- The precursor chemistry of life better matches the chemistry of volcanic vent emissions than the chemistry of the ocean.
- The study challenges current theories of where life began.
- The finding has implications in the search for life beyond Earth as well.
Life may have gotten its start inland, inside ponds of volcanic condensate, not in the oceans.
Modern life is more chemically compatible with conditions in venting geothermal fields, such as Yellowstone National Park, than in the ocean, even a primitive ocean, new analysis shows. The finding challenges a widely accepted theory that modern life began in a marine environment.
The study, led by biophysicist Armen Mulkidjanian with Osnabruck University in Germany, suggests life evolved inside cooled inland ponds formed from condensation from volcanic activity deep inside the Earth. Life later would have spread into the oceans.
Stoking scientists’ interest in the chemical origins of life is a long-standing puzzle about why it has such high amounts of potassium, relative to the amounts of sodium.
“The basic question is whether the observed high potassium-sodium ratio reflect the historical environment in which life originated or underwent early evolution, or instead reflects some underlying chemical necessity, such as better functioning of certain cellular components, such as RNA or protein enzymes in a high potassium environment,” Harvard Medical School biologist Jack Szostak wrote in an email to Discovery News.
The new research provides a possible explanation for the potassium-sodium mismatch. Scientists say the composition of inorganic ions in all modern cells matches the chemistry of geothermal vapor condensate — not the ocean.
If this vapor condensed into ponds filled with carbon, nitrogen, phosphate and other building blocks for life, the environment would have been a natural starting point for cells to evolve biochemical processes, the scientists say.
In contrast, water of the early oceans should have contained 40 times more sodium than potassium, among other conditions not conducive to the origin of the first cells, Mulkidjanian wrote in an email to Discovery News.
Being a professional athlete is the highest-paid profession, especially baseball. Being a surgeon is the best-paying profession requiring college.- Provided by The World Almanac 2012
This video shows the following process in reverse slow motion: I spent over 4 hrs. placing 200 tiny white squares at specific spots on this checkered pattern. The spots I placed them at cause us to see the pattern as being warped inward because our eyes/brains pick them up as visual cues. We can’t help but “connect the dots”, which lead inward toward the center, and that skews our perception of the reality of the parallel pattern. Then I blew them off the pattern to show that it is in fact parallel. Watching it slowly in reverse shows the effect of the illusion as it’s skewing our perception.
In a society obsessed with sex, it’s hard if you have no sexual desire at all. Some are searching for a new form of intimacy
“OK,” writes Annette, in an introductory email: “I am 47 but look younger, probably because I take good care of myself and also do not have the stress of a husband and kids.” At first glance it reads like the “describe yourself” section of a dating site, which is ironic, considering that Annette is one of several people responding to my search for case studies on a forum for people who are asexual. That is, people who have little to no interest in sex. “I live in a dull suburb in Minnesota and right now I’m eating lunch (and typing) at the law firm where I work as a paralegal. My job makes me happy to be asexual, as I see all the divorce cases and what really goes on. Yeah, really – the crap that is going on in the suburbs: her husband left her for his boyfriend, stuff like that.”
Annette writes in the breathless, self-assured style of any typical, busy American too pushed for time to mince their words. Life as an asexual person in the suburbs has thrown her some curveballs, like the woman at her local church group who prayed she would find a husband, chanting: “Saint Anne! Saint Anne! Find her a man!” Or the time a relative, apparently perplexed by Annette’s perpetual singledom, secretly signed her up to a dating agency. She’s still getting newsletters from the company years later.
Kids Not Active Enough Even with “Active” Video Games
In recent decades, people have become increasingly sedentary, trading sports and other activities for TV, video games, and computers. When so-called active video games systems, like Nintendo’s Wii, entered the market several years ago, it was hoped they would encourage kids to get more exercise. However, a new study finds that kids who play Wii games are just as sedentary as those who play inactive video games. While researchers admit that the Wii may still provide some health benefit over totally sedentary screen time, experts maintain that these sorts of games are no replacement for active, outdoor play. More …
After that receipt allegedly attributed to a cheapskate banker with a disdain for the 99% began to make the rounds, The Smoking Gun thought it smelled a rat, so it picked up the phone and called True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach and inquired after the veracity of the bill.
Turns out, it’s not so much real as not real in the slightest.
According to a restaurant spox, the receipt has been quite heavily doctored. The original total, said Jami Reagan, was $33.54, not $133.54, and the tip was a generous $7 and change.
As you might have guessed, the incendiary “get a real job” was not scribbled on the original statement either.
As for “Future Ex Banker” — the banker’s alleged subordinate and the person responsible for bringing the receipt to the Internet’s attention — well, they’ve disappeared without a trace.
Could the restaurant be covering for the banker? Could “Future Ex Banker” have gone into hiding for fear of being unmasked and subsequently castigated by their superiors? Or perhaps, as Occam’s razor dictates, this is merely just another Internet hoax in a long list of Internet hoaxes.
DuPont Scientist Wallace Carothers Invents Nylon (This Day in 1935)
Though his struggles with mental illness made him initially reject a lucrative job with DuPont, chemist Wallace Carothers accepted the offer in the late 1920s and enjoyed much success there. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the invention of nylon, which rapidly gained widespread use in an array of products. First used to make toothbrush bristles, nylon was soon replacing silk in the parachutes and flak vests of American WWII combatants and in women’s stockings. How did nylon get its name? More…
Neanderthals were already on the verge of extinction in Europe by the time modern humans arrived on the scene, a study suggests.
DNA analysis suggests most Neanderthals in western Europe died out as early as 50,000 years ago – thousands of years before our own species appeared.
A small group of Neanderthals then recolonised parts of Europe, surviving for 10,000 years before vanishing.
The work is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
An international team of researchers studied the variation, or diversity, in mitochondrial DNA extracted from the bones of 13 Neanderthals.
This type of genetic information is passed down on the maternal line; because cells contain multiple copies of the mitochondrial genome, this DNA is easier to extract from ancient remains than the DNA found in the nuclei of cells.
The fossil specimens came from Europe and Asia and span a time period ranging from 100,000 years ago to about 35,000 years ago.
The scientists found that west European fossils with ages older than 48,000 years, along with Neanderthal specimens from Asia, showed considerable genetic variation.
Hitler’s army thundered through Europe from 1939 to 1945 and brought needless death and destruction to the continent.
What was it like to serve in this army? To conduct one of the bloodiest wars in history? To occupy half of Europe and yet to suffer total defeat?
This five-part portrait provides long-awaited answers and sheds light on the Wehrmacht’s complex bonds of loyalty, conscience and honor.
The thought-provoking story of an army’s evolution from defense troops to military force to exterminating power.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 3 hours, 50 minutes)
Today has been a very big day for WikiLeaks. It just released 500 million internal documents stolen from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, allegedly obtained by hacktivist collective Anonymous in December. This is huge; it’s the first time Anonymous has ever cooperated with an aboveground entity, lending an unprecedented amount of political legitimacy to the often inscrutable group. But why? What do these strange bedfellows have to gain from collaboration? With this new collaboration, Anonymous has obtained new credibility, and WikiLeaks has obtained a hugely valuable new source. This potentially powerful alliance could point to the future of the leak economy, and this awkward symbiosis provides each party with exactly what they need to move forward. A new age of transparency activism may have just begun.
In the past, Julian Assange and other spokespeople at WikiLeaks have subtly distanced themselves from Anonymous as though it were an annoying little brother. WikiLeaks at least tries to operate within various global laws and seems to want nothing to do with a brand of hacktivism that’s also responsible for flooding Facebook with violent hardcore pornography, among other unsavory activities.
But this move comes at a good time for WikiLeaks. The organization has been brought to the brink of collapse over the last year due to internal strife and ever-rising legal bills. More broadly, WikiLeaks is a problematic system for acquiring and publishing leaks. It’s vulnerable to attacks from many sides: “patriotic” rival hackers and terrorists, legal attacks from governments, militaries and corporations. Perhaps worst of all, it has promoted the celebrity of its leader, Julian Assange, to the point where the focus of the media is no longer on the leaks themselves, but on the dramatic narrative of the organization’s most famous face.
10 greatest robberies in history
Many men probably dreamt at least once that they will be involved in a spectacular robbery, have a lot of money and enjoy the rest of their lives. Fortunately, most of us smart enough not to get involved in something like that. However, there are those who are not. The only criterion to enter this list is that the robbers fled with the money and enjoyed in it at least for a while. All those who were caught in the act of robbery, will not be included here. As long as there is money, priceless works of art, and jewelry you can be sure that someone will try to get it illegally. The value of stolen things is expressed in dollars, and for an older robbery we tried to roughly calculate today’s value of the booty. It may sound unbelievable, but during these 10 robberies, not one person was killed! That can be interpreted as a sign of true professionalism.
Mole-rats’ secret can help brain survive in oxygen scarcity .
The Girl on the Bridge
The Aurora Bridge has been the Northwest’s most notorious suicide site for 80 years. Finally one man fought to erect a fence to deter more fatal falls. But the plan was stalled. What unfolded was a race to save one last jumper.
THE LAST THING KAY SAID on the phone a little before midnight was unsettling enough—“Bryan, I love you. I got to go. It was nice to know you”—but now she wouldn’t answer her cell. She wasn’t in her Queen Anne apartment. She wasn’t in the park they’d strolled through hand in hand days earlier. He didn’t know where she was, he just knew he had to find her.
Finally around 1:30am, Sunday, January 16, 2011, after pounding on his girlfriend’s door, after multiple calls went straight to voice mail, Bryan Wilson, a 29-year-old sustainable-business consultant, dialed 911.
A Seattle police cruiser met him at the corner of Queen Anne Avenue and Roy minutes later. “Do you have any reason to believe she might hurt herself or others?” asked officer Kurt Alstrin. “Yes,” Bryan said. “She’s severely depressed.”
Soon every police radio in Seattle crackled with the name. Kaylan Rose Campbell, 25 years old. Green eyes. Red or auburn hair. Five feet eight inches tall.
What the radio message couldn’t convey was that few people who knew Kay had ever met anyone more intelligent. Or more beautiful. That she dabbled in six languages and had traveled halfway around the globe by the time she was 20. That she could hear any tune once and play it back on a keyboard. That she laughed so loud you could feel it in your spine.
London-based oil executive linked to 9/11 hijackers….
A Saudi Arabian accused of associating with several of the September 11 hijackers and who disappeared from his home in the United States a few weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, is in London working for his country’s state oil company.
Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud left three cars at their luxurious home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida — one of them new — and flew to Saudi Arabia in August 2001. The refrigerator was full of food; furniture and clothing were left behind; and the swimming pool water was still circulating.
Security records of cars passing through a checkpoint at the Prestancia gated community indicated that Mr al-Hijji’s home, 4224 Escondito Circle, had been visited a number of times by Mohamed Atta, the leader of the
19-strong hijack team, who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in 2001.
The logs also indicated that Marwan Al-Shehhi, who crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower, and Ziad Jarrah, who was at the controls of United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, had visited the house.
All three men had trained to fly at Venice Airport, which is 19 miles from Sarasota.