Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 18, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 18, 2011 

Asteroids May Have Brought Us Life’s Ingredients

 Some asteroids may have been like “molecular 
factories”, cranking out life’s ingredients and shipping 
them to Earth via meteorite impacts, according 
to scientists who’ve made discoveries of molecules 
essential for life in material from certain 
kinds of asteroids and comets.

In January 2000, a large meteoroid exploded in 
the atmosphere over northern British Columbia, 
Canada, and rained fragments across the frozen 
surface of Tagish Lake. Because many people witnessed 
the fireball, pieces were collected within 
days and kept preserved in their frozen state. This 
ensured that there was very little contamination 
from terrestrial life.

“The Tagish Lake meteorite fell on a frozen lake 
in the middle of winter and was collected in a 
way to make it the best preserved meteorite in the 
world,” said Dr. Christopher Herd of the University 
of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, lead author of 
a paper about the analysis of the meteorite fragments 
published June 10 in the journal Science.

“The first Tagish Lake samples—the ones we 
used in our study that were collected within days 
of the fall—are the closest we have to an asteroid 
sample return mission in terms of cleanliness,” 
adds Dr. Michael Callahan of NASA’s Goddard 
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., a co-author 
on the paper.

The Tagish Lake meteorites are rich in carbon 
and, like other meteorites of this type, the team 
discovered that the fragments contained an assortment 
of organic matter including amino acids—
the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are 
used by life to build structures like hair and nails, 
and to speed up or regulate chemical reactions. 
What’s new is that the team found different pieces 
from the exploding meteoroid had greatly differing 
amounts of amino acids.

“We see that some pieces have 10 to 100 times 
the amount of specific amino acids than other 
pieces,” said Dr. Daniel Glavin of NASA Goddard, 
also a co-author on the Science paper. “We’ve 
never seen this kind of variability from a single 
parent asteroid before. Only one other meteorite 
fall, called Almahata Sitta, matches Tagish Lake 
in terms of diversity, but it came from an asteroid 
that appears to be a mash-up of many different 

By identifying the different minerals present in 
each fragment, the team was able to see how much 
each had been altered by water. They found that 
various fragments had been exposed to different 
amounts of water, and suggest that water alteration 
may account for the diversity in amino acid 

“Our research provides new insights into the 
role that water plays in the modification of pre-
biotic molecules on asteroids,” said Herd. “Our 
results provide perhaps the first clear evidence 
that water percolating through the asteroid parent 
body caused some molecules to be formed 
and others destroyed. The Tagish Lake meteorite 
provides a unique window into what was happening 
to organic molecules on asteroids four-and-a-
half billion years ago, and the pre-biotic chemistry 

You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@MtnViewsNews.

A Tagish Lake meteorite fragment, refrigerated at 
minus 10 degrees Celsius.

Ask jai……

Ask jai is a weekly column that will strive to honestly answer your job search questions relating to job searching 
techniques, networking skills, resume writing and interviewing. The employment situation is getting better, however, 
it is still a challenge finding were the jobs are located and how to get pass the “gate-keepers”. As an Executive 
Recruiter I was privy to working directly with Corporate Recruiters and understanding their process in selecting 
which candidates to interview and hire. I will candidly answer your questions, possibly bluntly answering your 
questions, but I will be totally honest. My objective is to help you achieve your employment goal.


My daughter will graduate from college in two years with a Bachelor Degree in Marketing. My concern is that 
she is going to have a hard time finding a marketing job. I keep encouraging her to find an internship or part-time 
job while she is in college. She says that her Marketing Degree is all she will need to get a job after graduation. I 
am afraid that is just what will happen she will get “a job”. I support my daughter financially and emotionally to 
get a degree that will eventually lead to a rewarding career. I emphasize career not “a job”. How can I impress 
on her how important it is to get work experience before she graduates from college? What type of advice would 
you give her? Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned Mother

You and your daughter are putting in a lot of time, energy and money over a four year period for her to only eventually 
just get “a job”. It appears to me that your daughter is not focusing on her future or career aspirations. This 
is normal for students in their junior year of college. However, this is the right time for her to focus on her future 
employment and develop a career plan. What is her long-term career path, objective and goal? Marketing Degrees 
are very diverse in their areas of career focus and paths. I would suggest that you encourage your daughter to find 
out (or decide) what area (or areas) of marketing she is interested in pursuing. 

Student internships, summer and part-time jobs, and volunteer experience are very important in the hiring decision 
making process today. Employers seek out college students and graduates who have career-related experience 
as an intern, volunteer, summer or part-time employee that matches with their requirements and qualifications. 

Express to your daughter that participating in career related activities or employment during college is an excellent 
way to explore her chosen career path and passion. I suggest that your daughter visits her college career center 
and make an appointment with a career advisor. The center will have information and job descriptions from employers 
about internships, jobs and volunteer positions. The advisor will assist her in designing a career development 
plan based on her course of study, area of interest, career goal and objective. The career center advisor will also assist 
her in acquiring work-related experience that will eventually be vital to her in securing employment in her chosen 
field of study. 

Employers make their final decision about which student or graduate to hire based on the student’s commitment 
to their career goals, and that could be reflected in the student’s experiences and skills acquired in their internships, 
part-time jobs and volunteer activities. Pre-graduation work experience can separate those who get hired and those 
who do not. Continue to encourage your daughter to include work experience either on-campus or off-campus to 
her educational experience. Career driven knowledge, experience and focus will make it easier for her to find gratifying 
employment before or after graduation.

A few months ago a serious case of malware infection managed to do what the 
combined diplomatic efforts of the United Nations and several advanced militaries of 
the world were collectively unable to do. It also managed to do what billions of dollars 
in sanctions and being made a pariah in the eyes of the world wasn’t able to do either 
and it managed to do what the threat of certain war could not do. It managed to shut 
down (or at least slow down) the so-called Iranian Nuclear Program. No bombs were 
dropped and no lives were lost during the mission, accomplished its goals and just 
may have created a new model for future action. This new chapter in cyber warfare 
should give anyone who’s thought about the implications that this will have on our 
modern world real reason to pause.

The star of this particular show was the Stuxnet worm. First discovered sometime 
last this year, this particular worm appears to have been written to target the functioning 
of critical industrial infrastructure (i.e., power stations, electrical grids, manufacturing 
machinery) and specifically the industrial machinery used in the uranium 
enrichment process.

Early analysis shows that this worm appears to have been written with specific industrial 
targets in mind. This worm contains code that spies on and re-programs 
industrial systems and also is the first to include a logic module that can be programmed 
to attack specific system models and affect the operation of crucial system 
functions. Despite all of the worms’ technical sophistication it still needs a certain 
amount of human help in order to accomplish its goals. Target systems are usually 
infected via USB memory sticks and then mechanisms internal to the worm assist 
with navigation around the compromised network. This is really scary stuff. In this 
case the target just happened to be one highly unpopular with a certain segment of 
the international community and the cause appears to be one that “everyone” wants 
done. On the surface, there appear to be many reasons why what happened could be 
considered a good thing but if we continue reading just a little further on this page 
we eventually come to the point where we have to ask ourselves what happens if and 
when “we” become the unpopular target of this new type of cyber-attack. The effect of 
a major power outage days in length or a scrambling of our air traffic control systems 
have the potential to bring our way of life to a screeching halt and even if the disruption 
is short in duration, the loss of life or damage to critical infrastructure could 
have consequences that last far beyond the point of contact. Analysts are certain that 
this worm was created with nation-state support and was traded on the Internet for 
months before the actual attack occurred that damaged the Iranian nuclear facilities. 
Now that the next new thing in cyber warfare has made this spectacular debut it will 
undoubtedly be looking to make an even bigger splash the next time around.

Summertime Fun, Naturally!

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc.

Canyon Canine Dog 

Walking & Pet Sitting Services

I remember 
as a kid 
I used to 
get so excited 
I knew 
school would soon be out for summer. Anticipating all 
the fun activities I might have a chance to participate in, 
and knowing I would not have to sit still in a classroom for 
hours on end, five days a week was more than a little bit 
of heaven in my mind. Back then (and, there’s no need to 
mention how long ago that was, right?) there were some 
pretty cool activities available for kids to get involved with 
during the three month reprieve from the classroom, and 
going off to summer camp was one of them. There were 
also local day camps for kids to attend, and I always enjoyed 
it when I got to participate in those. Going fishing 
with my brother was another favorite summer vacation 
pastime for me when he could get away, and spending 
time at the barn with my pony was a given, but I don’t 
remember there being anything quite as cool as what they 
now call summer nature camp! Although, I must admit I 
was fortunate enough to have had a home environment 
that lent itself very much to teaching me about animals 
and nature, so I guess I didn’t miss out on too much as a 

One thing that was different back in my day, was the 
fact that there was no such thing as playing video games 
or chatting on the internet. We had a 14 inch television 
with 3 or 4 channels, most of which broadcasted daytime 
soap operas and silly talk shows, which was simply not 
enough to keep me interested in sitting inside and being 
lazy. Nowadays, with such advanced technology, it 
seems to take a lot more to gain the interest of a young 
mind, and there are so many things that can distract today’s 
youth from wanting to be outdoors, enjoying nature. 
However, above and beyond the draw of so many 
tech toys at our kids’ fingertips, children who live in our 
“neck of the woods” definitely have it “going on” as far 
as outdoor summertime fun! We have some of the best 
mountain trails in California, right here in our back yard, 
along with several big parks and recreation centers fully 
equipped with swimming pools & baseball fields, and 
last but certainly not least, there are three nationally renowned 
nature & garden reserves within only a few miles 
from home, including The Huntington Library in Pasadena, 
the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge and 
more locally, the L.A.County Arboretum and Botanic 
Garden in Arcadia. Very few communities can boast such 
a charming treasure trove of reserved open space and gorgeous 
gardens, and what more wonderful way could there 
be to introduce our youngsters to the bounties of nature 
that surrounds us! 

The L.A. Arboretum and Botanic Gardens offers a wide 
variety of summertime activities for kids who want to 
learn about animals and nature. Even if these are not on 
the top of the list in terms of topics that interest your kids, 
you might be surprised at how their level of interest will 
be piqued simply by visiting the Arboretum and seeing 
the outrageous birds, plants and water features located on 
that prime piece of preserved property! The L.A. Arboretum 
& Botanic Gardens has a wide variety of activities 
and learning experiences available for families and kids of 
all ages. For example, an adventure hike provides the perfect 
opportunity to learn about the many wild creatures 
who make The Arboretum their home. Among the many 
other summer nature camp activities at the Arboretum 
are planting seedlings, playing nature games and making 
crafts and beautiful works of art. Summer nature camp 
offers a full schedule of various activities that are bound to 
inspire a child to appreciate nature and the wild animals 
who inhabit nature’s open spaces. The nature camp schedule 
at the Arboretum continues throughout the summer 
months, with week long sessions as well as holiday and 
weekend short term sessions. For more information 
about Summer Nature Camp at the Arboretum, contact 
youth activity coordinator Ted Tegart via e-mail at: ted., or call him at 626-821-5897, or to 
register call 626-821-4623.

KATIE Tse..........This and That


I’ve been taking a few “professional development” online courses 
for my job lately. While learning for learning’s sake is great and all, 
I must admit my motivation is purely monetary. Now you might 
expect that the courses I have to choose from would have something 
remotely relating to my job description – but no. Some of the more 
colorful choices are “Girl Gangs,” and “Textile Throughout History.” 
So you’ll understand how I just couldn’t pass up something as promising 
as “I AM The Center of the Universe! Unwrapping Narcissism.”

The books I read for my first few classes were somewhat interesting. I learned how 
professionals use reverse psychology to negotiate bargains. If this actually works I’ll 
let you know. However, this most recent text, addressing narcissism, has turned me 
into a convert! You, too, can purchase “The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age 
of Entitlement” by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, both Ph.D.’s, for $9.18 on 
Amazon. Truly, it is worth every cent to read this refreshingly frank critique of the 
rampant self-absorption in modern America.

Other highlights of the book include ways in 
which modern parents foster narcissistic tendencies 
in their children. Kids’ clothes spelling 
things like “Princess” in rhinestones always 
annoyed me, but now these wonderful authors 
have given me validation. They also openly criticize 
the trend toward weird - I mean “unique”- 
names for children. Of course, celebrities have 
perpetuated this by naming their offspring 
things like Apple, Suri, and Sage Moonblood. 
And if parents do give their child a traditional name, why must they mess around with 
the spelling? I’ve always thought I had a pretty common name. So it kind of surprises 
me when people ask how to spell it. I’ve received notes addressing me as Kayte, or 
sometimes Kaity. I had no idea I was so exotic! Although the authors didn’t emphasize 
it, I’d like to know why some parents give their kids extra surnames like Peyton and 
Baxter. Are they planning to open a law firm together?

Another fun gripe in the book is against social networks such as Facebook. I’m sure 
many people use these sites to responsibly share wholesome photos and messages with 
a select group of friends, but many more make it a vehicle for projecting an inflated 
version of themselves to the world. I ran into an old classmate a while ago who mentioned, 
incredulously, that she had looked for me on Facebook, but didn’t find me! Yes, 
that’s because I’m not on it. All the people who I would want to find me have already 
found me, without the intervention of Facefook.

I haven’t finished the “The Narcissism Epidemic” yet (I’m savoring it), but the last 
chapter I read was aimed at tweeters and bloggers. The authors stated that a number of 
these people think their moment-by-moment thoughts and experiences are insightful 
enough to be globally broadcasted. Hmm… I hope they don’t lump humble contributors 
to local newspapers into this category. Just for the record, I am not an expert on 
anything, and if you want to name your kid Plum Blossom and dress him in an ermine 
robe that’s fine with me.

*I have so much to thank my parents for – the least of which being that they didn’t 
name me Apple or Suri! So here’s a great, big shout out to the John Hopkins! Happy 
Father’s Day, with all my love!

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