Germs what we do is still secret


    Mostly, they worry about single-celled, microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, some fungi, and viruses - or whatever the alien version of single-celled life looks like. We know for certain that bacteria and viruses can survive exposure to the harsh conditions of space long enough to hitch a ride to someplace more hospitable. Here on Earth, many microorganisms thrive in extreme heat, extreme cold, environments with little oxygen, or environments with high doses of radiation. In fact, biologists have studied these so-called “extremophiles” to learn how life might thrive on other worlds, like Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, or Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan.

    The prologue opens with an account of Diamond's conversation with Yali , a New Guinean politician. The conversation turned to the obvious differences in power and technology between Yali's people and the Europeans who dominated the land for 200 years, differences that neither of them considered due to any genetic superiority of Europeans. Yali asked, using the local term " cargo " for inventions and manufactured goods, "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" (p. 14)

    Germs like cold viruses and bacteria can live in some unexpected spots. Here are six surprisingly dirty places in your home -- like your kitchen sink -- and what you can do to protect yourself.


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