(A new (simpler) view of the origins of life,(pre-dating Mendel's and Darwin's theories) deserves public attention, argues SFI Professor Eric Smith in his commentary in the Scientist. "Carbon fixation is one of the most conserved reactions throughout the biosphere. It suggests that a bridge between geochemistry and life may be found in the mechanisms of metabolism and the principles of ecology, not in compartments or memory molecules, which could have come later."... "(These), ecological principles become the foundations for the rest of biology, rather than merely secondary consequences of relations among individuals. Second, we should be warned that when we act as engineers in the living world, imagining that we can manipulate properties of individuals but remain ignorant of principles of ecology, we should expect the biosphere's response to be complex and not necessarily in accordance with our designs. The rapidly rising cost of industrial agriculture, and its fragility to shocks in energy supply, to pests, and to weather, is directly tied to the loss of natural ecological sources of stability in industrially managed agricultural systems.