Tag Archives: origins

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life – Nick Lane


The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
Nick Lane

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: July 20, 2015

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton

“One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years.” —The Economist The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists. For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen? The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths. Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life’s vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?

Link – 

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life – Nick Lane

Posted in Casio, FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, W. W. Norton & Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life – Nick Lane

What Green Makeup Means To Me

Obsession, infatuation, preoccupation — call it what you will; I feel very passionately about makeup. Makeup is one of my favorite art forms. It varies by age, culture, and personal taste. It can be bold and bright or mysterious and demure. It can set your mood, tell a story, or transform you into someone else entirely. It has a power like nothing else.

Makeup is my favorite hobby. Though I’ve been experimenting with it for nearly 20 years, I only recently decided to go cruelty free. I got to the point where I simply couldn’t stomach the idea of an animal being harmed to make my newest tube of mascara. So, I committed to buying products from companies that don’t engage in any animal testing.

As I arduously worked to replace every non-cruelty free product I owned, I started to think about makeup on a deeper level. What if I could do more than just go cruelty free? What if I could take my makeup game up to eleven?

What if I went green?

What Is Green Makeup?

What does green makeup mean to you? Image Credit: Prochkailo / Shutterstock

Apparently, everyone and their dog has a different opinion of what makes makeup “green”.  Shades of sustainability? Absolutely!

Some consider the ingredients to be the defining line. Jessa Blades, a professional green makeup artist from New York spells out her idea of green as: “Cosmetics that don’t have any chemical emulsifiers, binders, synthetics, fillers, or paraben preservatives and that use botanicals and minerals”

For Kayla Fioravanti, an organic formulator and founder of von Natur and Essential Wholesale Labs, even that’s not enough. To be green, makeup must be organic — and even mineral makeup isn’t safe. “No one can guarantee that minerals haven’t been exposed to chemicals while they’ve been in the earth for thousands of years.”


The “C” Word

Makeup comes in all forms and colors. Image Credit: originalpunkt / Shuttertock

This is the point where I have to admit my bias. You see, I’m a hardcore science junkie, and when I see people throw the word chemical around as if it’s the ultimate evil, I tend to get a little….grumpy.

You see, all matter in the universe is made of chemicals. Some are simple, others are complex. Some are organic, and still others synthetic. From the air we breath, to the water we drink, to our bodies themselves — all matter is made of chemicals. To write something off because it contains chemicals is utter nonsense.

Then there’s the natural versus synthetic debate wherein things that occur in nature are painted as better than those that are man-made. There are many naturally occurring chemicals that are deadly to humans — and many synthetic ones that have helped us to live longer, healthier lives. However, each chemical, natural or synthetic, must be observed on a case-by-case basis before one can label it harmful or safe.

Whether chemicals are in food, medicine, or cosmetics, sweeping generalizations do absolutely no good whatsoever.

Green to me

Since I can’t reconcile my idea of green with those who focus on “natural, chemical free” ingredients, I’d prefer to focus on the environmental impact. For me, the definition of green makeup is simply goods that come from companies who take an eco-focused approach to both their products and manufacturing.

Trusted brands

There are a number of brands out there that match this philosophy, but I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites.


“We believe there is no responsible alternative to doing business other than through the pursuit of environmental sustainability and this belief guides every decision we make. We find inspiration for doing so in nature and believe that nature is not merely something to be cherished and protected, but also should be emulated as a model of sustainability.”

Aveda uses 100% post consumer recycled packaging as well as packaging derived from plants. They also manufacture products using wind power. Learn more about Aveda here.

Burt’s Bees

“Our ingredients—right down to the packaging—are simple, natural, and responsible. We practice what we preach—and we hope to set the example for others to follow. It’s called The Greater Good. And it’s how we’re going to help change the world.”

Burt’s Bees is a zero waste company — they don’t send a single piece of trash to landfills. Each month, their employees volunteer to comb through over 200 recycling, composting, and waste to energy bins, ensuring everything is sorted properly. Furthermore, they’ve worked hard to make their facilities as energy efficient as possible. They use post consumer recycled packaging and source responsibly. Learn more about Burt’s Bees here.


“One of our core principles– still the same as in the early pharmacy days – was to develop products that are friendly to the skin but also to the environment. Today this core principle translates into an ongoing multi-faceted effort to protect the environment and support the community; we strive to do the right thing, and this is what leads every decision we make.”

Korres avoids the use of non-biodegradable ingredients and uses natural instead of chemical solvents in their manufacturing plants. They oversee a no waste operation and run entirely on hydroelectric power. Learn more about Korres here.


“We believe in protecting people, animals and the planet! It’s a company-wide commitment that flows through our products from our hands to yours. We take this commitment to environmental stewardship seriously, and we’re conscious of how our products and business practices interact with the environment.”

LUSH likes to sell their products without packaging — or naked. They also use post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials that are 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable whenever possible. They source responsibly, conserve water, and use local products in order to avoid air shipping. Learn more about LUSH here.


Origins recycles cosmetic packaging from any brand — in fact, they started the beauty industry’s’ first recycling program in 2009. Their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials produced by renewable energy sources. Learn more about Origins here.

As my love affair with green makeup grows, so to does my commitment to both animals and the environment. Combining these passions isn’t always easy — it takes a lot of diligence and research — but at the end of the day, I feel better about the products I see sitting on my vanity.

To learn more about the topics I discussed in this article, see the following resources:

List of Official Cruelty Free Brands
Manmade or Natural, Tasty or Toxic, They’re All Chemicals
Get the Facts on Sustainable Packaging
Recycle Your Personal Care and Beauty Products
Latest Posts

Liz Greene

Liz Greene is an animal loving, history studying, pop culture geek from the beautiful City of Trees, Boise, Idaho. You can catch her latest misadventures on her blog,

Instant Lo


Latest posts by Liz Greene (see all)

What Green Makeup Means To Me – July 20, 2016
Create A Truly Sustainable Business With These 5 Tips – July 7, 2016
Why I Chose Container Gardening (As Should You) – June 16, 2016

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Original article: 

What Green Makeup Means To Me

Posted in Everyone, FF, GE, LG, ONA, organic, PUR, Ultima, Uncategorized, wind power | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Green Makeup Means To Me

Life on Earth May Have Been Seeded by Comets

Image: Michael Karrer

One of the oldest questions on earth is how all this crazy life started. Where did you come from? How about your office plant, or your cat? For a long time, our only working idea was that gods from the heavens had provided the seed of life. We may, at least, have been looking into the correct direction: researchers at UC Berkeley recently added evidence to the idea that life on Earth came from a comet.

The idea goes like this: the so-called “building blocks of life” on this planet are called dipeptides. And the real mystery is where these dipeptides came from. The Berkeley scientists’ research suggests that dipeptides could have formed on interplanetary dust and been carried down to earth on a comet. Berkeley writes:

Chemists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, showed that conditions in space are capable of creating complex dipeptides – linked pairs of amino acids – that are essential building blocks shared by all living things. The discovery opens the door to the possibility that these molecules were brought to Earth aboard a comet or possibly meteorites, catalyzing the formation of proteins (polypeptides), enzymes and even more complex molecules, such as sugars, that are necessary for life.

Or, in the paper itself, the authors put it this way:

Our results indicate that the radiation-induced, non-enzymatic formation of proteinogenic dipeptides in interstellar ice analogs is facile. Once synthesized and incorporated into the ”building material” of solar systems, biomolecules at least as complex as dipeptides could have been delivered to habitable planets such as early Earth by meteorites and comets, thus seeding the beginning of life as we know it.

They figured this out by making a mini-comet in the lab. Combining carbon dioxide, ammonia and other chemicals like methane at super cold temperatures (space is pretty cold), they created a tiny comet-like thing. Then they added the lab equivalent of cosmic rays, zapping the mini-comet with electrons. What they saw was that the combination of these high energy electrons and the comet they had built created organic molecules like amino acids and dipeptides.

The idea is that this reaction happened on its own in space, and those dipeptides were carried down to earth on that icy comet. In other words, the necessary blocks of life might really have descended to Earth from the sky.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Origins of Life

Original article:

Life on Earth May Have Been Seeded by Comets

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