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Supercomputing Science Technology

CERN Lends a Hand To the Origin of Life 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the mythical-cluster-month dept.
SpaceKangaroo writes "In May, a small group of chemists and biologists gathered at CERN to get advice from high-energy physics experts on how to 'organize a scientific community from disparate research groups and how to access powerful computational resources.' One guy has already run simulations about the origin of life on the LHC computing grid, finding that a group of 65,000 chemicals has a good chance of creating a 'self-sustaining' system of chemical reactions (similar to life)."
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CERN Lends a Hand To the Origin of Life

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think I'll hold off on any speculation until I've reviewed the writings of various Bronze Age goatherders on this subject.

    • by tloh (451585)

      I think I'll hold off on any speculation until I've reviewed the writings of various Bronze Age goatherders on this subject.

      Is that supposed to be a clever GNU joke?

      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Is that supposed to be a clever GNU joke?

        Sounds like a really, really old joke to me.
        Like pre-historic.

  • Curious how close it is to 65535... the limit for unsigned short? I'd like to see they're source code, maybe that's a bug. Or.. wait.. could that mean God is a programmer?
    • by cultiv8 (1660093)
      Are you suggesting God is the product of the first four Fermat primes? Fascinating, overlord has 65535 sides...
    • I'd like to see they're source code

      You would prefer them to be an uncompiled program?

    • What's my zip code got to do with it?
      • by Thing 1 (178996)
        From both this comment and the other story about the Mad Max-style vehicles in Mexico's drug war, I'm hearing Tina Turner in my head.
    • by RockDoctor (15477)
      "their", not "they're" (I don't know if English is is your first language ; it's not for my wife and she insists that I correct her, "otherwise, how else will I learn?" ; sadly, this is an old-school Russian school teacher's attitude, not that present in most modern British teachers)

      But to answer the point, I think it's coincidence.

      To generate a Wachterhauser system, you need at least three interacting catalytic cycles where some of the components in one cycle are also components of the other cycle ; thes

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The universe far older than our solar system or galaxy and keeps getting "older" with each generation of space telescopes. There is no compelling reason not to believe that "life" couldn't have started somewhere else very far away very long ago and spread throughout the universe inside rocks. Trying to find the origin of life may be as pointless as trying to find the exact origin of any random goop that washes ashore.
  • Seriously, should they not already know how to organize a scientific community for sharing/publishing/researching/peer reviewing stuff? It's not like the field has been around for a while... Also, let's play a game. It's called spot the problems with this statement from the perspective of the scientific method, "One guy has already run simulations ... finding that a group of 65,000 chemicals has a good chance..."

    Overall /. editors are busy being morons again, or this was a horribly written article, or a hor

  • Sigh. What part of Genesis 1 don't these "smart" guys understand? You see when you look for answers with a preconceived notion. you'll always find what you want to find. ...In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth. simples.
    • by Hartree (191324)

      Simple?

      Yeah, right. Some joker says "Let there be light.", and I end up having to wade through vector calculus and Maxwell's equations.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        Some joker says "Let there be light.", and I end up having to wade through vector calculus and Maxwell's equations.

        Or, as the t-shirt that I have says:

        God said ...
        <Maxwell's equations>
        ... and there was light.

    • What's so hard to understand about the birthday paradox?!

      It's a mathematically provable event. Even given the very minuscule chance that a combinational event will occur, such as RNA/DNA/amino acid chains forming, if you increase the number of chances in parallel the probability quickly tends towards 1.

      We found that if you take a bunch of sterilized rocks, water, CO2, Methane, etc (stuff that's here, and great quantities in other places in the universe, even in our own solar system), and zap in with s

      • by ultranova (717540)

        What's so hard to understand about the birthday paradox?!

        Apparently what it means [wikipedia.org] ;).

        We found that if you take a bunch of sterilized rocks, water, CO2, Methane, etc (stuff that's here, and great quantities in other places in the universe, even in our own solar system), and zap in with static electricity (lightning, which we know happens elsewhere i.e. Mars has it) a bunch of times amino acids form. (The building blocks of life).

        So why isn't there life on Mars? You are refuting your own point here.

        I would s

  • So while we're wasting energy, resources, and brain power on cosmogony, the Chinese are applying all of that to what we have now. [slashdot.org]

    Western science needs to get over itself, accept what we have, and move on to making our lives better.

    • by Deus.1.01 (946808)

      Who the hell are you? the universal accountant working on the budget for project "human progress" ?

  • Either its alive or its dead. There really isnt a middle ground here. Its not mostly alive, or mostly dead. Its one or the other. Wake me up when its anything except dead.

    • Perhaps you could define "alive" and "dead".

    • by Deus.1.01 (946808)

      YEAH! And wake me up when the Wright brothers have achieved spaceflight!

    • What about viruses? When they're just floating around they're not really alive. But as soon as they latch onto an appropriate cell, they start replicating, etc.

    • I would say that a 'self-sustaining' system of chemical reactions is life, or at least as good a definition as possible that would encompass even the most basic of lifeforms we know of. Whether those lifeforms are selfcontained (cells) or just an amorphous goop of chemicals that can catalyst the formation of themselves (or each other) in such a way as to eventually convert a significant part of their local ecosystem into clones of themselves (a possible/probable starting point for abiogenesis) is not a dist
    • by Urkki (668283)

      Either its alive or its dead. There really isnt a middle ground here. Its not mostly alive, or mostly dead. Its one or the other.

      You've clearly never explored contents of a feral fridge.

  • '... a group of 65,000 chemicals has a good chance of creating a 'self-sustaining' system of chemical reactions (similar to life).'

    KIRK: Bones, what can you tell me about these 65,000 chemicals?

    McCoy: Well, it's similar to life, Jim. But not as we know it.'

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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