THE REAL SCIENCE BEHIND:
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
At the time, all living things were divided into only two categories called domains. Everything was either a Eukaryote (a plant, animal, fungus, slime mold, or single celled protocist) or a Prokaryote (a bacteria). And this little microbe was neither. They had to create a third domain called Archaea, which has filled over the last 40 years with fascinating creatures like Strain 121 which uses iron instead of oxygen to help render its food into energy. Technically, it reduces ferric iron to ferrous iron, and its waste product is the mineral magnetite. So, I ask you, if there’s an organism on this earth that breathes iron and shits magnets, what else is possible?
~an excerpt from Sleep of Reason
THE REAL SCIENCE:
They live thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface. They eat hydrogen and exhale methane. And they may shape our world more profoundly than we can imagine.
THE SLEEP OF REASON grapples with the question of how people can be so awful to each other, openly wondering if there are things we don’t understand about ourselves that explain man’s inhumanity to man. Our country is now mired in questions: How do parents live in a world where our children are murdered inside their schools? How do we rationalize the 307 mass shootings that occurred in the first 311 days of 2018? How do we reconcile the fact that women still make less than men, that our president can say he “grabs women by the p****” and still get elected, that when Alyssa Milano on a whim tweets "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wakes in the morning to find 30,000 responses? With the #metoo movement, and the #neveragain crusade, more and more people are asking—Is there such a thing as evil, or are we broken biology? And if we are broken, how do we fix us? In this way THE SLEEP OF REASON couldn’t be more timely. We live in a world that bears more than passing resemblance to the pre-apocalyptic world LeeCee sees approaching; we would do well to consider why.
Thomas Gold’s most recent crazy theory, that life did not begin on the surface of our planet or use sunlight as its energy source, has also been either ignored or flatly rejected for 30 years. I believe he is once again correct. I believe that life began through chemosynthesis, that it began deep underground, and that it’s still there chugging away. If Gold is correct, life in this “deep hot biosphere” as he named it, likely exceeds in mass and volume all life on the surface. In simpler words, there are more of them than there are of us.
~An excerpt from Sleep of Reason
THE REAL SCIENCE:
In a surprise to scientists, cyanobacteria have been found thriving nearly 2,000 feet below the strange landscape, where sunlight, water, and nutrients are scarce. Researchers previously thought these microbes could survive only while basking in the sun's rays, although they are otherwise a versatile bunch; researchers have found them alive nearly everywhere on Earth.
Margaret Riley is a wordsmith, slow-kayaker, slow-skiier, photographer of strange realities, and a deep believer in the magic of story time.