Thursday, June 2, 2011

Worms from Hell

There was an article in the paper today that caught my eye. It was titled They’re ‘worms from hell’ – or close to it. Personally, I think all worms, and really anything creepy and crawly are from hell, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what the writer had in mind with this title. (Technically, I believe editors are in charge of titles, but does it really matter?) I decided to investigate further, which translates to “I’m actually going to read the article.”

It seems that scientists have found “complex, multi-celled creatures living a mile and more below the planet’s surface” in South Africa and have subsequently named them “worms from hell.” So, THAT’S where hell is located! In my mind, that would really be a more significant discovery.

I have to admit, I’m not terribly “scientific” by nature. Sure, there are plenty of scientific types of things that fascinate me, but I suffered through an entire year of Spanish in college just so I could get a B.A. instead of a B.S. and avoid any more science classes than were absolutely necessary to graduate. The fact that there even are scientists looking for “life” below the surface of the earth just baffles my brain. Do our tax dollars go towards paying for this?

Apparently, the fact that there is “life” below the surface of the earth is BIG NEWS! If I understood the article correctly (and it’s entirely possible, I didn’t), here is why finding these worms, or nematodes, as they are referred to, is important. It seems that if complex beings can be found so far below the earth’s surface, in an environment that was formally deemed uninhabitable, it has “important implications for extraterrestrial research, or astrobiology.” What? We’re looking for proof that E.T. really could exist? Borgonie (one of the scientists) said “that if life did originate on Mars and if it had sufficient time to go underground deep enough to survive worsening conditions” (atmospheric changes and harmful radiation) “then evolution of Martian life might have continued underground.”

In other words, there may well indeed be an entire underworld of Martians out there somewhere. Come on, people! Seriously? Maybe I’m missing something but how does this affect me? Wait, that could be construed as selfish; allow me to rephrase. How does that affect anyone? Are they thinking that we’ll all move underground when conditions on this planet get too dangerous? Or, is the concern that the Martians may someday emerge from their underground world and invade the Earth? Someone, please help me understand why we’re spending money on this when people are dying from starvation all over the world; real people, people we can actually see!

Like I said, I’m not the scientific type, and perhaps all of this research is going to benefit us someday, but right now it seems to me to be the stuff written about in science fiction novels. Who knows though, maybe they’ll find the cure for cancer digging around down in “hell.” I doubt it, but I guess it’s possible. Personally, I think that if they’re really that close to hell, I want to stay away; far, far away!

1 comment:

Kandy Stevens said...

Oh my dear friend - you would have much writing material if you attended a scientific conference with me. Nematodes are just the beginning! But as for hell, I agree with you. I'm not interested. But astrobiology, that's a whole other story!