September 27th, 2007

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Oooooh, Science Fiction In Action!

My attention was drawn to this today. They took a bunch of cultures of Salmonella bacteria into space on the shuttle, and had a control experiment, identical in every way to what was being done up in orbit other than the earth-bound organisms were, well, on Earth. The particular thing that made me come to an uncomfortable stop as I extrapolated from the article in question was this:

Compared to bacteria that remained on earth, the space-traveling Salmonella had changed expression of 167 genes. After the flight, animal virulence studies showed that bacteria that were flown in space were almost three times as likely to cause disease when compared with control bacteria grown on the ground.

Oh, this is EVIL. Take something a little more dangerous than Salmonella up there, and bring back hyper-typhoid or hyper-tuberculosis or hyper-syphilis or even (if you wanted to branch out, perhaps, and try for viruses) hyper-influenza back to Earth. It would make Black Death and the Spanish Flu Pandemic look like walks in the park.

And we thought that the Andromeda Strain was science fiction...
Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

{grumble argle fargle bleat] BLACKBERRIES!

It's like this, see. We have these tree stumps outside the front of our house, and some two or three years ago we thought that it would be a great idea to turn them into little planters - hollow them out, make sure there was proper drainage, and presto, rustic planters instead of tree stumps. And it worked like a treat, and one of them has carried a nice little crop of several different kinds of mints over the last couple of years.

Cut to this afternoon, when rdeck finds out via Google that mint can be dried in a domestic oven and be used at a later stage during the winter as dried herbs. So yours truly goes out to pick up a few sprigs of mint for a trial run.

Well, guess what? From underneath the all-enveloping ferns, which are EVERYWHERE all summer, this now very large and properly equipped blackberry vine has grown up invisibly and twined into the mints. I reach out for a mint sprig, and close my hand around something with fricking THORNS on it, and, well, you know, OW. I teased it out of the mints, after, with a piece of dried fern and now it's on the ground there by the stump, and I swear, the thing has to be three or four feet long with these wicked little thorns.

Blackberries. Whine, whimper, whinge, wail. That damned well HURT. We hatessss the blackberiessss where blackberiesssss shouldn't be, my precioussss. We really hatesssss them. They HURTSSSSSS us.
Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Well, it isn't a HUGO, but... website has just been awarded the Preditors and Editors Author Site of Excellence Award (see here, you may have to scroll down a bit) for September 2007. They've sent me a couple of widgets to announce said fact, so here they be:

Author's Site of Excellence

The site is created and maintained by Jerry, my magnificent Webmaster, and I hereby publicly reaffirm my grateful appreciation for everything that he does!

Yeehaw, and all that!