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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 31 through 45 of 131 found.


An Organic, Conducive, Habitable MultiUniVerse

Animate Cosmos > Thermodynamics > autocat

Preiner, Martina, et al. Catalysts, Autocatalysis and the Origin of Metabolism. Interface Focus. October, 2019. In an 80th birthday festschrift for the NASA astrobiologist Michael Russell, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf and University College London bioscientists including John F. Allen describe the presence and contribution of these innate self-activating, combining, and emergent processes as they bring life to conducive matter. Circa autumn 2019, one could surmise that an animate ecosmos is engaged in some manner of auto-creative, autopoietic, self-making enterprise. How then might we sapient beings aspire to be the selves, aka cosmic catalysts, to take up and continue?

If life on Earth started out in geochemical environments like hydrothermal vents, then it started from gases like CO2, N2 and H2. Anaerobic autotrophs still live from these gases today, and inhabit the Earth's crust. In the search for connections between abiotic processes in ancient geological systems and in biotic systems, it becomes evident that chemical activation (catalysis) of these gasses and a constant source of energy are key aspects. The H2–CO2 redox reaction provides a constant source of energy and anabolic inputs, because the equilibrium lies on the side of reduced carbon compounds. Identifying geochemical catalysts that en route to nitrogenous organic compounds and autocatalytic networks will be an important step towards understanding prebiotic chemistry. (Abstract)

Animate Cosmos > Thermodynamics > autocat

Weller-Davies, Oliver, et al. Combinatorial Results for Network-Based Models of Metabolic Origins. arXiv:1910.09051. Oxford University and University of Canterbury New Zealand (Mike Steel) researchers advance the case that autocatalytic phenomena, broadly conceived, played an important role as sustainable, complex living systems proceeded to boot themselves up and running.

Animate Cosmos > Fractal

Liang, L., et al. Self-Similarities and Power-laws in the Time-resolved Spectra of GRB 190114C, 130427A, 160509A, and 160625B. arXiv:1910.12615. In an entry to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics, five scientists at the International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics Network, Pescara, Italy report upon the title Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) phenomena as it exemplifies a natural fractal display.

Conclusion: The most far reaching discovery of self-similarities and power-laws are extensively confirmed, thanks also to the conclusions presented in the companion papers, which leads to the existence of a discrete quantized repetitive polarized emission on a timescale as short as 10−14s. These results open new paths in the discovery of fundamental physical laws.

Animate Cosmos > Astrobiology

Cridland, Alex, et al. Connecting Planet Formation and Astrochemistry: A Main Sequence for C/O in Hot-Exoplanetary Atmospheres. arXiv:1910.13071. Leiden Observatory and McMaster University scientists including Ewine van Dishoeck and Ralph Pudritz post an extensive quantification of global, oxygen to carbon gaseous mixtures and interactions as they may evolve due to migrating large and small solar system objects.

Animate Cosmos > exoearths

Rodet, Laetita, et al. ODEA: Orbital Dynamics in a Complex Evolving Architecture. arXiv:1909.04536. We cite this entry by University of Grenoble, Stanford University and UC Berkeley researchers as an example of analytic methods such as symplectic integrators being applied even to exoplanetary solar systems. ODEA stands for an algorithm they developed for this purpose. In regard, a take away may be that even heavenly spheres do indeed dance and move to a mathematical score.

Animate Cosmos > exoearths

Shields, Aomawa. The Climates of Other Worlds: A Review of the Emerging Field of Exoplanet Climatology. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 243/2, 2019. A UC Irvine astrophysicist adds another important detectable feature for exoplanet searches across near and far Milky Way environs. Just as here, atmospheric weather patterns are a good indicator of relative habitability.

While climate models have often used to analyze and predict climate and weather on Earth, a growing community of researchers has begun to apply relative models to extrasolar planets. This work has provided a better understanding of how orbital, surface, and atmospheric properties affect planetary climate and habitability; how these climatic effects might change for different stellar and planetary environments; and how observational signatures of newly discovered planets might be influenced by these climatic factors. This review summarizes the active field of exoplanet climatology thus far, recent work using a hierarchy of computer models to identify planets most capable of supporting life, and offers a glimpse into future directions for exoplanet science. (Abstract excerpt)

Animate Cosmos > exoearths

Stojkovic, Neda, et al. Galactic Habitability Re-Examined: Indications of Bimodality. arXiv:1909.01742. Astronomical Observatory, Belgrade astrophysicists including Milan Cirkovic post an extensive contribution which seeks ways to better to quantify preferential places for living systems to form and evolve. As the quotes allude, this requires factoring in a range of stellar and galactic types, sizes and active shapes. See also Habitability of Galaxies and Application of Merger Trees in Astrobiology at arXiv:1908.05935 and What can Milky Way Analogues Tell us About the Star Formation Rate of Our Own Galaxy? at 1909.01654 for concurrent papers. Again how fantastic is it that homo to anthropo sapiens, phoenix-like out of war zones, can come together and move on to learn about our celestial neighborhood. The paper merits some extended quotes.

The problem of the extent of habitable zones in different kinds of galaxies is one of the outstanding challenges for contemporary astrobiology. In the present study, we investigate habitability in a large sample of simulated galaxies from the Illustris Project in order to at least roughly quantify the hospitality to life of different galactic types. In particular, we find a tentative evidence for a second mode of galactic habitability comprising metal-rich dwarfs similar to IC 225, LMC or M32. The role of the galactic environment and the observation selection effects is briefly discussed and prospects for further research on the topic outlined. (Abstract)

Hence, we have essentially two major views on the habitability of galaxies so far: (i) the conventional view based to a large degree on the “rare Earth” thinking of Gonzalez, Ward, and Brownlee limiting life to large spiral discs analogous to the Milky Way Population I, and (ii) the radical view, emerging since about 2015, that it is mostly quiescent early-type galaxies and dwarfs more similar to the local Population II that are the best abodes for life. Details may vary from study to study, but this dilemma is quickly becoming one of the central issues of astrobiology.(3)

Studies of galactic habitability are obviously in their infancy. There is a large number of galactic properties which may influence the habitability score in ways currently ill-understood, and even those whose influence is somewhat understood (like the mean metallicity or the global star-formation rate in the present study) are still only roughly represented in the models. Thus, we hereby propose an emerging picture of galactic habitability which is bimodal: high-metallicity dwarfs on one hand, and quiescent spiral discs on the other hand, represent the peaks of galactic habitability in the local universe at present. (15)

If the emerging picture is correct, one mode of habitability is based upon the following factors: large galaxies with active star formation, similar to the Milky Way, with habitable planets forming around the Pop I analog stars with high metallicities. This mode is characterized by many different kinds of planetary systems, a high level of chemical evolution and, presumably, easier routes for advancement of prebiotic chemistry in both interstellar/circumstellar medium and on planetary surfaces. Once life appears, however, it is subject to strong abiotic selection pressure of its astrophysical environment in form of frequent irradiations by supernovae and GRBs, perturbations due to the spiral-arm and galactic-plane crossings, higher cosmic-ray fluences, and other astrobiological regulation mechanisms. Part of these perturbing influences may overflow into the “Gaian windows”, which are likely to be shorter for biospheres in the giant spiral systems. (17)

Cosmomics: A Genomic Source Code in Procreative Effect

Cosmic Code > Algorithms

Palazzi, Maria, et al. Online Division of Labour: Emergent Structures in Open Source Software. Nature Scientific Reports. 9/13890, 2019. Five Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya computer scientists cleverly apply complex system phenomena to the multi-player process of software code development. By so doing they find this artificial field to exhibit the same features of self-organization, diverse task allotment, a scalar, nested structure and more as every other natural and social realm. Once again, another life-like domain with this common vitality is revealed, which altogether strongly implies the presence of a natural, seed-like, generative program.

The development Open Source Software depends on the participation and commitment of volunteer developers to progress on a particular task. Several strategies are in effect, but little is known on how these diverse groupings self-organise to work together: any number of contributors can join in a decentralised, distributed, and asynchronous manner. It is helpful to then see some efficient hierarchy and division of labour must be in place within human biological and cognitive limits. We analyze popular GitHub open source projects with regard to three key properties: nestedness, modularity and in-block nestedness. These typify the emergence of heterogeneities among contributors, subgroups working on specific files, and the whole activity. From a complex network perspective, our conclusions create a link between bio-cognitive constraints, group formation and online working environments. (Abstract)

Cosmic Code > Algorithms

Wolfram, Stephen. Logic, Explainability and the Future of Understanding. Complex Systems. 28/1, 2019. The polymath prodigy (bio below) now can provide a 40 page technical survey of the history, present and preview of philosophical knowledge by way of its computational basis. In this journal edited by Hector Zenil, see also On Patterns and Dynamics of Rule 22 Cellular Automaton by Genaro Martinez, et al (28/2).

Stephen Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha and the Wolfram Language; the author of A New Kind of Science; and the founder CEO of Wolfram Research. Born in London in 1959, he was educated at Eton, Oxford and received his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech at age 20. Wolfram's early scientific work was mainly in high-energy physics, quantum field theory and cosmology. Over the course of four decades, he has been responsible for many discoveries, inventions and innovations in computer science and beyond. (www.stephenwolfram.com)

Cosmic Code > networks

Lee, Sang Hoon. Network Nested as Generalized Core-Periphery Structures. arXiv:1602.00093. We cite this entry by a Korea Institute for Advanced Study physicist as an example of how such a generic recurrent scale, which seeks and reaches complementary fast dense and slower expanse phases, are gaining notice as natural archetypes from universe to human. See also later entries on this eprint site by the author and colleagues for practical applications such as 3D chromosome and power-grid geometries.

The concept of nestedness, in particular for ecological and economical networks, has been introduced as a structural characteristic of real interacting systems. We suggest that the nestedness is in fact another way to express a mesoscale network property called the core-periphery structure. With real ecological mutualistic networks and synthetic model networks, we define the network-level measures for nestedness and core-periphery-ness in the case of weighted and bipartite networks. Therefore, there must exist structurally interwoven properties in more fundamental levels of network formation, behind this seemingly obvious relation between nestedness and core-periphery structures. (Abstract)

Cosmic Code > networks

Lee, UnCheol and George Mashour. Role of Network Science in the Study of Anesthetic State Transitions. Anesthesiology. 129/1029, 2018. University of Michigan Medical School neuroscientists, who are involved with consciousness studies at UMMS (search each author), illustrate how the common multiplex networks found everywhere also provide functional structures as brains pass into and out of relatively unconscious states. It is then affirmed that as these conditions exhibit a self-organized criticality with scale-free power laws, this phenomena appears to manifestly arise from universal, lawful principles. Within this approach, the array of nodes, links, hubs, and dynamic topologies are cited as a major determinant of global information processing.

University of Michigan Medical School neuroscientists, who are involved with consciousness studies at UMMS (search each author), illustrate how the common multiplex networks found everywhere also provide functional structures as brains pass into and out of relatively unconscious states. It is then affirmed that as these conditions exhibit a self-organized criticality with scale-free power laws, this phenomena appears to manifestly arise from universal, lawful principles. Within this approach, the array of nodes, links, hubs, and dynamic topologies are cited as a major determinant of global information processing.

Cosmic Code > networks

Perc, Matjaz. Diffusion Dynamics and Information Spreading in Multilayer Networks: An Overview. European Physical Journal Special Topics. 228/2351, 2019. The University of Maribor, Slovenia theorist (search) emphasizes how nature’s multiplex networks not only engender neural, physiological, and social structures but also, by their title features, serve life’s vital communicative conveyance. It is then said that a better working knowledge of network phenomena can help avoid problems with power grids, traffic flow, and so on.

Systems Evolution: A 21st Century Genesis Synthesis

Quickening Evolution

Bonner, John T.. The Evolution of Evolution. Journal of Experimental Zoology B. Online June, 2019. The Princeton University biologist (1920-2019) was an experimental and theoretical pioneer and author for over 60 years with regard to the course of animal morphogenesis. His especial subject was the developmental course of slime molds, but in the vein of D’Arcy Thompson (search) his thought spread across life’s soma and senses on to human beings. Among his many works are Why Size Matters (2011) and Randomness in Evolution (2013). This posthumous essay is intended as one last clarification, against the mainstream as he notes, while selection remains a force there are other innate structural factors in much effect. Its significance merited commentaries such as by Stuart Newman, Scott Gilbert, and by Russell Powell and Maureen O”Malley.

In the past, most biologists, myself included, did not think of evolution as changing over time. The wonders of natural selection were always at hand and in operation once there was life. However, with reflection it became obvious that evolution has changed. Life’s course can be separated into four phases, or eras. The first starts with the rise of life on earth, which led to single cells that multiply asexually. The second era takes advantage of sexual reproduction as evolution could now gallop forward because of more diverse offspring for natural selection. The third era begins with the introduction of multicellularity. In the fourth there is a radical innovation: the nervous system which forms in animals. This allowed major changes to proceed such as language that led to what we call civilization and no longer depends on the slow changes of gene‐controlled evolutionary steps. (Abstract)

Evolution has been from small to big, from simple to complex. Besides this obvious point, there has been another neglected but equally important trend in the control – or suppression - of the effect of randomness. In microorganisms, random events are common, but with the increase in size and complexity there has been a corresponding decrease in the role of chance. So there are three phenomena: the increase in size, the increase in complexity, and the decrease in the part played by randomness, all three go together during the course of evolution. (Randomness in Evolution, 7)

Quickening Evolution

Duclos, Kevin, et al. Investigating the Evolution and Development of Biological Complexity under the Framework of Epigenetics. Evolution & Development. 21/5, 2019. University of Calgary biologists KD, Jesse Hendrikse and Heather Jamniczky first note an impasse with regard to explanations of life’s intricate emergence by the nucleotide code alone. It is here proposed that recently understood epigenetic influences might offer a promising broadening of these studies.

Quickening Evolution

Fusco, Giuseppe, ed. Perspectives on Evolutionary and Developmental Biology. Padova: University of Padova Press, 2019. . This 420 page volume of essays for the Italian biologist and author Alessandro Minelli’s (search) 70th birthday is online in full, just Google title + Padova. With such entries a Towards a Developmental Biology of Holobionts by Scott Gilbert, An Evolutionary Biology for the 21st Century by Armin Moczek, Evo-Devo’s Challenge to the Modern Synthesis by Gerd Muller, The Evolutionary Relationships of Neural Structures in Arthropods by Angelika Stollewerk, Humans of the Middle Pleistocene by Giorgio Manzi, and Dynamic Structures in Evo-Devo by Johannes Jaeger, the work offers a latest evocation of this overdue (re)union of phylogeny and ontogeny. This 21st century synthesis is reinforced by a pervasive notice of symbiotic mutualities from eukaryotes to organisms and groups. In addition, a “self-constructing” essence is seen in process from physical origins to social peoples.

Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) has revolutionized our understanding of why and how evolution unfolds the way it does. At the same time, much of evo-devo remains steeped in traditional perspectives and established dichotomies; these need to be overcome if evo-devo is to remain relevant in the coming century. In particular our conception of developmental evolution has to embrace the nature and consequences of developmental bias, the self-constructing nature of living systems, and the reciprocal interdependencies of development and environment in evolution. (Moczek abstract)

Evolution does not act on particular stages in the life of an organism. Instead, it alters developmental processes and life cycles in response to environmental conditions to bring about phenotypic change. The structure of these processes determines evolvability, the capacity of organisms to adapt. They lead us to fundamentally reconsider the active role of organisms in evolutionary change, which raises the possibility of a new agent-based theory of evolution in which organisms and their perceived environments co-construct each other in a radically innovative dialectic dynamic. (Jaeger abstract)

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