All Blog Posts (93)

C. Elegans (nematodes) in Space?

I am a university student who might have an opportunity to join a team sending a small rocket into space and it contains a couple experiments, one of which will be a culture of C. elegans. I know a bit about c. elegans and that they are sent to space as models of simple life, but I was wondering if someone could point me towards more profound space research on them.

Does anyone know about the experiments involving Caenorhabditis Elegans in space and what research could be done…

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Added by Will Sharpless on February 23, 2017 at 11:51am — 1 Comment

A Teaching Resource for a Computational Framework of the Value of Information in Origin of Life Questions

Information plays a critical role in complex biological systems. Complex systems like immune systems and

ant colonies co-ordinate heterogeneous components in a decentralized fashion. How do these distributed

decentralized systems function? One key component is how these complex systems efficiently process

information. These complex systems have an architecture for integrating and processing information coming…

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Added by soumya banerjee on December 29, 2016 at 12:42pm — No Comments

Oldest Eukaryotic body fossil

Eukaryotic organisms can be easily recognized in living cell by nucleus and mitochondria. However their recognition in fossils records are very difficult. Recently, in a scientific report, Scientists from India have reported oldest eukaryotic fossils from the >1.65 Ga old rocks of Vindhyan Supegroup, Central India. this report published in Journal of the PalaeontologIcal Society of India.  …

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Added by Veeru Kant Singh on August 22, 2016 at 6:12am — No Comments

New Peer Review Paradigms for Astrobiology and Origin of Life

Abstract

Scientific publishing is changing. More scientific papers are being published now than at any other time in history. The digital era is facilitating new publishing practices, such as preprint servers and Open Access journals. At the same time, there is a growing concern among scientists about integrity and equity of the peer review process as we know it. These new practices present the scientific community with an array of new opportunities, which may help…

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Added by Cole Mathis on June 15, 2016 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

Welcome to the Tardigrade Project

Welcome to the Tardigrade Project

Better Questions

From Rick Eyerdam

 I have just published a NASA history covering from NACA to the present days with the focus on NASA’s search for life in space, rather than the manned program. It is called: Exobiologists, Rocketeers and Engineers: Inside NASA’s Quest for Life in Space.

Because of the constraints of contemporary knowledge NASA searched incrementally for “life as we know it.” That was, of course, a moving…

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Added by Rick Eyerdam on May 2, 2016 at 9:42am — No Comments

You Know It When You See It

When trying to decipher the origins of life, there are many paths to follow. Chemical, physical, and occasionally for some, spiritual. For me, one of the most puzzling questions is what exactly defines life? It is a difficult philosophical question that is nearly unanswerable, and often not useful in studying the actual origins of life, but it is entertaining to postulate the different constraints that we place on what is “alive”. One simple designation is “You know it when you see it”, but…

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Added by Akshay Vijay on April 25, 2016 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

You Know It When You See It

When trying to decipher the origins of life, there are many paths to follow. Chemical, physical, and occasionally for some, spiritual. For me, one of the most puzzling questions is what exactly defines life? It is a difficult philosophical question that is nearly unanswerable, and often not useful in studying the actual origins of life, but it is entertaining to postulate the different constraints that we place on what is “alive”. One simple designation is “You know it when you see it”, but…

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Added by Akshay Vijay on April 25, 2016 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Dogma and Paradigm Shifts

Considering this week’s discussion on the role of bias and dogma within science, I figured it would be best for me to write my post on the importance of philosophy and hypotheticals in science, especially in a field such as origin of life. This is a subject matter I somewhat understand and hopefully something the rest of might find a tad interesting.

The most prominent thinker is this subject matter, as far as I am concerned, would be Thomas…

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Added by Aidan Orsino on April 25, 2016 at 2:17am — No Comments

Idea: Humans Reproduce through Genetic and Non-Genetic Information

A word to the wise:  This is an incomplete set of ideas, and I welcome criticism and discussion.  After conversing with several individuals, I realized that my ideas were extremely similar to Memetics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme).  Instead of focusing on the Memes themselves, I would like to instead incorporate them in a discussion of the human behavior that lead me to independently believe in…

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Added by Brooke Kubby on April 22, 2016 at 11:44pm — 6 Comments

Are machines considered life?

When one imagines the species that is humanity’s closest ally they might think of man’s best friend, the dog, or his ever trusty steed, the horse. It is easy for humans to consider animals as friends; when we reach out to touch another mammal, everything about it, the warmth of the body, the sound of breathing, the reacting glance, exudes an unmistakable aura of life. It’s no surprise that the distinction between life and non-life carries a significant weight in the eyes of humans; after…

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Added by Charles Wen on April 15, 2016 at 11:58pm — 2 Comments

Life Exists !

Life exists.

This might seem like an obvious statement, but it is important when thinking about the nature of how things exist. Things exists as either a natural low energy state (what scientists refer to as the equilibrium state), or as ordered structures generated in response to the approach of low energy states. Essentially, an equilibrium state references the physical arrangement of the matter within a system after enough time has passed for all transformations to occur,…

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Added by Tucker Ely on April 15, 2016 at 1:42pm — 2 Comments

Why is Life so Complicated?

A friend recently mentioned that the most complex phenomena in all of the universe seem to occur roughly on the length scale of humans. What is meant by this is that we have equations governing the universe as a whole and equations governing interactions between subatomic particles, but much of what we see in everyday life can't be captured by a simple equation. The issue at hand is really what is…

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Added by Jake Hanson on April 10, 2016 at 7:24pm — 2 Comments

Challenges in observational science or why eating more cheese won't help you get a PhD

When we think about scientists, most times one of two images come to our minds: either a lonely (and most likely white-haired) man frantically writing equations on a paper, or someone on a lab coat mixing liquids in test tubes. These stereotypes basically correspond to two of the main types of scientists: theorists and experimentalists.

Broadly speaking theorists develop hypothesis that try to explain how the Universe works while experimentalists conduct controlled experiments…

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Added by Alicia Gonzalez on April 8, 2016 at 3:13pm — 2 Comments

What’s the best approach for solving the origin of life?

What’s the best approach for solving the origin of life?

The origin of life is a very tricky question to answer. I say this not because it is a very interdisciplinary science question (that also uses some philosophy), but because it requires a unique thought process. Researchers within this field have to think outside of the box and come up with explanations for a completely unknown process that, as we know of, only happened once, happened an extremely long…

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Added by Stone Hanlon on April 1, 2016 at 4:09pm — 1 Comment

Why humans rule the Earth

Humans are the world’s most dominant species.

 

I think this is something that most people would agree with, but probably for different reasons. While other organisms may be more numerous (like the Pelagibacter ubique bacteria, thought to number ~10^28 [1]), or contributing more total mass (also probably the Pelagibacter ubique bacteria, which is estimated to have a collective mass more than…

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Added by Harrison on March 25, 2016 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

The Gray Area of Life

The Problem of Defining Life

The question "what is life?" seems at first to be a strange one with clear answers. You typically know it when you see it, and everyday examples are easy to list: people, dogs, grass, trees, ants, and so on. All of those things appear to have something special that a rock or a screwdriver does not. However, it takes more than a few examples and a vague special something to form a rigorous universal definition for life. In practice,…

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Added by Greg Vance on March 18, 2016 at 6:32pm — 3 Comments

Solid, Liquid, Gas…. Life.

“What we use to call biophysics often is just physics of biological material or the dynamics of the material processes involved. …. I am asking for a ‘physics of biology’.” -Manfred Eigen 2000.

What is a Phase of Matter?

    In school, we are taught about states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Normally people graduate high school with the impression that those represent the only examples of states of matter- you may remember hearing something about a…

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Added by Cole Mathis on March 4, 2016 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

The Universe Computes Life

When I say “the universe”, what do you immediately think of?

Me, I think of an old documentary with dark pictures and lots of equations. Maybe Morgan Freeman is narrating. Maybe someone with a British accent is narrating. In my imagination, I’m flying through a supernova, galaxies, and a…

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Added by Alyssa Adams on February 27, 2016 at 12:30am — 6 Comments

People drink in Antarctica (oh, and everywhere else)

I was sent two versions of this article today that claims, in a dramatic way, that scientists are drinking way too much in Antarctica. The Wired link is below and the other one which was sent to me was on the popular "I f****** love science" Facebook page.

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/scientists-antarctica-drink-lot-maybe-much/

I have spent 3 field seasons at the smallest American…

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Added by Mrinalini Nikrad on October 12, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

HI-SEAS - What would you do before leaving Earth for a year?

I was asked many times how I felt about being isolated for a year. I wish I had a deep and subtle answer to that but, to be honest, I didn’t have time to think about it.

The last two weeks were a succession of two kinds of moments. First, preparation work. Between finishing research projects, leaving my flat in Rome and driving to Paris, writing project proposals, getting a year’s worth of lab supplies in the dome, managing partnerships, answering media, having kilograms of paper…

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Added by Cyprien Verseux on August 24, 2015 at 11:41pm — No Comments

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