Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When Small Boys Grow Up and Get Degrees

Found in a nifty article (hoop caterpillars? Who knew!) at The Straight Dope:
The bacterium Escherichia coli, among others, moves by spinning whiplike filaments called flagella like tiny propellers. The typical flagellum is rotated up to several hundred times per second by what is basically an organic electric motor. We know it spins (rather than, say, twisting back and forth like a washing machine agitator) because researchers glued down an E. coli flagellum and the critter's body spun around like an eggbeater.

Emphasis, as they say, mine. Snickering all the while and fighting over who got to look through the microscope next, I'll bet. These were the same guys who put a light coating of SuperDuperGlue on the desktops in High School classrooms just in time for the next class to "experience the feeling." Oh, yeah.


Anonymous said...

Had one of those "experiences" have we?

Anonymous said...

Cecil Adams is a friend of mine... sort of. And an entropy warrior in his own right.

Anonymous said...

Don't do it! Don't watch Heat! It's boring as hell.

If Tam insists, have her fast forward to the gunfight - you won't miss much.

phlegmfatale said...

Heat? Hmmm, Val Kilmer.

Do it.
You must.

So, um, how could a stylin' one-celled organism with a beanie make anyone sick? I don't believe it. That defies the code of style and principle in my own personal universe. That would be like Pee Wee Herman getting caught masturbating in a (semi) public place, yeah? Impossible!

Anonymous said...

I'm with anon- I still don't know how Heat ended, because I fell asleep. It was not that late and I was not that drunk. It was that boring.

And yes, it was probably exactly like that. Biologists, especially those cooped up in labs, have to make their own fun.