06 April, 2009


Figure A: Like this (although that's not Toaster, because Toaster is not fond of cats and as such doesn't get that close to them -- ever).

Something I sometimes often ponder is who would win if the molecular biologists and the ecology biologists threw down and actually declared war on one another. The long-standing animosity is already there, simmering. The ecology biologists seem to view us molecular biologists as arrogant upstarts who've not only taken their cake and eaten it, but also mutated the delicious icing that remains stuck to the cake plate into some kind of belligerent slime mold.

So the question becomes: who would win?

To answer this, let us consider who has what weaponizable items. Molecular biologists have scalpels, acids, bases, lasers, liquid nitrogen, genetic engineering, chemical engineering, mutants, mutagens, lasers, radioisotopes, PCR, HPLC, NMR, recombinant proteins, lyophilization, high-powered optics, gigantic magnets, vat-grown tissues, lasers, and Parafilm. Ecology biologists have cloud nets, photometers, binoculars, galoshes, drawers full of bones, cephalopods, and various other sundry critters.

I find it most plausible that, in the initial skirmish, the molecular biologists would take heavy casaulties, especially if the ecology biologists have snakes and cone snails, but the ecology biologists would almost universally suffer debilitating injuries. Then each would withdraw to their laboratory trenches. The ecology biologists would patch themselves up with duct tape and raccoon vomit and begin fashioning pointy weapons out of their drawers of bones. They'd also armor their galoshes with small mammal skulls and train bats or sparrows to drop targeted cloud nets. However, the molecular biologists would have covertly taken the battlefield dead, nerd and animal alike, back to the lab and ripped their genetic secrets apart. This would lead to the creation of zombie cannon fodder as well as raw material for cell culture to grow replacement organs and new skin to patch up the animal-caused flesh wounds. This would also allow the molecular biologists to work out antivenin. So after the second battle, there'd be nothing left of the ecology biologists except labeled samples in liquid nitrogen and some digitized genetic sequences.

However, if the ecology biologists had a significant enough portion of entomologists, the molecular biologists would be done for because no one can do nefarious science when a termite colony has decided to set up residence in your bench drawers and your reagent bottles have been taken over by dirt dauber wasps.

This then naturally leads to the question of how the outcome of this would be affected if either faction could recruit other campus research departments. The molecular biologists already have the medical school, and thus the hospital, as well as the biomedical engineers in their lab coat pockets. The ecology biologists could probably convince the natural resources, geology, anthropology, psychology, and sociology departments to join them. But then the molecular biologists would easily be able to get the computer scientists, physicists, mechanical engieers, and chemists. Rogue factions of the business school would likely calve off of the monolith and compete with one another to profit off of the conflict in any way that they could, likely by exploiting the idealism of English and other liberal arts majors.

What are your thoughts on this hypothetical conflict?

P.S. - I am amazed at the efficiency with which heavy garlic breath keeps other people from bothering you. However, this is just a personal anecdote, so could we all perhaps set up a remote, randomized experiment of this with control groups? I'd like to determine the optimal concentration of garlic stench to drive annoying people away.


Science Bear said...

Being a molecular biologist in training, I think we would so kick their butts!!! As long as we had enough time that is, mutagens take time damn it!!

Anonymous said...

Aahh, but which side would get the toxicologists with their labs full of things deadly and radioactive (all the better to track the deadly things). Upon consideration I think the tox. people would split into at least 2 factions; the environmental toxicologists would join up with the ecology biologist while the mechanistic, developmental and other types would back the molecular biologists. So, in the end its probably moot.

Hermitage said...

Whoever gets the virologists is insta-KOing the other faction. Now to which side they would fall, no one knows. Maybe they would switch off.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

It depends how long the war lasts. The ecologists are used to roughing it during field work, so if it goes to WWI-style trench warfare or a long seige, they'd have us soft little lab rats beat.

Anonymous said...

It's not so much the grains that are bad for you. Most commercially packaged breads are full of other shit. I don't even know what half of the ingredients are. I think those things in combination with eating too much food are causing problems.