Circling back to VIRUSES, I did bring home a few interesting factoids. I call things factoids until they've been demonstrated beyond the shade of MY doubt. He defines viruses in several ways but my favorite was "a capsid encoding organism", also known as a phage. He told us that the major reservoir of viruses on the planet is in seawater, though they infect everything else that lives. Some 5% of the oxygen in our atmosphere is produced by bacteria that are infected with viruses. The viruses increase the oxygen-production of these microbes. I learned that 10% of the human genome is viral---and this is just the ones that have been demonstrated beyond a shade of HIS doubt. Professor Stedman said that up to 43% of the human genome could be viral, and that many of the genes we got from viruses are important ones, without which we would not be here. Apparently all placental mammals share one particular viral gene so it got in there a long time ago.
One of the main points that Professor Stedman made was how much of the world is made up of viruses, and how small they are. He said that if you put all the Earth's viruses end to end the lineup would reach to the Andromeda Galaxy. And they'd weigh more than some huge number of whales, and so on.
One nice thing about going to science pubs is being around people for whom evolution just is, instead of having to debate about it. It makes me realize how much energy I put into defending a basic scientific mindset. Too many groovy spiritual people and homeopaths in my life. They stress me out.
For today my mantra is "it is OK to do nothing" and I have been enjoying it. I need to take breaks more often. And journal. Just for me.