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Mystery of the Left-Handed Proteins: Solved?

Some molecules come in left- and right-handed forms that are mirror images of each other.  All biological proteins are composed of only left-handed amino acids.  How this could have come about in a primordial soup has long been a puzzle to origin-of-life researchers, since both L (levo, left-handed) and D (dextro, right-handed) forms react indiscriminately.  […]

NASA-Ames Gives Darwin Credit for Antenna Design Project

A press release from NASA-Ames Research Center claims, “NASA ‘Evolutionary’ Software Automatically Designs Antenna.”  Using artificial intelligence software, their approach converged on the best design.  The article explains: “The AI software examined millions of potential antenna designs before settling on a final one,” said project lead Jason Lohn, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, […]

Gene Regulation: When Nonsense Makes Perfect Sense

Nature June 31 reports on another use for “junk DNA.”  A portion of previously-considered “nonsense” genetic code, which does not produce a protein as does a gene, nevertheless has an important role: it regulates the expression of the neighboring gene.  This opens a whole new realm of function for portions of our genetic material that […]

Young Planet Around Young Star Claimed

A star estimated to be one million years old already has a planet in orbit around it, the Spitzer Space Telescope (Hubble’s counterpart for infrared astronomy) has found.  Astrobiology Magazine says this challenges old theories.  Alan Boss (Carnegie Institute) thinks this supports his disk-instability model for planetary formation, in which gas giants can form quickly, […]

Cell Requires Two Keys to Let Cargo Pass

For high-security environments, guards sometimes require two independent authentication methods.  Before humans came up with this trick, the cells in their bodies were already using it.  Itoh and Camilli explain in the May 13 issue of Nature:1 Our cells contain a series of distinct compartments that do different jobs and have different properties.  The membranes […]

Former “Junk DNA” Now Considered Essential

The term “junk DNA” seems to be fading with each new discovery.  Helen Pearson, reporting for Nature Science Update, leads with the line “‘Junk’ DNA reveals vital role: Inscrutable genetic sequences seem indispensable.”  They don’t know what it does yet, but the assumption is it must be important for evolution to hang onto it for […]

Science Bashes I.D.

The Intelligent Design movement took another lashing by the journal Science,1 in the form of three book reviews by Steve Olson, a Washington DC area science writer.  Olsen reviewed one pro-ID book, Darwin, Design and Public Education by John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, and two anti-ID books, God, the Devil and Darwin by […]

Origin-of-Life Researcher Leslie Orgel Interviewed

The May 4 issue of Current Biology1 contains an interview with organic chemist Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute, who in 1974 published the book The Origin of Life on Earth with Stanley Miller of spark-discharge fame (see 05/02/2003 and 10/31/2002 headlines).  He considers his biggest mistake not thinking of the RNA World scenario first […]

Minimal Cell Modeled in Computer

“The basic design rules relating the regulation of cellular function to genomic structure is of broad interest,” begin three Cornell microbiologists writing in PNAS,1 and so they have turned their attention to the smallest theoretical living cell: A �minimal cell� is a hypothetical cell possessing the minimum functions required for sustained growth and reproduction in […]

SETI Researcher Analyzes Language Mathematically

Space.com had a story April 22 about Dr. Laurance Doyle, who studies non-human communication with information theory.  The article is mostly about his study of whale and dolphin signaling, but mentions how information theory is related to the intelligence of the communicating entities: Doyle’s team uses statistical tools from a field known as “information theory” […]

Eugenics Documentary Opens at Holocaust Museum

Michael Ollove at the Baltimore Sun reports on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum entitled Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.  The exhibit shows a 1937 Nazi propaganda film that invokes the law of natural selection as support for weeding out the unfit.  Ollove writes, The narrator declares that “we humans have sinned […]

Fake Darwinism Created by Intelligent Design

Scientists have created enzymes with enhanced ability to select between left- and right-handed molecules, using an “evolutionary” process, claims Manfred Reetz in a Perspective article in PNAS:1 A fundamentally new approach to asymmetric catalysis in organic chemistry is described based on the in vitro evolution of enantioselective enzymes.  It comprises the appropriate combination of gene […]

Articles

The cover story of World Magazine for April 3 is a series of prophetic articles for the Year 2025, called “Darwin’s Meltdown: Intelligent Design scientists … ponder a future free from the dogma of evolution.”  Looking back on how and why Darwinism declined into the “dustbin of discarded ideologies”, four intelligent design leaders, Phillip E. […]

Swamp Gas Found on Mars

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter has confirmed earlier detections of methane in the Martian atmosphere, according to the BBC News.  Because methane could only exist in the atmosphere for a few hundred years, there must be a source that replenishes it.  Two sources have been proposed: active volcanos, or living organisms.  The BBC […]

Privileged Planet Website Opens

A website featuring a new book by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet, has opened.  The subtitle of the book is How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery.  The authors take issue with pessimistic views, such as those of Steven Weinberg and Carl Sagan, that our planet is “pointless” or […]
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