Wednesday, June 26, 2013
One thing that annoys me about the city is litter. I often see little bits of garbage thrown into some corner where it will just kind of sit around for all eternity. Occasionally I've gathered it up and thrown it away myself, but within a week's time, it's back. This gave me an idea.
Using the de-extinction technology I mentioned earlier, I make an artificial variant of the pigeon. This species will have digestive enzymes that can consume paper, plastic, and styrofoam. I'd like to include glass, but glass is made of pretty much pure silicon dioxide, and there are limits to what protein can accomplish. I engineer 20 of these, and release them in a major city, ideally one with an extreme litter problem.
The garbage eating pigeons will clear the streets quite handily. While existing pigeons will go to extreme lengths to grab old bits of bread and discarded lunch things, such as jumping into dumpsters, charging across five lanes of traffic, and I even saw a pigeon try to divebomb a sandwich out of someone's hands once. (This failed.)
So when pigeons can eat stuff that's just lying around, I imagine it'll be snapped up in a matter of weeks. At which time they will move on to dumpsters and landfills, lowering disposal costs.
Of course, there's a catch. No organism is 100% efficient, and birds poop. Birds in fact have an annoying instinct to poop into puddles to disguise their trail from predators, and when airborne often confuse shiny cars with puddles. This is going to mean a greatly increased bird population in the city, and with it, greatly increased car washing will be required. I may be able to breed a new instinct into them to poop into grass instead, which would fertilize the grass.
And if they get too numerous, there's another creature from their native habitat that also does well in cities, the Peregine falcon. This is the fastest moving bird on earth, and exclusively eats other birds. It enjoys pigeons for dinner the way that I enjoy a medium-well steak. Each released falcon will eat a minimum of five pigeons a day.
Monday, June 24, 2013
One of the great tragedies of animal conservation is that a lot of animals are threatened with extinction -- the death of the last of them, causing their species to forever become absent from the face of the earth. Remarkable animals like the Carolina parakeet, the Aurochs, the Dodo, and the Moa, are extinct, and will never be seen again. Anything relying on them is also gone. And anything that relies on that goes away quite quickly too. Some of them have surviving relatives, like the modern Cow's relationship to the Aurochs, the Ostritch to the moa, and the nicobar pigeon to the Dodo. One scientist is aiming to change that:
Essentially, the extinct species will, from what few remaining scraps we have of their DNA, be cloned into a genetically modified parent. A modified chicken will birth small extinct birds, a modified cow will produce extinct bovines, and what was once gone forever, will cease to be gone. The first generation of these will be sickly, as the modification process has certain complications, but their children will turn out normally. And then the cold hand of death will have to release it's hand on certain animals.
Or to put it more mad-scientistly, IT'S ALIVE, IT'S ALIVE, MAKE MY CREATION LIVE!!!!