Virus Time

For those of you who love to guess whats going on in my head, as I know our lovely author sometimes does. A simple clue, one for which I will admit I have not checked to see if more than one virus fits this but I am only thinking of the one.

I am eight.

If no one gets this by 3 pm PST tomorrow I will give you another clue :? .

Bonus if someone can tell me the bacteria to which I have eight would apply, and what that means }:) .

As everyone knows it has been a busy and hard few months for almost everyone out there me included I hope this can bring some weird science cheer to the group.

Have fun.

Viruslife Smile

Forums: 
MeiLin's picture

Most High

I love the virus game! Thanks for starting one, viruslife!

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Damn, I really need to fit some more biochem classes in; I haven't even had anything on viruses. Makes it a little hard to compete in this game Blum 3 I look forward to finding out the answer though...

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

influenza?

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

That didn't take any time at all. Yes influenza it would be. This is why you have to get the flu shot every year. Since the flu's make up is in 8 pieces it can keep recombining and remaking itself every time two different strains infect the same cell.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

google "virus is eight"

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

I need to start googling my clues to see how easy it is :).

Tolovana's picture

Petitioner

Enterobacteria phage?

My favorite kind of virus is the bacteriophage. So alien.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

I also love the way the bacteriophages look. However the bacteria I'm talking about is a neat little human pathogen.

Freydis's picture

...bird flu?

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Just the normal flu but this is what makes bird flu so dangerous.

Freydis's picture

...the way the nucleus of the avian flu combines with the nucleus of the regular flu to make...

...SUPER FLU!

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I happened when the nucleus of the avian fly combined with the nucleus of the regular fly...
that's right...
SUPER FLY!

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

That elicited an out-loud groan. The sort of, "I'm really not proud that I was amused by that," groan.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I'll take it as a compliment.

Seth Gray's picture

Devotee

The flu's a virus? I guess thinking about it now, it must be, but I've never really thought about it before. Wow, the more you know.

RandomScientist's picture

Petitioner

Yep, the flu is caused by a virus, as is the common cold. This is why your doctor can't do much beyond suggest pain killers, fluids, and rest: antibiotics don't work on viral infections. (Generic "you", not specifically directed at Seth or anyone else posting here.)

Public Service Announcement for the day: If you have a cold, flu, or something else your doctor says is viral, don't nag him or her for antibiotics to feel like the doctor is doing their job and you're getting something for your copay. Antibiotics won't help you get well any faster, and they'll just contribute to the antibiotics in the environment that are increasing the number of drug-resistant bacteria causing serious, and often lethal, infections. /end PSA

Sorry, professional hazard of being a college science professor: the tendency to try and educate everyone you run into.

sherinik's picture

Postulant

Seriously, keep it up pleeeeazze! I have a trivia(l?) brain - every little scrap of unattached knowledge gets vacuumed up and stuck in the web somewhere. Best part is, eventually you get enough in a particular node and that last little bit causes all the rest to gel.

Yay for random educating! Especially here - medieval history, theology, cooking and biology all in one convenient package.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Don't forget the sex.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

And there's even a bit of CS edumacation going on in a couple spots.

Heck, we're just some drunken misbehavior away from our own virtual college campus Wink

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

We can fix this say 5 PST on This Saturday we all go out drink and come back and say hi to each other.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

Oh, I believe there are also threads on current books being read and other folks' stories. So I guess we also have some sort of literature/english thing going on to (my least favorite subject. It took me three- that's right, three- times to pass College English II >.

Oh, and a bit of culture of some sort, don't forget the culture (even if it is our own ^-^)

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Three tries on lit/english, tell me you're either an engineer (what I started as) or a scientist Smile (though even if you aren't I'm already impressed by your distaste for english lit). I know all of the so called "humanities" courses were the bane of my existence when I was doing my double major in physics and nuclear engineering, and it's not because I'm poorly read (did everything from Ayn Rand to Dante in highschool). Political "Science" (and trust me, calling it a science is an insult to all scientists) was the by far the worst of all of them.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

That I couldn't complete the most basic physics course at university but I aced every English class I've ever been near (with one high school exception when the teacher and I nearly came to blows)--and loved them...

Davik's picture

Embodiment

1: That you never had a good physics teacher. I like to think that I'm a good one, but I've only spent a couple of years tutoring and a couple semesters TAing, but it really depends a lot on the the student being willing to put the effort into it, because as much as I was willing to spend time with my students whenever they could fit it in (hell, I was the one setting it up with the course instructors so I could run a review for the final even though no one else was, and even breaking university rules to run these things), most of them never bothered to ask me about setting up extra time for instruction.
2: You're in the right place, because as well as I can handle everything from nuclear to biophysics, I couldn't write the way you do.
Through all of that though, I think everyone should get through basic physics, because it isn't that difficult if the teacher is competent. If the teacher knows the material and knows how to teach it, everyone should walk out with the basic idea. The real issue is that most physicists teaching it only have the one approach they used to learn it, and that's a totally different way of learning it than non-physicists have. Chalk this up to my entire undergrad career having the engineers telling me that I think like a physicist, while all the physics people told me that I thought like an engineer.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

PS: I enjoy teaching, so if people want help and we can set up some reasonable way to do it (like IM), I'd be more than happy to help people with physics/chemistry/math or maybe even bio (though this is my weak area). I enjoy teaching, and I think everyone should understand the basics from F=MA to circuits. If nothing else this is the kind of thing that can keep you alive in basic life (everything from keeping you from trying to stop a rolling cannon ball with your foot to trying to do electrical work on a tin roof).

RandomScientist's picture

Petitioner

You handle all that non-living stuff, and I'm happy to take a shot at answering bio questions. Don't claim to be an expert in all areas of the field, but I taught a non-majors class last semester, so I've gotten decently good at handling bio questions from non-scientists.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

enough said. Smile

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

This is sad as its a really cool one that I like alot even better than sum viruses. Here are the clue recaps I have eight, and am a human pathogen.

Clue number three: Think plasmids and drug resistance.

good luck

RandomScientist's picture

Petitioner

Drug resistance via plasmid swapping makes me think MRSA, aka Staph aureus. But I'm not a microbiologist by any means, so I couldn't give you a solid reason to back it up. I'd assume eight may be related to the number of plasmids a typical superbug strain carries or the genes per plasmid or something. Just a guess.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

You have the wrong bacteria, but so the right idea. Most plasmids can only have one resistance gene on them, so a bacteria gets full of plasmids and has to start dropping some. This is why some of the really old antibotics are starting to work again. However this bacteria has a very unique plasmid that can hold guess what 8 genes on it.

RandomScientist's picture

Petitioner

You're right, that is cool. Like I said, not a microbiologist, but that is a really fascinating adaptation, holding bigger plasmids to carry more resistance genes at once.
My only other guess at a pathogenic bacterium notorious for a tendency to accumulate drug resistances is TB.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

But good guess, as the one I'm thinking of is also an old bacteria well known to us. Like the flu I didn't check to see if more than one could fit. However this was a fun one to learn about in medical micro for this reason and many more. If we don't have a guess by 6pm PST I will give another very big clue.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Shoot! The plasmids and resistance thing is ringing a faint bell, but college biology was 6 years ago, argh... Must resist urge to google the answer... Blum 3

As a swag - E. coli?

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Nope, but this is the bacteria we use to science all the time with its plasmids. And did you know there are "female" and "male" E.coli, though when they are done having "sex" they are both male as its a plasmid that gets passed from one to the other.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Hey all one last clue if no one gets this after this one I will tell you the answer at 5 pm PST tomorrow.

1) I have eight
2) human pathogen
3) drug resistance on plasmids
Finally
4) think sex

Have fun.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Syphilis?

Also, I didn't realize that any of the bacterial STDs were developing antibiotic resistance. In retrospect, I'm not surprised, but yikes! All the more reason for sexual caution =X

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Not Syphilis but close I love that one it looks so cute and makes you crazy before you die. And this one is well know for its antibiotic resistance. And people wonder why I waited so long.

V's picture

Embodiment

See subject or clicky here

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

You just got to love that name. Yes that was exactly what I was thinking of.

Grats.

fremmed's picture

Petitioner

I go away for a few days and miss a virus game Sad

Personally I have a strange affection for prions ... efficient little buggers.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Pirons scare me too much.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

You know what the problem with prions are? They aren't f@^%ing alive! You can't kill something that isn't a live! :grumbles: Scary little quasi-living, TSE-causing, biotoxin bastards.

(Why yes, I do raise and work with cattle, goats, and sheep. Blum 3 )

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Exactly why I don't want to work with or go near them there scary. This from some one whose wedding ring is based on Ebola now that should say something.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I can't say I'd particularly want to work with them, but prions and all of the various misfolding/aggregation are just so elegantly simple. One little misfold, one cross link between proteins, and bam... Of course protein folding is also my area of study, so I'm supposed to be a geek about this stuff Blum 3 Honestly though, all the biological stuff scares me far more than any of the toxics or radioactives I used to work with (well, okay, the 1-3 um powdered beryllium and having to get a blood test to make sure it wasn't killing me was pretty bad). Maybe that should be another question for the people here, especially since there seem to be a fair number of science geeks out there, what's the worst/most dangerous stuff you've worked with?

MeiLin's picture
Davik's picture

Embodiment

Hey, 2 year olds are FAR scarier than beryllium or HF, and those top my list Blum 3

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

Although I did get to see some 8 mol HCl at work on cement. And while helping clean out the Biology cabinet, I found some small (3 gram?) containers marked radioactive. That was fun.

Incidentally, one of my classes last semester mentioned protein folding algorithms... in reference to semantic processing of natural language. Apparently the CYK algorithm works on both.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Intact male animals!!! Testicles are a necessary evil, as far as I'm concerned.

Second would be high-strung large animals (two thousand pounds of blind panic!), followed by PTOs (power take-offs = the reason that you see the odd farmer walking around with a missing arm). And then there's that one antibiotic we give to cows that will kill you dead instantly if you accidentally get it in yourself...

And okay, technically, a farmer isn't a scientist, but that's like saying technically, a politician isn't a political scientist. But I will say I'll take large and dangerous animals any day over radiation. At least I can turn my health threat into hamburger if it gets to be too dangerous!

Davik's picture

Embodiment

But it still sounds pretty dangerous; I know I have a rule about not messing with pissed off animals that out-weigh me by a ton Blum 3 Hell, while I don't have a problem loosing an arrow at a deer (not that I even got a shot this year), I won't even go after bears, and you won't find one that masses a ton or more around here.

As far as the radioactives are concerned though, they're not really a threat; you have to get a pretty ridiculous dose to do any damage. Hell, I've worked with everything from some fairly rare and exotic isotopes up through enriched uranium (I even collect stuff like vaseline glass which was made with uranium), and I've never gotten as much radiation dose from it as you get from smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes for a year. I think the main issue is just that most people don't know a whole lot about radiation, or know that things you run in to every day like cigarettes and bananas put out measurable radiation if you have a sensitive enough detector (well, with a really good gamma detector you can tell if someone is standing near it by the elevation in the radiation from the potassium in their bones).

Almost forgot to ask, what's a power take off?

V's picture

Embodiment

I was highly amused by some propaganda advocating against food irradiation (a good way to make food healthier and safer)...it read "The government has found a way to get rid of nuclear waste. You are going to eat it." which was misleading and totally playing into people's fears. I'm actually taking a grad course right now on Nuclear Power Engineering...the redundant levels of safety and sheer paperwork are mind-boggling.

I'll readily admit that farmers need to know quite a bit of science to be effective Smile And I'm not one myself, but Davik--I'm pretty sure a PTO can be found on most tractors or other large pieces of equipment...it's the spinning shaft on the back that can be connected to whatever equipment is being pulled, to power it. So...think "driveshaft without the protective guard"...really not something you want to get caught on and dragged into.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Oh, guess I worked with a PTO over the summer then, just didn't know the name of it (was helping the owners of the place where I was staying put some equipment on a tractor). As far as the food irradiation goes, it's totally safe (picked up degrees in nuclear engineering and physics, then spent a year working in the nuclear field before doing the grad school thing and deciding to go the biophysics route). I know that given the choice I would always choose irradiated food, and if the nuclear regulatory commission wasn't so picky I'd be irradiating it myself on my own nuclear pile in the basement. Guess they mind private citizens running small unlicensed breeder reactors Smile So what field are you studying that you're getting nuclear classes at the grad level?

V's picture

Embodiment

concentration in acoustics. Yes, that's terribly vague, but I'm a mite paranoid about putting anything in front of Google's eyes. It's an evening course--I still work full-time. Without checking, I expect that my company's constructed more new reactors than anyone else in the US during the last 15 years or so. I'm sure I've littered enough info on this site to give me away to a dedicated googler/investigator Smile

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Eh, I don't worry too much since I figure quite a bit of my personal information is already available through the universities, so I just make sure I keep the important stuff out of my posts. Hell, monster had all of my education and work information up for quite awhile. Of course then again I'm generally more worried about our wonderful government knowing things than I am about private citizens, and they already have 70+ pages of my personal information from my own hand thanks to my time in the working world (which is related to the reason you won't find me discussing what I worked on).

As far as the construction of nuclear reactors, probably not hard since the last nuclear reactor completed/licensed was in 1996 and was a Westinghouse design. Last I heard there had been some new proposals and initial license applications, but I don't know where those have gone since. Give it time, with all the BS involved with oil it won't be long before people start to realize that all the propaganda as no base in science and that nuclear power is actually the safest and cleanest power we have. Now I think I'm getting a bit off topic on one of my rants though, so I'll stop Blum 3

V's picture

Embodiment

You gotta get out of the box more. That's all I'm sayin Wink

Davik's picture

Embodiment

See, now I'm wondering what you mean, whether switching from government work to academia, or ideas on nuclear power, or posting information. As far as getting out of the box, I'm quite content to have switched from playing with nukes to playing with things that may cure diseases Blum 3

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Got it in one, V. PTOs are driveshafts that spin are ridiculously high RPMs to power field equipment. Nowadays, all farm equipment does come with guards and warnings plastered everywhere saying "turn everything off before you touch this!!", but accidents still happen. It doesn't help that farmers, especially the ones fixing the field equipment, still tend to be young males more often than not (yet another reason that testicles should be a restricted weapon Blum 3 - I like guys in general and love "my" boys, I do, but geez, does testosterone cause problems).

@Davik, you're right that "everyday" kinds of radiation are much more common and less threatening that most of us non-physicist types think about. I should've been more specific - I'm scared by the kind of radiation that will instantly do permanent damage upon exposure, the kind that's more likely to be found in research labs. I'll take a broken bone from an animal incident over radiation-induced cancer any day.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Estrogen and Progesterone terrify me.

Willow's picture

Devotee

I have too much of them, it causes all kinds of icky problems! Sad

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

Yes Bleach. It seems like a nice tame cleaner, but when some idiot comes along and adds ammonia to the containers that I bleach (also I have a limited sense of smell) well this sent me to the hospital as I was tasting blood and having a hard time breathing after I inhaled the gas that was released.

I have also worked with P32, foot and mouth disease for our farmer here (tried to come up with a better way of protecting against it). I have also worked in animal diagnostics there was a potential anthrax case, and a potential tulerimia (sp?) case both of which are pretty deadly if you breath them in with the second being so small and can pass through your gloves. Now I work with all sorts of chemotherapy drugs and immnosurpresents, oh and I have a kidney issue that means I have to be extra careful around these since we don't know what sets it off and these might be the culprit. I also work with human samples and there is no telling what could be there.

Reading this back to myself it sounds like I like to live on the dangerous side, but really no I'm very cautious around anything that could hurt me. Minus the bleach thing but everyone got in big trouble for that I people have been better about not adding the wrong thing to my bleach containers that I have to empty.

viruslife's picture

Supplicant

I think that's the most I have ever written in a post. :jawdrop:

RandomScientist's picture

Petitioner

Thankfully, as a geneticist, I've gotten to stay away from the really nasty stuff for the most part. What have I got?

-Ethidium bromide (carcinogen), of course.
-P32 (radioisotope), but we worked with such small levels that we didn't even have to notify anyone of a spill unless we dumped the entire vial before it decayed any.
-Concentrated HCl, the kind you have to work with in a fume hood so the vapor doesn't corrode your airways.
-Phenol... I have a scar from that stuff. It screws up skin cells in a way that pain sensors don't register right away, so it gets a few layers in before you know what's happened. It also doesn't really wash off well. I hate phenol.
-The only human pathogens I've worked with are H. flu and Pseudomonas auriginosa, both of which are opportunists that only really pose a danger to people with heightened susceptibility.

Can't think of anything else particularly serious right now. For a scientist, that's not too bad a list, really.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Is that usually the worst that can happen is strained eyesight, carpal tunnel and/or paper cuts. Though I do still have a graphite mark on my palm where I stabbed myself accidentally with a really sharp pencil in 7th grade...

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I did that in fourth grade. Hurt like an SOB. Teacher got really pissed at me because I let an explicitave slip.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

It's on my knee from leaving a freshly sharpened pencil on the floor, then accidentally turning such that the point jabbed me. Hurts like a sonofabitch.

Incidentally, being a university student means I'm around quite a bit of dangerous stuff on a daily basis even if I don't come into contact with it often. Like how my morning path takes me directly over a 1.1 Petawatt lazer - currently the most powerful in the world. ( http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~utlasers/ ) Admittedly, it's incredibly cool, but also kinda scary. And then there's the incredibly flammable chem building where I spend my Friday nights watching anime and breathing who-knows-what-kind-of fumes.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

As long as I stay off the ranges and dump sites, the worst I have to worry about is a paper cut. Though some of the drivers on the trip in have me a little nervous at times.

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