Bearded men beware | TheFencePost.com

Bearded men beware

Laugh Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

It’s amazing the amount of weird news I can uncover on the “internet news” almost any time I look. This week is no exception. Before I get into the first piece of “weird” news, let me explain that I’ve worn a short, clipped beard for more than 40 years. I don’t wear a long beard because my chin whiskers have a distinct “rightward” lean — and that’s not a political statement. It’s a fact, with a longer beard, I look like my jaw has been broken and healed badly — with a right jut.

Why the discussion about my beard? Well, it’s becuz I read in the British news that European researchers have discovered that nearly half of all sampled beards they studied hosted germs/bugs dangerous to human health.

The researchers studied human beard contamination with dog hair contamination. The results were either bad for men or good for dogs, depending upon which species you like the most. Regardless, the scientists found dogs were “cleaner” than bearded men.

The study was trying to determine whether there was a risk of humans picking up a dog-borne disease from an MRI scanner also used for examinations by vets. In examining the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs from a number of breeds, scientists found that even hounds had lower levels of microbes than the beards surveyed.

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Professor Andreas Gutzeit, of Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic, said: “The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur.” The conclusion, on the basis of these findings? Dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men.

My take on the research findings? Maybe now we know why some women prefer to nuzzle and cuddle their pet dogs rather than the men in their lives.

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Elsewhere in the internet weird news concerning agriculture, I see that the brains of dead pigs have been somewhat revived by scientists hours after the animals were killed in a slaughterhouse. Yup, a Yale University research team is careful to say that none of the brains regained the kind of organized electrical activity associated with consciousness or awareness. Still, the experiment described recently in the scientific journal Nature showed that a surprising amount of cellular function was either preserved or restored.

According to the article, the implications of this study have staggered ethicists, as they contemplate how this research should move forward and how it fits into the current understanding of what separates the living from the dead. It also really fundamentally changes a lot of existing beliefs in who might be considered “dead.”

Here’s how the research worked: In the lab, researchers removed the brains from the pigs’ heads and placed the isolated brains in an experimental chamber. The researchers hooked key blood vessels up to a device that pumped in a specially formulated chemical cocktail for six hours, starting about four hours after the pigs had been killed. The result was not a living brain, but “a cellularly active brain.”

The potential ethical questions raised by this research range from how to protect animal welfare to how it might affect organ donation from people declared brain-dead. One scientist summed up the ethical question thusly, “There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.”

Then the scientists conclude that this research could complicate the effort to secure organs for transplant from people who have been declared brain-dead. If people who are declared brain-dead could become candidates for attempts at brain resuscitation, it could become harder for physicians or family members to be convinced that further medical intervention is futile.”

My take on this “weird” research, leave well enuf alone.

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And the third piece of weird internet ag news comes from The Siberian Times, where else? Seems research folks in Russia have found permafrost-preserved “oldest blood in the world” from a ancient frozen horse. The finding supposedly “boosts hopes of bringing extinct species back to life.”

It reports that blood from an Ice Age foal was preserved in the liquid state for 42,000 years thanks to favorable burial conditions and permafrost. Even the muscle tissues were preserved in a natural reddish color. Scientists have already indicated that they are confident of success in extracting cells from this foal in order to clone its species — the extinct Lenskaya breed — back to life.

My take on this weird news? Perhaps the “brought back to life Lenskaya horses” will put new life into rodeo bareback and saddle bronc riding competition.

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I’ve a few words of wisdom to pass along this week:

• Teach your kids about taxes. Eat 30 percent of their ice cream cone.

• Alcohol may not solve all your problems, but neither will water or milk.

• Respect your parents and grandparents. They graduated from school without the internet.

• And, finally, remember when you referred to your knees as right and left, not good and bad.” Me, too!

Have a good ‘un. ❖



Milo Yield