This week's movie:

Prospect (2018)

It's an SF Western! And everyone around is prospecting for some fancy space gems on this particularly verdant (but v toxic) alien moon.

I honestly wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. The film builds an original universe in a short space of time. Playing off Western styles but avoiding obvious narrative tropes, it managed to keep me guessing throughout. Brilliant performances to boot.

Started a remote film club during lockdown with a few friends using SyncPlay, it's a little buggy at times but would still recommend the software for anyone thinking of doing the same. Although it's not long until we can legally do these things in person in the UK now.

It's a nice alternative to long Zoom calls which I find exhausting and have enough of at work.

Anyway I thought I'd start mentioning some highlights on here for anyone that wants any movie recommendations 🙂

They are amazingly slow-growers, the fastest doubling time in the lab is about 30h, 60x slower than E. coli. However in its natural habitat it may take weeks or months to produce each generation. Something that also doesn't lend itself to speedy evolution rates...

Show thread

High fidelity DNA replication machinery may be involved in the lack of change, greatly reducing the mutation rate. As this bacterium lives off chemical reactions produced by the radioactive decay of heavy metals and other elements in tiny water pockets found in deep rock, there is a possibility that this impressive DNA replication machinery itself may have evolved as a defence against radiation. However, it most likely evolved as a defense against dessication.

Show thread

Genetic samples of the deep surface bacterium Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator (CDA) taken from three continents (up to 3km down in rock) have been found to be remarkably similar to each other, suggesting very little evolution has taken place since the continents were connected (55-165 mya). These microbes may resemble some of the earliest forms of life that evolved on Earth, dependent on geological compounds for energy, as opposed to light from the Sun.

Show thread

Bacteria found DEEP deep down are "living fossils" from the time of Pangaea.

Paper found here (open access):

Castell Cas-gwent (Chepstow Castle) is awesome, y'all should go if you get the chance (free entry this week btw).

#ForestFacts fact #4
96% of all #ForestFires are caused by human activities

* only 4% of forest fires have a natural cause, like lightning strike
* 264.000 people die prematurely due to lung diseases caused by forest fires
* #droughts, #heatwaves and strong winds facilitate the spread of forest fires. these fire-facilitating weather conditions are more and more common since 1980 due to the #ClimateCrisis
* 116 million hectares of forest are burned down every year. 90 million hectares in Africa alone

But forest fires also have positive effects:

* after a fire the forest is rejuvenated, vermin are killed and the forest might grow with more #biodiversity.
* sometimes controlled fires are created on purpose as precautions against uncontrolled fires
* in some eco-systems fires are essential

(Sources: Andela et al. (2017), FAO (2020), Hirschberger et al. (2017) via #DasWaldBuch)

[ Hilbert's hotel ]
"Suppose that your hotel has infinitely many rooms, numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. All rooms are occupied, when a new guest arrives and asks to be put up. What do you do?"

Real Science

A place for those who are wise in the ways of science. Registration is open.