Ancient freshwater lake that once existed on Mars was perfect for supporting life, NASA says
NASA’s Curiosity rover has uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars that may have teemed with tiny organisms for tens of millions of years, far longer than scientists had imagined, new research suggests.
The watering hole near the Martian equator existed about 3.5 billion years ago. Scientists say it was neither salty nor acidic, and contained nutrients — a perfect spot to support microbes.
“This just looks like a pretty darn ordinary Earth-like lake in terms of its chemistry,” said project scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology. “If you were desperate, you could have a drink of this stuff.”
The lake likely was around for tens of thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of years. Even when the lake dried up, scientists said microbes could have migrated underground, extending the timeframe for habitable conditions to potentially tens of millions of years. Curiosity, though, lacks the tools to search for any fossilized microbes. (AP Photo/NASA)
#SaturdaySadStat: print has been in the news for a couple years as a symbol of how the new digital economy is killing old business models but this chart seems to indicate they haven’t reached the bottom yet.
Burger King Norway tried to separate fan wheat from chaff with a free Big Mac bribe. The resulting exodus from the brand’s page raises a question of social quantity versus quality. A BK marketer weighs in.
More -> Co.Create
If we could teach our robot overlords the true meaning of Christmas, maybe they would discover compassion for humankind and try to live with us in peace and harmony. Probably though they’d just demand better presents.
Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins
Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries. In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years. The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans. Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found. The mismatch between the anatomical and genetic evidence surprised the scientists, who are now rethinking human evolution over the past few hundred thousand years. It is possible, for example, that there are many extinct human populations that scientists have yet to discover. They might have interbred, swapping DNA. Scientists hope that further studies of extremely ancient human DNA will clarify the mystery. “Right now, we’ve basically generated a big question mark,” said Matthias Meyer, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author of the new study. (via Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins - NYTimes.com)
i want to be cate blanchett… there i said it. her artistry, luminosity and sheer brilliance in everything, but most especially in “blue jasmine.” she is a goddess.