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Are microbes helping shape the weather?

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Lots of things are up in the air these days, …

Recent research published in PNAS suggests that the diversity of microbial life in the air is on par with the soil, at least in urban areas, yet the air remains vastly understudied in comparison.

“Just seven or ten years ago we didn’t realize bacteria existed in clouds,” said Anne-Marie Delort, professor of microbiology and organic chemistry at Université Blaise Pascal in France. Now researchers know microbes act as a surface for the condensation of water vapor in the atmosphere, thus forming clouds. Recent research publish in Science shows microbes also play the same role during snowflake formation and other types of precipitation. The next step, Delort said, is to uncover their metabolic activity in clouds and influence on atmospheric processes. If they are metabolically active, she added, microbes could not only be acting as cloud condensers, but affecting the carbon and nitrogen cycles as well.

It all rather reminds one of Michael Denton’s view, in Nature’s Destiny that just about all ecological niches are actually occupied (plenitude of life).

Can anyone think of a niche that could be occupied but isn’t?

Sorry this is OT- The coherence of an engineered world:
Abstract Normally, information from scientific discoveries is funnelled into the development of engineered products that benefit humanity. But recently a strange turnabout in the flow of practical information has occurred. Concepts from the field of engineering have been found extremely useful in areas of science. From the very large aspects of the universe (i.e. big bang cosmology and galactic and stellar evolution) to the very small aspects (i.e. the fitness of the chemical elements and the coding of DNA for life), the cosmos is so readily and profitably reverse-engineered by scientists and engineers as to make a compelling argument that it was engineered in the first place. The linking of extraordinarily complex, but stable functional structures with the production of value provides the strong impression of a calculating intentionality, which is able to operate in a transcendent fashion. The most coherent view of the universe is that of a system of subsystems that efficiently interact to prepare for, develop, and support advanced life, subject to various physical constraints. The quest for understanding our universe as a whole benefits from the integration of knowledge from all areas of study, including those that consider questions of purpose, such as design engineering. The synthesis of this knowledge that provides the most satisfying answers regarding human experience is one that admits the recognition of purpose and the existence of an (as yet, not-wellunderstood) engineering influence.
HT Casey Luskin ENV Joseph

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