Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bug eats garbage and poops petroleum!

(Gimme some tasty, tasty garbage)
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It's like a headline outta Weekly World News, 'cept it's real. Scientists have fiddled with the nuts and bolts on some wee critters and a) gave them a taste for devouring our garbage, and b) now they excrete petroleum. OMG, I know.

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There's one, possibly huge downside- these bugs are GMO. They are altered at the genetic level, starting out their lives as non-pathogenic e. coli or yeast.

OK, here's another downside- does this mean that we'll just keep on using 19th century internal combustion engine technology with abandon? Think of our global industrialized food system. Its lifeblood is oil. Suddenly having a steady supply of the stuff means that we don't have the impetus to fix a broken system. This just props it up. And the only thing that makes people, organizations, businesses and governments change their ways is when there is suddenly no other choice.

10 comments:

Michaela said...

I have to say that I am intrigued by your website. I feel like I learn something new each time I read one of your posts.

ilex said...

Why thanks, Michaela ma'am. I'm here to help.

Garden Wise Guy said...

You're dead on about this "solution" being a solution. As long as we can hang onto the old technologies, the less likely we'll be to seek out newer, better ways. Thanks for the post.

Robbyn said...

This sounds ominous to me. Hacking into DNA is no answer, and I wonder what the impact will be in the long term when these bugs accidentally or deliberately find a way to breed with the existing natural species?

I think we're looking at potential plagues like we've never known, because once that happens there will be no way of controlling or eradicating it.

I know..call me a wet rag. I have to say it, though. To me, it's right up there with saying that the solution to world overpopulation is cannibalism. That's just how horrific hacking DNA is to me.

But I"m not opinionated, am I? ;-)

ilex said...

Wise Guy-- We need some of that newer and better, right now.

Yepper, Madam Robbyn, I hear you. Hacked bugs are definately not the answer, for myriad reasons. Though, canniablism *would* solve an awful lot of our problems...

Rabbits' Guy said...

Oh Crud ... just when I'm sort of getting used to how worms poop us good stuff and we should all have more of them, here comes the .."Ya, but .." But then, I'ld hate to have to house even enough of those bugs to just run my lawnmower ..

d. moll, l.ac. said...

But gosh, how does it know that what it is eating is garbage? I mean could a person or a rabbit seem like garbage and get eaten?

ilex said...

D. Moll, that's exactly right. Once that switch is flipped by GM techniques, there's really no telling what will happen.

plantainpatch said...

Wow just wow. Thank you for the information.

Melissa said...

Yeah, I have an over-active imagination and am envisioning some sci-fi scenario where, in the ultimate irony, all humans are devoured by these bugs we've created and are slowly, one by one, turned into oozing puddles of oil...