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Scrambled Eggs

Posted by Rick · December 25th, 2005 · No Comments

CBS News made an interesting, if little noticed, announcement almost two weeks ago:

Add another creation to the strange scientific menagerie where animal species are being mixed together in ever more exotic combinations.

Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. “Mice Born With Human Brain Cells” (December 13, 2005) CBS News.

Scientists were stunned when the first such mouse apparently squealed, “Pull out of Iraq now!” and “Tookie lives!” before barracading itself inside its cage and demanding 20 lbs of cheese and a small cat.

When are we going to learn? How many sci-fi movies have to be made demonstrating the danger of messing with nature before we get it?

In all seriousness, I’m concerned with this sort of genetic tinkering. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that one of these days, we’re going to get ourselves into trouble. Nature, after all, has had millions of years to experiment with and establish species. Normally nature does a pretty good job.

But there has been that one Grand Mistake. The human brain.

After all, look at what the human brain has done so far. For millions of years, nature had established a fairly decent homeostaic system. Species came and went, but the earth remained overwhelmingly habitable. Then along came the human brain and suddenly there is pollution and all kinds of new attacks on the environment — not to mention a population growing more out of control than any other virus thus far produced. Other species have been decimated at a pace unseen since one or more meteors supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs. Heck, we can’t even play nice with others of our own species!

Now we go injecting it — human brain cells — into mice.

Years ago, another of my infamous “story ideas that will never be published” — unless “the Whistleblower” shows up here and steals the idea — came to me after reading about Japan’s proposed 20-year project to create computers out of paramecia. In that story two spaceships circle a large planet that looks like it would support life. Immediately, the crew of the ships realize that the planet once did support life. There is evidence of an advanced civilization on the planet — but no advanced civilization. There are no signs of life at all.

The captain of the lead ship sends down a crew. Sure enough, they report back, the planet is devoid of life. But there are remnants of cities, highways — they even apparently were capable of space travel! And yet, the planet appears to be abandoned.

Quite a bit of data is collected. Physical objects are recovered. The junior ship is charged with returning to home base with the specimens and data so that their home scientists can begin to analyze and understand the planet and perhaps find a clue as to what happened to its inhabitants. The main ship will stay behind and continue to investigate.

A day or two after the secondary ship has headed back towards its home planet, the crew of the ship left behind discovers what happened to the strange, abandoned planet called “Earth.”

Only, by then, it’s too late to intercept the ship which is now returning to its planet, carrying the descendants of the Pentagon’s paramecia — paramecia which had either been designed — or had somehow learned by itself how — to disguise itself so that its targets would not be able to detect it.

Categories: Science


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