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Abiogenesis

Abiogenesis, or informally the origin of life, is the natural process by which life has arisen from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds. While the details of this process are still unknown, the prevailing scientific hypothesis is that the transition from non-living to living entities was not a single event, but an evolutionary process of increasing complexity that involved molecular self-replication, self-assembly and the emergence of cell membranes. Although the occurrence of abiogenesis is uncontroversial among scientists, its possible mechanisms are poorly understood. There are several hypotheses for how abiogenesis could have occurred. Researchers study abiogenesis through a combination of molecular biology, astrobiology, biophysics and biochemistry, aim to determine how pre-life chemical reactions gave rise to life; the study of abiogenesis can be geophysical, chemical, or biological, with more recent approaches attempting a synthesis of all three, as life arose under conditions that are strikingly different from those on Earth today.

Life functions through the specialized chemistry of carbon and water and builds upon four key families of chemicals: lipids, amino acids, nucleic acids. Any successful theory of abiogenesis must explain the origins and interactions of these classes of molecules. Many approaches to abiogenesis investigate how self-replicating molecules, or their components, came into existence. Researchers think that current life descends from an RNA world, although other self-replicating molecules may have preceded RNA; the classic 1952 Miller–Urey experiment and similar research demonstrated that most amino acids, the chemical constituents of the proteins used in all living organisms, can be synthesized from inorganic compounds under conditions intended to replicate those of the early Earth. Scientists have proposed various external sources of energy that may have triggered these reactions, including lightning and radiation. Other approaches focus on understanding how catalysis in chemical systems on the early Earth might have provided the precursor molecules necessary for self-replication.

The alternative panspermia hypothesis speculates that microscopic life arose outside Earth by unknown mechanisms, spread to the early Earth on space dust and meteoroids. It is known that complex organic molecules occur in the Solar System and in interstellar space, these molecules may have provided starting material for the development of life on Earth. An extreme speculation is that the biochemistry of life could have begun as early as 17 million years after the Big Bang, during a habitable epoch, that life may exist throughout the universe. Earth remains the only place in the universe known to harbour life, fossil evidence from the Earth informs most studies of abiogenesis; the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years. In May 2017 scientists found possible evidence of early life on land in 3.48-billion-year-old geyserite and other related mineral deposits uncovered in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia. However, a number of discoveries suggest that life may have appeared on Earth earlier.

As of 2017, microfossils, or fossilised microorganisms, within hydrothermal-vent precipitates dated from 3.77 to 4.28 billion years old found in rocks in Quebec may harbour the oldest record of life on Earth, suggesting life started soon after ocean formation 4.4 billion years ago. According to biologist Stephen Blair Hedges, "If life arose quickly on Earth … it could be common in the universe." However, extraterrestrial technically intelligent life, in contrast to the simpler microbial life referred to by Hedges, may be so rare that humankind's nearest neighbors may be beyond the possibility of our contacting them. Astronomer Jill Tarter, of the SETI Institute, said that the factors of the Drake equation are a means of organizing our lack of knowledge. Soon after the Big Bang, which occurred 14 billion years ago, the only chemical elements present in the universe were hydrogen and lithium, the three lightest atoms in the periodic table; these elements came together to form stars. These early stars were massive and short-lived, producing heavier elements through stellar nucleosynthesis.

As these stars reached the end of their lifecycles, they ejected these heavier elements, among them carbon and oxygen, throughout the universe. These heavier elements allowed for the formation of new objects, including rocky planets and other bodies. According to the Nebular hypothesis, the formation and evolution of the Solar System began 4.6 billion years ago with the gravitational collapse of a small part of a giant molecular cloud. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the center, forming the Sun, while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disk out of which the planets, moons and other small Solar System bodies formed; the Earth, 4.5 billion years ago, was at first inhospitable to any living organisms. Based on numerous observations and studies of the geological time-scale, the Hadean Earth is thought to have had a secondary atmosphere, formed through degassing of the rocks that accumulated from planetesimal impactors. At first, it was thought that the Earth's atmosphere consis

Maseko v Maseko

Maseko v Maseko, heard in the Witwatersrand Local Division by Lazarus AJ from 22 to 25 October, 1990, with judgment handed down on 16 November, is an important case in South African contract law, with its stipulation, on the question of legality, that contracts designed to mislead creditors are immoral and against public policy. The plaintiff in this case, in order to protect her property from possible attachment in execution, had entered into an agreement with the defendant that they would marry, transfer the property to him, thereafter divorce and retransfer the property to her once the threat of attachment was over; the purpose of this agreement was to conceal the property from the creditor, others. The court held that, when a contract is void ab initio, the remedy of restitutio in integrum will not be available; the essence of the remedy is that there should be a valid legal transaction from which the court will in certain circumstances grant relief by avoiding it ab initio. The plaintiff acquired a certificate of occupation of certain property in Soweto, whereafter she signed as surety for two purchasers of motor vehicles.

Some time when the purchasers defaulted in their payments on the purchase price of the vehicles, the possibility arose of her being held liable in terms of the suretyships. In order to protect her property—that is, her certificate of occupation—she and defendant entered into an agreement whereby they were to be married and transfer the property to the defendant, they would get a divorce and, when there was no longer a threat that the property might be attached in execution, retransfer the property to the plaintiff. The parties were duly married on 9 May 1985. Less than a week the plaintiff ceded her property to the defendant. Divorce proceedings were instituted three days and an agreement of settlement was reached at the end of May. A divorce order, incorporating the agreement of settlement, was granted on 12 June. One of the terms of the agreement of settlement made an order of court was that the defendant "shall retain as his sole and exclusive property all right and interest in certain immovable property,", to say the property transferred to him by the plaintiff.

The defendant refused to retransfer the property to the plaintiff. In an action for an order directing the defendant to fulfil his end of the agreement, the court held that there was no doubt that the purpose of the agreement had been to conceal the plaintiff's assets from the creditor in whose favour she had signed as surety, other creditors. While there could be no fraudem creditorum without proof of actual prejudice, an agreement designed to mislead creditors was immoral and against public policy if it had not yet served its purpose; the court found that the agreement operated to undermine the institution of marriage, in that the parties' overall plan had been inimical to the institution of marriage. Although the marriage and divorce were valid, the agreement itself was not; the transfer of the property was an inseparable part of that agreement. The remedy of restitutio in integrum, was not available to the plaintiff, as it was of the essence of that remedy that there should be a valid legal transaction to start with, from which the Court, in certain circumstances, granted relief by avoiding it ab initio.

The court held that, as the transfer was ab initio void, the remedy of restitutio in integrum was not available to the plaintiff. As to the remedy of restitution based on the transfer's being void ab initio, the court held that the parties were in pari delicto: If an order in favour of the plaintiff were not made, the defendant would be enriched at the plaintiff's expense; the in pari delicto rule ordinarily served to preclude a plaintiff's recovering what he or she had handed over under a contract or transaction, void for illegality, but there were well-known exceptions to the rule. These were founded on the principles of equity and public policy; each case had to be decided on its own facts. Despite the fact that the relief sought might have an effect similar to enforcement, the Court could still grant relief if the equities favoured it. While the plaintiff's conduct was deserving of some censure, the court found that the defendant's conduct approximated theft. Public policy could not tolerate that.

Accordingly, the in pari delicto rule was relaxed in this case. If, relief were to be granted, it would be in conflict with the divorce order, with its provision that the defendant "shall retain as his sole and exclusive property" the property in issue; that order, although made by consent and in terms of an illegal agreement, was a valid order until set aside. As it could not be said that evidence relevant to the setting aside of the order had been canvassed, the court found that it could not grant such relief; the action was dismissed. Contract Law of South Africa South African contract law Du Plessis, Jacques, et al; the Law of Contract in South Africa. Edited by Dale Hutchison, Chris-James Pretorius, Mark Townsend and Helena Janisch. Cape Town, Western Cape: Oxford University Press, 2010. Maseko v Maseko 1992 SA 190

No Stranger to Danger (Payolas album)

No Stranger to Danger is the second album by the Payolas, released in 1982. It contains the hit "Eyes of a Stranger"; the album is only available on cassette. All songs written except as noted. "Romance" – 3:23 "Eyes of a Stranger" – 4:54 "Some Old Song" – 3:37 "Rose" – 3:59 "Hastings Street" – 4:59 "Youth" – 4:17 "Lights to Change" – 2:27 "Mystery to Me" – 3:04 "Pennies into Gold" – 3:06 "Screaming" – 4:09 "Rockers" – 2:46 Paul Hyde: vocals, guitars Bob Rock: electric/acoustic and synthetic guitars, vocals Christopher Taylor: drums, etc. Mick Ronson: producer, guitar, vocals Laurence Wilkins: Bass "Eyes of a Stranger" was covered by P. O. D. on their The Warriors EP, Volume 2 album. No Stranger to Danger at Discogs