first_imgBBC News posted an article updating the story of Homo florensiensis, the so-called “Hobbit Man” miniature-human fossil (see 10/27/2004).  Opponents of the “missing link” interpretation are becoming more ardent in their claim that the fossils represent diseased modern humans with a condition known as microcephaly.  The discoverers are not convinced.Wait for this story to play out before jumping to conclusions.  If like most early man claims, it will be debunked in time.  Never be swayed by initial claims.  Wait for “the rest of the story.”(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgWe often hear exciting news about ‘habitable planets’ that might have life, or at least the ‘building blocks of life.’ Are these reports based on sound thinking about the requirements?I am constantly amused by the ongoing vigorous efforts to find some sort of life at places other than the earth. Daily I see conjectures about microbes in deep oceans in the Saturnian moons Titan or Enceladus (e.g., Space.com, July 5th). Excited reporters announce organic compounds on Mars. On and on it goes.Let me approach this from two angles: how does life originate? And what are the requirements for life to survive, advance and propagate?Requirements for Assembling and Jump-Starting LifeIf life starts from some sort of single cell, how could that cell form, and how could it get life? Even the simplest cell is an indescribably complex object, like a factory. It is suggested that a cell, over the course of extremely long time frames, could just “come together” from ‘building blocks of life’ in some sort of primordial soup – a liquid containing a host of organic compounds. Is that reasonable?A cell consists of a number of indispensable parts. It needs a membrane to contain the internal parts and to gather nutrients and expel waste products. It needs a genetic code which controls the operations of the cell. It needs enzymes and proteins to move and control operations. These are at the very least crucial elements. Each constituent element consists of thousands of molecules all attached to each other properly. How could millions upon trillions of atoms slam together, attach at the right places and orientation, and create all these structures, all at one time?And, if they did, what jump-starts this process which we call life? Life implies that all these mechanisms start working, producing energy, metabolizing, growing, taking in nutrients, expelling waste products. The accidental production of a complex cell would be an outstanding miracle, but starting it operating is even a greater miracle. We can consider two cells—identical in structure and composition—one alive and one that died. What was lost to cause the second cell to die? Why can’t it jump-start again? It does not happen.Requirements for ViabilityBut putting this aside, imagining that somehow a live cell came together somewhere in the universe, what conditions are necessary to allow it to survive, to propagate, and to expand its functions further (i.e., to evolve)? We can examine the one case we know about, and that is spacecraft earth. We know a great deal about the earth, and know many features, conditions, and elemental substances available to allow life.In searching for life elsewhere, it is necessary to identify all the enabling conditions and raw materials required, before jumping to the conclusion that just because some organic molecules are found, that life must exist there.In their search, astrobiologists start looking for and hypothesizing about simple microbial organisms. SETI researchers are dedicated to looking for higher (intelligent) forms of life. What conditions and substances must be there for life to exist? To answer that question, we can ask: what about the earth do we know to be essential for life to exist? And not just a few of these conditions, but ALL of them must be present simultaneously.The book is available from CMI in print and e-book formats. Click for information.David Coppedge and I spend a good part of a chapter of our book Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers, examining the earth and identifying necessary features. I agree with most astrobiologists that life needs to be carbon-based to have all the different organic molecules and compounds available for life forms. We know of no other element that has all the features and versatility that carbon has. Some have suggested a silicon-based ecology, but although there are some silicon compounds that duplicate the carbon ones, the selection is very limited. Carbon has literally millions of compounds available.Many carbon compounds, however, are fragile, susceptible to damage from heat, cold, energetic particles, ultraviolet light, chemical attacks, etc. This is particularly true of organic compounds in life forms, particularly DNA. So considerations of the survival of life forms centers on protections against damaging forces. The other main consideration is the availability of beneficial compounds and chemicals to allow and promote growth. A number of carbon atoms are needed to form proteins, amino acids, esters, alcohols, enzymes,  fats, carbohydrates, and so on. To interact in the ways we see in cells, they need a solvent. I also agree with astrobiologists that water is the best candidate for a solvent—which means that a habitable planet must at least have liquid water.Requirements for HabitabilityA planet would need to have an abundance of the elements required for carbon-based life, not just carbon itself. And those elements must be available at the surface, or in the proposed oceans under the ice that scientists believe exist at Europa and Enceladus. For the required elements and molecules to be available, though, numerous other factors would also have to be satisfied. Some scientists think that just having water and heat is enough, with some organic molecules mixed in.Many people have heard of a “habitable zone” around a star where liquid water can exist. As we show in the book, that’s just one of the factors in the “cosmic lottery” that life has to win. The Earth, of course, won that lottery. But more thinking about habitable zones has added further requirements. From the literature of astrobiology, we can identify ten or more other “zones” required for habitability, in addition to circumstellar distance. We list these in the book: Galactic Habitable Zone:  the solar system must be localized in a narrow band within the galaxy. Continuously Habitable Zone:  the habitable zone must not vary significantly.Temporal Habitable Zone:  the habitable zone must last long enough for life to persist.Chemical and Thermodynamic Habitable Zone:  the planet’s chemistry and heat transfer mechanisms must permit liquid water to persist.Ultraviolet Habitable Zone:  the planet must filter out ionizing radiation from its star.Tidal Habitable Zone:  the star must not tidally “lock” its habitable planet to force one hemisphere to always face the star (this rules out most stars).Obliquity Habitable Zone:  the star must not “erase” its habitable planet’s tilt through tidal forces. (While not eliminating the possibility of life, a planet without a tilt would have no seasons, drastically reducing its habitable surface area.)Eccentricity Habitable Zone:  the planet must have a nearly circular orbit so that it stays in the proper place in the zone.Stellar Chemistry Habitable Zone:  the star must have the right chemical composition to remain quiet and well-behaved. A G2 main-sequence star like our sun is ideal.Stellar Wind Habitable Zone:  the star must not be given to extreme “space weather” that might strip off a habitable planet’s atmosphere.Inhabited Zone:  recently, two astrobiologists suggested that to be habitable, a planet needs inhabitants!  “…there is a growing amount of evidence supporting the idea that our Planet will not be the same if we remove every single form of life from its surface,” a news report said.A planetary scientist at the University of Arizona said, “Habitability is very difficult to quantify because it depends on a huge number of variables, some of which we have yet to identify.” It’s likely, therefore, that this is only a partial list.Requirements Are Not EnoughAs we show in the book, when you use reasonable probability estimates of 1 in 10 for each factor to calculate how many planets might meet all the requirements, the result is less than one! Obviously there is one, which we are living on right now. But is it reasonable to think the universe is filled with other planets as ‘lucky’ as the earth? I think not.Another planet could meet all these requirements, though, and still be lifeless. What physical process could organize the ingredients into cells? And what force could endow the cells with life? And could we expect undirected evolution to once again bring about anything on the level of the beauty and complexity of life we find here on Spacecraft Earth?  I maintain that it could not have happened once by accidental means here, much less than a second time elsewhere.My conclusion:  there are a lot of wishful thinkers out there who have not thought this through. And there is a lot of money being poured into a life search against all odds.Dr Henry Richter, manager of Explorer 1 (America’s first satellite) at JPL in 1958, is a contributing science writer to Creation-Evolution Headlines. Dr Richter was a key player at NASA/JPL in the early days of the American space program. With a PhD in Chemistry, Physics and Electrical Engineering from Caltech, Dr Richter brings a perspective about science with the wisdom of years of personal involvement. His book America’s Leap Into Space: My Time at JPL and the First Explorer Satellites (2015), chronicles the beginnings of the space program based on his own records and careful research into rare NASA documents, providing unequaled glimpses into events and personnel in the early days of rocketry that only an insider can give. His second book, Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers was printed by CMI in November, 2017. For more about Dr Richter and a list of his articles, see his Author Profile.(Visited 482 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgShortest hole at longest US Open course could bring trouble MOST READ “It’s the business of basketball obviously so nothing is for sure, but here I feel like we can work that out and we’ll have a chance to do this again next year,” Durant said. “It’s easier said than done obviously, but that’s the goal. We want to keep this thing together and see how we can continue to keep getting better.”The group that recruited Durant in the Hamptons that day last summer has the same philosophy about winning more championships. Along with Curry that day were Iguodala, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.“I do know me and KD had a conversation along with Draymond and Klay and Andre last year before he even showed up that that was kind of the identity of who we are as a team that we understand how important it is, the guys that are here,” Curry said. “You don’t want anybody to have to sacrifice in that sense, you don’t want to force anybody to take that approach but at the end of the day we know what’s best for us as a group going forward. We’re going to do everything we can to keep this team together. I’ll have that mindset, KD’s going to have that mindset, I know Dre, Shaun, all the guys that are up for negotiating a new contract. We’ll see what happens. The beauty of what I know of this team, we all want to provide for our families, we want to get all that we can out of this game while we still have the legs to do it, but there are no egos when it comes to that side of the equation when it comes to us as professional athletes.”Curry and Durant also heard from former President Barack Obama with congratulations, though Durant said he was most excited that among 200 messages was a text from a high school girlfriend he didn’t realize still had his number.While the Warriors haven’t formally met to discuss whether they will visit President Donald Trump’s White House as is customary for championship teams, Curry said his mind hasn’t changed from when he was asked earlier this year about the possibility. Coach Steve Kerr also has been outspoken about issues with Trump.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant smiles during an NBA basketball news conference on Wednesday in Oakland, California. APOAKLAND, California — Stephen Curry will likely go from being the NBA’s biggest bargain to signing the richest contract in the league at more than $200 million. And he looks forward to the nice payday.Yet the two-time reigning MVP and new NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant said Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) they would consider taking less money to keep the core of the champion Golden State Warriors intact.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide “Somebody asked me about it a couple months ago like the hypothetical if a championship were to happen what would I do and I think I answered I wouldn’t go. Still feel like that today,” Curry said. “But obviously as a team we’re going to have a conversation. This is a moment that we all need to enjoy together. Nothing should distract from what we were able to accomplish together and the different kind of ceremonies that have happened around championship-winning teams. We don’t want that to taint what we’ve accomplished this year so we’ll handle that accordingly and responsibly and do the right thing for us individually and as a group.” “It would mean everything. What we’ve built here is truly special, it’s unique, it’s something that you don’t want to see end at all,” Curry said. “All the pieces that we have are important to the equation of winning a championship and competing for a championship every single year. It is a business. There are decisions that need to be made every single year and you’ve got to assess the situation as it is.“… As we go into the talks and this whole process, which is obviously new for me, I will approach it to get the most out of it I can as an individual, as a player, and something that I’ve been working for for a very long time. In the context of keeping the team together, if there are decisions that need to be made, we’ll talk about it for sure.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutTwo days after capturing the franchise’s second title in three years against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors prepared to part ways for what will be a busy offseason for general manager Bob Myers and the front office.Durant said he has “no question” in his mind he will be back with the Warriors. He hinted he would opt out of a deal that pays him the maximum he can get in order to help Golden State’s chances of re-signing players such as Andre Iguodala or Shaun Livingston — two key reserves on both title teams. 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire LATEST STORIES What ‘missteps’? Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View commentslast_img read more

first_imgJeff Horn. INQUIRER PHOTO/ROY LUARCABRISBANE, Australia—If trainer Glenn Rushton’s grand description of  Jeff Horn turns out to be true, then Manny Pacquiao is in for a brutal tussle on July 2.A punishing 10-week training camp, according to Rushton, has turned Horn into a fighting machine. Somebody with “hands like steel, body like granite,” and with “the strength of an ox.”ADVERTISEMENT With both Pacquiao and Horn wielding a heavy hand, said there’s a good chance of a stoppage late in the fight.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Rushton said he’s hoping that Pacquiao will bring his A-game into the “Battle of Brisbane” at the 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium because Horn will definitely be at his best form ever.After studying hundreds of tapes of Pacquiao’s previous fights, especially against the likes of Ricky Hatton, Oscar dela Hoya and Juan Manuel Marquez, Rushton has meticulously crafted a secret 10-point plan against Pacquiao.Rushton said if Horn will be able to follow the plan to the letter, and be on his toes every second of the 12-round bout, the former school teacher will be able to hurdle Pacquiao and shock the world.Rushton liked Pacquiao-Horn to a collision between an unstoppable force (Pacquiao) and an immovable object (Horn).And with Horn in terrific shape, Horn promises a much better fight than Pacquiao versus Jessie Vargas, Pacquiao against Timothy Bradley and Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Horn to take leaf out of Marquez book vs Pacquiao WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken MOST READcenter_img What ‘missteps’? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Rushton, a self-made millionaire and mixed martial arts expert, also said during Horn’s media workout at the gym inside his mansion, that he hasn’t seen anybody really hurt Horn in the ring.Not even during his amateur days where Horn represented Australia in both the World Championships and the 2012 Olympics.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd not in the pro ranks, where Horn holds a 16-0-1 record with 11 knockouts.In addition, Rushton swears that Horn has the will and the heart to give trouble to anybody, including Pacquiao. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View commentslast_img read more