When ribosomes produce protein in all living cells, they do so through a chemical reaction that happens so fast that scientists have been puzzled. Using large quantum mechanical calculations of the reaction center of the ribosome, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden can now provide the first detailed picture of the reaction. The findings are published in the Web edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS.
It was previously known how the chemical reaction goes about adding amino acids to the growing protein. Both computer simulations and x-ray crystallographic experiments have identified a hydrogen bonding network that appears to be the main explanation for the high speed of the reaction. What is especially remarkable is the presence of a couple of “trapped” water molecules seem to be the only parts of the ribosome that are in contact with the reacting chemical groups.
I very close to solving this mystery, but I had to pawn my quantum calculator to buy groceries. So life, as we know it anyway, really is not possible without water.
There is an unexpected silence in the liberal blogosphere after last night’s highly anticipated Daily Show episode, in which Jon Stewart hosted John Yoo, the author of many of the Bush administration’s torture memos and one of the people most responsible for giving legal sanction to the practice of torture. That’s probably because Stewart found himself completely outmatched by a charming, tactful Yoo who seemed far better prepared to defend granting virtually unlimited powers to the executive branch than ever before. Put simply, Stewart failed to make Yoo look like he had done anything wrong. In fact, he made him look entirely reasonable. Stewart fares slightly better in the extended interview, but on the whole he was visibly out of his weight class.
Stewart allowed Yoo to claim that Abu Zubayda was the “number 3 in al-Qaeda,” a claim which is factually untrue. Yoo claimed that his memos allowed the government to “go up to the line” of what was torture, but in practice with Zubayda and others the line was crossed repeatedly. The experiences of the detainees who were shackled, in stress positions, had their head thrown into walls, and were doused with cold water were far different from the sanitized, clinical descriptions in the memos.
I’m not so sure that Stewart did such a bad job. If your standards are the kind of investigative journalism you see on NOW, than Stewart struggled. Stewart did come out better in the full interview – available in three parts. I think people tend to forget that Jon’s program is primarily an entertainment -satire show and that he is not obligated to go all Mike Wallace on a guest. A more legitimate complaint would be why hasn’t Matt Lauer or Katie Couric done the kind of tough interview with Yoo where in so many words tell Yoo to cut the crap. His memos for legitimizing to torture were lame rationalizations and claimed that as far as national security is concerned the president’s powers are unlimited – Congress and the Supreme Court have no say, nor does legal precedent such as the YOUNGSTOWN CO. v. SAWYER case. In Youngstown, the U.S. was clearly at war in North Korea and even under those urgent circumstances the president could not get around the Constitution and Congress. What seemed new in this interview was Yoo’s bizarre assertion that the number of causalities justifies ignoring the law. Throughout history torturers have always had excuses for torture. Casualty counts seem to be a new twist on old rationales. The U.S. prosecuted acts of torture, such as the one’s Yoo authorized. Yoo’s attempt at charming himself through the interview, cloaked in the poor little me would never advocate war crimes is standard operating procedure when zealots are trying to win in the court of public opinion. Yoo’s smile and charms under the circumstances are indicative of someone a brick short in both the logic and morals department and are not new – John Yoo’s Tortured Logic.
Some observers have noted that Stewart, having been around for a while has provided plenty of opportunity for guests to research and have those quick comebacks and feigned innocence. That is probably a good point. Stewart might want to sharpen up his research and tactics, and throw an occasional curve-ball. That would keep the guests guessing and keep the show fresh. Nothing against The Daily Show, but its sad that the show is relied upon by so many people for something resembling hard-hitting journalism. An unfair burden brought about by the lazy corporate infotainment that passes for network news.
Chuck Norris Hunts for Obama’s ‘Secret Vault’ as Interpol Conspiracy Theories Get Wilder. All of this silliness is over a minor change in tax status for INTERPOL employees. Chuck is so far off the reservation even the usually paranoid NRA is not buying it.