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Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the we're-all-gonna-die dept.

Medicine 340

New submitter hoboroadie writes "Scientific American Magazine says antibiotic-resistance genes have moved from the incubators of our hospitals and factory farms, and are spreading through diverse species in the wild. Resistance genes have been detected in crows, gulls, houseflies, moths, foxes, frogs, sharks and whales, as well as in sand and coastal water samples from California and Washington. This stuff is getting more and more like a Hollywood script everyday, n'est ce pas?"

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Dystopia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345253)

This stuff is getting more and more like a Hollywood script everyday, n'est ce pas?"

..and companies like Monsanto are just making it worse.

Re:Dystopia (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#45345601)

Wrong agriculture business. This is antibiotic resistance. Monsanto is arguably causing herbicide and pesticide resistance, although such claims are stupid: they made the herbicides and pesticides, and they worked. It wasn't going to last forever if it was used widely, and if it wasn't used widely to make cheap foodstock, what's the bloody point?

They even took steps to limit that much. The terminator seed technology was partly intended to prevent contamination [wikipedia.org] : if the plants can't breed, they're less likely to mix with wild species and contaminate them. Obviously they had a lot of financial interest in it, both because if resistance gets into the pest populations, that's going to make their product worthless. And in response to the controversy and accusations that it would screw over farmers, Monsanto never actually put terminator seeds on the market. [monsanto.com]

Anyway, pointing fingers is only so helpful, even at the agricultural entities that ARE driving antibiotic resistance. At this point, we know the looming disaster. It's not rocket science or even climate science either. This is high school biology. Businesses can be expected to faithfully act without any regard other than immediate profit. Ignorant patients will always find greedy doctors willing to give them antibiotics they don't need for diseases that aren't bacterial. Fixing the problem won't happen voulontarily. We need legislation to prevent milk from cows treated with antibiotics from being sold in supermarkets cheaper than untreated milk. Same with other livestock. It's an externalized cost: there's an advantage to it that needs to be taken away. We also need to strip the medical licenses of doctors who give out antibiotics for the cold. Either they're shockingly ignorant of the last 20 years of research and aren't fit to be doctors, or they're intentionally contributing to a real health hazard and should face criminal charges.

Re:Dystopia (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45345699)

Ignorant patients will always find greedy doctors willing to give them antibiotics they don't need for diseases that aren't bacterial.

Why aren't doctors allowed to give people sugar pills instead of antibiotics? Of if they are allowed, why aren't they actively doing it instead of sending people home empty handed (which leaves them unhappy so they go looking for a 'better' doctor)?

There should be organization at a national level to produce nicely packaged placebos in important looking boxes. They could even change the name every few months so people don't figure it out.

If there's anything that's in world/national interest, this is it.

EPA recognizes 2 facilities with CHP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345255)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognizes two federal facilities with the ENERGY STAR Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award for their highly-efficient CHP systems, which increase the reliability of their electricity supply while reducing carbon pollution that causes climate change. The awards, which demonstrate how federal agencies are reducing carbon pollution in support of the President’s Climate Action Plan, were announced at the GreenGov Dialogue on Energy Management sponsored by the White House Council on Environmental Quality in Washington, D.C.

“Combined heat and power is a highly efficient way to produce energy,” said Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. “These federal facilities are leading by example and using this technology to help reduce their carbon emissions and make federal dollars go further.”

CHP, also known as cogeneration, simultaneously produces electricity and useful steam or hot water from a single heat source, using fuels such as natural gas or renewable landfill gas. By recovering and using heat typically wasted by the conventional production of electricity, CHP helps federal facilities achieve goals to reduce carbon pollution and energy use.

Award winners:

  Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, Albany, Ga.
  National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

The National Archives and Records Administration CHP system achieved an operating efficiency of 72 percent—much higher than the efficiency of conventional production of electricity and thermal energy, which can be less than 50 percent. The MCLB Albany CHP system uses renewable landfill gas to produce energy that supports essential base operations, saving approximately $1.3 million annually in energy costs and reducing carbon pollution equal to that from the generation of electricity used by more than 1,200 homes.

CHP is ideally suited for many federal facilities as it provides reliable electricity, heat, and cooling for offices and other facilities, as well as protecting resources (like data servers) that are vulnerable to power outages. A Department of Energy assessment of the potential for CHP at federal facilities indicated that CHP could be used at hundreds of facilities, increase power reliability, reduce transmission congestion, save taxpayers more than $150 million annually, and prevent carbon pollution equal to that from the generation of electricity used by more than 370,000 homes.

Established in 2001, EPA's CHP Partnership program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the cost-effective use of CHP. The partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new CHP projects and to promote their environmental and economic benefits.

Re:EPA recognizes 2 facilities with CHP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345527)

As part of the Obama Administration's efforts to ensure America's continued leadership in clean energy and double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020, the Energy Department today announced eight teams to spur solar power deployment by cutting red tape for residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems. [energy.gov]

But.. (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45345293)

We had a half a percent higher profit margin on cattle for a couple decades. That's totally worth having permanent incurable deadly diseases. Tragedy of the commons sucks balls, and time and again, it turns out that the "invisible hand" won't develop any solution to it.

Re:But.. (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 9 months ago | (#45345315)

The ghosts of Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand find your lack of Market faith disturbing.

Re:But.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345327)

The ghosts of Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand find your lack of Market faith disturbing.

That's OK. We think they were douchebags, so it's all good.

I find your lack of profit disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345751)

Lord Vader,
    The scientist/economist of the Capitalist Death Star have discovered that profit/revenue, and not medichlorians, generate the commodity known as "The Force". You will be re-assigned as a CDS janitor, as we feel that is where your body suit assets will provide the best ROI; we are raising interest rates and no loner require your services as "Lord".

Thanks,
CDS Management Team

Re:But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345455)

There is no free market solution yet because the governments are artificially insulating the people who do this from the effects of it. If some big aggra boss got MRSA it would probably change his or her thinking on antibiotics.

That and Huxley was right, most people are too stupid to care (bonus points because the processed food makes them even stupider and probably less likely to care)

Re:But.. (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#45345633)

The furious self-gratfication (in the hairy palm sense) laying blame on those who are responsible for feeding billions successfully is ferocious today. I can feel the generated breeze as used kleenex are tossed to the floor near the wastebasket.

The solution is known: use antibiotic coctails in the future. Nobody knew this, least of all you self-satisfied clowns who have nothing to do with feeding billions and, if you had your way, by stripping profits, would lead to the deaths of billions as hundreds of freedom-stripping, century-long experiments last century repeatedly demonstrated.

Re:But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345935)

We as a population are going to die anyway, so you're saying a fat & happy terminal patient is better than a skinny, hungry patient?

Is one really better than the other?

Is having an extra 3 billion people in the last 50 years, which abundant food has allowed, really better for the species?

Re:But.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345663)

The problem is that the free market model doesn't take non-local effects into account. (Or "Not my problem")
Essentially it doesn't prevent someone from causing damage to someone else for profit.
If there had been any connection, that is you can make huge profits by causing a little damage to someone else, this wouldn't be a big problem, then it would be possible to compensate those who got hurt.
Sadly the free market model leads to a situation where someone will cause much damage on a global level for a very tiny profit.

The regulated version is a form of socialism where the government limits and punishes those who tries to make a profit on the behalf of others.
The non-regulated version is an anarchy where the government doesn't step in and protect those who makes a profit when the those who were hurt by it wants to hang them.

The people who talks about "less regulation" seldom wants the second alternative, rather they strive for a system that is called fascism where the government steps in and protects specific individuals so that they can abuse others.

Re:But.. (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 9 months ago | (#45345483)

Are you honestly disparaging both the tragedy of the commons and the invisible hand (i.e., a Free Market, i.e., capitalism, i.e., private owernship of resources) in the same sentence?

O, Slashdot comments... how you are a microcosm for what's wrong with this world...

Re:But.. (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45345529)

In this case the "commons" are literally our own bodies and the ecosystems they interact with. Are you suggesting some sort of absurd enclosure movement for air so that bacterial genes can't spread from one place to another? Or are you being an absurd believer in a system for no other reason than your outward facing political philosophy depends on it?

Re:But.. (0)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 9 months ago | (#45345721)

Just because you cannot interpret "some sort of absurd enclosure movement for air" as a metaphor rather than a literal solution doesn't mean that somebody else has the same trouble.

Re:But.. (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45345863)

I interpret it literally because there are fundamental scientific principles at work here, like convection, and the carbon cycle, which humans have not demonstrated any capacity to overcome in any sort of pragmatic sense.

Your attitude treats the market like a magic wand that you wave and *poof* no more serious real-world problems.

Re:But.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345959)

Your attitude treats the market like a magic wand that you wave and *poof* no more serious real-world problems.

That's called being a republican.

Re:But.. (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about 9 months ago | (#45345563)

Private ownership of resources leads each individual to do what's in their own best interest. Even if the depletion of that resource is bad for the group it is good for each individual doing it. A tragedy of the commons generally arises from individual power and freedoms.

Re:But.. (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 9 months ago | (#45345643)

If, as you say, it's good for each individual, then it must—by definition—be good for the group.

Re:But.. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#45345757)

No.

If what is good for me is to kill you and take your stuff, that is bad for you and the group. Each individual acts for his own best, he might not get that. Like when I kill you and take your stuff, before you take mine.

Re:But.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45346031)

Why is that bad for the group?

Re:But.. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#45346081)

Because the group would prefer I was not murdering their friends and family. They might also prefer they not be my next victim.

Re:But.. (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45345897)

If, as you say, it's good for each individual, then it mustâ"by definitionâ"be good for the group.

Horseshit. Complete and utter horseshit.

Individuals do not necessarily exhibit fully rational behavior (in fact quite seldom do), and individuals will always try to get 'more better' for themselves -- because people are irrational selfish bastards.

So, if I decide that what is better for me is to take away what you have, that isn't better (or even good) for the group if we depend on one another. Very often, what's good for an individual is detrimental to the group if the individual is utterly selfish or shortsighted -- like eating all of the food now and leaving none for later. Taking fresh water, bottling it and selling it isn't good for anybody except the ones selling it -- and once it's all gone, we're all fucked. But, for the short term, it was beneficial for some individuals to do what is best for them, and the group suffers.

The prisoners dilemma [wikipedia.org] demonstrates that if everyone does what is strictly in their own best interests, everybody loses.

Capitalism just tries to take the things which are shared resources, and make sure someone gets to it first and claims ownership of it. And when we're talking about our environment and ecosystem, it impacts all of us. And in the end you get the selfish decisions of a few impacting everybody else.

People like to pretend that 'the market' will solve these problems, when in fact it's mostly a race to the bottom where every sociopath around grabs as much as he can, to the detriment of those around him.

Re:But.. (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about 9 months ago | (#45346057)

It is good for each individual to consume as much as they can but that's not necessarily good for the group. Are you arguing that there's no such thing as the tragedy of the commons?

Re:But.. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#45346065)

That is, almost verbatim, exactly the fallacy that The Tragedy of the Commons was written to disprove.

Re:But.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345569)

Are you honestly disparaging both the tragedy of the commons and the invisible hand

The tragedy of the commons demonstrates how badly the 'invisible hand' fails us.

The free market is a myth, and always has been. The 'invisible hand' doesn't actually solve any problems such as this. Mostly it just ensures that a small group of people end up controlling our shared resources we all need for survival.

So, keep sucking the dick of capitalism and telling yourself how awesome it is and how it always arrives at perfect solutions.

Ayn Rand was a miserable cunt.

Re:But.. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45345681)

The 'invisible hand' concept isn't so much about the private ownership of resources, it's about the self-correcting property of markets. If there is a demand for widgets, the price goes up, causing more people to invest in their manufacture, bringing the price back down. All without any central management, just emergent behavior. Private ownership helps, but it isn't essential.

Re:But.. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#45345775)

Sure, but when the widget maker decides the widget waste is cheaper to dump in the river than a proper way, the market does not correct this since the widget maker can afford PR and filter for his water.

Re:But.. (4, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45345859)

That's called 'externalising the costs,' or 'the invisible middle finger.'

Re:But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345493)

...the "invisible hand" won't develop any solution to it.

That "invisible hand" is just much much slower than you seem to think it should be. The very fact that you have become vocal about your wants is the beggings of the market becoming aware of this problem and thinking about responding to it. Sure, a concerned legislator could respond much faster. Sure, we'll all be dead before the "invisible hand" gets its sleeve rolled up. But saying it won't do anything is like calling erosion impotent.

Re:But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345513)

Yeah, because food production is such a free market.
 
Another ninny who cries "It's the free market's fault" where there clearly isn't a free market. Infact, it could easily be assumed that these meassures are in place because of regulations.

Re:But.. (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45345565)

Oh, yes, please point me at the regulations that tell farmers to use non-therapeutic doses of antibiotics on their animals to make them grow a little bigger. Please. Absolutely, do it. I'll recant my position in 10 milliseconds flat.

Re:But.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345573)

Au contraire. The permanent incurable deadly disease IS the SOLUTION to the common human virus that plagues the planet. You don't know the "invisible hand" very well, do you?

Re:But.. (0, Flamebait)

argStyopa (232550) | about 9 months ago | (#45345579)

Does market capitalism solve everything? No. It has some glaring weaknesses.

I'll still take it over totalitarianism - no matter how benign or benevolent it says it will be.

Re:But.. (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45345603)

I wasn't suggesting totalitarianism as an alternative. I don't know what might lead you to think that.

Re:But.. (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45345805)

The problem we face now is that there are a sizeable number of people in the US who are so absolutely devoted to market principles, they are blind to those weaknesses - and see any effort to address them as an invitation to a communist takeover.

Re:But.. (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45346055)

Does market capitalism solve everything? No. It has some glaring weaknesses.

I'll still take it over totalitarianism - no matter how benign or benevolent it says it will be.

Right up until capitalism leads to its own form or totalitarianism, as corporations and cartels control pretty much everything and we all become serfs again.

Capitalism claims to be benign and benevolent, but since everyone tries to gain an unfair advantage and cheat the system, it just leads to a different form of losing your freedoms. The notion that it will self correct assumes that people are honest and not inherently out to screw everyone over -- which is completely disconnected from reality.

Left to its own devices, capitalism will subject you to the same atrocities, it will just defend them on a different set of principles.

Some people have mythologized capitalism and the free market to the point of it being a religion -- it is uncritically championed as being perfect and infallible, and completely ignores many aspects of human behavior which negate some of its assumptions. And once you are convinced that you are the keeper of Immutable Truth and Knowledge, you will defend that belief to the exclusion of evidence to the contrary.

Antibiotic resistant sand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345615)

Wow, how are we going to protect ourselves against sand monsters now?

Re:But.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345727)

So you're blaming the "invisible hand" of the market for cutting down on food poisoning deaths? What do you want, asshole? You want unsterile condition at food processing plants and hospitals or do you want the possible, well...maybe possible, perhaps will one day be an issue threat of a virus killing more than 5 people? Enjoy getting hepatitis within a week when you launch your "Utopia experiment for Idiots!" where nothing will be cleaned or sanitized, because maybe your terrible understanding of evolution will impossibly breed the X-men of bacteria.

The only supervirus I see here is the infestation of fucking morons at Slashdot.

Re:But.. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45346035)

That's not what anti-biotic treatments of farm animals do. So... all the reasoning the follows that premise is wrong.

Re:But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45346111)

You mix up a lot of terms and confuse bacteria and virus. You should be careful calling others morons.

Re:But.. (2)

chill (34294) | about 9 months ago | (#45345887)

You're missing one critical detail. The invisible hand is in the position of having only the middle finger raised.

Re:But.. (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45345907)

Amusing over-extension of the metaphor, but the original intention of the description was that of pulling/pushing people, so I prefer to liken it to being shoved right off a cliff.

Re:But.. (3, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 9 months ago | (#45346097)

First: it's not a free market. Not in the US, anyways. The FDA and CDC and whatnot regulate what antibiotics can be used in animals... or, at least, in food animals (which is where most animal antibiotics are used). Secondly, the antibiotics used (and therefore the resistances generated) are different in animals than in humans, in large part for exactly that reason: we don't want the widespread usage of antibiotics in animals to result in human diseases becoming much more resistant. And finally: permanent and incurable is incredibly unlikely. Antibiotics resistance has an energy cost associated with it: it takes more effort to be antibiotic resistant than not. That means, absent the use of antibiotics, the resistance will naturally be selected against and fade from the population over time. And even then, there are many classes of antibiotics. Resistances are only to one or two of those classes (although a bacteria resistant to all of them is truly terrifying, it requires even higher energy cost for the bacteria).

Antibiotics resistance is a major problem on multiple levels, but the problem of resistant strains in humans is due to usage of antibiotics in humans (you know, to save people's lives), not the usage in animals. Resistant animal diseases is also a major issue, of course, because they're a huge part of our food supply, but not so much because we're worried about human diseases becoming resistant to human antibiotics because of antibiotics usage in animals.

Exciting in an end-of-the-world sort of way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345303)

I, for one, welcome our new genetically modified overlords!

Duh (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 9 months ago | (#45345305)

If you use something that kills of the weak members of a given entity over a period of time the result will be the surviving members will become strong. Darwinism is brutal and efficient like that whether you want it to be or not. In this case by over using antibiotics everywhere from handsoap to feed for cows we have resulted in the saturation of the environment. The result was inevitable and it really is a case of we did this to ourselves.

If memory serves Norway prohibits their use in all settings but hospitals and has healthier citizens as a result. It really does boil down to the classic George Carlin germs are good comedy bit. We need regular exposure to germs to become stronger and build healthier immune systems. The only thing were building is stronger and healthier bugs and weaker humans - there's something wrong with that.

Re:Duh (5, Interesting)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 9 months ago | (#45345405)

I wasn't a terribly "clean" kid; I didn't shower often at all and didn't wash my hands unless I was about to cook food. I still refuse to use hand sanitizer or anti-germ wipes and I don't expect every surface I touch to be disinfected. Some of that has changed as I have gotten older (I shower at least once a day and by most peoples' standards I'm quite "clean"), but I'm willing to bet that my "unclean" behaviors in the past and my lack of fear of germs and dirt and grease under the nails explain why I very rarely get sick (once a year maybe) and even more rarely stay sick longer than a few days.

I read somewhere that there's a theory about auto-immune diseases being a result of humans no longer having parasites and infections. The theory was that the immune system has nothing to do and "gets bored." The possible solution is introducing a limited amount of relatively benign parasites. I don't feel like searching for it right now, but I found it to be a fascinating theory.

As an added bonus, I can kill germ-o-phobes by breathing at them and there will be no evidence linking it back to me. I'M A FUCKING VIKING.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345473)

It was a House episode. The incidence of autoimmune disorders in 3rd world countries is nearly zero, while in the 1st world it is relatively high.

Re:Duh (1)

somersault (912633) | about 9 months ago | (#45345783)

There are other obvious differences too though, like diet. You literally are what you eat. High sugar intake weakens your immune system, and is inflammatory. Artificial preservatives kill bacteria in your gut, furthering the lack of "good bacteria" that we hear about. Reading about this over-use of anti-biotics in livestock is making me seriously consider becoming a vegetarian :/ I hope it doesn't end up in milk and cheese.. though it probably does..

Re:Duh (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 9 months ago | (#45346013)

High sugar intake weakens your immune system, and is inflammatory.

Citation required. For both claims.

Artificial preservatives kill bacteria in your gut.

citation required. Including that these preservatives make it past your stomach. Given that most of the food i have still goes off, clearly its less preserving than your assertion.

Reading about this over-use of anti-biotics in livestock is making me seriously consider becoming a vegetarian :/ I hope it doesn't end up in milk and cheese.. though it probably does..

In many countries that allow this (NZ does not for example), it can't be livestock that is milked and if its to be slaughtered its need to have a antibiotic free period. Yes the meat/milk is often tested, at least in NZ. It does make it into the milk, as a dairy farmer in NZ if you need to administer antibiotics because the cow has an infection, you must keep that milk out of the main vat. They test and the fine is on the order of $100k. Same with meat. That even goes for feeding calves the milk from cows that are on antibiotics.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345837)

I'M A FUCKING VIKING.

<EverybodySing> And you smell like one too! </EverybodySing>

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45346115)

If memory serves Norway prohibits their use in all settings but hospitals and has healthier citizens as a result.

I think that is the case for the entire northern Europe. There are also very few dangerous parasites and diseases there to begin with.

Farm interests are traitors to the human race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345317)

Politicians and lobbyists who continue to let last line of defence antibiotics be legal in farming should all be rounded up and imprisoned.

Re:Farm interests are traitors to the human race (2)

BreakBad (2955249) | about 9 months ago | (#45345355)

Politicians and lobbyists should all be rounded up and imprisoned.

Fixed.

Re:Farm interests are traitors to the human race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345433)

Politicians and lobbyists should all be rounded up and imprisoned.

No, much too good for them. Just limit their access to all antibiotics except penicillin. Same goes for the evolution deniers.

Re:Farm interests are traitors to the human race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345517)

Politicians and lobbyists should all be rounded up and executed.

Fixed.

Surely you made a typo

We live in interesting times (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45345345)

We live in interesting times, and it seems they are likely to get more interesting as time goes by. What was the Chinese curse again?

Re:We live in interesting times (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 9 months ago | (#45345363)

May you live in interesting times.

Re:We live in interesting times (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45345399)

And you as well, for ruining the joke.

Re:We live in interesting times (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 9 months ago | (#45345423)

I find 3 AM to be quite interesting. I was there, man. I lived in that moment.

Re:We live in interesting times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345387)

Try this one [youtube.com]

Re:We live in interesting times (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 9 months ago | (#45345417)

"May you live in interesting times" wasn't really an ancient Chinese curse. There's no record of it before the 1930s.

It should have been, though.

Re:We live in interesting times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345865)

"May you live in interesting times" wasn't really an ancient Chinese curse. There's no record of it before the 1930s.

It should have been, though.

Correct - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_you_live_in_interesting_times

Re:We live in interesting times (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45345939)

Ok, it's an American curse. A curse is a curse, just like the genuine American fortune cookies they sell in East Asia are nonetheless fortune cookies.

Re:We live in interesting times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345589)

What was the Chinese curse again?

The one where they peepee in your Coke?

Re:We live in interesting times (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45345655)

1. May you live in interesting times.

2. May you be recognized by people in high places.

3. May you get what you wish for.

Eating stuff affects you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345371)

Who knew that eating cells, breaking them down into their component parts and integrating that into your cells had any chance of DNA transference?

Mean two different things... (3, Interesting)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about 9 months ago | (#45345409)

These two mean very different things...

genes that make the crows resistant to antibiotics

bacteria in the crows were resistant to several other antibiotics

I presume that the bacteria in the crows are resistant, not the crows themselves.

If so, then we're in for a Hell of a time finding a cure when we're hit with a devastating bacteriological pandemic.

However, if the crows were resistant (I doubt that's what the article means) then that would be a cool idea, because it would mean that bacteria could act as a DNA conduit between species.

Re:Mean two different things... (2)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 9 months ago | (#45345463)

I had the same thought. When was the last time someone had to fight off a crow infection? They are too big to fit in my bloodstream anyway.

Of course you are correct, original source article was entitled "American crows as carriers of vancomycin-resistant enterococci with vanA gene"

Re:Mean two different things... (3, Funny)

EvilSS (557649) | about 9 months ago | (#45345525)

I had the same thought. When was the last time someone had to fight off a crow infection?

1963 [imdb.com]

Re:Mean two different things... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 9 months ago | (#45345557)

I wouldn't worry until they spread to blackbirds, if four and twenty of them can be baked in a pie, one just might get into an artery somewhere.

Re:Mean two different things... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45345707)

Oh, you laugh now, but we will come.

Re:Mean two different things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345531)

However, if the crows were resistant (I doubt that's what the article means) then that would be a cool idea, because it would mean that bacteria could act as a DNA conduit between species.

The summary is just badly worded, the article lists a group of papers showing studies of the bacterial flora of a whole different range of creatures and the response of those bacteria to antibiotics. The crows and other animals themselves aren't resistant to anything new.

Re:Mean two different things... (1)

Megane (129182) | about 9 months ago | (#45345539)

I RTFA and found only one place in TFA that makes it clear that it's the bacteria inside the crows that has the resistance. Everywhere else reads like the crows themselves have become resistant. (Which is silly, because crows aren't bacteria, and non-bacteria are resistant by default.)

Re:Mean two different things... (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#45345571)

Actually, they've found that Bacteria and other organisms in your body do communicate through geene expression. So yes, Bacteria can change an animal in such a way that the animals own body informs future bacteria how to deal with antibacterial drugs.

Secondly, the devastating bacteriological pandemic is already here. Hospitals around the world are now opperating under the assumption that they now have permanent, incurable Gram Negative bacterial infections throughout their hospitals. Most hospitals wont even release data on the subject. They're finding drug resistant bacteria in the drinking water wells in India. This Genie is already out of the bottle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gram-negative_bacteria [wikipedia.org]

Re:Mean two different things... (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about 9 months ago | (#45345797)

Thanks on both points. Didn't know either. :)

Re:Mean two different things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45346067)

I was thinking that if the summary statement was true, bacteria are extremely good at injecting their DNA into mammals. But then the soil samples thing made me think, no, it's just bacteria present in what they sampled.

Amusing CAPTCHA: condom

Just whose genes are we talking about? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345415)

In addition to crows, resistance genes have been detected in gulls, houseflies, moths, foxes, frogs, sharks and whales...

I despair of the future of science writing, when even Scientific American allows an article that completely fails to distinguish between the genes of crows or other animals and the genes of their intestinal flora.

Relax, Scientific American is not a science mag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45346091)

For those of you not aware, Scientific American is a poltical rag. When the political parties that correspond to their leadership zig, Scientific American zigs. When they zag, Sci-Am zags. I didn't realize it myself, until they did a whole issue on "where do all the guns come from?" That was the talk of the day in the standard political journalism circles, but .. . I asked my father, a PhD physicist, how that related to science.

He said it didn't, but that Sci-Am was a political rag, not a science magazine.

So it's kindof like talking about the AMA as being about medicine... it isn't. It's about politics, and incidentally in the context of science, when it suits their purposes.

For science articles, try Science News.

Now... all that said... I thought it was really cool, when someone in my Dad's physics department got an article about his project in the Scientific American. It wasn't one of the faculty... it was the maintenance man, who also would set up and tear down labs. It was Jim Lehman, and the article was about his Lehman seismometer, which was really an amazing invention for its day; and the article was in a column about the amature scientist.

So I still *like* Sci Am... I just don't consider it to be primarily about science. Relax, the articles only need to be up to political standards, depending on the meaning of what "need" needs to be, or "is" is.

Exciting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345439)

How is this exciting? It's worrying.

Re:Exciting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345823)

Excitation doesn't necessarily say something about mood. OTOH, if you're apathetic, you're neither worried nor ecstatic.

TL;DR (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 9 months ago | (#45345445)

But is there any indication that these resistance genes weren't already in those populations beforehand? Is there actually some reason to think that the resistance genes have crossed from bacteria to all those higher-order lifeforms listed? What does it even mean for a crow to be antibiotic resistant?

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345631)

What does it even mean for a crow to be antibiotic resistant?

Nothing, the summary is badly worded. The animals themselves aren't resistant to anything, it's the bacterial flora carried by the animals which are resistant.

Your question about the prevalence is an interesting one: glancing through the abstracts of the papers in the article most of them just say that they examined creature X and found that it carried antibiotic resistant bacteria, and that the creature should be considered a reservoir of resistant bacteria. That doesn't necessarily mean that resistance is spreading, it could have been there since the microorganisms themselves evolved the genes to make the compounds. In saying that one of the papers lists ciprofloxacin resistant bacteria. As far as I know that's a synthetic antibiotic so the odds of pre-discovery resistance are slim, which would imply it evolved in a clinical setting and then somehow made its way into the flora of the higher animal.

Re:TL;DR (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#45345749)

It's called Quorum Sensing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorum_sensing [wikipedia.org]

Until recently they thought Quorum Sensing was simple gene communication between individuals in a bacterial colony to co-ordinate behavior. Recently however they've found evidence that the bacteria can modify the genes in cells of the host and communicate even after the current infection may be cured. Not only that but they think these changes may even be passed from parent to child. They quite literally make the entire animal gene resistant, and it's offspring are gene resistant as well. I'm not sure if there is definitive proof of this yet but I've read a lot of articles by some very concern researchers lately. I'm not a biologist so take all of this with a grain of salt. I very well could have misread things, so I suggest doing your own research.

Zombie apocalypse one more notch closer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345477)

And you thought those training exercises were jokes...

Antibiotics is the only thing that separates us from 1600s. We seriously should not fuck that up.

GREED KILLS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345489)

Geed. It's gonna kill us all.

SimCity? (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 9 months ago | (#45345505)

"Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results" So are we getting our headlines from SimCity now?

NO need to worry (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 9 months ago | (#45345535)

Relax. I'm pretty sure nobody here is a crow, gull, housefly, moth, fox, frog, shark or whale.

Re:NO need to worry (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45345777)

I doubt I'm the only furry on slashdot.

Exciting? (1)

JD-1027 (726234) | about 9 months ago | (#45345587)

I must be misunderstanding, but this news isn't exciting. We don't want bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics anywhere in any species. Exciting from a research discovery perspective is fine, but can someone explain what I'm missing from a "this is good news" perspective?

Problem with the Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345613)

The title of this post was extremely sensational and MISLEADING. It's a cute trick to get clicks but it won't work forever. If this sort of thing becomes the norm, I'm sure your readership will go down.

Very poorly written article... (4, Interesting)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 9 months ago | (#45345619)

The article makes it sound as if the crows are themselves acquiring genetic modifications giving them resistance to antibiotic compounds. However, it is the bacteria inhabiting the crows intestine that have acquired the antibiotic resistance genes, not the crows themselves. The article also suggests that antibiotics dispensed in hospitals are somehow a major factor when, in fact, the quantity of antibiotics dispensed in factory farms surpasses the quantity dispensed for human medical needs by orders of magnitude. If antibiotic resistance leads to increased human mortality, blame the steak on your plate, not the poor fellow down the street having surgery at the hospital.

Lets be accurate... (1)

0xG (712423) | about 9 months ago | (#45345731)

Sharks are antibiotic resistant?
(I always take some penicillin before I go swimming...)

Really, it's the micro-organisms that live in those hosts that have the resistance genes...

n'est ce pas? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45345801)

n'est ce pas?

shut the fuck up

Humans will evolve too (1)

C0L0PH0N (613595) | about 9 months ago | (#45346003)

Just as bacteria and viruses, exposed to high levels of antibiotics, have evolved antibiotic resistance and immunity, so will humans evolve resistance or immunity to the new versions of bacteria and viruses. Of course, the way evolution works, the few humans with superior resistance or immunity to the new superbugs will be the fittest survivors, and the rest of us will become extinct. Evolution has worked that way for 3 and a half billion years, no reason for it to stop now :).

Genes In Sand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45346059)

Resistance genes have been detected in crows, gulls, houseflies, moths, foxes, frogs, sharks and whales, as well as in sand and coastal water samples from California and Washington.

How are there genes in sand? WTF is this summary trying(and failing) to say?

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