Monday, October 12, 2009

Da Blob

In the 1950s, long before Mr Spanky was a gleam in his Daddy's eye, there was a great push for campy sci-fi/horror films. This involved close ups of spiders, cockroaches, large rubber dinosaur-like creatures and giant amoebas made from soap suds. Great titles like "Attack of the Crab People", "Creature from the Black Lagoon", "The Giant Gila Monster", "Teenage Zombies", and the aptly named, "The Thing That Couldn't Die" filled the movie houses with plots that usually involved teenagers investigating dark places filled with dangerous creatures after they had split up in order to make the searching more "efficient".

None was more famous than "The Blob", a creature that descends onto earth from space in the interior of a meteoroid and engulfs the town's residents including Mr. Andrews the local grocer. Generally, the film is recognized as being "quintessential", which for you kidz means that the special effects would put you into a boredom coma. You do, however, have to put things into perspective, there were no computer-generated graphics in the 1950s. No laptops, CDs, iPods, microwave ovens, cell phones, or internet. Entertainment was watching black and white TV or hanging around with your pal Potsie at the local hamburger joint. So you can imagine that folks at the time would go nuts over some brown jello shots.

Luckily, life imitates art. Or what passes for art. The folks over at National Geographic, who specialize in nature photography and exploration, have posted an article entitled "Giant, Mucus-Like Sea Blobs on the Rise, Pose Danger". That's an attention grabber for sure. It's even more interesting that these blobs can be 100s of kilometers long! And they've been around since the 1700s. What's new is that scientists have finally gotten around to studying them and have concluded that they are not good for you(TM). The harbor all sorts of pathogens, bacteria, and viruses including our old friend E. Coli. Fortunately, a scientist named Farooq Azam, has let on that "few people would purposely swim into a mucilage". That means that if you were frolicking in the Mediterranean you wouldn't dive into a blob of green slime but your brother might throw it at you if he got a chance.


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