13 Facts About ALL That Bacteria On The NYC Subway

13 Facts About ALL That Bacteria On The NYC Subway

click photo for more information
13 Facts About ALL That Bacteria On The NYC Subway
A team of researchers recently discovered that the NYC subway is crawling with germs. Here’s how grossed out/freaked out you should actually be. New research found 562 different species of bacteria in the New York City subway system. View this image › graphics.wsj.com / Via Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal created an interactive […]

A team of researchers recently discovered that the NYC subway is crawling with germs. Here’s how grossed out/freaked out you should actually be.

New research found 562 different species of bacteria in the New York City subway system.

graphics.wsj.com / Via Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal created an interactive map of the findings (screen shot of that above).

BuzzFeed Life talked to one of the study authors, Chris Mason, Ph.D., geneticist at Weill Cornell Medical College, about the research, and just how grossed out you should actually be.

1. Yes, it is so, so many bacteria — but most of them are totally not a big deal.
“The vast majority of what we found are benign or inert for human health,” Mason says. And some of them may even be helpful to our health — like the bacteria associated with cleaning up toxins.

2. You should not be afraid to ride the subway, guys.
Mason isn’t. In fact, he says he’s even less freaked out now than he might have been before he did this study. “If anything, it makes me more confident,” he says. “I ride the subway every day, I bring my daughter on it with me, and the study has actually made me much more confident to grab a pole and hang on than I ever was before.”

3. It’s true, the researchers don’t even know what a lot of these bacteria even are.
“About half the DNA that we touch every day… we have no idea what they are,” Mason says. “It’s completely unclassified.”

4. But that’s an exciting thing, not scary. (At least for the researchers, anyway).
“We know based on these data that the vast majority of the DNA we touch is benign,” Mason says. “And even though a lot of it is unknown, I get excited about that because I’m surrounded by things that have never been seen before that are right under my fingertips. Much like looking at a rainforest, even. I can explore it and find new species, different animals, different plants. So I find that very exciting and invigorating to think about. Not a concern.”

graphics.wsj.com / Via WSJ

The Wall Street Journal’s interactive tool also lets you search the subway system by bacteria type. Shown here is antibiotic resistant bacteria. You can also sort by sunscreen, mozzarella cheese, and Kimchi and sauerkraut, if you’re so inclined.

5. That thing you read about the “germs that can cause bubonic plague uptown“? Don’t sweat it.
Don’t you think we’d notice if the bubonic plague were actually sweeping through our subway system and/or the Upper West Side?

“There’s been no documented case of any of the diseases that are associated with some of the DNA we found,” Mason says. “That’s additional evidence that there’s no reason whatsoever to be concerned. It’s really a testament I supposed to what the immune system can do.” The human body: AMAZING.

6. The more dense the population, the greater the diversity of bacteria.
“If you look at an average station in the Bronx, for example, it will have more unique species of bacteria than a station in Manhattan or Staten Island,” Mason says, because the Bronx has greater population density.

7. But more diverse bacteria might actually be a good thing, especially for younger people.
This is due to the “hygiene hypothesis,” Mason says. “It’s a hypothesis being studied in microbiology that thinks about the immune system. Martin Blaser recently wrote a book about this, called Missing Microbes. The idea actually is that when you’re younger, your immune system needs to have the ability for target practice, essentially — it needs to be exposed to antigens. In the absence of that, you’ll actually have a higher risk of asthma and allergies later in life. So to some degree, the greater bacterial diversity found in the surfaces is probably a good thing.” (He pointed out that they didn’t study this specifically in their research, but it’s a general idea that microbiologists are paying attention to lately.)

graphics.wsj.com / Via WSJ

The Wall Street Journal tool shows that there were 96 types of bacteria found at Atlantic Av-Barclays Center station in Brooklyn. Those bacteria include UTI bugs, food poisoning, and bacteria from heart-valve infections, among many others.

8. The railings contained the greatest diversity of bacteria.
Mason and his colleagues swabbed railings, seats, turnstiles, kiosks, and trashcans — basically everything that gets a LOT of use all day every day in a subway.

9. But those same metal railings had less total DNA on them than the wooden benches did.
So the bacteria on the poles was most diverse, but there was less of it total compared to other surfaces. “Metal in general is a good idea versus say wood, which can absorb a lot of things,” Mason says. The same can probably be said about seats with fabric on them (looking at you, San Francisco), but they didn’t test that in this study.

10. The bacterial DNA left in some stations could actually predict the ancestry of the people who live in that area.
This didn’t apply to high-traffic areas or to places with a lot of tourists, but in neighborhoods that lean predominantly toward one specific race or ethnicity, the subway bacteria reflected that.

“There are ancestry informative markers, genetic markers that can tell you where you come from in the world, whether you’re Finnish, or you’re British, Japanese, and so on,” Mason says. “There’s a catalogue of genetic variants that are known to be distributed around the world. And we can use the knowledge of human genetic variation, and take that data and combine it with census data, and when we blend those two together we see a mirror of them on the surface of the subway.”

graphics.wsj.com / Via WSJ

As you can see from the WSJ tool, bacteria from mozzarella cheese was found all over the city. New Yorkers love their pizza.

11. Hurricane Sandy impacted the bacteria in South Ferry Station.
“One of the most notable stations was the South Ferry Station,” Mason says. “So it had a unique mixture, and also some lower levels of bacteria. It was a very unique station in that regard, and it’s because it had been so flooded.”

12. There’s a lot of cheese bacteria in the subway because New Yorkers love their pizza.
Oh, and Mason doesn’t think that people are just barfing up pizza on the subway all the time (we asked him). “I think it’s because people eat pizza and they don’t wash their hands after they eat it and they touch the subway railings.” Sounds about right.

13. No subway stations are better or worse than others when it comes to nasty bugs.
“When we looked at one station every hour on the hour, the microbial diversity changes so fast because you have tens of thousands of hands touching every surface,” Mason says. “To say that one station is better or worse than another at one snapshot in time would be unfair to that station, because it could be different the next day. And also everything that would be there would likely be normal healthy things anyway. So I don’t want people to avoid a subway station just because of one dataset from one or two days.”

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/carolynkylstra/subway-bacteria

Therapists for the mind

click photo for more information
Therapists for the mind
Mental health has assumed increasing importance in our society which is plagued by various vectors of stress, marginalised family structures and increased vulnerability to challenges in interpersonal Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/therapists-for-the-mind/article8952967.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

Someone Release This Beauty

click photo for more information
Someone Release This Beauty
Read more: http://www.ifunny.com//pictures/someone-release-beauty/

These sisters developed a sunscreen specifically for black people. It’s about time.

click photo for more information
These sisters developed a sunscreen specifically for black people. It’s about time.
Dust off your rompers, cue up “Steal My Sunshine,” and fill up on froyo because summer is on its way. Go ahead and do your summer shimmy. I’ll wait. GIF via “BAPS.” With summer fun comes summer sun, and while it feels so, so good after a long winter, the rays can wreak havoc on […]

10 Hacks To Turn Your Morning Routine Into A Breeze, No Matter What

click photo for more information
10 Hacks To Turn Your Morning Routine Into A Breeze, No Matter What
Starting your morning off right is the most important thing you can do for your day. Prepping as much as you can the night before and coming up with a routine that pumps up your mood is a great way to make sure you get off on the right foot. But sometimes, things happen. You […]

5 Smoothies That Double As Face Masks To Make Your Self-Care Routine Delicious AF

click photo for more information
5 Smoothies That Double As Face Masks To Make Your Self-Care Routine Delicious AF
You know those delicious smoothies you blend together in the morning? Well, it turns out that strawberry, papaya, and honey aren’t just made for your mason jars. You can drink these tasty concoctions wear them as face masks As I’m sure you already know, fruits and vegetables contain incredible properties that can not only nourish […]

Artist Uses Folded Paper To Make Amazing Pieces That Look Like Colorful Paintings

click photo for more information
Artist Uses Folded Paper To Make Amazing Pieces That Look Like Colorful Paintings
All you have to do is turn on the TV or flip through a magazine to watch the media rob aging of its beauty. After all, it’s an honor to grow old. Despite all that, cosmetics companies spend millions on making us fear the inevitable by presenting it as something ugly. One artist by the […]

Here Are 25 Ways You’ll Almost Definitely Live Longer. You’ll Literally Add Years To Your Life, So Look.

click photo for more information
Here Are 25 Ways You’ll Almost Definitely Live Longer. You’ll Literally Add Years To Your Life, So Look.
“How can we live a longer life?” That question has been around since humans have been capable of asking it. In life, all things must pass. That doesn’t mean we want life to pass, though. By taking care of yourself in a few simple ways, you can extend your own life and be happier while […]

Beijing Became Nearly Invisible Earlier Today, And Human Beings Are To Blame

click photo for more information
Beijing Became Nearly Invisible Earlier Today, And Human Beings Are To Blame
We all know that China is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, so it makes sense that its biggest cities experience some of the worst smog on record. While it may be easy to ignore the effects of pollution on our planet, the finite nature of life on Earth becomes abundantly […]

My Stepfather, The Peeping Tom

click photo for more information
My Stepfather, The Peeping Tom
My mother’s husband confessed to having spied on me in my bedroom and bathroom years ago. Figuring out how to maintain a relationship with him — and with my mother — has been traumatic, even if they don’t consider it sexual abuse. View this image › Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed My last visit back to […]

Why I’m Still Coming Out To My Twin Sister After Five Years

click photo for more information
Why I’m Still Coming Out To My Twin Sister After Five Years
My sister and I finally have “the talk” we’ve been avoiding, because although my sister’s acceptance means everything to me — I’ve never been sure that I’ve had it. View this image › Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed Almost five years ago to the day, I came out to my twin sister while she was studying […]

These Works Of Art Weren’t Drawn — They Were Grown In Petri Dishes

click photo for more information
These Works Of Art Weren’t Drawn — They Were Grown In Petri Dishes
This kind of art really grows on you. Well, actually, it grows in a petri dish — and the strange, swirling, colorful forms you’ll see here were actually carefully cultivated by microbiologists for a competition. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) hosted its first ASM Agar Art Contest. Yep, that’s a thing! Contestants grew various […]

We Debunked Every SPF Myth You’ve Ever Heard Just In Time For Summer

click photo for more information
We Debunked Every SPF Myth You’ve Ever Heard Just In Time For Summer
Summer is just a few weeks away, which means we technically should all be gearing up for a daily routine of slathering on some serious SPFseveral times a day to protect our skin from those harmful UV rays. This is of course if you arent already doing so, which of course, you are right?! Sure, […]

Kim Kardashian Posted The Sweetest Message For Kylie Jenner’s 20th Birthday

click photo for more information
Kim Kardashian Posted The Sweetest Message For Kylie Jenner’s 20th Birthday
While the Lambo, fabulous wardrobe, and fat bank account are nice for Kylie Jenner, it’s not everything. The starlet celebrated turning 20 on August 10 with close friends, family, and people that matter to her. She walked into a huge surprise party adorned with balloons, a chocolate fountain, and a cake with her face on […]

This Instagram Artist Uses The World Around Him To Color His Creations

click photo for more information
This Instagram Artist Uses The World Around Him To Color His Creations
You could say that the artwork of Nikolai Tolstyh is collaborative, since he uses the natural beauty around him to color his pieces — and we mean that literally. Tolstyh cuts out the silhouettes of various animals from white paper, and then hunts down the perfect backdrops to fill them in. He usually chooses backgrounds […]

These Incredible Caterpillars Prove How Cool Nature Really Is.

click photo for more information
These Incredible Caterpillars Prove How Cool Nature Really Is.
Butterflies were the inspiration behind artists, musicians, and authors for centuries. Similar to a phoenix rising from its ashes, the journey each butterfly undertakes during its metamorphosis into a beautiful creature is the perfect parallel to countless stories. Unlike the phoenix, there’s nothing fantasy about these fantastic transformations. Along with moths, these creatures can sometimes be […]
More