Lost buttons!

A pile of buttonsA couple of years ago, my clothes dryer needed some maintenance. I had workers come and replace the heating element and main bearing.

When they opened it up, dozens and dozens of buttons fell out. I’ve lost many buttons from my shirts over the years and there they all were! I resolved to do something about it.

I decided to change how I did my laundry. I’ve always turned printed t-shirts inside out  to preserve the inked design. Now, for my button-down shirts, I do the same. I button them up completely and turn them inside out before putting them in the wash. I also invert the cuffs and collar.

It takes a little extra work to prep the shirts for the laundry. When they come out of the dryer, I turn them right side out and unbutton them.

It’s been a roaring success. In the two years since I started this, I haven’t lost a single button in my laundry. I wear a lot of button down shirts, especially in cold weather, and I know  that the effort at prevention is worth it.


Image origin buttons by bptakoma. Image license

Hint of a disease prevention treatment

A green thought bubbleI was reading a science news website and found “Global research team cracks bacteria transmission codes to combat drug-resistant strains.” I did some research related to the article and found “Exploiting Quorum Sensing To Confuse Bacterial Pathogens.”

The quorum sensing paper describes a novel way to prevent bacterial disease. It reports that many bacteria grow innocuously until they reach a certain population (quorum). After there are enough, they signal each other to activate. It is only until that activation that the bacteria cause harm.

The idea is: if you could block the signal that causes the activation, you could prevent diseases.

The most clever aspect of this style of treatment is that it doesn’t kill the bacteria. It would give the bacteria no evolutionary advantage to develop resistance to the new drug.

The way resistance normally develops, as I understand it, is that a conventional antibiotic kills bacteria. If a bacteria has a mutation that makes it less likely to be killed, the mutation gives the resistant bacteria an advantage and become more common. This leads, for example, to VRSA and MRSA.

By stopping the bacteria without killing them, there’s no advantage to resist the drug.

LaSarre, B., & Federle, M. J. (2013). Exploiting Quorum Sensing To Confuse Bacterial Pathogens. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews : MMBR, 77(1), 73-111. doi:10.1128/MMBR.00046-12