[Paleopsych] re: bacterial engineering and our future in space

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Sat Nov 26 23:52:34 UTC 2005

Re: [Paleopsych] re: bacterial engineering and our future in spaceOne of
those guys, but I can't remember either.
Whichever one he was, he also did a lot of acid.

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Jill Andresevic [mailto:andresevic at earthlink.net]
  Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 9:29 AM
  To: Steve Hovland; The new improved paleopsych list;
isaacsonj at hotmail.com; eshel at tamar.tau.ac.il
  Cc: jz at bigbangtango.net; sjlee at howardbloom.net; kblozie at yahoo.com;
idigdarwin at yahoo.com; BobKrone at aol.com; ohbeeb at yahoo.com
  Subject: Re: [Paleopsych] re: bacterial engineering and our future in

  Steve / Howard, I read that Watson or Crick (not sure which one) wrote
about DNA being sent to Earth on a spaceship, because his theory was Earth
could not create life, therefore life had to brought here from another place
(interesting how this is not something well known, if indeed it is true).
This also could connect to the fact that a pig and a chicken and a human
embryo all look very much the same early in embryonic development, since I
am speculating that there was one form of DNA that then evolved into
different life forms.  I am not a professional scientist like most of you (I
am guessing), just a fan of Howard’s.  Curious as to what you think of this,
if anything.  Jill

  From: "Steve Hovland" <shovland at mindspring.com>
  Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 06:52:45 -0800
  To: "The new improved paleopsych list" <paleopsych at paleopsych.org>,
<isaacsonj at hotmail.com>, <eshel at tamar.tau.ac.il>
  Cc: <jz at bigbangtango.net>, <sjlee at howardbloom.net>, <kblozie at yahoo.com>,
"Jill Andresevic" <andresevic at earthlink.net>, <idigdarwin at yahoo.com>,
<BobKrone at aol.com>, <ohbeeb at yahoo.com>
  Subject: RE: [Paleopsych] re: bacterial engineering and our future in

  Some people think our DNA came here from space
  encapsulated in bacteria...


    -----Original Message-----
    From:  paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org
[mailto:paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org]On Behalf Of  HowlBloom at aol.com
    Sent: Friday, November 25, 2005 8:50  PM
    To: isaacsonj at hotmail.com; eshel at tamar.tau.ac.il
    Cc:  paleopsych at paleopsych.org; jz at bigbangtango.net;
sjlee at howardbloom.net;  kblozie at yahoo.com; Jill Andresevic;
idigdarwin at yahoo.com; BobKrone at aol.com;  ohbeeb at yahoo.com
    Subject: [Paleopsych] re: bacterial engineering and  our future in space

    Joel--The article you sent, the one below, is not only  amazing.  It
dovetails with a piece of poetry I wrote as a treatment for  a short film in

    As usual, the poem was inspired immensely by my interchanges with
Eshel.  Take a look:

    Could  swarms of robo-microbes

    Made by  humans and biology

    The  techno teams

    That  come from dreams

    The wet  dreams of technology

    Could  cyborg microbes by the trillions

    Launched  as space communities

    Explore  the dark beyond our skies

    Thrive  on starlight, climb and dive

    through  wormholes and through nebulae?

    Could  they re-landscape Einstein’s space

    And  tame time with phrenology?

    Could  they ride herd

    on mass  stampedes

    of  x-rays and raw energy

    corralling  flares spat by black holes

    at the  cores of galaxies?

    Could  genes retooled

    In  swarms of cells

    Become  our new conquistadors?

    Could  they explore

    Galactic  shores

    And  synapse reports

    To our  brains?

    From  global thinking

    Could  we go

    To  cosmos-hopping megaminds

    One  small step for E. coli

    A giant  step for human kind?

    The  article:

    Retrieved November 25,  2005, from the World Wide Web
nnlx=1132979630-umqKos8HcAa3U8FsuKGPrQ&pagewanted=print   ------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------  November 24,
2005 Live From the Lab, a Culture Worth a  Thousand Words  By ANDREW POLLACK
Your portrait in a petri dish? Scientists have created living photographs
made of bacteria,  genetically engineering the microbes so that a thin sheet
of them growing in a  dish can capture and display an image. Bacteria are
not about to replace  conventional photography because it takes at least two
hours to produce a  single image. But the feat shows the  potential of an
emerging field called synthetic biology, which involves  designing living
cellular machines much as electrical engineers might design a  circuit.
"We're actually applying principles from engineering into  designing cells,"
said Christopher A. Voigt, assistant professor of  pharmaceutical chemistry
at the University of California, San Francisco, and a  leader of the
photography project, which is described in a paper being  published today in
the journal Nature. One team of synthetic biologists is  already trying to
engineer bacteria to produce a malaria drug that is now  derived from a tree
and is in short supply. And J. Craig Venter, who led one  team that
unraveled the human DNA sequence, has said he now wants to  synthesize
microbes to produce hydrogen for energy. The technology could  also be used
to create new pathogens or synthesize known ones. So far,  however, most
synthetic biology accomplishments have been like the bacterial  film -
somewhat bizarre demonstrations of things that can easily be done with
electronics. Synthetic biologists  have, for instance, made the  biological
equivalent of an oscillator, getting cells to blink on and off.  To make the
bacterial film, common E.  coli bacteria were given genes that cause a black
pigment to be produced only  when the bacteria are in the dark. The camera,
developed at the  University of Texas, Austin, is a temperature-controlled
box in  which bacteria grow, with a hole in the top to let in light. An
image on a  black-and-white 35-millimeter slide is projected through the
hole onto a sheet  of the microbes. Dark parts of the slide block the light
from hitting the  bacteria, turning those parts of the sheet black. The
parts exposed to light  remain the yellowish color of the growth medium. The
result is a permanent,  somewhat eerie, black-and-yellowish picture.

    Scientists involved in the project said  they envisioned being able to
use light to direct bacteria to manufacture  substances on exquisitely small
scales. "It kind of gives us the ability to  control single biological cells
in a population," said Jeffrey J. Tabor, a  graduate student in molecular
biology at  Texas. Scientists, of course, have been adding  foreign genes to
cells for three decades, and the distinction between  synthetic biology and
more conventional genetic engineering is not always  clear. Proponents of
synthetic biology say genetic engineering so far has  mainly involved
transferring a single gene from one organism into another. The  human
insulin gene, for instance, is put into bacteria, which then produce the
hormone.  Each project, they say,  requires a lot of experimentation, in
contrast to true engineering, like building a  microchip or a house, which
uses standardized parts and has a fairly  predictable outcome. "We haven't
been able to transform it into a  discipline where you can simply and
predictably engineer biological systems,"  said Drew Endy, an assistant
professor  of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology.  "It means the complexity of things we can make and can afford
to make are  quite limited." Professor Endy and  colleagues at M.I.T. have
created a catalog of biological components, which  they call BioBricks,
which are sequences of DNA that can perform  particular functions like
turning on a gene. Still, since cells differ  from one another and are
extremely complex, it is open to question how  predictable biological
engineering can ever be.  M.I.T. has also begun holding a  competition for
college students to design "genetically engineered machines."  The bacterial
camera was an entrant in 2004 and was made in part using  BioBricks. Mr.
Tabor said the idea for bacterial photography came from Zachary  Booth
Simpson, a digital artist who has been learning about biology at the
university. By chance, the  Texas team learned that  Professor Voigt in San
Francisco  and one of his graduate students, Anselm Levskaya, had already
developed a  bacterial light sensor. So the two groups teamed up. The E.
coli bacterium was  chosen because it is easy for genetic engineers to work
with. But since E. coli live in the human gut, they  cannot sense light. Mr.
Voigt and Mr. Levskaya put in a gene used by  photosynthetic algae to
respond to light. The bacteria were also given genes  to make them produce
an enzyme that would react with a chemical added to the  growth medium. When
that reaction occurs, a black precipitate is produced.  The scientists
created sort of a chain reaction inside the bacteria. When  the bacteria are
in the dark, the enzyme is produced, turning the medium  black. When the
bacteria are exposed to light, production of the enzyme is  shut off.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company Home Privacy Policy Search
Corrections XML Help Contact Us Work for Us Site Map Back to Top

  Howard Bloom
  Author of The Lucifer  Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces
of History and Global  Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang
to the 21st  Century
  Recent Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York
University; Core Faculty Member, The Graduate  Institute
  Founder:  International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member:
Epic of  Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project;
founder: The Big  Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of
Sciences, American  Association for the Advancement of Science, American
Psychological Society,  Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior and
Evolution Society,  International Society for Human Ethology; advisory board
member: Institute for  Accelerating Change ; executive editor -- New
Paradigm book series.
  For  information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see:
  for two chapters from
  The Lucifer Principle: A  Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of
History, see  www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
  For information on Global Brain: The Evolution  of Mass Mind from the Big
Bang to the 21st Century, see  www.howardbloom.net

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