Spammed in blood

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Spammed in blood
Looking at Peter Watts' great blog, I found this little post http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=1719 where he talks about putting messages into genomes. Something we are already doing, of course. Not just for research, information storage or to add copyrights (Craig Venter's team apparently put their email addresses in a genome), but for art too. His quote from his book State of Grace is worth reproducing:
Quote:
“…pure tissue was so hard to come by these days. There was always something that didn’t belong. Viral DNA, engineered for the greater good but too indiscriminate to stay on target. Special marker genes, designed to make animals glow in the dark when exposed to some toxin the EPA had lost interest in twenty years before. Even DNA computers, custom-built for a specific task and then tramped carelessly into wild genotypes like muddy footprints on a pristine floor. Not to mention the fact that half the technical data on the planet was being stored genetically these days, and that stuff was always getting loose. Try sequencing a lung fluke and it was even money whether the base-pairs you read would code for protein or the technical specs on the Denver sewer system.”
In EP things are likely just as bad. Morph genomes are of course screened, but who can keep track of all those little genetic subroutines - they are as messy as any operating system. So you may find a port of POSIX running on a small DNA-kernel in ever cell, quietly updating a system clock starting at January 1 1970 for no purpose... and accidentally with a write access to the nuclear genome if you can phrase your biohack as a UNIX system call. All those anti-virus viruses desperate biohackers spread around habitats during the Fall still remain around, slightly mutated but trying to spread immune patches against bioweapons that are entirely forgotten. Sometimes they annoy immune systems to become diseases in their own right. And those loveable space roaches? Their symbiotic blattabacteria have been tweaked far too many times to do useful things like break down diamondoids (oops, now the roaches have begun gnawing at our nanoswarms!), signal the presence of neurotoxins (why are all the roaches *blinking* yellow and black?) or spread plasmids containing corporate adverts (Let's see what this gene does... threonine-histamine-glutamic acid-proline... "THE POWER OF DREAMS HONDA GENETICS" Damn.) Let's not even get started on viral advertising.
Extropian
Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
Quote:
In EP things are likely just as bad.
You might want to conduct a raid on those seed vaults on Earth to contain pure samples. Or those cryonic crypts with Disney. Perhaps there are also remains of some dead astronauts from before the Fall on Mars or Luna during early space age in XXI century? Pure samples of DNA could be worth something in EP.
[I]Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.[/i]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
Extrasolar Angel wrote:
Pure samples of DNA could be worth something in EP.
Definitely. Sure, there are many sequenced genomes around. But a lot of important stuff didn't get sequenced because people didn't think it was necessary - soil is tremendously complex, an entire ecosystem of microorganisms, but rather few soil samples survived the Fall and the standard sequenced soils are not that good. Similarly the Fall lost us a lot of rare mutations and alleles that existed in human and animal populations. I am reminded of the raids for human DNA the robots do in Stross' "Saturn's Children". "You know why people paid so much for that Leonardo? It was not the artwork, despite its looks and pedigree. It was the fact that it had accumulated centuries of high-class grime containing many noble cells. The back of the painting is a genetic treasure trove, filled with patentable information."
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
root@Spammed in blood [hr]
Arenamontanus wrote:
And those loveable space roaches? Their symbiotic blattabacteria have been tweaked far too many times to do useful things like break down diamondoids (oops, now the roaches have begun gnawing at our nanoswarms!), signal the presence of neurotoxins (why are all the roaches *blinking* yellow and black?) or spread plasmids containing corporate adverts (Let's see what this gene does... threonine-histamine-glutamic acid-proline... "THE POWER OF DREAMS HONDA GENETICS" Damn.).
Awww. They are just the cutest things, aren't they? Sure, they might be carrying a nanohive programmed to make a medvat in the walls of your habitat that pours forth Exhuman predators, but when they twitch their little antennae? So adorable!
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pablofiasco pablofiasco's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
Extrasolar Angel wrote:
Perhaps there are also remains of some dead astronauts from before the Fall on Mars or Luna during early space age in XXI century?
hmmm...you know, if i recall there are a few dead russian cosmonauts floating about.... ...agents, i belive i have a mission for you.....

"the hunt is not complete until the targets heart is pulled from its chest and eaten" -hunter

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
I now have mental visions of a multi-armed, hovering synthmorph, menacing the Jovian Republic with its insistent demands for genetic samples.
The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
root wrote:
Awww. They are just the cutest things, aren't they? Sure, they might be carrying a nanohive programmed to make a medvat in the walls of your habitat that pours forth Exhuman predators, but when they twitch their little antennae? So adorable!
Two roaches, two microgravity coffee mugs. Call the strain 'unicorn chaser'. ... Hmmm.... that might be a viable game addition, actually. Madagascar hissing cockroaches bioengineered to serve as pets, possibly with some rodent traits thrown in to alter their behavior a bit to make them more 'cuddly'. Plus, they were modified to release pheromones which some transhumans register as tranquilizing, the better to cope with staring up at the ruined Earth every time you look upwards. More practically, they would agument the habitat's cleaning systems by feeding on cast-off flakes of skin and hair.
nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
This seems to be a pretty well accepted feature in modern sci-fi literature. I mean, why reinvent the wheel? Make them social, friendly and poo only in their pheromone-marked litter box and you have perfect, self-repairing, space-friendly, reproducing cleaning bots. I have these guys as a staple in Scum ships, for instance.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
Yes, space roaches actually make sense. Especially since one of the problems in low and microgravity environments is the buildup of crud behind panels. Crud that becomes a nice breeding ground for fungi and worse things - the roaches are a nice solution. Then there is the issue of space cats. In my current adventure I mention a lunar tabby (it is a horror story, there *has* to be a ship cat). I expect that cats can adapt to microgravity if they need to, and that they can probably find amazing new forms of laziness in zero g.
Extropian
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
You'd need to make all these roaches sterile, or the infestation cleaners will become an infestation themselves. Roaches breed like all insects and, in the absence of predators, will expand to fill every nook and cranny.
Thunderwave Thunderwave's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
Axel the Chimeric wrote:
I now have mental visions of a multi-armed, hovering synthmorph, menacing the Jovian Republic with its insistent demands for genetic samples.
..."Feed me Seymour!" Sorry, had to say it!
nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
Like all life, they are limited by environmental pressures. They can't reproduce more than available food will permit. Until they master the can opener, we should be safe.
icekatze icekatze's picture
Re: Spammed in blood
hi hi I am reminded of a particular comic: [url=http://dresdencodak.com/2009/07/12/fabulous-prizes/]If you can read this, you may have already won![/url]