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There’s only so many words you can say “Romeo loves Juliette” in.
Don’t you just hate it when people mispronounce your name?
via Tamara Out Loud
Yesterday, I suggested that snow is God’s way of telling us that we are not all powerful beings. Well, it seems today that we can’t even claim to have all the knowledge in the world.
Scientists have found a lifeform on earth that does not appear to be based on carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorous or sulphur. There is a bacteria in a lake in California whose DNA contains arsenic of all metals, which clearly has implications for the search of extraterrestrial life and the careers of science fiction writers everywhere.
“What we’ve found is a microbe doing something new — building parts of itself out of arsenic,” said scientist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a fellow in NASA’s astrobiology program who made the groundbreaking discovery at Mono Lake in eastern California.
“There’s an organism on Earth doing something different,” said Wolfe-Simon. “We’ve cracked open the door to what’s possible for life elsewhere in the universe. And that’s profound.”
So you found a bacteria that eats arsenic. My mum once told me of a girl who tried to kill herself by eating pins. What’s so special about about bacteria and arsenic? Caleb Scharf, an astrobiologist at Columbia University, told the New York Times:
“It’s like if you or I morphed into fully functioning cyborgs after being thrown into a room of electronic scrap with nothing to eat.”
But it’s not just about a microbe-sized version of the Borg (a la Star Trek). Apparently, the unusually salty eastern California’s Mono Lake is rich in arsenic and other minerals and is thought to reflect conditions under which early life evolved on Earth or Mars.
But ultimately, according to Ariel Anbar, a co-author of the study, it’s all about those ‘unknown unknowns':
“Sometimes you think something is not going to work, but then you go looking for it and sometimes you may find it.
“And then you realize, oh, I didn’t understand things quite as well as I thought I did before. And that happens all the time in science. That’s part of what makes it fun.”
This is the best thing about doing research, whatever field you’re in. It’s the joy of having your prior knowlegde and preconceived notions irrevocably altered by some new realisation.