One-Celled Protozoa Will Have Sex Inside a Cat Before Killing You
Each week, Death by Science will use the latest scientific research and news from the world of nature and technology to figure out exactly how you are going to die. Our findings have been proven to be 100 percent accurate*. SPOILER ALERT: This week, you will die after a one-celled organism drives you crazy and makes you commit suicide.
*Findings have not been proven to be 100 percent accurate.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus could have easily been talking about modern science and technology when he said, "The only constant is change." People return to this calming maxim whenever progress seems to have run amok. Twitter, global warming, various pandemics, the post-Dawson's Creek careers of James Van Der Beek and Michelle Williams; everything is moving so fast! Our good friend Heraclitus would know how to handle this. Unfortunately, he is dead. He died after eating cow shit because, according to medical science at the time, bovine manure was a great cure for the nasty edema he had contracted.
The Killing Power of Science- 1, Heraclitus- 0.
With a helping hand from modern research, we're going to tell you how you're going to die every week. This is not meant to scare you. It is meant to scare you and everyone you love.
Last week, you would've been eaten alive by bacteria-filled bedbugs or pecked to death by an escaped peacock that was eager to add your crimson lifeblood to the cornucopia of colors making up its sinister tail.
This week is much simpler: You're going to die in the Rapture. Just kidding! You will be infected by mind-controlling protozoa that will trick you into loving cat piss and make you kill yourself in spectacular fashion. Don't believe us? Let's prove it!
According to Scientific American, one-celled organisms named Taxoplasma Gondii inhabit roughly 10 percent of humans. This percentage varies and is much higher in France, probably due to [insert French joke here]. The protozoa, which will be referred to from here on out by their rap name, T. gondii, have been found to affect rodents in a very peculiar manner.
T. gondii fuck in cat intestines and are often passed through the digestive tract. Even after being shat out, these little perverts want nothing more than to return to cat guts in order to have freaky virus sex.
Garfield hates Mondays. He also hates when one-celled organisms have sex inside of him.
Normal, healthy rodents have an evolutionary fear of cat urine. T. gondii-infected mice, however, are attracted to feline piss. The one-celled inhabitants pull the strings in the rodents' brain, much like Ratatouille pulled on Linguini's hair to make him cook in Ratatouille. (If you think that analogy is a stretch, think about the logic of Ratatouille itself. Pixar could make a movie about a CGI dog licking itself for two hours and it would still win an Oscar. You'd pay to see it and cry at the end, too.)
The T. gondii living in rodents know that if they want to get to their intestinal love den, they're going to have to get their host eaten by a cat. Through a (probable) chemical intervention in their host's brain, they lure them into danger by making them love the smell of their predator's piss.
How do T. gondii affect humans? No matter how much you crave the smell of cat piss, chances are you won't be eaten by your house cat. Other erratic behavior might occur, however.
Schizophrenics "are two to three times more likely to carry antibodies to T. gondii than are controls who are not schizophrenic." During a road safety study, Czech military recruits affected by the one-celled organisms were found to have a six times higher accident rate than unaffected men.
Poor cadets, forced by microscopic cat fetishists into suicide.
So there you have it; if you are part of the 10 percent of the population currently living with T. gondii, you will go crazy and act out the demands of tiny creatures living in your brain. But what about the other 90 percent?
If you played with a PlayStation, hackers who stormed the PlayStation Network may have stolen your credit card information. Even if you were diligent and quickly changed your password, all the hackers currently need to change it to whatever they want is your email and birthday. Voila, more access! They're ruining your credit score as we speak!
Take my credit card number, I'll never stop playing Crash Bandicoot!
You will soon subscribe to a credit-checking website like FreeCreditScore.com. In your desperation you will agree to pay a monthly fee for this monitoring service and it will add to your existing financial woes.
No longer able to afford steak and Cornish game hen, you will settle for low-quality meats from questionable food dispensaries. Some of this meat will have been raised near cat waste. Some of this meat will be cat waste. Either way, you will contract T. gondii and heed their demands.
Not a gamer? You might be a young, portly Croatian boy who has lured a Reuters crew to your house after convincing them that you are magnetic. In that case, you are six-year-old Ivan Stoiljkovic and you can stick 25 KGs of metal objects to your chest. According to Reuters, "Medical checkups so far have reaped inconclusive results."
How do you do this? YouTube commenter Ultimatefiren hypothesizes, "Dawg, [you] ate a magnet." Magician and skeptic James Randi disagrees. According to him, you are just dirty, Ivan. "One of the substances normally present on human skin, a naturally-generated protective oil, is sebum, a waxy and particularly adhesive chemical that washes off easily."
Avoiding baths is a terrific way to not only accumulate sebum, but also a thick film of T. gondii-infected cat waste. We know how this will end.
You're not Ivan Stoiljkovic? That's too bad, you would have been magnetic! After reading about all these people becoming suicidal, you are probably are starting to feel the cold specter of mortality creeping up on you. Your curiosity will compel you to buy a blood test that will reveal how long you have to live.
Medical researchers are planning on releasing home telomeres tests. Telomeres are parts of your chromosomes that can reveal your "biological age" by their physical length. You could be 30, but your telomeres may indicate that you will die in 10 years.
Ten years? But you don't have children yet! It would be irresponsible to bring kids into a world knowing they will be parentless in a decade. Better start stocking up on cats to fill the void of a childless future. No need to clean up their waste, you'll be dead in ten years!
Now you're living in a cat shit-filled apartment teaming with T. gondii brain-boarders. Forget to wash your hands before eating that taquito and -- bam! -- you go crazy and end it all, nine years early.
Of course, there are some exceptions; if you manage to avoid T. gondii completely you still aren't off the hook. This huge snake seen slithering alongside a Mississippi highway after the recent flooding will eat you.
And that is how you will die this week.
Nick Greene is not a professional scientist but he tries really hard. Follow him on Twitter!