Doublelife

bacteria
Cell to Cell by Maria Cobo, using live bacteria as paint.

 

Doublelife

Hey kids, here’s fun to boggle your mind:
Take a bacterium, brainless and blind –
Now, a single-celled critter is never alone,
When three-times-an-hour it buds off a clone,
And each twin is twinning and growing the brood,
(As long as it’s warm and there’s plenty of food).

And so, in fourteen hours or so,
That single bacillus will grow
To fill a cubic millimetre –
After twenty, there’s a litre –
And in one day, a bathtub’s-worth
Of constant twenty-minute births.
That’s loads of germs from hardly any –
Two-and-twenty-one zeros-many !

But don’t stop now, let’s let them grow:
And in another day or so
They’ve reach the size of planet Earth,
And soon they match the Sun’s great girth,
And long before the third day’s out
They stand a cubic light-year stout.

And that, dear children, clearly shows
How statisticians lie and cheat
For while their figures all add up,
The real world is never neat.
They think we’ll never notice how
Their precious model’s skewed,
By casually just poofing up
An infinite amount of food.
And how do bugs within the ball
Increase in size where there’s no space ?
And never mind their gravity,
Of which we find no trace.

The lesson we should really learn
From all they get so wrong,
Is how such exponential growth
Can never grow for long.

 

 

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