Did life on Earth really come from Mars?

Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 8:14 AM
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 8:14 AM

A new scientific theory made headlines Thursday — and they’re some headlines.

“Earth life ‘may have come from Mars’” (Via BBC)

“Life On Earth, From Mars? Why We Might All Be Alien Invaders” (Via International Business Times)

And “All humans may be ‘Martians’?” (Via National Post)

The story comes from biochemist Dr. Steven Benner, who gave a talk Thursday at the Goldschmidt Conference in Florence, Italy. (Via Foundation for Applied Molecular EvolutionGeochemical Society)

Benner argues several materials necessary for life to form wouldn’t have been available on Earth 3 billion years ago when life first arose — but there would have been plenty of them on Mars.

But is this just another wild theory meant to generate publicity? Well, that depends on who you ask. (Via Vanity Fair)

Benner has his supporters, such as prominent biologist Richard Dawkins, who said the idea is “not totally silly.” That’s some high praise.

And NBC science writer Alan Boyle said: “One thing’s for sure: Benner is not a kook. He was one of the first chemists to voice skepticism about the claims for arsenic-based life, which stirred up such a fuss in 2010.”

Even Benner’s critics say he does great work and that his ideas are plausible.

More than 100 meteorites found on Earth have been traced to Mars, most likely thrown into space by an asteroid strike. (Via NASA)

 And it’s long been thought certain hardy microbes could actually survive for a while in the vacuum of space. (Via National Science Foundation)

 So the critics admit much of what Benner says is possible, but they do take issue with the sensationalist press release.

 Scientific American’s Caleb Scharf points out Benner’s explanation for how life arose is just one of many possible theories — and most others don’t require material from Mars.

 Astrobiologist David Grinspoon says so much about the origin of life is still up in the air, it’s just as likely Earth was seeded by life from Venus as from Mars.

 So at this point, the answer to the question “Are we all Martians?” is a not-so-sensational “maybe” — although it does make for a good headline.

See more at Newsy.com

Same boy kidnapped in 2014 returns home safely again

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 8:06 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

            Same boy kidnapped in 2014 returns home safely again

The Atlanta Police Department has found the 12-year-old boy who was last seen leaving his home.

His mother said that Willie Myrick,12, left his home on Confederate Court at 10 p.m. Friday.

 >> Read more trending news

UPDATE: Willie Myrick has returned home safely. ______________________________________
JUST IN: The missing...

Posted by WSB-TV on Saturday, February 25, 2017

Officers immediately canvassed the area but Willie was not located on Friday. However, police successfully found him on Saturday morning. 

Willie is the same boy who was kidnapped in 2014. 

A lover of gospel music, Willie reportedly started singing the song “Every Praise” until his kidnapper threw him onto the street and drove away.

“Every praise is to our God,” the gospel song begins. “Every word of worship with one accord.”

Willie said he was afraid that the man was going to kill him. The man drove Willie around for nearly three hours, police said.

“He was cursing at me telling me to shut up and didn't want to hear a word from me," Willie said. “He said if I told anyone he would hurt me, like in a bad way.”

The boy went to several homes in that East Point neighborhood asking for help. One person actually turned him away, but an elderly man let him in and called the police and his godmother.

Willie said he was not harmed during the ordeal. His godmother said the boy was taken to a hospital for examination.



Florida woman accused of abandoning 'Baby Willow' pregnant again, officials say

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 11:04 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

            Florida woman accused of abandoning 'Baby Willow' pregnant again, officials say

The woman accused of abandoning her newborn child in 2016 near an Orlando apartment complex is once again pregnant, state officials said.

Susan Richardson was the subject of a massive search after she gave birth to a baby girl at or near the Willow Bend apartment complex.

The girl was named “Baby Willow” by police, after the apartment complex where she was born.

>> Read more trending stories 

Timeline: The disappearance of Baby Willow

She told investigators that she abandoned the baby, but couldn’t remember exactly where.

A clerk at a 7-11 convenience store said Richardson regularly stops by the business.

Since she was released from jail in November after pleading guilty to charges of neglect and desertion, the clerk told Channel 9 that she had asked Richardson what happened to the child.

“She says the baby’s in heaven,” Marjorie Lowe said.

Richardson, who has been living with her longtime boyfriend Johnnie Bryant, was charged with violation of probation in late January, which is when officials learned of her pregnancy.

While her probation requires Richardson not have any unsupervised contact with her current children, there is nothing preventing her from getting pregnant again.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is unable to do anything for the child, Channel 9 legal analyst Belvin Perry said.

“Currently, unborn children have no rights, so the government cannot step in and order her to do certain things for the well being of the unborn child,” he said.

When contacted by WFTV, Bryant would not say if he believed Richardson’s unborn child was his.

When pressed about any concerns he might have about her being pregnant again, considering the Baby Willow case, he became belligerent.

“You concerned, (expletive)?” he quipped to WFTV’s Janine Reyes.

While the baby who went missing in February has never been found, the Baby Willow case was closed when Richardson pleaded guilty to the neglect and desertion charges.

The Florida DCF issued the following statement concerning how it handles situations like this:

"Any individual who is concerned about the safety of a child upon his or her birth (or at any time) is required to call the Florida Abuse Hotline, including medical personnel who are professionally-mandated reporters.

The department does not have jurisdiction over unborn children but the safety and security of every child is our top priority.

If there is an occurrence of childbirth, and a report to the Child Abuse Hotline is created, DCF would then have jurisdiction to investigate and intercede.

To that end, we will do whatever it takes to shelter vulnerable kids from crisis and help them live a normal life free from abuse or neglect."


Susan Richardson Feb 25, 2017 - 11:17 AM

Democrats select Tom Perez as DNC chair

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 10:41 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 3:24 PM

            Democrats select Tom Perez as DNC chair

UPDATE: After two ballots, the Democratic National Committee has selected former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez as the party's new leader.

Read the original report below.

The uneasy clash between grass-roots activists and establishment figures at the Democratic National Committee meeting in Atlanta isn’t hard to spot. It’s on display at caucus meetings, panel discussions and the maneuvering behind Saturday’s vote to elect a new party leader.

And for a party struggling to find a balance between the liberal wave of outrage at Donald Trump and its leaders trying to corral that energy into electoral action, the attempts to strike a tentative truce will define their fight against the president.

It won’t be easy. Democrats of all stripes have united in a Trump “resistance” movement, but even the most outspoken elected officials struggle to match the ferocity of the Trump opposition that’s filled the streets with protesters and town hall meetings with newly energized activists.

>> Read more trending stories

And the same divisions that cleaved the party during last year’s election — namely, the progressive bloc led by Bernie Sanders supporters pitted against more mainstream party factions that supported Hillary Clinton — continues to dog Democratic leaders who desperately want to put the 2016 election behind them.

“We didn’t win, but the revolution is very much in this room,” said Winnie Wong, who co-founded the People for Bernie group and helped create the #FeeltheBern hashtag. “And you folks need to pick up the mantle. We can’t stop now, we have to do everything that we can in this party to be a part of this political revolution.”

The groundswell of frustration undercuts the other dominant theme of the three-day conference that started Thursday — a constant drumbeat of calls to unify behind a common opponent. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made a personal plea to Democrats to stay focused on Trump — and not their own internal fissures.

“This is going to end up being unity weekend in the city of Atlanta and unity weekend in the state of Georgia and unity weekend in the Democratic Party,” Reed said. “It’s going to be the end of that presidency of Donald Trump.”

The party has a long way to go. Republicans control the White House, both chambers of Congress and almost three dozen governor’s mansions. In Georgia, the party faces an even more daunting climb: Republicans control every statewide office and hold commanding majorities in the state Legislature.

Democratic leaders are intent on turning the explosive protests into votes, but they also risk the same wave of primary challenges and infighting that the tea party movement triggered in the GOP after Barack Obama’s 2008 election as president.

“There are people who feel like the Democratic Party has stopped listening to young people. Especially us young people,” Nelini Stamp said. “We have ideas and we’ve changed the country in the last six years. We need to work together and we need to push each other better.”

Stamp is a founder of the Resist Trump Tuesdays movement, and her organization is one of a surge of new groups that have sprung up after the November election.

Strikingly, though, one of the first targets of the group’s protest was a Democrat: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Thousands of protesters wound up on the doorstep of his Brooklyn office, urging him to defy Trump at all costs.

Rita Bosworth has also not endeared herself to party leaders. After starting Sister District Project, which matches donors in deep blue districts to help candidates run in more conservative areas, she said a California Democratic official pressed her on whether she was secretly coordinating with Libertarians.

“We are trying to reconnect with the people,” said Christine Pelosi, another California activist. “People do not trust us to fight for them. They do not trust us to put their interests first. That’s what every single listening tour that all of us have gone on shows us.”

That fight is spilling over into the fight to pick the party’s next chairman. Sanders and other leaders in the party’s progressive wing are backing U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid for DNC chairman, while former U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has support from allies of Clinton’s and Obama’s.

The odds seem to favor Perez — his supporters whisper he is nearing the votes needed to win outright — but Ellison boasts an impressive network. And a dark horse contender could emerge. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., hopes a late charge could make him the party’s next face.

The winner will try to bridge the divide between veteran operatives more accustomed to the halting progress of politics and newfound activists who demand immediate action and results. Xavier Becerra, California’s new attorney general, urged Democratic veterans to act more like the grass-roots demonstrators.

“Get in the way — be a hitter and be authentic and be real every day,” Becerra said. “Continuously prove to every hardworking American that we have your back.”

Some of the upstart operatives are putting the political class on notice. Andrea Litman helped start Run for Something, which encourages left-leaning candidates to run for public office, after Trump’s victory made her “angry at the system” that she said benefited older, affluent white male attorneys.

Thousands of candidates have already signed up through her website to run for higher office. And she’s more than willing to encourage them to run against contenders favored by the establishment wing.

“If we have a young progressive candidate and you have someone you picked,” she said, “we’re going to go after you.”

Report: Florida deputy fired after woman he met on Tinder admits on-the-clock rendezvous

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 9:55 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 9:55 AM

            Report: Florida deputy fired after woman he met on Tinder admits on-the-clock rendezvous

A Florida deputy was fired this month after an internal investigation found he had lied about spending several hours on the clock with a woman he met on Tinder.

Deputy David Patterson was facing allegations of violating the Marion County Sheriff’s Office code of conduct, providing incorrect information on time sheets and dereliction of duty.

The internal investigation substantiated all three claims against Patterson.

>> Read more trending stories 

The incident laid out in the investigation happened on Dec. 5 between noon and 3 p.m. at a Marion County home.

In uniform and driving his unmarked Sheriff’s Office cruiser, Patterson stopped at the house and spent between two and three hours with the woman who lived there the investigation said.

The woman told Patterson’s sergeant about the encounter on Dec. 21, when he went to her home to serve an eviction notice, the investigation said.

“(The woman) stated she met Deputy Patterson on a dating website and wanted to know if he was a ‘good guy,’” an investigative report said.

The woman reportedly told the sergeant that she and Patterson "hooked up," but that they didn’t have sex.

“She stated while Deputy Patterson was at her residence they talked and kissed,” the report said. “She stated Deputy Patterson also touched her breast over her clothes.”

After the encounter, the deputy also allegedly sent the woman a photo of his genitals while he was working and still wearing his uniform, officials said.

Patterson, who was scheduled to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an hour for lunch, claimed on his time sheet that he worked the full eight hours, the investigation said.

When interviewed, the deputy admitted to the allegations, the investigation said.

“Due to these actions, Deputy Patterson has brought discredit to himself and the agency while on duty,” the report concluded.


Marion County Sheriff patrol car Feb 25, 2017 - 10:17 AM