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No. 113: Sep-Oct 1997

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Who's In Charge Down There?

A microscopic ecosystem thrives in your intestines. This menagerie of tiny organisms boasts more than 400 species of bacteria. Not all of these bacteria are content to wait around until we eat something that they like. Molecular biologist P. Falk and colleagues discovered that some of the bacteria inhabiting the intestines of mice send chemical directives to the mouse's intestinal cells, causing them to synthesize those sugars the bacteria require. Since the bacteria that make a living in the intestines of mice are very similar to those in humans, the same phenomenon is probably occurring in your innards as you read this.

(Anonymous; "Bac Talk," Discover, 18:23. February 1997.)

Comments. There doesn't seem to be much you can do about your presumptuous intestinal bacteria. Maalox won't dissuade them.

Even though we are infected with bossy bacteria and bend to the commands of "selfish genes", we still imagine we possess free will!

From Science Frontiers #113, SEP-OCT 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987