One of the basic tenets of popular culture is that the villain is always one piece away from completing his master plan. Sauron needed the One Ring. Belloq needed the Staff of Ra. Megatron needed the Allspice, or something — honestly, that movie made so little sense, my back started to hurt (I'm not kidding). The good guys are always the last to find out what the missing piece is, so they spend the rest of the story playing catch-up in the hopes that they can save the world from the orcs/Nazis/Decepticons. Which they do, at an almost miraculous level of reliability.
And you know what? We may be putting that track record to the test pretty soon. A while back, I shone a harsh and unwavering light on the sad truth that our society is more than likely doomed to live out our days as the indentured servants of spidergoats. So far that has not happened (that I can tell), and for that we can thank the fact that spidergoat research — centered around the idea that spider silk proteins can be produced in the milk of genetically engineered goats — has stagnated. Just when I was starting to think that the danger may have passed, I came across this tidbit, courtesy of the BBC:
First of all, if this isn't a supervillain's origin story, I don't know what is. Here we have a woman named "Dr. Sara Goodacre," a fairly cool name all by itself, who conducts research on some of the largest spiders in the world. She is a kind and gifted scientist, who did not intend to get into arachnology but says herself that she is increasingly drawn to the creatures. She is pregnant.* That kid's pretty much growing up to be a spider-themed supervillain, right? One who blames society for the accident that claimed his/her mother's sanity, and takes it out on Batman? The odds of that happening have got to be in the mid-90s.
But the real issue is that Dr. Goodacre and her associates are studying these particular beasts because they produce a high volume of silk. The more silk they produce, the better chance one has of discovering an artificial replica. Therein lies the threat. If Dr. Goodacre's research falls into the hands of the spidergoat people, that means we are facing a brand new invasion:
And if we're just figuring this out now, the bad guys definitely know already. It's the missing piece of their plan.
We need to set up a conference call with Aragorn, Indiana Jones and Optimus Prime. Stat.
*If it turns out that Dr. Goodacre actually is not pregnant, and if for any reason Dr. Goodacre should happen to read this, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize. Profusely. In a very non-jerk-like fashion.