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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Real Science Reveals We Know Very Little

It may be amazing to some that we still don't know everything about our ecology. It is a fact that this 'planetary system' we live in is complicated and not well understood yet. Sure, we've learned a lot but there is so many variables and things yet undiscovered or understood that to state we have a complete working and predictive model of the ecology (or climate) is nothing more than arrogant nonsense.

Here's a fine example. A recent study (published in May 2007) led by University of Georgia researchers has found that crenarchaeota (one of the most common groups of archaea and a group that includes members that live in hot springs) use ammonia as their energy source. Who would have thought that?

Chuanlun Zhang, lead author of the study and associate research scientist at UGA's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, said, "such a metabolic mode has not been found in any of the other known high-temperature archaea".

"The oxidation of ammonia was not thought to be a dominant process for crenarchaeota, but now we realize how important it is," said Zhang, who is also associate professor of marine sciences. His assistant co-authors include researchers from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Montana State University, Savannah River National Laboratory, Harvard University and Yunnan University in China.

Archaea is one of the main branches on the tree of life. Despite it's position as one of the three main domains of life, it was just recently discovered in 1977 by Carl Woese and George E. Fox. The other two main branches of life consist of bacteria and plants and animals.

What is most important to understand is that scientists are JUST NOW "gaining a fuller understanding of what archaea do" - in an ecological sense.

Zhang and his colleagues sampled extensively from hot springs in the United States, China and Russia for crenarchaeota and found the widespread distribution of the presumed amoA genes, which microorganisms use to combine ammonia with oxygen, releasing useable energy.

Because these ammonia-oxidizing archaea are associated with microorganisms that live and enjoy hot spring environments and because these hot environments are thought to resemble the early Earth environment, studying these organisms may help yield better understandings of the evolution of the Earth, it's climate, and it's ecosystem.

Zhang continues, "If we want to know how organisms evolved and how their metabolism evolved, we need to understand both the hot springs environment and the low-temperature environment. Crenarchaeota are special because they thrive in both environments."

Given these new daily discoveries and revelations, how is it that a failed lawyer with a rich daddy can stand up and state, without batting an eye, that * ALL THE SCIENCE IS IN * and * IT IS CONCLUSIVE * ?

What kind of silly arrogance is this Mr. Gore?

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