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Microscopic, Bacteria, Viruses, and the Teeny

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The Most Gruesome Parasites. The man who can map the chemicals all over your body. Sandy Huffaker Pieter Dorrestein's methods could reveal what microbes do in complex communities.

The man who can map the chemicals all over your body

Apart from the treadmill desk, Pieter Dorrestein's office at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), is unremarkable: there is a circular table with chairs around it, bookshelves lined with journals, papers and books, and a couple of plaques honouring him and his work. But Dorrestein likes to offer visitors a closer look. On his computer screen, he pulls up a 3D rendering of the space. Four figures seated around the table — one of whom is Dorrestein — look as if they've been splashed with brightly coloured paint. The picture reveals a lot about the space, and the people in it. Then there were signatures of the office's other inhabitants: the microbes that reside on human skin. “The applications are broad,” says Katie Pollard, a comparative genomicist at the Gladstone Institutes at the University of California, San Francisco.

Rock and roll Space crusaders No one had ever tried it. Ear Maggots and Brain Amoeba: 5 Creepy Flesh-Eating Critters. A 56-year-old Australian man is fighting for his life after becoming infected with a rare, flesh-eating "superbug" that caused giant wounds to develop on his thigh and stomach.

Ear Maggots and Brain Amoeba: 5 Creepy Flesh-Eating Critters

The man's condition is known as necrotizing fasciitis, and it's caused by a relatively well-known bacterium: Streptococcus, better known as Strep, according to a report by The West Australian, a local newspaper out of Perth. Some strains of the bacteria are potentially deadly, but they're not the only unusual things out there that can devour human flesh from the inside out.

Here are five pathogens and pests that feast on the human body. Beastly bacteria Photomicrograph of Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria.Credit: CDC The Australian man infected with flesh-eating bacteria last week is one of many people around the world to fall ill every year from a particularly nightmarish pathogen known as Group A Streptococcus. Shoo, fly! The screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax.Credit: Iowa State University Bad-news bugs. Here's How to Make Climate Change Extra Scary. Thirty thousand years ago, a woolly mammoth in Siberia shed a giant virus.

Here's How to Make Climate Change Extra Scary

It soon became encased in ice and, for tens of thousands of years, the virus slept. As global temperatures warm and the permafrost begins to melt, the virus stirs. It is sucked into the nostril of a researcher where it injects its DNA into a cell. The DNA commandeers the cell’s proteins and generates new viruses, turning the researcher into a walking pathogen factory. As she interacts with people, the virus swarms around the world, infecting millions and causing devastation on a massive scale.

Such a scenario isn’t yet a reality, but it may be closer than you think. Jean-Michel Claverie, a microbiologist at Aix-Marseilles University in Provence, could have caused this scenario twice. What if the virus could infect humans, and we had no quick way to stop it? Our brains, according to Gottlieb, gauge distance on four distinct planes: spatial, temporal, social, and hypothetical. Antarctic 'lost world' to be explored. 10 December 2012Last updated at 02:45 ET The camp at Lake Ellsworth Final checks are under way in Antarctica before the launch of a daring attempt to investigate an ancient lake beneath the ice-sheet.

Antarctic 'lost world' to be explored

Lake Ellsworth lies below ice that is at least two miles (3.2km) thick. Its pitch-black waters have remained isolated and unseen for up to half a million years. This will be the first attempt to extract uncontaminated samples of water and sediment from a body of water so far below the surface. Organism without a brain creates external memories for navigation.

Is it possible to know where you've been when you don't have a brain?

Organism without a brain creates external memories for navigation

Depending on your definition of "know," the answer may be yes. Researchers have shown that the slime mold, an organism without anything that resembles a nervous system (or, for that matter, individual cells), is capable of impressive feats of navigation. It can even link food sources in optimally spaced networks. Now, researchers have shown it's capable of filling its environment with indications of where it has already searched for food, allowing it to "remember" its past efforts and focus its attention on routes it hasn't explored.

And it does this all using, as the authors put it, "a thick mat of nonliving, translucent, extracellular slime. " Slime molds are odd creatures: organisms that have a nucleus and complex cells, but are evolutionarily distant from the multicellular animals and plants. They created a three-sided box, and placed it with the open end facing a slime mold. Image of the Week. Image of the Week #66, October 31th, 2012: From: Some sights about the microbial world by Psi Wavefunction at The Ocelloid.

Image of the Week

Source: Psi Wavefunction Sometimes in the quest for study and data, beauty appears.