Evolution Timelapse

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Some very cool research coming out of Binghamton University from researchers who’ve revived bacteria trapped for thousands of years in water droplets embedded in salt crystals. The video explains the scope of their work:

 

 

Tim Lowenstein, prof of geological sciences and environmental studies, and J. Koji Lum, prof of anthropology and biological sciences, are investigating the remains of life in fluid inclusions inside minerals—some dating back a million years. So far they’ve found every form of unicellular life—archaea, bacteria, algae, fungi, and viruses—embedded in these time capsules. They’re also encountering entire ecosystems of tiny lifeforms, for instance the algae likely eaten by the bacteria living together in a pocket of water.

 

Binghamton University researchers recently revived ancient bacteria trapped for thousands of years in water droplets embedded in salt crystals. Photo: Dave Tuttle.Binghamton University researchers recently revived ancient bacteria trapped for thousands of years in water droplets embedded in salt crystals. Photo: Dave Tuttle.

 

The samples are drawn from California’s Death Valley and Saline Valley and from sites in Michigan, Kansas, and Italy—places where temperatures may have reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit/54 degrees Celsius in the past, and where the intrusions of water trapped in the rocks might be extremely saline. Nevertheless, extremophile life forms thrive in such conditions.

Some of the microbes are still alive after deacades or more of inclusion. The dead ones are yielding their DNA. But that’s only the beginning. By analyzing changes in the salinity of these water pockets over time, Lowenstsein hopes to reconstruct ancient climates. Coupled with changes in the DNA, the team hopes to observe organisms and ecosystems evolving over geologic time in response to changing climate. Sort of like an evolutionary timelapse.

 


Michael Garfield – Live DNA Painting Timelapse from Michael Garfield on Vimeo.

 

Here’s an interesting video from within the timelapse of a live art installation. The artist is creating a visual work exploring how it is that so much DNA fits into so little space inside the nuceli of cells. Along the way, he ruminates on his struggles to represent all that information in his own very small space on a canvas destined for the 800-pixel-wide visual “inclusion” of a web page.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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