Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain. A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food. Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge "cell" containing all their nuclei.
Tag Archives | Life
Being alive or dead may not be such a black and white matter. Via Discovery:
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A new study reveals how death in organisms, including humans, spreads like a wave from cell to cell until the whole individual is dead. In certain cases, scientists may be able to stop the biochemical process that leads to this death wave, reviving the individual.
Researchers focused their analysis on worms, which surprisingly possess mechanisms that are similar to those that are active in mammals. A remarkable feature of worms is that, as they die, the spread of death through their bodies can easily be seen under magnification. It’s a fluorescent blue light caused by necrosis, or the cell death pathway. This, in turn, is dependent upon calcium signaling.
The individual cell deaths trigger a chemical reaction that leads to the breakdown of cell components and a build-up of molecular debris. If this goes on unchecked, the individual is toast.
Our personal perspective is a reflection of our influences, i.e., in large part we are a byproduct of our environment and lessons learned from influential teachers, which is why my About Page contains a list of some of the prominent teachers that I have had the good fortune to stumble upon.
Considering the vast body of work that is represented in this list, I thought it would be a good exercise to try and share at least one primary lesson from each teacher. Below you will find teachings shared by fifteen of those on the list. More will follow, but for now, here is what I have learned from:
There are many metaphors for what life really is, but foremost in the big smarty pants community is the idea that life is a computer simulation. There happens to be a good amount of information that leads us to believe this is possible and the Edge Bros. are making a film about it to make the idea easier for the Average Joe to swallow. I found their indiegogo presentation to be amusing and informative. Check it out for yourself and consider throwing a couple ‘coins’ their way. Check out their crowd funding page here.
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In the history of biology, preformationism (or preformism) is the idea that organisms develop from miniature versions of themselves. Instead of assembly from parts, preformationists believe that the form of living things exist, in real terms, prior to their development. It suggests that all organisms were created at the same time, and that succeeding generations grow from homunculi that have existed since the beginning of creation.
Pythagoras is one of the earliest thinkers credited with ideas about the origin of form in the biological production of offspring. It is said that he originated “spermism”, the doctrine that fathers contribute the essential characteristics of their offspring while mothers contribute only a material substrate.
The groundbreaking scientific insights provided by Galileo and Descartes seemed to support preformationism.
Consider getting drunk and going to the movies this weekend. From 1844’s Human Requirements and Division of Labour Under the Rule of Private Property, Karl Marx says:
The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life – the greater is the store of your estranged being.
Mars gets the attention, but apparently a moon in the far reaches of our solar system is the spot with the greatest chance of harboring extraterrestrial beings. Via the Sydney Morning Herald:
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US astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government’s attention.
“Europa is the most likely place in our solar system beyond Earth to possess …. life,” said Robert Pappalardo, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “Europa is the most promising in terms of habitability because of its relatively thin ice shelf and an ocean … And we know there are oxidants on the surface of Europa.”
The JPL and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland developed a new exploration project named Clipper with a total coast of two billion US dollars minus the launch.
Meet your new pets, via Wired:
Three billion years after inanimate chemistry first became animate life, a newly synthesized laboratory compound is behaving in uncannily lifelike ways. The particles aren’t truly alive — but they’re not far off, either. Exposed to light and fed by chemicals, they form crystals that move, break apart and form again.
“There is a blurry frontier between active and alive,” said biophysicist Jérémie Palacci of New York University. “That is exactly the kind of question that such works raise.” Palacci and fellow NYU physicist Paul Chaikin led a group of researchers in developing the particles, which are described Jan. 31 in Science as forming “living crystals” in the right chemical conditions.
Some scientists think that life’s building blocks once existed in such a form, bouncing back and forth for millions of years until coalescing in configurations that possessed the ability to copy themselves.
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I had not planned on getting involved in the following discussion, however, a conversation was started online which I felt inclined to participate in, and since my initial reply was well received, I thought it would be worthwhile floating the information here as well. Some of what I have posted were extremely hard-learned lessons and I hope the information finds its way to those who seek such advice.
The following question was posted on AskReddit:
“My parents just lost their son of 27 years. I am now an only child. Will it ever get easier for them, or will this bear on their soul until the eventual day where I must say goodbye?
“I guess I’m not exactly sure what I’m asking for. Stories, anecdotes, puns, and assholes maybe. I want to be there for my mom and dad but I’m unsure of what may even help. What in this world can help someone overcome the grief of having to lose a child?