The Thursday Blog: Orange You Glad You Don’t Eat Fish Edition

Last week the far flung eskimo village of Kivalina was surprised to discover the surface of their tiny bay was covered over with a bright orange film, as well as buckets and barrels the population had set out to collect rainwater. The film could be scooped up and formed a kind of oily goo, which scared residents into thinking that the unknown substance might have been some sort of petroleum by-product spill.

When removed from the water, the… stuff dried out and left a fine orange powder behind. The Coast Guard pretty immediately ruled out any kind of petrochemical leaks or spillage, but still had no idea what it was, thinking it may represent some as-yet-unknown form of algae. The state advised residents to boil all of their water before drinking or bathing in it, and fears that whatever it was, the bright orange goop probably wasn’t all that good for you caused considerable stress amongst the villagers.

Someone in town had the notion to send a sample of Orange to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Juneau. They were able to determine that the goop was… were eggs, billions and billions of teensy-tinsy microscopic eggs, each of which contained an even teensier-tinsier drop of orange lipid. What they were less certain of was exactly what these were the eggs of. There seemed to be some consensus that the eggs most resembled some type of crustacean, but then the discussion backed up a bit when no one could decide whether they were looking at actual eggs, or embryos. (I’m not certain myself of the distinction they were drawing between the two, so please don’t ask me!)

Now anyone who is a student of alien invasion strategies can tell you that one tactic many aliens will use is to seed Earth with dominant varieties of life from their own planet, which serves to begin reverse-terraforming our world and to create upheaval and chaos in the ranks of those who might resist their future alien overlords. It’s a proven winner, and the NOAA absolutely did not find that the eggs (or whatever) were not alien in origin. This is practically the same as saying that aliens are planting space-crabs in our water to take over our brains and turn us all into mindless, slavering, killing machines.

It’s an alien-space-crab-zombie-ghoul apocalypse. Time to gas up the chainsaw.

42 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Orange You Glad You Don’t Eat Fish Edition

      • Well, this game is most commonly called DoomRL but I expect that not everyone who visits your website knows what a roguelike is or would be fully interested in playing one if they knew. So therefore I give the acronym-expanded version of the name.
        For the uninitiated: Roguelikes are one of the oldest styles of video game, which date back to people running old UNIX servers. In them you (generally) control one character in a combat/strategy type game shown in a grid where items and characters are limited to being in specific grid spaces. The earliest examples, and many roguelike games to this day show everything as text characters. Other examples get a set of replacement graphics that either optionally, or by default, substitutes the “@” and letters and such with graphical tiles instead. (DoomRL gives you the option.) Generally action in the game proceeds only when the player does something, making them very strategic type games. Years ago when DoomRL was new it used to be the best introductions to roguelike games because of how simple it was, and it mostly still is despite having gotten more complicated with achievements, skill-trees and unique items since then.

  1. Furthermore, why can’t they just keep a few eggs in a bowl and see what hatches? It may not but be quick, but it should work.

  2. Nice find Kev! Same thing happened with the red rain over India a few years ago. Actually it’s very plausible that alien life would spread as spores on asteroids looking for a hospitable planet. When they find one that already has life like ours, they can’t compete with us and after a brief infection they die out. I figure this happens all the time. You want another? The Venus Flytrap has no relatives, and is native only to a swamp in New Jersey that is actually a meteor crater. Plus just look at the damn thing. Then there’s this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp

  3. You guys do know that the annual Meteor shower is happening currently, as in right now.
    http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors

    I wonder what part of that population have digested the goo when they learned they were eggs? alien-space-crab-zombie-ghoul apocalypse is going to happen!

    Not too smart targeting Alaska though, population there are too easily contained.

  4. The difference between an egg and an embryo is, the egg (either unfertilized or fertilized) is still a single cell, while the embryo is the next stage, after the cell has started to internally divide into a 2-, 4-, 8-, 16-, 32-cell stadium and so on, during which time the conglomerate itself does not grow yet but simply divides into ever smaller cells, up to a certain ratio of chromosomes to cytoplasm mass. Such an embryo is called a morula, which looks a lot like a mulberry or exactly like the glowy ball at the end of the cylindrical whale probe in Star Trek IV.

    For the next stages in embroygenesis, the morula starts forms a hollow in the center, like a hollow ball, and is now called a blastula. The blastula grows and forms grooves, as the number of cells increases and differentiates.

    • I’m impressed. Not many people could answer that question in more depth than I could off the top of my head, but there you go.

      (I always forget the morula stage, and my explanation would’ve been along the lines of “… until it becomes a blastula…”)

      Anyway, yeah. Good job!

      • Thanks. I actually had to look up the other stages: morula, blastula, gastrula, neurula, pharyngula. (I keep forgetting the gastrulation stage). Here’s a good description of the pharyngula stage embryo:
        http://zfin.org/zf_info/zfbook/stages/phar.html
        Of course, this concerns VERTEBRATE embryos (fishes, reptiles, batrachians, mammals, birds, etc).

        I’m not an expert on crustacean embryological development… if those were indeed crustacean eggs. All those larvae (i.e. of crustaceans, starfish, cephalopods) that make up a lot of the zooplankton in the oceans can have very weird forms, distinctively different from the adult animal.

        The orange glob would be yolk, most likely.