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Science

8 Million Year Old Bacteria Thaws, Lives 345

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gonna-need-more-antibiotics dept.
Jamie found a New Scientist story about 8 million year old bacteria that scientists thawed out, and now it's alive. Also somehow they are sure that this is safe. The interesting bit is that since these samples came from ancient ice, it seems that the world will naturally be filled with these guys soon.
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8 Million Year Old Bacteria Thaws, Lives

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  • Welcome (Score:5, Funny)

    by amigabill (146897) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:04AM (#20142093)
    I for one welcome our new microscopic overlords.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:05AM (#20142103)
    ...designed to get people up in arms.

    The summary ominously notes:

    [...] somehow they are sure that this is safe. The interesting bit is that since these samples came from ancient ice, it seems that the world will naturally be filled with these guys soon.

    ...filed, of course, under "gonna-need-more-antibiotics".

    Except the article says:

    This is nothing to worry about, say experts, because the process has been going on for billions of years and the bugs are unlikely to cause human disease.

    [...]

    Paul Falkowski of Rutgers University, who led the study, [...] does not believe this is cause for concern because marine bacteria and viruses are typically far less harmful to human health than, for instance, those found on land.

    Russell Vreeland of the Ancient Biomaterials Institute at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, US, agrees. "This has been happening probably for a long, long time. Ice freezes and melts, rocks sink and are eroded. Microbes have been involved with this process for almost 4 billion years," says Vreeland, who has resuscitated 250-million year-old bacteria found in salt crystals. "Earth acts as a gene bank for microbes."


    So, what's "new" here is that a researcher has actually intentionally taken frozen microbes from the oldest known ice and successfully resuscitated them in a laboratory setting. The Earth has been doing this on its own for billions of years.

    I'm sure this comments will be filled with the likes of:

    - By ignoring the undeniable truth that global warming is due to human behavior, we are toying with balances we can't possibly understand, and now may even be releasing ancient microbes into the environment whose dangers we don't yet know!

    - Even if the Earth has been doing this on its own, we are unnaturally accelerating it; therefore, the potential release of these microbes must be bad!

    - This may be a natural process, but humans may not have existed on Earth the last time this occurred, therefore we can't predict the possible harm to humanity!

    ...all tied in, of course, to the fact that we should be working on ways to "stop" climate change, predicated on the belief that any negative climate change is due exclusively to human activity beyond any shadow of scientific doubt, and that no climate change can ever be a net positive, especially when caused by human activity, when there are in truth far more factors involved, even if human activity is a large one. (Note: I am not saying global warming is "positive" or that human activity isn't a component; I am saying that it is inaccurate to cloak anything in self-serving absolutes.)

    The interesting intersection here is that such a transition may occur while humans are present on Earth. This is not necessarily a "good" or a "bad" thing...it just is. Humans have learned to manipulate and adapt to their environment for millennia, both on long and short term bases. Artificial change cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse than natural change. Some of this change may have a negative impact on human existence on Earth; some may not.

    This does not mean that we should be raping the environment or ignoring any danger. But the single-mindedness of climate change activists is somewhat disturbing. They view climate change in a vacuum, separated from all other concerns, and that is simply a foolish and counterproductive position to take.

    Ever wonder why there are so many global warming deniers? It's because of the attitude taken by fanatic, self-righteous global warming alarmists. We'd be a lot better served by real discussions - which are, unfortunately, far too complex for most people on either side of the "political" global warming debate to understand - than one alarmist global warming story after another.

    The issues - social, economic, scientific, and so on - surrounding "climate change" deserve a far better treatment, even in slashdot comments, than berating Chevy Suburbans, Big Oil, and fat, lazy, greedy Americans.

    • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:15AM (#20142253)
      you typed all that in under 4 minutes. (story posted at 11:01, comment posted at 11:05)

      want to document my code for me? shouldn't take you long
      • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:32AM (#20142511)
        /*
        you typed all that in under 4 minutes. (story posted at 11:01, comment posted at 11:05)
        want to document my code for me? shouldn't take you long
        */
        You're right- that was fast!
      • by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:34AM (#20142535) Homepage Journal
        He does what I do. You write and write and write all over the net. Sometimes as a troll, sometimes honestly, sometimes just to take the piss. Then you archive everything you write waiting for the right article to post in. But, if it would make you happy, I have a ton of documentation I've written for applications that may at some time in the future exist. If you have an app that matched, I'd be happy to send you a copy. :)
        • by Charles W Griswold (848651) <(charlesgriswold) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:02PM (#20145583) Homepage

          He does what I do. You write and write and write all over the net. Sometimes as a troll, sometimes honestly, sometimes just to take the piss. Then you archive everything you write waiting for the right article to post in. But, if it would make you happy, I have a ton of documentation I've written for applications that may at some time in the future exist. If you have an app that matched, I'd be happy to send you a copy. :)
          Awesome! I have an app that automagically filters out the B.S. from political speeches. I've been over the algorithm several times and it really should work, but for some reason I never get any output. Oh, well; better luck next time, I guess.
      • by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:37AM (#20142567)
        Remember - subscribers can see articles in the future. What seemed like 4 minutes to your disconnected asse was actually 2 hours to his connected asse.

        Ok, everyone laugh and point at #537955 so he can complete his initiation and we can move on to the next chodderhead.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by JeanBaptiste (537955)
          asse? chodderhead?

          are you bulgarian or something?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by pseudorand (603231)
          Considering the number of ./ articles are repeats of old ./ articles, you don't have to subscribe to see articles in the future, you just have to search the archives. :)

          Posts (probably including this one) are even easier. Just scroll up.
    • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:15AM (#20142261)
      Furthermore, the bacteria in question is almost certainly safe because it evolved 4 mya, in the ocean, in the absence of humans, and likely in absence of a dense population of mammals of any kind. Now ask yourself, how many bacteria are there, and how many are harmful to humans. Further, probe how the few harmful strains became that way, and you'll find that they almost all developed as a result of centuries to millennia of interaction with dense populations of humans and other domesticated animals. The likelihood of a bacteria isolated from humans that is harmful to humans is so small as to be negligible. We might as well be worried about pushing asteroids off course...
      • by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:09AM (#20143027)

        Furthermore, the bacteria in question is almost certainly safe because it evolved 4 mya, in the ocean, in the absence of humans
        On the other hand, you can also assume that our immune system isn't prepared to deal with this bacteria, which may be the more insidious problem in this case. Even if the bacteria WASN'T a human pathogen, doesn't mean it ISN'T going to become one, if given the opportunity.
        I don't think these bugs are the Andromeda Strain, but I'd be pretty careful to use sterile technique with them, at least until I put them into mice and saw what happened.
        • Not that easily (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @01:03PM (#20144671) Journal
          Yes and no, mostly no.

          AFAIK the immune system isn't set to kill known bacteria, it's set to kill any unknown cell. Your own cells have a "self" marker, meaning "it's mine". Anything identified as lacking this marker is instantly marked for termination with extreme prejudice.

          The bacteria that kill you have had millions of years to learn to cope with that big problem, precisely _because_ they had to deal with mammals all the time. Some fake the marker (with different degrees of success, usually not too well), some do the reverse peroxide kiss of death on any immune system cell trying to do it to them, some just kill you faster than your immune system can do much about it, etc. And, even so, most actually are actually pretty easily kept in check unless your immune system is already compromised.

          A bacterium which is so completely foreign that it never had to live in a mammal, well, won't live too long in there. There are layers upon layers upon layers of defenses to which they have no answer whatsoever.

          Now with _viruses_ it's exactly the other way around, as the immune system pretty much has to figure out an antibody and remember it. So a new one _can_ fuck you up badly. That's why flu and smallpox nearly wiped out the american indians: those were viruses.

          Of course, even then the assumption is that it knows how to modify your DNA code. Flu and smallpox already had to deal with the Europeans, so they were already well tuned for humans. A completely alien virus (a la Andromeda Strain), while it would probably get past your immune system easily, it also probably wouldn't even know where to start to reprogram your cells.
    • by DataBroker (964208) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:16AM (#20142273)
      Wow! Did you realize that you wrote more words (660) than were in the whole of TFA (610)?

      And you still missed the fact that the article is obviously all lies since the world simply may not contain 8 million year-old bacteria since it is 6,000 years old.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HeavyAl (695278)
        I know that this was meant in fun, and to be totally honest it WAS funny! Creationists who think the earth was made in a literal 6-7 day period are complete whack jobs that don't look at the evidence.

        Some fundamentalists claim that creationism rather than evolution explains pre-human history. They assert that all physical creation was produced in just six days of 24 hours each sometime between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. But in doing so, they promote an unscriptural teaching that has caused many to ridicule
    • Wow... such a promising post... and then almost halfway through you suffered an ischemic stroke. Somebody give this guy mod points; he's having a lousy day.
    • by Kamots (321174) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:23AM (#20142369)
      "We'd be a lot better served by real discussions"

      Indeed.

      But there is no possibility of real discussions so long as one party to the discussions refuses to acknowledge that there is a potential problem. The preponderance of evidence says that global warming is happening and that it is anthropogenic.

      What should be done about that? Anything?

      Who knows... there hasn't been an opportunity to discuss that. Instead, all of the efforts made by the non-fanatics has been focused on attempting to educate the large proportion of the population who are sadly actively working at remaining ignorant in an attempt to completely ignore the issue by denying that there is an issue.

      If you really want real discussion, then work at getting people to admit that global warming exists. Until that happens there can't be any discussion of what actions to take, or even if we should take any action at all.
      • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:36AM (#20142549) Homepage
        But there is no possibility of real discussions so long as one party to the discussions refuses to acknowledge that there is a potential problem.

        And I think that what you said there supports his whole point, that one party refuses to acknowledge that there may not be a problem.

        He never denied that climate change is hapening, nor that we aren't contributing to it. Enough with the strawmen, and respond to what he actually said next time.
      • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:34AM (#20143377) Journal
        You know what would also help with the problem? If people argued for action on global warming as if it weren't "just another excuse to get the laws we'd want anyway". Maybe if each offered solution didn't specifically target those environmentalists hate without regard to actual environmental damage?

        There's a very simple solution: carbon tax + apply proceeds (in transparent process) to carbon sinks and to legitimate warming harm-abatement.

        That allows everyone to adapt in the least inconvenient way for them. No bureaucracy to decide what uses you "really" need. No bizarre incentive structure that rewards people for being wasteful in the most efficient way possible.

        The "problems" with such a proposal are:

        -It doesn't require visible, vengeance-satisfying sacrifice.
        -Most conspicuous consumption would still happen because rich people would rather pay for the sink/abatement than quit driving the SUV.
        -It would snare the phonies who drive hybrids quite a lot, and not the hated SUV drivers who arrange their lives so that they don't have to drive very far.
        -Most adaptation people make wouldn't be visible and thus wouldn't show how much they "care".
        -Big evil corporations would figure out an efficient carbon sink method (since it's now profitable) and thus get a lot of money.
        -Any result that didn't equate with environmentalists' real goals would be derided as a failure of the system.

        So, the idea doesn't get a lot of play.
        • by Abcd1234 (188840)
          If people argued for action on global warming as if it weren't "just another excuse to get the laws we'd want anyway". Maybe if each offered solution didn't specifically target those environmentalists hate without regard to actual environmental damage?

          You know what? That's fucking *bullshit*. I'm just waiting for you to start bitching about those "dirty hippies". Honestly, do you have *any* proof this is the case? Or are you just making up strawman arguments to justify your own prejudices? Somehow, I
        • by dpilot (134227)
          Fine job of counter-villainizing, there. Because of course we ALL know that ALL environmentalists are either cohorts of Dr. Evil or his unwitting pawns. We also know that Prius owners generally commute long distances, and SUV owners generally live a few blocks from their places of work and shopping.

          Actually, I like your proposal, and I can see some environmentalists disliking it, for the reasons you state. But in addition to the "environmentalist" reasons you state, you forgot the "conservative" reasons for
      • by Jaeph (710098) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:43AM (#20143521)
        I'm one of them thar "denier" types. More seriously, I'm one of those uneducated types who looked at the evidence in the 80s/90s, and found it lacking, but worthy of further study.

        I've watched the debate unfold over recent years, and just recently picked up a scientific american which tried to summarize the case at a layman's level. If I understood correctly:

        a) temperatures are rising. Lots of hard data to support this, and everything looks statistically significant.

        b) greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are rising. There is more debate here, but mankind has most certainly contributed and the question is simply about narrowing down "how much".

        c) a & b are linked. This is shown recently to be true by ever more sophisticated computer models, which are serving as the basis for scientists elevating their statement to "highly likely" (that a & b are linked).

        The problem I have is that like many here on slashdot I do happen to know a thing or two about computers. To put it plainly, when your big evidence is a computer model, then I will continue to wait until the evidence is something more substantial. ....

        There is the other question of attitude; both sides seek to demonize the other said. "Fanatics", "radicals", etc.

        What I do see very clearly is that all suggested solutions seek to punish the united states while leaving some other areas of the world untouched. I pick "punish" deliberately; it's as if the US has been "bad" and now everyone wants their ounce of vengeance.

        So not only do I choose to wait, but my attitude is now skeptical - this seems like a typical "america bad" attitude on the side of the global warming proponents. I'll wait for a more reasoned attitude with better data to back them up.

        Finally, I recognize that all of this could be rendered moot by a continued rise in temperatures and the catastrophes that causes. But I've seen predictions of catastrophes all my life, and at this point I'm a bit jaded with all the "we're doomed" scenarios.

        -Jeff
    • by brkello (642429)
      Wow...talk about over reacting. Sometimes human meddling does have bad effects. Fine, marine bacteria is generally less harmful to humans. What if this was one that was atypical? What if it wouldn't be a problem if it was reintroduced in to the environment naturally rather than melting it in a lab? Yes, probably everything is fine...but I understand where the summary is coming from.

      As far as your nutso rant on global warming. That isn't even mentioned in the summary and you are jumping in before any
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Control Group (105494) *

        If the cost is annoying big business, top polluters, and some people on web forums, I have no problem paying that price

        And, if the cost is making brkello start living a pre-industrial lifestyle, I have no problem paying that price.

        Which is to say - it's easy for you to be willing to have other people pay the price for change. You are claiming no moral high ground (or even ethically defensible ground) by making such a statement. Your dismissive claims about having no problem making people you've unilaterally

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by icebrain (944107)
        I think he might be more upset at the "logic" some people use when discussing climate change. In many cases, it seems to run directly from "temperatures appear to be changing" to "change is bad, and man must be causing it, because we've only recorded the change after industrialization and/or nature never changes." There seems to be the underlying belief that the climate is naturally stable, and that humans are the only things that can cause it to change (never mind ice ages and all that...).

        I'm not saying
    • ... but he does not believe this is cause for concern because marine bacteria and viruses are typically far less harmful to human health than, for instance, those found on land.

      <sarcasm>And of course it's not like humans depend on anything in the sea as a source of food or anything like that....</sarcasm> Only the fact that this has been ongoing for quite some time is in the least bit reassuring.
    • by greg_barton (5551) * <[moc.oohay] [ta] [notrab_gerg]> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:28AM (#20142433) Homepage Journal

      Artificial change cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse than natural change.

      So, by the same token, murder is no worse than someone falling off a ladder.

      Should we let the murderer go free, then?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeffasselin (566598)
        That's not what he said. He said that you cannot use absolutes to define one type as worse or better than the other.

        You can have situations where murder would be acceptable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by greg_barton (5551) *
          Sure it's exactly what he said. If there was no value difference between intentional and unintentional action we would react no differently to either event. This is plainly not the case.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TubeSteak (669689)

            If there was no value difference between intentional and unintentional action we would react no differently to either event.

            Don't try to stick emotions into the discussion.
            There is only the value that you (and/or society) assigns to the event.
            That's what the OP and GP are trying to get across.

            Gold cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse than titanium.
            Snow cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse than rain.
            Kosher cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse than Halal.
            Country cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse than Emo.
            Artificial change cannot intrinsically be defined as better or worse

    • Where to begin. If what is said is true about global warming in that it is right now out of the range that has supported life on this planet by a large margin (I think we are talking about many million years. And if what is said is also true that human activity (mostly industries and automobiles and farming) are major contributing factors to this unusual, unprecedented global rise in temperatures, then it seems just a little bit crazy to even suggest that "well it might be good, you don't know, it might, we
    • "does not believe this is cause for concern because marine bacteria and viruses are typically far less harmful to human health"

      uuuuuh no [wikipedia.org]. He clearly needs a far more up-to-date source of information. Such as the X-files.
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:13AM (#20143089) Journal

      Ever wonder why there are so many global warming deniers? It's because of the attitude taken by fanatic, self-righteous global warming alarmists. We'd be a lot better served by real discussions - which are, unfortunately, far too complex for most people on either side of the "political" global warming debate to understand - than one alarmist global warming story after another.
      First of all, I'd say there are two types of global warming deniers. There are the oil industry shills, whose job it is to make sure that the industrialized world continues to use oil as long as possible so that their already extraordinary profits keep rising. Then there are the pseudo-skeptics, who just want to feel special by seeming to take a contrary position.

      I don't give a shit about politics, about Al Gore, about Green Peace or a pack of greasy university kids marching to save the planet. What I do care about is that the vast majority of climatologists, while rejecting some of the doomsday notions of the activists, state very clearly that the evidence for climate change being caused by human activities is compelling and growing. To call these scientists "political" is nothing more than an invokation of a conspiracy theory.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by leereyno (32197)
      You forgot the part where its all Chimpy-McHitler-Burton's fault.

  • Not if this global cooling theory comes to pass...oh no, wait, we're pushing global warming now, is it?
    Tough to keep straight...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Also somehow they are sure that this is safe.
    Just before the bacteria Attacked
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:07AM (#20142133)
    ...which is why this is safe. Same reason particle physics experiments are safe: even higher-energetic particles hit the earth all the time.
  • by lottameez (816335) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:07AM (#20142139)
    Seriously, that was a terrible summary. The reason the scientists think it's okay and not dangerous is because the process of old ice melting and bacteria being reintroduced happens all the time.

    Nothing to see here, move along.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      If the polar ice caps were melting daily in the centre of a busy city I would agree with you, but it doesn't.

      The big difference is: it happens thousands of miles away from normal people and anything released is just as likely to be reabsorbed by the fresh polar snow/ocean.

      I can spray tonnes of a toxin at the northpole and people around the world would be safe, but if I try the same thing in a major city I would be shot.

    • I think you mean resuscitate [m-w.com].
    • The reason the scientists think it's okay and not dangerous is because the process of old ice melting and bacteria being reintroduced happens all the time.

      Well, that and the fact that the bacteria are being revived IN A LABORATORY. If lab techs start dropping dead due to exposure to this stuff, they'll just hose down the room with bleach and the bacteria will be dead again.
  • serious article (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552)
    from a publication that plays host to dancing alien ads. WTF was that journal the fucking Weekly World News?

    Let me know if a mirror happens with a respectible pub.
  • everybody panic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955)
    TFA says it is global warming uncovering these bacteria that are 8 million years old...

    They don't point out that in the last 8 million years the earth has been much warmer than it is today, at many different times.

    At least they didn't break out the OMG its humans driving SUVs stuff. Still though, it seems like an article with an agenda. Just report about the bacteria, kthx.
    • They don't point out that in the last 8 million years the earth has been much warmer than it is today, at many different times.

      Probably because those changes typically occur over tens or hundreds of millenia, not just a couple decades of easy motoring.
    • by E++99 (880734)

      TFA says it is global warming uncovering these bacteria that are 8 million years old...

      It doesn't actually say that, fortunately, although the way they throw around "global warming" in these articles, it's easy to get that impression. They have to dig for the old samples. For the most part, the only ice that melts naturally (or because of "global warming") is ice that froze during the last ice age, meaning ice that is less than 120,000 years old. The temperatures before the last ice age were significantl

      • The Neanderthals were probably complaining about our causing air pollution with all the spears and arrows we filled it with when they came around, as well as our running off with the cute chicks.
        • by E++99 (880734)

          The Neanderthals were probably complaining about our causing air pollution with all the spears and arrows we filled it with when they came around, as well as our running off with the cute chicks.

          Cute Neanderthal chicks? I donno. The jutting brow and the bit about being three times stronger than me somehow doesn't do it for me. The larger brain leaves me a little intimidated as well.
    • Still though, it seems like an article with an agenda.
      It is "New Scientist," they have a very clear agenda that they push in every issue: to sell more copies of their magazine. Thus they try to make every article as exciting as possible. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if they didn't also frequently get their facts incorrect.
  • The Bacteria, named Cirroc, have said that they plan to attend law school and embark on a new career as a personal injury lawyer.
  • Shrug. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:09AM (#20142165) Journal
    If old bacteria can thaw out fine, then I'm sure it happens decently often naturally...Lot of ice melting in the world, and it's not all "new" ice...When ice melts, the water carves channels deep into the ice, and liberates more ice in the process (or refreezes, depending).

    Interesting that they're so robust, though I guess if the freezing doesn't kill it, there isn't anything else that will either.
    • *anything else that will while it's frozen in a block of ice. Should have been more specific.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      well the issue is that Ice starting to melt faster and in areas that normally don't melt seasonally. This could all be part of a natural cycle but not a part of a cycle that has happened during the course of human history, so it's hard to tell what kind of immediate impact it will have.
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      "Interesting that they're so robust, though I guess if the freezing doesn't kill it, there isn't anything else that will either." Not necessarily:

      Dog and horse semen are both very fragile; just whacking the container, or introducing a couple drops of water, will kill the sperm.

      But both survive over several decades of freezing quite well.

      Conversely, people can usually handle a punch in the jaw or a dip in the lake, but tend not to do so well when frozen for a few years. ;)
  • Mars! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) * on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:10AM (#20142173) Journal
    If bacteria can survive that long, and I'm sure longer, this means there is a good chance that there may be life on planets with ice in our solar system. All we have to do is go find it!
  • by martyb (196687) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:11AM (#20142211)
    I know it's been a LONG time, so let me be the first:

    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to You,
    Happy Birthday dear bacteria,
    Happy Birthday to You!

    (P.S. please don't tell the RIAA I sent this or there might be a fine. ;-)

  • Sounds Familiar.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Zymergy (803632)
    Wasn't this the plot to "The Blob"? .... Wait, No, No, that one's still frozen in the Antarctic as a solution... Right? No, No.. that was "The Thing" that thawed out... Someone should Call Kurt Russell...
  • the process has been going on for billions of years and the bugs are unlikely to cause human disease.

    Yes that's all good, but were there any human few billion years ago?
    • "were there any human few billion years ago?"
      No, and now you know why not - the bacteria killed them...
  • Paranoid Much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jafiwam (310805) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:15AM (#20142259) Homepage Journal

    Also somehow they are sure that this is safe. The interesting bit is that since these samples came from ancient ice, it seems that the world will naturally be filled with these guys soon.
    What, you think some this stuff hasn't been periodically thawing out since it got stuck there 8 million years ago?

    If you are going to worry about bacteria, worry about the stuff that is now actively learning how to resist all of our antibiotics and hanging out in our hostpitals, not the stuff that hasn't encountered it before. You might as well blame Bush or AlQueda and claim we need to nuke the ice sheets to stop this while you are at it.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      Well perhaps it is paranoia to a degree, but then back when we were landing on the Moon, all sorts of people were concerned that the astronauts would bring back some kind of "Moon germs" that would spread death all over the Earth. Hence the Lunar Receiving Laboratory and Michael Crichton writing a lovely book made into a good movie called "The Andromeda Strain"...

    • by E++99 (880734)

      What, you think some this stuff hasn't been periodically thawing out since it got stuck there 8 million years ago?

      That's pretty much what they mean when they say "8 million year-old ice". It's ice that froze in a protected location, (in Greenland or Antarctica) that generally gets new snowfall both during the ice ages and the warm periods between ice ages, and doesn't melts. In other words these are places where the ice has been steadily accumulating since the cycle of ice ages began, including through mu

  • Even if this hadn't been happening all the time, I doubt that a bacteria so old could seriously threaten us. Things have changed since 8000000 B.C. Its younger siblings have been hammering our ancestors' immunodefense systems, hardening them and getting better themselves. Present creatures vs 8 mo. years bacteria is like Slashdot moderation system versus pre-WWW trolls :-)
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      As long as nobody plays that scary shreaky music, we'll all be fine. It's that scary music that turns things into monsters. I ran a correlation chart on 200 scary movies.
  • Also somehow they are sure that this is safe.

    Oh, yeah? Well, what about the giant man-like alien, frozen in the ice for thousands of years after its space ship crash landed on our planet? Wait until it thaws out and starts looking for blood to water its little alien plant space babies. Then you won't feel so safe. Will you, Mr. Smarty Pants Scientist?

  • Wrong Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:48AM (#20142725)
    I think posters are getting too hung up on the "prehistoric killer bacteria" story and not the fact that something frozen for 8 million years can be thawed and live again (not sure how new this news is). So, we could potentially have a solar system filled with seeder asteroids (meteoroids?) from massive impacts with Earth or an older life-bearing Mars.
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:51AM (#20142759)
    Before the early 21st Century, Earth experienced a scourge of humans. Common bacteria from ancient ice stopped the humans, but it didn't destroy them. Instead they lapsed into a state of deep hibernation. Now, the humans are resurrected, more destructive than ever before. Before the early 21st Century humans had taken over the world. Now, they're taking over our colonists' bodies!
  • (just an obligatory remark)
  • One name: John Carpenter
    One thing: Er, The Thing

    We're doomed...

  • There's virtue in simplicity. How many species can survive for 8 million years, never mind an individual. This "multicellular" crap is just one of those passing fads.
  • by Yath (6378)

    Also somehow they are sure that this is safe.


    Because as we all know, bacteria have but one function: to infect humans. And nothing prepares them for the invasion of our helpless tissues like living in a glacier for a few eons.
  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:44AM (#20143535)

    Also somehow they are sure that this is safe.

    Everything to which the bacteria had adapted is 8 million years dead.

    Poor little feller... :(

  • Dr Bidle:"Look we've done it. It's alive! Alive!" [cackling laughter]
    Dr Falkowski:"Muhahahahaha!"
    Dr Bidle:"Hey, where did it go?"
    [toilet flushing]
    Bacteria emerges from bathroom: "Ahhhhhh!"

Maternity pay? Now every Tom, Dick and Harry will get pregnant. -- Malcolm Smith

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