The scientific news universe online is all a-Twitter today about the NASA funded team that found bacteria substituting arsenic for phosphorous in apparently everything from their cell membranes to the backbone of their very DNA! (Thanks, Joe, for sending me the link.)
Some blogs claim this changes everything we know about biology, which I think is pretty inaccurate. After all, we recognize the basic structures of these bacteria. They are still self-organizing and perpetuating entities subject to natural selection.
But it’s still a pretty cool discovery, no less because it occurred at Mono Lake! The saga of Mono Lake and its close brush with extinction is a story I’ve used to teach workshops on environmental ethics after reading about it in Cadillac Desert and attending college outside Los Angeles. It’s a fascinating place and a fascinating drama that is still going on.