Bacteria Quotes (displaying: 1 - 26 of 26 quotes )
Because we humans are big and clever enough to produce and utilize antibiotics and disinfectants, it is easy to convince ourselves that we have banished bacteria to the fringes of existence. Don't you believe it. Bacteria may not build cities or have interesting social lives, but they will be here when the Sun explodes. This is their planet, and we are on it only because they allow us to be.
Homo economicus was surreptitiously taken as the emblem and analogue for all living beings. A mechanistic anthropomorphism has gained currency. Bacteria are imagined to mimic "economic" behavior and to engage in internecine competition for the scarce oxygen available in their environment. A cosmic struggle among ever more complex forms of life has become the anthropic foundational myth of the scientific age.
Where I grew up, death is a constant visitor. A virus, bacteria, a parasite; drought and famine; soldiers, and torturers; could bring it to anyone, any time. Death comes riding on raindrops that turned to floods. It catches the imagination of men in positions of authority who order their subordinates to hunt, torture, and kill people they imagine to be enemies. Death lures many others to take their own lives in order to escape a dismal reality. For many women, because of the perception of lost honor, death comes at the hands of a father, brother, or husband. Death comes to young women giving birth to new life, leaving the newborn orphaned in the hands of strangers. For those who live in anarchy and civil war, as in the country of my birth, Somalia, death is everywhere.
My mitochondria comprise a very large proportion of me. I cannot do the calculation, but I suppose there is almost as much of them in sheer dry bulk as there is the rest of me. Looked at in this way, I could be taken for a very large, motile colony of respiring bacteria, operating a complex system of nuclei, microtubules, and neurons for the pleasure and sustenance of their families, and running, at the moment, a typewriter.
Michael Pollan: "The industrialization--and dehumanization--of American animal farming is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: no other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do."U.S. consumers may take our pick of reasons to be wary of the resulting product: growth hormones, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, unhealthy cholesterol composition, deadly E. coli strains, fuel consumption, concentration of manure into toxic waste lagoons, and the turpitude of keeping confined creatures at the limits of their physiological and psychological endurance.
Billy tried to imagine the birth of Cyril's wife's baby. It would happen in grim lights violently. A dripping thing trying to clutch to its hole. Dredged up and beaten. Blood and drool and womb mud. How cute, this neon shrieker made to plunge upward, odd-headed blob, this marginal electric glow-thing. Dressed and powdered now. Engineered to abstract design. Cling, suck and cry. Follow with the eye. Gloom and drought of unprotected sleep. Had there been a light in her belly, dim briny light in that pillowing womb, dusk enough to light a page, bacterial smear of light, an amniotic gleam that I could taste, old, deep, wet and warm? Return, return to negative unity.
As for the human case, the generation of men come and go and are in eternity no more than bacteria upon a luminous slide, and the fall of a republic or the rise of an empire—so significant to those involved—are not detectable upon the slide even were there an interested eye to behold that steadily proliferating species which would either end in time or, with luck, become something else, since change is the nature of life, and its hope.
Different sorts of survival machine appear very varied on the outside and in their internal organs. An octopus is nothing like a mouse, and both are quite different from an oak tree. Yet in their fundamental chemistry they are rather uniform, and, in particular, the replicators that they bear, the genes, are basically the same kind of molecule in all of us—from bacteria to elephants. We are all survival machines for the same kind of replicator—molecules called DNA— but there are many different ways of making a living in the world, and the replicators have built a vast range of machines to exploit them. A monkey is a machine that preserves genes up trees, a fish is a machine that preserves genes in the water; there is even a small worm that preserves genes in German beer mats. DNA works in mysterious ways.
Escherichia colia O157:H7 is a relatively new strain of the common intestinal bacteria (no one had seen it before 1980) that thrives in feedlot cattle, 40 percent of which carry it in their gut. Ingesting as few as ten of these microbes can cause a fatal infection; they produce a toxin that destroys human kidneys.
And there was something that frightened me much more. If I went to the doctor's tomorrow, and was cured by, say, the weekend, there'd be no relief from anxiety, just different anxiety. Even as the antibiotics hosed down my genitals, the mind's bacteria would be forming new armies. I'd come up with something to get me down...Was this the case with everyone -- everyone, that is, who wasn't already a thalidomide baked-bean, or a gangrenous imbecile, or degradingly poor, or irretrievably ugly, and would therefore have pretty obvious targets for their worries? If so, the notion of 'having problems' -- or 'having a harder life than most people', or 'having a harder life than you usually had' -- was spurious. You don't have problems, only a capacity for feeling anxious about them, which shifts and jostles but doesn't change.
In this way unwittingly the Widow-to-Be is assuring her husband’s death—his doom. Even as she believes she is behaving intelligently—“shrewdly” and “reasonably”—she is taking him to a teeming petri dish of lethal bacteria where within a week he will succumb to a virulent staph infection—a “hospital” infection acquired in the course of his treatment for pneumonia. Even as she is fantasizing that he will be home for dinner she is assuring that he will never return home. How unwitting, all Widows-to-Be who imagine that they are doing the right thing, in innocence and ignorance!
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
We may not like thinking about it, but germs crawl eternally over every speck of our planet. Our own bodies are bacterial condos, with established relationships between the upstairs and downstairs neighbors. Without these regular residents, our guts are easily taken over by less congenial newcomers looking for low-rent space. What keeps us healthy is an informed coexistence with microbes, rather than the micro-genocide that seems to be the rage lately. Germophobic parents can now buy kids' dinnerware, placemats, even clothing imbedded with antimicrobial chemicals. Anything that will stand still, if we mean to eat it, we shoot full of antibiotics. And yet, more than 5,000 people in the United States die each year from pathogens in our food. Sterility is obviously the wrong goal, especially as a substitute for careful work.
Baclli swarm within my portals. Such as ne'r conceived by mortals, But, bred by scientists, Wise and hoary in some Olympian laboratory. Bacteria as large as mice. With feet of fire and heads of ice, Who never interrupt for slumber. Their stomping, elephantine rumba.( From the poem--- " The Common Cold " )