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!
That sure is a nasty-looking phage. Great map of the solar system, too, with your addition of the newest planet. I loved how you used Google to hang Google. Yes, Google will fear all of us little googlers railing against their hugeness. They will sell us the rope by which we will hang them! I’ve heard of a new search engine that is supposed to protect our privacy, but I have already forgotten what it is. We are powerless against the great Google.
Thanks for introducing Greek into this conversation. Greece is the ALPHA and the OMEGA of what happens to government. Below, I will copy freely from wikipedia to illustrate! How just a few Greek words describe politics today.
Greece led the way in DEMOCRACY The term comes from the Greek word δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”, which was coined from δῆμος (dēmos) “people” and κράτος (kratos) “power”, in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC.
Another word incorporating the word Phage is SARCOPHAGUS: A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word “sarcophagus” comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning “flesh”, and φαγειν phagein meaning “to eat”, hence sarkophagus means “flesh-eating”; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos (λιθος σαρκοφάγος). Since lithos is Greek for stone, lithos sarcophagos means ‘flesh eating stone’. The word came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to decompose the flesh of corpses interred within it.
Which leads us to SARCASTIC: The word comes from the late Greek σαρκασμός (sarkasmos) which is taken from the word σαρκάζειν meaning ‘to tear flesh, gnash the teeth, speak bitterly’
Eat flesh, tear flesh. That’s modern politics exactly!
Which leads us to another Greek word: POLITICS: Politics (from Greek πολιτικός, “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of public affairs within a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy
I’m not a classically trained Renaissance Man, but I still appreciated your post, even though it was all Greek to me. (Har!)
I’d support a more friendly search engine, especially since ever tweak that Google loves to pump out diminishes the appeal of their search for me.
I think we all (including Google and the sun) should watch out for Newt’s massive ego, which threatens to suck the entire system into an ethical black hole!
You know what? I think that’s what I was somehow trying to say. 🙂 I still find it absolutely stunning that anyone can even pretend to take that man as a serious candidate. Wow, that is some funky shit!
We used to use bacteriophage all the time in the early days of molecular biology. They were really handy for amplifying sequences of DNA that you wanted.
Don’t spill any though — they could really infect your incubators and then they’d get into EVERYTHING and you’d have to do the whole-day-nooks-and-crannies bleach clean out. No bueno.
If there is a God, I only have one question: Why in the name of Hell did the bacteriophage have to look like that??? Those creepy spider-like legs? Those were completely over the top, man.
We already have a president with a huge ego. I’m still waiting for the sea levels to fall by the sheer tidal pull of his massive ego!
He’s doing his best to counteract the rising sea levels caused by Romney’s charm melting polar ice. 🙂
Saw this today. You must get:
I just canceled my order for The New iPad (dorky name) and ordered 100 of these babies instead. They are the bomb and will be so much more useful!
Thanks for the hot tip! 🙂