829: Arsenic-Based Life

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Arsenic-Based Life
According to a new paper published in the journal Science, reporters are unable to thrive in an arsenic-rich environment.
Title text: According to a new paper published in the journal Science, reporters are unable to thrive in an arsenic-rich environment.


Arsenic is a chemical element which is known to be poisonous to humans and other life forms. But NASA announced the discovery of bacteria substituting arsenic. Like most other scientists Randall did not believe in this (it was disproved in 2012). He presents us a poison party, showing the reporters their fail on the hype.

In order to fit the theme of the event, the researchers make cocktails and hors d'œuvres, with arsenic. This poisons all of the reporters at the press conference.

The words "hors d'oerves" at the comic are just a misspelling by Randall for "hors d'oeuvres" (in French "hors d'œuvre" both singular and plural). The pronunciation of these words is awr-DURVZ /ɔrˈdɜrvz/, with the R before the V, not after, which explains the mistake.

The girl with the curly ponytail in this comic is different from the character commonly referred to as Ponytail.


[Three people, two women and a man, stand looking at a laptop screen, which is sitting on a desk. The woman with a ponytail is pointing at the screen.]
Ponytail: Our arsenic-based DNA discovery is cool, but these reporters are expecting life on Titan! Our press conference will be such a letdown!
[Ponytail turns around to face Megan.]
Ponytail: Okay, we need to make it more exciting for them. How do you make an event entertaining?
Megan: Dunno, I suck at parties. Music, I guess?
[Ponytail girl turns back around and leans over to start typing on the computer, while the other two look on. Megan puts her hand to her chin.]
Ponytail: WikiHow says you can "serve cocktails and hors d'oerves that fit the theme of your event."
Megan: Easy enough!
[Ponytail girl stands at a podium on a stage, the man stands amongst the audience with a tray. All the audience members are either dead or dying, having fallen onto the floor or slumped over in their seats.]
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What a waste of good poison, the food at conferences usually does that on it's own anyways. Davidy22[talk] 13:27, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Maybe it is to be noted that in the comic, "serve cocktails and hors d'oerves" should have been written "serve cocktails and hors d'œuvres"? 15:14, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

I do not talk French but my dictionary tells me that "d'œuvre" (without the trailing s) is correct. Thanks for your hint, explanation is updated.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:41, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
"Hors d'oeuvres" is English; "hors d'œuvre" (with a ligature and without the trailing s) is French. 12:53, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I am dumbfounded at the pronounciation part of the explanation. Do you really pronounce it with the "r" sound before the "v" sound? Why would you do that? 15:24, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Basing my pronunciation on what I heard in the TV series Bewitched, I get something like /ɔːˈdɜːv/. In a rhotic accent, this would be /ɔ:ɹˈdɜːɹv/. RyanofTinellb (talk) 01:18, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
None the less angicised it is pronounced ordurves. Arsenic is a pick-me-up in low doses and widely used at one time to show off horses, especially at sales. Many people died through its abuse in the good old days. Many creatures exist on poisonous habitats. On one Nat Geo show they had bison in Yellowstone eating arsenic rich vegetation in winter.

I have heard there is a grass in Amlwch's old copper quarry that can grow in copper rich soil that kills everything else.

Not sure how true any of that is but plenty of creatures live in extreme heat and pressure environments.

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 21:33, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
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