FUTZING WITH BIOLOGY
This whole website cannot be only about physics!
1. CUTTING-EDGE BIOLOGY: NANOBACTERIANanobacteria: what under heaven ARE they?
WIRED: are nanobacteria making us ill?
U. Queensland novel nano-organisms
ABC news new life forms & Mars debate
Microbe size limits workshop 2000
Nanobes in sandstone
Google search: nanobacteria, also spelled nannobacteria
Google Scholar: nanobacteria
BOOK: Dark Life (excellent!)
BOOK: The Calcium Bomb, also see the website
BOOK: The Deep Hot Biosphere by Thomas Gold
Musings on the nanobacteria controversy...
2. IS RUST AN INFECTION?
For years I have had suspicions about rust. Is it a form of biological decay? Why do polished steel plates rust in spots, like a disease, instead of attacking the whole plate uniformly? Also, apparently nobody is certain why stainless steel won't rust. Non-rusting steel was an accidental discovery. Also, "iron loving bacteria" are a major problem for industry since they attack the inside of pipes and cause rapid underwater rusting. Are we certain that everyday corrosion isn't similar? There are even bacteria which attack the extremely radioactive material in spent fuel rods stored under distilled water at nuke plants. (Distilled water, no food for normal bacteria.) And... why does water/humidity figure so largely in the rusting of iron and steel? If it was simple oxidation, would the oxidation not take place just as quickly in dry environments?
Maybe rust is a biological "infection" which can be killed by the appropriate bactericide. (New product idea, hint hint.) One scientist on the fringe says that aluminum corrosion is caused by deep earth cave nanobacteria in the water supply, and if aluminum is immersed in genuinely sterile water, it will never develop any white corrosion. Add a bit of city tap water to the mix, and the corrosion starts immediately.Here's an even weirder idea: electrochemistry. Back in the 70's there was an article in Popular Science about a company which had found that if you submerge a large iron frame in the ocean and then connect it to a DC power supply, over a span of months it grows a thick calcium layer. But years later it turned out that this was not chemistry. Instead the e-field (or the ions?) attracted coral polyps to the steel frame, and the calcium was just a fast-growing coral reef. WHAT IF THERE IS A NANOBACTERIAL ANALOGY? If we connect underground metal objects to a power supply we can cause rapid corrosion of at least one electrode, and if we reverse the connections we can halt the corrosion (called "cathodic protection.") This process is electrochemical, or so everyone has always assumed. But what if it's akin to coral-reef growth? What if cathodic protection is less of chemistry and more of bug repellant? :)
And this leads to the real weirdness. It's well known that some bacteria prefer a sulfuric acid environment with pH the same as that in automobile batteries. (Sulfuric acid doesn't necessarily sterilize things.) And the entire function of car batteries is based on the chemistry of corrosion. What if... what if batteries are biological? What if ALL batteries are biological? One would think that it's easy to disprove this conjecture: just sterilize your batteries and see if they stop working. But as I discussed in an entry above, "sterile" has a new meaning if the environment is contaminated by organisms which aren't hurt by 350C temperatures, low pH, or extreme gamma ray flux, and which cannot be seen except with 2nd-generation electron microscopes. It's possible that nobody has ever succeeded in sterilizing a dry cell. Or if they did this accidentally, and the dry cell went dead, (heh. went dead.) they'd just assume that it had developed an internal short, and discard it.
If the science called chemistry is based on brainstorming, with experiments acting as the post-brainstorming "idea triage," then the above is a silly idea to be tested: that bacteria participate in the electrochemistry of the metal/electrolyte interface, perhaps they even metabolize protons or even somehow use the electrical energy present where potential gradients and electric currents exist, and if we truely sterilize everyday batteries, the batteries will function very differently than normal, and perhaps even "go dead" entirely. And this idea might also apply to electroplating, aluminum anodizing, etc. If nano-scale chemosynthetic bacteria are contaminating all we do, and if they affect electrochemical processes, then all known electrochemical devices might have a biological component: a biological component which is unsuspected because it is always present and is almost impossible to "sterilize."
Is there any way for amateurs to test such crazy ideas? Here's a possible method. A few years back I was playing with fluid visualization "Kalliroscopes'": bottles of fluid with suspended aluminum powder. Usually these are made with kerosene or mineral oil, but I wanted to try water. I found that after a few days my opaque "aluminum fluid" would turn transparent. The end result was water without even a milky tinge! Obviously the aluminum dust was oxidizing rapidly. I bet I could measure this happening hour by hour if I cooked the aluminum/water mixture on a stirring hotplate while monitoring its optical density with a beam of light.
In this way I could quickly measure the decay rate of the bulk metal, and measure the varying rate at various temperatures. That would be the control experiment. What would happen if I used distilled water, and I sterilized the aluminum powder? I could de-grease the powder then soak it in several different strong bio-poisons (sodium azide, etc.), or perhaps cook it at 500C. Sterilize the enclosure too, of course. Would the suspended metal powder decay away at the same rate as before? If not, then this shows that organisms perhaps play a role. And if the decay of suspended powder lets me measure biological action, it would let me identify the best bio-poisons, as well as developing "sterile technique" when dealing with corrosion bacteria. I could bake the aluminum powder at various high temperatures and find out which thresholds of temperature slowed or killed off the organisms. By contaminating a sterile culture with various innoculants, I could rapidly test food, blood, etc., for presence of corrosion organisms. I could experiment with other metal powders (make a test for iron-eaters, palladium eaters, etc.) Heh. Will damp steel wool in a glass ampoule of oxygen survive for years with no rust if we can successfully sterilize it? And will "cold fusion" experiments fail when there are no element-fusing microbes present in tiny hotspots on the electrode surfaces?
3. EVOLUTION EXPLAINS FINGERNAILS-ON-BLACKBOARD?
Perhaps that horrible sound is a type of "pesudo-pain." It's designed to stop baby animals from destroying their teeth by chewing on rocks. See essay.
4. GILLIGAN'S ISLAND BIOTECH
If civilization was wiped out, one field of science that's easy to re-start is microbiology. A fabric salesman in 1600's Holland did this. Melt a bit of glass, stretch it to form a short fiber, snap it off, then melt the end of the fiber in your flame. It forms a spherical droplet; a high-power microscope objective lens! Contrary to popular opinion, a microscope objective needs no eyepiece, and it can be used by simply holding it within a few millimeters of your eye. Contrary to popular opinion, van Leeuwenhoek's microscopes were not toys, instead they ranged in power up to 1200x. The secret to these was to mount the spherical lens in an opaque plate to block all light except that which goes through the lens, and to place a small orfice over the lens to reduce the blur caused by spherical aberration.
5. GARLIC MYSTERY
Stainless steel totally wipes out garlic odor. But how can the effect of the steel get to the volume of the garlic oil that's soaked into your skin?! Or even the part that's trapped inside the fluid boundary layer against your skin? Yet apparently it works instantly. This is impossible. WEIRD! If your hands are covered with garlic, just rub them briefly on a stainless steel kitchen sink. The odor vanishes. How can this even happen. I'm confused...
6. NEVER SHOWER AGAIN?
Armpit stench is caused by bacteria. If you could sterilize
your body, you'd have no odor. Also, a hobbyist
group recently discovered that your clothing is an essential part of
the under-arm ecosystem. (No doubt the bacteria evolved to live on
armpit hair, so shirt-armpits are a close enough match for them.) If you
know this important role of clothing, then it's not hard to wipe out your
armpit odor for a
couple of weeks. (You can even STOP BATHING for a couple of weeks, and
adult armpit stench won't return!) THE SECRET: Tiny bits of chlorox
bleach will kill
scent-causing body bacteria in clothes, and "Michum" antiperspirant will
sterilize your armpits. I've done this myself numerous times:
sometimes it lasts a couple of weeks, but five days is more
Under normal circumstances, daily showers have little effect on body odor, even if you use bacteracidal soap, since your armpits are immediately re-infected by your clothing. But why aren't the bacteria in your shirts killed by laundry soap? And more importantly, why aren't they killed by near-boiling temperatures in a hot clothes dryer? They obviously aren't. Experiments show that you can't disinfect your shirts by normal washing; you need a weak bleach solution. Also, why do the bacteria in your clothes leave white insoluable buildup on the underarms of black t-shirts? Maybe they are deep-earth cave-building thermophiles; "nanobacteria" as discussed in the recent book Dark Life. If not, at least you can make your towels smell new. All their weird scents are caused by bacteria, so just add 1/4 to 1/3 cup chlorine bleach to wash water before adding clothes. Mix it well before putting in the clothes so it won't cause streaks of bleaching. This also preserves your wash-load if you forget to put it in the dryer afer a couple of days. With sterilized but wet towels, there's no more of that rotting-dishcloth odor!
7. NOSE NERVES SENSE NEARBY ATOMS?
About my idea that electron resonance explains certain biological forces: Luca Turin has a similar theory but fully worked out. See the book "The Emperor of Scent." But his theory isn't about attraction between macromolecules, instead he only explains how human smell works. "Only!" Biological "electron spectrography" lets your nerve endings detect nearby molecules. They don't have to plug into receptor sites (how could we have receptor sites for all possible scents? The structure-based theories of smell just don't make sense.)
8. HOW CAN SINGLE CELLS BE SMART LIVELY ANIMALS?
Get a cheap
microscope and some paramecia from a long-lasting mud puddle. Watch their
antics. They nose around in the detrius looking for food. They seem to
display the low-level intelligence of insects, brine shrimp, or even a
mouse or hamster. Yet they have no nervous system! What the hell. How
can they do what they do?
Something at the subcellular level must take the place of fast-acting
muscles ...and something else must serve as a nerve network which lets the
blob of protoplasm function like an "animal." Where is Paramecium's
brain? Could it be a nano-mechanical protein computer? What if living
things figured out how to make distributed Quantum Computer networks from
proteins, or perhaps from arrays of single metal ions suspended in the
center of proteins?
I think microbiologists are misled by considering Amoebae as the
conceptual prototype for a single cell rather than Paramecium. An oozing
blob of jelly is one thing. A fast moving propellor-driven animal which
acts like a mouse is something entirely different, and needs
9. INCANDESCENT CHICKEN
Crazy stuff: Kervran says that if you sprout some seeds inside a sealed glass tube and then reduce the sample to ash and analyze it, the element makeup is different than ash from a similar seed not sprouted. Not chemical makeup, ELEMENTS. The plant seems to make new atomic nuclei which were not there before. LENR/CANR. Cold fusion in other words. Does this really work? An amateur with a flame-spectrograph should be able to find the extra emission lines of elements which weren't there before. If seeds do it, then all biology probably does also. But if we all create non-radioactive nuclear reactions, where does the released energy go? Yes, this is definitely "alchemy" so maybe it belongs in the Weird Science section.
10. INCANDESCENT BACTERIA
Get ready, because here's
some more far-fringe speculation. Years ago on Vortex-L forum we were
discussing the well-known spontaneous combustion which takes place in
mulch piles. Now bacterial heating is fairly well understood... but what
when the heat goes up to several hundred degrees C and chars the leaf
By analogy with yeast and alcohol, (where alcohol kills the yeast
when beer/wine is created,) what if we discovered that our wine was
developing huge alcohol levels? What if it made brandy? We'd assume that
a yeast group had learned to
alcohol concentrations, yet still produce more. So, whenever we observe
some bacterial heating that sets fire to the mulch, one (creepy)
conclusion is that some bacteria types exist which continue to
produce metabolic heat output even
when the temperatures rise to enormous values; temperatures above
boiling, above charring, and up into actual flames. (Or maybe it's just
die early, and their leftover chemicals continue to react. But this
idea's not as much fun! And besides ...WHICH chemicals?)
So, just how hot can
bacteria survive? Hot-spring bacteria are found in "Black Smoker" deep
ocean vents, perhaps surviving even the 700F temperatures measured in the
700F is well above the 500F combustion threshold for paper. Of course
environment is still wet, since the pressure of miles-deep ocean
keeps any steam (and
flames) from existing. But still, maybe there are bacteria that could
live at glowing-charcoal temperatures in our surface environment if they
somehow enclose themselves to produce enormous pressures to avoid
having all their water evaporate. (Some nanobacteria are known to
enclose themselves in solid calcite shells. They grow as a wet stone
crust. They're also thought
to be high-temperature 'hyperthermophiles.' Hmmm. Things are looking
suspicious-er and suspicious-er!)
And continuing this craziness: if 700F can't kill certain
hyperthermophiles... just how high a temperature CAN they survive? Do
still keep putting out metabolic heat even if their thermal output MELTS
THE ROCK? Jeeze, what if all volcanoes are biological; with all volcanoes
bacterial decay, via those deep-earth hyperthermophiles. Arg! Bacterial
evolution plus volcanoes equals
Panspermia is astronomer Fred Hoyle's idea that
bacteria can survive trips between solar systems (perhaps hitching rides
on comets), so it means that life initially evolved somewhere else, and
arose through planet-to-planet contamination. Well, if volcanoes are
all biological, and if molten lava and ash-clouds contain
hyperthermophiles, then... then...
volcanoes are like dandelion puffs! Or akin to the high velocity seeds
launched by Witch Hazel plants: volcanoes are
perhaps intentionally triggered by the deep bacterial colonies in
order to get the
bacteria-containing ash microparticles up to the border
of space. Volcanoes as exploding puffballs sending out spore clouds.
Volcano-producing bacteria would be "selected for," since any
hyperthermophiles which DIDN'T go into overdrive and produce deep lava
pools would be unable to populate distant solar systems! The
Galaxy-infectors can only infect galaxies if they trigger planets to build
volcano ash-clouds. And also, we'd
be fortunate that these bacteria didn't decide to all fire off at once,
producing continent-wide lava pools. Well, huh. Exactly this did happen
millions of years back in
Along similar lines I recently had an interesting conversation with
Peter Davenport of ufocenter.com
about the cold-fusion company "Blacklight Power". That
company is based on the (currently fringe) idea that Hydrogen's ground
state is actually metastable, and Hydrogen has another stable energy
level below the currently recognized ground state. If hydrogen can be
triggered to fall to the lower level, it emits an energetic photon.
Also, it becomes "shrunken hydrogen" or
smaller than any atom (closer to being a Neutron than to being a nucleus
with an electron cloud.) Mr. Davenport wonders if anyone has seen the
implications for cosmology: the Dark Matter in the universe could all be
shrunken hydrogen. He also points out that if normal hydrogen could be
the thermal output could cause weird fires (such as the infamous
"Spontaneous Human Combustion.") But his idea put me on a roll: if
hydrinos are real,
then wouldn't Life have discovered them long ago, and harnessed them as
an energy source? (Similar idea is: if "cold fusion" is real, wouldn't
Life be using it as an energy source?) Of course the energy output of
bio-catalyzed hydrino production might be too much for biomolecules to
Life also doesn't harness the x-rays or high-energy nuclear fragments
resulting from uranium fission as far as we know.) But suppose there are
hydrogen-eating bacteria which excrete hydrinos and harness ultraviolet
photons? We'd recognize them because they could put out immense thermal
energy while apparently consuming no fuel. If a human body became
infected... they could cause charring! Maybe they're even a natural
component of humans, which would explain the Yogi claims where some
people can survive for years without eating.
But wouldn't these bacteria put out dangerous ultraviolet light?
Ohhhhhh boy, someone already reported exactly this effect. Decades ago,
Wilhelm Reich, the psychologist who got involved with "Orgone" life energy
and "Orgone Box" therapy, reportedly cultured a strange organism. This
organism caused eye irritation and gave sun-tans to anyone who worked with
those petri dishes. Those organisms were odd: they were much smaller than
known bacteria, they glowed blue... and they were extreme
hyperthermophiles bred in autoclave ovens. Reich dubbed these organisms "
reportedly obtained the organisms by reducing dry grass to ash in an oven,
or by heating beach sand incandescently hot. If extreme-hyperthermophile
"blacklight power" bacteria occur widely in nature, then this could
explain Reich's results. And the results seem so simple to repeat;
highschool students could probably make some "Hard-UV emitting" bacterial
cultures for their School Science Fair.
Another thing these chemistry-loving bacteria might do is form underground metal deposits. What if all goldmines are bacterial? Maybe with the right combination of temp and pressure we could make a gold mine in a thick-walled tank. Just feed in seawater slowly, and the entire insides turn crusty with gold.