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A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origin of Life

A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origin of Life
Why does life exist? Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Kristian Peters Cells from the moss Plagiomnium affine with visible chloroplasts, organelles that conduct photosynthesis by capturing sunlight. “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said. England’s theory is meant to underlie, rather than replace, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, which provides a powerful description of life at the level of genes and populations. England’s theoretical results are generally considered valid. Related:  Life, Beginnings, & ComminglinglearningInteresting

Genome Analysis Links Kennewick Man to Native Americans For about 9,000 years, his bones lay entombed in earth, an unknown record of early life in the Americas. But since a chance find in the 1990s, the remains have been at the nexus of a scientific and political firestorm over the ancestry of this ancient individual. Now, the first genome analysis of Kennewick Man, or “the wise one”, is adding fresh fuel to the flame. Contrary to previous results based on the size and shape of the skeleton, the DNA analysis, published today in Nature, suggests that Kennewick Man is more closely related to modern Native Americans than any other population of modern humans. “We will never be able to say what population, what individual in the Americas, is most closely related to [Kennewick Man] simply because most Native Americans haven’t been sequenced,” says Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author on the study. Because the bones were discovered on federal land, they fell into the hands of the U.S.

100 Amazing How-To Sites to Teach Yourself Anything Learning new skills and expanding your knowledge doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. There are loads of free resources on the Web that can help you find instructional videos, tutorials and classes to learn a wide variety of skills from fixing basic car problems to speaking another language. With 100 sites to choose from, you’re bound to find something here that will help you learn just about anything you could want. General Tutorials These sites offer a wide range of tutorials and videos. Around the House Want to know how to fix that broken cabinet or hang up some great wallpaper? Business and Management If you feel like you’re seriously lacking on business and management skills at work, no need to worry. KnowThis? Language and Writing Those who want to learn a new language, improve their writing skills or just learn more about literature will be well-served by these instructional sites. Technology These tech-focused sites offer help to both technophiles and beginners alike. Math S.O.S.

The Brain on Architecture Looking at buildings designed for purposes of contemplation—like museums, churches, and libraries—may have positive measurable effects on mental state. At a particular moment during every tour of Georgetown’s campus, it becomes necessary for the student guide to acknowledge the singular blight in an otherwise idyllic environment. “Lauinger Library was designed to be a modern abstraction of Healy Hall”: a sentence that inevitably trails off with an apologetic shrug, inviting the crowd to arrive at their own conclusions about how well it turned out. Much of the student population would likely agree that the library’s menacing figure on the quad is nothing short of soul-crushing. New research conducted by a team of architects and neuroscientists suggests that architecture may indeed affect mental states, although they choose to focus on the positive. I spoke with Dr.

How Magic Mushrooms Change Your Brain Psilocybin is a chemical found in magic mushrooms that causes the user to experience a sensory overload of saturated colors and patterns. Recent research has found that this effect happens because the brain becomes “hyperconnected” and allows for increased communication between different regions. It is hoped that this ability can be manipulated in order to manufacture drugs to treat neurological conditions. The paper was published in an open access format in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface with Giovanni Petri of Italy’s ISI Foundation serving as lead author. The chemical works by binding the same receptors in the brain as the neurotransmitter serotonin. This allows the drug to alter mood. Though previous research surmised that psilocybin decreased brain activity, the current study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see what was really going on. Simplified illustration of the connections tracked while receiving the placebo (a) and the psilocybin (b).

theconversation It may not have quite have the same wow factor as a skull, but the discovery of a pinkie bone that is more than 1.8 million years old may help us solve the puzzle of stone-tool use among our early ancestors. The bone, which is the earliest modern human-like finger bone ever found, could come from a number of species that were around at the time, including Homo erectus. The international research team that made the discovery spent hours patiently excavating under the punishing Tanzanian sun at the famous Olduvai Gorge site. And luckily, they didn’t come away empty-handed. The finger bone they found is remarkably similar to those of modern humans, suggesting the ancestry of the modern hand may be much older than we thought. The hand that rocks the evolutionary cradle Our fingers have three bones, known as phalanges; the tip, the middle, and the basal one that connects to the bones of the hand at the knuckle. Meet the candidates

i heart intelligence Top 40 Useful Sites To Learn New Skills You just have to know where to look. Sure, you can use Google, Yahoo, or Bing to search for sites where you can learn new skills , but I figured I’d save you some time.Here are the top 40 sites I have personally used over the last few years when I want to learn something new. Here are the top 40 sites I have personally used over the last few years when I want to learn something new. Hack a Day – Hack a Day serves up fresh hacks (short tutorials) every day from around the web and one in-depth ‘How-To hack’ guide each week. eHow – eHow is an online community dedicated to providing visitors the ability to research, share, and discuss solutions and tips for completing day-to-day tasks and projects. Wired How-To Wiki – Collaborate with Wired editors and help them build their extensive library of projects, hacks, tricks and tips. MAKE Magazine – Brings the do-it-yourself (DIY) mindset to all of the technology in your life. 5min Life Videopedia – Lot’s of great tutorials and DIY videos.

25 Greatest Austin Bands of All Time | Arts+Labor Magazine First a word about the elephant not in this room. I love the late Doug Sahm, the musician who best epitomized the Austin scene because he grew up in clubs and could play it all, but you won’t find his name in this list because his two greatest bands–the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados–were based in San Antonio, not Austin. This is a ranking of bands, not solo artists and the musicians who backed them up, so although Sahm, guitar whiz Eric Johnson, songwriter Butch Hancock, and other true Austin trailblazers fronted some terrific groups, none made this 25-band salute. While ranking these bands, innovation was an important consideration, as was national prominence. It’s different here when it comes to music. So there was a lot to mull. Great bands are the best thing about Austin and lousy bands are down there with traffic. 1. A brother and sister who’ve been playing together for 77 years. 2. 13th Floor Elevators 3. “Number 3? 4. 5. New York had Sonic Youth. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

The Multiverse’s ‘Measure Problem’ If modern physics is to be believed, we shouldn’t be here. The meager dose of energy infusing empty space, which at higher levels would rip the cosmos apart, is a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times tinier than theory predicts. And the minuscule mass of the Higgs boson, whose relative smallness allows big structures such as galaxies and humans to form, falls roughly 100 quadrillion times short of expectations. To account for our incredible luck, leading cosmologists like Alan Guth and Stephen Hawking envision our universe as one of countless bubbles in an eternally frothing sea. Many physicists loathe the multiverse hypothesis, deeming it a cop-out of infinite proportions. The problem remains how to test the hypothesis. But infinity sabotages statistical analysis. Guth, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, resorts to freaks of nature to pose this “measure problem.” Eternal Inflation

New evidence emerges on the origins of life In the beginning, there were simple chemicals. And they produced amino acids that eventually became the proteins necessary to create single cells. And the single cells became plants and animals. Recent research is revealing how the primordial soup created the amino acid building blocks, and there is widespread scientific consensus on the evolution from the first cell into plants and animals. "Our work shows that the close linkage between the physical properties of amino acids, the genetic code, and protein folding was likely essential from the beginning, long before large, sophisticated molecules arrived on the scene," said Carter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine. Wolfenden and Carter argue that RNA did not work alone; in fact, it was no more likely that RNA catalyzed peptide formation than it was for peptides to catalyze RNA formation. The finding adds a new layer to the story of how life evolved billions of years ago. Its name was LUCA "Dr.

Empires and slave-trading left their mark on our genes - health - 13 February 2014 Major episodes in history like the rise and fall of the Mongol empire have left indelible marks on our genes. A new genetic study of people alive today shows how our ancestors interbred over the past 4000 years, and links these events to the appearance of empires. Garrett Hellenthal of University College London and colleagues have pinpointed the impacts of historical migrations and invasions on our DNA. As well as identifying the imprint of well-known mixing episodes like the Arab slave trade, they have found clues to unknown mixing events, including people who may be the descendants of Alexander the Great's army. If history records that groups of people once met and interbred, geneticists can use the DNA of modern peoples to work out when it most likely happened or which populations are descended from that event. Now Hellenthal has developed a genetic technique that independently identifies the date of interbreeding and the groups involved. Genetic signature More From New Scientist

A color-coded map of the world’s most and least emotional countries By Max Fisher November 28, 2012 A map of the world's countries by most and least emotional. Click to enlarge. (Max Fisher) Since 2009, the Gallup polling firm has surveyed people in 150 countries and territories on, among other things, their daily emotional experience. Their survey asks five questions, meant to gauge whether the respondent felt significant positive or negative emotions the day prior to the survey. Gallup has tallied up the average "yes" responses from respondents in almost every country on Earth. Singapore is the least emotional country in the world. The Philippines is the world's most emotional country. Post-Soviet countries are consistently among the most stoic. People in the Americas are just exuberant. English- and Spanish-speaking societies tend to be highly emotional and happy. Africans are generally stoic, with some significant exceptions. The Middle East is not happy. What am I missing?