Our Alien departs earth, after visiting for a second time (and
catching the new Austin Powers movie). His heart is heavy and full of pity
for these poor earth microbiologists, and he is sympathetic to the massive
undertaking which faces the various people who are in charge of changing
these silly methods (He had visited Europe and found that only oral products
had a fungal spec, and curiously, only bacteria grow on European TSA plates
). However, half way home he slams on his space brakes and realizes that he
may actually be able to help these poor earth creatures. He quickly returns
to earth and contacts the wayward pharmaceutical microbiologist.
"Howdy again (he's from the Southern part of space), I just remember
a few words of wisdom I picked up a long time ago in a galaxy far far away,
and I thought they may be of use to you"
"Well hit me with them"
"Ok, once this old Jabba-the-Hutt -looking guy told me that
"incremental changes to crappy methods lead (incrementally) to methods that
are still crappy""
"Brilliant!!! What else did he say"
"Well, he also said that "sometimes the most significant change is
brought about through Leadership, not compromise".
"Wow, that guy was smart. Sooooo.....how does this apply to me?"
"Two very important questions must first be answered"
"First, are you familiar with the concept of what is often refereed
to as "The Scientific Method"
"Yes, I have heard that it is often used in other professions"
"Good, then there is hope. Secondly, is there any way for you to
get in touch with these so-called "Europeans", the ones that are causing all
"Well, yes. We have telephones, video phones, the internet...heck,
it's even possible for us to get on an airplane and talk to them face to
face (as long as the meeting is in a really nice location), although they do
talk a little funny."
"So you have science and you have a means of communication - I think
we may be onto something"
"Well, lets look in my "way-forward" machine to see what the future
holds" The Alien has set his Way-Forward machine to the year 2000.
"I see what looks like a big conference, lots of people speaking
"An international conference?"
"Yes, exactly. And what's this? It looks like DATA is being
"Oh well, that couldn't be a USP conference then, only Opinions are
allowed at those"
"Hold on...It is...by gosh it's and international conference hosted
by the USP, and yes, data is actually being used to make decisions on
developing a new MLT method"
"What kind of data"
"Well, I see data from product recalls, data from clinical
microbiologists, data from labs which have proposed alternatives the current
"Are you sure this is a USP conference? I mean, we can send people
to the moon and bring them back, and we can sequence the human genome, but
DATA being used to make decisions by and international body....I think your
machine is on the fritz"
"My machine is working just fine, it appears that you Americans have
taken the initiative to lead the world to better methods for microbiology"
'"Wow" says the awe-struck microbiologist. As he hears his words
echoing through the lab, he feels the strange sensation that can only be
associated with coming out of a deep sleep.
"Hmmm, must have a dream" he says as he prepares his
anaerobic-smelly- Namibian-mud plates for the next days testing.
P.S. Look for a logical alternative to the current USP MLT coming
to a "Stimuli" article near you (complete with data).
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