VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Dream On, Astrobiology

An astrobiologist at Open University (UK) has classified habitable worlds into four types, even though only one of them is known to have life.  Astrobiology Magazine reported the list by Jan Hendrik Bredeh?ft: earth-like, Mars-like, Venus-like and water-worlds.  After considering all the facts, Bredeh?ft says our best bet to find extraterrestrial ecosystems is to hunt […]

Which Evolution Should Be Taught?

Two articles in Scientific American’s cover feature on evolution in preparation for Darwin Day (12/15/2008, 12/16/2008) quoted a favorite line by Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”  Assuming a teacher or textbook writer wants to illustrate how true this proverb is, which evolutionary proposal should be presented?  Recent articles […]

Another Attempt to Explain Life’s Handedness

Life uses only single-handed (homochiral) molecules for proteins and DNA.  How that came about when mixtures of life’s building blocks contain equal amounts of both hands is a puzzle that confounds origin-of-life research.  Science Daily reported on new studies at the Argonne National Laboratory that show that molecules in space on a magnetic substrate exposed […]

Poison Planet Was Life’s Training Ground

Navy Seals go through “Hell Week” in their training to become warriors.  The radical hardships they endure help prepare them for missions that will call on their deepest resources of courage and determination.  These men of the elite special forces also become experts in dealing with explosives.  Can molecules do the same, with a little […]

Scientists Marvel at Enzyme Efficiency

Many chemical reactions occur from simple collisions.  One atom may have spare electrons, another may need them.  Attracted by each other’s valences, the atoms collide and bonds form.  Not so with biological enzymes: these molecular machines owe their efficiency to their three-dimensional shapes.  Made up of hundreds of amino acids, enzymes have “active sites” where […]

Serving Up Life on the Rocks with a Twist

We’ve heard theories life arose in a primeval soup, around hot deep-sea vents, around volcanoes and other hot spots; why would anyone consider the origin of life in ice?  A scientist in Spain has suggested life may have started in ice.  The title to the Science Daily write-up finds this to be the ultimate divination: […]

FrankenTitan Comes to Life

There’s electricity at Titan, the large moon of Saturn.  That can only mean one thing: life!  “Electricity Found on Saturn Moon–Could It Spark Life?” asked a headline on National Geographic News by Rebecca Carroll.  Visions of spark discharge tubes in a mad scientist’s lab arise in the imagination.  “Recently identified electrical activity on Saturn’s largest […]

The Life and Death of Oxygen

The oxygen in our atmosphere has the energy equivalent of 20 thousand billion billion hydrogen bombs.  To maintain the oxygen level in our atmosphere, that amount of energy would have to be spent in manufacturing molecular oxygen every 4 million years (a thousandth the assumed age of the earth).     Now that we have […]

Deep Life Is Right at Home in Total Darkness

It seems every year scientists find organisms thriving in environments thought too inhospitable for life.  A new word was coined for these organisms: extremophiles – lovers of the extreme.  Two recent discoveries push the envelope of extreme environments almost to the deep limit. Pressurized fish:  The bottoms of the deep ocean trenches of the Pacific […]

The Prevolution of Evolution: Life Marches In

There’s a new word preceding the E word evolution.  Two Harvard scientists have made up a new word, prevolution, to describe a supposed stage before replication when natural selection was helping evolution evolve.  What does prevolution act on?  Simple, silly: prelife.     Martin Nowak and Hisashi Ohtsuki titled their paper in PNAS, “Prevolutionary dynamics […]

Are You Too Dumb to Understand Evolution?

Astrobiologist David Deamer believes that life can spontaneously emerge without design, but he thinks lay people are too uneducated to understand how this is possible, so he gives them the watered-down version of Darwin’s natural selection instead, which he knows is inadequate to explain the complexity of life.  That’s what he seemed to be telling […]

Life in Space: Follow the Hot Water, not the Hot Air

Planetary scientists have their eyes and instruments on regions of hot water, but speculating too dogmatically about life in space could get you in hot water yourself.     Simon Klatterhorn (geologist, U of Idaho) is mesmerized by the possibility of life at Europa, Jupiter’s ice-crusted oceanic moon.  In an interview by Science Daily, he […]

Phoenix Did NOT Find Mars Life

A media snafu has NASA spokespersons rushing to deny that life has been found on Mars, reported Space.com.  For example, Live Science reporter Leonard David said that the White House has been alerted to the potential for new information about life on Mars based on findings from the Phoenix Lander.  The apparent secrecy has teased […]

Gems and Hot Ideas About Life’s Origin

It seems that origin-of-life speculations are constantly looking for new plot lines.  PhysOrg published a new idea that life started on diamonds.  Yes, “Diamonds may have been life”s best friend on primordial Earth,” it began, raising the interesting question whether friendship was a concept before consciousness emerged.  Since diamonds are thought to be among the […]

Why Academic Freedom Is Dangerous

Barbara Forrest has a tough case on her hands.  The veteran creationist-fighter has to convince the people of Louisiana that they did a bad thing by passing the Academic Freedom Bill, because academic freedom when it comes to discussing intelligent design and evolution is dangerous (cf. 05/12/2008, bullet 3).  The bill passed by 94-3 in […]
Page 20 of 29« First...10...16171819202122232425...Last »
All Posts by Date