Saturday, December 5, 2015

Missionaries of Charity

Missionaries of Charity

Missionaries of Charity is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite religious congregation established in 1950 by Mother Teresa. It consists of over 4,501 religious sisters and is active in 256 countries. Members of the order designate their affiliation using the order's initials, "M.C." A member of the Congregation must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and the fourth vow, to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. Read more here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sine Qua Non

Sine Qua Non 

Sine Qua Non  refers to an indispensable and essential action, condition or ingredient; something that is absolutely indispensable. Example: Determination is a sine qua non for success.

Friday, November 27, 2015

CSRF Protection: When It Breaks, It Breaks Very Quietly

CSRF Protection

Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) is tricking the browser with a malicious (or compromised) site B to access something on site A.  Since requests for site A would include site A's cookie whether requested by A or not, an image tag or embedded JavaScript on site B can submit some requests on site A that a logged-in user can do, like accessing private info with the appropriate POST parameters to make it happen. Rails has a mechanism that defends against CSRF: all one should to do is include a few lines of code as:

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  protect_from_forgery
end

class FooController < ApplicationController
  protect_from_forgery except: :index

Rails will then basically generate cryptographically secure random number, totally transparently to the developer; it is called the CSRF token.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

World War III

World War III

World War III was a hypothetical worldwide military conflict subsequent to World War II. Because of the development and use of nuclear weapons near the end of World War II and their subsequent acquisition and deployment by several countries, it is feared that a third world war could cause the end of human civilization and most or all human life on Earth.

This is a video taken in 2015:
video

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World War III, WWIII, WW3 or the Third World War

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Lake Karachay




Lake Karachay, Russia

Used for years as nuclear dumping site by the Soviet Union, Lake Karachay has several times been declared the most polluted place on Earth. In fact, it has been said that just 1 hour of exposure here would be lethal.

Lake Karachay, Russia --- Used for years as nuclear dumping site by the Soviet Union, Lake Karachay has several times been declared the most polluted place on Earth. In fact, it has been said that just 1 hour of exposure here would be lethal.
Lake Karachay

Lake Karachay, Russia --- After being used as a dumping site for radioactive waste for decades, Lake Karachay, located in the southern Ural mountains in western Russia, got to be one of the most polluted spots in the world.
Lake Karachay, Russia --- After being used as a dumping site for radioactive waste for decades, Lake Karachay, located in the southern Ural mountains in western Russia, got to be one of the most polluted spots in the world. 
Lake Karachay, Russia --- This is due to radioactive waste that were dumped into the lake by the nearby Mayak nuclear facilities.
Lake Karachay, Russia --- This is due to radioactive waste that were dumped into the lake by the nearby Mayak nuclear facilities.
  .

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Radio Frequency

Radio Frequency
What is RF?

Radio Frequency (RF) and wireless have been around for over a century with Alexander Popov and Sir Oliver Lodge laying the groundwork for Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless radio developments in the early 20th century. In December 1901, Marconi performed his most prominent experiment, where he successfully transmitted Morse code from Cornwall, England, to St John’s, Canada. RF itself has become synonymous with wireless and high-frequency signals, describing anything from AM radio between 535 kHz and 1605 kHz to computer local area networks (LANs) at 2.4 GHz. However, RF has traditionally defined frequencies from a few kHz to roughly 1 GHz. If one considers microwave frequencies as RF, this range extends to 300 GHz. ... more ... http://www.ni.com/tutorial/3541/en/

RF alternates current (AC) havingcharacteristics such that, if the current is input to an antenna, an electromagnetic (EM) field is generated suitable for wireless broadcastingand/or communications. ... more ... http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/radio-frequency


SAB Heli Division

SAB Heli Division

The company is focused on designing and building radio-controlled helicopter, Blade/Tail blades for RC Helicopter.

Kyle Stacy 2015 Heli Rodeo

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ribosomes

Ribosomes
Ribosomes

Ribosomes
are the protein builders or the protein synthesizers of the cell. They are like construction guys who connect one amino acid at a time and build long chains. Ribosomes are special because they are found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribosome

Colloid

Colloid

A colloid is a solution that has particles ranging between 1 and 1000 nanometers in diameter, yet are still able to remain evenly distributed throughout the solution. These are also known as colloidal dispersions because the substances remain dispersed and do not settle to the bottom of the container.
  More info http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Physical_Properties_of_Matter/Solutions_and_Mixtures/Colloid



Friday, November 6, 2015

Four Major Groups of Organic Molecules


Four Major Groups of Organic Molecules
 
Group
Examples
Functions
CarbohydrateGlucose  Glycogen
  1. Short term energy source
  2. Transport form in animal Long term energy storage
LipidsFats and oils
  1. Components of membranes
  2. Long term energy storage
  3. Insolation
ProteinsEnzymes 
Sucrase and lactase 
Keratin 
Collagen
Organic catalysts 
Digestive enzymes 
Structural protein in hair 
Structural protein in skin
Nucleic acidsDNA  RNA 
ATP
  1. Information molecule
  2. Molecule of heredity
  3. Director of metabolism involved in protein synthesis immediate source of energy for cellular work
   
Enzyme is a protein which speeds up the rate of chemical reaction without being destroyed by the reaction.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How Many Natural Organic Matters Are There?



How Many Natural Organic Matters Are There?

As recorded from 1779 to 2015, the Reaxys database contains information on over 6 million organic compounds and 10 million single-step reactions. Each record contains information on preparation, reactions, physical and chemical properties and references to chemical literature.




Reaxys database name used to be Beilstein database in past.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Application lifecycle management (ALM)

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is the product lifecycle management of computer programs. It encompasses requirements management, software architecture, computer programming, software testing, software maintenance, change management, continuous integration, project management, and release management [more info].

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What is Adobe After Effects

What is Adobe After Effects

Adobe® After Effects® is a professional special effects software for creating insdustry standard visual effects. It simplifies and accelerates the motion graphics workflow with an amazing 3D ray-traced rendering engine based on NVIDIA® OptiX™ technology.

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features


After Effects CC (2015)

Jun 15 2015
Find the perfect image or graphic for your project
Save time finding, licensing, and managing royalty-free stock images and graphics now that After Effects CC integrates with the new Adobe Stock service. Once you save an image to your Creative Cloud Libraries, it's immediately available for use in your compositions and other creative projects.
See how it works ›
Your assets, available anywhere
Access and share important creative assets — like Looks and graphics — via Creative Cloud Libraries that are available in After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Illustrator; mobile apps like Shape; and services like Adobe Stock.
See how it works ›
Preview without interruptions
Adjust a composition's properties and even resize panels without interrupting playback. Uninterrupted preview keeps up with your creativity.
See how it works ›
Track faces with greater accuracy
The Face Tracker makes it easy to apply effects to select areas of faces. Use simple tracking to color correct or blur a face; track specific points to change eye color or mouth movements; or track measurements, such as how wide an eye is open. You can even export data to Adobe Character Animator.
See how it works ›
Real 3D inside After Effects
Import 3D Objects and use them in your 3D scenes thanks to a live 3D pipeline with Cinema 4D. No re-rendering, no waiting. Just more creating.
See how it works ›
Preview the way that works best for you
Preview compositions, layers, and footage based on your experience and preferences. Choose intuitive default behaviors, create customized previews for different triggers, or revert to legacy preview behaviors with a few clicks.
Adapt the UI to your preferences
Navigate panels faster thanks to streamlined panel groups. Adjust the brightness of interactive controls to get the contrast just right.
Optimize the UI for touch
In the first steps toward a more touch-friendly compositing environment, After Effects makes it easier to navigate between panels in a group by letting you choose and activate panels with touch-optimized controls.
And so much more
Also includes: Enhancements that save time when working with expressions, the ability to import JPEG2000 files, and more.Learn more ›

After Effects CC (2014.1)

Oct 06 2014
Refined user interface with HiDPI support
A simplified UI puts the focus on your projects and delivers a more consistent experience across devices, including HiDPI Windows 8.1 displays.
Enhanced 3D Pipeline
Work with 3D elements faster now that After Effects includes CINEWARE 2.0 and offers CINEMA 4D R16 compatibility, plus improved layer support. 
Improved Adobe Anywhere collaboration
Collaborate on compositions and productions with other After Effects artists without worrying about what to name files or where to store them. Version tracking and project sharing features make remote workflows a breeze.
And so much more
Also includes: More visible anchor points on layers, tracking behavior improvements, and more.
See full release notes ›

After Effects CC (2014)

Jun 18 2014
Keying effects
Preserve fine detail when keying compressed or poorly shot blue-screen or green-screen footage. Use the Advanced Spill Suppressor to control the amount of green spill left in green-screen footage.See how it works › 
Live Text Templates for Premiere Pro
Package your After Effects compositions as Live Text templates so Premiere Pro editors can change the text without changing the text color, motion, or lower-third background.See how it works ›
Flexible masking options and Premiere Pro Interchange
Use masks to apply effects to specific areas of your compositions — no need for additional adjustment or track matte layers — and blend each effect individually into the original layer. Import masks from Premiere Pro via Dynamic Link for further refinement.See how it works ›
Kuler integration
Create color themes using the Adobe Kuler app on your iPhone or in your browser, and then sync your swatches to After Effects for use in your compositions.
Mercury Transmit
Get full-screen previews of your composites on a separate monitor. Send previews over interfaces like HDMI from a graphics card without additional hardware.
Media Browser enhancements
Navigate your media locally or across a network via Adobe Anywhere, and access complex media types like P2 and XDCAM as media, not as nested folders.
Typekit integration
Access a variety of fonts from Typekit for immediate use in your After Effects projects.See how it works ›
Panel integration support
Find and install plug-ins, extensions, training media, and other content via After Effects panels created by the developer community.
And so much more
Also includes: Faster performance in the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect; the ability to import Sony RAW footage from F5, F55, and F65 cameras; scripting access to render settings and output module settings; and more.See full release notes ›

After Effects CC (12.2)

Dec 13 2013
Faster, customizable output
Reduce file management clutter and organize your images with new customization of output file name and path templates.
Improved snapping
Layer and mask snapping behavior makes aligning both 2D and 3D objects simple, without needing to calculate and type in values. Now snap items to shape paths, bounding boxes, cameras, and lights, and within shape layers.See how it works ›
Scripting enhancements
New script enhancements make it possible to automate output to various formats by using scripts to change render and output module.
Migrate settings
Migrate your settings such as workspace, preferences, and keyboard shortcuts from pervious versions of After Effects CC to your current version.
And so much more
Also included: Bezier paths for shape layers; the ability to use the Reload Footage command with missing footage; a new maximum value of 200 for the Brush Size properties in the Stroke and Write-on effects; and more.See full release notes ›

After Effects CC (12.1)

Oct 31 2013
Mask Tracker
Quickly create masks and add effects that travel throughout a scene, avoiding hours of manual adjustment. Draw a mask around an object and it follows the object across frames, automatically adjusting position, rotation, scale, skew, and perspective as it goes.See how it works ›
Flexible scaling options
Make every pixel looks its best, with your choice of bilinear and bicubic resampling. Use the detail-preserving Upscale effect to maintain quality and sharpness when transforming SD footage into HD, or turning HD into digital-cinema 4K.See how it works ›
Property links
Copy and paste an effect, mask, or other properties from one layer to another so that the pasted instance has a live link to the original. Changes that you make to the original properties are reflected in the linked instances.See how it works ›
Faster Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker
Analyze your footage up to 80% faster with new speed enhancements added to both the Warp Stablizer VFX and the 3D Camera Tracker.See how it works ›
HiDPI content viewers for Retina displays on Mac computers
After Effects will now take advantage of a Retina display on a Mac computer to show each pixel of content in a viewer as a single pixel on the display.
Improved snapping
Layer and mask snapping behavior makes aligning both 2D and 3D objects simple, without needing to calculate and type in values. Now snap items to individual layers in a precomposition and to lines defined by a layer's boundaries, even outside of the layer itself, making alignment easier.
GPU optimizations
Work faster with GPU optimizations. Enhancements in the ray-traced 3D renderer enable you to quickly work with extruded text and shapes. Inclusion of the NVIDIA OptiX 3.0 library improves performance and stability for the ray-traced 3D renderer.
Media Browser
Access and manage assets with this convenient, dockable panel. Quickly browse, open, and composite virtually any video format. Link to traditional movie, image, and audio files, as well as industry-standard storage media like P2 cards, RED, XDCAM, and ARRIRAW.
Adobe Anywhere integration
Collaborate on composites and animations with team members. Use the new Media Browser in After Effects to browse and open shared productions on the Anywhere server. Easily share compositions and media, and manage historical versions of shared work.
And so much more
Also includes: New properties in the Expression Language Menu; rectified audio waveforms; changes and enhancements to layers; changes to mask path drawing; and more.See full release notes ›

After Effects CC (12)

Jun 13 2013
Live 3D Pipeline
Objects and scenes from popular 3D modeling and animation software CINEMA 4D can be used directly as footage inside After Effects CC without rendering first. This eases roundtripping between the programs and opens up numerous creative possibilities.See how it works ›
Refine Edge tool
It's the end of hard matte lines. Keep the details when separating complicated foreground elements like frizzy hair or motion-blurred edges from complex backgrounds. This means you can create natural-looking composites without keying specially shot footage.See how it works ›
Track Optimization in the 3D Camera Tracker
The enhanced Camera Tracker in After Effects introduces Track Optimization which allows users to refine tracking points over time to gain more accurate 3D tracking in 2D space.See how it works ›
Warp Stabilizer VFX
A major upgrade to the much-loved Warp Stabilizer, VFX lets you choose which objects in a scene get stabilized, reverse a stabilization, and preserve a scene's original scale to fix tricky shots, like aerial fly-throughs.See how it works ›
Search feature for missing fonts, effects, and footage
Never hunt for missing fonts, effects, or footage used in your comps again. With the new search feature, missing fonts, effects, and other media are easily identified and found within your compositions, enabling you to relink them easily.See how it works ›
Snapping
Easily align edges, anchor points, and mask paths between layers when constructing complex objects with the new layer and mask snapping feature.See how it works ›
Bicubic resampling
Choose between bicubic and bilinear sampling for selected layers, which determines how pixels are sampled for transformations such as scaling.See how it works ›
Pixel Motion Blur
Add or enhance motion blur for moving objects in live footage and rendered scenes. You can use this effect to add realism, exaggerate movement, match shots, and make stuttery footage easier to watch.See how it works ›
Sync Settings
Synchronize all workspace settings in Creative Cloud to make working across multiple computers or setting up a new computer easier than ever.
And so much more
Also included: New Send to Adobe Media Encoder queue commands; the ability to use the Adobe Media Encoder queue for H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV formats; the ability to purge both RAM and disk caches with a single command; and more.See full release notes ›


About projects

An After Effects project is a single file that stores compositions and references to all of the source files used by footage items in that project. Compositions are collections of layers. Many layers use footage items (such as movies or still images) as a source, though some layers—such as shape layers and text layers—contain graphics that you create within After Effects.
A project file has the filename extension .aep or .aepx. A project file with the .aep filename extension is a binary project file. A project file with the .aepx filename extension is a text-based XML project file.
The name of the current project appears at the top of the application window.
   A template project file has the filename extension .aet.

Motion graphics


Motion graphics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Motion graphics are digital footage and/or animation technology to create the illusion of motion or rotation, and are usually combined with audio for use in multimedia projects. Motion graphics are usually displayed via electronic media technology, but may be displayed via manual powered technology (e.g. thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, stroboscope, zoetrope, praxinoscope, flip book) as well. The term is useful for distinguishing still graphics from graphics with a transforming appearance over time without over-specifying the form.

Motion graphics extend beyond the most commonly used methods of frame-by-frame footage and animation. Computers are capable of calculating and randomizing changes in imagery to create the illusion of motion and transformation. Computer animations can use less information space (computer memory) by automatically tweening, a process of rendering the key changes of an image at a specified or calculated time. These key poses or frames are commonly referred to as keyframes or low CP. Adobe Flash uses computer animation tweening as well as frame-by-frame animation and video.

Since there is no universally accepted definition of motion graphics, the official beginning of the art form is disputed. There have been presentations that could be classified as motion graphics as early as the 1800s. Michael Betancourt wrote the first in depth historical survey of the field, arguing for its foundations in visual music and the historical abstract films of the 1920s by Walther Ruttmann, Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling and Oskar Fischinger.

One of the first uses of the term "motion graphics" was by animator John Whitney, who in 1960 founded a company called Motion Graphics Inc.

Saul Bass is a major pioneer in the development of feature film title sequences. His work included title sequences for popular films such as The Man With The Golden Arm (1955), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and Advise & Consent (1962). His designs were simple, but effectively communicated the mood of the film.

The term motion graphics originated with video editing in computing, perhaps to keep pace with newer technology. Before computers were widely available, motion graphics were costly and time-consuming, limiting their use to high-budget filmmaking and television production. In the late 1980s to mid-1990s, expensive proprietary graphics systems from British-based Quantel was quite commonplace in many television stations. Quantel workstations such as the Hal, Henry, Harry, Mirage and Paintbox were the broadcast graphics standard of the time. With the reduced cost of producing motion graphics on a computer, the discipline has seen more widespread use. With the availability of desktop programs such as Adobe After Effects, Discreet Combustion, and Apple Motion, motion graphics have become increasingly accessible. Modern character generators (CG) from Aston Broadcast Systems and Chyron Corporation's incorporate motion graphics.

The term "motion graphics" was popularized by Trish and Chris Meyer's book about the use of Adobe After Effects, titled Creating Motion Graphics. This was the beginning of desktop applications which specialized in video production, but were not editing or 3D programs. These new programs collected together special effects, compositing, and color correction toolsets, and primarily came between edit and 3D in the production process. This "in-between" notion of motion graphics and the resulting style of animation is why sometimes it is referred to as 2.5D.

Motion graphics continue to evolve as an art form with the incorporation of sweeping camera paths and 3D elements. Maxon's CINEMA 4D, plugins such as MoGraph and Adobe After Effects. Despite their relative complexity, Autodesk's Maya and 3D Studio Max are widely used for the animation and design of motion graphics, as is Maya and 3D Studio which uses a node-based particle system generator similar to Cinema 4D's Thinking Particles plugin. There are also some other packages in Open Source panorama, which are gaining more features and adepts in order to use in a motion graphics workflow, while Blender integrates several of the functions of its commercial counterparts.

Many motion graphics animators learn several 3D graphics packages for use according to each program's strengths. Although many trends in motion graphics tend to be based on a specific software's capabilities, the software is only a tool the broadcast designer uses while bringing the vision to life.

Lending heavily from techniques such as the collage or the pastiche, motion graphics has begun to integrate many traditional animation techniques as well, including stop-motion animation, cel animation or a combination of both.

One of the most popular motion graphics tools is a particle system; a motion graphics technology that is used for generating multiple animated elements. This type of animation is commonly referred to as procedural animation. A particle system is available as a plug-in, as a stand-alone application, or is included as an integrated part of a motion graphics package. Particles are points in 3-D or 2-D space that can be represented by a wide variety of station and animated objects such as a ball of light, a video clip, or a selection of text, to name a few. The particles are generated by a particle emitter and can be emitted in small numbers or in the thousands, depending on the project. Among other things, a particle emitter can be in the form of a single point, a line, a grid, a plane or an object such as a box or sphere, although it can also make use a custom object to serve an emitter, such as a logo, which for example, can be exploded, melted, or transformed into blowing sand. A popular particle system for motion graphics is Particular by Trapcode.

Other examples of individual particles include a blurred sphere that can be used in large numbers to create smoke or fog and a video clip of a person who can be duplicated to create a crowd scene. Particles can be emitted as a single item, although it is typically used in large numbers, such as when creating smoke or rain. They are controlled by directional forces, simulated wind and gravity, objects designed to attract or repel them. Other controllable attributes can include such things as changes in color, size, or transparency. Depending on the system, one can also combine multiple simultaneous emitters, such as when simulating an explosion that combines fire, smoke and flying debris. In an advanced 3-D system the particle can be used to control an animated articulated character, a recognizable example being the warriors in the battle sequences of the film Lord of the Rings.

Elements of a motion graphics project can be animated by various means, depending on the capabilities of the software. These elements may be in the form of art, text, photos, and video clips, to name a few. The most popular form of animation is keyframing, in which properties of an object can be specified at certain points in time by setting a series of keyframes so that the properties of the object can be automatically altered (or tweened) in the frames between keyframes. Another method involves a behavior system such as is found in Apple Motion that controls these changes by simulating natural forces without requiring the more rigid but precise keyframing method. Yet another method involves the use of formulas or scripts, such as the expressions function in Adobe After Effects or the creation of ActionScripts within Adobe Flash.

Since motion design is created using images and video sequences, a complementary tool is a 3d software package. Cinema 4D is widely used for its intuitive interface, layered export to Adobe After Effects, and the additional MoGraph module, but there are other software packages as well. Such packages can generate images or video sequences with an alpha channel, which stores all the transparency information.

Motion design applications include:

    Adobe After Effects
    Eyeon Fusion
    Nuke
    Autodesk Combustion
    Apple Motion/Shake
    Max/MSP
    Apple Quartz Composer
    Various VJ Programs
    Smith Micro Software Anime Studio
    Adobe Flash
    Natron

3D programs used in motion graphics include:

    Maxon Cinema 4D
    Softimage XSI
    Autodesk 3d studio max
    Autodesk Maya
    NewTek Lightwave
    e-on Vue Infinite
    The Blender Foundation Blender software
    EI Technology Group Electric Image Animation System

Motion graphics plug-ins include:

    Magic Bullet
    Red Giant Software
    The Foundry Visionmongers

Village Museum

Village Museum

An original open air museum created in 1934, it currently has around 300 traditional buildings (including churches, workshops, mills etc.) plus furniture, pottery, clothing gathered from villages in every region of the country in an effort to showcase the traditional way of life of the Romanians. Occasionally hosts folkloric and traditional crafts festivals.

Village Museum
Village Museum



Kretzulescu Church


Kretzulescu Church

Kretzulescu Church is an Eastern Orthodox church in central Bucharest, Romania. Built in the Brâncovenesc style, it is located on Calea Victoriei, nr. 45A, at one of the corners of Revolution Square, next to the former Royal Palace.

Kretzulescu Church
Kretzulescu Church




Sunday, October 4, 2015

Every 30 years or so we experience these gigantic steps forward. …And this might be it.



Every 30 years or so we experience these gigantic steps forward. And this might be it.


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WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this guy could change the way we think about evolution — and faith.

On a sunny afternoon, at a bustling cafe less than a mile from Stanford University's Palo Alto campus and more than 5,000 miles from his home, an assistant professor from MIT is telling me about science. Very advanced science. His name is Jeremy England, and at 33, he's already being called the next Charles Darwin.


Say what?


In town to give a lecture, the Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar speaks quickly, his voice rising a few pitches in tone, his long-fingered hands making sudden jerks when he's excited. He's skinny, with a long face, scraggly beard and carelessly groomed mop of sandy brown hair what you might expect from a theoretical physicist. But then there's the street-style Adidas on his feet and the kippah atop his head. And the fact that this scientist also talks a lot about God.

The 101 version of his big idea is this: Under the right conditions, a random group of atoms will self-organize, unbidden, to more effectively use energy. Over time and with just the right amount of, say, sunlight, a cluster of atoms could come remarkably close to what we call life. In fact, here's a thought: Some things we consider inanimate actually may already be "alive." It all depends on how we define life, something England's work might prompt us to reconsider. "People think of the origin of life as being a rare process," says Vijay Pande, a Stanford chemistry professor. "Jeremy's proposal makes life a consequence of physical laws, not something random."


England's idea may sound strange, even incredible, but it's drawn the attention of an impressive posse of high-level academics. After all, while Darwinism may explain evolution and the complex world we live in today, it doesn't account for the onset of intelligent beings. England's insistence on probing for the step that preceded all of our current assumptions about life is what makes him stand  out, says Carl Franck, a Cornell physics professor, who's been following England's work closely. "Every 30 years or so we experience these gigantic  steps forward," Franck says. "We're due for one. And this might be it."


And all from a modern Orthodox Jew with fancy sneakers.


****


Before England became a religious man he prays three times a day he was a scientist. From the time he could read, he devoured books on subjects from philosophy to music to fantasy. By 9 he was plowing his way through Stephen Hawking's opus, A Brief History of Time . "He couldn't comprehend it, but he tried really hard," says his father, Richard England, an economics professor at the University of New Hampshire. Yes, Dad is an economics professor and Mom a public school teacher, and the couple took their two children to

museums and to visit the Harvard campus, just a few hours from their small seacoast town. But the elder England contends his son's upbringing doesn't begin to explain his intellectual curiosity.


Or England's long timeline of asking big questions. Over drinks some years ago, a childhood friend reminded him of a time that young Jeremy turned to him out of nowhere and reflected: "You know, Adam, if the dinosaurs can go extinct, then so can we." England was 3 then. For his part, England says it wasn't until he hit about 7 that he felt a sense of anxiety about "not knowing enough." That anxiety would compel him through an almost comical list of academic bastions Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and Princeton, and now, a 3-year-old teaching gig at MIT.


Still, God wasn't a big player for England during most of his early life. While  his mom is Jewish his dad was raised Lutheran but never felt strongly about passing on his Protestant ties there wasn't a lot of religious talk while he was growing up. The Englands would share a festive meal for Passover and light candles for Hanukkah, but the family didn't keep a Bible in the home. His mother, England says, was born in Poland in 1947 to a family ravaged by the Holocaust. Much of her extended family including her grandparents were killed by the Nazis, and in the wake of such destruction, England says, Judaism brought up negative, painful feelings for her; she distanced herself.


It seems ironic, then, that anti-Semitism would eventually push England to the faith he says his mother spurned. While studying at Oxford in the early 2000s, he faced his first anti-Israel sentiment from classmates which got him, in expected fashion, reading books and picking people's brains to figure out where he stood on the issue. And in 2005, he visited Israel for the first time where he "fell in love." Studying the Torah provided an opportunity for intellectual engagement that he says was "unlike anything I had ever experienced in terms of subtlety and grandeur of scope."

****


Back in Palo Alto, between meeting with Berkeley professors and Stanford students, England reboots his computer to show me a simulation he's been working on, meanwhile explaining that his lab is less test tubes and white coats than blackboards and computers screens. Jet-setting across the country to talk
 

about his theories isn't England's usual routine. That, he says, looks more like dirty diapers, brainstorming atop a yoga ball with his infant son, working with students and plugging data into formulas.


England didn't begin with number-crunching, though. During his postdoc research on embryonic development, he kept coming back to the question: What qualifies something as alive or not? He later superimposed an analytical rigor to that question, publishing an equation in 2013 about how much energy is required for self-replication to take place. For England, that investigation was only the beginning. "I couldn't stop thinking about it," he says, his normally deep voice rising until eventually cracking. "It was so frustrating." Over the next year, he worked on a second paper, which is under peer review now. This one took his past findings and used them to explain theoretically how, under certain physical circumstances, life could emerge from nonlife.

In the most basic terms, Darwinism and the idea of natural selection tell us that well-adapted organisms evolve in order to survive and better reproduce in their environment. England doesn't dispute this reasoning, but he argues that it's too vague. For instance, he says, blue whales and phytoplankton thrive in the same environmental conditions the ocean but they do so by vastly different means. That's because that while they're both made of the same basic building blocks, strings of DNA are arranged differently in each organism.

Now take England's simulation of an opera singer who holds a crystal glass and sings at a certain pitch. Instead of shattering, England predicts that over time, the atoms will rearrange themselves to better absorb the energy the singer's voice projects, essentially protecting the glass's livelihood. So how's a glass distinct from, say, a plankton-type organism that rearranges it self over several generations? Does that make glass a living organism?

These are pretty things to ponder. Unfortunately, England's work hasn't yet provided any answers, leaving the professor in a kind of speculative state as he doggedly tries to put numbers to it all. "He hasn't put enough cards on the table yet," Franck says. "He'll need to make more testable predictions." So it remains to be seen where England will land in the end. Other scientists have made similar claims about energy dissipation in the context of non- equilibrium thermodynamics, but none has found a definitive means for applying this science to the origin of life.

  
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So what does God have to do with all this? In his quest for answers, England, of course, finds himself at the center of the classic struggle between science and spirituality. While Christianity and Darwinism are generally opposed, Judaism doesn't take issue with the science of life. The Rabbinical Council of America even takes the stance that "evolutionary theory, properly understood, is not incompatible with belief in a Divine Creator."

For his part, England believes science can give us explanations and  predictions, but it can never tell us what we should do with that information. That's where, he says, the religious teachings come in. Indeed, the man who's one-upping Darwin has spent the past 10 years painstakingly combing through the Torah, interpreting it word by word much the way he ponders the meaning of life. His conclusion? Common translations are lacking. Take the term "creation." England suggests we understand it not as the literal making of the Earth but rather as giving Earth a name. All throughout the Bible, he says, there are examples of terms that could be interpreted differently from what we've come to accept as standard.

That even applies to some of the good book's most famous players, like Joseph, the ancient biblical interpreter of dreams, who rose to become the most powerful man in Egypt after the pharaoh. Maybe, England suggests, he wasn't  a fortune-teller. Maybe he was a scientist.


Correction: This story has been revised to reflect the correct date that England first visited Israel.

by: Meghan Walsh (Ozy Author) [source: Jeremy England, the Man Who May One-Up Darwin]
Meghan is a long-form-trained Arizona native and an alumna of UC Berkeley's journalism school. She digs stories on social justice, sports and more.