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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Ecosystems And Web Sites by Ben Jones

A science question & general check-in.

This is really, really cool. (Link stolen shamelessly from Riley.)

Except tell me, you science experts – how does an ecosystem with “fantastic biodiversity” survive for five million years without any direct contact with the sun or some similar primary energy source? Am I missing something here?

I told you guys – I’m not a science kid. Hook me up.

In other news, I’ve begun my big summer project – redesigning the admissions web site. The new site is going to be so awesome. Just you wait and see. :-)

How’s summer going for you folks?

30 responses to “Ecosystems And Web Sites”

  1. Christina says:

    WHOA. That is awesome. I want to go see the “new” creatures!! :-D (Even if they don’t have any eyes.)

    Anyway, I’d assume the life in the cave has evolved to no longer depend on sunlight energy but instead chemical energy.

    Summer’s going well. I still haven’t began the FPOP applications – can you pull some strings and get them to push back the deadline, Ben? wink I think we should have a pre-MIT trip to the beach sometime this summer. Everyone’s invited! How fun would that be!?

  2. Ben says:

    “…chemical energy…”

    I thought of geothermal too…

    But what’s at the bottom of the food chain? Plants can’t grow without sunlight. What are the no-eyed things eating down there?!?

  3. Ben says:

    You are SO right. Christina wins the prize!

    “Also found in the cave were bacteria that serve as the basic food source in the ecosystem.”

    http://www.playfuls.com/news_001136_Previously_Unknown_Prehistoric_Species_Discovered_In_Israel_Cave.html

  4. Christina says:

    Yay! I love good bacteria. :-D

  5. Eric Q '10 says:

    Yep, many kinds of bacteria are sustained by minerals (i.e. bare rock), and process them into substances usable by more advanced species.

  6. Nur says:

    Summer…well technically it’s not summer yet^_^, but down here in Maryland it’s pretty sunny and rainy. It alternates. I’m right now planning my grad/b-day party for this Sat.(YAY)

    Then I head up north for Interphase, then FPOP(In either bio, eecs, nuclear or mech), then orientation. ^_^ Yay..I’m busy

  7. Christina says:

    Lerh, I think your Hydrogen Sulphide hypothesis is correct. In the article, I remember reading that the man bent down to test the temperature of the “sulfuric” water.

  8. thekeri says:

    Bacteria had to be somewhere in that cave! We had a whole talk about stuff like this in my AP Bio class once. I was in heaven.

    Oh, yeah, my summer sucks. I’m still mostly broke and completely unemployed, since everyone seems to think that being 17 = being an incompetent fool.

    …Curse it.

  9. Lerh Feng says:

    Yes, Chemical Energy is almost certainly the source of energy to this ecosystem. They synthesize complex organic molecules using energy from exothermic reactions they can catalyze.

    According to my Biology textbook there’re some alternative routes to this energy:

    From Hydrogen Sulphide. This is rather like photosynthesis, except the Oxygen in Water’s replaced by Sulphur.

    CO2 + 2H2S –> (CH2O) + H2O + 2S

    Or else there could be nitrifying bacteria of the Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter type, which are everywhere in the Nitrogen Cycle

    2NH3 + 3O2 –> 2HNO2 + 2H2O (Nitrosomonas)

    2HNO2 + O2 –> 2HNO3 (Nitrobacter)

    Or else it could be Iron bacteria

    CuFeS2 + 2Fe(SO4) + 2H2O + 3O2 –> CuSO4 + 5FeSO4 + 2H2SO4

    I’d think nitrifying bacteria is out, since down there there shouldn’t be too much oxygen to work on. The other two might be the source, however.

  10. Anna says:

    Hi, do you happen to know when we find out if we got into a FPOP (pre-orientation program)? Or do you know where we can find out? Thanks.

  11. Anna says:

    Hi, do you know when we find out about admission to the FPOPs (pre-orientation programs)? Or do you know where we can find out? Thanks!

  12. JKim says:

    Kind of reminds you of hydrothermal vents, doesn’t it? A whole ecosystem being entirely self-sustaining like that. Sweet deal.

    And, my summer actually just started. It’s brilliant. But like Keri, also broke and unemployed. Bah!

  13. Christina says:

    Jess & Keri – are you two not getting monetary graduation gifts from aunts & uncles and whatnot? I feel like I never have to work again, lol.

  14. Ben says:

    Hey Anna,

    I’m not sure – unfortunately admissions isn’t involved in orientation. Write to [email protected] – they’ll definitely be able to give you an answer.

    -B

  15. Olga says:

    thekeri: I know how you feel, the best job I could get is selling knives =/

  16. Omar '10 says:

    Hey Ben,

    I’ve just been preparing since I’m getting to Cambridge the 24th because Interphase starts the 25th, so yeah, I’ll be working hard since summer smile

  17. thekeri says:

    Christina –

    I got graduation money in the form of a)cash that will keep me alive, fed, and afloat for the summer, and b)a Linens ‘N Things gift card for an exorbitant amount of money, which covers all of the stuff for my room for the next million years.

    Unfortunately, neither will help me eat next year. (And buy makeup from Sephora.)

    And Olga, you have no idea how close I came to that! Only the knives I was supposed to sell were all about $200 each. It seemed really immoral to cheat people into buying defective cutlery…

  18. Christian says:

    I’d be interested in seeing the new website. Good luck with that!

    Are you coding it yourself?

  19. Christina says:

    Nance has officially taken over your office.

    You better get back here.

  20. Christina says:

    “Yo yo yo, you’ve reached Jones’s Summer Home! Summer home and some are not!”

    …heard from your office, Ben.

  21. Daniel says:

    Any idea when that ’07 application will be online? The website just says “July”…

  22. Justine says:

    eek. I’m scared to let go of my admissions account. guess I’ll just have to bookmark this.

    How’ve you been, Ben?

  23. YG says:

    Dear Ben,

    I have a question. 4 years of high school math are recommended for applying to MIT. I’m going to be a senior next year and I have chosen a Java class. Due to scheduling problems, I will not be able to take Calculus or another Math class. At our school, Java counts as Math credit, but I was wondering if the lack of “real” math will be a problem.

    Thanks for your help.

  24. Christina says:

    hello, your site SUPERB.

  25. Christina says:

    Jess—Yes, I think that would be Brian Nance’s office. :-D

  26. JKim says:

    Christina – yeah, I got some, but not TOO much. I got a job at a bakery, though, so it’s all good.

    And hey, Ben, is there somewhere I can call to hear your summer home message? :D

  27. Shikhar says:

    Hi Ben,

    I had questions regarding transferring to MIT. I dont want any chances or anything but i just wanted to get a feel of what kind of an individual MIT really expects to admit…you know just so i am on track in college or maybe to get to know whether i really want to transfer to MIT or not. I am an international btw but will be studying in a US univ. Worcester Polytechnic Institute,Worcester to be exact..

  28. MMX says:

    Hi Ben. Long time no see? Please post something… I miss you!