Gap Between Origin-of-Life Research and Simplest Life Grows

first_imgEvolutionists are celebrating experiments that allegedly showed RNA chains can assemble in water – given nucleotides to start with (see Science Daily).  The suggestive steps over the gap from nonlife to life should be tempered with other discoveries that life is anything but simple.    New Scientist reported today that a “‘Simple’ bacterium shows surprising complexity.”  A species of Mycoplasma, an obligate parasite, should represent a stripped-down life form that can be considered a minimal living cell.  Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory uncovered “uncanny flexibility and sophistication, allowing it to react fast to changes in its diet and environment,” even with just 689 genes (compared to 4000 in most other bacteria).  Peter Bork said, “There were a lot of surprises.  Although it’s a very tiny genome, it’s much more complicated than we thought.”  Among the cell’s tricks are the ability to use antisense strands of DNA as molecular switches, the ability to employ operons in sequence rather than simultaneously, and ability of cellular components to do multitasking.    Another report on Science Daily described the highly-choreographed dance of the chromosomes during meiosis.  Scientists at UC Berkeley found that “the cytoskeleton appears to encourage the dance of the chromosomes around the nuclear membrane as they search for their partners, and help make sure they have the right partner before meiosis continues.”  The cytoskeleton does this by means of teams of molecular motors called dyneins.  “Our work teaches us about the fundamental mechanisms of genome organization, about how cells execute processes in precise ways, monitor their own mistakes and correct or eliminate them.”    A cell is so smart, it can even employ mistakes on purpose.  Science Daily reported that some cells cause their own mutations for protection.  By making proteins with mistakes (the wrong amino acid inserted here or there), they employ a “non-genetic strategy used in cells to create a bodyguard for proteins.”  As a result, “this way the cells can always ensure that a subset of these proteins is somewhat less sensitive to the extra hits” caused by invading viruses, chemicals or other bacteria.  It “sounds chaotic and doesn’t make a lot of sense according to the textbook,” but the net result is that the organism gains protection from reactive oxygen species when under stress by means of “regulated errors.”  The organism must have ways of recovering from these errors after the stress is relieved, else the population would mutate itself out of existence.    Interestingly, human designers might employ a similar strategy to ward off computer viruses.  New Scientist reported that a company in the UK is patenting a strategy to insert “dumb code” into file headers to defeat any computer virus instantly.  “A key feature of the scheme is that no knowledge of the virus itself is needed, so it can deal with new, unrecognised ‘zero day’ viruses as well as older ones,” the company claims.  It remains to be seen whether human programmers will be as successful at defensive strategies as cells are.If cells are so well designed they can even regulate errors to maintain their genetic integrity, how could life evolve?  This might be a defeater for neo-Darwinism.  And if even the most minimal life is so complex it surprises scientists, how can origin-of-life researchers keep up hope?  Their simple experiments are like baby steps on the beach with an ocean to cross, and no motivation for the baby to go in that direction.Details, details.  They sure get in the way of a good myth.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Does a Bigger Volume Mean More Heating and Cooling Load?

first_imgWhat happens to the heating and cooling loads when you encapsulate an attic? With the insulation and air barrier at the ceiling below the attic, you’re excluding the attic space. That volume of air up there isn’t involved in the conditioning of the home. But when you move the enclosure to the roofline (usually by installing spray foam insulation beneath the roof deck), now the attic’s volume is included in the conditioned space.Occasionally I hear people say the loads will be higher because of the extra volume. Does having more air inside really increase the loads?A load calculation refresherTo understand this issue, let’s take a look at what goes into doing a load calculation. To do it right, you have to consider all the ways heat enters or leaves a home. Here they are:Enclosure loads – This is where most of the heating and cooling load comes from. It’s the heat that conducts through walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and floors. It’s also the radiant heat that comes (mainly) through the windows, also known as direct solar gain.Infiltration load – The air that leaks in through the building enclosure is really a sub-category of enclosure loads. But it’s worth separating it out, if for no other reason than it’s entered separately in the calculation.Ventilation load – The outdoor air you bring in for ventilation adds heat (both sensible and latent) in summer and results in heat loss in winter.System loads – When you put a heating or cooling system in unconditioned space, there’s heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter at the system. Likewise for the distribution system, whether you use air (ducts) or water (tubing). Duct insulation and sealing and pipe insulation help reduce those gains or losses, but you still have to include what’s left when you’re figuring the total loads.Dehumidification and humidification loads – All dehumidifiers give off heat. Most of them dump that heat into the space you’re dehumidifying. (An exception is the Ultra-Aire SD12,* which is a split-system dehumidifier.) Humidifiers need heat to vaporize the water. Sometimes that heat comes from the heating system itself, in which case it adds to the heating load.Internal loads – People give off heat. Lights give off heat. Appliances give off heat. You get the idea. Those things all get included, too. By entering all the relevant details of the house under consideration, you get the loads for each room, each zone, and the whole house.What’s air got to do with this?So, which one of those loads is related to having a higher volume of air to heat and cool? Well, a couple of them are actually. When air leaks into a house, that unconditioned air has to be heated or cooled. Same with ventilation, except that in this case the “leakage” is intentional.But the question here is about the effect that increasing the volume has on the load. When you encapsulate an attic and bring it into the conditioned space, the additional air in the attic doesn’t add anything to the load. If a sloppy spray foam job resulted in the attic not being airtight, then infiltration into the attic does add to the load, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.Now, you may have more heating and cooling load when you encapsulate an attic, but it’s not because of the extra volume of air inside the conditioned space. When you move the enclosure to the roofline, you also increase the surface area of the home. That can increase the enclosure load. But if you’ve moved your HVAC system from unconditioned to conditioned space, you may end up with a lower load. In hot climates that can be significant.Another factor that increases the loads when you encapsulate an attic is the insulation level. A lot of times, contractors will use a lower R-value for insulation on the roofline than they would on the ceiling below. (Martin Holladay wrote an article about this several years ago here on GBA.)The problem here may be that the people who believe a bigger volume means a bigger load are confusing a correlation with causality. Hey, I get it. All my friends in Maine are trying to reduce their consumption of margarine because it’ll improve their chances of staying married. See the graph below, and you’ll be convinced, too. (See the website Spurious Correlations for more.)Wait, no! That’s a correlation between two variables — but there’s not a shred of evidence that there’s a causal relationship between the two. Same here. We know what factors contribute to heating and cooling loads. The volume of air inside the home is not one of them.* In full disclosure, Therma-Stor, which makes the Ultra-Aire line of dehumidifiers, advertises in the Energy Vanguard Blog. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESDoes Open-Cell Spray Foam Really Rot Roofs?Saving Energy With Manual J and Manual DHow to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 1How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 2Calculating Cooling LoadsIt’s OK to Skimp On Insulation, Icynene Sayslast_img read more

On the Occasion of My 4th Anniversary

first_imgIt was four years ago today that I decided to start writing and posting here daily.I had watched and studied (and shamelessly stole from) Chris Brogan, who wrote and posted daily at www.chrisbrogan.com (I am proud to call Chris a friend, and he’s been a great teacher). I also studied Seth Godin, who sometimes posted more than once a day. I made the decision to join them, and December 28th was the day I began.I have posted her every day with the exception of 10 days in August of 2010. During those 10 days I traveled to Lhasa, Tibet and visited Base Camp 1 on Mt. Everest. I thought it would be poor form to blog while I should be taking in the experience. If I had it to do over again, I would have just written about the experience in real time.When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was supposed to do here. I was concerned that people would judge me for what I had written, and I worried about other people’s perceptions. But when I started writing on the 28th, I decided to write without any concern about what others think, choosing instead to believe that the people who needed the idea I wrote about would find it when they needed it–and the people who didn’t need it would skip past it without a second thought.I also believed when I started that my best work would be the work people valued most. It hasn’t worked out the way. Oftentimes, the work I believed would be most valuable doesn’t get a second glance and the work I believed to be a “too simple” idea have proven to have legs.Over the past four years, I have been graciously invited into the community of salespeople, sales organization, sales trainers, sales coaches, and sales consultants. I was invited into a small tribe when there were only 8 or 9 of us who decided we were stronger together than apart. The people who had invited me into the tribe are gone, but some of us remain, and we have now grown the tribe to just over 40 people who think and write about sales.Some people have struggled to understand why we promote each other’s work when we work in the same space. They view this as helping our “competitors.” We don’t view it that way. We see it has helping each other, and we see it as helping point the communities we serve at good content.I’ve also been invited into a community of fellow entrepreneurs, speakers, marketing types, and all-around hustlers who have built their own platforms. You can find some people in that community over at www.ownermag.com.A few years into the adventure that is my writing life, I had one consultant call me to criticize me for sharing my ideas. He used very direct language and attacked me for not understanding how intellectual property works. He said by giving away my ideas, no one had any reason to hire me. He criticized me for providing a link to my archives, believing it was wrong to help people find what they needed without being able to charge them for it. Then he asked me how I was getting so much work. I failed in my attempt to explain to him just how much the world has changed.The opportunities that have to come to be through my writing life over the last four years have taken me across the country and around a good part of the world. I’ve made friends in every corner of the earth. I’ve also had the privilege to speak to and consult with companies that measure their revenue in tens of millions of dollars to tens of billions of dollars.I have had the great pleasure of helping thousands of individual salespeople, hundreds of sales managers, and dozens of sales organizations–none of which would have been possible without this blog and the ability to share here.There are only a few things that have had such a positive impact on my life. That list includes my mother (who raised four kids alone while launching her own entrepreneurial adventure, and for whom I have the deepest respect), my wife, and my three children. I’ve been fortunate enough to add many more relationships to this list through this blog.Thanks for being here with me!last_img read more

AAP MLA assaulted by Punjab sand mafia

first_imgAn Aam Aadmi Party MLA in Punjab was allegedly assaulted by a group of people involved in illegal sand mining near Nurpur Bedi in Rupnagar district on Thursday, prompting Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to seek a detailed report on the incident.Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira alleged that MLA Amarjeet Singh Sandoa was attacked for trying to expose the ongoing illegal activities of the sand mafia.The AAP MLA and his gunman, head constable Sukhdeep Singh, were injured in the incident.“Both were taken to a civil hospital, from where Mr. Sandoa was referred to PGI, Chandigarh, for further check-up after he complained of chest pain,” an official spokesperson said.Three arrestedThe police have arrested three persons allegedly involved in the incident. The spokesperson said three relatives of Ajwinder Singh — the key accused from Baihara village — have been arrested. Ajwinder and another accused, Bachittar Singh, of Bhauwal village fled after the incident. Those arrested have been identified as Jaswinder Singh Goldy, Manjit Singh and Amarjit Singh, all residents of Baihara. One vehicle and two guns were seized from them.The Chief Minister has sought a detailed report from the Deputy Commissioner and asked him to ensure a free and fair probe.The two PSOs attached to the MLA have also come under the Chief Minister’s scanner for evidently failing to protect him and have been transferred to the police lines. “The Chief Minister has directed the DGP to investigate their role in the entire episode,” the spokesperson added.‘CM should resign’Reacting to the alleged attack, the AAP in Delhi said the Chief Minister should resign if he cannot rein in the mafia.AAP spokesperson Ashish Khetan said Mr. Sandoa had raised his voice against the sand mafia in the past as well. He said the Chief Minister had during last year’s election campaign promised to rid the State of the drugs, transport, extortion and mining mafia. “Instead, the influence of the mafia has increased. They are carrying out lethal attacks on MLAs,” he said.The AAP has demanded a new policy to put an end to illegal mining and also called for a White Paper detailing the loss of revenue caused to the State by illegal mining during the past 15 years.last_img read more