[Offtopic] improbable research
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun Sep 2 02:18:45 EST 2007
An Astrology Chart for Bacteria
By Karen Hopkin, Ph.D.
Journal of NIH Research, Washington, DC
Astrological science holds that the differential monthly positioning of
the stars and planets controls human mood (DSM-IIIR), personality
(Goodman, 1972) and even fate (Reagan, 1982).
But what of the daily variations in the location of the star that is
responsible for all life on earth .. the sun? Might this simple diurnal
cycle affect the lives of more primitive, shorter-lived organisms, such as
If the relative hourly positions of the Sun and Earth do influence
bacterial fate, a sample daily horoscope for the common laboratory bug,
Escherichia coli,4 might be something like this. The numbers indicate the
time of day (am and pm) when a bacterium was born.
Aries (12 to 1)
A long dark stranger may be swimming into your life. Might be a good idea
to eliminate any viral sequences from your genome. This special someone
has an F plasmid with your name on it. Excess oxygen may be in your
future. Crank up the superoxide dismutase and hoard vitamins C and E.
Taurus (1 to 2)
You will develop ampicillin resistance. Take advantage of your new beta
lactam splitting talents and venture into drugged media. Look for a nice,
tetracycline-resistant mate and start a multi-drug resistant family.
Gemini (2 to 3)
A creep with wandering pilli will make a pass at you. Why not take all
their genes and leave an empty mass of lipoprotein? You're feeling motile,
but should avoid the south side of the petri dish. Don't be intimidated by
Cancer (3 to 4)
Your stars are definitely off course, and you will likely be engulfed by a
hungry euglena. But every cloud has a silver lining-you will develop a
trusting relationship with its mitochondria.
Leo (4 to 5)
Tough times ahead-minimal media at best. Why not sporulate and try again
in a month or two? A hearty virus will sweep through your parent colony.
Rest and get plenty of complex sugars to avoid this nasty little phage.
Virgo (5 to 6)
Great financial news - New England BioLabs is hot for your plasmid. But
things slow down when your home plate gets shoved into the cold room for
two weeks. Use the time to do some badly needed repairs to your cell wall.
Libra (6 to 7)
You're feeling mischievous and consider ruining a grad student's thesis by
inexplicably altering your phosphofructokinase expression. Sure, it might
be fun to wreck a scientist's career, but can you handle the extra glucose-
1,6 bisphosphate? Be sure to get rid of excess acid before visiting your
Scorpio (7 to 8)
Rich medium supplemented with casamino acids is in your future. Rev up the
Embden-Myerhoff pathway! Avoid sticking you chemoreceptors into other
cells' business. Some of your more sensitive friends may be experiencing
pre-S phase-syndrome and are best left alone.
Sagittarius (8 to 9)
Beware lab techs promising golden opportunities. You'll only get a
nanometer-thick coating of precious metal before you take a little trip to
the scanning electron microscope. Prepare to spend some time caring for a
friend in heat shock.
Capricorn (9 to 10)
Isn't it time you grow up and divide? Your friends have all set up
colonies of their own. So stop living off the nutrients released by your
dead relatives, and GET A LIFE! Live or lyse, my friend.
Aquarius (10 to 11)
An urge to rediscover your roots sends you on a trip to your homeland - a
young student's lower bowel. Travel should be easy: Microbiologists rarely
wash their hands before eating.
Pisces (11 to 12)
Ethanol has become your main source of carbon, you soused bug. Keep it up
and you may wake up wondering how you ever acquired the ability to
fluoresce. While you're thinking of it, stock up on catalase - where
there's oxygen there's peroxide. Divide early and often!
Copyright © 1997 The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). All rights
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