Gydle has been silent the entire month of November. No excuses, I just didn’t have anything to say. Then I woke up this morning and my brain was teeming with ideas. Was it something I ate? First, I have a great gift idea. I got an e-mail the other day from “American Gut.” Imagine my excitement! The Human Food Project is live on IndieGoGo. For only $99 and a stool sample, you can get a list of the microbes colonizing your gut. Upscaling is a bargain – it’s $180 for two samples, $260 for three and a mere $320 for a family of four!
I was a little worried that after my last post, someone would stage an intervention. Take away all my running shoes, maybe, or set up a booby trap in front of the door so I would trip and sprain an ankle. Remember, way back this spring I asked you to remind me to be moderate when I started going off the deep end. Thanks for nothing, people! As it happens, I intervened all by myself and took two consecutive days off. Then I went into a funk. And that has really slowed me down.
Greetings from hibernation nation. I did say I’d come out if something really big happened. Guess what? One of my current scientific obsessions was Big News today! No, don’t go away – it’s not the microbiome. It’s my other obsession: junk DNA. I’ve written about it before, here and here and here. In a stunning “no doh?” development, a vast international array of researchers has discovered that the 99% of the human genome that was considered “useless junk” isn’t junk after all.
I know I’m supposed to be in hibernation, but something came up that was so good I just had to share it with you. You know by now that I am totally fascinated by the human microbiome, those trillions of microbes that make up most of the human organism. I’ve written here on Gydle about how microbes in our guts may implicated in a variety of ailments, from diabetes to Parkinson’s to obesity and irritable bowel disease. I also wrote recently that the massive NIH-finded Human Microbiome Project has had a number of publications like this one in Nature Magazine that outline thier discoveries about the makeup and function of a “healthy” human microbiome. I have a feeling that what we find out about the microbiome may well revolutionize our approach to health and medicine. You might also remember from last year that I’m also fascinated by the concept of click here to read the whole dang post [...]
I know I said I was going into hibernation. Even though it’s summer, and the root of that word is “hiver” or winter. Well, it’s winter in Australia, isn’t it? But this is just too good to pass up. There’s an article in the NYT today about internet addiction, and how Silicon Valley firms are debating whether they have any responsibility for what increasingly appears to be a true physical addiction to the stimulation of going online.
It takes a long time for this old bear to learn her lessons. For the past few months I’ve tried to feed this blog and translate and run and work on my novel and keep everything going smoothly in our household and keep up with interesting things on the internet. And everything is going fine except for the novel. Somehow, all those other things are just so much more immediate. So much easier to tick off the list over the course of a day. But when the day ends and I’ve not put in the time on my writing project, I’m somehow unsatisfied.
What with all the news about the microbiome in the headlines, running reports have taken a back seat at Gydle lately. Before I right that wrong, I’d just like to point your attention to another article in the New York Times – the number one e-mailed article today – about how we evolved along with microbes and viruses and other delectable parasites, and how our hyperclean germ-free existence is probably not that great for our health. Here’s a choice quote: Maybe it’s time we talk more about human ecology when we speak of the broader environmental and ecological concerns of the day. The destruction of our inner ecosystem surely deserves more attention as global populations run gut-first into the buzz saw of globalization and its microbial scrubbing diet.” I love it! These people are speaking my language. Dirt lovers unite! So, back to running.
All kinds of exciting things have been happening, and I haven’t written about any of them. Some of them involve running, and they will appear in the next post. This one is about my other current favorite topic, the human microbiome. Last week The New York Times had two very interesting articles, one about eating the weeds in your backyard, and another about the human microbiome. The first one speaks for itself. Apparently eradication can be dropped in favor of ingestion. Maybe I’ll give it a try. In any case it eases my weed aversion just that much more. The second article covers research being done in association with the Human Microbiome Project. Here’s my favorite quote: Dr. Barnett Kramer, director of the division of cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute, who was not involved with the research project, had another image. Humans, he said, in some sense are click here to read the whole dang post [...]
This morning after Brendan left – very early – to take the first written exam in his series of maturité exams, I decided to be really decadent and go back to bed for a few minutes. Marc was in the bathroom getting ready for his day - humming and humming and humming. No recognizable tune, just a series of little contented-sounding hums. It reminded me of a passage I read yesterday in “What I Loved” by Siri Hustvedt.
I mentioned in a recent post that we were in Ithaca in mid-May celebrating the careers of two extraordinary scientists – Marc’s dad Jean-Yves and his PhD advisor, Wilfried Brutsaert. They’re “retiring” – I put that in quotes because they both still go to work every day. It’s just an administrative formality and, in Yves’ case, a move up one flight of stairs to a new office. Many of their former students and postdocs came, there was much celebrating, eating and socializing, interspersed with 15-minute talks that were full of equations and hard to follow, all of which pleased the two men enormously. Somewhere in March or April I had suggested to the conference organizer, a friend of ours, that they should pay tribute to the supportive but not-likely-to-be-recognized wives of the two men. Brilliant move, Mary. Next thing I knew I had a 15-minute slot of my own on click here to read the whole dang post [...]