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To Be Energy-Efficient, Brains Predict Their Perceptions
Results from neural networks support the idea that brains are “prediction machines” — and that they work that way to conserve energy.
Radioactivity May Fuel Life Deep Underground and Inside Other Worlds
New work suggests that the radiolytic splitting of water supports giant subsurface ecosystems of life on Earth — and could do it elsewhere, too.
New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life
The ingredients for reactions ancestral to metabolism could have formed very easily in the primordial soup, new work suggests.
‘Zombie’ Microbes Redefine Life’s Energy Limits
A new model shows that the denizens of a vast, ancient biome beneath the seafloor use barely enough energy to stay alive — and broadens understanding of what life can look like.
Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid
Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.
A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate
New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.
How to Grow Metal-Eating Microbes
Metal-eating microbes get energy from rocks and could teach us about life on other worlds — but first scientists had to learn how to grow them in the lab.