Phosphate is an essential mineral for all life on Earth. Farmers waste huge quantities of phosphate in fertilizing crops, and in doing so massively pollute terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Now, predictably, a global phosphate shortage looms.
Researchers recently found the protein responsible for sensing cold in animals, from primitive worms to late-evolved bipeds who read blogs. The protein has a close association with nerve cells. What the researchers did not discover were the obvious implications of what they did discover.
The vast expanse of interstellar space is supposed to be too cold for most chemical reactions to occur. The more frigid it gets, the harder it is to spark a chemical reaction, for lack of energy – the very definition of cold. Yet a vast variety of complex organic molecules are formed in space. Some reactions transpire on the surface of cosmic dust grains, or with a little help from gamma rays or stray high-energy electrons. But most happen beyond the laws of chemistry.