Friday, December 2, 2011

We are the children of the sun, and this is our inheritance

You might think from reading science fiction that creating a photosynthetic human subspecies fueled by the energy of Sol Invictus instead of food is no big deal... perhaps following the lead of corals and giant clams, with symbiotic algae in the skin. Gene Wolfe, I'm looking at you.

Mrs Spat will break your nice things
Sadly, our experiments with the Riddled Evolvamat have not been crowned with success so much as dunce-capped with abject failure. Subject #1 (Mrs Spat) did at least turn green but she was not well-pleased and the office fainting couch bore the brunt of her ire.
Subject #2 (Greenish Hugh) turned into a newt (he got better).
Wrong track
It now emerges that we were on the wrong track. Rather than chlorophyll as the photosynthetic pigment, we should have set the Evolvamat controls for the heart of the sun melanin. Apparently melanin can convert photons into metabolic activity. It was published in Medical Hypotheses so it must be true.

We learn that birds harvest the sun's bounty with the melanin in the pecten -- a special organ in their eyeballs.* Humans do it with their skin. So our inspiration all along should have been Tostig Amaral, from the Lévi-Strauss-themed planet of Amazonas Triste:

Two corollaries follow.
1. If humanoids adapted to survival in a hostile environment can disguise their auxiliary solar-absorption surfaces as layers of black clothing, then check any architects you know.

2. With his murderous temperament and his pheromonal exudations, Tostig Amaral fits into the "Parfumiers are all serial killers" profile.

* Our pectens are degenerate.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

If humanoids adapted to survival in a hostile environment can disguise their auxiliary solar-absorption surfaces as layers of black clothing, then check any architects you know.

But... but... I've never seen Goths abroad by day! Maybe they have chemosynthetic symbionts.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

then check any architects you know.

Even shambling dead ones?

Substance McGravitas said...

Aha! Now we know that Obama won the election by photosynthesis! All we have to do is block out the sun.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I believe they are working on it, Substance.

Hamish Mack said...

All we have to do is block out the sun.
Smithers, release the hounds.

Does not Andrew Sullivan tell us that melanin makes you dumb, though? We must be careful with this powerful new tool and only use it for good.
Also "Caricature of fresh baked cookies". I can haz newsletter, maybe?

mikey said...

Degenerate Pectens something something Whiff of Stroon.

Something's lurking in there, I just can't seem to find it.

Carry on...

Mandos said...

You do know about Breatharians, don't you?

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

dunce-capped with abject failure.

This made me giggle. I mean, er, nod approvingly while sipping my brandy and lowering my reading glasses. *cough*

Smut Clyde said...


I wondered about tying it in with the Sun-gazing crowd who believe that gazing directly into the sun for 45 minutes a day --
the ancient practice of deriving nutritional energy directly the sun
-- will recharge their mental batteries and reduce their need for food. And cure all illness. Except blindness. But HA HA they're not birds so no pectens in their eyes!

Smut Clyde said...

Further study at the University of Google reveals one source of confusion from "melanin" having two quite different meanings. There are biological melanins, where bi-cyclic Indole compounds are mucked around with and cross-linked and then polymerised. So YES it is about a bicycle.

Then there are "melanins" in physical chemistry, which are polymers of acetylene. These ones are conductive, and exhibit strong phonon-electron coupling, so they absorb sound.

You will shocked, SHOCKED!! to learn that the Wickyweedier does not distinguish them clearly. So people write articles like the Medical Hypotheses one that talk about "electron-phonon coupling" in *biological* melanin, indicating where they have done much of their research...

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

"* Our pectens are degenerate."

And that's not all!

Hamish Mack said...

electron-phonon coupling He explained knowingly.
Watch, Great Aunt Thundra will be along to complain about the standards of this blog.

tigris said...

the pecten -- a special organ in their eyeballs

The apple of their eyes? I got nothin.

so they absorb sound

OMG black people absorb sound!

mikey said...

This must be the explanation for their tremendous skills as jazz musicians...

alison said...

Hmmm. Should I advise the librarian to ignore my previous request to dump MH post-haste, in order to keep it for teh lulz???

Must have a go, myself, at this little 'gem' you've focused on...

Smut Clyde said...

This "little gem" was in the *first issue* I looked at. If every issue of MH is this target-rich, we do not have to worry about reaching Peak Daftness too soon.

M. Bouffant said...

You do know about Breatharians, don't you?

All you need is air ... ya da da da da.