Monday, April 19, 2004

I was just coming down from...

a major biotech/bioweapons jag. Now I have to get back on.

I read several, okay 7 or 8, books on bioterrorism in the last several months. It was fascinating and scary and informative all at once. I wanted to take a course at the university in virology, but that's not offered here. All of the priests cringe when I come near for fear that the conversation will turn to wily viruses. I also love weird insects with odd attacks and defenses e.g. the Tarantula Hawk wasp or the Human Botfly. Now, we have one more to consider.

Apparently, a very nasty sand fly lives in the Iraqi sands. It lives symbiotically with another critter in its gut. When the sand fly stings it leaves this other critter behind. Then this other critter flourishes in the skin cells and leaves boils and blisters behind. Here's an example of its handiwork.

If people weren't being inconvenienced and injured by it, I would comment on how cool its defense systems work.

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