Empiricist League #16 meeting at Union Hall on The Hidden DNA of NYC

OK this looks like it will be really really interesting.  Laurie Garrett sent me a link to this announcment about a meeting of the Empiricist League in New York: What are the 15,000 microscopic lifeforms that live on the subway? How disgusting are the contaminants in the Gowanus Canal? Can we use technology to stop …

Microbiome informed design – air quality, avoiding filtering, and lichens

This is one of those stories / articles / posts that simultaneously fascinates me and freaks me out a bit and for which I fluctuate wildly between those two points of view: bioME – RSA Human By Nature Entry on Behance By Candice de Aguiar Her basic design idea here is to allow for more microbial diversity …

Interesting and important new paper: Microbial composition of purified waters 

There is an interesting and potentially important new paper out from Caitlin Proctor, Marc Edwards and Amy Pruden: Microbial composition of purified waters and implications for regrowth control in municipal water systems in Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.  The abstract is below:

Is your spacecraft contaminating the universe?

An article at Space.Com discusses a new push to make sure that spacecraft do not inadvertently contaminate the places they are visiting (e.g., Mars).  What microbes are on space vehicles and how to make sure the parts that are sent to other planets are “clean” or “sterile” is an interesting and active area of research. …

Simple & elegant solution to a big problem in DNA based microbial diversity studies

A new preprint has come out in PeerJ that presents a simple yet elegant solution to one of the bigger problems in DNA based microbial diversity studies.  The authors (Wenke Smets, Jonathan W Leff, Mark A Bradford, Rebecca L McCulley, Sarah Lebeer, Noah Fierer) show how one can use the addition of an internal standard …

Sarah Zhang updates “What I Learned From Sequencing the Bacteria in My Apartment”

. Sarah Zhang at Wired has updated her post from three years ago about bacteria in her apratment with reference to a new study just published from the Wildlife of Your Homes study of bacteria and fungi in homes.  Definitely worth a look. Source: What I Learned From Sequencing the Bacteria in My Apartment | …

Federal Trade Commission Penalizes False Sanitation Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is finally cracking down on products that tap into the neurotic tendencies of extreme germophobes. In this recent Consumerist article, Chris Morran discusses the penalties Zadro Health Solutions and Angel Sales had to pay for false advertising of their disinfection products. Without a single lab experiment, we can already deduce …

Norovirus Aerosolization Research Using Vomit Machine

A big question many scientists have been seeking to answer is if norovirus, a common cause of gastroenteritis, is aerosolized. This could possibly occur when an infected host vomits. A new paper in PLoS one tests just that, using a vomiting machine with a clay face on it and a bacteriophage surrogate for norovirus to simulate the …