back to article DARPA plans to end swine flu using Triffid drugs

Crazed US military boffins, their plans for the eradication of humanity in a machine-rebellion bloodbath at a stand, have adopted an alternative strategy. They plan now to develop a "plant-based production system", ostensibly for the harvest of valuable products beneficial to humanity - but which seems certain to unleash a …


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  1. Tzael

    It's obvious isn't it?

    "Emphasis should be placed on infrastructure requirements and design, as well as equipment needed for the growth, processing, purification and validation of products ..."

    They need to consult with some weed farmers...

  2. Tony Paulazzo


    you know, stop destroying the rain forest because the cure is probably already growing in there.

  3. Rebecca Putman

    Off to the pub

    Cheers - there's too many Humans on-planet anyway!

  4. David Webb


    I seem to recall that the triffids appeared after a meteor shower?

    A better parallel would be the T-Virus from Resident Evil probably.

  5. Solomon Grundy


    There is no need for "larger scale production" of any vaccine. The pharma industry deliberately keep production of certain items low in order to drive up prices. Just like the oil people - they can come explore new options by sucking on my &^*#.

  6. Chris Miller


    Ah yes, those terrifying mutant killers that can only be defeated by ... er, a pair of secateurs and a spray gun of sodium chlorate.

  7. ledmil
    Thumb Up


    And I, for one, welcome our new Triffid overlords!

  8. /dev/me

    Meanwhile, at DARPA HQ...

    Chairman: So now we have triffids, and man eating robots, and spiders the size of football stadiums. What else can we use to destroy the world?

    Member1: Tesla's Earth Shattering Deathray?

    Member2: Mutant Cyborg Ninja Army?

    Member3: Sharks with frikkin' lasers!

    Everyone: We already have that...

    Member3: Ok ... ehm ... Zombie Pirate Space Monkey?

    Everyone: Yes, that's it!

    Chairman: Ok, it's decided. Next project: Zombie Pirate Space Monkey! [cue lightning and thunder] [cue: evil laughter] Whoehahahaha

    It makes you wonder, do the people at DARPA have a huge pipe organ in their meeting room? I think they should.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    icon says it all

    .....Our new chlorophyll-based overlords.

    At least they will aware of what can happen if you meddle with nature.

  10. E 2

    No problem

    Humans have always modified their environment to make it more supporting. This is just more of the same.

  11. Byron in Miami

    Hyperbolize Much?

    So, the actual underlying point of the article is that DARPA is working on a way to synthesize vaccines for influenza using a plant based cultivator, rather than using the millions of chicken eggs that are currently used to make the vaccine. The possible advantage would be the ability to rapidly synthesize large quantities of vaccine, and keep up with viral mutations.

    e.g. - A possible way to save millions of people from pandemic influenza.

    For this, you pillory them with bad science fiction analogies? Please put your journalism degree back into the Cracker Jack © box where you found it...

  12. Pablo
    Dead Vulture


    That plan doesn't sound insane at all.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    This is as old as the book

    Pharma have been using GM plants for years to get drugs, the author should have paid more attention in school.


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Argh, seriously, screw you, Lewis

    I snortled coffee everywhere at the end. You're a bad man!

  15. Big Al


    "It's important to remember that very few of DARPA's ambitious plans... ever come to anything. But they only have to be (un)lucky once."

    That would have been the Internet then?

  16. Adrian Esdaile
    Thumb Up

    This is great news I have always wanted to fire one of those razor-disk-shooting triffid guns as seen in the Beeb series full of late 70's hairy survival types.

    Of course the old-fashioned shotty is good for both triffids and zombies, but the triffid guns looked pretty cool too.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "foolish scaremongering"

    Unfortunately, eco-hippie organic-food nuts have been using this against genetically engineered foods. Their fears have not and never will occur. Crops that have some subset of: grow in poor soil or harsher climates; require less water, fertilizer, or pesticide; are disease-resistant; and/or have a higher yield can be a huge benefit for developing countries.

    I must point out that science fiction has given us lasers, satellite communication, and space elevators, among other things, none of which have spectacularly backfired yet. Admittedly, a falling space elevator would be a catastrophic failure, but that hasn't happened so far.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Vegtable Overlords


  19. DJ 1

    Triffids - pah

    Cue the monster minds from 'Jayce and the Wheeled warriors'!!!

  20. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    May I be the first.... welcome our new vegetable overlords.

    Oh wait, we've been electing vegetables as overlords for a long time now

  21. Hermes

    Monday morning

    Plant's ,..Yawn, overlords ,..sigh.... you get the drift.

  22. Rob

    Are you sure?

    "...even lead to a new dark age of ignorance and poverty" we're already there!

  23. DZ-Jay

    As you said...

    >> "In real life, you sometimes get penicillin or radar or integrated circuits. But shh! Don't tell anyone."

    However, as you said, we only have to be unlucky once.


  24. Ray0x6

    Plants with feet

    i am a walking vegetable, today.

  25. MinionZero

    Pharmaceuticals in airtight room? ... most likely grown outside as usual.

    This news is actually kind of scary and not in a funny way. I have no problem with them re-engineering plants to make them manufacturer useful compounds etc.. but I have very big problems with them ever allowing them outside of an airtight rooms.

    Unfortunately allowing them outside of an airtight rooms is exactly what so called Pharmaceuticals aims to do and has done in the past so any news of massive growth of larger scale vaccine manufacturing capabilities, in this exploitation of plants is getting very scary. We are seriously messing with the balance of nature to let these things outside to intermix with other lifeforms and not in a funny sci-fi way. The (literally) growing amount of toxic mess they are creating is seriously scary and getting progressively worse.

    (Creatures feeding on the plants will be affected by Pharmaceuticals, which disrupts food chains, causing illness and death in food chains, adding serious pressure of risking even extinction of some species. Then we also have the very serious issue of cross pollinating, which has already been proven to occur, even when separated over large distances. That spreads the new genes far and wide and they keep growing. (Thereby also bypassing termination genes that also don't always work as advertised). If all that isn't bad enough, worst still is how microorganisms are affected. The new compounds change the evolutionary pressures on microorganisms plus we have the additional problem of microorganisms adapting by randomly incorporating these Farmaceutical genes. This in turn also affects food chains.

    The health implications for animals (including humans) caught up in this growing and spreading toxic waste is very serious and unlike a chemical spill, biomass literally grows and spreads. Plus after these plants have been grown in an area then normal crops cannot be grown (safely) in that same ground and even new Pharmaceuticals grown in the same ground risk mixing in with the waste from previous crops.

    I have no problem with airtight rooms being used, but they are not using airtight rooms of cost reasons. It would need huge airtight rooms. So without airtight rooms its cheap to grow just like any crop. This whole area of Pharmaceuticals is a nightmare in the making, ignorantly allowing new combinations of genes no one can comprehend all possibilities, hence it really is ignorance no matter how much they think they know, no one can know every combination created by allowing these inherently toxic crops to be freely grown and allowing it to spread in open air.

    But then big corporations like Monsanto's shareholders wouldn't like increases costs from airtight rooms.

    (Pirate Icon used in this case, as its near enough to toxic icon).

  26. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Special EMissions for Yin Yang Resolution of Angelic Devilish Work*

    "It makes you wonder, do the people at DARPA have a huge pipe organ in their meeting room? I think they should." .... By /dev/me Posted Sunday 12th July 2009 11:49 GMT

    Seconded, /dev/me, and one expects that they have and are mighty proud of IT. The Peace Pipe Organ is AIMighty Tool in Meeting Rooms for those Servering XXXXTra Curricular Terrestrial Space Duties aka ESPecial Missions.

    * The Removal of Sin from Vice for the Gift of Pure XSSXXXX and ITs Live Love Train Rides and InterNetional Journeys. .... and a Labour of Lust in Love when a Private Zombie Pirate Space Monkey Production.

    Not much is known about Blighty Boffin ReSearch other than it is consistently denied a Public Existence, which has Served it Well. It is remarkable what Swift Progress can be made, whenever there are no Obstacles Available, to Put in ITs Way.

  27. Rocket

    IF you see lights in the sky ...

    ... don't look!

  28. Eddy Ito

    Ahh Triffids

    Whether you have them steamed with a pinch of salt or braised in butter... all I can say is simply heaven. Oh and they truly add something special to mum's bangers and mash.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Re: foolish scaremongering

    "Their fears have not and never will occur. Crops that have some subset of: grow in poor soil or harsher climates; require less water, fertilizer, or pesticide; are disease-resistant; and/or have a higher yield can be a huge benefit for developing countries."

    Would you like some more Kool Aid? It's lovely isn't it.

    Don't forget to renew your seed licence this year, doesn't matter if the the GM pollen flew over from the farm next door, you're paying the licence fee now and that's the end of it.


  30. Luther Blissett


    The Unspeakable in Pursuit of the Inedible.

  31. Tony S

    @David Webb

    "I seem to recall that the triffids appeared after a meteor shower?"

    Sorry to be pedantic, but no! In the book (and the film, TV series), the triffids were being farmed before the meteor shower (from memory for bio oil). The meterors caused all of those people that saw it to go blind - never quite found that believable.

    I was also a bit sceptical of walking plants until I encountered a Russian Vine - bloody thing grew up the wall and in through the bathroom window in about 3 days.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    Don't be silly, all the biomass will be grown in huge spherical tanks......ooops! it's a Quatermass 2 scenario again :(

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