You know how everyone loves rats?
Imagine a combination of the two!
Science is pretty amazing.
That is the point of this story.
But, also, the point is that science can be pretty fucking scary.
Have you ever been to the Coney Island Aquarium? I have.
They have this whole world of jellyfish thing there and it’s really something. You walk through a series of dark rooms, the only illumination coming from inside enormous tanks of water where phosphorescent jellyfish float up and down, contracting and releasing their bubble-like bodies, moving through the water hypnotically, trailing ribbons of poisoned tentacles in their wake.
And it’s easy to fall into the kind of reverie where you think to yourself, Look at those jellyfish. The way they move is so simple, so elegant, like flexing a hand into a fist.
Or like the pumping of a human heart.
You think, while you look at this biological marvel, I could build that.
And then maybe you think, I could build that using the cells of a rat.
Oh, you DON’T think that?
Neither do I!
That’s because we’re not scientists.
And we have no interest in making a jellyfish/rat hybrid because we have seen Deep Blue Sea starring LL Cool J and know what happens when you try to genetically engineer sea creatures.
Apparently though, people who actually know things about science are not afraid of this outcome.
Nature.com reports on the new scientific breakthrough of a human-engineered jellyfish that is apparently taking “synthetic biology to a whole new level.”
Kit Parker, a biophysicist at Harvard, says, “Morphologically, we’ve built a jellyfish. Functionally, we’ve built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat.”
Oh, okay, then.
I guess, for me, this is just a case of “too soon.”
It was less than a year ago that the giant, white rat of the Marcy Projects was defeated by a man wielding a pitchfork.
That was really scary.
The thought that there might now be some sort of rat/jellyfish hybrid that waits until the middle of the night to climb up my toilet and out of my bathroom and into my bedroom and get on my pillow is a really terrifying thought for me.
Oh, that is extremely unlikely to ever happen?
Some might even say it is impossible?
But I am still going to get an extra pitchfork (okay, I’m going to get a pitchfork) to keep in the bathroom.
In case of emergencies.
Look at what just washed up under the Brooklyn Bridge!
A bloated rat monster!
I feel vindicated.
And grossed out.