Science Daily asked, “Could salt crusts be key ingredient in cooking up prebiotic molecules?” What if the answer is “No”? Just asking the question must be newsworthy. It invokes the power of suggestion. Stefan Fox told members of the European Planetary Science Congress last week that his team cooked up a new idea about the origin of life. First, they imagined what the ocean chemistry might have been like 3.8 billion years ago. Then they added salt to their imagined seawater recipe. After performing experiments “evaporating solutions of artificial primordial seawater and then baking the salty residue in an atmosphere of nitrogen and carbon dioxide to volcanic temperatures of 350 degrees Celsius,” they found pyrrholes – molecules that can be found in heme and chlorophyll. The salt crusts bind to amino acids and stabilize them against evaporation, they said. So what? These molecules are not alive in any sense of the word. “Our aim is to identify types of small molecules that might have participated in a hypothetical next step of chemical evolution,” they said. So far they got some simple amino acids, peptides and pyrrholes. (Presumably the amino acids came from Miller-style lightning discharges or from comets, and were in very small concentrations – but Fox said there were hundreds of thousands of years in which they could have accumulated.) The astrobiologists at the conference were probably happy to hear about a new way to keep amino acids from being rapidly destroyed. “A clear chemical pathway for the development of the raw materials of life would add support to the theory of life evolving beyond Earth,” the article ended.Allowing storytellers into the science lab (12/22/2003 commentary) was a crime against humanity. It permitted all kinds of mischief to be tolerated in the name of science. Fox (who should stop following in the footsteps of the previous Fox, Sidney Fox, in mythmaking, but should watch Fox News instead), is apparently unaware that salt is the last thing you want around to cook up life (06/25/2009). But in the new Darwin Storytelling Contest view of science, anything that lends itself to bottom-up thinking (hydrogen to people) is considered progress. No matter the illogic and contradictions, these liars will take their amino acids with toxic salt if they have to. They need those building blocks of lie (03/19/2008).(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
The Maputo-Catembe Bridge project, set to be completed at the end of 2017, will replace the current ferry system and various fragmented road systems.Construction of the bridge began in 2014. It is a joint construction and management project between the Mozambique and Chinese governments. (Image: Wikipedia)Brand South Africa ReporterMaputo Bay is an inlet of the Indian Ocean on the Mozambique coast, with the capital Maputo on one side and the town of Catembe on the opposite side. The bay is over 90 kilometres long and 32 kilometres wide.The Maputo-Catembe Bridge project, set to be completed at the end of 2017, will replace the current ferry system and various fragmented road systems that transport goods and tourists from South Africa and Swaziland into Mozambique.Currently, for tourists, driving is the best way to see Mozambique. But routes into the country are long and arduous, with much of the road system accessible only by 4×4 vehicles. If you do not take the ferry, trips from South Africa to the capital can take up to nine hours to complete.The 3km-long Maputo-Catembe Bridge – Africa’s longest suspension bridge – will cut the driving time down to four hours. With a width of 680 metres, it will be able to carry high volumes of traffic comfortably in both directions.Construction of the bridge began in 2014. It is a joint construction and management project between the Mozambique and Chinese governments. On completion, it is expected to become a significant gateway between South Africa and the rest of the Southern African Development Community. According tourism and business stakeholders, this will bring a major boost in trade and tourism.Completion of the bridge would open up the region for tourism, claimed Natalie Tenzer-Silva, director at Dana Tours, in a recent Tourism Update interview. The region around the bridge, she said, “is spectacular and tourists will finally be able to combine . magnificent sites within easy reach of each other”.Tenzer-Silva anticipated a surge in the self-drive market, and not just for the usual off-road enthusiasts who had made the destination popular. The distance from Ponta do Ouro, on the border with South Africa, to Maputo is almost 120 kilometres long and usually takes three hours or more to complete. But Tenzer-Silva said the bridge would allow visitors to reduce that time by a third.Maputo- Catembe bridge in Mozambique scheduled for completion in December 2017 https://t.co/VWIB2SGjc6 pic.twitter.com/zatjeThvfK— Further Africa (@FurtherAfrica) December 1, 2015The only direct access to Maputo by vehicle from South Africa is via the border post of Kosi Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal, according to Traveller24. The southern Golela border post via Swaziland is an option; there are longer, more demanding routes through the Komatipoort, Lebombo, and Giriyondo border posts in the north to other parts of Mozambique. The bridge will offer one direct route, on suitable roads, linking Kosi Bay and Swaziland to Maputo and the rest of Mozambique.The bridge and linking roads will have a great impact on tourism, says Ndabo Khoza, chief executive of KZN Tourism. Hundreds of thousands of people travel between the two countries through border gates every month, often taking up to 12 hours to navigate the 90 kilometres to Maputo on often hazardous and unmaintained roads. The bridge will change everything about the journey.“This is truly one of the tangible legacy projects of the East3Route,” says Khoza. “It will make it possible for one to have breakfast in Durban, lunch in Mbabane (Swaziland) and dinner in Maputo.”Maputo- Catembe bridge close to 40 nears completion https://t.co/zQefvpqPzG pic.twitter.com/C9GvzXMskz— Gregory Cabrol (@galclearing) October 20, 2015The bridge is considered to be the most important public works project in Mozambique since the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975. It is one phase in the three-phase 209km Maputo-Ponta do Ouro road project; the 35km Maputo- Catembe section around the bridge is the first phase to be completed.It will create 1 500 jobs for Mozambicans over the next two years, says Basilio Nzunga, a civil and structural engineer with the project.The second phase will be to revamp and repair the 109 kilometre road that connects Catembe and Bela Vista to the South African border. The third section – the Bela Vista-Boane road – will connect the Boane farming and industry district to wider markets.The full project, estimated to cost more than $700-million (R11.2-billion), will include revamping the border posts between South Africa and Mozambique.Source: AFKInsiderWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
In honor of those hit by Spring Snow storms, our Wordless Wednesday post is two airmen making the most of the storm–maybe it’s their last snowman of the season.This post was written by Anne Adrian, Military Families Learning Network. Social Media Strategist. The photo was found on DVIDSHUB’s Flickr photostream.