Thursday, December 2, 2010

Birthed From Poison - Not ET, But Something Possibly Just as Extraordinary

To follow up on my posting yesterday:  Those amazing little guys up above, discovered in the brine choked, ominously-named Mono Lake in the shadow of God-kissed Yosemite National Park....
... have just turned the biological world sideway, as - for the first time in scientific history - a terrestrial life form has been discovered that utilizes arsenic (read as: "FUCKING POISON") to create DNA and synthesize proteins.  Or, put simply, they turn poison into life.

This is a truly earth-shattering discovery, as the GFAJ-1 strain of extremophilic bacteria shows that life doesn't necessarily need to cleave to the Big Six building blocks essential for most known life, those being carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.  So, if that's possible on Earth, held in the thrall of the Big Six for eons, what does that mean for the prospect of life developing in different, non-Earth-like environments spread across 11 dimensions?  Class?  Yes, that's right.  It RAISES the prospect.  It basically announces that the sky - and limitless light years beyond the sky - is truly the limit, and the possibilities endless. 

As we delve deeper into the land and sea with one hand, while reaching further into space with the other, we are going to keep finding new discoveries that challenge the status quo.  How we handle these sharp 180's will dictate how we evolve and grow as a species.  Do we roll with the New Knowledge, or shut down and pick up our pitchforks?  I think I know how it'll go down, but don't want to jinx it...

I also like the ideas of finding a "second genesis" and a "shadow biosphere" discussed in the linked NatGeo article, which was the scientific inspiration of the exploratory mission on Mono Lake.  Sounds like something out of a Lovecraftian or other "weird fiction" story.  We dig shit like that.  It serves as inspiration for what WE do.

Overall, I think this exciting discovery again reminds us that sometimes the biggest secrets are found within the smallest amongst us.  And, sometimes, we can find the alien, the bizarre, and truly otherworldly right in our own backyard, if we keep our eyes and ears open and tuned to the proper frequency.

The Weird is all around us, as we spin like madmen at 1.3 million miles an hour around our sun, around our galactic axis, around the center of the universe and all space and time, where Azathoth slumbers in his easy chair to the sounds of muzak piping.  In these strange and uncertain times, lets remember to appreciate the extraordinary and the bizarre that is close to home while still peering into the furthest abyss, and never stop searching for the truth as we can comprehend it.  It's what we do, we fragile, smart-mouthed "bags of mostly water."  Why stop now?  Why not boldly go, and see where we end up?  Why not touch the face of God?

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