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He Saw Things No One Else Would For Another 50 Years. Who Would Believe Him?

Let’s hear it for thepower of creative tinkering, aka messing around with microscopes when you're supposed to be at work. Stick around until 4:25 when they start describing what we know now (and what we don't)!

OK, I admit it, I’m a bit like van Leeuwenhoek: While I’msupposed to be writing for Upworthy, I'm searching the Internet for the latest weird news about microbes. The worlds van Leeuwenhoek discovered were really just the tip of an iceberg, a scientific universe that has exploded in the last decade because of new ways of reading genetic information.

Suddenly, ideas about “individual” and “personal choice” shift when you realize that how you feel andthink (even what you want to eat) are tremendously influenced by the microbial fauna living on and in you(and they are probably talking about you constantly). There are about 100 times more microbial genes in our bodies than human genes. So yeah, we're like giant puppet-houses for microbes. So much for free will.


Also, our idea ofevolution as something that happens over generations now has to accommodatethis crazy phenomenon of “horizontal gene exchange,” which is just what it sounds like: single organisms within ageneration simply trading genes. No time-consuming reproduction needed! It’s like they can adapt evolutionarily on thespot to new situations (and of course this is why microbes are pretty good atevolving beyond the ability of our antibiotics to control them). Enough from me. Now maybe you can see why people like van Leeuwenhoek put aside work for a while to wonder about what we can't see.

As face masks have become mandatory in many places to limit the spread of coronavirus, it's also become an increasingly politicized thing. As we know, anything that involves political polarization also involves vast amounts of misinformation and disinformation. Whose idea was the internet again?

No one I know loves wearing a mask. We all wish we didn't have to. But there are an awful lot of people saying they can't wear one, or they refuse to wear one because they've been led to believe that masks are somehow more dangerous than not wearing one. I've seen and read "information" on everything from masks depriving people of oxygen to masks causing CO2 build up to masks creating fungus problems.

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