Worms… Deep below…

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The sea bed in the deep ocean during the Cambrian period was thought to have been inhospitable to animal life because it lacked enough oxygen to sustain it.

But research published in the scientific journal Geology reveals the existence of fossilized worm tunnels dating back to the Cambrian period – 270 million years before the evolution of dinosaurs.

The discovery, by USask professor Brian Pratt, suggested that animal life in the sediment at that time was more widespread than previously thought.

The worm tunnels – borrows where worms lived and munched through the sediment – are invisible to the naked eye. But Pratt “had a hunch” and sliced the rocks and scanned them to see whether they revealed signs of ancient life. Pratt digitally enhanced images of the rock surfaces so he could examine them more closely. Only then did the hidden ‘superhighway’ of burrows made by several different sizes and types of prehistoric worm emerge in the rock. (1)

Under every rock you will find something.

Even when nothing is to be seen.

Worms, bacteria, microbes, viruses…

The cosmos is full of life.

We are not here as its culmination.

But as agents of death.

We are not standing at the peak of existence.

But we bear news of its end.

For only through death can the meaning of existence be revealed.

And it is our mission to reveal its meaning to anyone not able to grasp it.

Look at those bacteria.

Still alive.

So dead!

Re-writing biology history…

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The DNA translational system receives messages from DNA delivered to it by RNA and translates the messages into proteins. The system centers on a cellular machine called the ribosome, which is made of multiple large molecules of RNA and protein and is ubiquitous in life as we know it.

In today’s ribosome, and in the whole translational system, there are magnesium ions. The researchers wanted to know if the translational system first evolved to function with those other metals as their linchpins. So, Bray, a graduate research assistant in Williams’s and in Glass’s lab, swapped out the magnesium ions for them, tabula rasa. Bray’s experiment replaced them all with iron ions and manganese ions, which were overabundant on primordial Earth. Williams and Jennifer Glass, the principal investigators in the study, also had their doubts this was doable.

Amazingly, it was.

“It’s totally unbelievable this would work because biology makes very specific use of things. Change one atom and it can wreck a whole protein,” Williams said. “When we probed the structure, we saw that all three metals do essentially the same thing to the structure”. When they tested the performance of the translational system with iron replacing magnesium, it was 50 to 80 percent as efficient as normal (with magnesium). “Manganese worked even better than iron,” Bray said. (1)

Funny isn’t it?

Changing things.

Only to see they stay the same.

To give birth to us.

Constantly changing.

Raging ocean.

Upon a calm lake.

Didn’t it ever occur to you?

The only way to see your reflection on the water.

Is to stop swimming in it…

The only way to stop drinking water.

Is to start doing so…

State the obvious.

And it will start questioning itself.

Yes, life works in many configurations.

And that is why is seems it does not really work in any…

Help not. Bird dying…

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When a coworker or employee is struggling, is it better to offer help on the job or just a shoulder to cry on? A study led by San Francisco State University researchers showed that the two forms of support do roughly the same thing – but that sometimes, it’s best not to address the situation at all.

“We found it’s half and half. Sometimes offering support makes things worse, sometimes it makes it better,” said Michael Mathieu, who led the study as a psychology graduate student at San Francisco State along with Associate Professor of Psychology Kevin Eschleman. (1)

Let that bird die.

For it will not.

Listen it into the air.

Seek its beauty into the first drop of the rain…

It is still there.

It will never die.

Until you start searching for it…

Patterns. Scarily visible…

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How do the large-scale patterns we observe in evolution arise? A paper in the journal Evolution argues that many of them are a type of statistical bias caused by our unavoidably recent viewpoint looking back into the past.

For example, the animals appear in the fossil record about 550 million years ago, in an enormous burst of diversification called the “Cambrian Explosion.” Many groups of organisms appear to originate like this, but later on in their evolutionary history, their rates of diversification and morphological change seem to slow down. Graham Budd and Richard Mann make the provocative argument that patterns like this may be largely illusory.

Biologists and palaeontologists use statistical models called “birth-death models” to model how random events of speciation and extinction give rise to patterns of diversity. Just as one can roll a dice five times and get five sixes or none, the outcomes of these random models are very variable. These statistical fluctuations are particularly important at the origin of a group, when there are only a few species. It turns out that the only groups that survive this early period are those that happen to diversify quickly – all the others go extinct. As is it exactly those groups that go on to be the large successful groups we see living today, and that fill most of the fossil record, it follows that they are likely to show this rapid pattern of diversification at their origin – but only because they are a biased subset of all groups. Later in their history, when such groups are diverse, statistical fluctuations have much less effect, and therefore their rate of evolution appears to slow down to the background average.

As a result, the patterns we discover by analyzing such groups are not general features of evolution as a whole, but rather represent a remarkable bias that emerges by only studying groups we already know were successful. (1)

Standing still.

A raging bull coming towards you.

Life and death.

So seemingly similar.

Blood dripping on the ground.

The bull is gone now.

Lying down.

A cold breeze.

Small butterfly.

Worm crawling on the ground.

Close your eyes.

Looking at the clouds.

Those patterns…

So scarily visible…

Essential for life…

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How did life arise on Earth? Researchers have found among the first and perhaps only hard evidence that simple protein catalysts – essential for cells, the building blocks of life, to function – may have existed when life began. (1)

We seek what was the essential ingredients for life.

But what is essential?

Could life be without any of its essential ingredients present?

Could any of those ingredients be essential without the existence of life?

Search for the truth.

And you will only keep stumbling on yourself…