I’m not a biologist – just a journalist who specializes in space and astronomy — so I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable about NASA’s announcement last week of the weird life in a California lake that appears to be able to live with arsenic instead of phosphorous. But I did want to bring to our reader’s attention some various points of view on the topic that have emerged since last Thursday’s press conference.
Microbiologist Rosie Redfield at the University of British Columbia has written what could be called a “take-down” of the science paper by Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her team. It is a detailed and thorough review, and her bottom line is: “Lots of flim-flam, but very little reliable information.”
Her opinion was quickly seconded by many other biologists/bloggers, as you can read in David Dodds post at Wired, and also this post by Larry Moran, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.
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SETI’s Seth Shostak, however, has written an article about it at Huffington Post, and he says the news is “exceedingly cool.”
Our pal Phil Plait was a guest on CBCRadio and talked about the media hype/failure on this event.
Of course, there is always the web comic XKCD’s take on it, too.