Tag Archives | Life

How The Universe (Something) Appeared From Nothing (Video)

Granted this video is a promo for the New Scientist's recent issue on "existence", it's pretty interesting, if you are OK with incomplete answers. (Figuring out how the universe got so large is still a serious head-scratcher.) My takeaway after watching this, is if "something" is not really that different from "nothing" (according to our human perception) then, well, there is still much to ponder ...
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Honor Your Loved One’s Memory By Firing Away

Shotgun ShellVia Neatorama:
If you’d like to go out with a bang, Holy Smoke LLC offers to pack your cremated ashes (or those of your loved ones) into ammunition cartridges. You tell them the caliber or gauge, ship the remains to them, and they’ll load the cartridges: Once the caliber, gauge and other ammunition parameters have been selected, we will ask you (by way of your funeral service provider) to send approximately one pound of the decadent's ash to us. Upon receiving the ashes our professional and reverent staff will place a measured portion of ash into each shot-shell or cartridge.[...] Our return shipment to the sender will be the finished ammunition, boxed in available labeled ammunition boxes. We also offer mantle-worthy wooden carriers with engraved name plates. Your return shipment will also include any unused ash in a separate, labeled container.
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‘Dead Man’ Wakes Up Inside South African Morgue

DeadmanReports BBC News:

A 50-year-old South African man woke up inside a mortuary over the weekend and screamed to be let out — scaring away attendants who thought he was a ghost. His family presumed he was dead when they could not wake him on Saturday night and contacted a private morgue in a rural village in the Eastern Cape.

He spent almost 24 hours inside the morgue, the region’s health department spokesman told the Sapa news agency. The two attendants later returned and called for an ambulance.

The man — whose identity has been withheld — was treated in hospital for dehydration. “Doctors put him under observation and concluded he was stable,” Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said. “He did not need further treatment.”

Mr Kupelo said the man woke up at 1700 local time (1500 GMT) on Sunday, demanding to be let out of the chilly morgue in Libode village, frightening the attendants on duty.

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Canadian Meteorite Has All the Building Blocks for Life

MeteorInteresting article from Tim Barribeau on io9.com:

The argument that life on Earth may have been seeded from the stars just received a major boost, as scientists have found the building blocks of life inside a meteorite that landed in British Columbia in 2000.

The Tagish Lake meteorite landed in January of that year, a streaking fireball that burst into more than 500 fragments which rained down on the lake. In its trip from the outer reaches of the asteroid belt it burned down from 56 tonnes to 1.3, and deep inside the fragments there are the basic building blocks of life, including the amino acids, sugars and hydrocarbons that could have jump started life on our planet.

This meteorite is the only uncontaminated example we’ve ever found, thanks to the quick actions of the people who spotted it. What the researchers have found is that the organic compounds in the rock date back to the early days of the solar system, or possible predate it.

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Depressed People Make Better Decisions Than Happy Ones

Lucy & Charlie BrownVia LiveScience:

Depression might not be all bad, new research finds. People with major depressive disorder do better on a decision-making task than people without the disease.

Depression is a psychiatric condition defined by consistently low mood, low self-esteem and loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities. About 20 percent of people worldwide suffer from major depressive disorder, the clinical name, at some point during their lifetime.

This is the first time a positive cognitive effect has been seen in people with major depressive disorder. The researchers suggest that these patients process information more systematically and analytically than their chipper counterparts. They might unconsciously put more effort into their decisions because they desire control of their environment.

The finding conflicts with other research suggesting depressed people are worse at mental tasks, because they get distracted by thoughts of their problems. Previous studies have shown they perform better when asked not to think about their problems.

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Are There New Domains Of Life On Earth Waiting To Be Discovered?

2CurtisLinnelargeForget about extra terrestrials. Out in the oceans, there likely are unknown life forms on Earth that fall outside of the classification system we’ve developed for identifying and grouping all living things. We may be coming into contact with them someday soon — it’s a fascinating and slightly frightening thought. Via the Economist:

LIFE, like Caesar’s Gaul, is divided into three parts. The Linnaean system of classification, with its prescriptive hierarchy of species, genus, family, order, class, phylum and kingdom, ultimately lumps everything alive into one of three giant groups known as domains.

The most familiar domain, though arguably not the most important to the Earth’s overall biosphere, is the eukaryotes. These are the animals, the plants, the fungi and also a host of single-celled creatures, all of which have complex cell nuclei divided into linear chromosomes. Then there are the bacteria—familiar as agents of disease, but actually ecologically crucial.

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