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kenobi-wan-obi:


Bad-Ass Female Scientists: Lynn Margulis

"
I don’t consider my ideas controversial. I consider them right."
Biologist Lynn Margulis died on November 22nd. She stood out from her colleagues in that she would have extended evolutionary studies nearly four billion years back in time. Her major work was in cell evolution, in which the great event was the appearance of the eukaryotic, or nucleated, cell — the cell upon which all larger life-forms are based. Nearly forty-five years ago, she argued for its symbiotic origin: that it arose by associations of different kinds of bacteria. Her ideas were generally either ignored or ridiculed when she first proposed them; symbiosis in cell evolution is now considered one of the great scientific breakthroughs.
Margulis was also a champion of the Gaia hypothesis, an idea developed in the 1970s by the free lance British atmospheric chemist James E. Lovelock. The Gaia hypothesis states that the atmosphere and surface sediments of the planet Earth form a self- regulating physiological system — Earth’s surface is alive. The strong version of the hypothesis, which has been widely criticized by the biological establishment, holds that the earth itself is a self-regulating organism; Margulis subscribed to a weaker version, seeing the planet as an integrated self- regulating ecosystem. She was criticized for succumbing to what George Williams called the “God-is good” syndrome, as evidenced by her adoption of metaphors of symbiosis in nature. She was, in turn, an outspoken critic of mainstream evolutionary biologists for what she saw as a failure to adequately consider the importance of chemistry and microbiology in evolution.
I first met her in the late 80’s and in 1994 interviewed her for my book The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution (1995). Below, in remembrance, please see her chapter, “Gaia is a Tough Bitch”. One of the compelling features of The Third Culture was that I invited each of the participants to comment about the others. In this regard, the end of the following chapter has comments on Margulis and her work by Daniel C. Dennett, the late George C. Williams, W. Daniel Hillis, Lee Smolin, Marvin Minsky, Richard Dawkins, and the late Francisco Varela. Interesting stuff.
As I wrote in the introduction to the first part of the book (Part I: The Evolutionary Idea): “The principal debates are concerned with the mechanism of speciation; whether natural selection operates at the level of the gene, the organism, or the species, or all three; and also with the relative importance of other factors, such as natural catastrophes.” These very public debates were concerned with ideas represented by George C. Williams and Richard Dawkins on one side and Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge on the other side. Not for Lynn Margulis. All the above scientists were wrong because evolutionary studies needed to begin four billion years back in time. And she was not shy about expressing her opinions. Her in-your-face, take-no-prisoners stance was pugnacious and tenacious. She was impossible. She was wonderful. — John Brockman
"Gaia is a tough bitch." L. Margulis

kenobi-wan-obi:

Bad-Ass Female Scientists: Lynn Margulis

"
I don’t consider my ideas controversial. I consider them right."

Biologist Lynn Margulis died on November 22nd. She stood out from her colleagues in that she would have extended evolutionary studies nearly four billion years back in time. Her major work was in cell evolution, in which the great event was the appearance of the eukaryotic, or nucleated, cell — the cell upon which all larger life-forms are based. Nearly forty-five years ago, she argued for its symbiotic origin: that it arose by associations of different kinds of bacteria. Her ideas were generally either ignored or ridiculed when she first proposed them; symbiosis in cell evolution is now considered one of the great scientific breakthroughs.

Margulis was also a champion of the Gaia hypothesis, an idea developed in the 1970s by the free lance British atmospheric chemist James E. Lovelock. The Gaia hypothesis states that the atmosphere and surface sediments of the planet Earth form a self- regulating physiological system — Earth’s surface is alive. The strong version of the hypothesis, which has been widely criticized by the biological establishment, holds that the earth itself is a self-regulating organism; Margulis subscribed to a weaker version, seeing the planet as an integrated self- regulating ecosystem. She was criticized for succumbing to what George Williams called the “God-is good” syndrome, as evidenced by her adoption of metaphors of symbiosis in nature. She was, in turn, an outspoken critic of mainstream evolutionary biologists for what she saw as a failure to adequately consider the importance of chemistry and microbiology in evolution.

I first met her in the late 80’s and in 1994 interviewed her for my book The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution (1995). Below, in remembrance, please see her chapter, “Gaia is a Tough Bitch”. One of the compelling features of The Third Culture was that I invited each of the participants to comment about the others. In this regard, the end of the following chapter has comments on Margulis and her work by Daniel C. Dennett, the late George C. Williams, W. Daniel Hillis, Lee Smolin, Marvin Minsky, Richard Dawkins, and the late Francisco Varela. Interesting stuff.

As I wrote in the introduction to the first part of the book (Part I: The Evolutionary Idea): “The principal debates are concerned with the mechanism of speciation; whether natural selection operates at the level of the gene, the organism, or the species, or all three; and also with the relative importance of other factors, such as natural catastrophes.” These very public debates were concerned with ideas represented by George C. Williams and Richard Dawkins on one side and Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge on the other side. Not for Lynn Margulis. All the above scientists were wrong because evolutionary studies needed to begin four billion years back in time. And she was not shy about expressing her opinions. Her in-your-face, take-no-prisoners stance was pugnacious and tenacious. She was impossible. She was wonderful. — John Brockman

"Gaia is a tough bitch." L. Margulis

(via kenobi-wan-obi)


Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain
The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.
Image: A fundamental law of nature may govern the growth of brain networks, social networks, and the expansion of the Universe, a new computer simulation suggests Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation
The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.
"Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks," said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego.
The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston, who was not involved in the study.
"At first blush they seem to be quite different systems, the question is, is there some kind of controlling laws can describe them?".
By raising this question, “their work really makes a pretty important contribution,” he said.
Similar Networks
Past studies showed brain circuits and the Internet look a lot alike. But despite finding this functional similarity, nobody had developed equations to perfectly predict how computer networks, brain circuits or social networks grow over time, Krioukov said.
Using Einstein’s equations of relativity, which explain how matter warps the fabric of space-time, physicists can retrace the universe’s explosive birth in the Big Bang roughly 14 billion years ago and how it has expanded outward in the eons since.
So Krioukov’s team wondered whether the universe’s accelerating growth could provide insight into the ways social networks or brain circuits expand.
Brain cells and galaxies
The team created a computer simulation that broke the early universe into the tiniest possible units — quanta of space-time more miniscule than subatomic particles. The simulation linked any quanta, or nodes in a massive celestial network, that were causally related. (Nothing travels faster than light, so if a person hits a baseball on Earth, the ripple effects of that event could never reach an alien in a distant galaxy in a reasonable amount of time, meaning those two regions of space-time aren’t causally related.)
As the simulation progressed, it added more and more space-time to the history of the universe, and so its “network” connections between matter in galaxies, grew as well, Krioukov said.
When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.
The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.
"For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works," Krioukov said.
It’s more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.
"This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it," Krioukov told LiveScience.

Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain

The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.

Image: A fundamental law of nature may govern the growth of brain networks, social networks, and the expansion of the Universe, a new computer simulation suggests Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation

The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.

"Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks," said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego.

The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston, who was not involved in the study.

"At first blush they seem to be quite different systems, the question is, is there some kind of controlling laws can describe them?".

By raising this question, “their work really makes a pretty important contribution,” he said.

Similar Networks

Past studies showed brain circuits and the Internet look a lot alike. But despite finding this functional similarity, nobody had developed equations to perfectly predict how computer networks, brain circuits or social networks grow over time, Krioukov said.

Using Einstein’s equations of relativity, which explain how matter warps the fabric of space-time, physicists can retrace the universe’s explosive birth in the Big Bang roughly 14 billion years ago and how it has expanded outward in the eons since.

So Krioukov’s team wondered whether the universe’s accelerating growth could provide insight into the ways social networks or brain circuits expand.

Brain cells and galaxies

The team created a computer simulation that broke the early universe into the tiniest possible units — quanta of space-time more miniscule than subatomic particles. The simulation linked any quanta, or nodes in a massive celestial network, that were causally related. (Nothing travels faster than light, so if a person hits a baseball on Earth, the ripple effects of that event could never reach an alien in a distant galaxy in a reasonable amount of time, meaning those two regions of space-time aren’t causally related.)

As the simulation progressed, it added more and more space-time to the history of the universe, and so its “network” connections between matter in galaxies, grew as well, Krioukov said.

When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.

The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.

"For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works," Krioukov said.

It’s more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.

"This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it," Krioukov told LiveScience.

(Source: kenobi-wan-obi, via kenobi-wan-obi)

ralewis:


Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry.
On Civil Rights
“I, too, sing America.I am the darker brother.They send me to eat in the kitchenWhen company comes,But I laugh,And eat well,And grow strong.Tomorrow,I’ll be at the tableWhen company comes.Nobody’ll dareSay to me,"Eat in the kitchen,"Then.Besides,They’ll see how beautiful I amAnd be ashamed—I, too, am America.” 

ralewis:

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry.

On Civil Rights

“I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.” 

(via kenobi-wan-obi)

*2

  • Me: Let it go
  • Me: Let it goooooo
  • Me: *Unlikes facebook page for shitty band that guy who fucked me over is in*
  • Me: Can't hold it back anymooooooore

catnapswithjamesfranco:

molecularlifesciences:

angelicinnovator:

Biologists are jerks.

Our sense of humor is infectious. 

This post grows on you.

catnapswithjamesfranco:

molecularlifesciences:

angelicinnovator:

Biologists are jerks.

Our sense of humor is infectious. 

This post grows on you.

(via ucresearch)

spaceplasma:

 The Bolshoi Simulation

What if you could fly through the universe and see dark matter? While the technology for taking such a flight remains under development, the technology for visualizing such a flight has taken a grand leap forward with the completion of the Bolshoi Cosmological Simulation.
After 6 million CPU hours, the world’s seventh fastest supercomputer output many scientific novelties including the above flight simulation. Starting from the relatively smooth dark matter distribution of the early universe discerned from the microwave background and other large sky data sets, the Bolshoi tracked the universe’s evolution to the present epoch shown above, given the standard concordance cosmology. The bright spots in the simulation above are all knots of normally invisible dark matter, many of which contain normal galaxies. Long filaments and clusters of galaxies, all gravitationally dominated by dark matter, become evident.
Statistical comparison between the Bolshoi and current real sky maps of actual galaxies show good agreement. Although the Bolshoi simulation bolsters the existence of dark matter, many questions about our universe remain, including the composition of dark matter, the nature of dark energy, and how the first generation of stars and galaxies formed.
For more information about the Bolshoi Cosmological Simulation, click here.

Credit:  A. Klypin (NMSU), J. Primack (UCSC) et al., Chris Henze (NASA Ames), NASA’s Pleiades Supercomputer

spaceplasma:

The Bolshoi Simulation

What if you could fly through the universe and see dark matter? While the technology for taking such a flight remains under development, the technology for visualizing such a flight has taken a grand leap forward with the completion of the Bolshoi Cosmological Simulation.

After 6 million CPU hours, the world’s seventh fastest supercomputer output many scientific novelties including the above flight simulation. Starting from the relatively smooth dark matter distribution of the early universe discerned from the microwave background and other large sky data sets, the Bolshoi tracked the universe’s evolution to the present epoch shown above, given the standard concordance cosmology. The bright spots in the simulation above are all knots of normally invisible dark matter, many of which contain normal galaxies. Long filaments and clusters of galaxies, all gravitationally dominated by dark matter, become evident.

Statistical comparison between the Bolshoi and current real sky maps of actual galaxies show good agreement. Although the Bolshoi simulation bolsters the existence of dark matter, many questions about our universe remain, including the composition of dark matter, the nature of dark energy, and how the first generation of stars and galaxies formed.

  • For more information about the Bolshoi Cosmological Simulation, click here.

Credit: A. Klypin (NMSU), J. Primack (UCSC) et al., Chris Henze (NASA Ames), NASA’s Pleiades Supercomputer

(via astronemma)

secretofthesea:

When the scallop’s shell is gaped you can see two rows of tiny, bright blue eyes. These eyes aren’t the simple light sensitive eyes that most mollusks have, they can also sense motion. So a crab or fish trying to sneak up on one and grab some flesh before the shells close will be seen before it gets even close. And if the scallop loses an eye it simply regenerates a new one in its place.
Source

secretofthesea:

When the scallop’s shell is gaped you can see two rows of tiny, bright blue eyes. These eyes aren’t the simple light sensitive eyes that most mollusks have, they can also sense motion. So a crab or fish trying to sneak up on one and grab some flesh before the shells close will be seen before it gets even close. And if the scallop loses an eye it simply regenerates a new one in its place.

Source

(via geologise)

"You don’t know what it’s like to be a magical boy in a third world nation"

Friend while drunk watching Madoka