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Earth Science

Searching For Russian Extremophiles 49

Posted by timothy
from the they-crave-boiling-vodka dept.
RcK writes "A fascinating narrated slide show-style story about searching for organisms which thrive in conditions we consider particularly hostile, or Extremophiles, in the Kamchatka region of Eastern Russia. Even if the microbial science doesn't interest you, the scenery really is something to behold."
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Searching For Russian Extremophiles

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  • This would make the new form of super hero. Combine the DNA from these microbes into our. A man who can dive into lava. Survive a freezing Tundra without layers of clothing.
    Yea he probably wont have everything that superman has, especially the Hidden power to resolve a plot.

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      Yes, a plot that involves swimming in lava, surviving freezing tundra, and of course a female news reporter? oh yeah.... He kidnapped Ann Coulter, holds her head under the lava, then after what amounts to a steam bath to our super hero, relaxes in the cool waters of freezing tundra. Yeah I know I missed a few plot points, but so far this has the makings of very high ratings in the US.

    • Genetics do not work that way! Good night!
      --Morbo
    • Yea he probably wont have everything that superman has, especially the Hidden power to resolve a plot.

      In Extremophile Russia, the plot has superman.

    • On the other hand, I don't think that the world would be able hold 2 Chucks Norrises.

    • by ebuck (585470)

      In the less than glamorous fictional universe, you'd just be stuck with a Lava Man that would die of hypothermia as soon as he left his thermal vent.

      I can see it now... In Neo-Gotham city, a crime has just been committed. Commissioner, "Who can we go to for help?" Gordon boldly replies, "Book me a flight to Hawaii! I must enlist the aid of Lava man!"

      Later that week, "Lava Man has suggested that we dust the crime scene for fingerprints, run over all the security surveillance, and engrave all the details o

    • The startup Finnzymes [finnzymes.fi] already found real-world use for these microbes. It's not their DNA, though; it's their DNA-handling enzymes. When doing the PCR procedure, you have 20-40 temperature cycles. Regular enzymes are killed at 45 C, so after each cycle, you'd have to add more regular enzyme, ending up with a big soup of DNA and killed enzyme. The hot spring microbes live at 60 C, and their enzymes survive the cycles just fine. This makes it possible to build small tabletop devices that do the PCR in 16 minu

    • Combine the DNA from these microbes into our. A man who can dive into lava. Survive a freezing Tundra without layers of clothing.

      Uh, there are no bacteria that can survive in LAVA. Hot springs yes, but that would be a much lamer superpower.

      Hapless civilians: "Oh no! The evil robobt main computer is in Old Faithful! We'll never be able to pull the plug."

      Hero: "Stand back citizens, it is I, HOT SPRING MAN!"

      Hapless civilians: "Uh... okay..."

      And, realistically, you'd have a cooked man who had a few bacterial enzymes that continued functioning. A few added heat resistant proteins do not make a heat resistant man any more than putting

  • There's a really fascinating video out there on YouTube about extremophile spores that survived the Tunguska explosion... good music, too.

  • by lazlo (15906) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:37AM (#26886149) Homepage

    If you're searching for Russian Extremophiles,
    and you decide to use Google to do it,
    I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds like the sort of query where
    You might just want to turn SafeSearch "on".

    • I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds like the sort of query where you might just want to turn SafeSearch "on".

      Or, you may be a Russian extremophile yourself...

  • I've seen Russian porn. They have a long way to go before they match the Japanese.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:24AM (#26886809)

    Visited a friend up in Boston. It was 20 degrees out, damn cold compared to what I'm used to. We're walking through the asiantown area and he's like "You know what we need?" No, I didn't. "Bubble tea!" Not knowing what that was, I was game. Five minutes later I'm drinking a frozen thai beverage with little tapioca balls at the bottom of the mixture, the "bubbles." A freezing cold drink to have while walking around outside in sub-freezing temperatures. I told him this was crazy. "No, this is Russian. We fucking go out and get milkshakes in the winter all the time." I told him I think I figured out how they were able to beat the Nazis in WWII. "Don't forget Napoleon, snail-slurping son of a bitch," he added.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skye16 (685048)
      Anyone who lives in a northern area can handle temperatures like that. You get used to it. It was 38 out a few days ago and I had all the windows open in the house, enjoying the fresh air. Sure, I had to put pants and a hoodie on, but it was great.

      Don't get me wrong, when it gets < 0 (F), especially with wind, I need a hat and gloves too. But 20F isn't all that bad.
      • by dasunt (249686)

        The north also has better clothing, I think, for the cold.

        A Walmart in Minneapolis probably can probably produce a warmer jacket than a specialized outdoors store in Memphis. About the only way that gear will keep you warm is if you burn it.

        Plus one learns as the weather changes (hopefully), and "cold" gains a different meaning. 20F (-7C) is warm to me. About 0F (-18C) is when it gets cold, and -10F (-23C) is where clothing becomes very important even for minor tasks such as taking out the garbage.

        • by Skye16 (685048)

          Exactly. Of course, all those temperatures depend on the wind. I'll get wind ripping up over the mountain (I live right at the top) and I've had my fingers frozen fast to bits of metal in no time. It was only about 0F at the time, but with the wind flying at 20+ mph, it feels a whole hell of a lot colder than that - or worse, doesn't feel cold at all!

    • As a russian I can say that guy was just bragging :) Of course we don't drink on the streets in the winter normally, this is just stupid. And yes, -6C or 20F is a joke for any russian living on east side of urals.
      All that said I'm proud to admit that I drank vodka near to the christmas tree at the new year on the street with friends and there were a lot of ppl around having fun at the "ice town" built for entertainment at the new year. And the outside temperature was -42C which is -43F. Oh great old univers

    • New Englanders also order Iced Coffee in December, and in Vermont its not uncommon to wear sandals with socks while there is a foot of snow on the ground.
    • I grew up near the Black Sea, fairly mild climate. First time came to Moscow in January, -25C outside, walk on a street, plenty of street vendors selling - guess what - an ice cream! And plenty of people eating that ice cream, right outside. In Russia Moscow's ice cream had reputation as the best one you can get (in Soviet Union), so I got some and ate it, right on a street, as well. Yes, it was tasty. Actually at -25C it kind of warmed me up, too.

      (But the air is very dry, not damp like in Boston. So even -

    • Oh yes, I've heard they do sell ice-cream in Irkutsk when it's -30, and kids nag parents to buy it (and they do).

      However, when it comes to Russian extremophiles, nothing beats ice diving after sauna [youtube.com]. Though I hear Finns like that, too.

      • by adavies42 (746183)
        the staff at amundsen-scott [wikipedia.org] have the 300-degree club--sit in a sauna, then run outside in only boots i had my own miniature version in grad school--the school gym had a sauna with a broken thermostat (no upper limit) located in an uninsulated locker room with leaky windows. in the winter, i could get the sauna up to 200 while the room was well below 50 (and possibly below freezing occasionally)
  • it's in slide 18, clearly labelled as such.

  • A couple of those mountains look so much like Oregon's Mt. Jefferson and South Sister that I started wondering if this is a hoax.

    Probably not, but the people all look strangely AMERICAN....

    Nah. It's probably all real.

    • by gblackwo (1087063)
      Well, It would be a bit more work to get the helicopter from the Kamchatka airline. It says right on the side of it: Kamchatka Airlines, in russian of course.
    • by dfm3 (830843)
      TFA, er, TFS says that some of the team members are American. At least one of them are from Georgia (the state, not the country).

      I didn't listen to the whole thing, but I imagine that much of the incentive for searching in Russia as opposed to within the US is that most of the thermal features in the states are located within national parks. With the NPS having been "ripped off" (their own language, not mine) over the Taq [wikipedia.org] enzyme (this New York Times article [nytimes.com] outlines the story), any of us wishing to do re

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