Hidden worlds all around us

I was reading a science book to my kids the other day, when it was revealed that each of us has more than 10,000 different species of microscopic microbes living in us and on us. Not individual germs. 10,000 different kinds. There are more microbes on us and in us than there are cells in our bodies. We are all carrying around something like five or six pounds of bugs.

But don’t get grossed out just yet. A lot of the bugs do really good things for us, like digest our food. If we can get over the initial disgust, it is pretty fascinating. Our bodies are like huge, bustling cities of microbial creatures too small to see.

Of course there is also the bigger bugs like ticks, fleas and lice living off of us. Yeech. I’d rather have a tapeworm. Of course, one of the major problems with those parasites is they are all covered with bacteria, too.

We can’t do much about it. A study also found that the air we breathe has as many as 2,000 different species of microbes floating around in it. Scientists were surprised at that number, thinking the air would be a hard place to live for a microbe. Not so, it seems.

My kids and I were watching a movie the other day where all of nature was actually controlled by secret tiny people. Now I’m convinced that it was a true story. Only, instead of little people, all the creatures look like they just came out of a Godzilla movie.

What this means is that every day, while we go and do all our important stuff, there is a whole other world bustling on us that we mostly ignore.

But that is not the only world we don’t even know about. Most of us use our cell phones without thinking about the electromagnetic spectrum, and how waves of energy are pulsating through everything. Our eyes catch certain parts of that energy — light — which allows us to see, and our phones capture some of that too, allowing us to talk without having a cord.

And then, on an even more basic level, tiny molecules make up everything around us, from the air we breathe to the paper or computer you are reading. We easily differentiate between the gases, liquids and solids around us, but on a smaller level we are just floating in a soup of molecules, differentiated only by the type of atoms they hold and by how close they are together.

And to think that all this is on this planet of ours, that if viewed from far enough away, would look like nothing more than a grain of sand on a beach.


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