Showing posts with label space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label space. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine - 2

DNA is not biological
This series has been pointing out that the DNA, pictured in the graphic to the left, is the same as the DNA in you or me, viruses, and everything else that contains DNA.

That is, DNA is not alive, it is a molecular machine.

The same goes for RNA, it too is a molecular machine, as was pointed out in the first post of this series  (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine).

Why that would seem strange to us is revealing, in the sense that we tend not to know where we are or who we are (You Are Here).

Nevertheless, this knowledge of the basic cosmic nature is quite a normal concept, since carbon based life is said to have evolved very recently (by comparison to ancient stars) in our section of the universe, so, what is not a normal concept is our misunderstanding of the nature of RNA and DNA.

Why we deny the logical deduction, under the deductive reasoning compelled by Big Bang Cosmology, that abiotic machines evolved long before biotic organisms evolved.

Then those molecular machines morphed, mutated, or whatever evolutionary term you choose, into biotic organisms:
(see also The Uncertain Gene, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has pointed out this conundrum several times, and that the reason for it boils down to faith and trust rather than boiling down to knowledge (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).

A new paper is getting around to discussing the dynamics of how machines became organisms:
Because RNA can be a carrier of genetic information and a biocatalyst, there is a consensus that it emerged before DNA and proteins, which eventually assumed these roles and relegated RNA to intermediate functions. If such a scenario—the so-called RNA world—existed, we might hope to find its relics in our present world. The properties of viroids that make them candidates for being survivors of the RNA world include those expected for primitive RNA replicons: (a) small size imposed by error-prone replication, (b) high G + C content to increase replication fidelity, (c) circular structure for assuring complete replication without genomic tags, (d) structural periodicity for modular assembly into enlarged genomes, (e) lack of protein-coding ability consistent with a ribosome-free habitat, and (f) replication mediated in some by ribozymes, the fingerprint of the RNA world. With the advent of DNA and proteins, those protoviroids lost some abilities and became the plant parasites we now know.
(Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World?, emphasis added). If the scientific jargon sometimes is not as pleasing to you as the layman's jargon, read about it in this piece:
New research suggests that [viroids already] existed at the earliest stages of life on Earth, enduring in their primitive state for billions of years. These are the pterodactyls of the microbial world — except that they are still very much We just didn’t realize it.
...
Machinelike Bacteriophage T4

And [viroids] contain RNA, a single-stranded molecule similar to DNA. Among many other jobs, RNA carries the information for building proteins from a cell’s genes to its protein factories.

Many scientists have argued that before this kind of life emerged, life was based solely on RNA. RNA can store genetic information, but scientists have discovered that some RNA molecules also carry out chemical reactions. In other words, this single molecule might have been able to handle all the basic tasks required for life. Only later did DNA and proteins evolve.

At first, the proponents of the so-called RNA-world theory assumed that RNA-based life had become extinct long ago, driven to extinction with the arrival of superior DNA-based life. Researchers have relied only on indirect hints to infer what RNA-based life was like.

But in the current issue of Annual Reviews of Microbiology, a team of Spanish scientists argues that these primitive life forms share the planet with us today. “Viroids are probably relics of the RNA world,” said Santiago F. Elena, an evolutionary biologist at Spain’s National Research Council in València.
(NY Times, emphasis added). What makes the logic here more compelling is that scientists have struggled with the question "Are viruses alive?" for many, many years:
When is a life form not a life form? When it's a virus.

Viruses are strange things that straddle the fence between living and non-living. On the one hand, if they're floating around in the air or sitting on a doorknob, they're inert. They're about as alive as a rock. But if they come into contact with a suitable plant, animal or bacterial cell, they spring into action. They infect and take over the cell like pirates hijacking a ship.
...
Viruses are a curious lot. The standard drawing of the tree of life, the one you find on the inside back cover of biology textbooks, is divided into three branches: Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. Viruses don’t make it onto the page.

That makes sense, some scientists argue, because they’re not alive. They can’t reproduce on their own; they require the cozy environment of living cells for their survival. Others disagree. Not only are viruses alive, they say, but genetic evidence indicates that they may have been the first forms of life on Earth, predating cellular life.
(Are Toxins of Power Machines or Organisms?). Viroids are all the more suspect as not being alive than viruses are.

Something had to jump the gap from abiotic molecular machine to biotic organism, so RNA viruses and viroids are suspects.

Yes, "the plot thickeneth" as we begin to notice the most prolific dynamic on Earth - microbes, viruses, and virus-like entities.

Science and Religion ... gotta luv 'em.

The previous post in this series is here.

We are the Bored of Education ...


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Last Known Photo of Robin "Mork" Williams Heading Home

Mork returning to Ork
On this date in 2009 we considered one of our "ringed planets."

Saturn is the most famous of the ringed planets, garnering that "fame" before we discovered that other planets in our solar system also have rings.

The photo to the left (click to enlarge) is of "an object" traversing the F ring of Saturn, which made me think of Robin Williams and his character Mork of the Mork & Mindy Show.

Mork probably dropped a few F bombs while going through the F ring on his way back to Ork (perhaps because of what Earth Civilization seemed like to him).

Anyway, here is the post from that date:

One Mystery After Another At Saturn

The school bus sized Cassini spacecraft has photographed another strange phenomenon.

An object was photographed travelling through the "F" ring of the planet Saturn. Is it a small satellite in a strange orbit, a stray asteroid, or the Enterprise going through a time warp heading back to Earth?

As you can see, the object made the ring very bright behind it, and cast a shadow on rings closer to the camera.

It seems that constantly there are new discoveries around Saturn, from satellites orbiting "the wrong way" (e.g. Norse Group), to the great hexagon, to Enceladus, which is building rings around the planet with water from its own geysers.


Friday, June 27, 2014

You Are Here

I have mentioned the interesting phenomenon of "you are here" directives on Zoo maps that visitors are given at the Entrance Area to some large Metropolitan Zoos.

On one post some humor was generated by the story about how a certain Senator became confused by the map that the Zoo handed out.

He became confused because as he moved around the Zoo (noticing the map from time to time) he became certain that he had moved upon occasion since he had last looked at the map ... but ... to him the map was still indicating that he was still at the entrance of the Zoo (Has The Navy Fallen For The Greatest Hoax?).
Click to enlarge the Universe

There is a more serious side to the reality of where we are, where you are, and where I am.

Possibly the most interesting aspect of "you are here" is that we are all in the same place!

As the song says, "We all live under the same Sun" (Exploding Plastic: Inevitable, see video).

This "you are here" phenomenon even has psychological ramifications that have been written about in scientific journals:
One of the most robust and reliable demonstrations in spatial cognition (environmental, geographic, cartographic, etc., cognition) is the difficulty that results for most people when they use a misaligned you-are-here (YAH) map
to wayfind—to orient themselves to the proximal and distal surrounds in order to follow a route to a destination. This difficulty is called an alignment effect. YAH maps are reference maps—general-purpose maps meant to show features in the environment—that are typically rather large scale (i.e., show small areas of the environment) and are placed within the surrounding area they depict. They nearly always include an arrow or some other symbol representing the location and perhaps the heading of a person viewing the map (Klippel, Freksa, & Winter [2006] use the term complex for YAH symbols indicating both location and heading). That is, all YAH maps are in situ in that they represent the area where they are placed. Because they are intended to solve wayfinding problems for a person actively engaged in applying that solution to get somewhere in real time, they must be coordinated with the surrounds when used.
(YAH, emphasis added). One psychologist even made a list of suggestions that were designed to help eradicate the YAH confusion:
You-are-here maps are standard aids for newcomers to a complex terrain. A precisely constructed map with a properly affixed you-are-here symbol, however, is not sufficient. Two principles, one of structure matching and one of orientation, must be considered in order to maximize the map's usefulness. Indeed, neglect of these can make the map misleading. These principles lead to the following set of recommendations: (1) provide salient, coordinate labels in both the terrain and the map; (2) place the map near an asymmetrical part of the terrain; (3) design the you-are-here symbol to indicate map-terrain correspondence; (4) align the map with the terrain; (5) be redundant, that is, use as many of these supplements as possible.
(You-Are-Here Maps: Psychological Considerations, emphasis added). In my opinion the relevant psychology only becomes germane to all of civilization when "you are here" applies to our place in the cosmos.
Where will we "B"?

We live on the planet Earth, which seems to be confusing to some of us who have not figured out "you are here" yet.

I say that in the sense of where one is most often determines how one should behave a la "when in Rome do as the Romans."

When on Earth, do as a competent cosmic adult Earthling would do!

The psychological aspect of being lost in space on a planet we do not know enough about really is a frightening concept.

Yet there is no valid reason that our species should be endangered as we endanger all the other species still living with us, and in fact that is a violation of the map we have been given (The Tenets of Ecocosmology, I am the Highway).

Nevertheless, the fact is that we make about 200 species extinct each day as we move closer and closer to our own extinction (Will We Destroy Food - The Bees? - 2).

So, why are we here?

"I am the Walrus"
Beatles
(Lyrics here)

"I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun see how they fly
I'm crying
"



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Backwards To The Future - Moon? - 2

Stargate 1.0
Remember going to the moon?

I don't mean in the '60's, I mean in the 21st century.

What ever happened to going to Mars?

If humanity lasts long enough to go anywhere to stay awhile, it should be somewhere meaningful.

Meaningful in the sense of long term survival, assuming that survival is relevant to anything spacey (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 8).

Anyway, once upon a time we tried going to the moon again just to make sure we had really done it I suppose.

On this date in 2009 Dredd Blog wondered about that.

Today NASA will try to launch a mission to the moon.

The folks in the Bush II regime gave this notion a nudge in the face of some resistance.

This seems like the Iraq of the space program, an appendage that will cost more than the benefits it can deliver.

Nevertheless, I hope it gleans some information we can use to rescue the human species from the Sun and/or from ourselves, whichever comes first.

The LRO was launched into orbit.

The original post is here.

Meanwhile, it is:
I’ll bet you didn’t know that June is “torture awareness month” thanks to the fact that, on June 26, 1987, the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment went into effect internationally. In this country, however, as a recent Amnesty International survey indicated, Americans are essentially living in Torture Unawareness Month, or perhaps even Torture Approval Month, and not just in June 2014 but every month of the year.
(A Tale of Torture). Who knew?

Something mooney happened to the space program as it was being transported on a ship of state to a future location ...



Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 31

The Fifth Mass Extinction Long Ago
Today, let's take a look at the most abundant life form, not only on the land, in the air, and in oceans, but also on and in us.

But let's do so in the context of their having survived five previous mass extinctions of life on Earth, and their role in the current anthropogenic sixth mass extinction now ongoing (The Evolution of Anthropogenic Extinction by Catastrophe).

There are several hypotheses and theories about how life started on the planet Earth.

These hypotheses and theories break down into two main categories: 1) life evolved on the Earth, or 2) life came from space in the form of microbes that were on debris that impacted the Earth's atmosphere, land surface, and/or waters --as meteorites.

Either way, it happened a long time ago, because several indications of microbial life that is some 3.8 billion years old have been written about:
"Microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS) result from the response of microbial mats to physical sediment dynamics. MISS are cosmopolitan and found in many modern environments, including shelves, tidal flats, lagoons, riverine shores, lakes, interdune areas, and sabkhas. The structures record highly diverse communities of microbial mats and have been reported from numerous intervals in the geological record up to 3.2 billion years (Ga) old. This contribution describes a suite of MISS from some of the oldest well-preserved sedimentary rocks in the geological record, the early Archean (ca. 3.48 Ga) Dresser Formation, Western Australia." - Nora Noffke, Daniel Christian, David Wacey, and Robert M. Hazen: "Microbially Induced Sedimentary Structures Recording an Ancient Ecosystem in the ca. 3.48 Billion-Year-Old Dresser Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia"
(ASTROBIOLOGY, Volume 13 Number 12 @ 1103, 2013). Since the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old, those MISS show cosmopolitan (distributed globally) microbial community life existing about 1.06 billion years after the Earth's formation.

These communities of microbes can be far more sophisticated than we would expect (see video at bottom of Hypothesis: How Toxins of Power Are Neutralized or Removed).

And, they are far more influential than we would expect (see e.g. The Human Microbiome Congress, On The New Meaning of "Human" - 2).

As a matter of fact, regular readers know we have contemplated their influence on the governments of civilization in one series (see e.g. The Germ Theory of Government through The Germ Theory of Government - 9).

And we have contemplated the impact of the previous mass extinctions on them, from their morphing into pathogens to their becoming dormant, (like in science fiction movies where humans are put in a type of stasis), and even their conversion back from pathogens into a symbiont once again (see e.g. Are Microbes The Origin of PTSD? , Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 16, Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen -- 2).

Recently, we took a look at some of the microbes that have not maintained a mutualistic or symbiotic vibe through all of this mass-extinction experience.

A small percentage became pathogens with strangely brilliant capabilities beyond the capabilities of "25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other's shoulders" (The Germ Theory - of Government - 9, quoting Dr. Robert Sapolsky).

Imagine if we could rehabilitate them and have them instead do beneficial brain surgery!

The rehabilitation of pathogens has been shown to be realistic, as well as having happened multiple times in history (Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen -- 2).

But our warmongering cultural amygdala leads us to the hideous practice of making war with everything, including the crucial microbial world:
For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.

“I would like to lose the language of warfare,” said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. “It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies.”

This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers.
(Microbial Garden). The vast majority of microbes are helpful to the point of being absolutely necessary to our existence and survival, yet we make war on them like we make war on everything.

We are too suicidal as a society and as a civilization [Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3].

Spread the word.

Make peace with your microbes (they like beer).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine

Why not start the new year out with a shock, or at least an update, to our scientific understanding?

Or at least an update to ourselves about a new paradigm that scientists are warming up to?

The 17th century view of cognition a la Descartes (Cartesianism) was challenged by an entirely new view of cognition by Lakoff (e.g. Embodied Mind).

This new paradigm shift I am thinking of today is more Earth shaking than that paradigm shift, and many others like it, so hang on, because here for your close perusal is the paradigm shift at issue:
A new paradigm exists for understanding how cells function. Scientists are recognizing that the cell is a highly integrated biological factory with a modular architecture. Each modular unit acts as a molecular machine. These machines have highly specialized functions and are large assemblies of proteins and nucleic acids. They range in size from about 10 - 150 nanometers (10-9 m) and provide environments in which chemical species can interact in a highly specific fashion. Molecular machines also function as mechano-chemical energy transducers, converting chemical free energy into mechanical energy for cellular processes. They operate cyclically, and can reset themselves.

With the genetic information gained from the U.S. Human Genome Project and DOE's Microbial Genome Program, scientists now have the raw information with which to observe, manipulate, characterize and, ultimately, replicate these large protein assemblies. Using conventional and newly developed microscopy techniques, PBD researchers, through an initiative called Microscopies of Molecular Machines (M3), are creating a toolkit for probing the inner workings of these molecular machines.
(Molecular Machines, Lawrence Berkley National Lab, DOE, emphasis added). Regular readers know that I have been advocating that we acknowledge that machines make up the largest percentage of the known universe.

With that goes the acknowledgement that machine evolution has taken up most of evolution as scientists know it.

Cells, including microbial cells, make up a large part of organic life. Microbes greatly outnumber "purely human" cells in our bodies (The Human Microbiome Congress).

Microbes are the most prolific life form on Earth, especially when we remember that viruses and virions are also microbes.

Cells are substantially made of molecular machines, as are planets, stars, and interstellar dust.

The following is a sample sequence of Dredd Blog System posts discussing, among other things, the underlying cyborg, machine-nature of 1) the cosmos, 2) microbes, 3) humans, and 4) all carbon based organic life forms:

2009:
Putting A Face on Machine Mutation
Which Came First - Cyborg Or Robot?
Putting A Face on Machine Mutation
Will Humans Evolve Into Machines?

2010:
The Tiniest Scientists Are Very Old

2011:
Which Came First - Cyborg Or Robot? - 2
Are Toxins of Power Machines or Organisms?

2012:
Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 2
Do Molecular Machines Deliver Toxins of Power?
Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?
Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3
The Life and Death of Bright Things

2013:
Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 17
The Uncertain Gene thru The Uncertain Gene - 8
If Cosmology Is "Off," How Can Biology Be "On?"
Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 4

2014

On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 5
On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6

Today's post is the first of this type of material of the new year, but in light of the new paradigm, there will be more.

Enjoy the paradigm shift.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The News That Wasn't vs. The News That Was

India's First Mars Mission Lifts Off
I noticed three stories that happened or came out yesterday are subjects which the USMSM (a.k.a. McTell News) is not  in general very interested in.

That is most likely because those stories challenge the current exceptionalist world view of American exceptionalism (Exceptionalism In A Nutshell).

A world view which is constantly being hawked by the growing right wing elements and ideology in American Society, a world view that turns off the majority of people in the U.S. and in the world at large.

Before discussing them in depth, let me mention them by name or subject matter:
1) Million Mask March
2) India's Launch of a Mission To Mars
3) The Syria Chemical Weapons Diplomacy
The Million Mask March was in yesterday's Dredd Blog post (The Million Mask March).

The story about India launching a mission to the planet Mars was covered by Space dot Com (more about it below).

The Syria Chemical Weapons Diplomacy story was covered in the Washington Post.

In fairness to McTell News, I do realize that yesterday was an election day, and that today is "here is why So and So did or did not get elected" day.

Those election raps take precedence because the media is self-absorbed with the myth that elections in the U.S. still matter.

The myth that elections in the U.S. still matter in terms of the media's thinking that elections and their coverage of elections are part and parcel of changes that lead to improvements (Will Elections Cure The Disease?, When Accountability Is A Plague).

Yes, the myth that changes-for-the-better, which supposedly come with elections, are media events (The Elections of Pontius Pilots - 3).

The media have fostered another myth about space exploration as well, which is basically that the U.S. is the only one who can ever do meaningful space travel, even though we were not the first in space, and even though European Nations, China, Russia, and now India have conducted or are conducting space missions:
India's first-ever mission to Mars launched into space today (Nov. 5), beginning the country's first interplanetary mission to explore the solar system.

With a thunderous roar, India's Mars Orbiter Mission rocketed into space at 4:08 a.m. EST (0908 GMT) from the Indian Space Research Organisation's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, where the local time will be 2:38 p.m. in the afternoon. An ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle launched the probe on its 300-day trek into orbit around the Red Planet.
...
If all goes well, India's first Mars orbiter — called Mangalyaan (Hindi for "Mars Craft") — will arrive at the Red Planet on Sept. 24, 2014, making India the fourth country to successfully deliver a spacecraft to Mars.
(Liftoff! India's First Mars Probe Launches Toward the Red Planet). The efforts at space exploration and global climate change would go much better, in terms of wasteful duplication of efforts and other deficiencies, if nations could work more effectively together.

This is made more obvious by the final matter, the so-far successful diplomacy between the U.S. the UN, Russia, and Syria:
Last week, buried beneath banner headlines blaring about Obamacare hearings, National Security Agency surveillance revelations and the Boston Red Sox’ World Series win, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) quietly reported that Syria “has completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants, rendering them inoperable.”

On the heels of winning the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, the unglamorous but undeniably effective OPCW, using saws, sledgehammers and cutting torches in the middle of a war zone, defied predictions by meeting the Nov. 1 deadline to disable Syria’s chemical weapons program. The bombshell was that there was no bombshell — at least, not of the unconscionable chemical kind.

This wasn’t just a vindication of President Obama’s decision to work with Russia on a non-military solution to the Syrian weapons crisis (and a well-deserved slap in the face to neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, who compared the president of the United States to Groucho Marx, “doing farcical pratfalls as he followed down Neville Chamberlain’s tragic path.”) It was also a success for international organizations like the United Nations and the OPCW, and, indeed, for diplomacy itself.
(Strange Silence Regarding Syria). One would think that everyone could enjoy the fruits of nations working together more and more to avoid war, suffering, global warming, and disease.

And to work together to improve space exploration, in terms of efficiency and mutual rewards.

Like Russell Brand said at the Million Mask March, "we deserve more from our democratic system".

It may seem extreme to say that if we do not change to renewable energy civilization as we know it will not be here in 100 years, but that is literally the case.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Daily Maine

Maine Speaks ME
One of the coolest times of year is the transition from one season into the next.

That is happening now in our hemisphere and in theirs.

It is always like that, while we are leaving Summer, they are entering Fall.

Which brings to mind some of the beauty of Maine, and some thoughts of the poetry of John Keats et alia.

When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be

--by John Keats--


When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.


Various Verses

--by W.B. Yeats

We rode in sorrow, with strong hounds three,
Bran, Sgeolan, and Lomair,
On a morning misty and mild and fair.
The mist-drops hung on the fragrant trees,
And in the blossoms hung the bees.
We rode in sadness above Lough Lean,
For our best were dead on Gavra's green.
...
My arms are like the twisted thorn
And yet there beauty lay;
The first of all the tribe lay there
And did such pleasure take;
She who had brought great Hector down
And put all Troy to wreck.
...
Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by!
...
Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
...
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
...
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 23

Newly discovered life form
Friday is TGIF day and time to look at some fairly recent science reports and information.

There are seven theories for life's beginning (Seven Theories For Life's Beginning ).

Some scientists think that Earth life came from Mars (Earth Life From Mars).

Where ever life came from or originated, it is not fully understood yet, but is fully interesting.

Take the case of baby bees that were mixed into new hives resulting in killer bee babies being put into hives of non-killer bees, and vice-versa:
When he got the cards, says Robinson, “the results were stunning.” For the bees that had been kidnapped, life in a new home had indeed altered the activity of “whole sectors” of genes. When their gene expression data was viewed on the cards alongside the data for groups of bees raised among their own kin, a mere glance showed the dramatic change. Hundreds of genes had flipped colors. The move between hives didn’t just make the bees act differently. It made their genes work differently, and on a broad scale.

What’s more, the cards for the adopted bees of both species came to ever more resemble, as they moved through life, the cards of the bees they moved in with. With every passing day their genes acted more like those of their new hive mates (and less like those of their genetic siblings back home). Many of the genes that switched on or off are known to affect behavior; several are associated with aggression. The bees also acted differently. Their dispositions changed to match that of their hive mates. It seemed the genome, without changing its code, could transform an animal into something very like a different subspecies.

These bees didn’t just act like different bees. They’d pretty much become different bees. To Robinson, this spoke of a genome far more fluid—far more socially fluid—than previously conceived.
(Bee Genes - Epigenetics). This may add support to the hypothesis of a "cultural amygdala" that can change and adapt when the culture is changed (The Cultural Amygdala).

Another interesting genetic dynamic is the training of some microbes to do specialized work through genetic manipulation (Trained Microbes).

The graphic at the top of today's post shows a recently discovered life form which looks like an NSA listening antenna (New life form).

An interesting grid for communication between and among flora was discovered (Communication Grid for Flora).

Happy research and have a good weekend!

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 20

Regular readers know that we often deal with some scientific issue on Friday.

TGIF!

In today's post we will explore the evidence that indicates and informs us that ancient religion and ancient spiritual concepts still have a major impact on the most modern of current religion, spirituality, and the most modern science.

The fact of that reality will come from the words of modern scientists and religionists themselves.

Basically, the application of this to the modern scientific thinking involves odd ideas about time as well as space, while the application to religion and spirituality also relates to time and space, in that part of the post we will focus on ancient doctrines that are also modern doctrines in religion and spirituality.

First, let's take a look at what a modern physicist says about our modern scientific thinking in terms of our concept of time and space being like those of ancient religion:
The main question I'm asking myself, the question that puts everything together, is how to do cosmology; how to make a theory of the universe as a whole system. This is said to be the golden age of cosmology and it is from an observational point of view, but from a theoretical point of view it's almost a disaster. It's crazy the kind of ideas that we find ourselves thinking about. And I find myself wanting to go back to basics—to basic ideas and basic principles—and understand how we describe the world in a physical theory.
...
And the metaphor here—which comes from atomism that comes from Democritus [c. 460 – c. 370 BC
] and Lucretius [c.99—c.55 BC] —is that physics is nothing but atoms moving in a void and the atoms never change. The atoms have properties like mass and charge that never change in time. The void—which is space in the old days never changed in time—was fixed and they moved according to laws ...
...
Why are we confident of that? We're confident of that because we have a kind of metaphysical belief that there are laws of nature that are outside time and those laws of nature are causing the outcome of the experiment to be what it is. And laws of nature don't change in time. They're outside of time. They act on the system now, they acted on the system in the same way in the past, they will act the same way in a year or a million or a billion years, and so they'll give the same outcome. So nature will repeat itself and experiments will be repeatable because there are timeless laws of nature.


But that's a really weird idea [for scientists] if you think about it because it involves the kind of mystical and metaphysical notion of something that is not physical, something that is not part of the state of the world, something that is not changeable, acting from outside the system to cause things to happen. And, when I think about it, that is kind of a remnant of religion. It is a remnant of the idea that God is outside the system acting on it.
(Think About Nature, by Dr. Lee Smolin, emphasis added). Religion, spiritualism, and/or mysticism is still at the very core of many of the main pillars of today's scientific reasoning.

The religious history part of this post is one about Mithra, and its application to today's modern religion will concern the religion of the U.S. Military.

Let's set the stage with some ancient religious history about Mithra:
Because of its evident relationship to Christianity, special attention needs to be paid to the Persian/Roman religion of Mithraism. The worship of the Indo-Persian god Mithra dates back centuries to millennia preceding the common era. The god is found as "Mitra" in the Indian Vedic religion, which is over 3,500 years old, by conservative estimates. When the Iranians separated from their Indian brethren, Mitra became known as "Mithra" or "Mihr," as he is also called in Persian.

Hittite and Mitanni kingdoms around 1400 BCEBy around 1500 BCE, Mitra worship had made it to the Near East, in the Indian kingdom of the Mitanni, who at that time occupied Assyria. Mitra worship, however, was known also by that time as far west as the Hittite kingdom, only a few hundred miles east of the Mediterranean, as is evidenced by the Hittite-Mitanni tablets found at Bogaz-Köy in what is now Turkey. The gods of the Mitanni included Mitra, Varuna and Indra, all found in the Vedic texts.

The Indian Mitra was essentially a solar deity, representing the "friendly" aspect of the sun. So too was the Persian derivative Mithra, who was a "benevolent god" and the bestower of health, wealth and food. Mithra also seems to have been looked upon as a sort of Prometheus, for the gift of fire. (Schironi, 104) His worship purified and freed the devotee from sin and disease. Eventually, Mithra became more militant, and he is best known as a warrior.
(Mithra Oriented Religion). We hear the word "warrior" a lot the past two decades when our soldiers are referred to.

In the recent Dredd Blog post Doing The Right Thing - Mithraism - 2 other subject-matter related series are linked to, which work hand and glove to show the strange obsession the current military has with warmonger religions.

In those posts Dredd Blog points out that the warrior ideology belies the Pentagon's assertion that the U.S. Military is all about Christianity.

The Pentagon asserts that notion even though a recent U.S. President wrote a letter to the French Head of State explaining his reason for invading Iraq.

In that letter Bush II quoted from the Christian text of the Bible's Book of Revelation (The Dogma of The High Priest In Chief) and even stated that God had told him to do the invasion (Bush: God told me to invade Iraq).

Such loser ideology from the ancient past should not guide our future aspirations (The Tenets of Ecocosmology).

Have a good weekend.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


Friday, May 24, 2013

On The Origin and Future of Nomads

Nomads - Ancient & Modern
Regular readers know that on Fridays Dredd Blog often discusses a scientific mystery, or a new or unusual scientific discovery or issue, because sometimes the scientific establishment is too busy to offer some subjects for your perusal (e.g. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 16).

So, today let's extend that Dredd Blog tradition by asking and discussing: "What do microbes, the Mayan Long Calendar, and space travel have to do with nomads, nomadic history, as well as the future of human civilization and even the human species itself?"

The discussion will be utterly scientific at its base, but will investigate, extrapolate, hypothesize, and hopefully reveal to you something that you did not know until you read today's Dredd Blog post.

I. Introduction

The post today will show that microbes, which make up 99% of our genetic material, as well as upwards of 90% of the cells in our bodies, are nomadic due in part to the Earth's Global Climate System.

As will be seen, the same is true for the Earth's flora, fauna, and even civilization itself to some degree, because today we hypothesize that the Earth's Axial Precession is a part of the Earth's Global Climate System.

This post will argue that the Global Climate System mandates some degree of nomadic ecology and culture because of the effects that the Earth's Axial Precession causes during its ~26,000 year cycle.

It will be shown that some of our traditional misunderstanding of climate, weather, and nomadic culture is because we do not take into consideration the cosmic aspects of the Earth's Global Climate System.

Finally, assuming arguendo that biological and cosmological evolutionary theories are true, the cosmic aspects of the life cycle of the Sun will be shown to require us to become cosmic nomads in order to persist in this galaxy.

II. The Global Climate System

The standard description of the Global Climate System tells us that it has five parts:
The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the land surface and the biosphere, and the interactions between them.
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)), "Climate System"). That organization goes on to say more about it in terms of "built in" contrasted with "external factors" that make changes to the system:
The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and because of external forcings such as volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land-use change.
(ibid). I don't know of any other sources that include or consider the cosmic portion of the climate system, in terms of calendars, so that is one of the things we will consider in today's post.

First, we add one item to the list, which is cosmological influences (e.g. axial precession and orbital permutations).

Having added the Earth's Axial Precession to the list, let's discuss it first because it brings up the "Mayan Long Calendar" which we can discuss at the same time:
Only one calendar I know of synchronizes with the Earth's axial precession.

The graphic to the left depicts that phenomenon, described as "Precessional movement of the Earth. The Earth rotates (white arrows) once a day about its axis of rotation (red). This axis itself rotates slowly (white circle), completing a rotation in approximately 26,000 years" (ibid).

The phenomena of axial precession and axial tilt are important for civilizations to take into consideration in their long range planning.
(A Savvy Ecocosmological Earth Calendar). The ~26,000 year calendar that synchronizes well with the Earth's axial precession has useful segmentation:
One calendar that does so is the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar since it has a method of synchronizing with axial precession as follows:
1 Day = Kin (keen)
20 Kin  = 1 Uinal (a.k.a. Winal)
360 Kin / 18 Uinals = 1 Tun (toon)
20 Tuns = 1 K’atun (k’a toon)
20 K`atuns = 1 Baktun (back toon)
(see e.g. Mayan Long Count, and Mesoamerican Long Count). We can calculate how close the Long Count Calendar is to the axial precession cycle:
Earth's axial precession = 25,771 years
26,000 Tun * 360 Kin per Tun / 365.25 solar days = ~25,626 years
25,771 years - 25,626 years = 145 years (axial precession variation)
145 is ~0.56% of 25,771 (very slight degree of variation)
(see e.g. Precession of the Equinox). Therefore, the 26,000 Tun figure is within about a half of one percent of being equal to one complete cycle of the Earth's axial precession as calculated by other astronomical means (we don't know which of the two is more accurate, but a ~0.56% variance between the two is not significant).

[Note that current calendars of civilization do not even take axial precession into consideration at all.]
(ibid, "A Savvy Ecocosmological Earth Calendar"). What is popularly called the "Mayan Long Count Calendar", which scientists call the "Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar", synchronizes with the Earth's axial precession.

We learn in elementary school that the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter are caused by the Earth's axial tilt (Wikipedia, "Season").

Since the Earth is tilted to one side, as it orbits the Sun areas of the Earth get more or less directed sunlight, and therefore become colder or warmer depending on which side of the Sun we are on during the orbit.

Long term, the axial precession changes the orientation of the tilt, and therefore causes changes to the climate on a very long term basis, peaking each ~13,000 years, which is half of the full ~26,000 year cycle when the tilt orientation returns to the position it was some ~26,000 years previously (see short video below which depicts the phenomenon).

The gist of it is that at 13,000 years from now the winter will be in the months that summer months take up now, and in 26,000 years it will return to the winter months that are now winter months.

Since this is a very slow progression taking 13,000 years to reverse, then another 13,000 years to get back to square one, the climate system is in constant flux as a natural and normal characteristic.

But, the process takes long enough to allow biological and ecological systems (including high flexibility microbes) to slowly adjust (including those in the atmosphere).

Unfortunately the "anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land-use change" (see IPCC above, meaning damage done to the Global Climate System by current civilization using fossil fuels) has disorganized and damaged the natural slow process of change by injecting green house gases into one of the parts of the climate system: the atmosphere.

We can observe the reaction of the flora and fauna (as nomadic behavior) to this atmospheric damage we see happening today:
Vegetation around the world is on the move, and climate change is the culprit, according to a new analysis of global vegetation shifts led by a University of California, Berkeley, ecologist in collaboration with researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

In a paper published June 7 in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, researchers present evidence that over the past century, vegetation has been gradually moving toward the poles and up mountain slopes, where temperatures are cooler, as well as toward the equator, where rainfall is greater.
(Ents & The Entities Become Nomadic). Perhaps you have guessed that this nomadic behavior also naturally takes place during the Earth's axial precession process, however, the human civilization induced version of climate-change-induced nomadic behavior (mentioned in the quote above) is not good (The Damage Cannot Be Undone? - 2).

Anyway, the segments of the Long Count Calendar could be useful to human civilization, because for example, the design of buildings, location of harbors, agricultural practices, and the like, would all have to change during the transition from one climate phase to another during the 13,000 year "reversal," followed by another 13,000 year return back to square one.

That is, taking the example of July as a summer month, 13,000 years later the climate system will have reached the apex and July will have become a winter month; then another 13,000 years later July will have returned back to being a summer month, completing the 26,000 year cycle.

Which could all easily be anticipated via the segments of the Long Count Calendar (e.g. "in the 14th Baktun, the weather in location 'x' begins to change from 'y' to 'z'").

The axial precession induced climate changes could have the effect of the U.S. and Australia swapping winter months for awhile, and vice versa, which is mentioned to show that even though change takes place slowly, it is significant change (but it is not catastrophic).

We see normal, unsurprising change when we take the cosmic climate factors into consideration when projecting the schedule of anticipated change coming at any given point on that comprehensive Long Count Calendar.

We seem to have forgotten that all around us are nomadic species (Microbial ecology) that move around the globe as needed (Microbial Climate Factors) in response to slow and normal climate changes caused by the Earth's natural cosmic axial precession.

Thus, civilizations that forever build static structures in the "wrong places" (because our "modern calendars" do not see the big picture of these cosmic influences) will suffer accordingly.

For example, houses built in Florida under static building codes today may not work well 13,000 years from now, and progressively may not work as time moves in that direction, that is, as the climate slowly reverses cold and hot months over and over.

Likewise, harbors built at sea level today may become too high or too low as sea level changes slowly take place as the ice sheets slowly change (thaw, freeze) during the 13,000 / 13,000 year segments that make up the entire 26,000 year axial precession cycle.

III. The Ultimate Nomadic Adventure

The greatest event in this solar system we inhabit, in terms of requirements that we become nomads, is the demise of the Sun:
Earth's fate is precarious. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth's current orbit, 1 AU (1.5×1011 m), 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions. Even if Earth would escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space.
(Life According To Science). That eventuality would lead to a forced nomadic migration into space:
I found an old photo of New York City before the steroids, so I thought I would share it with you.

A post over at The Ecocosmology Blog points out that the survival of the human species requires that we move into a mobile home of sorts to then travel to another home world.

The reason that post was published is because scientists tell us that our star The Sun will utterly destroy this planet Earth in the future.

The theme song for that future adventure into space was written by New White Trash ("music of the post paradigm"), which some of our best scientist astronauts listen to as they orbit the Earth in a mobile home we call The Space Station.

Yes, as they practice to be ready for that long haul down Highway 61 someday in the future, a trip to be taken in a thin-skinned metal container not attached to real estate.

Don't be too surprised that most people of the earth have no clue that the cosmos has scheduled their utter destruction if they do not move into a space trailer to get on down Highway 61 to find the next homeland.
(New White Trash: Doublewide Doublespeak). That brings us to the nomadic proclivities of the microbial world on and in us.

IV. The Original Biological Nomads

We are told by scientists that the first biological life forms on the Earth were the microbes:
Single-celled microorganisms were the first forms of life to develop on Earth, approximately 3–4 billion years ago. Further evolution was slow, and for about 3 billion years in the Precambrian eon, all organisms were microscopic. So, for most of the history of life on Earth the only forms of life were microorganisms. Bacteria, algae and fungi have been identified in amber that is 220 million years old, which shows that the morphology of microorganisms has changed little since the Triassic period.

Most microorganisms can reproduce rapidly and microbes such as bacteria can also freely exchange genes by conjugation, transformation and transduction between widely-divergent species. This horizontal gene transfer, coupled with a high mutation rate and many other means of genetic variation, allows microorganisms to swiftly evolve (via natural selection) to survive in new environments and respond to environmental stresses.
(A Structure RE: The Corruption of Memes - 4). By now they have settled in with the human species, and we cannot survive without them:
Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford, suggests that we would do well to begin regarding the human body as “an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants.” This humbling new way of thinking about the self has large implications for human and microbial health, which turn out to be inextricably linked.
...
Our resident microbes also appear to play a critical role in training and modulating our immune system, helping it to accurately distinguish between friend and foe and not go nuts on, well, nuts and all sorts of other potential allergens. Some researchers believe that the alarming increase in autoimmune diseases in the West may owe to a disruption in the ancient relationship between our bodies and their “old friends” — the microbial symbionts with whom we coevolved.
...
Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota,” as one group of researchers recently concluded in a landmark review article on microbial ecology — that is, as a function of the community, not the individual. Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.
(Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen). That trip into space will require that we take "our" microbes with us, which means that we will have to learn more about them and protect them as they have protected us.

In closing this post today, we could ask "will the microbes be returning to their home in the cosmos, and in effect be taking us back with them?"

Some scientists have hypothesized as much:
How did these early Earthly life forms arise? And did they include archae, bacteria, and eukaryotes? Joseph and colleagues (Joseph 2009a; Joseph and Schild 2010ab; Joseph and Wickramasinghe 2010) have detailed and reviewed a large volume of evidence suggesting life arrived here encased in the debris which formed the surface of this planet. By contrast, Russell and colleagues (Milner-White and Russell 2010; Nitschke and Russell 2010; Russell and Kanik 2010) have presented an impressive body of data indicating Earthly life (and even extraterrestrial life) may have been fashioned by the fortuitous mixture of the necessary chemicals within a watery thermal environment. Certainly early Earth was hot. Likewise, evidence of the earliest life was left in rocky formations bathed in water, i.e. banded iron formations consisting of alternating magnetite and quartz dated to 4.28 bya (O'Neil et al, 2008)
(Journal of Cosmology, emphasis added; see also New Hypothesis Says Life Began Before The Earth). It would mean that the oldest life forms are cosmic nomads, and that the newest life forms, humans, must become cosmic nomads as well.

The next post in this new series is here.

The Earth's axial precession:


Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Devil Is Not The Only Thing In The Details

Are those deep lines strata?
Science is one of those disciplines, like practicing law, where details are not avoided like the plague.

At least, that is the common perception of those disciplines.

By and large it is quite true that scientists and lawyers are very expert at noting the import of details.

So, in the spirit of appreciating amateurs who also sometimes notice details that even the professionals miss, today we take a look at some detail that scientists may have missed:

Notice the lines of strata on the planet in the photo?

Notice that the strata are not blotted out by impacts that formed deep craters, because the strata go deep and all the way through?

Check out the close up for better detail.

The European Space Agency (ESA), which took the photo, has had a space craft orbiting Mars for several years.

A revolution in the understanding of the planet Mars has been taking place as a result of that ESA mission, together with several U.S. missions to the red planet.

I want to talk about a hypothesis or theory, set forth by a well known astronomer, which would support a hypothesis that the strata lines on the object in the photo are there because, under the Exploded Planet Hypothesis or Theory, (EPH or EPT), it could be a photo of a chunk of a planet that blew up long, long, long ago.

Generally strata are laid down by the effects of erosion, either by liquid, atmospheric winds, volcanism of various sorts, or a combination of any or all of those over a long span of time.

If these lines are that type of strata, then it is likely that a very long time transpired during which the deposits that make up the strata were laid down.

Obviously that does not happen on any asteroid, or similar body, nor would such lines be at an angle opposite the gravitational direction as is the case in the photo.

Ok, so now you who didn't guess earlier know that the photo is of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars, and that it is not a photo of a planet.

But is it a chunk of the now missing planet which once filled the great gap between Mars and Jupiter, where now there are only asteroids remaining in the junk yard of rock and debris we call the asteroid belt?

A now missing planet which exploded and left the chunk in the photo to be caught by the gravity of Mars, and to then become a moon of Mars?

The EPH or EPT is an old idea which has been subscribed to by some good astronomers, who were of course criticized by their fellow astronomers because they did not follow the crowd to accept the theory pronounced "okay" by the government.

NASA is the government you know, and they are political you know. You didn't?

Anyway, some missions to Phobos are in the planning stages and we will "soon" find out about the strata on Phobos.

The EPH has had proven predictions in the past. The EPH has been tested enough, in my opinion, to move it up a notch to a theory, the EPT, but not everyone agrees.

The EPT predicts that when Phobos is studied closely and samples of the various layers in the photo are examined, it will be shown that they are, like strata on Mars, Earth, and other planets, the result of deposits over a long period of time.

If so, then the argument that Phobos is a chunk from a larger body or planet as set forth in the EPH or EPT will have been further justified.

Then we wait for the empire to strike back.

The next post in this series is here.

A related post here concerns the asteroid Vespa and its strata looking lines.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Maybe Human Civilization Is From Mars & Venus?

Wikipedia
To make a point a writer once named a book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."

When we take into consideration the issue of morality, combine that with the issue of Capitalism, count the slaughter of people by people, the slaughter of our environment by people, then the title of today's post is within bounds.

Some would say "within the bounds of science fiction anyway", and so it goes.

Regular readers know that we once wondered if some economists are from a bubble galaxy astronomers discovered in the constellation Cygnus (Economists - Aliens From Cygnus?).

Then came the very recent discovery that Mars once had a sufficient environment to be a supporter of life, including clean water which humans could drink, and who knows what else (Mars: Analyzing Layers of History - 4).

And to top it off, there was the scientific evidence that microbes from Mars could have been deposited here by meteorites (A Structure RE: The Corruption of Memes - 4).

Then there was the post that quoted a famous scientist who postulated that human intelligence is a fatal mutation (What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?).

Perhaps when the planet between Mars and Jupiter exploded, perhaps while its civilization was trying to master a Dyson Grid, some of the pieces of their genetics via microbes made it to Earth in the debris (Exploded Planet Hypothesis).

All that is left in that area, from Mars to Jupiter, is destruction where there was once life, and perhaps parts of planets still traveling through space hitting still-existing planets less frequently now, evidenced by the recent near misses (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 15).

Was it our ancestors who did that destruction, and is our destructive civilization that way because it still has their defective DNA (Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power - 6)?

We have read the news today, oh boy:
"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.
...
America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change.
...
“People are surprised sometimes,” he added, describing the reaction to his assessment. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”
(Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 2). Some older news enhances the picture by adding to the notion that current civilization behaves as if it is alien to planet Earth:
In the first post in this series, On The Memorial Daze, Dredd Blog listed many categories of life in our world that the leaders of our civilization have willingly made extinct.

Add 200 more each day since then, for 365 days, and the leaders of our civilization have led us, yes urged us, to murder another 73,000 species since they last memorialized death and destruction on a memorial day of the Unmemorialized.

Now we can also add to the bulk of the extinct life forms those we call amphibians, which have all but disappeared, to the Unmemorialized.

Thus, there are many names for the current time we live in.

Scientists call it The Anthropocene Epoch, a time in which the Sixth Mass Extinction is taking place.

Other scientists tell us we are the most evolved species, the species who can end evolution by ending life on this the Memorable Earth.
(On The Memorial Daze - 3). This week I read that Penguins are in extinction trouble and monarch butterflies are in extinction trouble.

The alien economists still don't seem to get it, wondering: Is Capitalism Moral?

It is odd that creationists and evolutionists are at odds over our origins, but climate scientists are more concerned about our demise, warning us to preserve first, then study old origin stuff, subsequent to our mastery of living well with each other and "our" planet.