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Science

Alaskan Village's Orange Goo Was Fungal Spores 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-how-the-zombie-apocalypse-starts dept.
olsmeister writes "In a follow-up to a report that was mentioned on Slashdot a week ago, the NOAA has determined that the orange 'goo' that washed up on the beaches at the remote Alaska village of Kivalina was not eggs of crustaceans, but rather spores from a fungus that creates rust on plants. It is not known whether the fungus is harmful to humans or not."
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Alaskan Village's Orange Goo Was Fungal Spores

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  • burst pipe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jnpcl (1929302)

    Orange goo? I wonder if it makes you run faster...

    Now you're thinking with fungals!

  • It is not known whether the fungus is harmful to humans or not.

    Well, there's really only one way to find out. Some unlucky volunteer needs to scoop some up and put it on a cracker. Orange, glow-in-the-dark caviar will be quite the novelty if their guinea pig does OK ;-)

    • If you eat it, it will turn you into a pirate. It was dropped by the flying spaghetti monster. It's trying to fix global warming.

  • What about the mysterious hydrocarbon odor wafting through San Diego lately?

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/aug/19/tests-odiferous-air-come-negative/ [signonsandiego.com]

    The scary thing is that it took so long for them to analyze it, and they still don't know what it is. It's hard to believe there isn't a system in place for rapidly identifying airborne contaminants.

    • by egamma (572162)

      What about the mysterious hydrocarbon odor wafting through San Diego lately?

      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/aug/19/tests-odiferous-air-come-negative/ [signonsandiego.com]

      The scary thing is that it took so long for them to analyze it, and they still don't know what it is. It's hard to believe there isn't a system in place for rapidly identifying airborne contaminants.

      The science goes where the money is--identifying the most dangerous things first, like radiation, anthrax, and 'in soviet russia' jokes.

    • Sheesh... You burn one hamburger on your barbeque, and the whole neighborhood complains. Damn vegetarians.

      • I guess it's time to go to the Boll Weevil and get a hamburger and a pitcher. Then try again when the Chargers play at home.
  • Just go to the doctor and he'll give you some cream for it.

  • Hey if we're lucky, its going to kick off the zombie apocalypse.
  • I am very relieved to find out it wasn't a skull-boring, brain-eating crustacean.
    • I am very relieved to find out it wasn't a skull-boring, brain-eating crustacean.

      What happens if I tell you it's a skull-boring, brain eating fungus?

      Does that make you feel any better?

  • You would think that given how much the US government spends on homeland security and protection against bio/chem threats, they would be able to analyze this faster. Then again, remote Alaskan villages are probably the last place any terrorist would think of to attack.
    • You would think that given how much the US government spends on homeland security and protection against bio/chem threats, they would be able to analyze this faster. Then again, remote Alaskan villages are probably the last place any terrorist would think of to attack.

      If it is an unknown fungus, it will take some time to figure out it's phylogeny. Probably the most direct method would be DNA sequencing. This can be done fairly quickly but interpreting the data might take some time.

      Since it's unlikely to be a terrorist attack for the reasons you mention, the biggest problem may well be figuring out who should pay for it.

    • If I were a terrorist/rival nation/supervillain testing a killer super fungus, I would test it in an area where the impact would be noticeable but the reaction would be slow. Once preliminary tests are finished you can adjust for larger/more effective deployment. Just saying.

  • logistically, the easiest explanation is a cargo ship container carrying grain contaminated with a rust fungus, gone overboard and ruptured open, spreading the resulting gooey goodness before port inspectors could go "blech" in person. note that I'm not saying it went overboard accidentally, although it would be hard to implement without a dock loader-- it's a lot easier to write off a container "lost" at sea than "contents consumed by fungus"
    • by 3vi1 (544505)

      Or, it's an ancient superfungus that had been locked in an iceshelf after killing all life on the planet hundreds of millions of years ago... set free by global warming.

      Whichever.

  • LSD come from a "rust" on grain? Hmmmm.....

  • Better watch out for those mindworms.

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