Friday, August 26, 2005

What is dust?

What is dust? This question arrived in the email box today. It's an interesting question. There are at least 7 things that contribute to the dust you see in your home:
  1. Dirt particles. If you live on a dirt road that kicks up dust every time a car drives by, this is a lot more obvious. In rural settings you may see a lot more dirt dust in the house than in urban settings.
  2. Soot particles. From cars, factories, power plants, cooking, etc.
  3. Textile fibers. From clothes, carpets, blankets. AKA lint.
  4. Paper dust. If you pull a kleenex out of the box and the sun hits it just right, you can see a cloud of dust that comes off the kleenex. The same sort of thing can happen from paper towels, toilet paper, printer paper, newspaper, etc.
  5. Human and pet detritus. Hair, dandruff, flaked off skin, etc.
  6. Insect detritus. For example, lots of spiders leave a dragline everywhere they go. Dead insect bodies. Etc.
  7. Pollen particles. From plants. Certain times of year there can be so much pollen in the air that it is visible when it settles on cars and roads.
Find a dust bunny under your bed and look at it with a magnifying glass or a microscope. Ew.

What is amazing to make clear to yourself that that dustbunny probably contains the complete or partial DNA of:

- you
- all your family
- all pets in the household
- all the bacteria and skin parasites that live on you & with you
- a bunch of insects, mites
- a bunch of viruses that "live" on you and the aforementioned others
- a variety of plants (pollen)

Not to mention that that dust bunny is probably a complete ecology of itself with mites, bacteria, molds and viruses.

As part of the german fine air particulate discussion it was also made clear that the air in many households is worse and more particulate laden than inner city street air....not to mention other pathogens (mold spores) and toxic materials (formaldehyd, radon)...

There is an idea right there....collect a dust bunny each day and archive. Wait for complete analysis to become cheap and easy, and construct crappy Excel diagrams of DNA types and toxicity over the months/years...should be interesting....oh look, in late 2006 that chilean slime mold arrived in our household...
Just because I love the title of the article:

Demodex, an inhabitant of human hair follicles,
and a mite which we live with in harmony.

Thanks bjornvdm,

I was eating as I read that one.


dust is one of those things. See it everywhere but you never think about it. I am not sure I want to think about it.
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