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Australia Earth Science

Australian Scientists Discover 'Oldest Living Thing On Earth' 172

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-dad's-television dept.
New submitter offsafely writes "Scientists in Australia have discovered the oldest living life-form to date: a small patch of Ancient Seagrass, dated through DNA sequencing at 200,000 years old." Says the linked article: "This is far older than the current known oldest species, a Tasmanian plant that is believed to be 43,000 years old." What I want to know is, How does it taste?
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Australian Scientists Discover 'Oldest Living Thing On Earth'

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  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by irussel (78667) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:52PM (#38955483)

    And here i was thinking they were talking about Joan Rivers...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:53PM (#38955507)

    the seagrass has been able to reach such old age because it can reproduce asexually and generate clones of itself. Organisms that can only reproduce sexually are inevitably lost at each generation, he added.

    So actual news story is that Australian scientists have decided that a clone of an organism is the same organism, although they are not the same organism.

    On a less snarky note, the article says it's the oldest living species. Which is a completely different story.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      TY, you beat me to it.

      It's almost like saying I'm 80,000 years old because I inherited a gene from a Neanderthal.

      • by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:10PM (#38955769)
        I'm sure you wife will think that explains it all.
      • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:15PM (#38955861) Homepage Journal

        No, it's like saying you're 80,000 years old because a Neanderthal with the amazing ability to grow back both halves when cut up like a sea star/starfish has left you behind.

        But don't take the Telegraph article too seriously: they couldn't even get the species name correct. (There's an 'a' on the end that's missing.) Here's the journal article in PLoS ONE [plosone.org].

        • by flyingsquid (813711) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @02:38PM (#38957317)
          There's pretty much no way these colonies can be 200,000 years old. During the last ice age, 15,000 years ago, the sea level was about 400 feet lower. That means that during the Ice Age, these seagrass meadows would have been on dry land, and you'd have regular old grass, not seagrass. There were literally Neanderthals and wooly rhinoceros walking around on this terrain. I was curious how the authors could possibly have missed this; it turns out they didn't; the Australian news article just does a bad job of summarizing the research.

          From the PLOS article:

          The scenario of a km-range spread achieved exclusively through clonal growth requires that the clones reach a minimum age of about 12,500 years. Applying the same estimates to the genets shared between the two pairs of meadows, located 7 km apart between Formentera and Ibiza and 15 km apart around a cape in Formentera (Fig. 3), yields a minimum age estimate between 80,000 and 200,000 years, projecting the origin of the clones well into the late Pleistocene. Although there is no biologically compelling reason to exclude this possibility, we consider it to be an unlikely scenario because local sea level changes during the last ice age (from 80,000 to 10,000 years) would place these sampling locations on land (the sea was 100 metres below its present level).

          Anyway, it just drives home the point- if you really want to understand the issue, go back to the source material, not the media summary that was done on a tight deadline. It raises a question though- if seagrass really grows that slowly, how do you get these vast colonies? One possibility is storms. Since seagrasses are in nearshore environments, that means that storms can tear them up; currents can then pick up and move the plants, perhaps for miles. Every once in a while, some of those uprooted plants might luckily get transplanted into a hospitable habitat down current, and you can get a single colony rapidly spreading out over a huge area. Effectively, the plant could seed itself without actually using seeds.

          • ...Except that by the virtue of being able to grow shoots in the correct direction, the patch of grass can 'move' in such a way to remain alive.

            • by Genda (560240)

              On that note... Here is a 12,000 year old creosote bush [ourwindowonnature.com], and its the same plant. So, though it may not be the oldest lawn in the world, it is probably the oldest single life form (with perhaps the exception of certain ancient bacteria which might be virtually immortal.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This argument holds no water. Your cells replace almost completely every few years, does that make you a different organism than before?

  • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:53PM (#38955511)

    Just to be clear, the actual plant isn't nearly that old. The original plant that started the cloning process was 200,000 years old.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      So are they the same plant or not? If a clone has a mutation or a transcription error is it really the same plant? Or did they have no transcription errors?

      • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:21PM (#38955963) Homepage Journal
        Transcription errors are inevitable in small quantities, but in general plant clones are considered one organism. Since we humans don't (except in severe obesity) generally grow by spreading around, it's hard for us to understand sometimes exactly what's going on here, but what happened is that the plant just kept putting down more roots and foliage, gradually covering a large area of the ocean floor. Then, chunks died off. It's not like it's some kind of sporing or budding process; except due to accident, the parts of a huge plant like this are always connected. Wikipedia's being unresponsive right now, but the largest trees and fungi in the world work the same way—and since their roots are buried way down underneath so much soil, we're not sure if they're still connected or not.
        • by TheCarp (96830)

          Hmmm all true, i can't disagree.... I think in terms of organism though, I would call them a separate organism if the connection is servered. Otherwise, its all just one plant. A single fungus can kill both parts if its connected, a single bacteria. The parts can share nutes or signaling hormones...one plant.

          Once its severed, and each part lives or dies of its own accord. then.... separate organisms.

          So... all the Navel orange trees, despite being clones, are their own organism. However, a forest of bamboo..

          • This colony is believed to have clonal members hundreds of kilometres across. Makes it difficult to figure out exactly how divided up they are... and also makes you wonder if we should even bother drawing the distinction.
            • by TheCarp (96830)

              Well.... I think we should draw the distinction when it matters, and not when it doesn't. In the end labels are just labels. If application of a specific label does't male sense, or there isn't enough information to apply it, then don't.

              However, when the distinction matters, and when there is enough information to make it....thats where I would tend to draw the lines.

        • by cusco (717999)
          I guess I haven't been paying attention. The last I knew there was a 20,000 year old fungus in the Upper Peninsual of Michigan that was supposed to be the oldest single organism. Didn't realize that they were now counting plant clones as being the same as the original plant.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Okay I can see that if they grow by runners. I was thinking they produced seeds asexually too make "clones". If somehow the roots or runners where cut then do they become two individuals? If so then does that mean that for some plants the distinction is just mechanical in nature and not genetic? I would also assume that they would tend to evolve more slowly than other organisms since their only mechanisms for change are transcription errors in the cloning process.
          Sorry if my questions seem a bit dim. Out of

          • Nah, you're spot on. Plants are indeed ridiculously complicated and slow at doing things. We estimate most higher plants have about four to five times the number of genes that humans do, and we still have very little idea about why they might decide to just grow instead of reproducing sexually, but it may be due to a malfunction (vaguely equivalent to a tumour that causes you to grow an entire copy of yourself sticking out of your left arm, recursively.) Because plants are so good at recovering themselves w

  • by omganton (2554342) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:54PM (#38955529)
    This "scientific discovery" directly conflicts with my belief that the entire universe is only 6000 years old.
    • by mr1911 (1942298) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:08PM (#38955737)
      The only reasonable conclusion is that scientists are heretics and must all be killed.
    • by na1led (1030470)
      Time has been speeding up since 6000 years ago. The earth used to go around the sun once every million years.
      • by clausiam (609879)
        Blasphemy - Earth going around the Sun. It's the other way around you heretic. Earth is the Center afterall!
        • Yeah, and besides, heliocentrism is racist because it promotes the European "ideas" of Copernicus over the venerable African wisdom of Ptolemy!

    • Mother nature called. She said that was very quaint and reminded humanity as a civilization that it would not be getting any dinner for the next five hundred years unless it smartened up, bathed, and cleaned its room, and stopped making excuses about imaginary friends that live in the sky.
      • by jittles (1613415)

        Mother nature called. She said that was very quaint and reminded humanity as a civilization that it would not be getting any dinner for the next five hundred years unless it smartened up, bathed, and cleaned its room, and stopped making excuses about imaginary friends that live in the sky.

        --
        I am a biologist. Ask me questions in my journal. I'll give car/computer analogies if possible!

        That didn't sound like a car analogy to me...

        • Borrow the car?! Borrow the car?! How about cleaning your room, young man? You can't receive guests, much less alien civilizations, in a mess like this!
      • by dwye (1127395)

        Mother nature called. . . , and stopped making excuses about imaginary friends that live in the sky.

        As opposed to imaginary friends that run nature (and complain about certain margarine brands, as I recall)?

        This is Ford complaining about the propriety of GM producing Corvettes that can reach double the maximum speed limit, and announcing that they will be reintroducing the Shelby GT, in the same announcement (to give the required car analogy).

    • by cupantae (1304123)

      If someone says something is >6,000 years old, you should take that to mean, "God gave it an apparent age of X-6000 years at creation".

      • by Creepy (93888)

        The Jehovah's Witnesses I met said any object allegedly over 6000(ish) years is a trick of Lucifer's to lead you from faith.

        I laughed at them then (also their maths - a generation is exactly 20 years?!), and then again a few years later when the world didn't unexpectedly end like they predicted on the day they predicted. I've never quite figured out why Satan is so enamored with this world, since all the angels were granted God's power (and if Satan thinks it is too difficult to make his own world, faking r

    • Don't worry. They didn't say it was 200,000 years old. They said according to their measurements it appeared to be 200,000 years old. Once they get past a certain date, they don't have any documentation of how old something is and they are simply relying on one set of measurements to confirm another set of measurements.

      I'm sure they did their best and were very very careful, but in the end the measurements are still based on assumptions that have no empirical proof. I'm not saying they are wrong, I'm

      • by cusco (717999)
        That theoretical foundation that you have to just accept seems to be fairly solid, in that it's the very same theoretical foundation that they build integrated circuits, nuclear bombs and particle accellerators on. Religion on the other hand is resting on fact-free foundation of faith which is frequently in direct contradiction with actual scientificly established fact. Whoops, I'm late for church, better go so that I don't get sent to hell.
        • by bolthole (122186)

          Religion on the other hand is resting on fact-free foundation of faith

          Incorrect. More on this lower down.

          frequently in direct contradiction with actual scientificly established fact.

          The funny thing about "scientifically established fact", is that it is all so often proved wrong. There are plenty of "scientific facts" held to be fact 100 years ago, that are now scoffed at. But of course, THIS year, is the year that science knows EVERYTHING, right? that's good to know. I guess the scientific future is very boring, since everything is now known, and 100% correct. Excellent.

          Decent religions are based on fact. Yes, facts that conflict with "science". T

    • Could we put this one to rest, maybe?

      Seriously, I can't recall the last time I heard a religious person make the claim. It's 100% sarcastic atheists. It's getting to be the airline food joke of the geekverse.

  • It might be the same genetic organism as from 200,000 years ago but is any part of that single organism alive today actually that old? Or are we just talking 200K years since its DNA was last involved in sexual reproduction?

    • Or are we just talking 200K years since its DNA was last involved in sexual reproduction?

      Oh, that reminds me! My wedding anniversary is coming up soon...

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      That's a good point, but you know, if some human's body managed to survive 200,000 years by regenerating all of its cells in a configuration that allow it to remain almost unchanged in appearance and function over that time period, you might well consider that human to be 200,000 years old, even though not one atom of the human is the same as that of their body when they were in their first century of life.

      If we define an individual as a process instead of as a static object, you can come up with different

  • Endangered? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kungfugleek (1314949) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:57PM (#38955595)
    FTA:

    But Prof Duarte said that while the seagrass is one of the world's most resilient organisms, it has begun to decline due to coastal development and global warming. "If climate change continues, the outlook for this species is very bad," he said.

    But if it's 200k years old, hasn't it already survived some serious climate change?

    • by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:03PM (#38955685)

      Much as I tend to agree with the global warming consensus , that particular type of sentence does unfortunately have a habit of appearing in a lot of enviromental/biological pieces these days. It seems to be almost a standard issue cut and paste warning that [insert species here] will be affected by climate change unless we DoSomethingNow(tm). And in so doing devalues any serious debate.

      • It's actually addressed meaningfully in the journal article [plosone.org]. I won't quote the section at you since that would be spam, I've already done it, and I'm just compulsively replying to people because people being wrong on the Internet is clearly the noblest cause ever, but there you go: it is, in fact, the rate of change in environmental conditions, not merely that it's occurring.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          A guy is driving down the highway at 100 MPH. He's told that a sudden stop at this speed will kill him. "Nonsense," he says. "My speed has been 0 MPH before, and I didn't die then."

        • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @02:26PM (#38957107)

          it is, in fact, the rate of change in environmental conditions, not merely that it's occurring.

          Which would be weird, given the rate of current change is rather modest compared to the Dansgaard–Oeschger events and other natural climate fluxuations over the past 200K years, particularly in the Mediterranean basin.

          Don't get me wrong: I'm (mildly) skeptical about AGW (I'm a computational physicist and a great deal of climate modelling is done by climatologists who are decidedly not computational physicists) but this running about in panic in response to the issue du jour is just sad. Not everything is caused by or related to the global climate change, and it really does cheapen the debate and coarsen the public's response to events when Every Single Thing is immediately related to (and blamed on) climate change.

          I'd think it far more likely that any trouble this species is in is due to the profound ecological changes in the Mediterranean in the past century due to pollution and over-harvesting of fish and whatnot, but where's the sexy big-issue "society is to blame" in that?

          • Well, there's this [nih.gov]. Which, I think, shuts down the entire conversation on its own empirical basis even if we don't understand why, but it doesn't let me make my favourite point ever about anthropogenic threats to the ecosystem: the Mediterranean is a lot dirtier than it was during the last D–O event. It seems to me not that the hilariously tragic loss in biological diversity of the next century will not be on our shoulders merely because we turned up the thermostat, but because we pumped in noxious fu
    • It's not the temperature, it's the rate.

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        There has been at least one, and possibly a few supervolcanic eruptions in 200,000 years. The sharp climate change rate due to those would have made current global warming trends look like statistical noise in comparison.

        That's not to say that humans can't affect species in specific ways all their own, but that requires the "standard climate disaster" warning to be modified to make that clear or some skeptics will start to have a point about the lack of rigor in statements coming from some scientists.

    • by mr1911 (1942298) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:09PM (#38955765)

      But if it's 200k years old, hasn't it already survived some serious climate change?

      That was different. We're talking about man made climate change, which is obviously much worse and must be stopped.

      • In a sense, correct. Human-induced climate change threatens to happen far faster than natural climate change, over a period of decades or centuries rather than tens of millenia. That type of sudden shift doesn't occur naturally short of a globally significent event like a supervolcano eruption.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ArcherB (796902)

          In a sense, correct. Human-induced climate change threatens to happen far faster than natural climate change, over a period of decades or centuries rather than tens of millenia. That type of sudden shift doesn't occur naturally short of a globally significent event like a supervolcano eruption.

          So have there been any supervolcano [wikipedia.org] eruptions in the past 200,000 years that should have killed this plant off?

          I'm not trying to debate the merits of global warming here. I'm just agreeing with the ancestors of this post who say that trying to pull the global warming debate into every single things is BS.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          There have been far faster climate changes over the course of the past 200,000 years than the current man-made one. Some by as much as a 10 degrees average swing in just a few years.
      • It says the following in the journal article [plosone.org]:

        Nevertheless, even though such phenotypic plasticity possibly evolved across millennia, it may well be challenged by the unprecedented rate of environmental change imposed by current global climate change [55], including temperature increase and ocean acidification, and recent anthropogenic pressure on coastal areas resulting in changes in water quality, eutrophication, and nutrient load, particularly in seagrass meadows [56].

        Please spend the rest of the day in silent introspection.

        • by mr1911 (1942298)
          Ahhh yes, silent introspection of scholarly works citing hypothesis and speculation. I stand in awe in the shadow of your scientific prowess.
          • One: citation 55 is a study [nih.gov] demonstrating that actual sea grasses have been disappearing at an accelerating rate. Please don't make claims without doing basic research.

            Two: scientific hypotheses and speculation are generally built from plausible extrapolations from available data. Please don't pretend that we know so little about the universe that we can't predict basic elements of the near future of a closed system. You're insulting thousands of years of work in mathematics and science with your shamanism.

            • by mr1911 (1942298)

              demonstrating that actual sea grasses have been disappearing at an accelerating rate.

              Great. No argument with that fact the amount of sea grass is changing. No argument that the climate is changing. These are measurable facts without debate. The causal links and speculation to what correction should be made is the question.

              But as is common with any challenge to the religion of global warming, the questioner is labeled a "denier", sometimes presented with circumstantial proof, and insulted.

              Science that cannot tolerate to be questioned is not science.

              • Your line of reasoning seems familiar somehow [youtube.com]. Please, present evidence as to why this science needs to be held to the unusually rigorous standards you propose when Occam's razor has done its job just fine for absolutely everything else. And while you're at it, please tell us who first introduced you to the idea that anthropogenic global warming isn't real, so that I can inform you which oil company paid them to say that.
        • Please spend the rest of the day in silent introspection.

          I forwarded this to my boss. He didn't buy it. :-(

    • by cusco (717999)
      Yes, but previous changes took centuries and millenia, not decades. Species, even asexual ones like this, can adapt to slow change fairly well. Rapid change is generally catastrophic.
      • There's been plenty of dramatic short term changes too, like the Little Ice Age. Climate change, over the history of the Earth, happens at all manner of timescales - it's not the smooth(ish) sinusoidal wave many mistakenly view it as. Study this graph [wikipedia.org], which shows just the last two millenia for multiple examples.

        • by cusco (717999)
          Look at the post just above mine. The temperature is NOT the only thing that's changing. This thing is getting hit with a dozen major changes to its lifestyle simultaneously, and all of them are proceeding at a pace far above the normal rate of change. These changes are also long-duration ones, not short-term crisies that can be waited out like a volcano eruption or El Nino.
          • Look at the post just above mine. The temperature is NOT the only thing that's changing.

            I didn't claim it was. I merely pointed that your claim that changes only took place on a scale of centuries to millenia was false.

            These changes are also long-duration ones, not short-term crisies that can be waited out like a volcano eruption or El Nino.

            Were I talking about a short term crisis, you'd have a point. I should also point out, these are not sentient organisms that can choose to wait out a crisis -

      • by radtea (464814)

        Yes, but previous changes took centuries and millenia, not decades

        Really?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dansgaard%E2%80%93Oeschger_event [wikipedia.org]

        "In the Northern Hemisphere, they take the form of rapid warming episodes, typically in a matter of decades, each followed by gradual cooling over a longer period. For example, about 11,500 years ago, averaged annual temperatures on the Greenland icepack warmed by around 8 C over 40 years, in three steps of five years (see,[2] Stewart, chapter 13), where a 5 C change over 30-40 years is more common."

        Please stop spreading nonsense. There ar

    • by munch117 (214551)

      But if it's 200k years old, hasn't it already survived some serious climate change?

      Sure it has. And every time it's been like playing russian roulette with 5 live rounds, and most of its peers have been wiped out. And now there's only this little patch left, and we're putting 5 rounds in the chamber once again. It may be particularly resilient, but it may as well just have been lucky.

    • by wfolta (603698)

      Tsk, tsk, you simply do not get more funding for biological research now-a-days unless you mention that climate change is going to kill the species you're studying... *unless*, of course, you are given funds to study it in more detail.

  • by koan (80826)

    First lets get this out of the way "Obligatory Dick Clark comment"

    These plants haven't been cloning perfectly for 200,000 years, there is drift and errors in cloning too.

    • by vlm (69642)

      First lets get this out of the way "Obligatory Dick Clark comment"

      These plants haven't been cloning perfectly for 200,000 years, there is drift and errors in cloning too.

      So is that why a billion year old amoeba supposedly doesn't count?

      • First lets get this out of the way "Obligatory Dick Clark comment"

        These plants haven't been cloning perfectly for 200,000 years, there is drift and errors in cloning too.

        So is that why a billion year old amoeba supposedly doesn't count?

        More importantly, when did Dick Clark jokes become obligatory around here?

    • Newsflash: clones are never perfect anyway. The thing is, they've been physically attached this entire time. A plant 'clonally reproducing' is nothing more than one organism putting up a bunch of completely redundant backups. It may or may not partially die off due to an accident, but the thing is that it's a single network that's been fragmented by the passage of time, not an organism deliberately reproducing. Since the distinction where one organism ends and the next begins is a made up human one, you pro

      • by radtea (464814)

        Since the distinction where one organism ends and the next begins is a made up human one, you probably shouldn't waste your time trying to figure it all out.

        So exactly the same as every other distinction, then?

        All edges are imposed on the world by human attention, and nothing else. Consider the distinction between "land" and "water". In some contexts we simply treat the edge between them as ideal. In other contexts we introduce other concepts: beach, littoral, intertidal zone, and so on. But when you get close to it you notice that the edge is both constantly fluctuating and "soft": the "land" is always a bit wet. Where land ends and water begins is a mad

  • species != organism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:00PM (#38955631) Homepage Journal

    Saying "older than the oldest known species" is silly, since we can be pretty sure from both fossil and genomic evidence that modern humans have been around for about 200k years, and we're a pretty young species. "The current known oldest organism" would have been better.

    OTOH ... think about this for a moment. This plant came into existence around the time the first true humans were born. For all of human history, both the few thousand years of which we have records and the much longer span of which we don't, it's just been sitting there under the sea in its little patch of ocean, doing its thing. That's pretty damn cool.

  • The Australian government found a terrorist threat in an ancient patch of seagrass. In a statement to the media the Secretary of Defense stated: "We do not know where this seagrass comes from, it has no official documentation. It is not a recodnised form of sentient life so we eradicated it." The seagrass was promptly dispatched by pouring 30,000 barrels of crude oil over it supplied by Haliburton.
  • Let's smoke it!
  • Has a flavor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bughunter (10093) <bughunter@noSPaM.earthlink.net> on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:07PM (#38955729) Journal

    How does it taste?

    Well, if nothing's eaten it in 200ky, then it must taste pretty crappy.

    • Re:Has a flavor (Score:5, Informative)

      by F34nor (321515) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:32PM (#38956157)

      http://ctext.org/zhuangzi/tree-on-the-mountain [ctext.org]

      Zhuangzi was walking on a mountain, when he saw a great tree with huge branches and luxuriant foliage. A wood-cutter was resting by its side, but he would not touch it, and, when asked the reason, said, that it was of no use for anything, Zhuangzi then said to his disciples, 'This tree, because its wood is good for nothing, will succeed in living out its natural term of years.' Having left the mountain, the Master lodged in the house of an old friend, who was glad to see him, and ordered his waiting-lad to kill a goose and boil it. The lad said, 'One of our geese can cackle, and the other cannot - which of them shall I kill?' The host said, 'Kill the one that cannot cackle.'

      Next day, his disciples asked Zhuangzi, saying, 'Yesterday the tree on the mountain (you said) would live out its years because of the uselessness of its wood, and now our host's goose has died because of its want of power (to cackle) - which of these conditions, Master, would you prefer to be in?' Zhuangzi laughed and said, '(If I said that) I would prefer to be in a position between being fit to be useful and wanting that fitness, that would seem to be the right position, but it would not be so, for it would not put me beyond being involved in trouble; whereas one who takes his seat on the Dao and its Attributes, and there finds his ease and enjoyment, is not exposed to such a contingency. He is above the reach both of praise and of detraction; now he (mounts aloft) like a dragon, now he (keeps beneath) like a snake; he is transformed with the (changing) character of the time, and is not willing to addict himself to any one thing; now in a high position and now in a low, he is in harmony with all his surroundings; he enjoys himself at ease with the Author of all things; he treats things as things, and is not a thing to them: where is his liability to be involved in trouble? This was the method of Shen Nong and Huang-Di. As to those who occupy themselves with the qualities of things, and with the teaching and practice of the human relations, it is not so with them. Union brings on separation; success, overthrow; sharp corners, the use of the file; honour, critical remarks; active exertion, failure; wisdom, scheming; inferiority, being despised: where is the possibility of unchangeableness in any of these conditions? Remember this, my disciples. Let your abode be here - in the Dao and its Attributes.'

      My translation?

      "If you want to live to be 200,000 years old, don't be anyone's bitch."

  • That's some pretty big error bars you're rocking there.

    Just the same stunt as carbon daters have been pulling for years: keep sending in samples until the lab either gives get a range that agrees with the thesis you've already written or book that you're trying to sell, or you run out of funding.

  • Like Chicken?

  • As it has no nose at all!

  • 100+ posts and no "John McCain" jokes?

    I don't know whether to be proud of slashdot, heartbroken, or depressed that my sense of humor is 4 years out of date.

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