retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

This morning’s eye-opener is about not being too tied to assumptions.

I’m not a scientist, and haven’t taken a science class since 1971. (God, I’m old.)

As I understand it from the papers this morning, phosphorous is one of the six components necessary for all life on earth. That’s all life on earth.

But the Washington Post reports this morning that “researchers have discovered a bacterium that appears to have replaced that life-enabling phosphorus with its toxic cousin arsenic, raising new and provocative questions about the origins and nature of life.” The bacterium was found, of all places, in microbes living in California's Mono Lake.

Now, scientists are being careful at this point to say that “a second line of earthly life” has not been found, but the Post writes that “the discovery opens the door to that possibility and to the related existence of a theorized ‘shadow biosphere’ on Earth - life evolved from a different common ancestor from all we've known so far.”

I don't exactly know what a “shadow biosphere” is, but I do know this. This discovery highlights something that we all need to keep in mind, every day. There is much we do not know. There is even more we do not understand. And just over the horizon - or just under our noses - there are things that exist or that are evolving that could challenge some, many, or all of our assumptions. This applies to business, to culture, to science, and to life.

And that’s our Friday Eye-Opener.
KC's View: