Everything is Covered in Everything

Quick Public Service Announcement: I’ve noted a resurgence of “OMG POOP SMARTPHONE” stories lately (there was a streak of them a while ago, too), and I’d just like to point out some other things that have bacteria on or in them:

  • Everything on Earth.

This becomes pretty clear if you are, or involved with, someone who is pregnant, as pregnancy’s effect on the immune system makes people temporarily suceptible to listeriosis (among most other things). What is listeriosis? It’s an infection caused by Listeria bacteria. Where does Listeria live? ON ABSOLUTELY ALL OF YOUR UNCOOKED FOOD.[0]

Nasty? Perhaps. But I liken this to the junior sysadmin that first types “free” at a UNIX shell prompt, and discovers, OMG OMG, that all their RAM is in use. Calm down, it isn’t as bad as you think. Besides, where did all that poop bacteria on our phone come from? From inside us. And, as it turns out, after millions of years of evolution we really can’t live without a crazy mix of that stuff in our guts.

It’s not a bad idea to wipe your mobile phone, keyboard, and desk phone down with an alcohol wipe once in a while. It’s also not a bad argument for remote access to workstations for support staff, especially during flu & cold seasons. Maybe all this is just a good reminder to order a few cans of sanitizing wipes (and perhaps a way to remind non-tech people how to lock their workstation, as part of cleaning their keyboard).

Thank you, that is all, I will now return to the crappy task of building my immune system by crawling underneath my data center’s floor.


[0] BTW, when you see companies advertising that they slice their meats in-store for freshness that’s what they’re deterring. Every slice increases surface area where bacteria can live, so they either have to slice it & treat it with preservatives or just slice it on demand.

3 thoughts on “Everything is Covered in Everything”

  1. There is certainly a happy medium there between so dirty that you die from a preventable illness and so clean that your immune system is a wreck. There is some evidence that too-clean environments are a significant contributing factor to developing allergies.

  2. Bob,
    I haven’t had a cold in 8 years because I stopped consciously picking my nose and not touching things that the other humans carelessly touch.
    Enjoyed your site, but wish the updates were more consistent.
    Johnny R

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