Last week the folks at NASA made a huge splash by declaring "the definition of life has just expanded" when researchers discovered a bacteria that could live while absorbing arsenic, a substance normally toxic to life. The resulting news stories were widespread and immediate, most of the stories including the term "new life."
So, what happened here? How did we get this reaction in the media of "new life" being discovered? Why such a big press conference with several scientists and reporters from all over the world in attendance?
It could simply be that NASA has learned about a game that's been ongoing for well over a decade… This game, the use of media to move public perceptions in regard to science, has been occupied by only one player until now–the anti-science crowd, looking to thwart the perception that scientific information is reliable and necessary.