Dissenter’s Corner

Josh James

February 5, 2007

Filed under Blogs

Unsatisfied with my initial blog submission, I reflected upon it over a cold beer and the television. I was unsatisfied; A) because I limited myself to one subject, and B) because I made some claims without giving support. Just...

The Unseen World

Mike Taylor

February 5, 2007

Filed under Blogs

OK, so last week I launched "The Unseen World," a blog dedicated to things microbial. I sung the praises of the infinitesimal beasties that inhabit our planet and our bodies, and promised the they would bring great things. But just as I was getting ready to type the second installment, they brought something unexpected: the common cold. I'm sitting here in the middle of the night, too stopped up to sleep, loaded with zinc and vitamin C, purely medicinal Jameson's at my elbow, because I have been brought down by teeny tiny things. Not, you'll notice I didn't say, by teeny tiny life forms. That's because the common cold is carried by viruses, and viruses are not, technically speaking, a life form. They are microbial, meaning you can only see them through microscopes. Actually, you can't even see them through optical microscopes, because they are smaller than the wavelength of visible light (the stuff you are reading this by), meaning they are for all practical purposes invisible. No matter how big you blow up a picture of a virus, it is smaller than the light we see by. But we have a good idea of what a virus would look like if it were visible because electron microscopes shoot beams that have a much smaller wavelength than visible light, giving us a sort of phantom video of viruses. Viruses are fascinating microbes, but, as I say, every one of them is deader than Richard Nixon. Nixon, it can be argued, was alive once. Not so the virus, which is a little loop of malicious biological software that at some point long ago burst loose from a living cell, leading theory has it, to wreak havoc. All a virus can do is invade other cells, hijack the cellular machinery of reproduction, and make copies of itself. Computer viruses are excellent conceptual models of the real thing, because both depend on a much larger, more complicated host (you, your computer) and both are things we can't ever hope to truly see that can cause us all sorts of irritation. But neither is alive. Living things, like a strep infection or your little sister, consume food, reproduce, grow old, and ultimately die. Not so the viruses, which make copies of themselves, and nothing else. But that process of borrowing your cells for copying purposes can make you feel pretty miserable, I'm here to tell you. Some of the smallest and most interesting viruses are called bacteriophages. As the name suggests, they attack only bacteria, breaking through the cell wall and taking over the bacterial photocopying systems, to make so many little copies of themselves that the poor bacteria burst apart at the seems. Phages, as they are called for short, look really cool in an electron microscope. They resemble nothing so much as the lunar lander of NASA's Apollo missions. When the little geometric payload of Phage touches down on a bacterial cell wall, the legs fold up and it launches a nasty surprise: a set of genetic instructions injected through the cell wall, straight to the heart of the cell. In nature these instructions boil down to two words: make copies. Phages, it turns out, are useful tools for people who would like to harness bacterial machinery for their own purposes, such as creating new species of corn or mice. How they do that is a subject for my next installment. Other viruses, much more complex than phages, are busy making copies in untold billions all over my upper respiratory tract, at the expense of the cells they have invaded. Although invaded is a poor word, as it implies life, even intelligence, and these are just fascinating little machines of protein and goo. But I digress. For now, I'm going to set aside the medicinal Jameson's, chug some more OJ, and try to get some sleep, despite my scratchy throat and stopped up nose. Dang microbes.

No Quarter

Mitchell Allgood

February 5, 2007

Filed under Blogs

There are few things in life that are as frequently overlooked as driving. I know the resources are available, and between driver's education and the information booklets, you would think at least half of the population could drive...

Caddo Eat World

Dawan K. Morgan

February 5, 2007

Filed under Blogs

"I would like my plate of Death cooked well done. Oh, and don't forget to sprinkle shit crumbs on top after you're finished." If you haven't guessed already, I'm not satisfied with the dining facility at Henderson. In the Caddo, Jes...

Disfunction Junction

Marie Martin

February 5, 2007

Filed under Blogs

Tonight, Dorothy Sheedy died. Dorothy was an evangelical Christian who had the bumper sticker, "I brake for the rapture," on her car. Unfortunately, this was her undoing. She saw blow-up dolls floating into the sky and immediately screech...

Like it Should Be: 2

Allan Ford

January 29, 2007

Filed under Blogs

If you didn't catch the first episode, it was pretty much a simple rant on the collection of words that some call "Like it is." Yet, this episode will be much like every other, and dissect this eye pollution that usually runs a...

Gallows Pole

Mitchell Allgood

January 29, 2007

Filed under Blogs

Deposits, for those blessed few who don't know what I am referring to, is the money raped from by utility companies in order to make a domicile fit for human habitation. The word "deposit" also implies that you will get it back if yo...

Like it Should Be: 1

Allan Ford

January 29, 2007

Filed under Blogs

Welcome to the mind of a sports-crazed Henderson State student. My name is Allan Ford and I am currently a senior with an academic red-shirt (If you're sports-minded you'll get it). But that is enough about me. In this weekly blog...

European in an American Southern Culture

Ross Ellis

January 29, 2007

Filed under Blogs

It all has to start somewhere and that place is Glasgow, Scotland. Bob lived with his mother and father in a crunched up home where the neighbors could reach out the window and pill off the paint on the siding of Bob's home. ...

Music Sucks These Days

Dawan Morgan

January 29, 2007

Filed under Blogs

I've known music all my life. I started singing and playing the piano when I was nine years old. Even though my father is a minister, I've been exposed to all kinds of music. I didn't just listen to Gospel music all the time. I ...

The Senior

Brandon Tabor

January 29, 2007

Filed under Blogs

Hello! My name is Brandon. I am a senior. Today has been a pretty relaxed day. I took a three-hour nap today and was still able to get some business done. Last semester, that would've been a dream! It's amazing how we like to wai...

Blogs