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Sunday, March 10, 2013

KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY

KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY, KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY Listen Online, KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY Live Online, Radio KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY

KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY
KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY Passing an electric current through them has a similar effect to the volcano's energy bubbling up into the lake. It causes protons to build up in one of the bottles. You can think of it, I suppose, like a waterfall, where the protons are up here waiting to flow down. All you have to do to release that energy and do something useful with it is complete the circuit. Which I can do by just connecting a motor to it. There you go. Look at that. That's the protons cascading down the waterfall and driving the motor around. It actually works! Quite remarkable, actually. Now, the fuel cell produces and exploits its proton gradient artificially. But there are places on Earth where that gradient occurs completely naturally. Here, for example. So we've got the proton reservoir over there, the acidic volcanic lake. If you look that way, there's another lake, and the reaction of the water with the rocks on the shore make that lake slightly alkaline, which is to say that there's a deficit of protons down there. So here's the waterfall, a reservoir of protons up there, a deficit down there. If you could just connect them, then you'd have a naturally occurring geological fuel cell. And it's thought that the first life on our planet may have exploited the energy released in those natural proton waterfalls. What do you think? It's good, isn't it? These are pictures from deep below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between Bermuda and the KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY. And it's a place known as the Lost City. You can see why. Look at these huge towers of rock, some of them metres high, reaching up from the floor of the Atlantic and into the ocean. It's what's known as a hydrothermal vent system. So these things are formed by hot water and minerals and gases rising up from deep within the Earth. But the reason it's thought that life on Earth may have begun in such structures is because these are a very unique kind of hydrothermal vent called an alkaline vent. KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY And, about four billion years ago, when life on Earth began, seawater would have been mildly acidic. So, here is that proton gradient, that source of energy for life. You've got a reservoir of protons in the acidic seawater and a deficit of protons around the vents. And the vents don't just provide an energy source. They're also rich in the raw materials life needs. Hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and minerals containing iron, nickel and sulphur. But there's more than that. See, these vents are porous there are little chambers inside them and they can act to concentrate organic molecules. You've got everything inside these vents. You've got concentrated building blocks of life trapped inside the rock. And you've got that proton gradient, you've got that waterfall that provides the energy for life. So this could be where your distant ancestors come from. And places like these could be the places where life on Earth began. The first living things might have started out as part of the rock that created them. Simple organisms that exploited energy from the naturallyoccurring proton gradients in the vents. And we think this because living things still get their energy using proton gradients today. Deep within ourselves, the chemistry the first life exploited in the vents is wrapped up in structures called mitochondria microscopic batteries that power the processes of life. This is a picture of the mitochondria from the little brown bat. This is a picture of the mitochondria from a plant. It's actually a member of the mustard family. This is a picture of the mitochondria in bread mould. KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY And this of mitochondria inside a malaria parasite. So, the fascinating thing is that all these animals and plants, and in fact virtually every living thing on the planet, uses proton gradients to produce energy to live. Why? Well, the answer is probably because all these radically different forms of life share a common ancestor. And that common ancestor was something that lived in those ancient undersea vents, four billion years ago, where naturallyoccurring proton gradients provided the energy for the first life. So, KUWY - Classical Wyoming 88.5 FM Laramie, WY

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