Feeds

DARPA plans to end swine flu using Triffid drugs

Possible minor zombification side effect

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Crazed US military boffins, their plans for the eradication of humanity in a machine-rebellion bloodbath at a stand, have adopted an alternative strategy. They plan now to develop a "plant-based production system", ostensibly for the harvest of valuable products beneficial to humanity - but which seems certain to unleash a terrifying unforeseen Triffid-like vegetable horror upon suffering humanity.

The crazed boffins in question, it seems needless to say, are those of DARPA, the famous Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. It's important to remember that very few of DARPA's ambitious plans - which often involve a significant risk of wiping out the human race - ever come to anything. But they only have to be (un)lucky once.

In this case, the federal warboffins appear to be motivated by the ongoing swine flu outbreak. They say (Word doc):

The 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic has highlighted the national need for larger scale vaccine manufacturing capabilities ... Recent advances funded by DARPA and others have demonstrated the viability of plant-based protein expression technologies for the production and purification of cGMP-compliant medical countermeasures ...

Requested are approaches that demonstrate a proof-of-concept facility capable of growing adequate plant biomass for the production of protein ... Emphasis should be placed on infrastructure requirements and design, as well as equipment needed for the growth, processing, purification and validation of products ...

It won't have escaped readers of John Wyndham's dystopian classic The Day of the Triffids that there are some parallels here. The eponymous shuffling vegetable assassins of the book were theorised to have arisen as "the outcome of a series of ingenious biological meddlings - and very likely accidental, at that", most probably by secret government labs in Russia. In the book, large-scale cultivation and processing of Triffids began because "the extracts they give were very valuable in the circumstances".

Just as rapidly-produced vaccines could be in an age of global pandemics, in fact. Open and shut case.

You could argue, of course, that this kind of foolish scaremongering could stifle all scientific and technological progress - even lead to a new dark age of ignorance and poverty. But if there's one thing that "science" fiction has taught us, it's that attempts to better the lot of humanity and/or achieve military superiority through new technology always misfire. You get Triffids, zombie/vampire plagues, robot rebellions, murderously hostile computers, giant mutant creatures and so forth.

In real life, you sometimes get penicillin or radar or integrated circuits. But shh! Don't tell anyone.

So, anyway. Aiee! Triffids! etc. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.