Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

8 Million Year Old Bacteria Thaws, Lives

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:07AM (#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 @11:07AM (#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.
  • everybody panic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:08AM (#20142151)
    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.
  • Mars! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) * on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:10AM (#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!
  • Paranoid Much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jafiwam (310805) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:15AM (#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 AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:15AM (#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 Kamots (321174) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:23AM (#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 LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:27AM (#20142415) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by greg_barton (5551) * <(greg_barton) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:28AM (#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:You're right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:32AM (#20142493) Homepage Journal
    Did it really not occur to you that by being a smug, self-righteous, arrogant prick in your response you were validating his point of view? Or was that what you were trying to do?

    -Peter
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:36AM (#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 jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:39AM (#20142599) Journal
    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:truly amazing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:40AM (#20142623)
    asse? chodderhead?

    are you bulgarian or something?
  • Re:Shrug. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Trent Hawkins (1093109) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:41AM (#20142637)
    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 greg_barton (5551) * <(greg_barton) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:45AM (#20142683) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Wrong Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:48AM (#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 icebrain (944107) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:58AM (#20142873)
    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 we should just chug along blindly and not do anything. Though I'm still not convinced that man is the primary force behind the current noticed changes (or even that these changes will continue long-term), I still support most environmental efforts--cutting emissions and such certainly can't harm the situation, and definately would help clean out the smong and all that. But I think those who put forth the above reasoning are shooting themselves in the proverbial foot; the more irrational your argument is, the less likely people are to take you seriously. And the attitude of "this is the Truth, and anything you say is Lies" without solid proof just makes it worse. It's no better than the crazy homeless guy on the corner with a sign saying "The end is near!" harassing pedestrians and telling them they're going to hell.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @12:13PM (#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.
  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @12:44PM (#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... :(

  • by Hardhead_7 (987030) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @01:18PM (#20144027)

    The preponderance of evidence in the 1400's said that the world was flat and that sea monsters ate you if you took your boat too close to the edge.


    No, that was the popular opinion. In the 1400s, most scientists believed the Earth was round. I think you unintentionally drew a parallel.
  • by Jaeph (710098) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @01:34PM (#20144259)
    I find your analogy flawed.

    To be more specific, I know that you only get out of a computer model what you put into it. Period. That leaves a lot of room for uncertainty.

    But I'll make you a deal; find me a model that starts from a base state in (say) 1800, and then accurately models regional temperatures and storms year-by-year. If you have such a model, and then choose to run it forward a few decades, I would be happy to entertain that as solid evidence.

    I would also be amazingly impressed. :-)

    -Jeff
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:17PM (#20145771) Journal

    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 than natural change.

    That is why "you cannot use absolutes to define one type as worse or better than the other," because values differ. Maybe you used a poor example, but I suspect you were just making an appeal to emotion.
  • by greg_barton (5551) * <(greg_barton) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @09:53PM (#20151113) Homepage Journal
    Ya, but it makes a difference to the rest of us, which is the point.

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound

Working...