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PDF Trouble with Lichen: Classic Science Fiction

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Some lichens look like thin crusts of old paint; others resemble curled leaves or matted curly hair; a few stand up like tiny green chalices or red-tipped matchsticks. Trouble with lichen, Mr Wyndham?


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We would be in trouble without them, and for more reasons than one. Down the centuries mankind has made use of lichens in many ways — as food for animals and sometimes for people too; as sources of colourful natural dyes; as stabilisers in the manufacture of perfumes. The so-called litmus test, used to assess acidity or alkalinity, relies on a dye extracted from the lichen Rocella tinctoria.

Knowing the growth rate of crust lichens has enabled archaeologists to date ancient man-made structures. And where would model railway enthusiasts be without their trackside miniature trees and bushes made from wiry grey-green lichens?

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Amid warnings that routine operations could become deadly within 20 years if we lose the ability to fight infections, it is worrying to learn that we had not found a new class of antibiotics since the late s … until this year, when researchers in America extracted a new and unusual antibiotic compound from a marine microorganism.

Called anthracimycin, it might, for a time at least, be effective against MRSA and anthrax. But the bugs bite back, evolving new strains capable of sharing antibiotic-resistant genes. These so-called superbugs have developed ways of resisting our most powerful antibiotics.

Trouble with Lichen: Classic Science Fiction: John Wyndham: gyqacyxaja.cf: The Book Depository UK

Bacteria have time on their side; we do not… but we do have lichens. Salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, is found in willows the genus Salix.


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  • Trouble with Lichen – review.
  • Penicillin, of course, is derived from fungi. Where did it come from? A fungus. Francis, realising the implications for the world of an ever-youthful, wealthy elite, wants to keep it secret, but Diana sees an opportunity to overturn the male status quo by using the lichen to inspire a feminist revolution. As each scientist wrestles with the implications and practicalities of exploiting the discovery, the world comes ever closer to learning the truth.

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    Trouble With Lichen is a scintillating story of the power wielded by science in our lives and asks how much trust should we place in those we appoint to be its guardians? A perennial favourite re-read.

    On this time round, particularly liked how Wyndham sneaks a lot of feminism into it. The questions that Wyndham raises about how this discovery would change the world The trouble with Trouble with Lichen is that it is, like lichen, pretty flat. Carefully written but incredibly stuffy in its prose "Oh daddy, darling, do go and make yourself a pot of tea..

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