Top Feel Good Story of the Day

They say the field of science is politicized or skews left, and while this is probably correct, every now and then even scientists get one right about politics:

Scientists name parasite after Barack Obama

By Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post

Other presidents have mountains named after them. They’re the namesakes for high schools, boulevards, space centers, libraries, airports, and elk. George Washington has the capital of our country named for him, for crying out loud.

But how many of them have the dubious honor of being the namesake for a parasitic worm?

World, meet Baracktrema obamai, a deadly turtle pathogen named in honor of our current president. Believe it or not, it’s supposed to be a compliment.

The new genus and species of parasitic flatworm was introduced this week in an article in the Journal of Parasitology. The tiny creatures, which are the thickness of a human hair, invade the lungs of freshwater turtles in Malaysia, often with deadly consequences.

Seems fitting to me. After all, Obama’s economic policies have slowed the pace of the American economy to that of a turtle. And then there’s also this:

Platt’s research also revealed that the worm is a distant relatives of the worms that cause the disease schistosomiasis in humans.

So this explains how Obama got re-elected in 2012.

Understanding Baracktrema obamai’s relationship to Unicaecum can help scientists understand the evolutionary history of these parasitic diseases, Platt and his colleagues write.

Evolutionary history of [political] parasitic diseases? This is easy: it all started with the virus liberalis progressivium about 100 years ago.

The turtle worm joins a long list of creatures named for Obama, which includes a lichen, an extinct lizard (the “obamadon”), a species of trapdoor spider and another parasite.

Question for further research: Which extinct lizard will be named for Hillary?

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