Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Golden Opportunity

You've heard of the mythical money tree, I'm sure. In fact, I'm guessing that at times you've wished you had one of your very own, to cushion some of the hard knocks of life. You're not greedy, or anything. You don't need a money orchard. A small bush would do, maybe putting out a crop every month or so. It would make a nice houseplant for that corner of the dining room that always looks so bare. You could use a grow light for when times are particularly tough, and keeping it inside would protect it from the elements--and the neighbors.

Of course, we all know that money doesn't grow on trees. Money doesn't grow at all, except in interest-bearing bank accounts and properly managed investments. We all know that. Don't we? Take gold, for example. There's a finite amount of it in the ground, and after we dig it all out by the sweat of our brow, that's it. No more. After that we just have to find ways to make it stretch farther, and we definitely need to stop coming up with new ways to use it. No more of this using gold as an electrical conductor, or for embroidery thread, or to line astronauts helmets as a sun shield, and we really need to stop using gold for crowns, both the ones on top of the head and the ones in the teeth. We're going to run out!!!

Or are we? What if gold does grow, not on trees, but underground? According to an article at CSIRO, (via EurekaAlert!) there's new research that indicates that bacteria may be responsible for growing gold, in Australia and South Africa, among other places. There's science involved, and everything. Now, I'm not really all that up on chemistry, biology, bio-chemistry, molecular biology, or any other combination of sciences involving the study of things you need a microscope to see, so some of this is over my head, but from what I read, there's evidence to indicate that some of the world's really large gold deposits are the results of some of the world's really small bugs. Honest. If you don't believe me, read the article for yourself. I'd even be willing to bet you about it. That is if I can get my hands on some of that bacteria. I'm kind of strapped for cash right now, but once I get my bacterial money tree planted, the sky's the limit. Here's an idea--do you suppose if we fed some of these bacteria to geese we could get them to lay those golden eggs we all read about as children? Hmmm, but then if everybody could grow gold, that would really make gold less valuable, wouldn't it? Oh well, it would still make really good fillings.