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Fossils on Mars? Geologist unearths intriguing hypothesis. – CSMonitor.com

Fossils on Mars? Geologist unearths intriguing hypothesis.

Martian sedimentary structures look surprisingly similar to terrestrial structures formed by microbes. Coincidence?

By Samantha Laine, Staff Writer / January 7, 2015


This photo released by NASA shows a self-portrait taken by the NASA rover Curiosity in Gale Crater on Mars.

NASA FileEvidence of water on Mars:Check. Organic chemistry in rock formations: Check. Methane in the atmosphere:Check. And now, fossils? Too soon to tell.

The journal Astrobiologyrecently published a paper that examines Martian rock structures photographed by NASA’sMars rover Curiosity that look strikingly like structures on Earth that are known to have been created by microbes. The paper’s author, Old Dominion University geomicrobiologist Nora Noffke, has studied microbially induced sedimentary structures, or MISS, on Earth for 20 years, even finding evidence of 3.48 billion year old MISS in the Western Australia’s Dresser Formation. The outcrop on Mars is about 3.7 billion years old.

Is this proof of life on ancient Mars? No. But Noffke’s research takes the search to a new step, especially in light of the recent detection of methane and other organic molecules on Mars. Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and an associate editor of the journal Astrobiology, offers his thoughts on why this development is significant.

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“I’ve seen many papers that say ‘Look, here’s a pile of dirt on Earth,’” writes Dr. McKay. “‘And because they look the same, the same mechanism must have made each pile on the two planets.”

He continues: “That’s an easy argument to make, and it’s typically not very convincing. However, Noffke’s paper is the most carefully done analysis of the sort that I’ve seen, which is why it’s the first of its kind published in Astrobiology.”

Mars and Earth shared similar early histories, with Mars probably being a much warmer and wetter planetbillions of years ago than it is today. Gillespie Lake, the part of a dry lakebed on Mars where the structures were found, endured seasonal flooding, a hypothetically perfect situation for microbes to thrive.

On Earth, shallow bodies of water contain colonies of microbes that trap and rearrange sediments into identifiable structures. These structures can be found across the Earth in a variety of formations and types, such as pockets, domes, erosional remnants, roll-ups, chips, pits, and cracks.

“All I can say is, here’s my hypothesis and here’s all the evidence that I have,” Noffke said in Astrobiology Magazine, “although I do think that this evidence is a lot.”Noffke discusses next steps to provide proof for her hypothesis, but technology has not yet reached this stage. One important step includes bringing samples to Earth for in depth analyses, an unfeasible task. Or, better technology could be developed to enable deeper, more precise analyses of sedimentary samples on Mars.

“At this point, all I’d like to do is point out these similarities,” Noffke adds. “Further evidence must be provided to verify this hypothesis.”


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Savannah man, 22-year-old Matthew Ojibade, dies in restraining chair while in police custody

Savannah man, 22-year-old Matthew Ojibade, dies in restraining chair while in police custody
Jan 07, 2015 5:23am PST by Shaun King

On this past New Year’s Day, 22-year-old Matthew Ojibade of Savannah, Georgia, suffered a manic episode resulting from his ongoing struggles with bipolar disorder. His girlfriend called police to help intervene and take him to the hospital. When they arrived, she gave the police his prescription medication, which was noted in the police report, and requested again that he be taken to the hospital.

This quite obviously didn’t happen.According to a report by Channel 3 News in Savannah:

Ojibade was taken to the Chatham County Detention Center that evening. According to the Sheriff’s Office, he fought with deputies during booking – injured several – and had to be restrained. “My understanding was because of his behavior, he was put into a restraining chair and that’s a tool that law enforcement uses – and they’re allowed to use – and even in occasions supposed to use,” says [CNN analyst and former attorney for George Zimmerman] Mark O’Mara.The Sheriff’s Office says Ojibade was checked on twice while isolated – the second found unresponsive. Efforts to resuscitate him failed. … O’Mara says the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an autopsy today. The Sheriff’s Department already announced the GBI is investigating the case. O’Mara believes video surveillance from the jail will help in determining what happened.

More questions and thoughts are below the fold.

The statement that has been given by the police, that Matthew “fought with deputies … and had to be restrained” is outrageously vague and raises more questions than answers.

Was he beaten?

Was it filmed?

What injuries did he suffer in the process of being restrained?

Was he given medical attention for his injuries?

What does the autopsy show as his cause of death?

Unfortunately, in the past few months, Matthew is not the first man to die in Savannah police custody. Charles Smith,handcuffed and in the back of a police car, was shot and killed by an officer this past September after they said he found a way out of the vehicle and somehow produced a gun.

In November, the former Chief of Police in Savannah was convicted on federal charges of extortion, gambling, obstruction of justice, and other charges.

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A short update on the energies

Thank you Aisha!

aisha north

For now, so much has changed that needed to be changed, and so much has been changed that again will speed up the proceedings considerably. For you are a formidable group of beings dear ones, one that never stops when the going gets tough and one that never ceases to push even further than the stipulated targets agreed upon beforehand. For you are all eager to put yourselves to the test in more ways than one, and as such, there are literally no limits to what you can do, which was once again amply proven last night. For then, you came together in what can only be described as a highly successful group event that once again served to put the right kind of spin to the proceedings in such a way, you managed to hitch together a veritable train of interlocking energetic spools that in turn will serve as…

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Truthout Daily Digest | Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Deep Questions Arise Over Portland’s Corporate Water Takeover

Victoria Collier, Truthout: A simmering water war is about to come to a boil over the fate of historic, well-loved public reservoirs in Portland, Oregon. At the heart of the controversy is a breakdown in public trust that reflects the dangers of corporate-led water privatization schemes.

Read the Article

Hope for Jobs, Prepare for Recession in 2015

Salvatore Babones, Truthout: The economy is booming. So where are the jobs? The current expansion won’t last forever, and we need at least 10 million new jobs before the next recession hits.

Read the Article

Exit Interview: Fear, the Sony Hack and the War on Terror

Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski, Truthout: The use of The Interview and Sony hack drama to push the US Senate’s torture report off mass media’s front pages, promote the war on terror and obscure US involvement in political assassination and destabilization of other governments was a classic example of misdirection.

Read the Article

Ten Questions for Conservatives

Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network: Increasingly, modern US conservatism resembles a giant wrecking ball, powered by hate-spewing demagogues to undermine or destroy long-cherished institutions.

Read the Article

Intervention in the Islamic State Increasingly Messy

Richard Sale, Truthout: Experts say old rivals in areas overrun by the Islamic State use religion as a cover for their territorial ambitions. Hatred between Shiites and Sunnis has thus become a fixed and dominating factor in Iraq’s communal life, and today it produces endless internal chaos in Syria and Iraq.

Read the Article

Let’s Call All Terrorists “Terrorists”

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: Would people be as willing to call the Paris attack “terrorism” if the suspects involved were white or members of a right-wing hate group? Probably not.

Read the Article

With One Small Tax, the US Could Insure the Next Generation a Brighter Future

Ronald M. Glassman and Gerald E. Scorse, Los Angeles Times: Congress could pass a financial transaction tax and dedicate the proceeds to providing equal opportunity for college, in a show of dedication to equal access to education and opportunity.

Read the Article

Los Angeles Imports Nearly 85 Percent of Its Water – Can It Change That by Gathering Rain?

Madeline Ostrander, YES! Magazine: The urban drainage ways of Los Angeles can never quite look like wild creeks, but restoring some of their capacity to store, slow and filter water fixes many problems at once.

Read the Article

Lessons on the Struggle for Health Care as a Human Right

Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance: After years of working toward universal health care using the framework of human rights, the people of Vermont were spurned. This turn of events provides an important lens for examining what happened in the advocacy for health reform and what must be done now.

Read the Article

Holder and Obama Never Miss an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity Versus the Banksters

William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives: In finance, because of the deliberate destruction of effective financial regulation, our only means of bringing light to the dark places where the elites “doeth evil” is whistleblowers.

Read the Article

What’s the Bag Deal?

Eugene Cordero, Green Ninja: This first episode of “The Green Ninja,” a fun and educational video series about environmentalism, reviews the question, “What’s the best bag? Paper or plastic?”

Watch the Video

Take Roots Action!

Jeffrey Sterling is set to go on trial for espionage this month. He is accused of blowing the whistle on the CIA, which gave nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran. Blowing the whistle on government recklessness is a public service, not a crime.

Please support this CIA whistleblower!


Loss of Food Stamps Looms for Unemployed Adults as Blast of Cruelty Hits US

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The possibility of implosion persistently looms over the US economy, but a moral disintegration of the nation has been simmering for decades.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

After “Charlie Hebdo” Attack in Paris, Senators Rush to Undermine Defense Reforms in the US

Read the Article at The District Sentinel

US Media Mostly Ignore Bomb That Exploded Outside NAACP Office in Colorado Springs

Read the Article at Firedoglake

Fracking Ban Bill Introduced in Florida

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

More Than 90 Percent of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Campaign Money Comes From the US

Read the Article at BuzzFeed News

Why Are the Police More Valued Than the People?

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Shell to Pay $84 Million Settlement Over Niger Delta Oil Spill

Read the Article at BBC News

The US Has More Jails Than Colleges – Here’s a Map of Where Those Prisoners Live

Read the Article at The Washington Post