Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mars Attacks

NPR, that thing your tax money is financing, has a report that a giant virus may have come from Mars.

No, I'm not making this up.

Of course, it's a bunch of French scientists that say this.

Let me explain.

Scientists found some big ole virus they've named Pandoravirus. Like Pandora. The girl that opened the box, not the radio thing. Go Google her if you have to.

Some French fellow named Jean-Michel Claverie, who works or otherwise occupies space at Aix Marseille Université (it's French, too) discovered the virus, but says we're safe from it. It lives deep in water. And everyone knows that humans don't go near water. Maybe that's just French humans, though, which could be the source of the confusion.

Anyway, not only is this virus really really big (for a virus), but it's got some other properties that make them think it's not of this earth. At least, that the conclusion he and his wife, Chantal Abergel, came up with.
When Abergel and Claverie sequenced the genome of the new virus, they were in for a shock. Its genetic code is roughly twice the size of the record-holding Megavirus. And it seems almost completely unlike anything else on the planet. Only 6 percent of its genes resembled the genes other organisms. Claverie says he thinks the Pandoraviruses may come from a different origin – perhaps radically different.

"We believe that those new Pandoraviruses have emerged from a new ancestral cellular type that no longer exists," he says. That life could have even come from another planet, like Mars. "At this point we cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario," he says.
So, it's from Mars. At least, that's their conclusion because it's something they've never seen before.

I suppose if they had never seen a kitten, they'd think kittens are from Mars.

Anyway, I'm trying to decide if H.G. Wells got it backwards -- go read the book or watch the movie if this one goes over your head -- or if French scientists are nuts.

Probably both.


  1. So, their contention is: life that originates independently elsewere in the universe WILL have DNA indistinguishable from Earth-based organisms, but will differ in the fact that their DNA arranges itself into a lower percentage of genes that look familiar to us?

    Now, if they'd said the DNA was made up of four completely different nucleotides from the ones we have . . . .

  2. ... And they only compared the genes to the other organisms we know about. What about this statistic that they are endlessly telling us about?

    "The National Science Foundation’s “Tree of Life” project estimates that there could be anywhere from 5 million to 100 million species on the planet, but science has only identified about 2 million.

    “We’ve only touched the surface of understanding animal life,” said entomologist Brian Fisher of the California Academy of Sciences. “We’ve discovered just 10 percent of all living things on this planet.”


  3. You can't argue with them! They're scientists! White coats and everything!! They practice Science!

  4. I forgot. The Pandora thing came from outer space. The science is settled, and I was being a flat-Earther!

  5. 100 million species? Seems to be a bit too many. Can we exterminate a few for the sake of simplicity?

  6. This sounds like a story I read one time called "The Jesus Virus." A virus comes from Mars and makes people want to give blood, thereby spreading itself. People start believing the impulse to give blood means that they're benevolent so they start behaving, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, hence the name of the story. Once the virus has spread to humanity it lowers our resistance to a second virus from Mars which comes to Earth, wipes out humanity and eats our kittens.

  7. DNA is so radically complex that chances are it would not originate more than once during the history of the Universe. Any extra-terrestrial life form would probably just be a recoding of the same basic structure.

  8. You used the term 'French humans'. hasn't that been proven an oxymoron?

  9. We need to keep an eye on these scientists. Since they are French, it is only a matter of time before they try to make cheese out of this new virus.

  10. I think they named it pandoravirus in honor of the world of Avatar which, as we all know, is just Pocahontas Reloaded

    ( )

    I think this means the virus came from Disney Studios.

  11. I'm of the Uninformed Opinion [seeing as how I was not there, while they were 'discovering' this virus]

    that not-unlike many Grade B science-fiction stories, the virus has taken over their bodies and minds,

    and it's 'just playing' with us.

    Seeing what-is and is-not possible. Unfortunately, It picked French People to use as test-subjects.

    This narrows the impact of their experiment by geometric proportions, but how were they to know?

    We all look alike to them, more than likely. Like a crowd at A Korean Airport would look to me.

    I suggest Icelanders or Swedes. The girls are much better-looking and less-hairy, besides.

  12. Dig that zero-gravity hair style! Tres chic!

  13. Virus from Mars eh? I guess it's time to break out the Slim Whitman music.

  14. Women Are From Venus, Viruses Are From Mars.

  15. As a Whovian, a water soluble viruses from Mars makes me nerous.

  16. Everyone knows the French government created the Pandoraviruse as a means of genocide against African Frenchmen!

    ...that's what they're called there...right?


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