Explosive Situation

"On the eve of World War I, the chemist Chaim Weizmann -- a fiery Zionist [and future Israeli president] working in England -- discovered a way to put a particular strain of bacterium to work synthesizing the compound acetone in the course of its fermentation of grain. Acetone supplied the essentials for the manufacture of cordite, and thus guaranteed Britain a war-long supply of explosives. It was partly in response to Weizmann's achievement that the British government was induced, in 1917, to put forth the Balfour Declaration agreeing to the reestablishment of a Jewish national state in Palestine."

In other words, the incendiary situation in the Middle East was, ironically, literally fueled by the development of explosives.

[In the 1950s, bacteria (later dubbed deinococcus radiodurans) was found living in tins of irradiated meat in Oregon. It can withstand radiation at 10,000 times the lethal dose for humans.]

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