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We sent a squid into space today.

Let me say that again. We sent a squid into space today. Now, when I say “squid”, I don’t mean an old sailor or some sort of WWII vintage weapon. I mean we sent a ten-armed marine cephalopod into space.

Oh, and it’s not just any squid. It’s a glowing squid whose glowing is critical to the reason its tentacles will go where no tentacles have gone before.

If the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour goes ahead as plannednext week, it will be carrying an unusual cargo: baby squid.

This is not because the astronauts want a change in their menu: the squid could help us understand how “good” bacteria behave in the microgravity of space. As Jamie Foster of the University of Florida in Gainesville, who is running the experiment, puts it: “Do good bacteria go bad?”

Read the whole thing, as they say, because the experiment itself is pretty cool and I don’t know how it could be done here on Earth. I suspect, though, that the genesis of this experiment was not entirely rooted in sound and sober science. I have no definitive proof for this, but a bottle or two of vodka might have been involved/ How else, but a panicky and hangover-related explanation to NASA a day later, , could you come up with such a scienc-y reason why NASA would put a glowing, betentacled horror from the briny depths in a position to be bombarded with cosmic rays so that it could be horribly mutated with a taste for human souls?

Okay…come to think of it, maybe the world will end on Saturday.



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