Our bodies are teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. They help us digest food, kill germs, and generally maintain a well-balanced internal ecosystem. According to Washington University microbiologist Jeffrey Gordon, "The total number of microbes associated with our adult bodies exceeds the total number of our human cells by a factor of 10... We're sort of a superorganism--one that's 90 percent microbial." Science News has a cover story about new efforts to better leverage our internal microbes in the fight against disease. Seen here is a scanning electron micrograph of yogurt, revealing bacteria that can be used to promote health. From Science News:
In the future, "pharmaceutical companies might be drugging your bugs, not drugging you," suggests Jeremy Nicholson of Imperial College, London.
Probiotic microbes' role in fighting generic diarrheal disease is old hat, but in the past decade, other influences on human immunity and metabolism have emerged. Certain microbial supplements show the potential to reduce the severity of colds and other infections, temper body weight, and even help the elderly fight osteoporosis.
The rub: Research is showing that a probiotic's benefits can be very specific. In fact, it might be more appropriate to view these microbes as a cornucopia of diet-based, over-the-counter micro-pharmacists–each able to dispense only a few therapies or services.
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]