Biology professor Peter Ward discussed his recent work about why life on Earth had to have begun on Mars, as well as new data about evolutionary processes, and various extinction eras. His studies of early life on Earth centered on the crucial molecule known as RNA, which is the precursor to DNA life as we know it. But the "R" in RNA comes from the sugar named Ribose, which likely couldn't have existed on the early Earth because it would have needed a desert climate for it to be formed. Ward pointed out that the early Earth was entirely water covered, and conjectured that early life was brought here from meteorites ejected off Mars.
Interestingly, Ward suggested that oxygen was the worst poison that life on early Earth encountered, as photosynthesis developed. "There was a quick mutation-- one or two cells probably survived, and they became the ancestors of all of us," he explained. Even after three billion years, we still take anti-oxidant supplements to combat the harmful and caustic effects of oxygen, he added. There were periods when our sun was weaker, in which the Earth became like a frozen snowball, with carbon dioxide pulled out of the atmosphere. These eras took place 2.5 billion years ago, and 600-800 million years ago, and may have lasted for 10-50 million year stretches, he noted.
A revolution is sweeping the field of biology, leading to new evolutionary pathways, he remarked. While the last century was about electronics, the new one is going to be focused on biology-- "We're going to get living organisms to do much of what electronics does now; we're going to have computers that are running through biological systems," he said. Ward also talked about how crows might be the next species to evolve in intelligence, citing their complex communication skills, and how they were able to recognize and attack the specific scientists who had done experiments on other crows at the University of Washington college campus.
Trade Bill Controversies
First hour guest, Associate Editor at the Daily Caller, Scott Greer, offered analysis of current events including Pres. Obama's push for a trade deal with Asian-Pacific countries. In a strange twist, Obama's bill, which has been couched in secrecy, has found support with Republicans, but progressive Democrats have voted against it. Greer explained the two different trade bills under consideration-- TPA or Trade Promotion Authority allows Obama to bypass Congress during trade negotiations, while TAA or Trade Adjustment Assistance provides expanded unemployment benefits and help for Americans disenfranchised by new trade agreements.