Stop the Presses !— Breaking News from Microbe of the Month©

Greeting fellow laboratory professionals and semi lucid idiot savants from Microbe of the Month®. MOTM™ is the only fully licensed and bonded purveyor of monthly microbiology related news, opinion, entertainment, sports, and drama in this great state, whatever that might be. Speaking of news we have some, of the late breaking, earth shaking, teeth quaking, leaf raking variety to share. It seems the unimaginable has happened. An event so rare that the complete evaporation of a black hole solely through emission of Hawking radiation seems as common as winning a dollar on a scratch off, yours truly has made an error. Deep breaths, calm down, it’s going to be ok, I know how bad it hurts when your hero lets you down. I still cry when I think about the Death of my hero Vegeta at the hands of Frieza and his death ray in the three hundred eighth chapter of the Dragon Ball manga. In the anime counterpart on cartoon network this momentous and heartbreaking event occurred in the second half of the episode “The End of Vegeta” and the first half of the episode “The Ultimate Battle”. How could he let Frieza kill him, he’s Vegeta, a Saiyan, the greatest of the Saiyan, a King among serfs. I mean come on, I need a few minutes to pull myself together. Darn it I swore I wasn’t gonna cry and yet here come the waterworks. Give me a sec, be back in a minute. &*^%in Freiza!

(10 minutes pass…Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’s hit track Spanish Flea — the elevator music/grocery store version, plays softly in the background).

OK. I am back. As you no doubt are aware the world has not ended. Even the greatest among us such as myself may make a mistake from time to time. It is the truly great who can hide that mistake so no one ever finds out, or even better take their medicine and admit they were wrong. So here goes, I admit it I, I was wro… I was wr… I was wron……. Ugghh, this is hard… I was wrooooooo….oh well you get the idea. Anyway let’s just say I was only 98% right instead of my normal 110% and leave it at that.

You may recall that I gave the two “losers” of the March Microbe of the Month© challenge quite the thrashing. Loserism in all forms is offensive to me and I cannot in good conscious ignore failure without some amount of rubbing it in for effect. If Pavlov has taught us anything it is that dogs like food. Conditioned response is very important for training dogs, and people are a lot like dogs in that they smell funny when they get wet and they like food. So if you give a person some food…blah, blah, whoa really zoned out there for a second, what was I talking about again, oh yes the losers.

Yours truly was reminded by a colleague (hint: the name rhymes with [redacted]) of the importance of being nice. It was an after school moment worthy of an after school special and it triggered a cascade of guilt that almost drove me to the brink of Hari-Kari. Instead I sent the losers an email to apologize. I also asked for clarification on a few minor “major” points they had made in their answers and did some additional research myself. After much back and forth, internet sleuthing, book reading, sleeping, eating, cat playing with, shopping, driving, changing, showering, going to working, a little bit of crying actually, and repeating, I came to the conclusion that each loser had a strong case. Here is what I eventually told loser #1 [redacted].


Nice work Detective, I’m gonna start calling you Batman. Yes I have the print copy and there are a lot more and different references in the electronic version you sent me a screen shot of. Serves me right for clinging to my crotchety old man ways –“I must have hard copies of all books, why don’t computers have CD-ROMs anymore?, Why is my cable bill so high?” and that sort of thing.

You have given me a bit of a dilemma here as I must admit that technically you are correct. Honestly so was [redacted] in that the statement he made was correct, though the book was also correct in what it said. Drats! I’ll have to think of something, stay tuned.”

[Redacted] got the below as part of my initial apology email.

“[Redacted] also I believe you are technically correct if I understand what you are saying. What the factoid says is right, prokaryotic cells are just 1/10 the diameter of eukaryotic cells and 1/1000th the volume, however I believe you are also right in pointing out that prokaryotes do have a larger surface area/volume ratio than eukaryotes.”

So there you have it. We have reached the end of this momentous journey of discovery together. Hopefully we all learned a little something about ourselves along the way. I learned that a little guilt goes a long ways and feeling guilty is its own reward. Thanks [redacted]! You are a true friend.

With all that learning of stuff I did not have a lot of time to decide on a fair way to adjudicate this situation. I do think [redacted] still should get the 50 buck gift certificate and so he will. What’s to be done about [redacted] and [redacted]? Besides being an excellent name for a two man punk-ska band it is an excellent question. Firstly, I officially bestow upon [redacted] the nickname(s) detective and/or batman. [Redacted] shall from this day forward be known as….any one of the five or six things he already is. That dude has too many names already, he is not getting another from me. Sorry. Ultimately I truly believe that being featured in another classic edition of MOTM® is a big enough reward in its own right so your welcome Loser #1 and #2.

Take care everybody and keep watching the stars! Hint: there might be a hint about this month’s topic in that rather cryptic closing remark. If you think you can guess ahead of time try me. Anybody gets it rights gets a guest appearance in the April edition which is contractually obligated to hit your inbox sometime before close of business April 30.

Warm wishes,

MOTM© founder and six time welterweight champion of the world, greatest pound for pound something or other,


Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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