Thursday, May 20, 2010


Synthia: Grim harbinger of mankind's eventual enslavement at the hands of malevolent zombie clones.

From Telegraph UK: "Dr. Craig Venter, a multi-millionaire pioneer in genetics, and his team have managed to make a completely new "synthetic" life form from a mix of chemicals.
They manufactured a new chromosome from artificial DNA in a test tube, then transferred it into an empty cell and watched it multiply – the very definition of being alive. The man-made single cell "creature", which is a modified version of one of the simplest bacteria on earth, proves that the technology works. Dr Venter believes the organism, nicknamed Synthia, will pave the way for more complex creatures that can transform environmental waste into clean fuel, vaccinate against disease and soak up pollution.

Left: Dr. Venter's muse -- "one of the simplest bacteria on earth" -- the provocatively-named Mycoplasma genitalium.

Synthia (ie Mycoplasma laboratorium) represents a new era in which life originates not in the womb but in a petri dish. Bioethicists (is this actually a job title?) are already up in arms, claiming that Venter and his team are "playing God" and that their discovery signals the doom of humanity.
As encouraging as this suggestion is, I find it to be a tad alarmist. Not to disparage the decade of blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention $40 million) that Dr. Venter and his team put in to their creation, but to me, this whole story just doesn't carry the weight most media outlets are suggesting. "Craig Venter is God"? Not so much.
Allow me to present the official Illogical Contraption headline for this one:


Seriously, man. How did those fucking things work?

They were miraculous little bastards, if I remember correctly. You bought what was essentially a packet of sawdust for a buck or two, dumped it into a fishbowl, and next thing you know: BAM! Life where there previously was none! They even built castles and wore crowns and rode around on seahorses and shit (I think). Modern science can get fucked. And so can you, Dr. Venter. 10 years and 40 million dollars? Shit, I did the same thing when I was five years old for $1.50 and postage. Posers. Psh.

Above: Dr. Venter poses with two of his terrifying mutant abominations. The horror!


Aylmer said...

Sounds like the bio-tech in Rudy Rucker's "Ware" series. And Sea Monkeys = Auschwitz for brine shrimp.

Anonymous said...

Fuckin' magnets, man. Am I right?

Jenna said...

Pretty scary news for me. Hopefully this will do more good than bad for the human race. By the way, this medical administration company might interest and help you in some ways. More power!