A few bioscientists in recent years have been rethinking the origin of life in the light of some new ideas. They think the most counter-intuitive trait of life is one of the best clues to its origin. As a result, they have come up with a radically different picture of what the earliest life was like and where it evolved. It's a picture for which there is growing evidence. Life, the new idea argues, is powered not by the kind of chemistry that goes on in a test tube but by a kind of electricity.