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The Kid Should See This

Subvisual Subway, the Art of New York City’s Bacterial World

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Why do we wash our hands after we’ve been riding on public transportation? Is it true that “using the handrails on the subway is like shaking hands with 100 people”? New York City-based typographer and designer Craig Ward heard that urban legend and, inspired by this petri dish handprint created by Tasha Sturm (below), wanted to test it.

In this video from Science Friday, we tour a few subway lines around New York City via his bacteria samples — lots of harmless and beneficial normal flora, as well as a few more suspicious characters. It’s a surprising (or perhaps not so surprising) portrait of a bustling city.

ecoli
salmonella
staphylococcus
streptococcus
Explore more at PathoMap.org and from The Wall Street Journal: Mapping the Bacteria in New York’s Subways.

And here’s Tasha Sturm‘s petri dish handprint:


Related activity: How to make your own bacterial handprint.

Watch these related microbiology videos next:
• Bacteria Growth, a time-lapse
Which is better: Soap or hand sanitizer?
Proper Handwashing, an animation
• Cell vs. virus: A battle for health
Evolutionary branching in action: Bacteria adapt to antibiotics
• The Secret History of Dirt, a smart soil explainer for all ages

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