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Searching For Russian Extremophiles

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the they-crave-boiling-vodka dept.

Earth 49

RcK writes "A fascinating narrated slide show-style story about searching for organisms which thrive in conditions we consider particularly hostile, or Extremophiles, in the Kamchatka region of Eastern Russia. Even if the microbial science doesn't interest you, the scenery really is something to behold."

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Bioenginnering. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885513)

This would make the new form of super hero. Combine the DNA from these microbes into our. A man who can dive into lava. Survive a freezing Tundra without layers of clothing.
Yea he probably wont have everything that superman has, especially the Hidden power to resolve a plot.

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885575)

Yes, a plot that involves swimming in lava, surviving freezing tundra, and of course a female news reporter? oh yeah.... He kidnapped Ann Coulter, holds her head under the lava, then after what amounts to a steam bath to our super hero, relaxes in the cool waters of freezing tundra. Yeah I know I missed a few plot points, but so far this has the makings of very high ratings in the US.

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

Caue (909322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885711)

oh everybody wants a funny score this days... even if it means overlooking interely the article

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885817)

Some folk are limited in streaming content at work.... can't see much of TFA that is linked...

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885867)

Don't forget the magic kiss at the end where he makes Ann Coulter forget that she's a total bitch.

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886273)

Not even superman could kiss that.

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886667)

lol, so true, Ann Coulter looks like an emaciated methamphetamine junky...

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885615)

Genetics do not work that way! Good night!
--Morbo

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

pacificleo (850029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885637)

this sounds like V for Vendetta

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885881)

Yea he probably wont have everything that superman has, especially the Hidden power to resolve a plot.

In Extremophile Russia, the plot has superman.

Enough of them already. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886467)

On the other hand, I don't think that the world would be able hold 2 Chucks Norrises.

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887019)

In the less than glamorous fictional universe, you'd just be stuck with a Lava Man that would die of hypothermia as soon as he left his thermal vent.

I can see it now... In Neo-Gotham city, a crime has just been committed. Commissioner, "Who can we go to for help?" Gordon boldly replies, "Book me a flight to Hawaii! I must enlist the aid of Lava man!"

Later that week, "Lava Man has suggested that we dust the crime scene for fingerprints, run over all the security surveillance, and engrave all the details of the report on thermally resistant used space shuttle tiles for his review!" I'll take the report to him in Mt. Etna, Italy.

Next Monday, "Here's the preliminary findings, we need to follow up and get back with Lava Man on Tuesday near Mt. Fuji, Japan."

A week later, "Lava Man has requested more photos of the crime scene, let me know when you get them and then I'll drag them over to Prince Edward Island, Canada." "Chief, isn't Prince Edward a sedimentary island? ... Busted!"

Yeah, I can see how a Lava Man will really help out. Sort of like a consultant, but you have to fly to him, in exotic destinations.

Real-world use already exists (1)

vuo (156163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888381)

The startup Finnzymes [finnzymes.fi] already found real-world use for these microbes. It's not their DNA, though; it's their DNA-handling enzymes. When doing the PCR procedure, you have 20-40 temperature cycles. Regular enzymes are killed at 45 C, so after each cycle, you'd have to add more regular enzyme, ending up with a big soup of DNA and killed enzyme. The hot spring microbes live at 60 C, and their enzymes survive the cycles just fine. This makes it possible to build small tabletop devices that do the PCR in 16 minutes rather than 68 minutes.

Re:Bioenginnering. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891625)

Combine the DNA from these microbes into our. A man who can dive into lava. Survive a freezing Tundra without layers of clothing.

Uh, there are no bacteria that can survive in LAVA. Hot springs yes, but that would be a much lamer superpower.

Hapless civilians: "Oh no! The evil robobt main computer is in Old Faithful! We'll never be able to pull the plug."

Hero: "Stand back citizens, it is I, HOT SPRING MAN!"

Hapless civilians: "Uh... okay..."

And, realistically, you'd have a cooked man who had a few bacterial enzymes that continued functioning. A few added heat resistant proteins do not make a heat resistant man any more than putting a few tiles from the space shuttle on your car would make it fireproof.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885571)

In Soviet Russia, extremophiles search for you!

that readhead extermophile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885765)

sure is hot...

Re:that readhead extermophile (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885999)

Is an extermophile someone who gets turned on by Daleks?

Re:that readhead extermophile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886041)

No. Someone who get turned on by Daleks is a technology fetishist.

Re:that readhead extermophile (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886079)

Not necessarily: they could see past that hard exterior and be attracted to the inner mutant.

Re:that readhead extermophile (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26894839)

Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, that's how I like my girlfriends^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H igloos^H^H^H^H^H^H Daleks.

Re:that readhead extermophile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886477)

Exterminate!
Exterminate!
Exxxxterrrrrrrrrrrrrrminate!

Re:that readhead extermophile (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886717)

No, no, no. That's XXXterminate!

Tunguska spore (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886121)

There's a really fascinating video out there on YouTube about extremophile spores that survived the Tunguska explosion... good music, too.

Sounds like a good place for caution (2, Funny)

lazlo (15906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886149)

If you're searching for Russian Extremophiles,
and you decide to use Google to do it,
I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds like the sort of query where
You might just want to turn SafeSearch "on".

Re:Sounds like a good place for caution (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26896579)

I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds like the sort of query where you might just want to turn SafeSearch "on".

Or, you may be a Russian extremophile yourself...

I dunno... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886263)

I've seen Russian porn. They have a long way to go before they match the Japanese.

Re:I dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26896777)

I've seen Russian porn. They have a long way to go before they match the Japanese.

But that's exactly what they're doing, silly. RTFA!

the Kamchatka region of Eastern Russia

A hardcore Kamchatkan geologist's blizzard gayromp is exactly the thing a market oversatiated by molluscs and bukkake longs for. Especially if they insert a classy microbe orgy scene inbetween; that would make it so totally indie and hip and that would totally stop the recession for Russia.
That horrendous frigid virgin nerd stereotype would also like totally go away if the obviously pointless science spending was combined with high culture subidies and useful porno bailouts.

All Russians are extremophiles (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886809)

Visited a friend up in Boston. It was 20 degrees out, damn cold compared to what I'm used to. We're walking through the asiantown area and he's like "You know what we need?" No, I didn't. "Bubble tea!" Not knowing what that was, I was game. Five minutes later I'm drinking a frozen thai beverage with little tapioca balls at the bottom of the mixture, the "bubbles." A freezing cold drink to have while walking around outside in sub-freezing temperatures. I told him this was crazy. "No, this is Russian. We fucking go out and get milkshakes in the winter all the time." I told him I think I figured out how they were able to beat the Nazis in WWII. "Don't forget Napoleon, snail-slurping son of a bitch," he added.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (2, Informative)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887733)

Anyone who lives in a northern area can handle temperatures like that. You get used to it. It was 38 out a few days ago and I had all the windows open in the house, enjoying the fresh air. Sure, I had to put pants and a hoodie on, but it was great.

Don't get me wrong, when it gets < 0 (F), especially with wind, I need a hat and gloves too. But 20F isn't all that bad.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888303)

Use Celsius please, just like the rest of the world ;)

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888595)

Too complicated, my inferior American brain can't handle a system of measurement with the "beginning" and "*end*" located at fundamentally important phase changes of the most important substance on earth.

That would just make sense, and we can't be having any such chicanery afoot around here!

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26896787)

as opposed to a beginning and end located at the average extremes of local climate? fahrenheit is perfect for measuring (temperate zone) weather; celcius is only well-designed for research.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26901645)

Which is also true. It'd be silly going through 3-4 months of the year always saying "negative ____" out every day. As it is, we only get negatives pretty rarely, and it usually really DOES indicate "it's pretty balls cold right now, you may want to avoid running to your car to get something in your boxers", whereas in Celsius, I wouldn't have that line of demarcation.

But, at the end of the day, I say a single public standard is better than many public standards. I don't care which one gets picked, and I don't care if it isn't perfectly ideal. We get in this argument all the time at work. Is it better to baseline on a specific set of tools, or is it better to let everyone use whatever the hell they want.

Maybe I'm jaded at this point, but I'd rather deal with someone else's crappy choice in a Java IDE than I would in having people use 18 different options and the associated problems that pop up as a result. I'm a proponent of standards, even if that means my chosen side loses in the end.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26896437)

The north also has better clothing, I think, for the cold.

A Walmart in Minneapolis probably can probably produce a warmer jacket than a specialized outdoors store in Memphis. About the only way that gear will keep you warm is if you burn it.

Plus one learns as the weather changes (hopefully), and "cold" gains a different meaning. 20F (-7C) is warm to me. About 0F (-18C) is when it gets cold, and -10F (-23C) is where clothing becomes very important even for minor tasks such as taking out the garbage.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904817)

Exactly. Of course, all those temperatures depend on the wind. I'll get wind ripping up over the mountain (I live right at the top) and I've had my fingers frozen fast to bits of metal in no time. It was only about 0F at the time, but with the wind flying at 20+ mph, it feels a whole hell of a lot colder than that - or worse, doesn't feel cold at all!

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888297)

As a russian I can say that guy was just bragging :) Of course we don't drink on the streets in the winter normally, this is just stupid. And yes, -6C or 20F is a joke for any russian living on east side of urals.
All that said I'm proud to admit that I drank vodka near to the christmas tree at the new year on the street with friends and there were a lot of ppl around having fun at the "ice town" built for entertainment at the new year. And the outside temperature was -42C which is -43F. Oh great old university times.

Re:All New Englanders are extremophiles (1)

dforreal (1078047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891349)

New Englanders also order Iced Coffee in December, and in Vermont its not uncommon to wear sandals with socks while there is a foot of snow on the ground.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26892553)

I grew up near the Black Sea, fairly mild climate. First time came to Moscow in January, -25C outside, walk on a street, plenty of street vendors selling - guess what - an ice cream! And plenty of people eating that ice cream, right outside. In Russia Moscow's ice cream had reputation as the best one you can get (in Soviet Union), so I got some and ate it, right on a street, as well. Yes, it was tasty. Actually at -25C it kind of warmed me up, too.

(But the air is very dry, not damp like in Boston. So even -30C is OK as long as there is no wind.)

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26893479)

Oh yes, I've heard they do sell ice-cream in Irkutsk when it's -30, and kids nag parents to buy it (and they do).

However, when it comes to Russian extremophiles, nothing beats ice diving after sauna [youtube.com] . Though I hear Finns like that, too.

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26896839)

the staff at amundsen-scott [wikipedia.org] have the 300-degree club--sit in a sauna, then run outside in only boots i had my own miniature version in grad school--the school gym had a sauna with a broken thermostat (no upper limit) located in an uninsulated locker room with leaky windows. in the winter, i could get the sauna up to 200 while the room was well below 50 (and possibly below freezing occasionally)

Re:All Russians are extremophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26900737)

You're supposed to make a hole in the ice - that video only shows frolicing in the snow.

And yeah it's great, you can really feel the temperature shock making your blood flow.

I found one! (1)

a4r6 (978521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887087)

it's in slide 18, clearly labelled as such.

Re:I found one! (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26889831)

I guess that would make me an extremophilephile. Thanks, science!

Hoax? (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888309)

A couple of those mountains look so much like Oregon's Mt. Jefferson and South Sister that I started wondering if this is a hoax.

Probably not, but the people all look strangely AMERICAN....

Nah. It's probably all real.

Re:Hoax? (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26890159)

Well, It would be a bit more work to get the helicopter from the Kamchatka airline. It says right on the side of it: Kamchatka Airlines, in russian of course.

Re:Hoax? (1)

dfm3 (830843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891049)

TFA, er, TFS says that some of the team members are American. At least one of them are from Georgia (the state, not the country).

I didn't listen to the whole thing, but I imagine that much of the incentive for searching in Russia as opposed to within the US is that most of the thermal features in the states are located within national parks. With the NPS having been "ripped off" (their own language, not mine) over the Taq [wikipedia.org] enzyme (this New York Times article [nytimes.com] outlines the story), any of us wishing to do research in a national park must go through a seemingly endless process of permits, paperwork, and regulations. This can severely limit what you can do with the organisms you find.

I know, since I've been through the permit process. In my case, I am not surveying for bacteria, but for viruses of the chestnut blight fungus [wikipedia.org] . If we find any on NPS land, they may be useful as a biological control of the fungus, but the conditions of our collection permits specifically limit any commercial use of anything we remove from the park.

might be a good place to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888681)

Ad far as I am concerned, any place anywhere which is void of Russian bureaucrats is an awesome place to live.

You know why Russians are so eager to get into space or some other crazy locations? Technology aspirations? pride thing? the spirit of explorers and excitement of extraterrestrial life (would be cool to check out ladies on some other solar system - wouldn't it?)

BS... the real reason - no Russian bureaucrats there. Take my word for it.

Re:might be a good place to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26899721)

In any bureaucracy there is certain paperwork that can be submitted to make the process a lot smoother. Information on the proper forms for expediting Russian governmental processes can be found here [wikipedia.org] .
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