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Wisconsin Designates State Microbe 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-fighting-parameciums dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that state legislators in Wisconsin raced against the clock to pass a bill designating Lactococcus lactis as Wisconsin's official state microbe. 'The first time I heard the idea, I thought, I've got more important things to do than spending my time honoring a microbe,' says Gary Hebl, a Democratic state representative who proposed the bill which, he says, would make Wisconsin the first state in the nation to grant such a designation, 'but this microbe is really a very hard worker,' added Hebl, referring to the bacterium supported by the Department of Bacteriology at UW — Madison used to make cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheese. The proposal faced only one detractor in committee ('the opponent was clearly lactose-intolerant,' says Hebl), and there was no sign of a last-minute campaign from other bacteria, so by evening, the Assembly had approved the measure, 56 to 41. In case there were any doubts about Wisconsin's priorities, a separate bill also awaits consideration in Madison, declaring cheese Wisconsin's state snack."

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Wisconsin Designates State Microbe

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  • by Stooshie (993666) on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:27AM (#31895008) Journal
    ... now that's just cheesy!
  • Kansas: (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Salmonella

    • No. The hospital super-bugs - staph or strep. Because they show evolution in action.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_bug_(bacteria) [wikipedia.org]

      • by causality (777677)

        No. The hospital super-bugs - staph or strep. Because they show evolution in action.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_bug_(bacteria) [wikipedia.org]

        Actually that'd be natural selection unless a new, never-before-seen species is created. That's not how superbugs originate. Instead, antibiotics kill less than 100% of an existing species of bacteria. Let's say antibiotics can kill 99.5% of them. The 0.5% that survive the antibiotic continue to metabolize and reproduce until they replace the numbers that were lost to the antibiotic (and bacteria can often reproduce very quickly). Now you have a resistant population that originated with those individua

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          None of this is the "amoeba to human" (to use a figure of speech) evolution that explains the appearance of highly complex organisms on Earth.

          No-one makes claims about "amoeba to human" (to use a figure of speech) evolution, except Creationists.

          In fact I've never seen a scientific, proven example of a mutation that added new genetic information that did not previously exist.

          This [talkorigins.org] should get you started.

          None of this proves or disproves the concept of evolution, but it does make it a much more mysterio

  • that the really important problems are tackled, without fear or failure....


    What's next, Michigan delcaring Fe(OH) their state mascott?
  • Proposed legislation will attempt to make Saccharomyces cerevisiae their State Bacteria.
    • by pclminion (145572)

      Yes, we shouldn't ever focus on anything like "local culture" or find things to be proud of as residents of a certain place, or promote anything that isn't monotonous, requisite, fiscally appropriate. We ought to be freaking out and struggling to keep our heads above water at all times. There's no time to be human beings, we have drudgery to deal with!

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:33AM (#31895076)

    Wisconsin is the state synonomous with cheese. Nothing else, really. Just cheese. Everything they do, seemingly, is cheese-related. Oh, yeah, they have a pretty good football team from their city Green Bay. The team's fans are called "cheese-heads," and attend games wearing giant wedges of cheese as hats.

    Seriously. [blogspot.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by DickieRay (469521)

      We have beer, too.

      A former legislator used to love this sort of thing. As the State Legislature was considering making the tuba the State Instrument, which came to pass, she said this type of silliness takes time away from passing more bad laws.

      • by quixote9 (999874)
        Ooh, beer! That means they could have a state yeast too! Saccharomyces cerevisiae, here we come!
    • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@@@wumpus-cave...net> on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:39AM (#31895118)

      That's not true. We're also really good at beer and fireworks.

      • by IANAAC (692242)
        Sorry, but our non-US friends would say that our beer is swill.

        Really.

        • by chthon (580889)

          I went this weekend to the Struise Brouwers in Vleteren. What I tasted there has not been made or tasted by many. A variety of Black Albert, a stout ripened in oaken whiskey caskets, and Pannepot Wild, a beer variety enhanced with gueuze yeasts.

          Yeah, I know, off-topic, but worth mentioning I think.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phishtrader (741975)
          It's as if you've missed the whole craft beer movement in the US that's been going on since the early '80s. There is a lot of really good beer being produced in the US these days. Sure, the domestic standbys are still mass produced crap, but other countries have their own mass produced crap as well. I don't know where you're from, but try visiting the liquor store sometime and try something that doesn't have Miller or Bud written on the label.
        • It's sort of unfair to refer to "American beer" when what you're really thinking of is Bud-Mil-Coors. Not so long ago, it was certainly true that you had a choice of crappy mass-produced beer and nothing else. But nowadays, decent beer is available in every podunk town. Of course, there's still an ocean of the swill produced, but good domestic beer is easy to find.
          • but I was replying to the oh-so-common "Milwaukee beer rules" mentality.

            When I was a kid, I grew up hearing my dad and all his friends refer to Leinenkugel (Chippewa Falls) as "squaw piss". And it really was back then. Since then, they've made huge strides in making the brand an upscale brand now.

            I know that there are many craft breweries around Wisconsin. I visit many of them. But Wisconsin has never particularly been known for them.

            I spend my springs/summers in NW Wisconsin and enjoy this part o

        • by Stele (9443) on Monday April 19, 2010 @10:13AM (#31895590) Homepage

          Sorry, but our non-US friends would say that our beer is swill.

          They would be wrong.

          Seriously, with the possible exception of Belgium, the shear variety and quality of beers produced by the hundreds of micro-breweries and brew-pubs in Wisconsin tops anything I've experienced in the last 10 years in Europe. Anyone who has had the privilege of coming to the "Great Taste of the Midwest" knows what I am talking about.

          That said, volcano permitting, I'm traveling to Belgium next month to work on a book about monasteries and "exotic" beers.

          • How about Pilsen in the Czech Republic? You know. The city that Pilsener beer is named after. They certainly one of the best, if not the best beer in the world.
            Or Germany, with its insane amount of breweries. We got two dozen different types of beer of one type brewed in my city alone.

            But of course I don’t want to make Belgium or small American breweries look bad. They are a bit more open to new things or experiments. It depends on you, if you consider this a good or a bad thing.

            • by Stele (9443)

              I'm a HUGE fan of German beers of all kinds, Bavarian beers especially. I've spent many many hours sitting in beer gardens there. I personally consider German beers to be among the best in the world. I don't think I would ever get tired of German styles if that was all I could drink. And you get the wonderful bonus of being next to Belgium!

              But I can drive 15 minutes and find wonderful examples of pretty much every German style. I happen to have a keg of fantastic Hefeweizen from a local brew-pub that is a n

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wisconsin is only known for fireworks because they are illegal in some of the adjacent states. The fireworks sold in Wisconsin are all made in China.

      • by gaelfx (1111115)

        Let's not forget summerfest! It combines all of the best parts of Wisconsin and occasionally adds good looking boobies. Check it out: www.summerfest.com

    • by chthon (580889)

      Does that make Wisconsin the Holland of the USA ?

      Might be missing the windmills and the tulips.

      • Wind farms are growing in popularity around the state. Seems like a couple hundred went up around my parent's house over the last few years.

      • Well, Holland is actually in Michigan on the east coast of Lake Michigan. They make some pretty good beer there too. Plus wooden shoes, tulips, and everything else Dutch.
    • by chthon (580889)

      B.t.w. I see that Wisconsin produces about 600 varieties of cheese, but what varieties ? Do they have the same amount of variety that exists across Europe ? Fresh cheeses, soft cheeses, half-hard cheeses, hard cheeses, runny cheeses, chewy cheeses (like halloumi), big wheels of cheese, small pungent cheeses (I am from Belgium b.t.w.)?

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Do they have the same amount of variety that exists across Europe ? Fresh cheeses, soft cheeses, half-hard cheeses, hard cheeses, runny cheeses, chewy cheeses (like halloumi), big wheels of cheese, small pungent cheeses (I am from Belgium b.t.w.)?

        More importantly, is it actually cheese or is it that strange American rubber? I may be British and not keen on soft cheeses (like Brie) but the Americans seem to find it hard to do a decent cheddar.

        I think Wisconsin might be good, but I can't remember. I do rememb

        • by howlatthemoon (718490) on Monday April 19, 2010 @10:40AM (#31895982)
          Take a look here http://www.worldchampioncheese.org/_apps/contest_results/ [worldchampioncheese.org] Wisconsin almost always has a maker in the top 10.
        • by rhsanborn (773855)
          I hope by rubber cheese you aren't referring to the crimes against humanity that are Velveta and Kraft American "Cheese" as they are mostly cheese flavored vegetable oil. I'm pretty sure they even claim on the packaging that they are "Processed Cheese Food", not really cheese. If you are looking for delicious cheddar, they are indeed available, Wisconsin being one state with many varieties, and Vermont being another.
          • by xaxa (988988)

            I hope by rubber cheese you aren't referring to the crimes against humanity that are Velveta and Kraft American "Cheese" as they are mostly cheese flavored vegetable oil. I'm pretty sure they even claim on the packaging that they are "Processed Cheese Food", not really cheese.

            In Britain that's normally what we understand to be "American Cheese" (blame McDonald's), although we tend to call it "processed 'cheese'" or "plastic cheese". I don't think I've ever seen anyone use it except on a burger; if you're really lazy you buy pre-sliced/grated actual cheese rather than the plastic stuff. (Going by what's available, most people buy blocks of cheese.)

            Example [mysupermarket.co.uk] -- clearly they aren't allowed to call it "cheese". (Here's the rest of the packaged cheese "shelf" [mysupermarket.co.uk].)

            The only American cheese

            • by rhsanborn (773855)
              An amusing aside, many grocery stores put the "American Cheese" in the refrigerated section because people aren't comfortable buying cheese that isn't refrigerated. It turns out that stuff is perfectly shelf stable on the shelf next to the dried beans.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Stele (9443)

        Yes, we do. Our cheeses are as diverse as our beers. I recently attended a cheese and beer pairing where there were a dozen wonderfully "stinky" cheeses paired with some fine Belgian-style strong beers - all made in Wisconsin.

        It's one of the reasons I've stayed here for almost 20 years, despite hating the long winters.

    • by Bakkster (1529253)

      Oh, yeah, they have a pretty good football team from their city Green Bay. The team's fans are called "cheese-heads," and attend games wearing giant wedges of cheese as hats.

      Seriously. [blogspot.com]

      Only on /. does a reference to the Packer's 'Cheese-heads' require a link to photographic proof that you aren't joking...

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Seriously. [blogspot.com]

        Only on /. does a reference to the Packer's 'Cheese-heads' require a link to photographic proof that you aren't joking...

        Some of us aren't aware of every aspect of American culture, and appreciated the link ;-).

        Maybe you don't know about cheese rolling [google.co.uk].

    • and badgers (Score:3, Informative)

      i'm not really sure why, but in my mind, wisconsin means cheese and badgers

      i'm not sure if that association is normal or random

      PANIC! A SNAKE! SNAKE, AUGH SNAKE.... Aaargh, it's a Snake!!!

      Mushroom Mushroom!

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Is that real cheese? With those holes, is it Emmentaler?

      --

      Mac and Lac

  • Something tells me that Wisconsin will be Jamie Oliver's next destination.

  • lactose (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:41AM (#31895126)

    Actually, lactose intolerant people often appreciate it when bacteria break down the lactose before they eat the food.

  • by dgun (1056422) on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:46AM (#31895186) Homepage
    ...we're fighting over bingo. So, you know, legislating official microbes actually sounds productive.
    • if you get illinois, kentucky and tennessee to legislate over something silly, that's a time zone time wasting bingo you know

      is kentucky the free space?

    • Yeah at least in Wisconsin they didn't have the crazy mud-slinging ads about microbes.
  • Haha (Score:5, Funny)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:48AM (#31895206) Homepage
    The Onion always cracks me u... wait, what?
    • The Onion was started in Wisconsin. We commemorate that by creating real events to emulate Onion parodies.

  • Actually, lactose intolerant people often appreciate it when bacteria break down the lactose before they eat the food.

    brought memories of an old SNL skit - Pre-Chew Charlie's - http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xas2fz_saturady-night-live-pre-chew-charli_fun [dailymotion.com]

    Funny how associative memory works....

  • by elwinc (663074) on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:49AM (#31895232)
    In about 1985, the then governor of Wisconsin wanted to change the license plate motto (America's Dairyland) to something more exciting. A popular suggestion was

    Eat Cheese or Die

    Unfortunately this suggestion did not survive. I believe the time is ripe to try again to implement this new motto.

    If you think I invented phony "facts," see http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/08/us/wisconsin-s-license-plates-won-t-say-eat-cheese-or-die.html [nytimes.com]

    • Logic error. The "OR" should have been an "AND"

    • by amliebsch (724858)

      The more popular slogan was, "Come and smell our dairy air!"

      If you know any French at all, you'll get the joke.

      • by adolf (21054)

        Very punny.

        (I had mod points a small number of minutes ago, and I would surely have modded this up [despite knowing almost no French], but they're all gone now. So rather than getting +1, you instead shall be the recipient of this useless acknowledgment.)

  • In case you think this is stupid, I just want to say that I'm from Wisconsin and I also think this is stupid.
    • by Yosho (135835)

      For what it's worth, I'm from Texas and I think this is cool. I would much rather politicians spend their time honoring microbes than telling me who I have to give my money to or who I'm allowed to marry or what I'm allowed to do with my electronic devices.

      And maybe if politicians start spending enough of their time honoring microbes, people will start to realize that maybe we don't need so many politicians in the first place...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Angry Wisconsin Resident here.

    So they're willing to look at a bill for a microbe, but won't even touch an important bill such at the medical marijuana one.

    http://www.immly.org/index.html

  • Absolutely.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by howlatthemoon (718490) on Monday April 19, 2010 @10:33AM (#31895902)
    They should have named Saccharomyces pastorianus the state microbe.
  • We don need no stinking Badgers, not when we have the fighting Lactococcus Lacti!
    • by Vexor (947598)
      Q: So why don't Wisconsin men date Minnesota women?

      A: Have you ever seen what a Badger does to a Gopher hole?

      I just love to see our taxes hard at work.

  • While I smiled when I heard this on the radio, and thought it was very cool, we here in southeast Wisconsin also need to get the regional transit authority (RTA) bill passed. Bus service in Milwaukee County has been reduced by 20% over the past several years, and we're about to lose a full third more if this doesn't go through. With our incumbent county executive who's got a penchant for starving government, we won't see any progress without the RTA. As I doubt my state legislators are reading /., I'll be c
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday April 19, 2010 @11:38AM (#31896826)

    While the bill is campy and fun, it does promote science and learning in an interesting way. You can bet that hundreds of science teachers will do a quick lesson on this microbe and why it's so valuable to their state economy.

  • Here in California we just voted to make the collective intellect of the state government and employees the official state microbe. :-)
  • Where can a buy the T-shirt so I can show my pride in the state's microbe ?
  • So this is what one of the nation's highest tax rates goes to pay for.
    :(

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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