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Feast Your Eyes: Photos of the Microbes That Inhabit Your Gut

A look at the fibers, forests, and spores of our microbial diet, and its relationship to bio-couture, Latin paintbrushes, and gut flora.

Synthetic biologist Christine Agapakis has posted a fun set of photos of food microbes taken by scanning electron microscope. The image above shows kombucha, a type of tea that is fermented by a combination of yeasts and bacteria, which has attracted a growing band of followers convinced of its miraculous health-giving powers.


As Agapakis writes, kombucha "looks incredible under the microscope, where you can see the dense mesh of cellulose fibers that the microbes produce. These fibers form a 'raft' on top of the tea that can be dried and pressed into sturdy sheets, like those used to make BioCouture."


The image above shows a spray of Penicillium, the fungus that creates the characteristic blue-gray molding on St. Maure (and other blue) cheese. Look at its shape: Agapakis explains that Penicillium takes its name from the Latin word for paintbrush, peniculus.

According to fermentation guru Sandor Katz, "Eating bacteria is one of life's greatest pleasures." In a recent profile of Katz in the New Yorker, reporter Burkhard Bilger writes:

Beer, wine, cheese, bread, cured meats, coffee, chocolate: our best-loved foods are almost all fermented. They start out bitter, bland, cloying, or indigestible and are remade by microbes into something magnificent.

What's even more interesting is that all these microbes in our foods are then digested by the more than 500 different species of bacteria living in our guts, which outnumber the human cells in our bodies by 10 to 1. These bacteria-to-bacteria interactions metabolize nutrients, regulate fat storage, and even train the developing immune system, forming their own ecosystem that blurs the boundary of the individual body. Indeed, as Lynn Margulis, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, tells Bilger:

There is no such thing as an individual. What we see as animals are partly just integrated sets of bacteria.

Photos via Oscillator.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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