Welcome to the introductory edition of Animalcules!
Our first, and most pressing, issue is the name. As was pointed out in the comments here, there’s already a monthly column in Microbe (formerly ASM News) called “Animalcules.” But I still like the name, so I was thinking of incorporating something else with it. “Carnival of the Animalcules?” Eh, lots of those “carnival of”s out there. Try to be a bit more pretentious–“Festivus microbius” or something where it sounds like I almost know some Latin? Nah–too many people around these parts who actually *do* know Latin. So, after much thought and no brilliant ideas, Animalcules it will be, provided I don’t get sued or anything. Or just change my mind.
Thanks to those of you who submitted posts (including a pair who came out of “blog retirement” to contribute!) In addition to the posts I receive, I’m including a few others I found ’round the net that I just thought were cool.
So, without further ado…
Joseph’s post over at Immunoblogging shows one reason why all this microbial diversity is something we need to investigate, noting the incredible amount of antibiotic resistance in soil bacteria. If some of these bugs become emerging human pathogens, we’re screwed.
Of course, antibiotic resistance is always a hot topic when discussing these wee critters. Two other posts in this week’s edition also tackle the issue.
Moment of Science is a fairly new blog (though it’s already made the rounds with this enzyme map). PharmB admits her dirty little secret and lays the smackdown on a recent Dembski post over at…well, y’know, that blog-which-shall-not-be-named. (Josh over at Thoughts from Kansas and Mike the Mad Biologist also weigh in).
I’m stealing another one of Mike’s posts on antibiotic resistance as well, discussing why you might not want to feed Fido raw chicken. Well, at least if you want to keep them Campylobacter-free.
Paul is one of those who was kind enough to come out of blog retirement to write up a post for the carnival. He discusses quorum sensing, biofilms, and why what you were taught in microbiology class might be wrong. Okay, or at least incomplete.
Another semi-retired reader over at Mccavity the Mystery Cat (you really need to explain that name!) sends this post discussing the meningococcus outbreak that wasn’t–a good example of why we need more science-trained journalists.
Ewen over at another new blog, Complex Medium, shares an interview he conducted with parasitologist Robert Desowitz. Desowitz discusses policy, tropical disease, eradication potential, and his interest in the way parasites and other microbes affect host behavior– an interest of mine as well.
Discussion of parasites continue over at ye old Science and Politics blog, where coturnix explains how Plasmodium–the parasites that causes malaria–“know” the right time to burst out of red blood cells. That time just happens to coincide with maximal mosquito activity–check it out to find out what causes this.
Speaking of my interests, I’ll include one of my posts on a new paper on streptococcal pathogenicity. While the creationist and ID types are always demanding these huge changes in DNA to “prove evolution,” this new paper shows how a mere 7 base pairs can significantly alter gene expression in Streptococcus pyogenes (the group A streptococcus). Sometimes, less is more.
A reader emailed me this link earlier in the week, and I kept forgetting to post it. Over at Emerging Technology Trends, Roland writes about an advance in microscopy that allows researchers to see the inside of a virus. Complete with movie links.
So, there you have it–the inaugural edition of Animalcules. Thanks again to everyone who submitted posts and took the time to mention this on their own blogs. The next edition will be Thursday, February 23rd, back here again. I already have a few volunteers for whenever I decide to move it off this site, so let me know if you’re interested in that on a future date.