Image: Courtesy of Tim Elkins
 BRUTE FORCE: Remnant of an appressorium formed on Mylar. The appressorium produced a peg-like extension that penetrated the film, leaving a round hole. (Reprinted with permission, Annual Review of Microbiology, 50:491-512, 1996.)

"The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with BLASTING, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish." Deuteronomy 28:22 (Capitalization added)

Pity the poor sinner on the receiving end of that damnation. When the scribe invoked blasting, though, he had crop failure in mind rather than explosions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a blast in the biblical sense is "a sudden infection destructive to vegetable or animal life," as in "a blasted bud or blossom." Webster's New American Dictionary defines the verb blast as "to damage...

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