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NASA researchers studying meteorites have found that they contain several of the components needed to make DNA on Earth. The discovery provides support for the idea that the building blocks for DNA were likely created in space, and carried to Earth on objects, like meteorites, that crashed into the planet’s surface. According to the theory, the ready-made DNA parts could have then assembled under Earth’s early conditions to create the first DNA.
The researchers, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, found adenine and guanine — two of the nucleobases needed to make DNA (the other two are thymine and cytosine, which were not found) — on meteorite samples. Additionally, the samples showed the presence of three molecules that are similar to nucleobases, but do not have a biological role on Earth: Purine, 2.6-diaminopurine, and 6.8-diaminopurine.
Tag Archives | Life
For those facing a run of bad luck and wanting to start things over, one Thai temple has an unusual solution: "rehearse" death with a mock funeral, including lying down in a coffin. Pram Manee temple in Nakorn Nayok province, 107 km northeast of Bangkok, holds two of the rituals every day: at exactly 9:09 a.m. and 1:09 p.m., since the number nine is believed by Thais to bring good luck. Participants in a recent ritual stood in front of their designated coffins, holding flowers and praying for bad luck to go away, then asked to receive good luck. All had paid 180 baht ($6) for the flowers, a white sheet and "merit set" — a collection of necessities sometimes including toothpaste, toothbrushes and food — to be offered to monks, and the promise of a better life ...
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.
Reports BBC News:
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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.
Interesting article from Tim Barribeau on io9.com:
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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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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.