Origin of Life: How Dry I Am?

first_imgStephen Benner (U of Florida) has stopped looking for life in water.  A researcher into the evolutionary origin of life, he understands that “water is a terrible solvent for life” – not life as we know it today, he means, but life at the beginning.  This sounds strange, considering most astrobiologists believe in a “follow the water” approach to finding life in space.  In Nature,1 he explained:Benner points out that water is generally not a good solvent for doing organic chemistry – which is, in the end, what life is all about.  For one thing, water is rather reactive, tending to split apart the bonds that link the building blocks of biomolecules together.  It readily breaks peptide bonds, for example, as well as many of the bonds in nucleic acids, such as RNA.  “The structure of RNA screams ‘I did not arise in water!’” Benner asserts.  He says that in about four out of five cases, synthetic organic chemists will avoid using water as a solvent.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Benner shared his ideas at a conference in Italy earlier this year.  Philip Ball investigated his ideas in the article, but puzzled over what Benner said and what we know about how life utilizes water:But of course organic chemists aren’t usually trying to create life.  Water has many properties that seem indispensable for the functioning of proteins and cells.  It is an excellent solvent for ions, for example – crucial for nerve signalling, enzymatic processes, biomineralization and the behaviour of DNA.  It is also a master of weak intermolecular interactions such as hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic forces.  The latter play a central role in protein folding and protein-protein interactions, whereas the former often act as bridges between protein binding sites and their substrates.  And water’s ability to absorb and lose heat without undergoing a large temperature change provides thermal cushioning, shielding cells and organisms from wild temperature swings.    No other known liquid combines all of these properties.Because water is an enemy at the origin of life but an indispensable friend for sustaining it, chemical evolutionists have a conundrum on their hands.  As an escape, they are asking “what if” questions about whether life could have arisen in other solvents.Asking such ‘what if’ questions might seem strange to biologists and chemists, but it is far more common in cosmology or physics [see 08/16/2005].  For cosmologists, the physical Universe seems to be precariously fine-tuned to make life possible.  For example, the fine-structure constant, which determines the strength of electromagnetic interactions, is not fixed by any known fundamental theory; and yet if it was ten times larger, stable atoms could not exist….He [John Finney, University College, London] adds that “the fine-tuning argument with respect to water is a far more complex problem than that in astrophysics.  Without knowing what aspects of water are important, I suspect we are doing little more than speculating.”Others at the conference thought Benner was putting the cart before the horse: “life on Earth is adapted to water rather than the other way round,” they agreed.  Benner, meanwhile, beset by the problems with RNA and proteins in water, is going to investigate uncharted territory: dry, frozen worlds with liquid methane, perhaps, like Titan (08/09/2005, 01/21/2005), or ones of his own making:Benner is participating in a US National Academies panel funded by NASA that is looking at possible alternative chemistries for life, and which he hopes will identify research directions that funding agencies can pursue.  He believes that researchers should aim high – to create life forms that do not reproduce the chemistry that is found on Earth.  In other words, if we can’t easily get to other worlds, we should build them here.1Philip Ball, “Water and Life: Seeking the Solution,” Nature, 436, 1084-1085 (25 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/4361084a.Steven Benner should know better.  He knows more than most evolutionists how many and intractable are the problems with chemical evolution; the problems are so bad, in fact, that he joked that they are almost enough to make one consider becoming a creationist (see 11/05/2004 entry).  Now that is really bad to a Darwinist!  Nothing could be worse.    Articles like this are useful to show that creationists and intelligent design advocates are not making things up when they talk about the fine-tuning of the laws of physics and the impossibility of getting life by chance.  Here you have it in the evolutionists’ own words.  There is nothing to show for a century of speculation – only futureware.    Cynics will undoubtedly follow not the water, but the money.  Chemical evolution has no real use for water, methane, or any other solvent, really; the thing that lubricates it is funding.  It’s what gave the charlatan Sidney Fox his fifteen years of fame (01/07/2005), and is keeping Astrobiology the slickest new drainpipe for NASA dollars.  Without funding, the Darwinian storytelling enterprise (12/22/2003) would dry up, and the bums would have to work in the real world.  Meanwhile, it’s your tax dollars at work.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Man shot dead by Naxals in Chhattisgarh

first_imgA man was shot dead by Naxals in Chattisgarh’s Sukma district, around 500 kilometres from Raipur, police said on Sunday. Madkam Nanda (28) was sleeping in his house in Bonkamadgu village late Saturday night when a group of Naxals raided the house and shot him multiple times, a Maraiguda police station official said. The village is on the Chhattisgarh-Telangana border and police teams have rushed to the site to apprehend the killers, he added.“We are not sure of the motive behind the killing as the Naxals did not leave any pamphlet etc at the spot. A probe is underway,” the official said.last_img read more

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Ancajas gains foreign fans after explosive US showing

first_imgAFP official booed out of forum NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers LATEST STORIES Arellano Eyes twin NCAA titles Last Friday, the visitors included Japanese and Britons. They spent big amounts for taxi fares just to be with the International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight champion who knocked out Mexican Israel Gonzalez in the 10th round in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Feb. 3.According to Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ trainer and manager, the foreigners brought along boxing gloves, shirts and other mementos for Ancajas to sign. They also posed for pictures with the southpaw being hailed as the next Filipino ring superstar after Manny Pacquiao.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAs a result of Ancajas’ fourth straight KO victory, Jimenez’s stock as trainer also rose, with Chinese and Australian boxers wanting to hone their skills at the makeshift gym.Jimenez said they are still waiting for matchmaker Sean Gibbons to finalize details of Ancajas’ next title fight against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan. On Monday, Ancajas will start light training. —ROY LUARCA After an impressive initial foray in the United States, Jerwin Ancajas gained local following and international acclaim.Proof is a steady stream of media outfits and fans, including foreigners, trooping to his secluded Survival Camp in Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite province.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH01:55Cops raid Manila office of Bayan, nab 3 activists for guns, explosive01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH View comments 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting MOST READ Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

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Dey murder: Cops claim progress in probe

first_imgPolice on Monday claimed “substantial progress” in investigation into the murder of veteran journalist Jyotirmoy Dey as they get ready to file a status report in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.”We have made substantial progress and inched closer to cracking the case,” Additional Police Commissioner (Crime) Deven Bharti told reporters.”We have also reviewed the probe done so far and will brief the Advocate General who will apprise the court (about the status of the case),” he said.The High Court had on last Thursday directed the Maharashtra government and police to file on June 21 a status report on the probe into the June 11 murder of the 56-year-old scribe amidst growing demand for a CBI inquiry.Police have also accessed the personal email data of Dey, which Bharti claimed, helped the investigators to get “some positive” leads in the case.Dey’s mobile phone call records had also been verified, Bharti said, adding “hours before being shot dead, the journalist had gone to a courier firm’s office to send visa and passport-related documents to the Philippines tourism office in Delhi. He was to go on a junket.”Dey, Editor (Special Investigation), Mid-Day, who extensively covered underworld and crime for over two decades, was gunned down by four assailants in suburban Powai.The documents seized from the crime reporter’s residence indicated that he was also assisting some person for a film script.”We have got some details following the interrogation of oil mafia kingpin Mohammed Ali and we are verifying them,” Bharti said.advertisementDey had reported on the oil mafia operating in the metropolis.Ali, arrested in a murder case, is currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail.Police have so far questioned at least 40 persons, including Assistant Commissioner of Police Anil Mahabole (who had filed a criminal defamation case against Dey in 2005) in connection with the murder.Police sources said that in a report to be handed over to the Advocate General, investigators have given all details gathered during the investigations.The Crime Branch, which is handling the case, did not want to leave any stone unturned to ensure that the probe does not slip from its hand and goes to the CBI, an officer said.”We will put up a strong case from our side.”Meanwhile, in a fresh initiative from the Mumbai Press Club, national editors of major print and TV news networks are meeting Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday to express their concern about the lack of any headway in the Dey murder case.The editors, along with a few representatives of journalist organisations, will also demand transfer of the investigation to the CBI.Among the journalists who will meet the CM include editor-in-chief of the Indian Express Group Shekhar Gupta, ‘The Hindu’ editor N Ram, ‘Times Now’ editor Arnab Goswami, ‘The Economic Times’ executive editor Rahul Joshi, ‘Loksatta’ editor Girish Kuber, ‘DNA’ editor Aditya Sinha and ‘Mid-day’ editor Sachin Kalbag.Later, there will be a meeting of journalists at the Press Club where they will discuss the issues raised with the Maharashtra government and steps necessary to ensure safety of media professionals.- With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

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