Christopher Packham writes: Though humans, along with other vertebrate and invertebrate organisms, don’t photosynthesize, we’re definitely the downstream beneficiaries of the life forms that do. Phototrophic organisms at the bottom of the food chain convert abundant sunlight into the energy that ultimately powers all other life. The two metabolic systems for harvesting light energy are fundamentally different. Read More…
At Phys.org: Planetary interiors in TRAPPIST-1 system could be affected by solar flares
It’s worth realizing that if the energy from stellar flaring is sufficient to noticeably heat the entire planet, it’s more than enough to “cook its goose.”
At Phys.org: Experimentalists: Sorry, no oxygen required to make these minerals on Mars
“There are several life forms even on Earth that do not require oxygen to survive,” Mitra said. “I don’t think of it as a ‘setback’ to habitability—only that there was probably no oxygen-based lifeforms.”
At Phys.org: Comet impacts could bring ingredients for life to Europa’s ocean
“Comet strikes on Jupiter’s moon Europa could help transport critical ingredients for life found on the moon’s surface to its hidden ocean of liquid water—even if the impacts don’t punch completely through the moon’s icy shell.”
At Phys.org: How giant-faced owls snag voles hidden in snow
“Several of the owls’ physical features, especially parts of their wings and face, help them correct for sonic distortions caused by the snow, enabling them to find their moving food with astonishing accuracy.”
At Phys.org: Anatomy of a superorganism: Ant pupae secrete fluid as ‘milk’ to nurture young larvae
Life in an ant colony is a symphony of subtle interactions between insects acting in concert, more like cells in tissue than independent organisms bunking in a colony. Now, researchers have discovered a previously unknown social interaction that unites the colony, linking ants across developmental stages: adults, larvae, and pupae (an immobile stage, not unlike Read More…
At Phys.org: Genes and languages aren’t always found together, says new study
If a specific language evolved along with a specific people group, it isn’t clear that this would result in an innate ability to become fluent in any human language, as children raised in cross-cultural settings have demonstrated.
At Phys.org: Earth can regulate its own temperature over millennia, new study finds
over the 3.7-3.8 billion year timescale that life has been present on Earth are rather strongly consistent with intelligent design.
At Phys.org: Chemists create an ‘artificial photosynthesis’ system ten times more efficient than existing systems
“In nature, photosynthesis is performed by several very complex assemblies of proteins and pigments.”
Researchers have not been able to approach the efficiency of the natural process with artificial photosynthesis.
At Phys.org: New study finds our ancient relatives were not so simple after all
Lacking a naturalistic mechanism for the generation of the new information of novel features, the idea of the “loss of features” is put forward as a driving factor for supposed evolutionary advance.
At Phys.org: Can cosmic inflation be ruled out?
“If the Cosmic Gravitational Background were detected, clearly this would rule out the entire cosmic inflation paradigm, which does not allow for its existence.”
At Phys.org: Learning to better understand the language of algae
Communication implies the purposeful interchange of information. How does intentionality arise from natural interactions between atoms?
At Phys.org: Aluminous silica: A major water carrier in the lower mantle
“Water is transported by oceanic plates into the Earth’s deep interior and changes the properties of minerals and rocks, affecting the Earth’s internal material cycle and environmental evolution since the formation of the Earth.”
At Phys.org: Astronomers find cosmic rays driving galaxy’s winds
“Their new study of the neighboring galaxy M33 indicates that fast-moving cosmic ray electrons can drive winds that blow away the gas needed to form new stars.”
At Phys.org: NASA announces 16 people who will study UFOs to see what’s natural—and what isn’t
What would the UFO team decide if they were fed the genetic code from human DNA, perhaps disguised in a format that didn’t reveal it as such?