Monday, November 28, 2011

An amazing video....

on the effects of forming sea ice on organisms living on the ocean floor (who would have thought?)
Given that part of the purpose of this blog is to remind me of what I have read and thought, I can report that I finished the Flavia De Luce mystery "I Am Half-Sick of Shadows" as well as Andrew Knoll's "Life on a young planet".  As I was reading Knoll's book, I realized that the section in Biofundamentals on endosymbiosis and the origin of eukaryotes was rather too sketchy, so I revised it.  Knoll's book reminded me of the historic origins of the endosymbiotic hypothesis, in the late 1800 and early 1900s.  

Amazingly, as I was writing the death of Lynn Margulis was announced.  Her major contribution was returning the idea of the endosymbiotic origins of mitochondria and chloroplasts (seem was clearly wrong about flagella).  As is often the case in the popular press, description of her contribution seemed to be inaccurate, exaggerated, and overly-dramatic; endosymbiosis is a perfectly Darwinian (that is biological) mechanisms for evolution.   

As to Knoll's book, which appeared in 2003, I am left (as I often am) concerned about the need to hype the relatively minor contributions of specific people, when in fact the lesson of science is that, more often than not, it is the churning of ideas and observations by the community that separates solid and meaningful insight from mistakes and trivia. I cannot help by hold my head when people talk about life on Earth originating from Mars.  

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