Posted by: David | April 24, 2009

This Is Fascinating

On the way to work yesterday morning, listening to NPR, there was a piece about the discovery of some organisms found in Antarctica. According to this article “[t]he microbes have adapted to the hostile subglacial environment by developing a new life cycle in which they breathe iron through sulfur”. Check out the article please. It’s written in English, not Nerdspeak, and it’s short. The NPR piece featured an interview with the Dartmouth researcher who has been camping out in Blood Falls and collecting samples of this new life form.

It makes one wonder about what life really is. We think we know, but probably we don’t. The discovery is partly due to the access afforded by melting glaciers, a symptom of climate change. Please check out the images at this NHPR link. As Mr. Spock used to say “Fascinating”.



  1. That’s amazing. Did this make national news? If it did I missed it. If it didn’t it should have. As you said “fascinating”!!!

    Isn’t it though? The bleeding glacier first grabbed my attention on the radio show …

  2. Crafty lil buggers, aren’t they?

    Nothing like a breath of fresh sulfur, is there?

  3. Some cool stuff on here Dave. And I saw an article about those microbes on I think. Crazy.

    And I found your link off of classmates. Didn’t recognize your now picture, but no mistaking your then one lol. I forget more about those days than I remember, just know you always seemed to enjoy life.

    I’ve done tons of biking over the years, and still do, but not quite as much as in the past. Always active though. I’m off to Italy on Saturday for a week of Air Force business, then a week at Virginia Beach for vacation with my wife.

    Live in Ohio and have been here since the Air Force brought me back in 82. The only one close to Hamden is my brother who’s in Cranston RI.

    Look forward to reading more on your blog 😉

    Hi Scott and thanks for your comment. I made contact with a couple other HHS 74 alums through Classmates, but got a little tired of the restrictions and their tricky “automatic” renewal policy. Anyway, I’ve forgotten most of those days too, but I still have lots of old 35mm negatives. I may have even taken that yearbook picture of you “coming in for a landing” at a soccer match, but just cannot remember … I even managed to lose my yearbook a few years ago. Maybe it’s in a box somewhere. Thanks for your observation about the teenaged me “enjoying life”. I think I did too and I hope that you did. Thanks for stopping by, and for your years of service in the USAF. Have fun in Italy. 🙂

  4. Quoting ” in which they breathe iron through sulfur……………….. samples of this new life form.
    It makes one wonder about what life really is. ”


    If at least it were about people living underground or on the Moon! Since I know nothing about biology and chemistry, this does not sound new to me. It sounds like old news.

    Remember when some US President said it was the “greatest day since the Creation” when some people landed on the moon?

    Nihil novum, eh? It sounds like old news perhaps because of similar findings of life forms in the superheated geothermal vents in the ocean depths. Sulfur is just below oxygen in the periodic table. If you don’t speak chemistry then the quote means nothing. I assume that you are using word “people” to refer to life forms. Finding life forms on Earth that use sulfur for energy transfer is interesting. It’s like the life we’re familiar with but in a different key, to use a musical analogy. It allows for the possibility that life forms entirely unlike our own may be found elsewhere in the universe.

    I don’t remember a president saying that, but it would not be surprising to hear such hyperbole. I was quite fascinated with the moon landings as a teenager in 1969. Much of the rest of the world was equally fascinated. This was before some nutcases decided that the whole thing was a hoax. Apollo 13 was also an interesting interlude.

  5. What is with the Jack Russell order? Always over-reaching. While Oliver is pushing the earth around, his comrades in arms (paws?) of the filial order of Jack Russell Terrorists are bringing down the communications lifeline of western industrial society. No, not the internets… Come to think of it, maybe not a lifeline, exactly. More like the reserve ‘chute of western industrial society.

    Thanks for the funny link. It’s great that our mailbox is far from the front door and across the road. Oliver never hears that postman. He’s not a fan of the UPS truck coming down the driveway though.

    I’m trying to resolve “reserve ‘chute of western industrial society” but am having difficulty. Splain that more?

  6. Your reserve ‘chute is the one you hope works when your main chute doesn’t. It’s your basic, first-cuppa-coffee mixed metaphor. Lifelines are one thing. Parachutes something else entirely.

    OK thanks. So the postal service is the reserve chute. I hope nobody goes postal over this comment. I sure won’t. Hey isn’t postage supposed to go up today?

  7. I googled to look up “the greatest day since creation” and found it attributed to

    – someone

    – the President

    – Walter Cronkite

    and next came David Levine:

    A Brief History of the Exploration of the Moon
    Apollo 10 was the final dry run before the moon landing and … It was, as someone said, the greatest day since Creation. …

    Perhaps some will agree with the President that the landing on the moon was “the greatest day since the creation.” But no one ought to agree with …

    Millennium, messiahs, and mayhem: contemporary apocalyptic movements
    … the success of the Apollo Moon landing, an event labeled by Walter Cronkite as “the greatest day since Creation. …

    This Is Fascinating « Thoughts-0-Dave
    … you “coming in for a landing” at a soccer match, but just cannot remember … … “greatest day since the Creation” when some people landed on the moon? …

    I don’t think I understand this comment, so I don’t know how to respond to it, other than to say thank you for leaving it?

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