Did I Call It? Did I Call It?

They're not saying it looks like this, though.

So Lever et al have found something in the rocks, deep below the Pacific seabed (Source paper; supplementary materials; Wired popsci commentary). It eats inorganics, notably sulfur—

(βehemoth assimilates several inorganic nutrients 26-84% more efficiently than its closest terrestrial competitors. This is especially problematic when dealing with sulfur.)

—it’s an anaerobe—

(“βehemoth doesn’t just predate other life, it predates photosynthesis. It predates oxygen. It’s over four billion years old. And all the other really ancient bugs we’ve found, the Archaebacteria and the Nanoliths and so forth, they’re still anaerobes to this day. You only find them in reducing environments. And yet here’s βehemoth, even older, and oxygen doesn’t bother it at all…

…Would there be any reason why someone—hypothetically—might want to take an organism like βehemoth, and tweak it?”)

Modified from Lever et al supplementary materials

—and they found it on the Juan de Fuca Ridge — less than 200km, in fact, from where Starfish places Beebe Station.  There’s speculation that life itself got started down there, that this bug beneath the seabed could be not only the most ancient form of life on the planet but might also comprise the planet’s biggest ecosystem. That system would, however, be very much simpler than the sort we’re used to despoiling way up here—

(Simple or complex. File or Infection. Checkers or Chess. βehemoth or biosphere.

It was all the same problem, really. 1211 knew exactly which side it was on.)

Oh: and they’re bringing it back.

They haven’t named it yet.  I know what I’d call it.

Let’s just hope the parallels stop there.

This has nothing to do with the current post, but does convey a sense of one of BOG's common moods. (This picture was not taken while he was licking his lips; his tongue just sticks out like that.)

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday March 17 2013at 10:03 am , filed under biology, deep sea, rifters . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

30 Responses to “Did I Call It? Did I Call It?

  1. Let’s just hope the parallels stop there.

    Yes, this. Have I mentioned recently that you’re a scary writer?

  2. Still DNA-based, though. No reason for panic just yet.

  3. I hope the researchers have tastes in literature that will make them name this beastie in your honor.

    It would be a shame if they name it after the region, some stupid rock, or a pop singer…

    Other than that – remember that ancient hominin discovery ? The finger one ?
    You have a rather weird ability to land your stories waaay close to home, so to say.

    Peter, are you positively sure you’re not a time traveler ;) ?

  4. nailed it.

  5. 01: Peter, are you positively sure you’re not a time traveler ;) ?

    Yeah, pretty sure. As Alexey pointed out, I got the genetic code wrong.

  6. I’m still waiting for the headcheese.

  7. Obvious solution: contact them with the suggestion.

    Don’t want four hundred Poles and both of your Texan fans doing it all at once, though.

    Hmmm.

  8. And let’s not forget your prophetic insight in to nearby brown dwarfs… http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/03/11/astronomer-locates-previously-unseen-neighbor-to-the-sun/

  9. @ Barry Adams

    When I read about that a couple of days ago, the first thing that popped into my head was “Big Ben”. Glad to see that I wasn’t the only one with that reaction!

    I also hope you got scramblers right as well!

  10. This could be potentially disturbing, if not fascinating. Never ceases to amaze me how human beings go out and find things that probably should be left well alone. Curiosity is good and all, but one of these days it’s going to get us killed.

    Love the complimentary goofball cat photo. Does help to offset possible harbingers of global epidemics.

  11. As long as we’re getting the other things in the Wattsian Reality. Like rifter-chic fashions.

  12. I want unaccountable corporatized technocracy too! Oh wait…

  13. Peter – very cool news …. but please stop making BOG watch the Liberal “Leadership” debates.

  14. Whoever,

    Um, welcome to like 2010
    http://singularityhub.com/2010/10/06/videos-of-robot-controlled-by-rat-brain-amazing-technology-still-moving-forward/

  15. Soon Lee:
    Let’s just hope the parallels stop there.

    Yes, this.Have I mentioned recently that you’re a scary writer?

    Amen to that. A lot of your stuff makes actual horror writers’ output pale in comparison.

    Which is kind of awesome when you think about it. Except for the whole “predicting our future doom, one story at a time” thing.

  16. Seruko,

    Yeah, but they aren’t yet controlling traffic (real nor internet) nor grown from scratch just yet. Though this is one explanation for some things coming out of Congress. If we see the Rodent Protection Act coming down the pipe, we’ll know.

  17. There are some problems with the pictures in this post when viewed via Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows XP Pro SP3:

    i. The space for the map is blank with a small red “x” in the upper left corner.

    ii. The cat photo is cut off just below the ears.

  18. OldMiser:
    There are some problems with the pictures in this post when viewed via Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows XP Pro SP3:

    i. The space for the map is blank with a small red “x” in the upper left corner.

    ii. The cat photo is cut off just below the ears.

    IE8 is your problem. Ditch that crappy browser and install Firefox.

  19. OldMiser: i. The space for the map is blank with a small red “x” in the upper left corner.

    ii. The cat photo is cut off just below the ears.

    The map is a .png file; is it possible that IE8 doesn’t handle that format? And I have no explanation for the ears.

    Jeremy: IE8 is your problem. Ditch that crappy browser and install Firefox.

    While I’d agree in general that IE8 is not the best browser, I have certain reservations about Firefox as well. For example, it turns the web pages containing my novels black for no good reason about 20% in. (see here, for example, and scroll down).

  20. Peter Watts,

    I have no problem viewing Blindsight in Firefox 19.0.2.

    The issue with the map is that you inserted it as a “data:” URI – the image bits themselves encoded in base64. IE8 supports data URIs only up to 32KB.

  21. Alexey:
    Peter Watts,

    I have no problem viewing Blindsight in Firefox 19.0.2.

    The issue with the map is that you inserted it as a “data:” URI – the image bits themselves encoded in base64. IE8 supports data URIs only up to 32KB.

    Im using 9.0.2 also, and after scrolling down to a certain point its all black. I can then highlight the text and drag down, clearing up another section… weird.

  22. Jeremy,

    At what point does it go black? Is it always the same?

    It might be a good idea to fix the 970 errors reported on the page by validator.w3.org and see if that fixes it. Better yet, change it from transitional to strict HTML. I would do it myself, but I can’t reproduce the problem.

  23. OK, this is getting stranger. At work I have to use IE8, and I chech this blog once or twice a day. The images in this post, the map and the cat, have always loaded perfectly. But today, after reading the issue oldmiser was having, now I have the same exact problem. The map will not load and the cat only loads the top 1/4 of the image. Maybe there was a recent update to IE8 that is now causing this?

    And I did a little digging on the other problem of Firefox blacking out the screen on the Blindsight page. I read that Firefox has a known issue with longish blog posts, something about an integer overflow. I think Firefox has trouble with rendering Peter’s background image he is using once you get so far down on the page. The text is there, it is just being coverd up by blackness. But the integer overflow issue was from way back in 2004 on version 3.something, I would think that would have been resolved by now.

  24. Alexey,

    Alexey,

    It doesnt black out on the exact same line everytime, but its usually around the section that start off with: “The Book of Oogenesis”. If I scroll up a little and back down sometimes I get a little more or less from that point.

  25. My web site is old and decrepit and in serious need of renovations. The only thing that’s in seriouser need of renovations is Echopraxia, which is what I am putting my efforts into right now (and I am pleased to report that having finally come back to it and gone over it again, I still really like most of it, and am confident that I can fix the parts that suck. Ultimately this will be a good book). I’m hoping to upgrade the site once the book’s handed in again. Soon.

    Until then, sorry for all the glitches.

  26. Peter Watts,

    Please, by all means, ignore our petty rants of HTML and integer conundrums.

    Echopraxia must take priority over all else!

  27. Jeremy,

    What website? We don’t see a website, right guys?

  28. Simulated Hell, I’ll fix your html formatting if it could possibly help get Echopraxia out the door faster. Something something gift economy, something something thanks for putting your work online in the first place.

  29. And now I don’t want to sleep, again. You’ll understand, I’m sure, my hope that your predictions are just a bit off… Very cool, though. :)

  30. I have certain reservations about Firefox as well. For example, it turns the web pages containing my novels black for no good reason about 20% in.

    Firefox is easily depressed. Switch to Google Chrome, it has a more robust and sunnier outlook on life: I made it almost the whole way through Starfish before if flashed up a “HTTP 904 Page Too Bleak and Despair-Inducing” error page and deinstalled itself.