The biggest problem with ships is that when they're old and unusable, there's nowhere to retire them other than the bottom of the ocean. The U.N. estimates that over 3 million ships are located on the ocean floor, with fewer than a thousand that anyone has any plans to clean up. And that's not even covering all the defunct oil rigs down there. As cool as it might be to go exploring sunken battleships on the bottom of the sea in search of treasures and corpses, what we really need is a way to clean up the mess.
Drain cleaner and a Super Soaker?
Enter the Halomonas titanicai, a bacteria that loves eating metal and could do all the cleaning up for us.
Before Titanic was a convenient way to see Kate Winslet naked, it was actually a ship. And had anyone known how many movies she would get naked in after Titanic, we probably could have avoided the whole thing. Anyway, the real ship sank in 1912, where it sat undisturbed for over 70 years. Well, "undisturbed" isn't entirely accurate. During that time, a bacteria sprouted colonies all over the vessel and they are eating the Titanic.
James Cameron's Oscar is somewhere in there.
These bacteria adhere to metal, then create rust knobs which appear to be slowly devouring the ship. It's good news for anyone who is mildly interested in ocean health, but sadly, bad news for anyone who was substituting an old cruise ship for an actual relationship.
"Just knowing they're together now is enough for me."
Because of the great work the bacteria is doing on the Titanic, researchers don't see any reason we can't use the same cultures to clean up other oil rigs and ships. Or, conversely, knowing exactly how the bacteria eats away at metal can inform how we build boats in the future so that they are stronger. By finding a way to prevent this bacteria from colonizing, we can ensure that oil rigs stay structurally sound for a lot longer. Then again, if one of them collapses and it's resistant to the bacteria, then we're right back where we started with steel trash on the floor of the ocean.
At least this will make a pretty reef.
We at Cracked certainly know that the pie chart on causes of obesity is as complex as it is delicious. We know there are all sorts of contributing factors, like genes and brain stuff and how close the nearest doughnut shop is to your house. We also know that every overweight person can now add bad gut bacteria to the list of excuses for why they can never fix their fat selves.
Those four daily cans of Pringles still deserve top billing though.
After all, your intestines aren't just a food-to-shit conversion chamber turning that Taco Bell fourth meal into ... well Taco Bell is a bad example. Your intestines also play host to about 500 different species of bacteria, and that's a good thing because bacteria break down and absorb the food our bodies can't digest alone. The last thing anyone wants in their belly tube is all the food you ever ate ever, right?
Except maybe Giardia, "the farting death."
Recently, scientists have found that when we eat a high-fat, sugar rich diet, we not only pack in the calories, we also encourage the growth of bacteria called Firmicutes in our intestines, which happen to love Bugles and Twix bars. They love fatty foods so much that they devour it, breaking the compound down until it is sure to be absorbed by the body, like some kind of chubby lovin' specialty bacteria with its own section of Craigslist and everything.
Likes: Marijuana, Super Sized anything and County Fairs.
In a study that changed the diet of lab mice from low-fat, plant based meals to fatty foods, the mice picked up a new set of bad bacteria overnight and started packing on the pounds. They even stayed fat after switching back to low-fat foods. So that's the bad news. Bad bacteria makes you fat. Here's the good news: Good bacteria makes you skinny! Surprise!
If you just keep exposing yourself to bacteria, you're bound to hit the right one eventually.
Daily intake of a unique lactic acid bacteria was shown to keep the fat-loving bacteria away, which is great news for people who despise the idea of working out. Scientists tested the effectiveness of Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19 by feeding it to baby rats every day, even before they were born. Then those rats were fed some high fat, McDonaldsish diet and despite enjoying fatty foods, the rats with the lactic acid bacteria living inside their gut stayed leaner.
So, the theory goes that by intentionally ingesting something that looks like this ...
... regularly and from an early age, you can allow this stuff to colonize inside of you like tiny but stern fat camp councilors that constantly keep obesity in check.