VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

“Fertile Imagination” Envisions Life on Titan

The dramatic landing of the Huygens Probe on Titan over a year ago (01/14/2005, 01/21/2005, 12/05/2005) is finally getting some overdue notice from the media.  The PBS science series NOVA just aired a new program on Cassini-Huygens, “Voyage to the Mystery Moon” (see your local PBS station for rebroadcast times), and Astronomy Magazine’s May 2006 […]

Reviewer Stunned by Author’s Handwaving

David Nicholls appears to have suffered whiplash from a line in a book he was reviewing in Science,1 Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane (Oxford, 2006).  Though he liked the book in general, he said this about Lane’s explanation for how the first cell got its power generator: The […]

Minimum Genome Doubles

How many genes does a bacterium need to live?  Evolutionists interested in the origin of life have been trying to determine the minimal genome for life.  Those estimates may have been way too low, say researchers from the University of Bath.  Though they did not supply a number, they estimate the required number of genes […]

Dry-Marsers Score Points

Those looking for water on Mars in hopes that life would grow in it had some setbacks this week.  National Geographic and Mars Daily reported on work by Gwendolyn Bart (U of Arizona) who found gullies on the moon similar to those on Mars thought to be formed by water.  Since the moon never had […]

Stromatolites Can Form By Non-Biological Processes

Exclusive  Stromatolites have been Exhibit A for stories of the rise of life on the early earth.  These column-shaped rocks found in Precambrian strata are usually assumed to be evidence of microbial mats that grew upward as sediment slowly accumulated on top of them.  Scene 1 is usually Shark’s Bay in Australia, where stromatolites form […]

The Astrobiology Sky Is Falling

Rocco Mancinelli (Principal Investigator, SETI Institute) made an impassioned plea on Space.com for continued funding of astrobiology projects, calling threatened funding cuts a “national disaster” if not reversed.  And what is astrobiology?  He defined it as “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.”  His reasons for keeping astrobiology […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Better Living Through Chemistry

Joel Achenbach (Washington Post) got a page in the March 2006 National Geographic.  His short piece on chemical evolution was juxtaposed (whether intentionally or not we do not know) against a news item on archaeology announcing the discovery of a new Dead Sea Scroll – the first found in 40 years – a fragment from […]

Life Didn’t Start on Hot Clay

Strike off one more proposal for the origin of life.  “Darwin’s warm pond theory tested,” announced the BBC News, but it was found wanting.     Origin of life researchers have long recognized the serious problem of concentrating organic molecules in a primordial soup such that they could interact and grow.  A popular ingredient in […]

SETI Tries to Stretch the Habitable Zone

Can life exist outside the circumstellar habitable zone, that ring of life around a star where the temperature is comfy?  “For more than 150 years,” Ker Than wrote for LiveScience, “…this zone has been defined as a narrow disk around a star where temperatures are moderate enough that water on the surface of a planet […]

Article: David Berlinski on the Origin of Life

David Berlinski has written a survey of the origin of life field in the Feb. 2006 issue of Commentary magazine.  He critiques whether origin-of-life research qualifies as an entry into “the model for what science should be.” This is a good article to gain background on a topic often discussed here at CEH.  You can […]

Minimal Cell More Complex Than Expected

Craig Venter’s lab has been working on an interesting project in theoretical biology: what is the minimum set of genes needed for life?  They have taken one of the simplest organisms, Mycoplasma genitalium, and knocked out genes to see which ones are essential and which are nonessential for viability.  (This is part of the “top […]

Astronomers See Poison Around Star, Think Life

The Spitzer Space Telescope discovered acetylene and hydrogen cyanide, two deadly gases, around a star.  Some astronomers got all excited and thought of the birth of life.  The title of a press release from Jet Propulsion Laboratory read, “Partial ingredients for DNA and protein found around star.”  The two carbon-containing substances were found in the […]

Don’t PNA in our OOL

Theories for the origin of life (OOL) are in a crisis, unable to imagine how something as complex as a replicating cell could come into existence. Could PNA do it?

SETI: Search for Educational Targets Inc.

SETI may be the laughingstock of Congress, refused funding since William Proxmire gave it his Golden Fleece Award in the 1980s, but privately it is moving apace.  The Science Channel gave it prominence in its weekly report Friday, visiting with pioneering signaler and listener Frank Drake.  It surveyed everything from the first humble attempts to […]

Extraterrestrials Likely to Be Unicellular

An AP story printed at HeraldNet jokes that extraterrestrial life probably won’t look like “the negligee-clad Number 6 from [Battlestar] Galactica, the television series that features a genocidal war between humans and their robot creations.”  Instead, according to the authors of a new book about extraterrestrial life, you would need a microscope to see it.  […]
All Posts by Date