These two viruses (virii?) walk into a bar…
Okay, okay. Wait, wait!
Knock knock. Who’s there? A virus. A virus who? Newt Gingrich!
Dammit. That doesn’t work, either.
A priest, a rabbi and a virus are floating in a boat…
No, no, no, no!
Take my virus, please.
Aw, fuck it. I guess there will be no humor in this post. Don’t blame me. I tried!
So yeah, there I was the other day, writing a post about Google, recent updates to Google’s privacy policies, and thinking thoughts about just how immense Google has become.
To illustrate the latter, I decided it would be fun to modify a graphic of our solar system comparing the relative size of objects contained within. My plan was to seamlessly add a “Google sphere” to the image and make Google the largest object our solar system has ever seen.
After some experimentation, I decided that Google would only be about nine times as large as Jupiter. Yeah, that seemed about right. Let the sun reign supreme as the largest object. At least for now. Watch your back, sun! Google is coming!
Somehow, though, The Newt made his appearance in this graphic. That was an odd juxtaposition, wasn’t it? Seemingly it made absolutely no sense. Even I almost forgot how it came to be there, but luckily I remembered. At least, in my mind, it made some sort of sense and I thought I’d take a quick moment to lead you on a tour behind the curtain and share a rare glimpse of my creative processes.
Ready? Let’s go. Please remember to remain seating, stay within the post at all times, and no flash photography.
While laboring tirelessly to produce that “Size of Objects in Solar System” image, I had a thought. What if I also showed something small, really small, for comparison? That somehow struck me as funny.
So I fired up a Google Image Search and went to work. (Yes, I was using Google tools to assist me with a post that was critical of Google. I appreciated the irony of that. Isn’t this fun? I consider it akin to a virtual version of cannibalism. Yummy!)
I tried various phrases like small things and microscopic. Eventually I started trying phrases with the term “electron microscope” and it wasn’t long until I hit paydirt.
Yes, it was love at first sight. This was The One.
But how to include it? Clearly this was a phallic symbol on spider legs, and, of course, really creepy. It was perfect. And then it dawned on me.
What looks like a phallic symbol, is really creepy, and walks around on spider legs? The ethics of Newt Gingrich! It was fate, destiny and kismet all rolled together in one.
And there you have it. That’s how it all works here in the Abyss. I hope you enjoyed the tour.
For those of you not satisfied with the tour and on a quest for even more information, here you go. Our little friend is actually called a bacteriophage. As always, Wikipedia provides more illumination:
A bacteriophage (from ‘bacteria’ and Greek phagein “to devour”) is any one of a number of viruses that infect bacteria. They do this by injecting genetic material, which they carry enclosed in an outer protein capsid. The genetic material can be ssRNA, dsRNA, ssDNA, or dsDNA (‘ss-‘ or ‘ds-‘ prefix denotes single-strand or double-strand) along with either circular or linear arrangement.
Bacteriophages are among the most common and diverse entities in the biosphere. The term is commonly used in its shortened form, phage.
Phages are widely distributed in locations populated by bacterial hosts, such as soil or the intestines of animals. One of the densest natural sources for phages and other viruses is sea water, where up to 9×108 virions per milliliter have been found in microbial mats at the surface, and up to 70% of marine bacteria may be infected by phages. They have been used for over 90 years as an alternative to antibiotics in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as well as in France. They are seen as a possible therapy against multi-drug-resistant strains of many bacteria.
Now I’m hungry. Let’s eat!