“Schrödinger’s microbes: Tools for distinguishing the living from the dead in microbial ecosystems”

A few years ago I was hearing increasing discussion about the idea that much of the microbiology of the built environment was “stamp collecting” and that the indoor microbiome might consist largely of dead or non-viable material passively deposited indoors.  Many people argued that there was a need for better tools (or increased use of …

Interesting #bioart; “Bacteria from 300-year-old Ovid poetry volume inspires ‘bio-artist'”

Came across this pretty interesting story today, an article in the Guardian entitled “Bacteria from 300-year-old Ovid poetry volume inspires ‘bio-artist’”.  Basically the artist found an old book, and then cultured microbes from it, using her own blood to make blood agar plates.  Voila, cool microbe art with history mixed in.        

“The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events”

So this article doesn’t really relate to the built environment but is quite interesting nonetheless.  I feel like people often say things like “an asteroid impact would kill all us humans but life would still go on”.   The study, “The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events” is basically a bunch of math/physics trying to figure …

Random thoughts on science-based educational games, and a new article in Nature Careers

An interesting confluence of factors has come together in recent years, resulting in an explosion of “science games”. Some of these games use science as a theme, many are educational in nature, and some few even accomplish science through gaming.   In my opinion these are the factors that have precipitated this change: Board/card/video games have …

Research on mitigating risk from airborne pathogens in cars… but is there a risk?

Came across this study today “Airborne Pathogens inside Automobiles for Domestic Use: Assessing In-Car Air Decontamination Devices Using Staphylococcus aureus as the Challenge Bacterium”.   What struck me from the start was the Abstract which begins: Family cars represent ∼74% of the yearly global output of motorized vehicles. With a life expectancy of ∼8 decades in …

“House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests”

While not directly related to microbiology, this story about house dust caught my eye.   The title of the press release really says it all, “House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests”.   Looks like the probable guilty compounds are man-made things like fire retardants but there’s certainly a possibility for microbially produced volatiles …