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Earth

Transition Metal Catalysts Could Be Key To Origin of Life 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-was-just-zirconium-all-along dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of the big, unsolved problems in explaining how life arose on Earth is a chicken-and-egg paradox: How could the basic biochemicals — such as amino acids and nucleotides — have arisen before the biological catalysts (proteins or ribozymes) existed to carry out their formation? In a paper appearing in the current issue of The Biological Bulletin, scientists propose that a third type of catalyst could have jumpstarted metabolism and life itself, deep in hydrothermal ocean vents."

Comment: Or.... (Score 1) 60

by columbiatch (#32331792) Attached to: Citizen Scientists Help Explore the Moon

...these citizens could spend their time volunteering their time and skills in their community and actually make a fellow human's life better on this planet. While this might be a good ploy to pique the interest of some students, I'm trying to figure out how this effort won't be moot in a few years when the computer image recognition/analysis software can do the same task much more efficiently.

Comment: Re:Correct, but also incorrect (Score 1) 643

by columbiatch (#32121518) Attached to: Stock Market Sell-Off Might Stem From Trader's Fat Finger

You don't have to be too far into the industry to know the answer to this. This problem is that the Fed had to balloon it's balance sheet to support the market during the credit crisis, they took sacks of dog poop in exchange for US Treasuries.

So the Fed is sitting on flaming bags of poo, but we already know that. Some career politician discussing a useless audit won't throw our semi-pseudo-efficient market into chaos.

This is likely the result of a HFT program error. The responsible party will be fined and trades will be cancelled, no huge story here. Traders today knew that the market sliding that hard, that fast was nothing more than a bug in someone's code.

Comment: Trades will be cancelled (Score 1) 643

by columbiatch (#32121418) Attached to: Stock Market Sell-Off Might Stem From Trader's Fat Finger
Just like all the other unusual trading activity or glitches, the exchange will cancel the trades and minimal harm will have been done. This has happened several times before. Stocks settle trade+3 days, so the just bust all the trades prior to settlement, control send the funds back through the NSCC and it's a wash.
Science

World's Smallest Superconductor Discovered 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the none-more-small dept.
arcticstoat writes "One of the barriers to the development of nanoscale electronics has potentially been eliminated, as scientists have discovered the world's smallest superconductor. Made up of four pairs of molecules, and measuring just 0.87nm, the superconductor could potentially be used as a nanoscale interconnect in electronic devices, but without the heat and power dissipation problems associated with standard metal conductors."

Comment: Re:About $2K savings per month (Score 1) 562

by columbiatch (#31238224) Attached to: Fuel Cell Marvel "Bloom Box" Gaining Momentum
Your calc is too simple. If you're really gonna model time-value of money accurately, you're going to have to account for inflation, income tax, future energy costs, exchange rates, possibility of reserve currencies being switch from the US$ to other currencies, etc. This could be a savvy business decision; but it's up in the air given that rising future energy prices would make this a good decision vs. the Weimar Republic of America printing $ like they're going out of style (which they are).

Comment: Re:not err (Score 1) 277

by columbiatch (#23499418) Attached to: Coding Flaws Caused Moody's Debt Rating Errors
Close but not quite. The prices of homes taking a nosedive don't necessarily effect existing MBS. The problem is that when people default on their loans, the "guaranteed income" of AAA securities goes away and the security deleverages. This has scared everyone from the CDO/MBS/ABS market and now liquidity has dried up too. I don't agree with your statement about regulation and the credit crunch. Poor risk pricing didn't help. But proper risk assesment wouldn't have prevented morons in booming housing markets from "keeping up with the Smith's"

"Morality is one thing. Ratings are everything." - A Network 23 executive on "Max Headroom"

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