Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"So we took apart a rat and rebuilt it as a jellyfish"

That is literally how the radio interview I was listening to just began. A bioengineering prof at Harvard has created a jellyfish that is, by all genetic accounts and purposes, a rat. It's called 'reverse engineering', and they have plans to try to attempt the same thing on stingrays, octopii, ect. Can you imagine how confused this  animal-thing would be, and how odd and surreal you would feel creating it in a lab setting? You would feel like Dr. Frankenstein, albeit with access to shinier, more sterile operating tools.

I'm at home right now, waiting for the shoulder to mend. I walked up a mountain two days ago and shared my lunch with a curious Grey Jay and my dog. Today I went to the local graveyard and walked around the tombstones and recognized all the local names and felt appropriately discombobulated for the setting. A week ago, I went to the National Energy Board hearing on Enbridge and listened to several moving speeches. Many Aboriginal elders, on shaky legs and wearing headdresses beaded in bright colours for them by their daughters and granddaughters, unfurled large genealogical charts and watershed maps. The room smelled like moosehide, and more than one person was in tears.

The photo above is of realgar, an arsenic compound. I didn't take the picture myself; it's available online. Realgar is jet-pink, with orange streaks; when exposed to light and air, it dissolves slowly into a dust called orpiment. This will streak your hands and boots and clothing with crayon-bright colour; it becomes an easy thing, to forget the more poisonous properties of realgar.

Hopefully, my shoulder assessment will be positive on Thursday, and I can do various horrible, destructive things to my shoulder brace and return to work.

I don't want to head back to school, man, and return to grey skies. It's been preying on my mind.

A man in Utah was spotted gamboling around on a cliff, dressed in a goat costume, surrounded by a herd of the real thing. It was assumed that he was eccentric and crazy, but he turned out to just be a hunter making sure that his outfit didn't scare off the animals during hunting season.


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