We are bacteria all the way down.

From Burkhard Bilger’s savvy report on fermentation and underground food culture in the U.S., sadly available only as an abstract to non-subscribers:

Modern hygiene has prevented countless colds, fevers, and other ailments, but its central premise is hopelessly outdated. The human body isn’t besieged [by microbes]; it’s saturated, infused with microbial life at every level. “There is no such thing as an individual,” Lynn Margulis, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told me recently. “What we see as animals are partly just integrated sets of bacteria.”