Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Apparently the world will end in a giant kegger.

Some religions claim that the world will end in fire, others that it will end in ice. In contrast, Robert Brockway claims that it will or, rather, almost did end in the midst of a microbe-driven drunk:

In the 1990s, A European biotech company prepared to commercially release a genetically engineered soil bacterium for use by farmers. They were operating under two very reasonable assumptions:

1. Nobody likes plant waste.

2. Everybody likes booze.

Whereas the common man might address these issues by simply not doing any plowing and opting to get plowed instead, scientists at the biotech company thought of a much more elegant solution: Engineer a bacterium that aggressively decomposes dead plant material--specifically wheat--into alcohol. And in 1990, they did exactly that. The bacterium was called Klebsiella planticola, and it nearly murdered everybody; you just don't know it yet.

It's an interesting article and worth reading if only for the chill it gives you. At the same time, though, I'm not sure whether I quite buy the argument. Sure, dispersing the modified Klebsiella Planticola would have been bad but, on the other hand, do we have reason to believe it would have been able to out compete the unmodified Klebsiella Planticola? In other words, it has to be a mean bug to displace its near relatives who are already occupying the same ecological niche. Or am I crazy?

Anyway, I don't talk about the apocalypse* much, so I thought you'd enjoy this little treat.

* Well, I do talk about zombie apocalypses fairly often, but that's different...

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Blogger Marf said...

That looks like an interesting book... I like reading about Doomsday scenarios.

Saturday, April 10, 2010 6:10:00 PM  

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