she were serious, I might have to retire to a cave and take up life as a hermit.

  2. I really want to do a DNA anaylsis of the dogs. Imagine the scam, just find a look alike puppy and sell it for $50k. Sort of makes me want to start my own buisness.

    It also really irks me that modern science can do this, clone an animal, and God gets the credit.

  3. The thing that always makes me sad when I see people cloning to get their beloved pet back is the belief they have that by getting a cloned pet, they will get “their” pet back, exactly as the original was in personality and behavior. There doesn’t seem to be much understanding of the influence of environment on the development of the personalities of the animals. I wonder if anyone bothers to explain this to the “customers”, or if they just take their money and shrug when the owner wants to know why the cloned animal doesn’t do all the things her original animal did. :(

    I also have to wonder about the wisdom of cloning an animal that died of cancer, but freely admit I don’t know enough about the cloning process or cancer development to know if it would increase the chance of cancer pups.

  4. Hmmmm….rainbows…in the drinking water…you’d need a lot of them…where would someone get a source of nearly unlimited, cheap rainbows?

    Unicorn farts!

    And just had a Quicky that mentioned unicorn farts…coincidence? Or maybe Satan! (Or Santa, I get those mixed up all the time)

  5. When I first saw this video, I assumed it had to be a parody of crazy George Noory fans. Turns out she has a whole youtube channel literally (and I mean literally in the literal sense) filled with lunacy

    The moon a mirror?

    (I do like Detroitus’ theory regarding how this demonstrates that chemicals in our drinking water in the past 20 years are responsible for the rampant, blatant, homosexuality plaguing our society. I’m guessing he could package that theory and this video up and sell it to certain crowds (Fred Phelps and Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper in particular.)

  6. Ok… Jerry and Josh, I’m prepared to embark on this quest to expose the nefarious unicorn/homosexual agenda. We need more info though.. Why is the unicorn even involved?? Is the unicorn gay? Are gay people unicorns??

    We need answers people!

  7. Actually, unicorns are apparently Jesus (Danger! just look at the pictures, the text will hurt your eyes…)

    So, unicorn farts in the water must logically promote something on the far religious right’s agenda.

    Perhaps more clues can be found here.

  8. Now, do you have to specifically drink sprinkler water to catch teh gayz? Or are the magical rainbow effects available through regular water? If I stop filtering my tap water through a Brita, will I suddenly become teh gayz? Since I wash in regular water, is only my outside affected by teh gayz?

    So many questions, so few answers.

  9. I think it’s more likely that it’s some sort of buildup on the inside of the water hose that contains the rainbow-gay chemical. That’s right.. Water hoses are made out of unicorn intestines!!!!

    That being said, it is obvious that when little kids are playing on a slip & slide or running through the sprinklers, they are in gay-training.

  10. If I stop filtering my tap water through a Brita, will I suddenly become teh gayz?

    I just checked my Brita filters, and it doesn’t say anything about filtering out gay changing germs/chemicals/…. Word to the wise….

    It’s one reason I have a Pur on my faucet that then goes into my Brita followed by a distillation I built using my refrigerator coils and a clean canvas tarp (since I also worry about catching teh gays from plastics laden with estrogenlike chemicals.)

    That’s what I’ve been doing ever since I thought I kind of liked Dennis Rodman’s hair.

  11. I’m late, but to answer the question–one of the things the maggots do in addition to secreting the antibiotic compounds is *eat* diseased tissue.
    That means that the amount of healthy tissue (and bacteria) exposed to the antibiotics is very low.

    The more you use a drug, the more opportunities that are presented for resistance to evolve. The more powerful a drug, the stronger a selective pressure it will exert.

    The drug would be systemic in the body, not just localized in the wound/infection area, so the chances of meeting up with a bacteria with a resistant phenotype is high. Bacteria swap genetic material all the time, so this could lead to faster resistance.

    Mostly, I just tend to err on the side of caution. If the maggots stop working…we’re really screwed.

    Somewhere around here someone explained bacterial plasmid swapping in the comments in very nice detail. Maybe I can find that…..

  12. To emphasize what Bug girl said, bacteria naturally exposed to maggot secretions eventually end up being eaten by the maggots and digested along with the necrotic tissue.

    Maggots produce many anti-bacterial compounds, their production is likely under some sort of physiological control, sort of like an immune system to prevent competition for decaying flesh in the necrotic wound they are living in. Some of those compounds might not kill bacteria, but simply suppress their growth. Bacteria that are not growing and dividing can’t evolve resistance to antibiotics. Selecting maggot secretions only for those that kill bacteria and not including those that suppress replication and virulence is begging the target bacteria to evolve resistance to those antibiotic compounds. There is no doubt that they will evolve resistance.

    A large part of the normal suppression of skin, gut and mucosa infections is due to the natural commensal bacteria that are already there. Bacteria compete with each other, and our bodies foster the survival of commensal bacteria that produce compounds that suppress pathogenic bacteria. Much of that suppression is by interference with quorum sensing compounds, compounds that bacteria use to communicate to each other when there are “enough” present to go virulent and kill the host.

    Many people are already colonized with MRSA. It isn’t “doing anything” except sitting there because it isn’t present at a high enough concentration for quorum sensing to trigger virulence. When a person colonized with MRSA takes an antibiotic that the MRSA is resistant to, the antibiotic kills off everything that is susceptible, leaving the MRSA with much less competition and an empty niche. It can then easily replicate enough to achieve a high enough density to achieve quorum sensing and trigger virulence and an actual infection.

    I am working with bacteria which oxidize ammonia into nitrite. My hypothesis is that these are the normal commensal skin bacteria which suppress everything else by oxidizing the ammonia in sweat into nitrite which suppresses quorum sensing in things like MRSA and Pseudomonas and other nasties. The more ammonia, the more NO/NOx they can produce which results in more suppression.

    When maggots metabolize protein, they deaminate the amino acids and release ammonia. That is the wound becoming more alkaline as mentioned in the article. If my bacteria were present in that wound, they would oxidize that ammonia into NO/NOx and that would suppress MRSA and essentially everything else.

    I have a write-up of some of the physiology behind antibiotic resistance and quorum sensing on my blog

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2008/06/suggestion-to-reduce-antibiotic.html

    Any treatment that kills bacteria is going to cause bacteria to evolve resistance. There is no way around that. A treatment that doesn’t kill bacteria can’t lead them to evolve resistance. Suppressing without killing is the approach we should be taking to the extent possible. Antibiotics should be saved for when they are really needed, not put into everything such as triclosan in antibacterial soap. That is a completely useless use of triclosan, one that is rendering triclosan and derivative products useless with zero health benefit.

  13. To emphasize what Bug girl said, bacteria naturally exposed to maggot secretions eventually end up being eaten by the maggots and digested along with the necrotic tissue.

    Maggots produce many anti-bacterial compounds, their production is likely under some sort of physiological control, sort of like an immune system to prevent competition for decaying flesh in the necrotic wound they are living in. Some of those compounds might not kill bacteria, but simply suppress their growth. Bacteria that are not growing and dividing can’t evolve resistance to antibiotics. Selecting maggot secretions only for those that kill bacteria and not including those that suppress replication and virulence is begging the target bacteria to evolve resistance to those antibiotic compounds.

    A large part of the normal suppression of skin, gut and mucosa infections is due to the natural commensal bacteria that are already there. Bacteria compete with each other, and our bodies foster the survival of commensal bacteria that produce compounds that suppress pathogenic bacteria. Much of that suppression is by interference with quorum sensing compounds, compounds that bacteria use to communicate to each other when there are “enough” present to go virulent and kill the host.

    Many people are already colonized with MRSA. It isn’t “doing anything” except sitting there because it isn’t present at a high enough concentration for quorum sensing to trigger virulence. When a person colonized with MRSA takes an antibiotic that the MRSA is resistant to, the antibiotic kills off everything that is susceptible, leaving the MRSA with much less competition and an empty niche. It can then easily replicate enough to achieve a high enough density to achieve quorum sensing and trigger virulence and an actual infection.

    I am working with bacteria which oxidize ammonia into nitrite. My hypothesis is that these are the normal commensal skin bacteria which suppress everything else by oxidizing the ammonia in sweat into nitrite which suppresses quorum sensing in things like MRSA and Pseudomonas and other nasties. The more ammonia, the more NO/NOx they can produce which results in more suppression.

    When maggots metabolize protein, they deaminate the amino acids and release ammonia. That is the wound becoming more alkaline as mentioned in the article. If my bacteria were present in that wound, they would oxidize that ammonia into NO/NOx and that would suppress MRSA and essentially everything else.

    I have a write-up of some of the physiology behind antibiotic resistance and quorum sensing on my blog

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2008/06/suggestion-to-reduce-antibiotic.html

    Any treatment that kills bacteria is going to cause bacteria to evolve resistance. There is no way around that. A treatment that doesn’t kill bacteria can’t lead them to evolve resistance. Suppressing without killing is the approach we should be taking to the extent possible. Antibiotics should be saved for when they are really needed, not put into everything such as triclosan in antibacterial soap. That is a completely useless use of triclosan, one that is rendering triclosan and derivative products useless with zero health benefit.

  14. I still think they should take a drop of blood from the Shroud of Turin and clone a zillion Jesuses so each Christian congregation could have there own Jesus minister,priest or whatever. No better yet, every household could have their own Jesus. Then we wouldnt have to worry about disease resistant bacteria cause your personal Jesus could just lay his hands on you and cure you. No need to clone a dead pet Jesus could raise it from the dead. And if unexpected company showed up around meal time , no problem Jesus is a wiz on food multiplication and enhancement. Out of wine …Jesus go get a glass of water please and do your magic but don’t change it into your blood for gods sake!

  15. You could have a miniature Jesus…like the cute little chubby Buddhas.

    Or..OR!…Pocket Jesus! Take him with you to work so he can smite your revengeful boss (or moronic friends staring at rainbows). Then you can stick him in a Polly Pocket carrying case…

    To think that a Miniature Jesus just threw me back to my childhood.

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