Half Moon Street by Paul TherouxIn Half Moon Street, Paul Theroux brings us two brilliant short novels on the theme of a double life. Although they are worlds apart in scene and character, both are full of a kind of eerie menace that lies just beneath the outward events.
Lauren Slaughter’s life began to change beyond recognition one evening at a dinner party where she met the quite strange Mr. Van Arkady. “There are five thousand people in the world,” he said, and he meant that literally. The other millions, he asserted, don’t really matter. Lauren, a Fellow at a respected institute and a student of the politics of the Persian Gulf, found a second, sinister life for herself when she met Captain Twilley and Madame Cybele and began to work for the Jasmine escort service. Doctor Slaughter is full of social satire and the promise of violence. It is a Rake’s Progress dazzlingly translated into a late-twentieth-century London.
In Doctor DeMarr, Gerald DeMarr’s life suddenly changes one July day when his missing twin brother George turns up on the doorstep of their Massachusetts family home and demands to stay. Where has George been all these years? Before Gerald can find the answer, he discovers George dead of a drug overdose. Then, retracing his twin’s footsteps, he gradually reveals for himself a horrifying—and quite nearby—life that George has led and has tried to escape from. And, without willing it, Gerald is drawn into playing the role of his alter ego, and he plays it out to the terrible and unexpected ending.
Surprising Benefits of Bacteria: The Human Microbiome
Just the thought that trillions of bacteria are crawling all over your skin and through your bodies is enough to freak anyone out. Bacteria — a word that often brings out a sense of uneasiness in most of us are, in fact, one of the earliest forms of life. It can be quite unnerving to know that there are bacteria all over your skin, hair, and even inside the body. But only a few species of bacteria are dangerous. Apart from the importance of bacteria for the healthy relationship between humans and bacteria, they also have multiple benefits in the field of medicines and agriculture. Bacteria are used extensively in the production of antibiotics and vaccines, genetic engineering, Bio-pesticides, organic manure, etc.
Bacteria are economically important as these microorganisms are used by humans for many purposes. The beneficial uses of bacteria include the production of traditional foods such as yoghurt, cheese, and vinegar. Microbes are also important in agriculture for the compost and fertilizer production. Sourdough bread is made to rise by fermentation , with a leaven that consists of bacteria, often combined with wild yeast enzymes. Bacteria are used, too, to form organic acids in pickles and vinegar.
Milk from a healthy cow initially contains very few bacteria, which primarily come from the skin of the cow and the procedures for handling the milk. Milk is an excellent growth medium for numerous bacteria, and the bacteria can increase rapidly in numbers unless the milk is properly processed. Bacterial growth can spoil the milk or even pose a serious health hazard if pathogenic bacteria are present. Diseases that can be transmitted from an infected cow include tuberculosis Mycobacterium tuberculosis , undulant fever Brucella abortus , and Q fever Coxiella burnetii. In addition, typhoid fever Salmonella typhi can be transmitted through milk from an infected milk handler. Certain bacteria convert milk into useful dairy products, such as buttermilk , yogurt , and cheese.