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Ancient life, millions of years old and barely alive, found beneath ocean floor (washingtonpost.com)
119 points by J3L2404 1890 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite

From a shrewd entrepreneurial point of view, these critters must have all kinds of interesting enzymes and hardware that allow them to operate at such low metabolic rates.

Dissecting their repair mechanisms might give us insights into regenerative medicine in the near future, and technical knowledge for suspended animation for long distance transport or generation jumping in the not-so-near future.

Studying organisms like these would certainly teach us a lot about cellular maintenance and extremely slow patterns of gene regulation.

Relatedly, note that storing information in DNA is the longest lived form of information storage. Harddrives tend to deteriorate in ~10 years or so. Flash Memory has a similar life time. Books can last hundreds to thousands of years, but no more, and stones and rocks and fossils, perhaps a few hundreds of millions of years. But genetic information can be maintained for billions of years--it is a discrete information encoding, is easily copyable, and has noise tolerance and error correction. Not very useful (yet!) to store information and data, but very interesting to think about conceptually: humans have been reconstructing in metal and silicon what nature developed billions of years ago. Sort of cool to think about.

"Their strategy for staying alive is to be barely alive at all."

And yet some creatures are believed to be immortal while being "very alive". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_immortality

Why is the post by easy dead? It looks fine to me....

Good question. Is a relatively young (45 days) account with low karma (17) enough to auto-kill posts? None of easy's submissions or comments seem out of line to me. I'm quoting the post here because Rachel Sussman's TED talk on species longevity is spectacular.

If you found this interesting you might also enjoy a TED talk by Rachel Sussman entitled "The world's oldest living things":


Maybe it's "too much too soon" from a new account? I think all the submissions I made so far came from technology review articles I've been reading so perhaps PGs code thinks I'm an account created to spam for a particular domain.

Maybe it was the way you phrased your post? The sentence "If you found this interesting you might also enjoy" probably sounded 'botty' to the spam filter.

Aside: There seems to be some poignant commentary crying to be wrested from the above, but I'm unable to pry it off. Anyone else?

Your other comments aren't dead. I'm just guessing that it's a combination of a new account and posting an url. But this is just a guess.

Probably a few people being overeager with the flag link.

That's my best guess. Worst part is, easy probably didn't even know it was dead

Why wouldn't easy have known? easy isn't hellbanned AFAIK.

As far as I can tell the status of a comment as being dead is not apparent to the user who posted it (unless they're not logged in obviously). This is actually quite an elegant way of dealing with trolls if you think about it; instead of knowing they've been banned and trying to game their way around it they assume they are just being ignored and give up.


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