DID COMETS DELIVER LIFE CHEMICALS?

WERE THE CHEMICALS OF LIFE DELIVERED TO EARTH BY A COMET?

Although certainly not conclusive, it’s looking more and more like the molecules of life were cooked up elsewhere in the universe…that is to say, not on the earth.

Decades ago, meteorites were found to have been loaded with amino acids ( the building blocks of proteins ) and with nitrogenous bases ( the building blocks of DNA ). But a component of DNA’s “partner in crime”, rIbose sugar, had never been observed in meteorites. Ribose sugar is a part of the RNA molecule, which works together with DNA to carry out protein synthesis.

Anyway, scientists now think COMETS may have delivered that ribose sugar to the earth’s ancient seas billions of years ago.

Why? In a lab, they simulated conditions that comets most likely would have encountered as they formed in the early solar system. They placed small dust grains, methanol, water and ammonia in a flask at -200 degrees C and exposed the whole mess to UV. Voila, ribose was produced along with other sugars and compounds.

So, now we have a reason to believe that comets and meteorites may have delivered the necessary ingredients to earth that made abiogenesis, the spontaneous generation of life on earth, possible.

It’s, of course, just a hypothesis at this point, but a mighty intriguing one.

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HOW GRAVITY AFFECTS LIGHT

If the photons, particles which “ride along ” on light waves, are massless, how can gravity deflect the path of light?

And they do. Light from distant Stars seems to be bent, when it travels near stars with strong gravity fields.

But it’s not that the gravity deflects the light beam by attracting the photos off their course.

It’s that, the star’s strong gravity warps or bends the space -time around it and the light simply follows the curvature.

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VX…KEEP AWAY

VX Don’t Go Near It!!! ( My Biochemistry resurfacing ).

North Korean mad-man dictator’s half brother was killed in Malaysia recently with the neurotoxin, VX.

Classified as a WMD, it’s one of the most lethal substances on the planet. Just 10 milligrams, one hundredth of a gram absorbed through the skin, will kill the average person in seconds.

How does it work? Scientifically it’s an acetylcholine esterase inhibitor. Unless you happen to be a doctor or a biochemist, that probably means nothing, so let’s explain.

For muscles to contract, nerve impulses must jump the space, the synapse, between that conducting nerve fiber and the muscle. But, to make the leap, a chemical called acetylcholine must be present…in that gap. It functions as a sort of bridge, enabling the impulse to reach the muscle.

After the impulse has crossed the gap and caused the muscle to move, another chemical enzyme, acetylcholine esterase appears to break down the acetylcholine. If this didn’t happen, if the acetylcholine esterase didn’t do its job, the nerve impulses wouldn’t stop and neither would muscle stimulation. That would produce uncontrollable tremors.

Here’s where the VX comes in. It inhibits the action of acetylcholine esterase. That mean acetylcholine remains in the synapse so that the impulses continue and the muscle keeps being stimulated…that unending stimulation causes nerve fiber depolarization, the impulses stop altogether and the muscle goes flaccid. It stops moving.

In other words, the muscle is eventually paralyzed.

Breathing muscles so affected stop functioning and the person is asphyxiated and of course dies.

THOSE NEUTRINOS

Did you know that your body ( and all other objects on earth for that matter…pun intended ) are constantly being riddled with billions of particles every second?

These “cosmic bullets” zip right through your body at near the speed of light and you, of course, never notice.

Exactly what are these subtle, ghost-like particles that invade and pass through EVERYTHING on earth?

Neutrinos are infinitesimally small, sub atomic particles produced by radioactive decay, those reactions that take place in the sun and when cosmic rays strike certain atoms.

They are strange, indeed, with no electrical charge and virtually no mass.

As such, they can penetrate matter nearly unimpeded. I fact, they easily pass through the entire earth in a fraction of a fraction of a second.

Most of the neutrinos in the earth’s vicinity originate in the sun.

There numbers are staggering. 65 billion pass through each square centimeter of all objects perpendicular to the sun EVERY SECOND.

What are they good for? Probably nothing, except for tantalizing and stimulating our imagination.

THE COSMIC BACKGROUND RADIATION

 

 

In 1964, two researchers from Bell Labs were monitoring the sky with their radio telescope.

They were hoping to detect signals from gaseous nebulae, light years from earth, but instead they picked up something very strange.

The signals were in the microwave portion of the spectrum, at frequencies much lower than they expected.

How could this be? Gas clouds weren’t known to emanate microwaves.

They wondered…where were these signals be coming from if not from gaseous nebulae?

To make the long story short, the Bell investigators were witnessing the first light ever produced by the universe…a mere 380,000 years after the Big Bang, a time when the universe was less than one tenth of 1% its present age.

But, as noted earlier, the scientists observed microwaves…not light.

The reason: the waves of that very first light, were stretched out as the universe expanded. When wavelengths of light are increased, stretched out, their frequency is decreased and they are transformed from light into microwaves.

These scientists had inadvertently discovered what came to be known as the Cosmic Background Radiation.

It lent further credibility to
the Big Bang as well as demonstrating that the universe was rapidly expanding, beginning first instant after the Big Bang.

In tuning in the CBR, they were detecting the afterglow of the Big Bang.

If you still have an old analog TV, the snow that appears on the screen when you tune to blank channels is also the cosmic background radiation.

THE BIG BANG

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Will we ever learn how the universe came into existence? Will we ever know what happened during the Big Bang, that cataclysmic event that created matter, space and even time.

Physicists can explain events leading up until 10 to the minus 43rd second of the Big Bang.

But, so far at least, they can go no further back. To crash THIS barrier, would reveal what happened at the very instant of creation.

This smallest interval of time, called a Planck second, is considered the gate keeper to the holy grail of knowledge, the explanation for creation, itself.

Although inexplicable and certainly counter intuitive, the esoteric field of quantum mechanics has shown theoretically, at least, that it IS possible for “something to come from nothing”.

At The Large Hadron Collider, they are now working on validating that incomprehensible theory, producing matter from nothing at all.

It’s not magic. It’s science. And it may soon give us the answer to the greatest mystery of all.

Doug

Your digitized world

Could it be that the digital revolution is steadily and increasingly replacing real life, concrete experiences perceived with our 5 senses…with virtuality, an artificial and electronically generated reality.

Consider the use of E-books. Using these virtual tomes instead of REAL books, readers forgo the multi-sensual experience of buying a book or checking one out of a library….they’re denied the tactile sensation of a book in their hands and the turning of its pages…they don’t experience the mild chemical smell of a newly printed book or the musty odor of an old one…and all this sensual deprivation for the “convenience” of reading a virtual book on a screen.

Consider computer/tablet use. FB now allows people to acquire and chat with “friends”, in many cases ones they’ve never met or never will meet. Email, texting and instant messaging permit communication without personal interaction, no nuances transmitted by voice inflection or by the body language that occurs in face-to-face encounters, no opportunities for bonding…only letters on a screen that represent a being at the other end.

Via computer we can escape to anyplace on the globe or most anywhere in the universe, but, of course, the experience is devoid of feeling one gets from actually “being there” in person.

In short, is digitization removing us from the real world?

Extrapolating this concept, VR or virtual reality programs, are capable now of simulating the real, world, by convincingly immersing us in an imaginary environment that engages all the senses, blurring the line between what is real and what is not.

Is there a danger that one day we won’t be able to tell the difference or are we almost there now?

PS…But I still love my ipad