Recently, scientists announced they had trained bacteria to eat arsenic. It caused a furor because these bacteria were supposedly living without one of the so-called basic building blocks of life.

This led scientists to come to the conclusion that life on other planets might not resemble life on Earth.

And I’m thinking, O RLY?

Why is this such a novel idea?

Are we really so narrow-minded as to assume that any and all life must develop in the same manner as it has here?

Personally, I blame Star Trek.

Now I really enjoy the show, but it has always frustrated me that nearly every single alien life form depicted is very human-like. The aliens are so human as to be completely compatible with human technologies. Even going so far as to be capable of breeding with humans.

I can understand the reasons the show would do this. It’s much easier (and less expensive) to put pointy prosthetics on the ears of a human actor than to create a truly unique life form.

But given the unimaginable size of the universe and the probable existence of innumerable planets, and given the fact that most planets probably have conditions different than Earth’s; I would imagine it will turn out that life comes in an incredible variety.