Squid of the apocalypse

Reality mining

And apparently the moon has a chocolate-nougat core, too

Apparently astronomers have discovered that there’s a huge cloud of frozen sugar near the center of the Milky Way. It’s glycolaldehyde, a sugar composed of two carbon atoms, two oxygen atoms and four hydrogen atoms. No word on how tasty that stuff actually is, but given that it’s barely a few degrees above absolute zero, you wouldn’t really wanna lick it anyway. But outside of the extremely cool discovery of our galaxy’s Tootsie-Pop-like qualities, the researchers also surmise that a sugary cloud like this could help seed life — if a comet passed through it, grabbed of bunch of the stuff, then deposited it on a nice warm planet. As The Scotsman reports:

Radio astronomer Dr Jan Hollis, from the American space agency NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Green- belt, Maryland, said: “Many of the interstellar molecules discovered to date are the same kinds detected in laboratory experiments specifically designed to synthesise prebiotic molecules.

“This fact suggests a universal prebiotic chemistry.”

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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