Electric Aliens? Bacteria discovered that exist on pure energy

Published time: July 19, 2014 18:24

Microbiologists based in California have discovered bacteria that survive by eating pure electrons rather than food, bringing an entirely new method of existence to awareness and raising questions about possibilities for alien life.

The ‘electric bacteria’ – as they have been dubbed by the team that discovered them – take energy from rocks and metal by feasting directly on their electrons. The hair-like filaments the bacteria produce carry electrons between the cells and their environment. 

The biologists from the University of Southern California (USC) found that the new discovery joins more than ten other different specific type of bacteria that also feed on electricity – although none in quite the same way. 

“This is huge. What it means is that there’s a whole part of the microbial world that we don’t know about,”Kenneth Nealson of USC told New Scientist. 

Nealson explained the process by which the bacteria function. “You eat sugars that have excess electrons, and you breathe in oxygen that willingly takes them,” he said. Human cells break down the sugars in order to obtain the electrons – making the bacteria that only absorb the electrons that much more efficient. 

“That’s the way we make all our energy and it’s the same for every organism on this planet,”
 Nealson said. “Electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained.” 

Some of the bacteria even have the ability to make ‘bio-cables’ – a kind of microbial collection of wires that can conduct electricity as well as copper – renowned for its high electrical conductivity. 

Such ‘nanowires’ were first discovered in a separate study conducted by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark. Their presence raises the possibility that one day bacteria could be used in making subsurface networks for people to use. 

“Tens of thousands of bacteria can join to form a cable that can carry electrons over several centimeters,” the New Scientist video on the subject points out. 

read more from RT




British researchers have created the ‘new black’ of the science world – and it is being dubbed super black.

The material absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of light, a new world record, and is so dark the human eye struggles to discern its shape and dimension, giving the appearance of a black hole.

Named Vantablack, or super black, it also conducts heat seven and half times more effectively than copper, and is ten times stronger than steel.

It is created by Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between.


I’ll take a wardrobe full. And a leather jacket.


This Is Big: Scientists Just Found Earth’s First-Cousin

Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there’s a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home. 

NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered. 

It’s the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold Neptunes— and it is likely to give scientists their first real opportunity to seek life elsewhere in the universe. “It’s no longer in the realm of science fiction,” said Elisa Quintana, a researcher at the SETI Institute. 

But if there is indeed life on Kepler-186f, it may not look like what we have here. Given the redder wavelengths of light on the planet, vegetation there would sprout in hues of yellow and orange instead of green.

Read more. [Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech]


“Vladimir Demikhov’s illustrious career provided many interesting advances in the Russian medical science field.  In 1937, at the young age of 21, Demikhov designed the first ever cardiac-assist device, a pump mechanism which was capable of taking over a heart’s cardiac function for a full five and a half hours.  In 1946, Demikhov became the first to perform a heart transplant on a dog.  Remarkably, the dog survived for five months after the operation.  In subsequent years, Demikhov was able to transplant a lung and perform a cardiovascular bypass – all using dogs for patients.  For a while, his work was renowned and respected in the medical community.  Dr. Alexis Carrel, an American surgeon and experimental biologist who won a 1912 Nobel Prize, said that Dr. Demikhov “had the biggest early impact on the field of heart and lung transplantation” of any person in history. But today, Demikhov is scarcely remembered for anything other than his more bizarre works of science – the creation of living, breathing two-headed dogs.

Demikhov’s slide into bizarre dog head transplant experiments began by accident.  Demikhov had finished a heart transplant experiment on a dog that had been brought to him following an accident.  Seeing that the head of the dog was still in good shape, on a whim he decided to use it for another experiment.  Could he keep just the head of the animal alive? Using his keen engineering skills, Demikhov developed a means to keep a dog head “alive” by pumping oxygen rich blood (and other nutrients) into the decapitated head to feed the animal’s brain.  The experiment was mildly successful and sparked a new interest in Demikhov.

Over time, Demikhov’s experiments grew bolder and bolder.  His later experiments, conducted during the mid to late 1950s, effectively transplanted entire canine upper bodies (including front legs and head) onto other dogs.  The second transplanted head was able to see, drink water, and eat while the original beast remained conscious and stable.  Many of the animals lived for several months even though the heavy weight and cardiovascular requirements of the transplanted second head were difficult to support for the already weakened subject.  In many cases, the poor beast could barely raise its head from the floor as the “second head” scavenged its life source…”

Spectacular Victorian Himalayan Monals , by Rowland Ward.
(Via eBay)

The Monal is in the pheasant family and is recognised as the national bird of Nepal. The stunningly bright plumage only occurs in males. The female, as with most birds, is dull in comparison. While there are some issues with poaching, the Himalayan Monal is listed as least concern, so it is not threatened as a species.


“Diagram made for the House Committee showing the trajectory of the missile through President Kennedy’s skull. The rear wound corresponds with the small entry wound above. The skull fragments are shown exploded for illustrative purposes; most stayed attached to the skull by skin flaps, which are being pulled forward by the gloved hand in the autopsy photo and drawing.”