Posts Tagged ‘human’

The Human Microbiome: The Bacteria That Make Us

[src] bacteriality.comUsually, when we think of bacteria, we occasionally have a negative perception of such small microorganisms. We are all raised to avoid and hate everything about them. How can these small one-celled organisms that have a spherical or rod-like shape really influence us in a good way? However, in reality with the current research this perception is rapidly transforming, as we are starting to understand how bacterial dynamics are affecting our health. There is now clear evidence that there consists of good and bad bacteria within us and are necessary for our survival.[1]

A microbiome is the totality of microbes, their genetic elements, and environmental interactions in a defined region. For example, the human microbiome is the human body. The human microbiome contains over 10 times more microbial cells than human body. It has been suggested that the human gut alone, where most of these microbes live, contain more than 900 species. We can confidently say that the majority of our body is compromised of bacterial cells.

These small microscopic bacterial cells dynamically interact within us to help sustain us. In essence, our bodies absorb and utilize these small cells in order to help us in our day-to-day life. They act as an interface to our immune system, and constantly interact and function simultaneously with our bodily functions.[1,2]

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15

03 2011

Fallacious Engagement

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010. I open up my laptop and type BBC Middle East into the web browser for my customary morning news. The news in this part of the world is never great but what I see today just makes my heart sink.

A cursory scan and I see the headline, Wikileaks posts video of ‘US military killings’ in Iraq (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8603938.stm)¸ which cries out to be read. The story is about released footage from a US helicopter making rounds in Baghdad, Iraq. Made public through a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), this video was posted online by Wikileaks and shows a US operation carried out by a helicopter gunship in a suburb of Baghdad. The FOIA was requested by the Reuters news agency in their investigation of the death of an Iraqi assistant and photographer. Subsequent research shows that they were killed by the US, and after a review of the incident, the US claims that our soldiers followed the necessary rules of engagement.

Proceeding to Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/), the video is displayed on the front page. I begin to watch the horror that words cannot describe. The soldiers’ voices are heard in the background, emanated from the safety of the cockpit and behind the guns of a US Apache gunship.  They discuss the situation on the ground with command, taking note of about twenty men. As I listen to the conversation I wonder if I am watching the same surveillance video that they saw. Their voices are full of conviction as they prepare to kill the men below. Yet, down below, all I see is a group of men loitering about. The soldiers can’t hear what they are saying, there is no indication that the men are fleeing or hiding in any way and the footage is so blurry that the soldiers mix up camera equipment with weapons. There is no way that the situation on the ground warranted their reaction.

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17

07 2010