Posts Tagged ‘Life’

No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they’ll be tomorrow. That’s according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past. Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he’s no exception to this rule. “I have this deep sense that although I will physically age — I’ll have even less hair than I do and probably a few more pounds — that by and large the core of me, my identity, my values, my personality, my deepest preferences, are not going to change from here on out,” says Gilbert, who is 55. He realized that this feeling was kind of odd, given that he knows he’s changed in the past. He wondered if this feeling was an illusion, and if it was one that other people shared: “Is it really the case that we all think that development is a process that’s brought us to this particular moment in time, but now we’re pretty much done?” Gilbert says that he and his colleagues wanted to investigate this idea, but first they had to figure out how. The most straightforward way would be to ask people to predict how much they’d change in the next decade, then wait around to see if they were right. “The problem with that is, it takes 10 years,” says Gilbert. So the researchers took a much quicker approach. They got more than 19,000 people to take some surveys. There were questions about their personality traits, their core values and preferences. Some people were asked to look back on how they changed over the past 10 years. Others were asked to predict how they thought they would change in the next decade. Then the scientists crunched the data. “We’re able to determine whether, for example, 40-year-olds looking backwards remember changing more than 30-year-olds looking forwards predict that they will change,” Gilbert explains. They found that people underestimated how much they will change in the future. People just didn’t recognize how much their seemingly essential selves would shift and grow. And this was true whether they were in their teen years or middle-aged.

You Can’t See It, But You’ll Be A Different Person In 10 Years : Shots – Health News : NPR


Artificial Intelligence’s Killer App: Getting Things Done

Until task management software can literally think for you, it’ll always be cumbersome to use.

Read on:

Posted: December 11, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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The Algorithmic Origins of Life – Sara Walker (SETI Talks) (by setiinstitute)

The question of how life began on a molecular level has been a longstanding problem in science. However, recent mathematical research sheds light on a possible mechanism by which life may have gotten a foothold in the chemical soup that existed on the early Earth. Researchers have proposed several competing theories for how life on Earth could have gotten its start, even before the first genes or living cells came to be. Despite differences between various proposed scenarios, one theme they all have in common is a network of molecules that have the ability to work together to jumpstart and speed up their own replication — two necessary ingredients for life. However, many researchers find it hard to imagine how such a molecular network could have formed spontaneously — with no precursors —from the chemical environment of early Earth. “Some say it’s equivalent to a tornado blowing through a junkyard and assembling the random pieces of metal and plastic into a Boeing 747,” said co-author Wim Hordijk, a visiting scientist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina, and a participant in an astrobiology meeting held there last year.

Modeling the Chemistry that Sparked the Origin of Life

Posted: November 27, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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The discovery of microbes thriving in the salty, sub-zero conditions of an Antarctic lake could raise the prospects for life on the Solar System’s icy moons. Researchers found a diverse community of bugs living in the lake’s dark environment, at temperatures of -13C. Furthermore, they say the lake’s life forms have been sealed off from the outside world for some 2,800 years. Details of the work have been outlined in the journal PNAS. (via BBC News – Antarctic lake’s clue to alien life)

Posted: November 6, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Photographer Svjetlana Tepavcevic is crazy about seeds. Ever since she discovered the intricately woven, vein-like structures of a vine seedpod on a trail in Los Angeles, she’s been an avid collector. She uses a flatbed scanner to capture the seeds she collects in hi-res and make prints of them as large as possible. Just this week she collected two new boxes on a return trip to LA from Northern Virginia where she now lives. “I can’t wait to get home, I’ll probably be scanning for a full week,” she says. For Tepavcevic, the series of seed photos, called Means of Reproduction, is about seeing the beauty of the mundane and staying aware of life’s origins. A perspective influenced by living through the Bosnian War in her early 20s. “Because I’ve lived through the war and seen a lot of death and destruction, it’s often what’s on my mind,” she says. “There is going to be a day when all this life is no longer present, everything changes and moves and dies.” (via Beautiful Seed Photos Show Complexity of Life’s Beginnings | Raw File |

Posted: November 3, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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THE last life on Earth will perish in 2.8 billion years, scorched by the dying sun as it swells to become a red giant. For about a billion years before that, the only living things will be single-celled organisms drifting in isolated pools of hot, salty water. A grim outlook, sure, but there’s a silver lining for today’s alien-hunters. The model that predicts these pockets of life on future Earth also hints that the habitability of planets around other stars is more varied than previously believed, offering new hope for finding life in unlikely places. Using what we know about Earth and the sun, researchers in the UK calculated a timeline for the phases of life on our planet as the sun expands to become a red giant. Previous studies modelled this scenario for Earth as a whole, but Jack O’Malley-James at the University of St Andrews, UK, and his colleagues wanted to consider the possibility that life might survive in a few extreme habitats. Sun-like stars of different sizes age at different rates, so the team also looked at how long simple and complex life might thrive around smaller and larger stars. “Habitability is not so much a set attribute of a planet, but more something that has a lifetime of its own,” says O’Malley-James. (via Last life on Earth: microbes will rule the far future – life – 01 November 2012 – New Scientist)