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Friday, December 29, 2006


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I actually think the germophobia thing is going to haunt us one day - most microorganisms aren't 'germs' - and many of the lesser 'pathogens' just help to keep our immune system functioning efficiently. And most 'germs', by and large, protect us. Give me my messy kitchen anyday. I love my microorganisms.


Perhaps longest-enduring legacy of my stay at the Post and Courier is a newspaper clip that still hangs on my refrigerator.

Headline: "Cleanliness has Drawbacks"

I didn't write it. I wish I did. It's an AP article that cites scientific studies that our obsession with anti-bacterial products are breeding "super-bacteria" - evolved to resist the products we're using. There are also studies which, I believe, show that farm kids have healthier immunse systems, or fewer allergies, or something, from spending time in the dirt.

Anyway, that clip has been posted in every apartment and/or office I've inhabited since. So stay dirty or risk the consequences.


Pam speaks for the microbes. She converted me more than a year ago, and in doing so, literally changed my worldview. We are not even separate from microbes: There is not some membrane at which we "end" and they "begin." And how is it that we all took biology and yet so few of us grasp that there are "killer" bacteria and pathogens on and in our bodies all the time -- and yet they are harmless until they reach "infectious dose" and change their behavior.

If you want to stay healthy, keep the microbial communities that surround you healthy and stable. If you want to get sick, keep creating microbial vacuums in which "bad" microbes and pathogens can get a competitive edge...

This even applies to concepts like street crime. Destabilize the neighborhood drug trade by targeting one gang's turf and your homicide rate will rise as multiple start-up dealers and established rivals compete violently to fill the vacuum you've created.



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