By Stefan Helmreich
Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored by means of marine biologists, worlds often out of sight and achieve: the deep sea, the microscopic realm, and oceans past nationwide barriers. operating along scientists at sea and in labs in Monterey Bay, Hawai'i, the Woods gap Oceanographic establishment, and the Sargasso Sea and at undersea volcanoes within the japanese Pacific, Stefan Helmreich charts how revolutions in genomics, bioinformatics, and distant sensing have pressed marine biologists to determine the ocean as lively via its smallest population: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly severe stipulations, such microbes became key figures in clinical and public debates concerning the foundation of lifestyles, weather swap, biotechnology, or even the potential of existence on different worlds.
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Additional resources for Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas
Together, they enact what Edwin Hutchins, in his ethnography of navigation on board a navy ship, 44 / The Message from the Mud The Message from the Mud / 45 called"cognition in the wild," converting and communicating information through a cascade of representations channeled through analog and digital media and propagated through different people's embodied expertiseY Still, scientists are understood to direct the action: PETE: Tubeworms! We landed right on them. Can I zoom in a little bit? Look at all of those!
The poster reports on work undertaken with DNA libraries made well before my Lobos trip, though on similar samples. What, then, is the message of the mud? What have these scientists read ~ / ----- - --------------------- The Message from the Mud from such libraries as they have compiled? Steven says there is a parable in the poster, on which he is first author. He will tell me over lunch. When we meet up at the Haute Enchilada, Steven reports that during his undergraduate studies at Sarah Lawrence he was impressed with the work of Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a Jesuit paleontologist keen to riddle through the relation of religion to science.
He begins with a quick sketch of atmospheric chemist James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, the notion that Earth is a homeostatic system, delicately tuned to and by the life forms it supports. Gaia, he points out, for all its associations with romantic visions of natural balance, could care less about the well-being of humans; indeed, we may produce the very feedback systems that lead to our own demise. P. Lovecraft, an early twentiethcentury fantasist famous for his ornamented horror stories about aliens and his panic about the biological degeneration of Western civilization.
Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas by Stefan Helmreich