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Science Idle

Tiny Tentacled Microorganisms Named After Cthulu 54

First time accepted submitter mebates writes "Two newly discovered protists, found in the guts of termites, were named after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe. From the article: 'The single-cell protists, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque, help termites digest wood. The researchers decided to name them after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe. 'When we first saw them under the microscope they had this unique motion, it looked almost like an octopus swimming,' says UBC researcher Erick James, lead author of the paper describing the new protists, published in the online journal PLoS ONE.'"
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Tiny Tentacled Microorganisms Named After Cthulu

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04, 2013 @11:17PM (#43365459)

    That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even death may die.

  • by AnotherAnonymousUser ( 972204 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @02:15AM (#43366193)
    Of course, you can add a whole new layer of horror even to your iPad these days, it seems. []?
  • by bentcd ( 690786 ) <> on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:24AM (#43367315) Homepage

    I've often wondered if people of the modern age would be as affected by an encounter with these creatures as the people of grandfather's time.

    The underlying theme in the Lovecraft universe is that the Elder Gods not only seem incomprehensible but that they actually are incomprehensible. The more you study them and their nature, the more your own internal ordering of the universe will break down and in the end your understanding of the universe is so different from the observed universe the rest of us experience we will recognize you as insane.

    You cannot escape this simply by being used to weird things: The Elders Gods aren't just weird, they are completely wrong and yet they exist. Trying to reconcile this with the observed universe leads to madness because the two cannot be reconciled.

  • by Comrade Ogilvy ( 1719488 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @12:45PM (#43369487)

    Exactly. One of the implicit assumptions is that a healthy human mind is fundamentally incapable of understanding important fundamental truths about the universe. It is simply the limits of our biology.

    Those who attempt to transcend these limits become, at best, insane, or, if genuinely successful in pursuing this path, something inhuman in every pejorative sense of the word. To transcend human biology in this manner requires giving up every kind ethical idea the human mind understands, as a down payment.

    Getting used to the merely weird is ultimately no defense. The terrible things that really matter are inherently destructive to human minds. As a pedestrian example, no one really gets used to being in the thick of WWI trench warfare. Some adopt mental strategies and call on moral reserves that slows the rate of their decline, but decline is inexorable. Given enough time, everyone becomes a permanent mental basket case from trench warfare, some merely sooner than others.

    It is worth noting that the Great War weighed heavily on the minds of Lovecraft's generation of artists. For some, that war shattered the belief in the inevitable progress of the human race built on the foundation of Enlightenment. Perhaps the human race as moral creatures peaked in 1913, and the lessons of the war were pebbles in the oncoming avalanche of future horrors? That is the emotional playground Lovecraft danced in, when writing the Mythos tales.

Loose bits sink chips.