Microbe of the Month — March 2017 — Amazing Microbial Factoid Edition — We Have a Winner!

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E. coli

Greetings fellow [redacted], assorted near-do wells and hangers on! Today is the day we have been waiting for all month, the day we announce the grand prize winner of the March trivia challenge! Yes it is April, and technically that means we have only been waiting four days this month but for an event this earth shattering, this paradigm breaking, this record smashing, every day is like a year, every minute an hour, every second a minute, or whatever unit conversion would be needed for that analogy to make sense, mathematically I mean.

It brings me great joy to announce that we tied our record for most entries in the challenge ever with three. Unfortunately, like the Highlander, there can be only one (winner), which means there will be two losers. Take heart losers, we had to spend a good five minutes this evening researching your answers to make sure we were not missing something. At MOTM, accuracy is our middle name, and precision, accuracy and precision are our middle names. It’s actually written as one word on our birth certificate “accuracyprecision.” Fortunately we were able to quickly confirm that you were wrong. Dead wrong. So wrong in fact that we chuckled to ourselves, and confident in our continued superiority, moved on to the only person who really matters, this month’s winner [redacted]!

Wait, what, who, you might be asking yourself at this very moment much as I did when an email purporting to be an answer to the trivia challenge arrived in my inbox with that nom de plume listed as the sender. A quick consultation with our crack research team solved the mystery. [redacted], aka [redacted] [redacted] is actually [redacted]. I guess a lot of [redacted] actually go by the name [redacted], or it’s a nickname, or that’s what the feds told him his new name was going to be after he was forced to enter the witness protection program.

This month’s challenge was a tough one. In fact, in order to arrive at the correct answer, the use of math was required. I realize that for most of you the reason you became biology majors in the first place was because you hated math and were terrible at it. I get it, the main reason most people go to graduate school to study microbiology is because they couldn’t get into medical school and it seemed like the least worst fallback position. “I’m so sorry mom and dad. I know you always wanted me to be a real doctor and I let you down but I tried my hardest, I swear I did. Look I got a Ph.D., that’s pretty good isn’t it, isn’t it?” Whoops, sorry everybody I didn’t realize I said that out loud. Hah.Hah. Just kidding. Yes it was a joke OK and nobody needs to hear about it again. Ever.

Number 5 was the incorrect factoid. I actually transcribed it from the book exactly as written but it is wrong. All the best estimates I could find of the number of stars in the “observable” universe converge around 10²⁴. 100million is 100000000 or 10⁸ which would result in a the number of bacteria being 10³² not 10²⁸. Of course there was no reference cited for the 10²⁸ number so it might be wrong, in which case the correctly calculated answer may be correct, in which case the wrong answer is now the correct answer, confusion reigns, the end of the world is night, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria*. In any event, nice work [redacted] and congratulations, your gift certificate for 50 bucks will be arriving in your inbox soon plus I confer upon you the official title of Ph.D. for the week (week ending this Sunday, April 9 at the stroke of midnight). Yes you got shorted a couple of days. Sue me.

The two losers get nothing and hopefully they have learned a valuable lesson about competition and trying. If you are not certain of success never try anything, it will only result in your eventual defeat and humiliation. That’s a lesson we can all take to heart.

Warm regards from your Microbe of the Month™ — CEO, CSO, President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Founder, Co-Founder, Partner and Living Legend,


*Bill Murry Ghostbusters reference — Go find it on Netflix or amazon prime or whatever it is you kids watch these days. I saw it for the first time on VHS in my basement. That’s right VHS. Look it up. I know you know what a basement is as your parents is currently your rancho relaxo or casa de mooch as your parents call it.

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