Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Healing Properties of... Alligator Blood?

It's now "winter" on the Central Coast, which means it is time to start reading group at my house on Sunday nights because weekend field work has come to an end. Here is a group of Cal Poly's finest eating Fatte's pizza and getting ready to discuss a paper:

And spoiling Kuma:

I chose a paper out of Mark Merchant's lab on the antimicrobial properties of alligator blood. This is really fascinating stuff. Alligators have proteins in their blood that can kill virtually any microbe, including the bacteria E. coli and even MRSA (the antibiotic-resistant bacteria)! Better yet, the blood can kill HIV!

Alligators engage in territorial disputes that often end in wounds. Also, they get chopped by boat propellers now and then. Either way, it can be hard to heal when you live in the water. So, with their amazing immune systems, alligators appear to have solved that one. The really cool thing about this study was that they ran the samples alongside human samples, which were puny and pathetic in terms of killing microbes.

In totally unrelated news, I went to a roller derby game on Saturday night. It was AWESOME!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Snakey Halloween

I love Halloween.

I love it because all the ghouls, goblins, ghosts, and other maligned creatures come out of hiding to be celebrated for the creepy beings they are. So of course it was befitting that my mean, nasty, bitey, stinky, poopy, hissy pet snake Bluster come out on the town with me.

Bluster was a big hit in the San Luis Obispo Halloween scene. Before I knew it (okay, so I didn't know it at the time, but found out from looking at my photos the next morning :-), everyone in the bars were passing him around and posing with the ghoulish creature. Apparently he had used up all of his bite on me earlier that night.

Not all the partiers were convinced... check out the woman in the upper right. Here's Bluster joining the festivities by taking a sip of rum and coke.

Don't worry, he doesn't bite! Mwoo ha ha!

The night ended when I got distracted with something and the bartender was unhappy to find Bluster crawling across the bar toward him. We got kicked to the curb.

Happy Halloween!