Election years are just the worst. As much as we all might enjoy watching the slow-motion train wreck that is the American political cycle, the country always manages to get weird when it comes time to elect a new figurehead from the scant choices our bipartisan (or is it reptilian?) overlords offer us every four years.
This year, the ghosts of America’s founding fathers might be showing their displeasure at the current political circus through a mysterious yet highly visible means. Many of the national monuments scattered throughout Washington D.C. have become covered in a strange slime, and scientists aren’t sure how to get rid of it.
The slime is what’s known as a biofilm, essentially made up of colonies of microorganisms. The slime is not the organisms themselves, but the chains of sugars, lipids, proteins, and DNA that bind individual microorganisms together.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. National Parks Service, parks service employees are still researching the slime. Gay Vietzke, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, stated that the NPS fully intends to do something about the mysterious biofilm once a solution can be found:
The increased presence of biofilm presents a new challenge in the care of memorials throughout the National Mall, particularly at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. We are continuing to study biofilm and research treatment methods, and look forward to restoring the dome to its original luster while ensuring its long-term preservation.
While the Jefferson Memorial is suffering from the worst case of the biofilm outbreak, other monuments and national treasures are affected as well, from tombstones in the hallowed Arlington National Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial.
Catherine Dewey, chief of resource management for National Mall and Memorial Parks, stated that while there is no known treatment method, the parks service is testing a variety of techniques to rid the nation’s capital of the slime invasion:
Treatment of biofilm is difficult, as there is no known permanent method for removing it, and we have to ensure that any treatment must not do further damage to the soft marble of the memorial nor encourage further growth. We are testing a variety of treatment techniques to find the option that is least damaging to the stone, safe for the environment and visitors, and cost effective.
Well, slime or no slime, at least I know who I’m voting for: