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Thursday, February 21, 2013


Watches:  The average Swiss watch sets  you back $685, while one made in China  can cost as little as $2.  They both keep time well.  Clearly, people do not buy watches only for the sake of time.  But no different from a $5 Big Mac with a Coke compared to an extravagant Michelin 3-Star  $1000 meal.  But in many ways watches exhibit the worst in conspicuous consumption, as the most expensive is the Patek Caliber 89 for $5 million:

Microbe A:  Understandably, at one time a bacterium, Pelagibacter unique, was thought to be the most bountiful creature on Planet Earth.  After all, there are 100 million times more bacteria in our oceans than stars in the known Universe.  This organism is thought to be one-third to half of all the single-cell microbes in our oceans.  In fact, as infinitesimal as they are, their weight about equals that of all the fish.

Even further, there are ten times more bacterial cells on and in you than your personal cells.   While we each have from 10 trillion to 100 trillion (yes, science is guessing) cells, that means we could have up to a quadrillion bacterial organisms with each of us.  Let's see now, if it is true that there are ten times more viruses than bacteria, the mind boggles.  Here is a photo of the Pelagibacter unique to the left.

However, so much for once being King, as the HTVC010P virus is now considered to be more prevalent than any bacteria.  They prey on the former #1.  Read about this in The Economist.  So says Dr. Stephen Giovannoni of Oregon State University.

Microbe B:  While we are into these mighty microbes, here is a kind of surprise.  Many of us, myself included, suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure.  Doctors still say stay away from salt.  My blood pressure monitoring campaign last year questioned this practice.  More recently, there were hints that salt might not be so bad for you after all.

Remember, the medical profession once thought ulcers were caused by stress and what you ate.  People drank milk to ameliorate the effect.  Now, we learn it is a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, that causes ulcers.  Simple solution:  an antibiotic.

Well, the very latest medical news is that high blood pressure is probably caused by your gut bacteria through an enzyme called renin (left).  Some people have the right mix of microorganisms that their biosystem creates more propionic acid (PA--right).  Renin raises the pressure, PA lowers it.  All this is not controlled by your brain but your kidney.  How interesting.  Do you see future pills of propionic acid?  Or, better yet, a natural biocure.  Your blood test will now be complemented with a bio-test.  You will be fed the right bacteria, and the cheapest way, hate to say, is through cultured feces.  

Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Haruna at 115 MPH is just about making landfall over southern Madagascar, and will skirt north of Toliara: