A tiny microorganism found in Norwegian lake sludge may be related to the very oldest life forms on this planet, a possible modern cousin of our earliest common ancestor. It is not a fungus, alga, parasite, plant or animal, yet it has features associated with other kingdoms of life. It could be a founding member of the newest kingdom on the tree of life , scientists said. Life on Earth is divided into two main groups, the prokaryotes and the eukaryotes. Prokaryotes are simple life forms, with no membranes or cell nuclei; this group includes bacteria and archaea. Eukaryotes, which include humans, animals, plants, fungi and algae, have cell membranes and nuclei. This new organism is a eukaryote. More specifically, it’s an algae-eating protozoan, a type of creature that have been known to science since the Civil War but which have lacked genetic studies because they’re difficult to culture. Researchers in Norway were able to harvest them from a lake bed and breed them in the lab. This one is called Collodictyon.Researchers led by Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi, head of the Microbial Evolution Research Group (MERG) at the University of Oslo, were examining the species’ genes and morphological makeup and found it is not like anything else. It evolved a billion years ago, give or take a couple hundred million years. It could have been living the same way since then, providing scientists a glimpse of what the earliest life forms looked like. The organism is weird in several key ways. It has four flagella, for instance, which makes it different from bacteria and eukaryotes. Mammals, fungi and amoebae only have one flagellum — that’s the propeller-like feature that helps cells move (think of the “tail” of a sperm cell). Algae, plants and single-celled parasites called excavates are thought to have had two flagella. Collodictyon is somewhere between an excavate and an amoeba. Also, the organism has the same internal structure as a parasite, but it uses amoeba-like protuberances to catch its food, which are blue-green algae. So again, it combines features from two branches of the eukaryotes, further evidence that it’s a primordial creature, the researchers say. Even at its highest levels, the tree of life is mutable — the domain archaea was only recognized in 1990. So it wouldn’t be out of the question for this organism to spark an entirely new kingdom.
“When I feel afraid, that’s an indication that I’ve tapped into something worth writing about. Whenever my writing has made me cry or ask, ‘Can I really say that?’ that has always been the material that readers respond to most passionately. You can recognize when a writer has told you something true—and I don’t mean true in a literal, nonfiction way… To do that, you welcome fear into the room. You welcome sorrow into the room. You go deep into those places.”—Cheryl Strayed « Writers « The Days of Yore (via leopoldgursky)
A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln – and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country – is automatic suspension. Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly: “Wow. Are you OK? This doesn’t sound like you. What’s going on?”
He gets even more specific: “You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?” The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face….”How could you do that?” “What’s wrong with you?”…and for the big boot out of school. But he was NOT ready for kindness.
The armor-plated defenses melt like ice under a blowtorch and the words pour out: “My dad’s an alcoholic. He’s promised me things my whole life and never keeps those promises.” The waterfall of words that go deep into his home life, which is no piece of breeze, end with this sentence: “I shouldn’t have blown up at the teacher.” Whoa.
“When I have sex, I don’t just get off on my own kinks and my own pleasure. I also get off on my partner’s pleasure. The sight, the sound, the feel, of someone in my bed who’s getting excited and getting off… that’s hot. It’s not particularly selfless or noble of me — it’s just hot. The more I care about someone, the more true that is… And if you can’t get off on the sight and sound and feel of your partner’s pleasure — even if what you’re doing isn’t your particular favorite thing — then what the hell are you doing in a sexual / romantic relationship?”—Greta Christina’s Blog: Broccoli or Tofu? Sexual Differences in Relationships (via sexisnottheenemy) (via thechocolatebrigade) (via sexular) (via scentsandsubtlesounds)
“I like steam rising from the body of a one-night stand; I like holding hands for three months before kissing; I like wishing your body was Saturn, my body thousand rings wrapped around you.”—Andrea Gibson (via aunteggma)
“Your problem, my darling daughter, is that you’re afraid you’re going to miss something. But what you don’t realize is that, by not making a decision, you’re missing it all.”—Claire Cook, Life’s a Beach (via thoughtsdetained)
Lloyd Dobler: [leaving the last of a series of messages on Diane’s answering machine] “Maybe I didn’t really know you. Maybe you were just a mirage. Maybe the world is full of food and sex and spectacle and we’re all just hurling towards an apocalypse, in which case it’s not your fault. I’m been thinking about all these things and… you’re probably standing there monitoring. And one more thing - about the letter. Nuke it. Flame it. Destroy it. - It hurts me to know it’s out there. Later.”
“How many of them really know what they want, though? I mean, a lot of them think they have to know, right? But inside they don’t really know, so… I don’t know ,but I know that I don’t know.”—Lloyd Dobler (via forwhateveryouliveislife)
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”—Lloyd Dobler (via redwingedspartan)
“I’m not a therapist, and when I first began [writing the Dear Sugar column], I thought, ‘I am not qualified.’ Then I realized that maybe more than anyone, storytellers in the culture are qualified because we’re trying to reveal the truths, contradictions, undercurrents, and the mysterious inner-workings of the most important things in our lives. Love, relationships, loss, the questions of youth and of old age, the wounds of childhood and the fears of adulthood: that’s what the entire literary history is about.”—Cheryl Strayed « Writers « The Days of Yore (via leopoldgursky)
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” The one everyone knows (and quotes). Parodied, spoofed, and misremembered, Austen’s celebrated zinger remains the archetypal First Line for an archetypal tale. Only Dickens comes close, with the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light etc…”—