[VIDEO] Jim AI.Khalili – ORDER AND DISORDER BBC HORIZON – The Story of Energy & Information and the Advancement of Man
Professor Jim Al-Khalili investigates one of the most important concepts in the world today – information. He discovers how we harnessed the power of symbols, everything from the first alphabet to the electric telegraph through to the modern digital age. But on this journey he learns that information is not just about human communication, it is woven very profoundly into the fabric of reality.
“Space scientists recently completed an examination of orbital debris, recovered after circling the Earth for several years. They discovered that much of it was coated with a thin film of what was delicately described as “fecal matter”, attributed to astronaut’s sloppy sanitation. This may solve one of the mysteries of life’s origin on Earth: it seems to have arisen almost as soon as conditions were favorable, and not after the billions of years of molecular trial and error required by what Isaac Asimov called the “unblind working of chance.””
Toilets of the Gods
Or: The Colonisation of Space
By Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Space scientists recently completed an examination of orbital debris, recovered after circling the Earth for several years. They discovered that much of it was coated with a thin film of what was delicately described as “fecal matter”, attributed to astronaut’s sloppy sanitation.
This may solve one of the mysteries of life’s origin on Earth: it seems to have arisen almost as soon as conditions were favorable, and not after the billions of years of molecular trial and error required by what Isaac Asimov called the “unblind working of chance.”
Obviously, organized life-forms need have occurred only once in this Galaxy, if the very first space-faring civilization was as careless about the environment as we are. Years ago, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggested that life had a cosmic, and not terrestrial, origin. They may be right, though not precisely in the way they imagined. It’s a humbling thought that we may have arisen from dumped sewage; the first chapter of Genesis would certainly require drastic revision.
On the other hand, if – as some philosophers have suggested- this Earth does indeed harbor the only life in the Universe, that deplorable state of affairs is now being rectified. We may draw some consolation – I hesitate to say inspiration – from the fact that our descendants are already on their way to the stars.
But we certainly would not recognize them, and it might be tactless to ask exactly how they got there.
In fifty years of broadcasting, Sir David Attenborough has travelled the globe to document the living world in all its wonder. Now, in the landmark series First Life, he goes back in time in search of the very first animals.
From the fog bound coastline of Newfoundland to the deserts of North Africa and the rain forests of Queensland, in First Life David Attenborough finds evidence in fossils and living animals of an extraordinary period in Earth’s history, half a billion years ago, when animals first appeared in the oceans. From the first eyes that saw, to the first predators that killed and the first legs that walked on land, these were creatures that evolved the traits and tools that allow all animals, including us, to survive to this day.
This is a story that can only be told now because in the last few years, stunning fossil finds at sites across the world have transformed our understanding of the First Life forms, and technology now allows us to recreate the first animals and their environments with photorealistic computer generated imagery
The Burgess Shale fossils, a Rocky Mountain treasure trove found in 1909 just west of the B.C.-Alberta border, represent the planet’s single most important snapshot of life as it existed during the so-called “Cambrian explosion” of organisms about 530 million years ago.
THE MAKING OF:
[VIDEO] “Does science ruin the magic of life? Robin Ince argues no. The more we learn about the astonishing behavior of the universe — the more we stand in awe.” The unfortunate thing is, the majority of humanity continues following conceptualizations from a time before science aided every humans understanding of reality YET not living outside of science. I think they should not be able to do both. Those who any follow primitive thought should be obliged to live in a world as primitive as well. There were no cars, electricity, computers, modern medicine, nor higher learning mentioned in ‘holy books’–as those who wrote them were limited in their understanding of reality. You should not have it both ways.
Live life as though your reality matches your perceptions. One donkey, one cave…and a bucket full of ignorance of what is going on. -rudhro
Some of these things just look like DNA swimming around…disco ball? Huh?
I used to think what they uncovered in 1909 in the Burgess Shale was out there, but they’re all just super old fossils. These beings are so similar structurally but actually living.
We can actually see life living down there..like pure unadulterated, LIFE. In forms we could only dream of, or contemplate aliens as.
‘Aliens’ already share our space, we just never bothered to look. And they’re not aliens, they’re Earthlings.
I agree with the concept of LIFE.
MUSIC: Dark Angel by Katie Jane Garside
“Squid Males “Bisexual”—Evolved Shot-in-the-Dark Mating Strategy Mating with anything with eight arms pays off in dim depths, study says.”
for National Geographic News
Published September 20, 2011
When it comes to mating, some male squid aren’t very picky: They copulate just as often with other males as with females, a new study says.
That’s because would-be suitors of the hand-size species Octopoteuthis deletron, which live in the murky depths of the eastern Pacific Ocean, can’t easily tell the males from the females, the research shows.
“They can see each other, but they are not able very well to distinguish between the sexes at the distance at which they decide, ‘I’m going to mate’ or ‘I’m not going to mate,’” said study leader Hendrik Hoving, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.
So “males mate with basically any member of the same species. … They just take a chance.”
It’s also hard to tell he from she: A female squid’s defining feature is a patch of wrinkled skin.
The result is a strategy that the study authors call “a shot in the dark”—it’s just not worth it to males to make sure their partner is the right gender. (more…)
The species turritopsis nutricula is able to transform itself from its mature state back into a polyp (immature jellyfish) and then back again – picture a gelatinous ‘Benjamin Button’ on repeat.
The species, which is only 4-5 mm in diameter, performs this miraculous feat using a process known as transdifferentiation, in which one type of cell transforms into another. While this sounds a lot like what happens in stem cells, the process is distinct.
Turritopsis nutricula isn’t the only species to use the technique; salamanders use the process to regrow limbs, while chickens utilize it to repair damaged eyes. Turritopsis nutricula, however, is the only species able to regenerate its entire body.
The entire transformation from adult to polyp takes place very rapidly, helping to explain why it has never been observed in the wild. The process, however, has been observed in the lab, and so far 100 per cent of specimens have been capable of the transformation.
Theoretically, the process can go on indefinitely, which may help to explain why scientists have noticed a spike in the number of these jellyfish in the oceans. “We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion,” said Dr Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute.
The jellyfish are believed to have originated in the Caribbean, but, due to the common shipping practice of emptying ballast water in foreign ports, is now found all over the globe.
While the jellyfish can potentially live forever, it’s unlikely that one ever will.
That’s because like other jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula is often eaten by other animals and readily succumbs to disease.
Other larger long-lived species have a better chance at reaching impressive ages. Bowhead whales, tortoises and koi fish can all live to be more than 200 years old. Plant species can live even longer. The oldest known bristlecone pine is nearly 5,000 years old.
That isn’t stopping scientists around the globe from searching for the secret that allows this unique jellyfish from reversing the aging process. Mastering transdifferentiation could be the key to discovering a real fountain of youth.
–Michael Bolen, Yahoo! Canada News, June 17, 2010
Turritopsis nutricula, the potentially immortal jellyfish, is a hydrozoan whose medusa, or jellyfish, form can revert to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known case of a metazoan capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage. It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation. Cell transdifferentiation is when the jellyfish “alters the differentiated state of the cell and transforms it into a new cell”. In this process the medusa of the immortal jellyfish is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony. First, the umbrella reverts itself and then the tentacles and mesoglea get resorbed. The reverted medusa then attaches itself to the substrate by the end that had been at the opposite end of the umbrella and starts giving rise to new polyps to form the new colony. Theoretically, this process can go on indefinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish biologically immortal, although in nature, mostTurritopsis, like other medusae, are likely to succumb to predation or disease in the plankton stage, without reverting to the polyp form. No single specimen has been observed for any extended period, so it is not currently possible to estimate the age of an individual, and so even if this species has the potential for immortality, there is no laboratory evidence of many generations surviving from any individual.
[VIDEO] LEPTOCEPHALUS LARVAE: THE TRANSPARENT EEL –MAYBE WE OUGHTTA STOP LOOKING FOR ‘ALIENS’ AND LOOK IN OUR OCEANS
A leptocephalus (meaning “slim head”) is the flat and transparent larva of the eel, marine eels, and other members of the Superorder Elopomorpha. These fishes with a leptocephalus larva stage include the most familiar eels such as the conger, moray eel, and garden eel, and the freshwater eels of the family Anguillidae, plus more than 10 other families of lesser-known types of marine eels. These are all true eels of the order Anguilliformes. The fishes of the other four traditional orders of elopomorph fishes that have this type of larva are more diverse in their body forms and include the tarpon, bonefish, spiny eel, and pelican eel.
Leptocephali (more than one leptocephalus) all have laterally compressed bodies that contain transparent jelly-like substances on the inside of the body and a thin layer of muscle on the outside. Their body organs are small, and this combination of features results in them being very transparent when they are alive. They also lack red blood cells until they begin to metamorphose into the juvenile glass eel stage when they start to look like eels.
Leptocephali differ from most fish larvae because they grow to much larger sizes (about 60–300 mm and sometimes larger) and have long larval periods of about 3 months to more than a year. They move with typical anguilliform swimming motions and can swim both forwards and backwards. Their food source was difficult to determine because no zooplankton, which are the typical food of fish larvae, were ever seen in their guts. It was recently found though, that they appear to feed on tiny particles floating free in the ocean, which are often referred to as marine snow. Leptocephalus larvae live primarily in the upper 100 meters of the ocean at night, and often a little deeper during the day. Leptocephali are present worldwide in the ocean from southern temperate to tropical latitudes, where adult eels and their close relatives live.
This particular type of fish larva is poorly understood, partly because they are very fragile and eat particulate material instead of zooplankton, plus their good swimming ability enables them to avoid most standard sized plankton nets used by marine biologists. A video recording of a naturally swimming leptocephalus filmed at night off the Island of Hawaii shows an example of their swimming behavior:
Some progress has been made in recent years to grow the leptocephali of the Japanese eel in the laboratory however. The goal of that effort is to produce glass eels through artificial spawning and larval rearing, to be used for aquaculture to produce unagi for food. Unagi is a popular food in Japan and East Asia.
Leptocephali themselves are rarely used as food, except in some parts of Japan. The leptocephali of the common Japanese conger, Conger myriaster, are called Noresore·のれそれ in Kochi Prefecture, Japan, and are often served un-cooked to the table, and are eaten after dipping in Tosazu mixed vinegar. It is a spring seasonal specialty.
[VIDEO] They never taught me about Tree Kangaroos in school. This just made life that much more worth experiencing. How cute.
The hard to reach “plush toys” on Papua New Guineau have been outfitted with “Crittercams” for the first time. The breathtaking treetop footage is already solving tree kangaroo mysteries, researchers say.