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Datt Panchal

Datt Panchal

1 year ago

The Learning Habit

More on Personal Growth

Mia Gradelski

Mia Gradelski

1 year ago

Six Things Best-With-Money People Do Follow

I shouldn't generalize, yet this is true.

Spending is simpler than earning.

Prove me wrong, but with home debt at $145k in 2020 and individual debt at $67k, people don't have their priorities straight.

Where does this loan originate?

Under-50 Americans owed $7.86 trillion in Q4 20T. That's more than the US's 3-trillion-dollar deficit.

Here’s a breakdown:
🏡 Mortgages/Home Equity Loans = $5.28 trillion (67%)
🎓 Student Loans = $1.20 trillion (15%)
🚗 Auto Loans = $0.80 trillion (10%)
💳 Credit Cards = $0.37 trillion (5%)
🏥 Other/Medical = $0.20 trillion (3%)

Images.google.com

At least the Fed and government can explain themselves with their debt balance which includes:

-Providing stimulus packages 2x for Covid relief

-Stabilizing the economy

-Reducing inflation and unemployment

-Providing for the military, education and farmers

No American should have this much debt.

Don’t get me wrong. Debt isn’t all the same. Yes, it’s a negative number but it carries different purposes which may not be all bad.

Good debt: Use those funds in hopes of them appreciating as an investment in the future

-Student loans
-Business loan
-Mortgage, home equity loan
-Experiences

Paying cash for a home is wasteful. Just if the home is exceptionally uncommon, only 1 in a million on the market, and has an incredible bargain with numerous bidders seeking higher prices should you do so.

To impress the vendor, pay cash so they can sell it quickly. Most people can't afford most properties outright. Only 15% of U.S. homebuyers can afford their home. Zillow reports that only 37% of homes are mortgage-free.

People have clearly overreached.

Ignore appearances.

5% down can buy a 10-bedroom mansion.

Not paying in cash isn't necessarily a negative thing given property prices have increased by 30% since 2008, and throughout the epidemic, we've seen work-from-homers resort to the midwest, avoiding pricey coastal cities like NYC and San Francisco.

By no means do I think NYC is dead, nothing will replace this beautiful city that never sleeps, and now is the perfect time to rent or buy when everything is below average value for people who always wanted to come but never could. Once social distance ends, cities will recover. 24/7 sardine-packed subways prove New York isn't designed for isolation.

When buying a home, pay 20% cash and the balance with a mortgage. A mortgage must be incorporated into other costs such as maintenance, brokerage fees, property taxes, etc. If you're stuck on why a home isn't right for you, read here. A mortgage must be paid until the term date. Whether its a 10 year or 30 year fixed mortgage, depending on interest rates, especially now as the 10-year yield is inching towards 1.25%, it's better to refinance in a lower interest rate environment and pay off your debt as well since the Fed will be inching interest rates up following the 10-year eventually to stabilize the economy, but I believe that won't be until after Covid and when businesses like luxury, air travel, and tourism will get bashed.

Bad debt: I guess the contrary must be true. There is no way to profit from the loan in the future, therefore it is just money down the drain.

-Luxury goods
-Credit card debt
-Fancy junk
-Vacations, weddings, parties, etc.

Credit cards and school loans are the two largest risks to the financial security of those under 50 since banks love to compound interest to affect your credit score and make it tougher to take out more loans, not that you should with that much debt anyhow. With a low credit score and heavy debt, banks take advantage of you because you need aid to pay more for their services. Paying back debt is the challenge for most.

Choose Not Chosen

As a financial literacy advocate and blogger, I prefer not to brag, but I will now. I know what to buy and what to avoid. My parents educated me to live a frugal, minimalist stealth wealth lifestyle by choice, not because we had to.

That's the lesson.

The poorest person who shows off with bling is trying to seem rich.

Rich people know garbage is a bad investment. Investing in education is one of the best long-term investments. With information, you can do anything.

Good with money shun some items out of respect and appreciation for what they have.

Less is more.

Instead of copying the Joneses, use what you have. They may look cheerful and stylish in their 20k ft home, yet they may be as broke as OJ Simpson in his 20-bedroom mansion.

Let's look at what appears good to follow and maintain your wealth.

#1: Quality comes before quantity

Being frugal doesn't entail being cheap and cruel. Rich individuals care about relationships and treating others correctly, not impressing them. You don't have to be rich to be good with money, although most are since they don't live the fantasy lifestyle.

Underspending is appreciating what you have.

Many people believe organic food is the same as washing chemical-laden produce. Hopefully. Organic, vegan, fresh vegetables from upstate may be more expensive in the short term, but they will help you live longer and save you money in the long run.

Consider. You'll save thousands a month eating McDonalds 3x a day instead of fresh seafood, veggies, and organic fruit, but your life will be shortened. If you want to save money and die early, go ahead, but I assume we all want to break the world record for longest person living and would rather spend less. Plus, elderly people get tax breaks, medicare, pensions, 401ks, etc. You're living for free, therefore eating fast food forever is a terrible decision.

With a few longer years, you may make hundreds or millions more in the stock market, spend more time with family, and just live.

Folks, health is wealth.

Consider the future benefit, not simply the cash sign. Cheapness is useless.

Same with stuff. Don't stock your closet with fast-fashion you can't wear for years. Buying inexpensive goods that will fail tomorrow is stupid.

Investing isn't only in stocks. You're living. Consume less.

#2: If you cannot afford it twice, you cannot afford it once

I learned this from my dad in 6th grade. I've been lucky to travel, experience things, go to a great university, and conduct many experiments that others without a stable, decent lifestyle can afford.

I didn't live this way because of my parents' paycheck or financial knowledge.

Saving and choosing caused it.

I always bring cash when I shop. I ditch Apple Pay and credit cards since I can spend all I want on even if my account bounces.

Banks are nasty. When you lose it, they profit.

Cash hinders banks' profits. Carrying a big, hefty wallet with cash is lame and annoying, but it's the best method to only spend what you need. Not for vacation, but for tiny daily expenses.

Physical currency lets you know how much you have for lunch or a taxi.

It's physical, thus losing it prevents debt.

If you can't afford it, it will harm more than help.

#3: You really can purchase happiness with money.

If used correctly, yes.

Happiness and satisfaction differ.

It won't bring you fulfillment because you must work hard on your own to help others, but you can travel and meet individuals you wouldn't otherwise meet.

You can meet your future co-worker or strike a deal while waiting an hour in first class for takeoff, or you can meet renowned people at a networking brunch.

Seen a pattern here?

Your time and money are best spent on connections. Not automobiles or firearms. That’s just stuff. It doesn’t make you a better person.

Be different if you've earned less. Instead of trying to win the lotto or become an NFL star for your first big salary, network online for free.

Be resourceful. Sign up for LinkedIn, post regularly, and leave unengaged posts up because that shows power.

Consistency is beneficial.

I did that for a few months and met amazing people who helped me get jobs. Money doesn't create jobs, it creates opportunities.

Resist social media and scammers that peddle false hopes.

Choose wisely.

#4: Avoid gushing over titles and purchasing trash.

As Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reports, “Showing off wealth is no longer the way to signify having wealth. In the US particularly, the top 1% have been spending less on material goods since 2007.”

I checked my closet. No brand comes to mind. I've never worn a brand's logo and rotate 6 white shirts daily. I have my priorities and don't waste money or effort on clothing that won't fit me in a year.

Unless it's your full-time work, clothing shouldn't be part of our mornings.

Lifestyle of stealth wealth. You're so fulfilled that seeming homeless won't hurt your self-esteem.

That's self-assurance.

Extroverts aren't required.

That's irrelevant.

Showing off won't win you friends.

They'll like your personality.

#5: Time is the most valuable commodity.

Being rich doesn't entail working 24/7 M-F.

They work when they are ready to work.

Waking up at 5 a.m. won't make you a millionaire, but it will inculcate diligence and tenacity in you.

You have a busy day yet want to exercise. You can skip the workout or wake up at 4am instead of 6am to do it.

Emotion-driven lazy bums stay in bed.

Those that are accountable keep their promises because they know breaking one will destroy their week.

Since 7th grade, I've worked out at 5am for myself, not to impress others. It gives me greater energy to contribute to others, especially on weekends and holidays.

It's a habit that I have in my life.

Find something that you take seriously and makes you a better person.

As someone who is close to becoming a millionaire and has encountered them throughout my life, I can share with you a few important differences that have shaped who we are as a society based on the weekends:

-Read

-Sleep

-Best time to work with no distractions

-Eat together

-Take walks and be in nature

-Gratitude

-Major family time

-Plan out weeks

-Go grocery shopping because health = wealth

#6. Perspective is Important

Timing the markets will slow down your career. Professors preach scarcity, not abundance. Why should school teach success? They give us bad advice.

If you trust in abundance and luck by attempting and experimenting, growth will come effortlessly. Passion isn't a term that just appears. Mistakes and fresh people help. You can get money. If you don't think it's worth it, you won't.

You don’t have to be wealthy to be good at money, but most are for these reasons.  Rich is a mindset, wealth is power. Prioritize your resources. Invest in yourself, knowing the toughest part is starting.

Thanks for reading!

Teronie Donalson

Teronie Donalson

1 year ago

The best financial advice I've ever received and how you can use it.

Taking great financial advice is key to financial success.

A wealthy man told me to INVEST MY MONEY when I was young.

As I entered Starbucks, an older man was leaving. I noticed his watch and expensive-looking shirt, not like the guy in the photo, but one made of fine fabric like vicuna wool, which can only be shorn every two to three years. His Bentley confirmed my suspicions about his wealth.

This guy looked like James Bond, so I asked him how to get rich like him.

"Drug dealer?" he laughed.

Whether he was telling the truth, I'll never know, and I didn't want to be an accessory, but he quickly added, "Kid, invest your money; it will do wonders." He left.

When he told me to invest, he didn't say what. Later, I realized the investment game has so many levels that even if he drew me a blueprint, I wouldn't understand it.

The best advice I received was to invest my earnings. I must decide where to invest.

I'll preface by saying I'm not a financial advisor or Your financial advisor, but I'll share what I've learned from books, links, and sources. The rest is up to you.

Basically:

Invest your Money

Money is money, whether you call it cake, dough, moolah, benjamins, paper, bread, etc.

If you're lucky, you can buy one of the gold shirts in the photo.

Investing your money today means putting it towards anything that could be profitable.

According to the website Investopedia:
“Investing is allocating money to generate income or profit.”

You can invest in a business, real estate, or a skill that will pay off later.

Everyone has different goals and wants at different stages of life, so investing varies.

He was probably a sugar daddy with his Bentley, nice shirt, and Rolex.

In my twenties, I started making "good" money; now, in my forties, with a family and three kids, I'm building a legacy for my grandkids.

“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” — Robert Kiyosaki.

Money isn't evil, but lack of it is.

Financial stress is a major source of problems, according to studies. 

Being broke hurts, especially if you want to provide for your family or do things.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Investing in knowledge is invaluable. Before investing, do your homework.

You probably didn't learn about investing when you were young, like I didn't. My parents were in survival mode, making investing difficult.

In my 20s, I worked in banking to better understand money.


So, why invest?

Growth requires investment.

Investing puts money to work and can build wealth. Your money may outpace inflation with smart investing. Compounding and the risk-return tradeoff boost investment growth.

Investing your money means you won't have to work forever — unless you want to.

Two common ways to make money are;

-working hard,

and

-interest or capital gains from investments.

Capital gains can help you invest.

“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” — Robert G. Allen

If you keep your money in a savings account, you'll earn less than 2% interest at best; the bank makes money by loaning it out.

Savings accounts are a safe bet, but the low-interest rates limit your gains.

Don't skip it. An emergency fund should be in a savings account, not the market.

Other reasons to invest:

Investing can generate regular income.

If you own rental properties, the tenant's rent will add to your cash flow.

Daily, weekly, or monthly rentals (think Airbnb) generate higher returns year-round.

Capital gains are taxed less than earned income if you own dividend-paying or appreciating stock.

Time is on your side

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t — pays it.” — Albert Einstein

Historical data shows that young investors outperform older investors. So you can use compound interest over decades instead of investing at 45 and having less time to earn.

If I had taken that man's advice and invested in my twenties, I would have made a decent return by my thirties. (Depending on my investments)

So for those who live a YOLO (you only live once) life, investing can't hurt.

Investing increases your knowledge.

Lessons are clearer when you're invested. Each win boosts confidence and draws attention to losses. Losing money prompts you to investigate.

Before investing, I read many financial books, but I didn't understand them until I invested.


Now what?

What do you invest in? Equities, mutual funds, ETFs, retirement accounts, savings, business, real estate, cryptocurrencies, marijuana, insurance, etc.

The key is to start somewhere. Know you don't know everything. You must care.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao Tzu.

Start simple because there's so much information. My first investment book was:

Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"

This easy-to-read book made me hungry for more. This book is about the money lessons rich parents teach their children, which poor and middle-class parents neglect. The poor and middle-class work for money, while the rich let their assets work for them, says Kiyosaki.

There is so much to learn, but you gotta start somewhere.

More books:

***Wisdom

I hope I'm not suggesting that investing makes everything rosy. Remember three rules:

1. Losing money is possible.

2. Losing money is possible.

3. Losing money is possible.

You can lose money, so be careful.

Read, research, invest.

Golden rules for Investing your money

  • Never invest money you can't lose.

  • Financial freedom is possible regardless of income.

  • "Courage taught me that any sound investment will pay off, no matter how bad a crisis gets." Helu Carlos

  • "I'll tell you Wall Street's secret to wealth. When others are afraid, you're greedy. You're afraid when others are greedy. Buffett

  • Buy low, sell high, and have an exit strategy.

  • Ask experts or wealthy people for advice.

  • "With a good understanding of history, we can have a clear vision of the future." Helu Carlos

  • "It's not whether you're right or wrong, but how much money you make when you're right." Soros

  • "The individual investor should act as an investor, not a speculator." Graham

  • "It's different this time" is the most dangerous investment phrase. Templeton

Lastly,

  • Avoid quick-money schemes. Building wealth takes years, not months.

Start small and work your way up.

Thanks for reading!


This post is a summary. Read the full article here

Sad NoCoiner

Sad NoCoiner

1 year ago

Two Key Money Principles You Should Understand But Were Never Taught

Prudence is advised. Be debt-free. Be frugal. Spend less.

This advice sounds nice, but it rarely works.

Most people never learn these two money rules. Both approaches will impact how you see personal finance.

It may safeguard you from inflation or the inability to preserve money.

Let’s dive in.

#1: Making long-term debt your ally

High-interest debt hurts consumers. Many credit cards carry 25% yearly interest (or more), so always pay on time. Otherwise, you’re losing money.

Some low-interest debt is good. Especially when buying an appreciating asset with borrowed money.

Inflation helps you.

If you borrow $800,000 at 3% interest and invest it at 7%, you'll make $32,000 (4%).

As money loses value, fixed payments get cheaper. Your assets' value and cash flow rise.

The never-in-debt crowd doesn't know this. They lose money paying off mortgages and low-interest loans early when they could have bought assets instead.

#2: How To Buy Or Build Assets To Make Inflation Irrelevant

Dozens of studies demonstrate actual wage growth is static; $2.50 in 1964 was equivalent to $22.65 now.

These reports never give solutions unless they're selling gold.

But there is one.

Assets beat inflation.

$100 invested into the S&P 500 would have an inflation-adjusted return of 17,739.30%.

Likewise, you can build assets from nothing.  Doing is easy and quick. The returns can boost your income by 10% or more.

The people who obsess over inflation inadvertently make the problem worse for themselves.  They wait for The Big Crash to buy assets. Or they moan about debt clocks and spending bills instead of seeking a solution.

Conclusion

Being ultra-prudent is like playing golf with a putter to avoid hitting the ball into the water. Sure, you might not slice a drive into the pond. But, you aren’t going to play well either. Or have very much fun.

Money has rules.

Avoiding debt or investment risks will limit your rewards. Long-term, being too cautious hurts your finances.

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not financial advice, always do your own research.

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Tim Soulo

Tim Soulo

1 year ago

Here is why 90.63% of Pages Get No Traffic From Google. 

The web adds millions or billions of pages per day.

How much Google traffic does this content get?

In 2017, we studied 2 million randomly-published pages to answer this question. Only 5.7% of them ranked in Google's top 10 search results within a year of being published.

94.3 percent of roughly two million pages got no Google traffic.

Two million pages is a small sample compared to the entire web. We did another study.

We analyzed over a billion pages to see how many get organic search traffic and why.

How many pages get search traffic?

90% of pages in our index get no Google traffic, and 5.2% get ten visits or less.

90% of google pages get no organic traffic

How can you join the minority that gets Google organic search traffic?

There are hundreds of SEO problems that can hurt your Google rankings. If we only consider common scenarios, there are only four.

Reason #1: No backlinks

I hate to repeat what most SEO articles say, but it's true:

Backlinks boost Google rankings.

Google's "top 3 ranking factors" include them.

Why don't we divide our studied pages by the number of referring domains?

66.31 percent of pages have no backlinks, and 26.29 percent have three or fewer.

Did you notice the trend already?

Most pages lack search traffic and backlinks.

But are these the same pages?

Let's compare monthly organic search traffic to backlinks from unique websites (referring domains):

More backlinks equals more Google organic traffic.

Referring domains and keyword rankings are correlated.

It's important to note that correlation does not imply causation, and none of these graphs prove backlinks boost Google rankings. Most SEO professionals agree that it's nearly impossible to rank on the first page without backlinks.

You'll need high-quality backlinks to rank in Google and get search traffic. 

Is organic traffic possible without links?

Here are the numbers:

Four million pages get organic search traffic without backlinks. Only one in 20 pages without backlinks has traffic, which is 5% of our sample.

Most get 300 or fewer organic visits per month.

What happens if we exclude high-Domain-Rating pages?

The numbers worsen. Less than 4% of our sample (1.4 million pages) receive organic traffic. Only 320,000 get over 300 monthly organic visits, or 0.1% of our sample.

This suggests high-authority pages without backlinks are more likely to get organic traffic than low-authority pages.

Internal links likely pass PageRank to new pages.

Two other reasons:

  1. Our crawler's blocked. Most shady SEOs block backlinks from us. This prevents competitors from seeing (and reporting) PBNs.

  2. They choose low-competition subjects. Low-volume queries are less competitive, requiring fewer backlinks to rank.

If the idea of getting search traffic without building backlinks excites you, learn about Keyword Difficulty and how to find keywords/topics with decent traffic potential and low competition.

Reason #2: The page has no long-term traffic potential.

Some pages with many backlinks get no Google traffic.

Why? I filtered Content Explorer for pages with no organic search traffic and divided them into four buckets by linking domains.

Almost 70k pages have backlinks from over 200 domains, but no search traffic.

By manually reviewing these (and other) pages, I noticed two general trends that explain why they get no traffic:

  1. They overdid "shady link building" and got penalized by Google;

  2. They're not targeting a Google-searched topic.

I won't elaborate on point one because I hope you don't engage in "shady link building"

#2 is self-explanatory:

If nobody searches for what you write, you won't get search traffic.

Consider one of our blog posts' metrics:

No organic traffic despite 337 backlinks from 132 sites.

The page is about "organic traffic research," which nobody searches for.

News articles often have this. They get many links from around the web but little Google traffic.

People can't search for things they don't know about, and most don't care about old events and don't search for them.


Note:

Some news articles rank in the "Top stories" block for relevant, high-volume search queries, generating short-term organic search traffic.

The Guardian's top "Donald Trump" story:

Ahrefs caught on quickly:

"Donald Trump" gets 5.6M monthly searches, so this page got a lot of "Top stories" traffic.

I bet traffic has dropped if you check now.


One of the quickest and most effective SEO wins is:

  1. Find your website's pages with the most referring domains;

  2. Do keyword research to re-optimize them for relevant topics with good search traffic potential.

Bryan Harris shared this "quick SEO win" during a course interview:

He suggested using Ahrefs' Site Explorer's "Best by links" report to find your site's most-linked pages and analyzing their search traffic. This finds pages with lots of links but little organic search traffic.

We see:

The guide has 67 backlinks but no organic traffic.

We could fix this by re-optimizing the page for "SERP"

A similar guide with 26 backlinks gets 3,400 monthly organic visits, so we should easily increase our traffic.

Don't do this with all low-traffic pages with backlinks. Choose your battles wisely; some pages shouldn't be ranked.

Reason #3: Search intent isn't met

Google returns the most relevant search results.

That's why blog posts with recommendations rank highest for "best yoga mat."

Google knows that most searchers aren't buying.

It's also why this yoga mats page doesn't rank, despite having seven times more backlinks than the top 10 pages:

The page ranks for thousands of other keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. Not being the "best yoga mat" isn't a big deal.

If you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic, re-optimizing them for search intent can be a quick SEO win.

It was originally a boring landing page describing our product's benefits and offering a 7-day trial.

We realized the problem after analyzing search intent.

People wanted a free tool, not a landing page.

In September 2018, we published a free tool at the same URL. Organic traffic and rankings skyrocketed.

Reason #4: Unindexed page

Google can’t rank pages that aren’t indexed.

If you think this is the case, search Google for site:[url]. You should see at least one result; otherwise, it’s not indexed.

A rogue noindex meta tag is usually to blame. This tells search engines not to index a URL.

Rogue canonicals, redirects, and robots.txt blocks prevent indexing.

Check the "Excluded" tab in Google Search Console's "Coverage" report to see excluded pages.

Google doesn't index broken pages, even with backlinks.

Surprisingly common.

In Ahrefs' Site Explorer, the Best by Links report for a popular content marketing blog shows many broken pages.

One dead page has 131 backlinks:

According to the URL, the page defined content marketing. —a keyword with a monthly search volume of 5,900 in the US.

Luckily, another page ranks for this keyword. Not a huge loss.

At least redirect the dead page's backlinks to a working page on the same topic. This may increase long-tail keyword traffic.


This post is a summary. See the original post here

Julie Zhuo

Julie Zhuo

1 year ago

Comparing poor and excellent managers

10-sketch explanation

Choosing Tasks

Bringing News

carrying out 1:1s

providing critique

Managing Turbulence

Bob Service

Bob Service

2 years ago

Did volcanic 'glasses' play a role in igniting early life?

Quenched lava may have aided in the formation of long RNA strands required by primitive life.

It took a long time for life to emerge. Microbes were present 3.7 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the 4.5-billion-year-old Earth had cooled enough to sustain biochemistry, according to fossils, and many scientists believe RNA was the genetic material for these first species. RNA, while not as complicated as DNA, would be difficult to forge into the lengthy strands required to transmit genetic information, raising the question of how it may have originated spontaneously.

Researchers may now have a solution. They demonstrate how basaltic glasses assist individual RNA letters, also known as nucleoside triphosphates, join into strands up to 200 letters long in lab studies. The glasses are formed when lava is quenched in air or water, or when melted rock generated by asteroid strikes cools rapidly, and they would have been plentiful in the early Earth's fire and brimstone.

The outcome has caused a schism among top origin-of-life scholars. "This appears to be a great story that finally explains how nucleoside triphosphates react with each other to create RNA strands," says Thomas Carell, a scientist at Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University. However, Harvard University's Jack Szostak, an RNA expert, says he won't believe the results until the study team thoroughly describes the RNA strands.

Researchers interested in the origins of life like the idea of a primordial "RNA universe" since the molecule can perform two different functions that are essential for life. It's made up of four chemical letters, just like DNA, and can carry genetic information. RNA, like proteins, can catalyze chemical reactions that are necessary for life.

However, RNA can cause headaches. No one has yet discovered a set of plausible primordial conditions that would cause hundreds of RNA letters—each of which is a complicated molecule—to join together into strands long enough to support the intricate chemistry required to kick-start evolution.

Basaltic glasses may have played a role, according to Stephen Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They're high in metals like magnesium and iron, which help to trigger a variety of chemical reactions. "Basaltic glass was omnipresent on Earth at the time," he adds.

He provided the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution samples of five different basalt glasses. Each sample was ground into a fine powder, sanitized, and combined with a solution of nucleoside triphosphates by molecular biologist Elisa Biondi and her colleagues. The RNA letters were unable to link up without the presence of glass powder. However, when the molecules were mixed with the glass particles, they formed long strands of hundreds of letters, according to the researchers, who published their findings in Astrobiology this week. There was no need for heat or light. Biondi explains, "All we had to do was wait." After only a day, little RNA strands produced, yet the strands continued to grow for months. Jan Paek, a molecular biologist at Firebird Biomolecular Sciences, says, "The beauty of this approach is its simplicity." "Mix the components together, wait a few days, and look for RNA."

Nonetheless, the findings pose a slew of problems. One of the questions is how nucleoside triphosphates came to be in the first place. Recent study by Biondi's colleague Steven Benner suggests that the same basaltic glasses may have aided in the creation and stabilization of individual RNA letters.

The form of the lengthy RNA strands, according to Szostak, is a significant challenge. Enzymes in modern cells ensure that most RNAs form long linear chains. RNA letters, on the other hand, can bind in complicated branching sequences. Szostak wants the researchers to reveal what kind of RNA was produced by the basaltic glasses. "It irritates me that the authors made an intriguing initial finding but then chose to follow the hype rather than the research," Szostak says.

Biondi acknowledges that her team's experiment almost probably results in some RNA branching. She does acknowledge, however, that some branched RNAs are seen in species today, and that analogous structures may have existed before the origin of life. Other studies carried out by the study also confirmed the presence of lengthy strands with connections, indicating that they are most likely linear. "It's a healthy argument," says Dieter Braun, a Ludwig Maximilian University origin-of-life chemist. "It will set off the next series of tests."