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infinity-imagined:

A hypothesized mechanism for the origin of life, an event called abiogenesis.  In this version, called RNA world, small molecules called nucleotides formed in the waters of the early Earth during the Hadean Eon, and polymerized on the surface of clay minerals.  These simple chains of RNA could replicate themselves in solution, but only slowly and inaccurately.  An RNA molecule developed which would fold into a structure that catalyzed RNA polymerization; a ribozyme.  The first ribozymes would replicate their sister strands, and produce copies of themselves and other RNA molecules. 

     In the same environment, long chains of carbon molecules called phospholipids were formed.  These molecules have two parts, the tail, which is hydrophobic, and the head, which is hydrophillic.  Because of these properties phospholipids will stick together and form micelles and vesicles in water.  Vesicles can absorb RNA nucleotides, concentrating them and creating a space where they can replicate, mutate and evolve.  At some point a ribozyme became enclosed within a vesicle, starting a chain reaction that evolved into the multitude of biological forms that we see today.

   Because this event occurred more than 3.8 billion years ago, theories about how and where it happened are highly speculative.  Possible environments for abiogensis include hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, hyper saline bubbles of water trapped in ice, radioactive lakes or lagoons on earths surface, and even in space or on another planet, brought to earth through a panspermia event.  We have very little molecular evidence of the first cells, but ribozymes and catalytic RNA molecules are embedded in the DNA replication machinery of all life.  Because evidence of this event has almost certainly been lost to time, the true mechanisms of the origin of life may remain a mystery to science.

(Source: exploringorigins.org, via galaxyclusters)

npr:

amnhnyc:

Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, was unveiled at the Museum this afternoon. He will be on public view for just over 3 months, through January 4, 2015. Museum scientists worked closely with taxidermy experts to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life. 
Learn more about Lonesome George. 

A recent Radiolab episode about the Galapagos featured the tale of ‘Lonesome George.’ 
More on the solitary tortoise from NPR:
Bidding Farewell to Lonesome George
'Lonesome George,' the Galapagos Giant Tortoise
-Kate

npr:

amnhnyc:

Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, was unveiled at the Museum this afternoon. He will be on public view for just over 3 months, through January 4, 2015. Museum scientists worked closely with taxidermy experts to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life. 

Learn more about Lonesome George

A recent Radiolab episode about the Galapagos featured the tale of ‘Lonesome George.’ 

More on the solitary tortoise from NPR:

Bidding Farewell to Lonesome George

'Lonesome George,' the Galapagos Giant Tortoise

-Kate

(Source: owlturdcomix, via boxlunches)

al-grave:

The varying wavelengths of different colors

al-grave:

The varying wavelengths of different colors

(via brilliantbotany)

cubebreaker:

Japan’s Nabana no Sato Botanical Garden used over 7,000,000 LED lights to create this amazing tribute to nature featuring displays of rainbows, auroras, and Mt. Fuji.

(via thegeek531)

afro-dominicano:

Hubble Helps Astronomers Find Smallest Known Galaxy With Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a monster lurking in a very unlikely place.
New observations of the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 have revealed a supermassive black hole at its heart, making this tiny galaxy the smallest ever found to host a supermassive black hole.
This suggests that there may be many more supermassive black holes that we have missed, and tells us more about the formation of these incredibly dense galaxies. The results will be published in the journal Nature on 18 September 2014.
Lying about 50 million light-years away, M60-UCD1 is a tiny galaxy with a diameter of 300 light-years — just 1/500th of the diameter of the Milky Way. Despite its size it is pretty crowded, containing some 140 million stars. While this is characteristic of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy (UCD) like M60-UCD1, this particular UCD happens to be the densest ever seen.
Despite their huge numbers of stars, UCDs always seem to be heavier than they should be. Now, an international team of astronomers has made a new discovery that may explain why — at the heart of M60-UCD1 lurks a supermassive black hole with the mass of 20 million Suns.
"We’ve known for some time that many UCDs are a bit overweight. They just appear to be too heavy for the luminosity of their stars," says co-author Steffen Mieske of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. "We had already published a study that suggested this additional weight could come from the presence of supermassive black holes, but it was only a theory. Now, by studying the movement of the stars within M60-UCD1, we have detected the effects of such a black hole at its centre. This is a very exciting result and we want to know how many more UCDs may harbour such extremely massive objects."
The supermassive black hole at the centre of M60-UCD1 makes up a huge 15 percent of the galaxy’s total mass, and weighs five times that of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. “That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1000 times heavier than M60-UCD1,” explains Anil Seth of the University of Utah, USA, lead author of the international study. “In fact, even though the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy has the mass of 4 million Suns it is still less than 0.01 percent of the Milky Way’s total mass, which makes you realise how significant M60-UCD1’s black hole really is.”

afro-dominicano:

Hubble Helps Astronomers Find Smallest Known Galaxy With Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a monster lurking in a very unlikely place.

New observations of the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 have revealed a supermassive black hole at its heart, making this tiny galaxy the smallest ever found to host a supermassive black hole.

This suggests that there may be many more supermassive black holes that we have missed, and tells us more about the formation of these incredibly dense galaxies. The results will be published in the journal Nature on 18 September 2014.

Lying about 50 million light-years away, M60-UCD1 is a tiny galaxy with a diameter of 300 light-years — just 1/500th of the diameter of the Milky Way. Despite its size it is pretty crowded, containing some 140 million stars. While this is characteristic of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy (UCD) like M60-UCD1, this particular UCD happens to be the densest ever seen.

Despite their huge numbers of stars, UCDs always seem to be heavier than they should be. Now, an international team of astronomers has made a new discovery that may explain why — at the heart of M60-UCD1 lurks a supermassive black hole with the mass of 20 million Suns.

"We’ve known for some time that many UCDs are a bit overweight. They just appear to be too heavy for the luminosity of their stars," says co-author Steffen Mieske of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. "We had already published a study that suggested this additional weight could come from the presence of supermassive black holes, but it was only a theory. Now, by studying the movement of the stars within M60-UCD1, we have detected the effects of such a black hole at its centre. This is a very exciting result and we want to know how many more UCDs may harbour such extremely massive objects."

The supermassive black hole at the centre of M60-UCD1 makes up a huge 15 percent of the galaxy’s total mass, and weighs five times that of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. “That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1000 times heavier than M60-UCD1,” explains Anil Seth of the University of Utah, USA, lead author of the international study. “In fact, even though the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy has the mass of 4 million Suns it is still less than 0.01 percent of the Milky Way’s total mass, which makes you realise how significant M60-UCD1’s black hole really is.”

(Source: spacetelescope.org, via galaxyclusters)

ohstarstuff:

Galactic Center of Our Milky Way

The Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory — collaborated to produce an unprecedented image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy.

Observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. The center of the galaxy is located within the bright white region in the upper portion of the image. The entire image covers about one-half a degree, about the same angular width as the full moon.

Each telescope’s contribution is presented in a different color:

  • Yellow represents the near-infrared observations of Hubble. They outline the energetic regions where stars are being born as well as reveal hundreds of thousands of stars.
  • Red represents the infrared observations of Spitzer. The radiation and winds from stars create glowing dust clouds that exhibit complex structures from compact, spherical globules to long, stringy filaments.
  • Blue and violet represents the X-ray observations of Chandra. X-rays are emitted by gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosions and by outflows from the supermassive black hole in the galaxy’s center. The bright blue blob toward the bottom of the full field image is emission from a double star system containing either a neutron star or a black hole.

(Source: chandra.harvard.edu, via galaxyclusters)

asapscience:

ucresearch:

Robots that will fold your laundry

This is “Brett” also known as The Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks.  This guy can do simple household chores. Specifically, the robot can fold laundry and is part of an ongoing project by UC Berkeley’s Pieter Abbeel.

Folding towels might seem easy to us humans, but this is actually quite complicated for a robot to do.  In fact it requires a method where the robot learns the tasks by seeing how humans do it.  Abbeel explains:

For robots to be integrated in unstructured or changing environments, such as a typical human household, they must develop the ability to learn from human experts and to even teach themselves.  

The hope is to have these robots perform everyday chores for the elderly or disabled so that they can live more independently.

You can watch more videos of this robot here

YES PLEASE

(Source: newscenter.berkeley.edu)

madmothmiko:

Alcohol Under The Microscope

  1. Bloody Mary
  2. Cosmopolitan
  3. Dry Martini
  4. Sake
  5. Tequila
  6. White Russian

(via we-are-star-stuff)

cross-connect:

Berlin, Germany based artist Angelika Arendt creates intricate ink drawings and psychedelic sculptures made of polyurethane clay. Check out more of her incredible work at angelikaarendt.de

(via wnycradiolab)