origin of life
One of the pleasures of having lived for several decades is that old friends drop by now and again. In an email sent to a few friends and colleagues, Stuart Kauffman passed along a piece he and his co-authors have written for the United Nations about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Organisms kill and eat other organisms because they taste good, hunger feels bad, and getting eaten feels even worse. Conscious feelings drive behavior which serves evolution. Materialists' error is ignoring consciousness.
Eugene Koonin is director of the Evolutionary Genomics Group at the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as its senior investigator. He is also senior investigator at the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health.
Philanthropist Harry Lonsdale, who died late last year at age 82, will be remembered for the $2M competition he kicked off in 2011, a race to discover the origin of life.
One of Sasselov's most important contributions in science could turn out to be his expertise in ultraviolet radiation: Sasselov is now designing the UV light in which the world's first synthesized protocell, which he calls "Generation II," is expected to emerge in roughly three years and begin a new tree of life.
Protocell pioneer Matthew Powner has the fresh-faced good looks of an athlete you'd expect to show up at World Cup 2014, and a voice somewhat reminiscent of the "British Invasion." But the relaxed focus he projects signals something profoundly more urgent: Matt Powner has the chemistry of the origins of life on his mind.
A March 12 New York Times op-ed by Ferris Jabr presented the provocative view that herds of moving sculptures on beaches could be thought of as "no more or less alive than animals, fungi and plants." That view is questionable.