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Boastful Origin-of-Life Claims Conceal Contradictions
November 14, 2017
The latest speculations about life’s origins always overlook the most essential component: the origin of biological information. Suggestive catch-phrases are no substitute for demonstration. Evolutionary scientists employ stock phrases like “missing link” and “RNA world” and “prebiotic soup” that conceal, rather than illuminate, the actual chemical problems getting from molecules to life. The so-called “building […]
Cells Optimize Their Tasks
December 28, 2011
The key to design in manufacturing is optimization – hitting the “sweet spot” between competing interests. It’s not always possible to have all the elements of a product be ideal. A laptop computer, for instance, can’t have an extra-large monitor and simultaneously have long battery life and compact design. A muscle car cannot be expected to have the best gas mileage. In the heyday of “faster, better, cheaper” spacecraft, engineers often joked, “pick any two.” In the same way, living cells have to optimize their operations. A couple of recent papers explore how they find that sweet spot.