Science is cool!

This…is a real animal. It’s called a Tardigrade, and it’s a (barely) macroscopic animal about half a millimeter long. It has eight legs and can survive exposure to hard vacuum. It belongs to a sister phylum to arthropods, though these guys technically aren’t arthropods.

This particular image comes from The Scientist, where it’s a finalist in their annual science image contest.

The next time you’re watching Star Trek and you see a supposedly ‘alien’ species that’s really just a white 21st-century human with a wrinkly nose, think about the amazing diversity of body plans right here on Earth, and then think about how profoundly unlikely that would be.

32 thoughts on “Science is cool!

  1. There is nothing cooler than tardigrades. Except possibly jumping spiders (which have vision as keen as a cat’s and jump using a hydraulic system in their heads). Or onychophorans. Or anything from the Burgess Shale. Or.. oh, fuck it.

  2. There is nothing cooler than tardigrades. Except possibly jumping spiders (which have vision as keen as a cat’s and jump using a hydraulic system in their heads). Or onychophorans. Or anything from the Burgess Shale. Or.. oh, fuck it.

  3. when I first saw this photo, I thought, “now here’s a seamstress with an Etsy account and way too many notions to get rid of!”

    I still can’t wrap my brain around This Is An Animal, even a teeny tiney one…!

  4. when I first saw this photo, I thought, “now here’s a seamstress with an Etsy account and way too many notions to get rid of!”

    I still can’t wrap my brain around This Is An Animal, even a teeny tiney one…!

  5. I love Bob Kanefsky’s song on Roundworm, Mutant Generations, “a parody of Spiral Dance and a criticism of Star Trek. It’s unfortunate that two generations are growing up thinking that aliens will look like actors with bumpy foreheads and be cross-fertile with humans.”

  6. I love Bob Kanefsky’s song on Roundworm, Mutant Generations, “a parody of Spiral Dance and a criticism of Star Trek. It’s unfortunate that two generations are growing up thinking that aliens will look like actors with bumpy foreheads and be cross-fertile with humans.”

  7. Ideas as parasites

    I am a retired parasitologist, and I find your ideas very interesting. Taking what you said to the end point all ideas are parasitic in nature. The real problems will be how to seperate the good from the harmful, if that is possible. Since all ideas will have a negative impact on some in the population will we have to go to the philosphy of the greatest good for the most?

    I have some similar ideas, check out Musings of a former parasitologist and let’s discuss this further. I also found the book The LIfe and Death of the Bible interesting in the contect of religious memes.

    John

  8. Ideas as parasites

    I am a retired parasitologist, and I find your ideas very interesting. Taking what you said to the end point all ideas are parasitic in nature. The real problems will be how to seperate the good from the harmful, if that is possible. Since all ideas will have a negative impact on some in the population will we have to go to the philosphy of the greatest good for the most?

    I have some similar ideas, check out Musings of a former parasitologist and let’s discuss this further. I also found the book The LIfe and Death of the Bible interesting in the contect of religious memes.

    John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *