It’s a Fact!

Here are some facts. This is the internet, so you may want to forward ones you like to various cyber friends. All facts herein are true. I know this because I read them in books. Books are things that we keep around for the time when the internet finally crashes & all electronically stored human data is lost. So here we go….

Fact #1: Ants have a larger brain to body ratio than humans. About 2% of our body weight is brain. About 6% of an ant’s body weight is brain.

Humans are always looking for ways to separate and place themselves above other animals. As we learn more about animals, this becomes increasingly tricky. We used to hear that humans were the only creatures with language. That was obviously not true, since many creatures communicate with language, not the least of which is the honey bee. Then they told us that we were the only creatures that could remember the past and act on it. But my dog remembers where I threw a piece of bread to the birds from 3 days ago. They said only humans have emotions. We now know that emotions are a very basic attribute of animals. Several creatures are known to change color with emotion. We were told that only humans made tools until we noticed chimpanzees making tools to catch termites. They thought humans had the biggest brains. However, a human brain is only about 17% of the size of a sperm whale brain. Perhaps human brains are better in some other way — more complex? I heard a human-centric commentator on National Public radio assert that the human brain was the most complicated thing ever to have evolved in the universe. Outside of the absurdity of claiming something that enormous with practically no information to back it up, it ignores the fact that the sperm whale brain is known to be much more complex than the human brain. So, then they decided that what mattered was the brain to body size ratio. In this way, dinosaurs can be thought of as very dumb. Well, ants easily beat us in that department.

Fact #2: In the last 10 years in the United States, you were more likely to be struck by lightening than killed by a terrorist.

And yet we fret about terrorism constantly, while spending practically no money on constructing lightening rods.

Fact #3: You are more likely to be killed by an asteroid than by lightening.

Asteroids over 1 km large hit the Earth about twice every million years, yet we are in an unusually long stretch without such an impact. An asteroid nearly 2 km large could kill about 2 billion people, giving you a 1 in 3 chance of being obliterated in such an event. Even with this knowledge, the United States has spent trillions of dollars fighting terrorism while allocating very little money to NASA in its government-mandated mission to identify dangerous asteroids.

Fact #4: You contain more bacteria than human cells.

There are thousands of species of bacteria that live in us, and there are at least 10 times more bacteria in our body than human cells.

Fact #5: You might be controlled by parasites.

It’s not that unusual in nature for parasites to control their hosts. Here are some examples: If a hairworm infects a grasshopper, it can release chemicals that cause the grasshopper to jump into water where it drowns, allowing the hairworm to swim away to reproduce in the water. Cordyceps is a type of fungus that infects ants. It makes its way to the ant’s brain and causes the ant to climb to the top of a plant and attach its mandibles firmly to the plant where it stays until the fungus is finished eating the ant’s brain. Toxoplasma gondii live and reproduce inside cat guts. If they are pooped out, they have a remarkable way of getting back into a cat: When a rat eats the cat feces, the parasite makes its way to the parts of the rat’s brain that deal with danger and attraction. The toxoplamsa causes the rat to be attracted to the smell of cat urine. The rat will approach a cat, which eats it, allowing the parasite to reestablish itself in the cat’s gut. Toxoplasma is also associated with schizophrenia in humans and there is evidence of a correlation between toxoplasma infections and dangerous driving that leads to fatal accidents. About one third of the population of humans carries the toxoplasma parasite.

It could be that parasites are causing us to fight each other instead of the impending doom of an asteroid.



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