Life. A mess…

Photo by Spiros Kakos @ Pexels

Life is built with three major components: RNA and DNA – the genetic code – and proteins, the cells that carry out their instructions. Most likely, the first cells had all three pieces.

But first, RNA, DNA or proteins had to form without their partners. One common theory, known as the “RNA World” hypothesis, proposes that because RNA, unlike DNA, can self-replicate, that molecule may have come first. Some scientists believe the process of its formation may not have been such a straightforward path.

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Szostak Kim and colleagues present a new model for how RNA could have emerged. Instead of a clean path, he and his team propose a Frankenstein-like beginning, with RNA growing out of a mixture of nucleotides with similar chemical structures: arabino- deoxy- and ribonucleotides (ANA, DNA, and RNA).

In the Earth’s chemical melting pot, it is unlikely that a perfect version of RNA formed automatically. It is far more likely that many versions of nucleotides merged to form patchwork molecules with bits of both modern RNA and DNA, as well as largely defunct genetic molecules, such as ANA. These chimeras may have been the first steps toward today’s RNA and DNA.

But if these ‘Frankenstein’ molecules came first, why did they evolve to homogeneous RNA? To test the idea, scientists pitted potential primordial hybrids against modern RNA, manually copying the chimeras to imitate the process of RNA replication. Pure RNA, they found, is just better (more efficient, more precise, faster) than its heterogeneous counterparts are. In another surprising discovery, Kim found that the chimeric oligonucleotides – like ANA and DNA – could have helped RNA evolve the ability to copy itself. (1)

Meet life.

Highly disorganized. Highly chaotic. Highly volatile.

Resulting in robust designs.

Creating lasting bonds.

Setting the foundations of everything.

Meet death.

Highly organized. Highly structured. Highly stable.

Resulting in the chaos of death.

Creating nothing.

Setting the foundations of nothing.

Meet the world.

Woven out of thin thread. Balancing between life and death.

Neither living, nor dead.

Dead and living as well.

Can the fish exist without the sea?

– Hi.

– Did you have breakfast?

– No, there were no fish…

Explanatory Notes

  • The “fish without the sea” is a mention to the idea that for something to exist, it may need a medium which has nothing to do with that something. The fish do not need fish to exist, they need the sea.
  • Breakfast is a reference to Jesus last meeting with the Apostles.

Massive filaments fuel the growth of galaxies and supermassive black holes

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Based on direct observations researchers have discovered massive filaments between galaxies in a proto-cluster, extending over more than 1 million parsecs and providing the fuel for intense formation of stars and the growth of super massive black holes within the proto-cluster. (1)

A filament fit for space: Silk is proven to thrive in outer space temperatures

The scientists who discovered that natural silks get stronger the colder they get, have finally solved the puzzle of why. (2)

Delicate structures in space.

Delicate creatures on Earth.

Holding together.

Patiently watching.

Afraid to break.

But it is not the unbreakable that God dreams of.

One day you will break.

And realize that that was what the cosmos was afraid all that time…

Delicate silk. Delicate humans.

Breaking apart.

And within their weakness.

With their cries and despair.

Rising together.

To hold the cosmos in their fragile arms…

Seeing better. And better. And better. Until we see nothing at all…

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

A few years ago, a team of scientists at EPFL’s Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology, headed by Aleksandra Radenovic in the School of Engineering, developed an algorithm that can estimate a microscope’s resolution in just a few seconds based on a single image. The algorithm’s result indicates how closely a microscope is operating to its full potential. This could be particularly useful for the automated microscopes that have started appearing in research labs. The team’s findings have just been published in Nature Methods.

The scientists used Fourier’s transform as the basis for their algorithm, but they modified it so as to extract as much information as possible from a single image.

The results indicates how closely a microscope is operating to its full potential. The algorithm performs the calculation in just a few seconds and generates a single number. “Researchers can compare this number with the microscope’s maximum possible resolution to see whether the instrument can work even better or modify the experimental conditions and observe how the resolution evolves” says Adrien Descloux, the study’s lead author. (1)

We want to see better. We want to see everything.

So we magnify.

Until we see all the details.

And more.

And more.

And more!

Pushing it to the limit! To see everything!

Until we can distinguish nothing anymore!

Isn’t it funny? The more we analyze the cosmos the more we reach absolute zero. At the end, the point is a circle with zero radius. (source) At the end, in the midst of our greatest triumph, we will see nothing.

Ghosts casting shadows…

In a cosmos without any light…

Except the light we bring on our own…

Lightning strikes twice. Life. Death. A storm still raging…

Photo by Sebastian Voortman from Pexels

Scientists have used the LOFAR radio telescope to study the development of lightning flashes in unprecedented detail. Their work reveals that the negative charges inside a thundercloud are not discharged all in a single flash, but are in part stored alongside the leader channel at Interruptions, inside structures which the researchers have called needles. This may cause a repeated discharge to the ground. (1)

Repetition.

The silent signals of One in a seemingly changing cosmos.

Everything different.

Everything the same.

Where life has existed before, life will rise again.

Where death manifested once, death will always be.

In a cosmos full of existence, being defined the forest.

In a cosmos defined by being, the forest always is.

Look at the rainbow.

Take pleasure from the sunny sky.

Fear not, but rejoice.

For the storm is not over yet…

Rain falls down.

But you do not feel wet.

Falling upon the cosmos.

Over and over again.

You are that rain.

Can you feel the dirt?

Lightning strikes twice. Life. Death. A storm still raging…

Photo by Ray Bilcliff from Pexels

Scientists have used the LOFAR radio telescope to study the development of lightning flashes in unprecedented detail. Their work reveals that the negative charges inside a thundercloud are not discharged all in a single flash, but are in part stored alongside the leader channel at Interruptions, inside structures which the researchers have called needles. This may cause a repeated discharge to the ground. (1)

Repetition.

The silent signals of One in a seemingly changing cosmos.

Everything different.

Everything the same.

Where life has existed before, life will rise again.

Where death manifested once, death will always be.

In a cosmos full of existence, being defined the forest.

In a cosmos defined by being, the forest always is.

Look at the rainbow.

Take pleasure from the sunny sky.

Fear not, but rejoice.

For the storm is not over yet…

Rain falls down.

But you do not feel wet.

Falling upon the cosmos.

Over and over again.

You are that rain.

Can you feel the dirt?

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