Search for Intraterrestrial Life Scores Big

first_imgSingle-celled organisms may be tiny, but what they lack in bulk they make up for in volume and importance.  Scientists have been appreciating more than ever the ubiquitous presence of microbes on our planet and the roles they play to sustain the biosphere.    PhysOrg reported that half of the world’s life may lie below the land and sea.  Scientists at UC Santa Cruz are thinking earth’s “habitable zone” may extend much deeper than previously thought: to depths of hundreds or thousands of meters.  Microbes inhabit subsurface aquifers that could contain more water than all the rivers on earth.  The search for ET begins at home, they think: “Scientists say research on ‘intraterrestrial life’ complements astronomers’ hunt for ‘extraterrestrial life’ around other stars and planets,” the article said.    Of course, all life we know on earth uses the same genetic coding and translation system.  But the vast bulk of life on our planet may never see the sun, and some of it does not even need oxygen.  “Diving for Microbes,” an article in Caltech’s Engineering and Science magazine (LXXIII:1, 2010) discussed work to understand the microbes on the seafloor that digest methane and support entire ecosystems in the dark.  In passing, author Marcus Y. Woo gave some “wow factor” information about microbes in general:Scientists estimate that the planet has 5 x 1030 microorganisms—that’s more than a hundred million times the number of stars in the observable universe.  Scoop up all these little critters together, and they’ll weigh several hundred billion metric tons, a mass about a thousand times greater than that of all the people on Earth.  The majority of the planet’s microbes are believed to live inside Earth’s crust or just below the seafloor, regions that are scarcely understood and explored, so many more bug-based ecosystems are likely still undiscovered.    Often unjustly maligned, microbes are essential for life.  “They are an integral part of almost every facet of our planet,” [Victoria] Orphan [Assistant Professor of Geobiology, Caltech] says.  No species of archaea are known to cause diseases, and only a small fraction of bacteria do; most are harmless or even helpful.  Bacteria help digestion, and, as biologists are finding, they play essential roles in our immune systems and overall health….(For more on microbes aiding digestion, see this recent article on PhysOrg.  An article on Science Daily noted that there are more microbe genes in your gut than human genes for your body; so did the BBC News, that said your microbe passengers constitute a “second genome” of yours.)    What scientists are finding, therefore, is not only that we depend on microbes, which outnumber our own cells 10 to 1 as we live and move, but that they are essential for the habitability of the entire planet.  The methane-eating bacteria on the seafloor, Orphan’s team found, play a huge role in earth’s nitrogen cycle.  They are among the only life forms capable of “fixing” nitrogen from atmospheric nitrogen gas and making it available for use by other organisms.  “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” the article said.    Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth.  One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.”  Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles.  Dr. Orphan added, “…every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”    Since we depend on microbes so much, why not let them become our teachers?  Another article on PhysOrg reported about scientists seeking better ways to convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, using sunlight.  They asked, “WWND?  What would nature do?”  They don’t have a particular microbe in mind that does this task, but realized that thinking like a microbe might provide a fruitful way to approach the problem.  An Oxford scientist commented, “We looked for a way that seems like nature’s way of doing it, which is more efficient.”Update 03/19/2010: Scientists at Michigan State found that microbes are important for promoting biodiversity and cleaning the environment, reported PhysOrg.  Because many of them can live for long periods in a dormant state, they can hold out in unfavorable conditions and respond to environmental cues.  “Microbes are the most abundant and diverse organisms on earth; they carry out essential ecosystem services,” said one of the scientists.  “Among these services are contaminant degradation, carbon sequestration and various processes that affect plant productivity.”Are you really an “individual”?  Yes and no; you couldn’t live without your contingent of microbes constantly at your service.  We are beginning to see biology as hierarchies of interrelated systems.  Who would have thought that our health depends on microbes digesting methane seeping out of the deep ocean?  Who would have thought that the air we breathe and the plants we consume owe their existence to hundreds of billions of metric tons of organisms too small to see?  Who would have thought that channels deep under the crust and ocean are thriving habitats for life?  Earth’s biosphere is a system of systems of systems – each of them showcasing intelligent design at all levels.    Unfortunately, some of the articles spoiled their otherwise good content with evolutionary non-sequiturs.  They told us that SITI is a first step to SETI – finding intraterrestrial life helps the search for extraterrestrial life.  That’s like saying finding a library in a large city will help locate libraries on Mars.  They told us that microbes were around billions of years before humans arrived – an unsupported assertion.  They told us that since microbes can digest methane on Earth, they might be digesting it on Titan.  Such statements serve little more than to restate reigning dogmas.  Learn to keep them separate from the observational facts, and you can still enjoy scientific articles.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Doing Some Things Some of the Time

first_imgOver time, your results match your effort. The more consistently you do something, the more consistent your results. The more sporadic your effort, the more unpredictable your results.Some people do some things some of the time. You can have some success by taking some of the necessary actions to reach some desired outcome some of the time. Occasionally you may even experience massive success. But those successes will be unpredictable, and you won’t ever generate predictable results. You also won’t produce your best results.There is power in routine. There is power in doing the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, over and over again. The results you produce from disciplined, consistent routines far exceed the results you produce when you only do things some of the time. Or when you do something different every time.Too many salespeople prospect sometimes. Because their efforts are inconsistent, so are their results. Their occasional work produces results from time to time, and that allows them to believe that what they are doing is working. It never allows them to produce the results of which they are capable. Prospecting produces the best results when you do it consistently.Too few salespeople plan for sales calls. When they do, it’s only because they have to make a call on a high value prospect. They feel good when they make these calls because they are prepared, but not good enough to do the work for every sales call they make. Every interaction with a client is worth investing the time necessary to make it a successful call for you and your dream client.Some sales organizations are also consistently inconsistent. They don’t have a rhythm of business. There aren’t consistent processes, meetings, or systems to generate consistent results. Every year they change without actually producing the benefits from all the things they put in place in prior years.Sometimes isn’t a good model. If an outcome is important, consistency is what will generate that result. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Volunteers had time of their lives at Games

first_imgThe sea of red and white which over the past month had become a hallmark of the Commonwealth Games in the city may have slowly faded away after the closing ceremony, but the group of young volunteers are finding it hard to let go.The hard work put in by volunteers was a major reason for the success of the recent Commonwealth GamesDressed in their bright red trackpants and white windcheater uniforms, the young brigade found dotting the city assisting at stadiums and press tribunes across the Games venues here are bidding goodbye to the mega event, which was more than just a sporting event for them.”The Games brought people from diverse backgrounds together and the amount of time we spent together during the last 20 days formed a strong bond of friendship between us, thus this very moment is very painful for me,” says Neha, one of the volunteers. Many like Neha joined the volunteer bandwagon for fun but seem to have taken away an experience they say will cherish forever.”Initially I thought it was just a worthless job but the whole experience has been very rewarding… I can now tell my grandchildren that I was a volunteer at the 2010 Games,” says another collegiate. Their attachment to the whole set-up is such that many want the show to continue infinitely!”We simply didn’t want the Games to end, we wanted to keep working as long as we can,” said Sarika, an army officer’s wife who as a volunteer organised sight-seeing trips for foreign athletes. The thrill of being in the vicinity of star athletes has been one of the few attractions of the job that usually involved 8-10 hours of hard work per day.advertisement”We got to interact with lots of people – athletes, officials, and the media. For me, the best moment was when I stood at an arm’s distance from star boxer Vijender Singh,” she said.”The other day I guided gold medallist Somdev Devvarman to his team bus,” said Ankur Vasudeva, an engineering student who was attached to the British Virgin Islands contingent. Wearing a green team jersey of the island nation, he said: “The Chef-de Mission gifted this shirt to me.”The 22,000 strong volunteer workforce found a special mention in the speeches of Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell and Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi at the closing ceremony. Even the foreign athletes recognised their work and were all praise for their dedicated and unflinching service.”They (volunteers) did a great job, in them India had a really big asset which was put to good use. I don’t think the Games would have done well without them,” said Ratu Maafua, a rugby player from Tonga.Meanwhile, the volunteers clicked loads of pictures with fellow workers and foreign athletes to ensure that even if the memories fade, they can be relived and refreshed anytime. “I have made friends with lots of volunteers and they also helped us a lot in the daily work,” said Abbey Burton, an English trap shooter.However, as they say there is always a next time, many volunteers are banking on the success of the Delhi Commonwealth Games for India to bag an Olympics very soon. “I hope India gets a chance to host the 2020 Olympics and no matter what, I shall be the first person to enroll as a volunteer,” says Jatin Kalra of Maharishi Dayanand University. Jatin also hopes that social networking would enable him to stay in touch with the new friends he made during his volunteer posting at the Games Village Press Centre.”Facebook haina uske liye (Facebook can be used for that),” the computer engineering student adds. Other volunteers like Sushant, who was involved with press operations, say they plan to use the experience as building blocks in their careers. “I am going for a good holiday now … When I get back I plan to get involved with the media management of Games,” he says.Sampat Kumar says he plans to go back to college and then hunt for a job. “I have learnt to speak English and am confident of giving interviews,” he says.–With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Inquirer top 7 UAAP 81 women’s volleyball players: Week 6

first_imgNow all that is out of the way, here are the players that made the start of the second round a spectacle.1. Maddie Madayag (Ateneo de Manila University, middle blocker)Weeks on list: 2Last week: N/AMaddie Madayag. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMaddie Madayag was a defensive fortress for Ateneo when it went the distance against University of Santo Tomas.The Lady Eagle was an impenetrable wall tallying 11 blocks, the most in the Final Four era, en route to 23 points leading Ateneo to the 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-22, 15-11 win over the Golden Tigresses.Madayag broke the record previously set by La Salle’s Celine Hernandez a decade ago when she put up nine denials against Adamson University in 2008.ADVERTISEMENT Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Every week, INQUIRER Sports will be ranking the seven best performers in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. The author will base the rankings on the players’ team standings, statistics, and the intangibles that don’t appear on the stat sheets.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants PBA D-League: Che’Lu, Marinerong Pilipino post third win Google Philippines names new country director Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting 4. Kat Tolentino (Ateneo de Manila University, outside spikerWeeks on list: 4Last week: N/AKat Tolentino. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netKat Tolentino was relatively quiet for Ateneo the past week with Ponggay Gaston taking a more prominent role as the Lady Eagle’s outside hitter.The start of the second round, though, was a different field for Tolentino.Although she played as a secondary for Madayag, Tolentino still finished with 20 points in their game against the Golden Tigresses and that production pushed her to the third spot of the Best Scorers table with 127 total points.5. Mary Ann Mendrez (University of the East, outside spiker)Weeks on list: 1Last week: N/AMean Mendrez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUE recorded just its second win in the tournament at the start of the second round and the one most responsible for it all was Mary Ann Mendrez.The Lady Warriors’ quiet star wasn’t that silent on the stat sheets when she tallied 19 points to lead UE past NU, 25-16, 25-18, 24-26, 25-16.6. Eya Laure (University of Santo Tomas, outside spiker)Weeks on list: 4Last week: No. 4Eya Laure. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netEya Laure may be a second fiddle to Rondina in the UST system but that status doesn’t make her any less of a player.Laure has consistently delivered for the Golden Tigresses in her hot pursuit of the Rookie of the Year plum and although it came off a loss her 21-point performance against the Lady Eagles was the third-best offensive output this week behind Rondina’s 35 and Madayag’s 23. LATEST STORIEScenter_img 2. Cherry Rondina (University of Santo Tomas, outside spiker)Weeks on list: 4Last week: No.2Cherry Rondina. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCherry Rondina has been nothing short of amazing for the Golden Tigresses this week but their loss to the Lady Eagles relegated her to the No. 2 spot instead.It’s long established that Rondina is one of the most potent offensive players of her generation especially when she bagged the Best Scorer award in Season 80 and she showed her abilities once more in UST’s lone game this week.Rondina put up 35 points in UST’s five-set loss to Ateneo and her offensive exploits tied Alyssa Valdez’ mark for the most in the UAAP in the Final Four era.And those 35 points further solidified Rondina’s hold of the top spot in the Best Scorers table when she totaled 157 points six weeks into the tournament.3. Lycha Ebon (Far Eastern University, opposite hitter)Weeks on list: 2Last week: N/ALycha Ebon. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAn unfortunate injury was the only thing that stopped Lycha Ebon when the Lady Tamaraws faced the Lady Falcons.Ebon was making her case for the Rookie of the Year plum when she punished Adamson with 19 points but a bad landing forced her to leave the game early after her right knee buckled after she scored her final point.The Lady Tamaraws then finished the job for Ebon taking the five-set win, 30-32, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13.Here’s to hoping Ebon goes through a quick recovery. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MOST READ Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles MANILA, Philippines—It’s the second round and the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament just turned the craziness up a notch.Ateneo has created distance between itself and the No. 2 teams in the league with its 7-1 record being two games ahead of its nearest competitors.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsWhat made the start of the second round into an absolute mess is that four teams are all tied at No. 2 seed with University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle, University of the Philippines, and Far Eastern University sporting identical 5-3 records.National University and University of the East are tied at the sixth spot with 2-6 records while Adamson University is at dead last at 1-7. Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. And this consistency allowed Laure to hold on to that No. 2 spot in the Best Scorers when she tallied a total of 138 points after Week 6.7. Jennifer Nierva (National University, libero)Weeks on list: 2Last week: No.3Jennifer Nierva. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJennifer Nierva’s plummet from the third spot to the No. 7 can be mainly attributed to NU’s loss to UE this week.Although the Lady Bulldogs lost to the Lady Warriors in their lone game this week, Nierva was still a shining star in the middle of that gloomy outcome.Nierva, already seen as one of the best liberos in the tournament, managed to outplay UE’s Kath Arado in their matchup.Arado, the reigning Best Receiver and Best Digger, tallied 32 excellent digs and 13 successful receptions but Nierva won that personal matchup with 30 excellent digs and 28 successful receptions.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more