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Comment Re:Glycine isn't that complex (Score 1) 148 148

Well, I agree that one of my first thoughts was that glycine is the simplest amino acid and therefore not quite as exciting as finding one or more of the other amino acids. However, it's important to remember that the important characteristic of amino acids is their ability to polymerize via condensation reaction of the amino group of one with the carboxyl group of another. The only thing that distinguishes glycine from the other amino acids (except for proline) is that it "only" has a H for its R group. All it takes is substitution of a methyl group at that position and suddenly you have alanine, one of the most abundant amino acids found in proteins.

Comment Re:hypotheses (Score 2, Informative) 148 148

5) the gel got contaminated on earth. or the mass spec is not definitive about the molecule in question.

I lean towards 5, and then 3 as a close second.

I would have agreed with you before I RTFA. The authors acknowledged contamination as a confounding factor, and tested for it by isotopic analysis of the C13:C12 ratio, where glycine from space is expected to have a greater amount of C13. This is precisely what they found, allowing them to conclude that the glycine did, in fact, come from the comet.

Comment Re:How do you explain this (Score 1) 604 604

The mutated organism can still mate with his "normal" fellows and produce children. But how, at some point there appears a group of organisms so different that they can reproduce only within their own group? This is not a small change and I don't understand how it can happen to the whole group simultaneously.

That's just it, speciation occurs when a subset of the population is no longer able to mate with the remainder of the population. Four modes through which this can occur are nicely covered in the Wikipedia article on speciation.

Education

Submission + - Student takes his C to federal court-> 5 5

Lucas123 writes: "Brian Marquis, a 51-year-old paralegal seeking bachelor's degrees in legal studies and sociology, filed a 15-count lawsuit in US District Court in Springfield, Mass. in January after a teaching assistant graded a political philosophy class on a curve and turned Marquis's A-minus into a C. The court dismissed the case this week, but Marquis is now considering an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals. "This is an issue where the empirical data was quite clear and convincing to any reasonable mind that my performance was well within a higher range," he said."
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Television

Submission + - Family Guy Sued For Copyright Infringement 4 4

Joe the Lesser writes: Music publishing house Bourne Co. is suing Fox over the use of the song 'When you wish upon a star' which was parodied in the Family Guy episode entitled 'When You Wish Upon A Weinstein'. The episode contains a musical number entitled 'I Need a Jew' which the lawsuit called a thinly veiled copy of the music from "When You Wish Upon a Star," accompanied by new anti-Semitic lyrics. In the 67 years since its debut, the song has been recorded by more than 100 artists and orchestras, however, Bourne claims that "With its theme of wholesome hopefulness, the song has gained worldwide status as a classic. By associating Bourne's song with such offensive lyrics and other content in the episode, defendants are harming the value of the song."

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