Carl Zimmer writes for The New York Times: How Simple Can Life Get? It's Complicated - "Scientists have long wondered how much further life can be stripped down and still remain alive. Is there a genetic essence of life? The answer seems to be that the true essence of life is not some handful of genes, but coexistence." [more inside]
At the very top of oceans and inland waters lies a distinct micrometer-thick microbial habitat. It influences climate change, fosters unusual and deadly bacteria, and is made of jelly. It is the surface microlayer.
Most people know that the expiration date on bottled water is for the bottle, not for the water. However, if your stored water is orangey, has the consistency of maple syrup, and is a billion years old, you're going to have worse problems than just a plasticky taste. [more inside]
January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
There are fewer microbes out there than you think. New estimate reduces the number of microbes on Earth by around half. [more inside]
The Autism Enigma is a documentary that explores the potential link between gastrointestinal bacteria and the disorder. It is viewable online through CBC's The Nature of Things. [Full show on Vimeo, for those outside Canada.] [more inside]
Here in the US, each state has a state bird, flower, fish, rock, soil, and Wisconsin just passed a bill to add the first state microbe, bacterium Lactococcus lactis. Of course the Lactococcus lacti would be a hero for Wisconsin, because Lactococcus is used to make chedder cheese. [more inside]
Really ugly neckties of your favorite infections.