Toxoplasma Heaven

Those of you who’ve read Peeps will no doubt remember toxoplasma gondii, the cat-borne parasite that can infect humans and change their personality. An old pal of mine, science journalist and blogger Rebecca Skloot, is a bit of an expert on toxoplasma, having written this article on whether the parasite causes “crazy cat-lady syndrome.” Fascinating stuff.

She’s just posted this charming video of a possibly toxoplasma-positive rat who LOVES its little cat friend.

For those of you who haven’t read Peeps, toxoplasma controls its rat host’s brain, making the poor creature seek out cats in hopes of getting eaten. This is because toxoplasma can only reproduce itself in the stomach of a cat. But as Rebecca points out, if the cat takes the pacifist route and simply refuses to eat the rat, it can stay uninfected.

Your move, Mr. Parasite.

In Other News

Justine is blogging writing advice for all of January. Many great posts and lots of good discussion about point-of-view, generating ideas, and how to get unstuck.

Stephenie Meyer fansite Twilight Moms has declared my Midnighters series its Book of the Month. Join the Twilight Moms discussion here. (Well, you have to be a mom, or at least 25, or married to be a Twilight Mom, but you can always read the discussion.)

163 thoughts on “Toxoplasma Heaven

  1. Okay, that is one of the most amazing and freaky things I have ever seen.
    I’ll should also have a look at Justine’s blog. I’m reading Magic or Madness. My family friend gave it to me for Christmas this year, and last year they gave me Uglies, hehehe

    Poor cat.
    With a face like “get this thing away from me!” it’s hard not to feel bad for the poor cat.
    Toxoplasma gobii for the win! (Wait, no, Wolbachia is the one that wants to rule the world.)

  3. Well, that’s one article I won’t be reading. I hate parasites, they’re gross. And parasites are the whole reason I haven’t read Peeps. I’d like to read it, but parasites are just too gross to me. 😛 I’m sure it’s really good, though. 😀

    Click my name. 🙂
    Or you can visit this blog:

    Please visit both (and comment). 13&Co will be hosting a live blog this Saturday. 🙂

  4. Oh yeah writing advice! i need it!

    and the cat and the rats…
    wow… just… wow. Peeps isn’t that unrealistic 😮

  5. Ohhhh me goodness, that video is hilarious/adorable!! Hehe. Poor little rats. Good thing that one hung out with a pacifist cat.

  6. awww, that cat is so cute. i feel bad for it too, must be annoying having rats follow you around.
    writing advice, i definetly need it.


  7. Grammar Nerd to the Rescue!
    “Writing advice. I definitely need it.”
    “Why do Stephanie Meyer and her brainless followers have to ruin everything?”

    Kristina-la: Here’s to that!

    An extra for now. 😉

  8. I not reeded peeps yet, but it gots it for christmas so i might probably soon. I dont know if anyone noticed, but i used way bad grammar in that last sentence, because it looks like that irritates audrey-sensei;)

  9. Actually, that wasn’t me who is irritated by bad grammar. That was Grammar Nerd. She wears a hot pink cape and purple mask, and is in no way my secret identity.

    A panda walks into a restaurant (it can happen!) He orders some fries and a cheese quesadilla. When he’s all done with it, the waitress comes to take his plate away, but before she can walk away, he pulls out an AK47 and kills her. On his way out, the manager runs up to him and yells “What do you think you’re doing?”
    “What I’m supposed to be doing,” says the panda, and he pulls out a badly punctuated encyclopedia and tosses it at the manager. “Look it up.”
    After the panda walks out the door, the manager looks up the entry bookmarked in the encyclopedia. “Pana:” it says. “Eats, shoots, and leaves.”

    Grammar does matter!

    An extra for now. 😉

  10. And Ode to Post 15: Meyer and her Brainless Crew are my untold enemey now. My (EX(jk)) friend introduced me to the clan, and for 3 months (3!!) I fell under their evil spell… but I was rudley awakened by the G*dawful 4th …(i can’t call it a ‘book’, that’s rude ^_^)installment and the chavvy english eejits (not to be racist, it’s where i live) drooling over the display in Borders while other ppl were Trying To Browse …..and now I have seen the light .
    *Amazing Grace cuts in through speech*

    end rant.

    2000 face rank

  11. thats funny cause i just reas that part last night. i sure did miss alot!!! what is that cat’s problem? he is supposed 2 eaat the rat, not make friends w/it.=D

  12. Awww… The cat and the mouse is so cute that I feel like gluing captions to them!

    Holly-wa: I still like Twilight, but BD was a terrible piece of wreck. It reminded me of Frankenstein, constructed out of all those criminal fanfiction.

  13. That is so cool! I can’t wait to read the article! I’m on the school’s laptop! (good lap tops, and crappy food? What the heck.) I’m not sure if the video works, but I hope it does.

    YAY!! Writing advice! For free, and without annoying English teacher rants!! (though my engilsh teacher hardly has good advice)

    Thats fool about the Midnighters and Insane-Mothers thing. (I think it’s creepy that moms are reading Twilight. If my mom read Twilight I would scream) But woot! RECOGNIZE!!

    Have a nice afternoon/morning!!

  14. Trish-la (Holly-wa): BD was a major let down. My friend calls it ‘Breaking Hope’ which I thought was pretty hilarious. I think she got bored and stopped caring. But this is a much much much cooler author’s blog so…yeah

    Audrey-Sensei: Nice Pan(d)a story. Grammer does matter. Which is why everytime someone ‘can has’, God kills an lolcat. (hahaha)

    Kristina-la: It’s kind of a good thing that Stephenie’s brainless followers (finally!) discovered Midnighters, because more people will hear about it through the scary web of Twilight obsessors (it’s a good trilogy[minus BD, hence trilogy] but calm DOWN) and then more people will read Midnighters and want more of Scott-la’s writing and read Uglies series and The succession books and the Peeps series and everything else. Then whenthey run out of his books they’ll read Justine’s and after hers run out they’ll read Scott and Justine’s friend’s books.
    Its evil. And Perfect.
    Okay, bye now.

  15. As much as I dislike Twilight Moms (I’m sorry, they just creep me out!) I passionately agree with their pick: I absoloutly LOVED Midnighters!
    Oh, and the parasite stuff’s pretty neat, too!

  16. Jay-Wa – I agree with every word!
    I used to be a brainless twihard until breaking dawn (which sucked melons) came out. Then there was the whole MS thing, when Stephenie acted like a spoiled brat and tried to milk apologies (and money) from her fans.
    Now I’m focusing on being a devoted Scott fan, who so far hasn’t let me down(=

  17. today in school we had to look up a book topic in the card catalog. i picked vampires. then we had to pick 2 fiction books and 3 nonfiction books. my two fiction books were the last days and braking dawn.

    and, the library has some books on display, and peeps is one of them!

  18. cool!what grade r u in?
    cause i dont think our MS librarians would read that
    they didnt let breaking dawn in the library B.c it “inappropriett”

  19. my new veiw on twilight:
    i hate(HATE) being a “follower”
    even when i was little
    like u pick barbie i pick polly pocket
    and so all this hype is takeing off major points for my score on twilight
    that may sound stupid but i think midnighters or UPS(uglies+ haha)or vamp acemy or somen shoud of gotten WAY more attention if twilight got this much

  20. Heyy peoplez! I love Stephanie Meyer, but Scott-la and the Uglies are still my favorite books. And I hate the obbsessive followers to Twilight! There is a group of like three girls in my grade who nickname people with names from Twilight (I am unwillingly Reneesme) wear Twilight stuff everyday (including book bags) and can’t say two sentances without saying something twilight related. (and I’m not over exagerting) And because of ONE TIME! ONE F-ING TIME I SAID “I love the twilight series too” they think I’m as obsessed as they are and they follow me around! It’s sooooo bogus!

    I love Peeps! Usually I’m not into education smartsy stuff like learning about parasites, but I LOVED the little mini chapters on them. my favorites are the wol-something that want to rule the world, and the one that goes into a snail and makes it’s left eye change colors and it’s anntenea start twitching, then waits for a bird to eat it and poo poo it somewhere else where another snail eats it and the cycle continues.

    I like Jay-wa’s plan to make everyone read Scott-la’s books. If Stephenie Meyer has obsessed followers (as much as I hate them) Scott-la should too. I persanaly like his books WAYYY better and the themes are better and easier to find out (yet not uncomplicated, it is a very complicated message.) Sooooo yeah.

  21. Amanda-wa: I think it’s scary how some people are overly obsessed with Twilight. Sure it was good, but it was no future-with-hoverboards-and-specials. I mean come on–Whats the point in living forever if you don’t even have a hoverboard?

    Whenever I see Peeps or Uglies in my library at school on display, I freak out and tell random people what they’re about.
    One of my friends said I was like a recording because I kept telling them about Wolbachia (the one that wants to rule the world) and other parasites and yeah. They find it extremely annoying.

    I’m still happy Midnighters has been discovered!!
    (it won’t be long now..muahahahahahaha)

    Irene-la: MS probably didn’t even get leaked, she probably decided her kids had a good college fund, so just quit. Bleh.

    Have a nice evening/day!

    PS Scott-la is way cooler than Stephenie, personally. I mean, he ate soap.

  22. I hate being a follower also. And i hate being like other people. Sometimes i get so carried away with it i will say that someone is ugly just cause another person thinks they are pretty and/or cute. But i try not to do that. The best way to handle it is just be like, oh, and not say anything. I like being unique and different.

  23. ah but I said mindless followers
    and clearly Scott has none of those….
    hopefully anyway
    but ya this whole Twilight obsession is a little
    scary, I mean it’s almost a cult(minus the carismatic leader)
    next thing you know they will all be klling the selves(but I dought that.)

  24. yeah! this twilight obsession has gone way too far…
    i like the book and everything but it’s just insane!
    i’m walking around at school and these people come up to me and say ” TWILIGHT IS THE BEST BOOK EVER” … like really?
    the uglies series is waaaaay better! =D come on! hoverboarding!
    it would be soo cool to have a hoverboard!….
    but i REALLY hope that we DO NOT become the rusties… O_o that would be bad!
    and i still cant find Extras anywhere! every book store i go to it’s sold out! I finished Specials weeks ago! i cant go on any longer without reading it!

  25. He He. I listened to your music. It was fun.

    I dont have a blog but if i did i would write something like this:

    I dont understand why some people think that one day there could be time machines. I mean if you REALLY think about it, its not logical. Okay, besides the point that time isnt really an efficient way to travel. Just hear me out on this:
    Say i made a time machine and I claim it works (lets pretend it does). If i were to use this machine to go back to 1920, i wouldnt make it. Why? Cause I wasn’t even ALIVE back then. And if i put an old man in there and shoved him pack some years he wouldnt remember what he was doing there because at that point in time he didnt have a clue that he would be traveling back in time. See, it doesnt make sense. Oh, so you want to tell me that you would make it back in time? Yeah, let me hear (or read) you explain that one.

  26. Ban-la: You have an interesting view on time travel. The way you explain it seems more like your only sending your conciousness back in time to your past self.

    Personally, I believe the whole theory that if you travel back in time, you were meant to. And so everything you do in the past is meant to happen and doesn’t alter the future (present) from what it was when you left because your actions had existed in the past the whole time. Like Harry Potter when he sent the Patronus across the lake, saving himself in the past. But he never would have been able to save himself in the past if he hadn’t already done so. So, time travel is just a big circle when you think about it. (I hope that made sense) 🙂

    Click my name. 😀

  27. hehe I live ona hill too so with all our rain Im fine
    sigh….with all the snow we got I don’t I will be plaing soccer
    for a very long time 🙁 this sucks.

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