mixed pickles (was Re: Planet Densities: Extreme environments)

Eugene Leitl (Eugene.Leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)
Wed, 13 Nov 1996 21:40:51 +0100 (MET)

On Wed, 13 Nov 1996 Enigl@aol.com wrote:

> [...]
> The deep sea vents have single celled and multicelled organisms living in and
> next to them. The extreme thermophilic bacteria live and grow at

Yeah, the circum-black-smoker ecosystem is kinda fascinating... H_2S-linked
life frolicking in a heavy metal soup, truly cool. Giant poganophores.
Elsewhere: Christ, yukky spaghetti bacteria. And archae, the weirdest
bugs of them all. (Them archae are of the greatest significance, whether to
pure or applied science. Remember where TAC Polymerase came from? Big $$$'s).

> temperatures well above 100 degrees C. I predicted these organisms (and

Current estimates say beyond 150 deg C hydrolysis rate rises alarmingly,
so it's kinda safe to suppose no beastie (as we know it) can live beyond
160 deg C, or so. This said, current book dogma supposes (primitive) life to
extend several km into the crust, which was hilarious just a few years back.

> bacterial life in space) would be discovered in 1975 when most other
> microbiologists disagreed with me. Less than ten years later, the extreme
> thermophiles were discovered. And, Mars may have had bacteria.

I'm pretty wary concerning the LGM bacteria... I'd rather investigate the
Jovian and Saturnian satellite, some of them have lots of liquid water,
and funky compounds on the surface/solution. It may well have some kind of
life, at least precursors of it. What's the branch, exobiology/exochemistry (?)
That's where we should be poking about, not this stupid Mars.

I certainly can't understand all the fascination with the fourth plant.
Sending men to Mars? What for? Rather a couple of tiny probes into the inner
system, and _for God's sake_, let's start sending autoreplicators to the
Moon/asteroids. Industrial processes in high-luminance, hard vacuum
areas, that must be serious fun.

> [ ... snip .... ]
> Life is less fragile than even _I_ think it is. In 1975, I though I was
> mighty optimistic. I've spent my professional life for 20 years researching
> microbial control and bacterium, yeast and mold cell injury "natural"
> recovery mechanisms. I then develop methods to "artificially" (another
> evolving word) recover injured cells. I'm constantly amazed at life's
> resiliency. Based on what I've seen I would not be surprised if human
> cryonic suspension works.

Uh, wouldn't that involve tolerating macroscopic cracks? I mean hardy,
and all that, but it's a bit much for a higher organism. The O. Visser
breakthrough (if indeed...) looks good enough, but look at the size, and,
more importantly, the kind of the organ desuspended. Cryonics is all about
brain preservation, and the brain is pretty different from a bag of stupid
smooth/striated musculature. Also, it's a lot larger than the average rat
heart (on the second thought... nah, skip that), has uniquely high
phospholipid content, and lots of vascular lumen almost begging to nucleate
ice growth. I'd rather go for clean EEG/MEG fingerprint, than a bit of
muscle contraction.

I can imagine running a destructive (AFM/sublimation enhanced contrast/UV
laser nonthermal ablation) scan of a vitrified cerebrum, winding up with
a (somewhat large) voxel set, which runs through several stages of
de-freeze-artefacting ANN filters.... Whether you use that to fashion an
upload model, or build a brain (and a body to match) with nanotech from
scratch is up to you.

But just just HF-flash-devitifying the poor brain pan contents,
expecting it to work... I dunno. It sounds a lot like Mary Shelley, or a
neocannibal kitchen recipe (but it will be sickly sweet due to
residual polyol content and it's probably unsafe due to possible prion
presence, so rather don't).

> DNA studies make me think the extreme thermophils are one of the first like
> forms and were not adaptations of later life forms. If this is true, cells
> were assembled, adapted (evolved) while under extreme environmental pressure.
> This could mean life is abundant in the Universe and in places we don't
> expect it to be.

That's the current dogma, but why this darned Silence in the Skies, then!?
I don't buy all the Great Filters, and Transcension looks more than a bit
like a deus ex machina... Have we overlooked something obvious? Must we
send interstellar probes into our immediate vicinity to find out, or will
system-local investigations tell us enough?


> Davin
> Davin C. Enigl, MS-MEAS, President-Microbiologist
> HACCP Validations-sm Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points for the
> Food, Cosmetic, Pharmaceutical, and Nutritional Supplement Industry
> Voice: (916) 989-8264, Fax: (916) 989-8205, Pager: (714) 725-7695
> 9040 Erle Blunden Way
> Fair Oaks, CA 95628
> November 13, 1996
> 9:58 am

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