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Full With Noise: Theory and Japanese Noise Music
by Paul Hegarty.......... "Full with Noise,..." is about noise music, specifically the version that has come to be called Japanese Noise -- itself composed of many different strands. The first half deals with the question of noise. What is it, whose is it, and how can we think about it. Also, how does noise inflect our thinking, rather than being an object; at what point does noise lose its noiseness and become meaning, music, signification? Or -- is there even a point where noise can subsist? Mostly, the text below takes the view that noise is a function of not-noise, itself a function of not being noise. Noise is no more original than music or meaning, and yet its position is to indicate the banished, overcome primordiality, and cannot lose this 'meaning'. Noise, then, is neither the outside of language nor music, nor is it simply categorisable, at some point or other, as belonging exclusively to the world of meaning, understanding, truth and knowledge. Read More ...
Dirty HC Punk explosion - Bristol scene Rise up + Disorder 9 free CDs
From The Cortinas to Lunatic Fringe and Disorder, Bristol had a huge Punk scene that has influenced, affected and stimulated a vast range of artists that operate in the city. Many of these artists produce music that wouldn’t necessarily suggest a Punk heritage but scratch beneath the surface of a lot of the major players in the Bristol milieu and you will find a fondness for the times of `spikey barnets’, limited musical ability, a `F*** You’ attitude and disrespect for the music industry and its poseur hierarchy. Read More ...
Dinosaur Jr.
Beyond + 17 albums free download
A straight shot west out of Boston on I-90 will carry you, in two hours or less, to Western Massachusetts, where the country still looks like it did twenty or even 40 years ago: college towns, I-91 tracing the same lazy ladder from Springfield up through Holyoke and Northampton, Amherst and Deerfield. Out there it's taken for granted that the houses will be drafty, the winters uniformly long, and that, on any given trip to the local supermarket, one might spot Thurston or Lou or Kim or J, on-and-off locals for more than twenty years. {audio}http://www.archive.org/download/DinosaurJrDrawings/07Drawerings_64kb.mp3{/audio} ... Drawerings Read More ...
Leon Theremin /1896-1993/ - the great forefather of Rock N' Roll /big noise master/
In 1919, in the midst of the Russian Civil War, Theremin invented the musical instrument that bears his name. The theremin is an electronic device that resonates sound when its operator waves his hands near its two antennas. It was the first musical instrument designed to be played without being touched. He invented the theremin (also called the thereminvox) in 1919, when his country was in the midst of the Russian Civil War. After a lengthy tour of Europe, during which he demonstrated his invention to full audiences, Theremin found his way to the United States. He performed the theremin with the New York Philharmonic in 1928. He patented his invention in 1929 (U.S. Patent 1,661,058 ) and subsequently granted commercial production rights to RCA. In 1938 Theremin was kidnapped in the New York apartment he shared with his American wife (the black ballet dancer, Iavana Williams) by the NKVD (forerunners of the KGB). He was transported back to Russia, and accused of propagating anti-Soviet propaganda by Stalin. Read More ...
Animal Collective
Album: Fall Be Kind + 9 albums free download
By way of decrying a society that left its citizens unbearably restrained, Edith Wharton describes how in New York in the 1870s, women would order dresses from their Paris dressmakers and then leave them in tissue paper at least two years before wearing them in public; the thought of showing them "in advance of the fashion" was unforgivably vulgar. Social life has changed, but cultural life seems just as restricted now – even Animal Collective are held back by trends that seem a couple of years old (and that they helped to invent). When I think back on 2009, I’ll first remember how our impoverished aesthetic generation repeatedly scraped the resin from the cultural trash barrel. Every second person is wearing neon leggings, and the ones who aren’t rock a ‘70s aesthetic, with high-waisted jeans and moccasins. Christmas sweaters are getting impossible to find at the thrift store. Ska revival. Garage rock revival. It never ends. Read More ...
Guapo
Elixirs
For just over 10 years, London's Guapo has been working in the world of avant and progressive rock. The band's past is a bit hard to track with its numerous lineup changes and guest musicians. The most recent change in roster was the resignation of Matthew Thompson, the founding member of Guapo, which occurred just before the release of 2005's Black Oni. The departure of Thompson has left Guapo with percussionist David Smith and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan. Though O'Sullivan is by no means a founding member of the band, but he was essential in honing the sound on Guapo's last two LPs: Five Suns and Black Oni. These two albums have been pivotal in building Guapo's following of fans, so it's hard not to credit O'Sullivan as an asset to the band.... {audio}http://www.neurotrecordings.com/artists/guapo/audio/Guapo-The%20Selenotrope.mp3 {/audio} ... The Selenotrope Read More ...
The Swans - THIS IS NOT A REUNION - Message From Gira + free discography download (20 CDs)
Michael Gira's re-activated Swans will be undertaking their first U.S. performances in 13 years, celebrating the Fall release of the first new Swans album since Soundtracks For The Blind (1997). The album was recorded by Jason LeFarge at Seizure's Palace in Brooklyn and is currently be remixed by Gira with Bryce Goggin (Antony & The Johnsons, Akron/Family) at Trout Recordings. Read More ...
New Zealand Psychedelic Noise scene + 6 free CDs
For a small country New Zealand has long been pumping out some impressive music. Way back in the 1960s it was crazed long-haired punkers messed up on all sorts of stuff - musical (the Pretty Things, Love, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Troggs and who-knows-what-else) and I guess otherwise. Some of the best of these bands (at least, the ones that recorded) can be heard on Wild Things vol 1 and 2, compiled by NZ music historian John Baker, the first of which came out on Flying Nun, the second probably on Baker's own Zero Records, also the home to No. 8 Wire: Psychedelia Without Drugs. Read More ...

Odd

Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet
The biggest threat to the open internet is not Chinese government hackers or greedy anti-net-neutrality ISPs, it’s Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence. McConnell’s not dangerous because he knows anything about SQL injection hacks, but because he knows about social engineering. He’s the nice-seeming guy who’s willing and able to use fear-mongering to manipulate the federal bureaucracy for his own ends, while coming off like a straight shooter to those who are not in the know. When he was head of the country’s national intelligence, he scared President Bush with visions of e-doom, prompting the president to sign a comprehensive secret order that unleashed tens of billions of dollars into the military’s black budget so they could start making firewalls and building malware into military equipment. Read More ...
The Peyote Way Church of God - believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life
The Peyote Way Church of God is a non-sectarian, multicultural, experiential, Peyotist organization located in southeastern Arizona, in the remote Aravaipa wilderness. It is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Native American Church, or any other religious organizations, though we do accept people from all faiths. Church membership is open to all races. We encourage individuals to create their own rituals as they become acquainted with the great mystery. We believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle (see Word of Wisdom), can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life. Peyote is currently listed as a controlled substance and its religious use is protected by Federal law only for Native American members of the Native American Church. Read More ...
All world secret underground bases build for space travelers
The following material comes from people who know the Dulce (underground) base exists. They are people who worked in the labs; abductees taken to the base; people who assisted in the construction; intelligence personal (NSA,CIA,FBI ... ect.) and UFO / inner-earth researchers. This information is meant for those who are seriously interested in the dulce base. for your own protection be advised to “use caution” while investigating this complex.Does a strange world exist beneath our feet? Strange legends have persisted for centuries about the mysterious cavern world and the equally strange beings who inhabit it.  More UFOlogists have considered the possibility that UFOs may be emanating from subterranean bases, that UFO aliens have constructed these bases to carry out various missions involving Earth or humans. Read More ...
Dreamachine - stroboscopic flicker device enter you to a hypnagogic state - try it right here in your browser
The dreamachine (or dream machine) is a stroboscopic  flicker device that produces visual stimuli. Artist Brion Gysin and William Burroughs's "systems adviser" Ian Sommerville created the dreamachine after reading William Grey Walter's book, The Living Brain. In its original form, a dreamachine is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. The cylinder is placed on a record turntable and rotated at 78 or 45 revolutions per minute. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations  normally present in the human brain while relaxing. Read More ...
Japan’s Annual Penis Festival – Celebrates Fertility
KOMAKI, Japan — It's springtime in Japan and that means one thing. Actually, two things. Penis festivals and vagina festivals. It may sound like a sophomoric gag. But these are folk rites going back at least 1,500 years, into Japan's agricultural past. They're held to ensure a good harvest and promote baby-making. Maybe they should hold more such festivals. Japan has one of the world's lowest birthrates (1.37 children per woman), which experts blame on stagnant incomes and changing gender relations. Read More ...
Rarest Fishes in the World
Aquatic Lifeforms You Never Caught While Fishing:
Black-lip Rattail ............ These sorts of rattails feed in the muddy seafloor by gliding along head down and tail up, powered by gentle undulations of a long fin under the tail. The triangular head has sensory cells underneath that help detect animals buried in the mud or sand. The common name comes from the black edges around the mouth. Read More ...
Island of Ghosts: Hashima Island - Japan’s rotting metropolis
Hashima, an island located in Nagasaki Bay, is better known as Warship Island (Gunkanshima). The island was inhabited until the end of the 19th century, when it was discovered that the ground below it held tons of coal. The island soon became a center of a major mining complex owned by Mitsubishi Corporation. As the complex expanded, rock brought out of the shafts was used to artificially expand the island. Seawalls created in this expansion turned Hashima into the monstrous looking Gunkanshima; its artificial appearance makes it looks more like a battleship than an island. Read More ...
Japan Monster mummies - the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu, raijū, and human monks
These fairly freaky historical remains can be found lurking in dark corners of Buddhist temples and museums across Japan. Known as monster mummies, they are, in fact, the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu and raijū. Or should I say things that people thought were demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu and raijū. They are not pretty, but they are really fascinating. Read More ...

Recent

The Marijuana Conspiracy - The Real Reason Hemp is Illegal
MARIJUANA is DANGEROUS. Pot is NOT harmful to the human body or mind. Marijuana does NOT pose a threat to the general public. Marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries and a large number of chemical corporations. Various big businesses, with plenty of dollars and influence, have suppressed the truth from the people. The truth is if marijuana was utilized for its vast array of commercial products, it would create an industrial atomic bomb! Entrepreneurs have not been educated on the product potential of pot. The super rich have conspired to spread misinformation about an extremely versatile plant that, if used properly, would ruin their companies. Read More ...
Freegan - strategies for sustainable living beyond capitalism
Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed. After years of trying to boycott products from unethical corporations responsible for human rights violations, environmental destruction, and animal abuse, many of us found that no matter what we bought we ended up supporting something deplorable. We came to realize that the problem isn’t just a few bad corporations but the entire system itself. Read More ...
The woman power era is coming - The End of Men!?
Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences Read More ...
Libya Truth Tour
Cynthia McKinney ..... Thanks to all who have come out and participated in the Truth Tour.  I have almost come to its end.  Last night in Detroit, several of the women were moved to tears as I explained the situation in Libya right now as I know it to be. Every venue has had every seat occupied or was filled to capacity with standing room only.  Detroit's young singer and band, Sister Ziyah and Black Rain were phenomenal and their music set the tone for the event:  first song, Kickstart the Revolution; second song, Good Morning, America; third song, Today, I'm a Better Me. Read More ...
Victorian England popular&legal drugs (hashish, opium, absinthe and Chloral)
Victorian England, spanning roughly the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), is characterized in popular understanding as a time of personal and family values. The codification of the notion of values developed into specific and detailed ideas about social and cultural propriety and restraint. The very term "Victorian" has come to be used in our own time by cultural conservatives who look to the reign of Victoria as a touchstone for their own desires about social order. Prudishness, excessive formality, and repression, it is popularly assumed, characterized Victorian culture. Read More ...
Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent
Not so long ago experts predicted the imminent collapse of religion in modern western culture. Religion – often synonymous in these discussions with superstition, magic, and delusion – would at last give way to the autonomy of human reason and the power of the experimental method of natural investigation. But something happened on the way to religion’s funeral. People kept on believing. Recent neuroscientific and evolutionary research has suggested that either many of the hallmarks of religion are, or are byproducts of, adaptations that helped our earliest ancestors survive. Read More ...
Punk explosion against cenzorship in Indonesia + film -punk in love indonesia
It's after midnight in Jakarta and, below a highway overpass, a party is just getting started. Students and the unemployed are listening to well-worn cassette tapes, swigging from bottles filled with a cocktail of beer and local wine and loitering in front of Movement Records — a punk-music shop that has become a nexus for local youths. It is also home to Onie, one of Jakarta's self-proclaimed original street punks, who both works and sleeps on the premises. "It is very quiet at night," Onie says. "The shops are closed, so society is O.K. with us being here. My friends can come at night and argue, laugh and fight for as long as they want." Read More ...
Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple
A temple complex in Turkey that predates even the pyramids is rewriting the story of human evolution. They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot—the exact spot—where humans began that ascent. Read More ...

Science

The World's First Commercial Brain-Computer Interface + history of BCI
A brain–computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain–machine interface, is a direct communication pathway between a brain and an external device. BCIs are often aimed at assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions. Research on BCIs began in the 1970s at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) under a grant from the National Science Foundation, followed by a contract from DARPA. The papers published after this research also mark the first appearance of the expression brain–computer interface in scientific literature. Read More ...
Meet ALICE - new CERNs giant detector
The giant ALICE detector is already underway at CERN, and researchers are scrambling to add an electromagnetic calorimeter to capture jet-quenching, the newest way to look inside the quark-gluon plasma — the hot, dense state of matter that filled the earliest universe, which the Large Hadron Collider will soon recreate by slamming lead nuclei into one another.  CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is known mainly as the accelerator that will soon begin searching for the Higgs particle, and other new physics, in proton collisions at unprecedented energies — up to 14 TeV (14 trillion electron volts) at the center of mass — and with unprecedented beam intensities. But the same machine will also collide massive nuclei, specifically lead ions, to energies never achieved before in the laboratory. Read More ...
Vadim Chernobrov & Russian secrets experiments with time machines
A disturbing story in the March, 2005. 1 issue of Pravda suggests that the U. S. Government is working on the discovery of a mysterious point over the South Pole that may be a passageway backward in time. According to the article, some American and British scientists working in Antarctica on January 27, 1995, noticed a spinning gray fog in the sky over the pole. U. S. physicist Mariann McLein said at first they believed it to be some kind of sandstorm. But after a while they noticed that the fog did not change its form and did not move so they decided to investigate. Read More ...
The Secrets of Coral Castle and pyramids EXPLAINED by Leedskalnin's Magnetic Current theory
Coral Castle doesn't look much like a castle, but that hasn't discouraged generations of tourists from wanting to see it. That's because it was built by one man, Ed Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant who single-handedly and mysteriously excavated, carved, and erected over 2.2 million pounds of coral rock to build this place, even though he stood only five feet tall and weighed a mere 100 pounds. Ed was as secretive as he was misguided. He never told anyone how he carved and set into place the walls, gates, monoliths, and moon crescents that make up much of his Castle. Some of these blocks weigh as much as 30 tons. Ed often worked at night, by lantern light, so that no one could see him. He used only tools that he fashioned himself from wrecks in an auto junkyard. Read More ...
Microbial communities in fluid inclusions and long-term survival in halite + The 11th Hour - documentary
Fluid inclusions in modern and ancient buried halite from Death Valley and Saline Valley, California, USA, contain an ecosystem of “salt-loving” (halophilic) prokaryotes and eukaryotes, some of which are alive. Prokaryotes may survive inside fluid inclusions for tens of thousands of years using carbon and other metabolites supplied by the trapped microbial community, most notably the single-celled alga Dunaliella, an important primary producer in hypersaline systems. Deeper understanding of the long-term survival of prokaryotes in fluid inclusions will complement studies that further explore microbial life on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, where materials that potentially harbor microorganisms are millions and even billions of years old. Read More ...
How Norbert Wiener Invents Cybernetics + his book " God and Golem, Inc.........."
Norbert Wiener invented the field of cybernetics, inspiring a generation of scientists to think of computer technology as a means to extend human capabilities. Norbert Wiener was born on November 26, 1894, and received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University at the age of 18 for a thesis on mathematical logic ( see below "The Logic of Boolean Algebra").  After working as a journalist, university teacher, engineer, and writer, Wiener he was hired by MIT in 1919, coincidentally the same year as Vannevar Bush. In 1933, Wiener won the Bôcher Prize for his brilliant work on Tauberian theorems and generalized harmonic analysis. Read More ...
The T2K Experiment - From Tokai To Kamioka - Where is the anti-matter?
From the beginning of 2010, the T2K experiment will fire a beam of muon-neutrinos from Tokai on Japan's east coast, 300km accross the country to a detector at Kamioka. It hopes to investigate the phenomenon of "neutrino oscillations" by looking for "muon neutrinos" oscillating into "electron neutrinos".  A million pound detector has been built at the University of Warwick as part of a vital experiment to investigate fundamental particles - neutrinos. Read More ...
Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military leadership
The internal workings of the US military had little significance to the overall state of the nation, except during wars – until the post-WWII era.   With the military dominating our foreign policy and being one of the most trusted institution, the character of our senior generals may become a major factor shaping our future.  Hence the importance of this chapter by GI Wilson from The Pentagon Labyrinth: Ten Short Essays to Help You Through It, edited by Winslow T. Wheeler and published by the Center for Defense Information and the World Security Institute.  You can see a summary and download a free copy of this important book at the Project for Government Oversight (POGO). Read More ...

Space

UFO's of Nazi Germany
Viktor Schauberger & UFO's of Nazi Germany
It was nearly the end of WWII. At that same time, scientist Viktor Schauberger worked on a secret project. Johannes Kepler, whose ideas Schauberger followed, had knowledge of the secret teachings of Pythagoras that had been adopted and kept secret. It was the knowledge of Implosion (in this case the utilization of the potential of the inner worlds in the outer world). Hitler knew - as did the Thule and Vril people - that the divine principle was always constructive. A technology however that is based on explosion and therefore is destructive runs against the divine principle. Thus they wanted to create a technology based on Implosion. Read More ...
It Takes a Giant Cosmos to Create Life and Mind + new Supernova Discovered to be the 'Creation-Machines' of the Cosmos
Excerpt from 'The Intelligent Universe', James Gardner ................... There is a time machine clearly visible right outside your front door. It’s easy to see—in fact, it’s impossible to overlook—although its awesome powers are generally ignored by all but a discerning few.  The unearthly beauty, the ineffable grandeur, and the ingenuity of construction of this time machine are humbling to every human being who makes an effort to probe into the enigma of its origin and the mystery of its ultimate destiny. The time machine of which I speak is emphatically not of human origin. Indeed, a few venturesome scientists are beginning to entertain a truly incredible possibility: that this device is an artifact bequeathed to us by a supremely evolved intelligence that existed long, long ago and far, far away. All knowledgeable observers agree that the scope of its stupendous powers and the sheer delicacy of its miniscule moving parts seem nothing short of miraculous. Read More ...
The Size Of Our World or How Insignificant the Earth Really Is in the Universe
Compared to you and me, the Earth is really big. But compared to Jupiter and the Sun, the Earth is pretty tiny. There are many ways we can measure the size of the Earth. Let's look at how big the Earth is, and then compare it to other objects in the Solar System. The diameter of the Earth is 12,742 km. In other words, if you dug a hole down into the Earth, passed through the center of the Earth, and came out the other side, you would have dug a hole 12,742 km deep (on average). That's about 4 times longer than the diameter of the Moon. Read More ...
Strange Images from Space - Photos&videos of the Bizarre in Our Universe
Some weird and unusual objects are floating around in the cosmos. Space is always serving up something new, unusual, and unexpected. Here are images and explanations of obejcts that have amazed and delighted astronomers. Read More ...
Project Icarus: Gas Mining on Uranus
Project Icarus is a 21st century theoretical study of a mission to another star. Icarus aims to build on the work of the celebrated Daedalus project. Between the period 1973-1978 members of the BIS undertook a theoretical study of a flyby mission to Barnard's star 5.9 light years away. This was Project Daedalus and remains one of the most complete studies of an interstellar probe to date. The 54,000 ton two-stage vehicle was powered by inertial confinement fusion using electron beams to compress the D/He3 fusion capsules to ignition. It would obtain an eventual cruise velocity of 36,000km/s or 12% of light speed from over 700kN of thrust, burning at a specific impulse of 1 million seconds, reaching its destination in approximately 50 years. Read More ...
Astronomers had found evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang
Our cosmos was "bruised" in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background. There's something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang. Read More ...
Mysterious Radio Waves from Unknown Object in M82 Galaxy
There is something strange is lurking in the galactic neighborhood. An unknown object in galaxy M82 12 million light-years away has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before except perhaps by Ford Prefect. M82 is starburst galaxy five times as bright as the Milky Way and one hundred times as bright as our galaxy's center. "We don't know what it is," says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK. But its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. This "superluminal" motion occurs usually in high-speed jets of material bursting out by black holes. Read More ...
Nibiru - great arrival of Planet X  + Timeline of 2012. cataclysm
“A secret document prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is claiming that President Medvedev confirmed in his extended meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in February 2011 that the new planet named Tyche (pronounced ty-kee) by NASA will be appearing in the Earth’s night sky by 2012. Though the existence of this planet had long been known to the ancients, it has only been in the past year that Western scientists have begun informing their citizens about this unprecedented event soon to occur, but who are, also, still failing to tell how catastrophic its appearance will be. Tyche was the name coined for this ancient celestial body by the two astrophysicists proposing it for “planet” status, Daniel Whitmire and John Matese from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Read More ...

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Microbial communities in fluid inclusions and long-term survival in halite + The 11th Hour - documentary

Fluid inclusions in modern and ancient buried halite from Death Valley and Saline Valley, California, USA, contain an ecosystem of “salt-loving” (halophilic) prokaryotes and eukaryotes, some of which are alive. Prokaryotes may survive inside fluid inclusions for tens of thousands of years using carbon and other metabolites supplied by the trapped microbial community, most notably the single-celled alga Dunaliella, an important primary producer in hypersaline systems. Deeper understanding of the long-term survival of prokaryotes in fluid inclusions will complement studies that further explore microbial life on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, where materials that potentially harbor microorganisms are millions and even billions of years old.



Microbes are known to exist in subsurface habitats, such as sub-seafloor sediments and continental and oceanic crust, to depths of up to ~3 km (Parkes et al., 2000; Kerr, 2002; Lin et al., 2006; Onstott et al., 2006). Prokaryotes (single-celled organisms lacking a nucleus and other membrane-bound specialized structures) in these subsurface environments live in water within sediment pores and rock fractures. Most are heterotrophic and depend upon preexisting organic matter around them for metabolism, but some are autotrophic and can use non-photosynthetically derived energy sources (Lin et al., 2006). Other prokaryotes that live in Earth's subsurface under such so-called “extreme” conditions have been found in ice as old as 120 ka from Antarctica, Greenland, and mountain glaciers, and in perma-frost, perhaps as old as 8 Ma (Christner et al., 2000; Miteva et al., 2004, 2005; Bidle et al., 2007; Johnson et al., 2007). Collectively, these discoveries have extended the realm of the biosphere into Earth's crust and have given hope for finding life beneath the surface of other planets, moons, asteroids, and comets of our solar system where present surface conditions are inhospitable.

The world's “oldest living organisms” come from another subsurface setting, buried salt deposits. Over the past 50 years, a series of papers have claimed long-term survival of prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea) in these deposits, in some cases for >250 m.y. (Reiser and Tasch, 1960; Dombrowski, 1963; Norton and Grant, 1988; Grant et al., 1998; Stan-Lotter et al., 1999; McGenity et al., 2000; Vreeland et al., 2000, 2007; Radax et al., 2001; Mormile et al., 2003; Schubert et al., 2010a). Prokaryotes in ancient salt deposits also apparently survived in water, but in this case were confined to brine-filled “fluid inclusions” in the halite itself, isolated from surrounding pore- and fracture-filling waters.
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Reports of extreme microbe longevity in salt are controversial. The well-known Permian bacterium from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site, Salado Formation, New Mexico, USA (Vreeland et al., 2000), for example, comes from a brine inclusion within a large, diagenetically formed halite crystal. That brine inclusion could have been trapped after the Permian during burial cementation and recrystallization processes (Hazen and Roedder, 2001). Later study of those fluid inclusions, however, shows that they most likely contain evaporated Permian seawater, which supports their 250 Ma age and the antiquity of the trapped bacterium (Satterfield et al., 2005). The strongest criticism of the antiquity of prokaryotes recovered from ancient salt deposits has come from the biological science community, which maintains that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) should degrade over time scales far shorter than 250 m.y. in the absence of a repair mechanism (Willerslev et al., 2004; Hebsgaard et al., 2005; Willerslev and Hebsgaard, 2005). In addition, DNA from the Permian bacterium is nearly identical to a modern bacterium, Virgibacillus marismortui, sampled from the Dead Sea (Arahal et al., 1999, 2000), which suggests to some that the Permian bacterium is a laboratory contaminant (Graur and Pupko, 2001).

Other reputed ancient Archaea occur in bedded halite with primary growth textures and banded arrays of primary fluid inclusions parallel to crystal growth faces, indicating that the inclusions were trapped during growth of halite from surface brines (Mormile et al., 2003; Vreeland et al., 2007; Schubert et al., 2009a, 2010a). It is now certain that some ancient bedded halite, and the included brines and microorganisms, can remain undisturbed for millions of years (Lowenstein et al., 2001). The problem confronting all studies of prokaryotes trapped in fluid inclusions from ancient halite is understanding how these microorganisms survive for prolonged periods and how they obtain energy to perform necessary functions, such as repair of damaged DNA.
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Here we examine microorganisms trapped in fluid inclusions in halite, summarizing results from modern environments (Saline Valley, California, USA) and buried deposits up to 100 ka from Death Valley, California, USA (Schubert et al., 2009a, 2009b, 2010a, 2010b). We also present new, unpublished information from the subsurface salts of Saline Valley, which are up to 150 ka. These modern and Pleistocene deposits contain significant numbers of prokaryotes in fluid inclusions, a small number of which are clearly alive. Microscopy has revealed a remarkable “ecosystem” within fluid inclusions, composed of “salt-loving” (halophilic) prokaryotes and eukaryotes (complex cells containing a nucleus and specialized structures, such as chloroplasts) that may hold key information about long-term survival. We hypothesize that prokaryotes survive inside fluid inclusions for prolonged periods using carbon and other metabolites supplied by members of the trapped microbial community, most notably the single-celled alga Dunaliella, an important primary producer in hypersaline systems.
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Binghamton University researchers recently revived ancient bacteria trapped for thousands of years in water droplets embedded in salt crystals. For decades, geologists have looked at these water droplets — called fluid inclusions — and wondered whether microbes could be extracted from them. Fluid inclusions have been found inside salt crystals ranging in age from thousands to hundreds of millions years old. But there has always been a question about whether the organisms cultured from salt crystals are genuinely ancient material or whether they are modern-day contaminants, said Tim Lowenstein, professor of geological sciences and environmental studies at Binghamton. Lowenstein and Binghamton colleague J. Koji Lum, professor of anthropology and of biological sciences, believe they have resolved this doubt. And they've received $400,000 from the National Science Foundation to support further research on the topic. Lowenstein's team, which has been pursuing this problem for years, began by examining the fluid inclusions under a microscope. "Not only did we find bacteria, we found several types of algae as well," he said. "The algae actually may be the food on which the bacteria survive for tens of thousands of years." When Lum got involved, the researchers began to wonder about the DNA of the organisms they were finding.
"You have a little trapped ecosystem," Lum said. "Some of these guys are feeding on other ones trapped in this space. The things that aren't alive in there, their DNA is still preserved." Lum's graduate student Krithivas Sankaranarayanan reviewed existing literature on ancient DNA and helped to develop a protocol for use with Lowenstein's samples. We have these samples going back from the present to over 100,000 years in one exact location," Lum said. "So Tim can look at the salinity and reconstruct ancient climates. Now we're looking at the DNA from bacteria, the algae, the fungi and what was living in those waters and how those things changed over time. We have a view of all the different organisms that were in the lakes at the time these inclusions were formed." The researchers sequence the DNA and culture the bacteria they find. Then it's time to think big. Lum's most optimistic view of the project goes like this: "It's possible that we can observe organisms evolving and see how they're reacting to climate change over geologic time." The samples Lowenstein works with are drawn from Death Valley and Saline Valley in California as well as from sites in Michigan, Kansas and Italy. Temperatures at these locations may have reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the past, and the pockets of water trapped inside the rocks are generally very salty. The environment may sound harsh — in fact, it's among the most extreme on Earth — but the creatures that survive there are tough. "These are some of the hardiest beasts on the planet," Lum said. And the conditions inside these water droplets are ideally suited to preserving DNA. "They're like time capsules," Lowenstein agreed.



Halophilic Microorganisms in Modern Hypersaline Systems

The starting point for evaluating long-term survival of micro-organisms in fluid inclusions in salt is to examine modern evaporite systems and the processes by which organisms are preserved in halite there. We illustrate a typical hypersaline environment, Saline Valley, where, under certain conditions, surface brines host prolific numbers of halophilic microorganisms. Saline Valley is a closed-basin saline pan in eastern California that contains surface brines up to 0.5 m deep, fed by groundwaters.

Map of Death Valley and Saline Valley, California, USA, with locations of cores DV93-1 and SV-4A; modified from Schubert et al. (2009a).




A bloom of planktonic halophiles, developed in March 2004, contained one type of photosynthetic autotroph, the single-celled alga Dunaliella, and many heterotrophs (prokaryotic Archaea and Bacteria, that thrived in bright red brines at salinities of 26%–30%, seven to eight and a half times more concentrated than seawater.

Saline Valley, California, USA, March 2004. (A) Saline pan and surrounding mudflats, with surficial salt crust (white) and shallow saline lake in foreground. (B) Halophile bloom in saline lake. (C) Photomicrograph of wet mount slide prepared from Saline Valley brine (Oct. 2005), with rod- and spherical (cocci) shaped microbes distinct from diamond-shaped crystal of glauberite (CaSO4 • Na2SO4). Scale bar is 10 μm. Modified from Schubert et al. (2009a). (D) Photomicrograph of wet mount slide prepared from Saline Valley brine, with spherical green cells of Dunaliella. Scale bar is 10 μm. (E) Large rafts (up to 1 m) of laterally linked halite crystals on the brine surface and halite chevrons crystallizing at the brine bottom. (F) Cross section of halite crust formed in 2004, pink from trapped microorganisms. Small divisions on ruler are millimeters. (G) Thin-section photomicrograph of halite crust shown in F. Vertically oriented halite crystals grew upward from the saline lake bottom. Fluid inclusion bands (gray) in some halites outline primary crystal growth directions. Scale bar is 10 mm.





The pink/red brine color is due to the carotenoids (organic pigments, including β-carotene used by microorganisms for protection from ultraviolet radiation) in halophilic Archaea and Bacteria and Dunaliella (Teller, 1987; Pedrós-Alió et al., 2000; Oren and Rodríguez-Valera, 2001; Oren, 2002b). Wet mounts prepared from Saline Valley brines contained rod- and coccoid-shaped prokaryotes and larger spherical and ellipsoid-shaped cells of Dunaliella, some of which were motile one year after collection.

When surface brines from Saline Valley evaporated to salinities greater than ~30% during March 2004, halite saturation was reached and halite crystals nucleated at the air-brine interface, forming floating masses of linked crystal rafts; vertically oriented crystals also grew off the brine bottom (Fig. 2E). The halite crust formed by these processes contained large numbers of brine inclusions trapped during crystal growth, and the salt crust was pink because microbes from the water column were incorporated into the halite inclusions (Figs. 2F and 2G). Individual fluid inclusions housed a community of prokaryotes and Dunaliella, the same shape and size as observed in Saline Valley brines (Fig. 3). Microscopic study of >1000 brine inclusions from 10 halite-crust crystals showed that >20% contained prokaryotes (Schubert et al., 2009a). The calculated prokaryote abundance of 6 × 108 microbes/mL of inclusion brine is similar to that reported from red halophile-rich brines in many modern settings (Larsen, 1980; Teller, 1987; Oren, 2002a, 2002b; Pedrós-Alió, 2004). This means that one halite cube from Saline Valley, 1 cm per side, with a typical volume of fluid inclusions of 1% (Roedder and Bassett, 1981) contains six million trapped microbes.

Photomicrographs of fluid inclusions in halite, collected in Saline Valley California, USA, in 2004 and 2005. (A) Horizontal band rich in rectangular prism-shaped brine inclusions, surrounded above and below by bands containing fewer inclusions. Scale bar is 100 μm. (B) Tubular fluid inclusions and evenly distributed cubic and rectangular prism-shaped inclusions. Arrows point to inclusions shown at higher magnification in C and D. Scale bar is 100 μm. (C) and (D) Fluid inclusions with rod- and coccoid-shaped prokaryotes. Scale bars are 10 μm. (E) and (F) Portions of large fluid inclusions in halite with ellipsoidal and spherical cells of Dunaliella and numerous smaller prokaryotes. Scale bars are 5 μm.



Experiments show that prokaryotes (Archaea and Bacteria) trapped in fluid inclusions in halite from Saline Valley for up to 15 years can be readily cultured when placed in nutrient-rich media. These results are consistent with data from laboratory experiments and other modern surface halite deposits, all of which show that prokaryotes can remain alive inside fluid inclusions in halite for many years (Norton and Grant, 1988; Grant et al., 1998; McGenity et al., 2000; Mormile et al., 2003; Adamski et al., 2006; Fendrihan et al., 2006). The next step is to ascertain if prokaryotes remain alive in fluid inclusions following burial.


Halophilic Microorganisms in Buried Pleistocene Salt

Borehole cores from Death Valley and Saline Valley, composed of interbedded salt and mud, provide ideal materials for assessing the fate of microbial communities trapped in fluid inclusions in halite in the subsurface for periods of up to 150 k.y. Fig. 4). The cored sediments contain a dated record of Pleistocene paleoenvironments that varied from saline pans and dry mudflats to deep, perennial lakes (Li et al., 1996; Howe, 1998; Lowenstein et al., 1999). Evaporites accumulated in two settings: (1) bedded halite with abundant primary growth textures formed in perennial saline lakes (i.e., Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA); and (2) massive halite formed in salt pans (i.e., Badwater Basin, Death Valley, USA) (Li et al., 1996; Lowenstein et al., 1999). Microorganisms in fluid inclusions were almost exclusively found in halites deposited in perennial saline lakes in Death Valley (ca. 10–35 ka) and Saline Valley (ca. 20 ka, 75 ka, and 150 ka). Some of these halites have prokaryotes in fluid inclusions comparable in abundance to those found in modern halites formed during the 2004 Saline Valley halophile bloom, which suggests that ancient saline lakes of Death Valley and Saline Valley were at times teeming with microorganisms (Schubert et al., 2009a).

Stratigraphic columns, of cores DV93-1 and SV-4A showing sediment types, uranium-series ages, and paleoenvironments. Modified from Howe (1998) and Lowenstein et al. (1999). Note depths (arrows) where samples were taken for culturing experiments: green—unsuccessful; red—successful.



Dunaliella cells trapped in fluid inclusions up to 150 ka may appear virtually the same as those from modern halite (compare Fig. 5A to Figs. 3E and 3F). Remarkably, some ancient Dunaliella cells contain a cup-shaped chloroplast and are green and orange, which suggests preservation of pigments, including carotenoids and chlorophyll (Fig. 5B) (Schubert et al., 2010b). Other ancient Dunaliella cells, particularly in fluid inclusions in halite from the Saline Valley core, form a “stew” in various stages of disintegration, with cell coats separated from cell contents.

Photomicrographs of fluid inclusions in ancient halite from Saline Valley and Death Valley (Calif., USA) cores. (A) Dunaliella cell (left) and miniaturized prokaryotes (circled), in irregularly shaped fluid inclusion, Saline Valley core, 93 m, 150 ka. (B) Light green and orange Dunaliella cells suggest preservation of chlorophyll and β-carotene, Death Valley core, 17.8 m, 34 ka. Modified from Schubert et al. (2010b). (C) Miniaturized prokaryotes in cubic fluid inclusion, Death Valley core 16.5 m, 31 ka. Modified from Schubert et al. (2009a). (D) Portion of large fluid inclusion containing yellow-green Dunaliella cells and two cells coated with outward radiating crystals of β-carotene (brown). Miniaturized prokaryote is circled. Death Valley core 15.7 m, 29 ka. (E) Portion of fluid inclusion showing Dunaliella cells heavily coated with crystalline β-carotene, Death Valley core 15.7 m, 29 ka. Arrow shows the boundary between the fluid inclusion and the host halite crystal. (F) Dunaliella cells in various stages of degradation within a large fluid inclusion, Saline Valley core, 44 m, ca. 70 ka. Arrow shows ruptured glycocalyx (cell coat) of one Dunaliella cell.




Prokaryotes found in buried halites (>10 ka) appear quite different from those trapped in fluid inclusions in modern halite. Ancient prokaryotes are coccoid-shaped and “miniaturized,” with cell diameters <1 μm (Figs. 5A, 5C, and 5D), much smaller than the straight or curved rods (1–10 μm long, ~0.5–1 μm wide) and coccoid-shaped prokaryotes (typically ~1 μm diameter), of their surface counterparts (Figs. 3C and 3D). The differences in size and shape between modern and ancient prokaryotes trapped in fluid inclusions resemble the “starvation-survival” forms reported for prokaryotes living in soils and in the ocean (Novitsky and Morita, 1976; Morita, 1982, 1997; Grant et al., 1998). It is widely known that some prokaryotes living under nutrient-poor conditions adjust by changing shape—that is, “rounding” from rod-shaped to coccoid-shaped, and reducing their size (Kjelleberg et al., 1983). We postulate that once trapped inside fluid inclusions for long periods of time, prokaryotes resort to starvation-survival strategies, but the timing and triggering mechanisms are not known. Trapping of halophilic Archaea in nutrient-free fluid inclusions in experimentally grown halite also led to rounding and cell-size reduction over periods of weeks to years (Norton and Grant, 1988; Fendrihan and Stan-Lotter, 2004), but more research on starvation-survival of prokaryotes in fluid inclusions is clearly needed.

Long-term survival of miniaturized prokaryotes in fluid inclusions in buried halite from Death Valley and Saline Valley was tested with culturing experiments designed to grow halophilic microorganisms. One procedure used previously by microbiologists involves surface sterilization of a halite crystal, followed by dissolution of that crystal in a liquid medium composed of Na+, Cl−, inorganic nutrients, and a carbon source (Vreeland et al., 2007; Schubert et al., 2009b, 2010a). During the dissolution process, the Na+, Cl−, inclusion brines, and trapped microorganisms mixed with the growth medium. Incubation under aerobic conditions for periods of up to 90 days led to the growth of cultures from five halite crystals (13.0–17.9 m; 22 ka to 34 ka) out of ~900 tested from the Death Valley core (Fig. 4) (Schubert et al., 2009b, 2010a). For unknown reasons, no prokaryotes were cultured from >500 halite crystals (12 intervals between 34 and 93 m) up to 150 ka from the Saline Valley core. It is clear from these experiments that cultivation of prokaryotes sampled from fluid inclusions in halite between 10 ka and 150 ka is rare, occurring in only 0.4% of the crystals tested. These results, coupled with the large number of cells observed in situ within fluid inclusions (Fig. 5), suggest that most ancient prokaryotes in halite are dead or viable but nonculturable, or that our culturing conditions were simply not suitable (Amann et al., 1995). Nevertheless, the DNA from the five cultured organisms from the Death Valley core shows that they are halophilic Archaea from the genera Haloterrigena, Natronomonas, and Halorubrum, all organisms expected in hypersaline lakes (Schubert et al., 2009b, 2010a).


Mechanism for Long-Term Survival of Prokaryotes in Fluid Inclusions

All Archaea from the Death Valley core we have cultured so far came from one stratigraphic interval (Fig. 4) in which prokaryotes and Dunaliella were observed in situ within fluid inclusions. Closer inspection of those fluid inclusions, coupled with what is known about the ecology of modern hypersaline systems, has led us to hypothesize a mechanism that may allow prokaryotes to survive inside fluid inclusions for millennia.

Modern hypersaline environments near halite saturation contain a productive but relatively simple community of planktonic microorganisms, with Dunaliella the only primary producer and a number of different heterotrophic Archaea and subordinate Bacteria (Pedrós-Alió et al., 2000; Elevi Bardavid et al., 2008). Much is still unknown about the prokaryotes because these ecosystems are dominated by nonculturable microbes (Oren, 2002b). Regardless, it has long been postulated that the heterotrophic community of prokaryotes in these extreme environments obtains most of its carbon requirements from glycerol, a sugar alcohol with the chemical formula C3H5(OH)3 (Borowitzka, 1981; Elevi Bardavid et al., 2008). Glycerol is produced in large quantities by Dunaliella because it is used for osmoregulation to reduce the chemical potential gradient of H2O and to prevent the loss of water from cells. In fact, Dunaliella may have concentrations of 6–7 M glycerol in their cytoplasm to counteract the chemical gradients (Elevi Bardavid et al., 2008). This glycerol apparently leaks out of healthy Dunaliella cells into surrounding brines or may enter brines following death and disintegration (lysis) of the cells (Elevi Bardavid et al., 2008). In either case, glycerol constitutes a major source of carbon for the prokaryote community in modern hypersaline systems (Borowitzka, 1981; Elevi Bardavid et al., 2008). We hypothesize that the same relationships hold true inside fluid inclusions and that glycerol and other metabolites leaked out of Dunaliella cells have supplied associated heterotrophic prokaryotes with the carbon and energy sources required for their prolonged survival. Close inspection shows that Dunaliella commonly occur with prokaryotes in fluid inclusions (Figs. 5A and 5D). Some Dunaliella are in various stages of disintegration, indicating leakage of biomaterials, including glycerol, from cells into the surrounding brine (Fig. 5F). Other Dunaliella contain a crust of crystalline β-carotene on their exteriors (Figs. 5B, 5D, and 5E) (Schubert et al., 2009b, 2010b). β-carotene is produced by certain species of Dunaliella, so finding it precipitated outside the cell is direct evidence that intracellular materials have leaked into fluid inclusions. Solid crystals apparently formed as a crust on Dunaliella cells because β-carotene is insoluble in water and thus crystallized when extruded from cells. Glycerol, however, is soluble in water and thus would be completely dissolved in fluid inclusion brines, where it would be available for heterotrophic micro-organisms. Support for our “glycerol” hypothesis comes from the five halophilic Archaea revived from fluid inclusions in Death Valley halite, all of which were cultured in media containing glycerol as a carbon source (Schubert et al., 2009b, 2010a). Two of these strains grew in media containing glycerol as the only carbon source; the other three are yet to be tested.

Conclusions

Although we are beginning to understand the community of microorganisms inside modern and ancient fluid inclusions, much more needs to be learned about how they survive. Miniaturized prokaryote cells suggest starvation-survival, despite the availability of carbon. We do not know why prokaryotes in fluid inclusions miniaturize, what factors trigger miniaturization, and what functions miniaturized cells are able to perform in fluid inclusions (e.g., repair of DNA and cell membranes) (Grant et al., 1998; Johnson et al., 2007). Alternatively, prokaryotes may form spores and survive for long periods in a dormant state, as has been claimed for the bacterium cultured from the Permian fluid inclusion by Vreeland et al. (2000). But none of the halophilic Archaea cultured from the Death Valley core formed endospores, nor do any Archaea. We thus need to learn more about long-term survival of spore-forming prokaryotes as well as miniaturized forms trapped in fluid inclusions. Such knowledge will be vital as studies further explore deep life on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, where materials that potentially harbor microorganisms are millions and even billions of years old.

Tim K. Lowenstein1*, Brian A. Schubert1**, Michael N. Timofeeff1


1 Dept. of Geological Sciences & Environmental Studies, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York 13902, USA

 

The 11th Hour - documentary


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The 11th Hour is a 2007 feature film documentary, created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, on the state of the natural environment. It was directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners and financed by Adam Lewis and Pierre André Senizergues, and distributed by Warner Independent Pictures. Its world premiere was at the 2007 60th Annual Cannes Film Festival (May 16–27, 2007) and it was released on August 17, 2007, in the year in which the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations global warming panel IPCC was published and about a year after Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, another film documentary about global warming.

With contributions from over 50 politicians, scientists, and environmental activists, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and journalist Paul Hawken, the film documents the grave problems facing the planet's life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans' habitats are all addressed. The film's premise is that the future of humanity is in jeopardy.

The film proposes potential solutions to these problems by calling for restorative action by the reshaping and rethinking of global human activity through technology, social responsibility and conservation.

Experts interviewed underlined that everyone must become involved to reverse the destruction and climate change. The role of humans in the destruction of the environment is explained from the viewpoint of several different professional fields including environmental scientists, oceanographers, economic historians, and medical specialists. The many experts called upon in this documentary effectively demonstrated a consensus concerning human-caused climate change, and the many other impacts of industrialization such as the dramatic loss of species (biodiversity).




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