Saturday, August 25, 2012

When I Love, I Love in German

"In preparation for laying the [first intercontinental] telegraph cable, ships like HMS Cyclops and USS Arctic were sounding the Atlantic Ocean floor and sampling the ocean bottom. In 1868 Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist with major achievements in comparative anatomy...discovered among the samples taken from the Atlantic a substance--gelatinous, colorless, and formless--that he thought was a new life-form. Not just any life-form, Huxley thought, but the primoridal organic substance, the undifferentiated protoplasm from which life originates...[H]e named the discovery Bathybius haeckelii, for the German biologist Ernst Haeckel, who had recently proposed that all life descended from a primordial ooze that he called Urschleim."

-- "The Life of Super-Earths" by Dimitar Sasselov, Basic Books, New York, 2012, pp. xii,xiii-xiv.

I wanted to embed Tannhäuser's Urschleim here, but find I don't have enough patience to figure it out. Boo, Lockerz, boo.

In leiu of that, check out Slouching Toward Urschleim. On brief inspection, it seems to have its head screwed on right, but I only read headlines these days, so what do I know?


Rand Careaga said...

Thanks for the shout-out. I hadn't realized that my slenderly-followed blog would show up near the top of the English-language search results for "urschleim." The title, incidentally, comes from an undergraduate paper written about forty years ago.

0>w/hole>1 said...

NP. Always happy to point people to interesting stuff, although I'm kind of in the same boat -- I have maybe 4 regular readers, and two of them are related to me. :)

Can I ask what the paper was about?

0>w/hole>1 said...

Oh, hey -- just saw your Italian movies blog! Cool -- I'm currently hooked on Montalbano after having visited Italy (Rome/Sulmona/Ferrara/Venice) last year to visit a friend....

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