What is life? Why cells and atoms haven’t answered the question.

75 years after Erwin Schrödinger's prescient description of something like DNA, we still don't know the "laws of life."

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  • Erwin Schrödinger's 1944 book "What Is Life?" revolutionized how physicists thought about the 'laws of life.' Schrödinger anticipated how DNA would hold life's blueprints.
  • In recent years, however, a new path forward has appeared that holds a unique promise. Rather than reduce biology to physics, the new direction would transform them both.
  • Scientists working across domains now think that understanding life requires putting a new actor on to the stage and letting it take the lead: the flow of information.
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Lightning may have provided a key mineral for early life on Earth

How do you get usable phosphorus into a system? A new study suggests lightning can do the trick.

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  • A chance discovery in suburban Illinois may change how we understand the dawn of life.
  • Among other things, life needs water-soluble phosphorus, which was hard to come by 3.5 billion years back.
  • This finding may imply that life has more opportunities to begin on other worlds than previously supposed.
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How the pandemic has affected mental health internet searches

Did America's collective mental health get worse (and then better) after the first COVID-19 lockdown?

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  • According to a new study, there was an influx of internet searches for mental health symptoms during the beginning of the pandemic, and this has slowly trended downwards.
  • Researchers looked at whether mitigation policies correlated with Google searches for terms associated with depression and anxiety between January and June of 2020. Additionally, they monitored search terms for in-home activities.
  • While searches for antidepressants and suicide did rise when social distancing measures were being implemented, research shows the search terms exercise and cooking also rose.
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A philosophical approach to routines can illuminate who we really are

What can 'behaviorism' teach us about ourselves?

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There are hundreds of things we do – repeatedly, routinely – every day. We wake up, check our phones, eat our meals, brush our teeth, do our jobs, satisfy our addictions.
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Which COVID-19 personality are you?

New research identifies 16 different COVID-19 personality types and the lessons we can learn from this global pandemic.

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  • New research by Mimi E. Lam at the University of Bergen explores the different "personality types" that have emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to Lam, recognizing various COVID-19 identities can refine forecasts of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and impact.
  • Global Solutions Initiative, Population Matters, and AME explore how the world (and society) has changed due to COVID-19.
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