Well, that's just great. Here we go with another catastrophic idea, some supervillain scheme swaddled head to foot in crazypants, which will supposedly make the world a better place. Way to go, Science. Let's have a look at what new weapons you're adding to the spidergoats' arsenal. This ought to be good. What now, are they going to have wings? Opposable digits? Decentralized heart chambers to make them harder to kill? Can't wait, let's hear it! Let's usher in the End of Times and condemn all future generations of the human ra— Whoah. Wait a minute. Hang on just a, I mean, this can't be, wait, this is, come on, you can't seriously, HANG ON JUST A GODDAMN MINUTE HERE.
Guys? C'mere. Check my math on this, because unless I'm completely nuts ... this idea isn't crazypants. Holy shit on a toast point, they may actually have solved the spider silk problem.
What the hell is he talking about?
The Spidergoat Resistance Front (SRF) is dedicated to saving Earth from ... well, spidergoats. The name is pretty straightforward. Get the back story here:
• Spidergoats: Dark Origins • Spidergoats II: Tarantulagoats • Spidergoats III: The Golden Orb
Biologists at Notre Dame have finally cracked the mystery of
how to field a decent football team how to produce mass quantities of spider silk. The key lies not in artificial reproduction of its chemical structure, nor in the painstaking harvest of thousands of spiders. Granted, it does involve a teensy bit of genetic engineering, but instead of splicing spider genes into goats, the team has successfully spliced them into silkworms. Hooray, worms!
Why is this better than genetically altered arachnid goats? For one thing, it appears to actually work. Silkworms are little thread-pumping factories, and have been working that gig steadily for a couple thousand years now, give or take. By introducing gene segments from spiders, the biologists were able to breed worms that generate silk at an industrially useful pace. The silk is only around 80% as strong as true spider silk, but that's plenty. We'll be safely firing weapons at one another in comfortable, linen-like armor in no time.
Kind of begs the question of why we tried goats first, but whatever.
Still, if you aren't convinced that gene-doctored worms are particularly different from achieving the same results with goats, let us examine the two.
Skeletal system: No chitinous exoskeleton.
Can be squished: Yes.
Phonation: None. Slight noise of chewing white mulberry leaves, if room is very quiet.
Association with the Dark Lord of Hell: Minimal/none.
Common reaction: "Well hey there, little guy!"
What to do in case of uprising: Take time, examine options.
Skeletal system: Vertebrate, rigid, augmented with horns.
Can be squished: Not really.
Phonation: Creepy bleating that sounds eerily like a person making goat noises.
Association with the Dark Lord of Hell: Constant.
Common reaction: "Well hey th— WHAT THE CHRIST??"
What to do in case of uprising: Completely fucked.
In the interest of full disclose, there's one slight mitigating factor worth mentioning. The silkworms that produce spider silk? Yeah, thing is, they uh ... have a distinguishing characteristic that may cause a tiny bit of trepidation. As Wired points out, "Not all the embryos ended up expressing the spider DNA. To make sure they knew which worms were transgenic, the researchers attached a gene for red fluorescent protein to the spider DNA, ensuring all the mutants had glowing red eyes. The researchers then bred those caterpillars to raise a stable colony of spider-silk-spinning silkworms."
Glowing red eyes?
You're killing me here, science. You're just killing me.