Fat Fiction Fat, lies and measuring tape


Riots across the land

Riots on the frontline...

Last night thousands of teenagers got together to play out Grand Theft Auto across the UK for real. Contain your rage for a minute (I’m struggling to be fair), try not to look at the global financial collapse that’s slowly unwinding across Europe, and turn your attention to the work of Bonnie Bassler who’s studying how bacteria communicate. There could be a link between all three events…

So, if you’ve got time, have a look at this.

Ted talk on bacteria

And if you haven’t – the brief version is that this woman discovered that bacteria can communicate, not only with each other across the same species, but across different species too. They use a kind of polling mechanism called quorum sensing which tells them when they’re sufficient in number that they can go forward and achieve their objective; whatever that objective might be. It might be to digest food. It might be to create disease in the host. Or, it might be to start a riot.

Last week, I started poking around the idea that personality is affected by bacteria. Or possibly entirely governed by bacteria. That alone raise more questions than it answers but think of this. A recent discovery was that bacteria can smell each other out which leads you to the conclusion that group think, or crowd behaviour may have an entirely microbiological cause. Just as bacteria cause us to act in a certain way, it's feasible that bacteria communicate between people, causing them to act in a unified fashion.

This may be scant consolation as you watch hoodrats bouncing oil drums off your car bonnet, but just as the rioting has spread like wildfire across the country, another bacteria/idea/movement could come along and wipe it out. Either that, or you’d better keep a bottle of Dettol in your back pocket, just in case…

Picture © Bobalicious

Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Interesting theory, but consider that the rioters were supposedly organising via BBM/social media e.g physically isolated methods of communication.

    • True, true PH, but I’m thinking more of the idea of rioting spreading and how the crowds behaves when they meet. It spread because these kids were up for it, rather than because BBM enabled it. A lot of these gangs knew each other beforehand and there would have been plenty of time in close physical proximity among each other. By the time it’s on their BBM status to meet in Tottenham say, it’s as good as done.

  2. Maybeee… But it’s more likely to play out like the early grand theories of evolutionary psychology, i.e. just because there’s a bit of old hardwiring in place doesn’t mean new code (like social mores, for instance) can’t or won’t override. Else how to explain the filming and photographing bystanders and the victims living and working in the middle of it, who didn’t partake?

  3. Mike,

    Just found an interesting article on British character:


    Somewhat related to your post topic. :)

  4. Hi Mike, I am on my journey to optimum health/weight etc…. have been reading, reading and more reading about the paleo lifestyle, of which I am two days in. I’m very hungry but hoping these cravings will pass. Trying to cure a chronic illness but hoping to be able to add a bit of dairy back in after the 30 day challenge. I have just stumbled across your blog and it’s nice to have someone in the UK. I would really appreciate some help re things to eat, and how best to do it on a budget, as good, whole foods are really expensive in the UK. I look forward to reading more and more. Nice to meet you. Best, Michelle

    • Hi Michelle, good to hear you’re making the change. Nothing is as cheap as subsidised food (grains) but if you cook from scratch, and use *everything* you should come pretty close to the same cost.
      Best of luck with it, and shout if you have any questions.

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