Galaxy Full of Other Earths

Well, maybe it matters to listen to TED Talks…

Seems that the population of planets in the Galaxy is dominated by smaller sized planets, 2 x Earth or smaller.

Kepler Finds Lots of Earth Like Planets

Kepler Finds Lots of Earth Like Planets

This is from back about June of 2010, so I’m getting to it a bit late, still, it matters.

Only thing is, this news was leaked in a TED Talk instead of officially announced. Would have been nice to have been officially recognized. Oh well, ‘all in good time’ I guess.

“The Galaxy is rich in small Earth like planets” … about “100 Million planets have habitable potential”.

More in the story at:

http://news.discovery.com/space/kepler-scientist-galaxy-is-rich-in-earth-like-planets.html

The TED Talk is by Dimitar Sassilov and the major point he is trying to make is that the progress in ‘synthetic biology’ where we make processes in the lab similar to how life formed is moving toward the answer of ‘how much life and it is like us?’ from one direction while ‘how many earth like planets?’ is moving toward that answer from another. Toward the end he makes a point about “If we are to be good stewards” that wasn’t real clear to me ( he wants us to ‘do it’ but it’s a bit unclear to me what we are to do… be ‘stewards’ or find life or…) But my sense of it is that he’s saying the probability of other life in the galaxy is now quite high, and we, though a small planet, have a long history of live, so we ought to protect it better. ( I think…)

At any rate, the Drake Equation is slowly getting filled out with answers, and the answers all tend to point toward a Galaxy full of life. (Though SETI implies they don’t use the radio much…)

Double Your Pleasure

Then, last September, NASA announced a planet found in a binary star system. This is a ‘big deal’ as some folks had asserted the instability of gravitational forces around binaries might prevent or reduce planet formation. As most starts are binaries, it’s important to know they can have planets too. (To me it was always a no brainer that they would be fine. Look at Jupiter, Saturn, and all their moons. Just ‘scale it up’ a bit and we would have a binary system right here…). What makes this announcement interesting, though, was that the planet was found to be mutually orbiting both stars. Kind of like finding a planet out in the Kuiper Belt that’s orbiting the center of mass of the solar system and doesn’t really care if Jupiter were glowing…

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/15sep_doublesuns/

“This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life,” Kepler principal investigator William Borucki said. “Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now.”
[…]
Astronomers further observed that the brightness of the system dipped even when the stars were not eclipsing one another, hinting at a third body. The additional dimming in brightness events, called the tertiary and quaternary eclipses, reappeared at irregular intervals of time, indicating the stars were in different positions in their orbit each time the third body passed. This showed the third body was circling, not just one, but both stars, in a wide circumbinary orbit.

New News?

So that’s all old news. Any “new news”?

From NASA on 26 Jan 2012:

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jan/HQ_12-032_Kepler_23-33.html

RELEASE : 12-032
NASA’s Kepler Announces 11 Planetary Systems Hosting 26 Planets

MOFFET FIELD, Calif. — NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets. These discoveries nearly double the number of verified planets and triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, the star. Such systems will help astronomers better understand how planets form.

The planets orbit close to their host stars and range in size from 1.5 times the radius of Earth to larger than Jupiter. Fifteen are between Earth and Neptune in size. Further observations will be required to determine which are rocky like Earth and which have thick gaseous atmospheres like Neptune. The planets orbit their host star once every six to 143 days. All are closer to their host star than Venus is to our sun.

“Prior to the Kepler mission, we knew of perhaps 500 exoplanets across the whole sky,” said Doug Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now, in just two years staring at a patch of sky not much bigger than your fist, Kepler has discovered more than 60 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates. This tells us that our galaxy is positively loaded with planets of all sizes and orbits.

Kepler identifies planet candidates by repeatedly measuring the change in brightness of more than 150,000 stars to detect when a planet passes in front of the star. That passage casts a small shadow toward Earth and the Kepler spacecraft.

Each of the new confirmed planetary systems contains two to five closely spaced transiting planets
. In tightly packed planetary systems, the gravitational pull of the planets on each other causes some planets to accelerate and some to decelerate along their orbits. The acceleration causes the orbital period of each planet to change. Kepler detects this effect by measuring the changes, or so-called Transit Timing Variations (TTVs)

Planetary systems with TTVs can be verified without requiring extensive ground-based observations, accelerating confirmation of planet candidates. The TTV detection technique also increases Kepler’s ability to confirm planetary systems around fainter and more distant stars.

Five of the systems (Kepler-25, Kepler-27, Kepler-30, Kepler-31 and Kepler-33) contain a pair of planets where the inner planet orbits the star twice during each orbit of the outer planet. Four of the systems (Kepler-23, Kepler-24, Kepler-28 and Kepler-32) contain a pairing where the outer planet circles the star twice for every three times the inner planet orbits its star.

“These configurations help to amplify the gravitational interactions between the planets, similar to how my sons kick their legs on a swing at the right time to go higher,” said Jason Steffen, the Brinson postdoctoral fellow at Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics in Batavia, Ill., and lead author of a paper confirming four of the systems.

Kepler-33, a star that is older and more massive than our sun, had the most planets. The system hosts five planets, ranging in size from 1.5 to 5 times that of Earth. All of the planets are located closer to their star than any planet is to our sun.

The properties of a star provide clues for planet detection. The decrease in the star’s brightness and duration of a planet transit, combined with the properties of its host star, present a recognizable signature. When astronomers detect planet candidates that exhibit similar signatures around the same star, the likelihood of any of these planet candidates being a false positive is very low.

“The approach used to verify the Kepler-33 planets shows the overall reliability is quite high,” said Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper on Kepler-33. “This is a validation by multiplicity.”

These discoveries are published in four different papers in the Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Notice how many of these were stated as being in orbits “closer to the star than” and various limits like “any planet” in our system or ‘Venus’ or… That’s because they are detecting transits, so a planet with an orbital period of 100 years is going to take several years to make a transit. The planets far from their suns will take a lot longer to find. THAT means this is a lower bound on planets in those systems, not an upper bound.

I also note in passing that we are seeing orbital resonance in those systems, too. This is nice in that it confirms that our system with lots of orbital resonance is the norm, not some oddball.

So Much Space

With so much space, and so many stars, and so many of them full of planets (now being confirmed) and lots of them in the habitable zones (numbers to rise over time as longer orbital period objects are found) and the chemicals of life being found scattered all over the solar system (and spontaneously forming in the lab): Heck, they might even start to suspect that life will be about as common as planets that can support it.

Next thing you know, they will start to figure out that some of it will have existed for a few Billion years before ours got started. That during that time it will have got off its rock and moved on into space. And even at a fractional percent of the speed of light, some of them will have been wandering off to look at other interesting rocks with life-like signatures on them…

I suspect we are slowly approaching the point where we can admit:

1) We are not alone.
2) They are smarter than we are.
3) They have been here, but see no reason to talk to us much.

I’m pretty sure our historical accounts of beings from the sky and of alien visitors have truth in them. IF that is true, we can see how they reacted. Kind of like our VISTA and Peace Corps. A few folks who run off to some hole somewhere and try to make the folks lives better for a while, teach them a few things, then head back home. Some other groups looking to get a Ph.D. in “Alien Earth Biology” establishing ‘blinds’ so they can observe the primitive culture.

Yes, the “Ancient Aliens” ideas. Look, we’ve got written records. The interpretation as Gods and Angels only came later, in many cases.

So think about it for a minute. In a galaxy full of planets and life, with Nova and Supernova events on a fairly regular schedule, sitting on your original rock waiting to become extinct is not going to be an attractive option for any intelligent species. (Though most of humanity is happy with it… something to ponder…)

Once they decided to head into space, why hang around any one star? Especially once you know it, or one near it, is likely to explode? So there will be generational ships (if not faster) wandering around looking for nice long lived yellow stars to visit. Picking up asteroids and space rocks for building materials will be boring after a while, too. At that time, the occasional scout ship sent off on a study party to ‘That interesting primitive tribal life’ over there… well, it’s just going to happen.

One of the easier ways to do it will be gravity assisted orbits. Lots of loops and long approaches. So maybe “Nemesis” isn’t a planet as we know it. Perhaps it is just a very large generational ship in a ‘few thousand year’ highly elliptical orbit. One that conserves some of that valuable velocity (should they decide to visit somewhere else) and keeps them away from the local riff-raff most of the time, but occasionally brings them in for a pass by the resources mines of the asteroids and to pick up some more plasma and hydrogen for the fusion reactors.

Describe such a craft to a primitive culture without the concept of ‘generational ship’, and they will record it as a planet. Describe your fusion reactors as being like the sun, and they will picture a wandering star.

Such a visiting generational ship could explain a lot. The long periods between ‘interventions’. The low contact rates (just a few folks from scout ships most of the time, larger contacts on very long cycles). Tendency to indifference, really. (A bit of a ‘humanitarian’ sharing of a few good ideas, but mostly hands off with ‘the natives’).

Is this “Crazy Talk”? I don’t think so. It is just reacting to the numbers and the highest probabilities. We now KNOW the galaxy is crammed with planets. We now KNOW that life is not hard to form and the building blocks both form spontaneously and are found floating around the solar system. We now KNOW that other systems have been around for at least 10 Billion years longer than our, relatively new, system. And we know that a rational advanced species would not sit on it’s rock and wait to die as it’s sun exploded. The only logical conclusion is that the galaxy will be filled with various space faring life, some of it quite ancient.

It will also be the case that The Wanderers will need to wander out toward the ‘newer’ regions toward the spiral arms. Why? Because the black hole in the center of the galaxy will eventually suck in and doom anything staying too close for too long. Because it is older near the center and, thus, will be more fully explored, owned, and unavailable. Because there will be more opportunity for new places, new materials, new adventures, and, frankly, being left the hell alone; out in the boonies. There is also the geometric imperative that expansion outward gives more opportunities for growth while expansion inward will reach a fill and stop point.

Even if expansion inward happened, after 10 Billion years, it would be full, and things would turn outward.

So while it’s likely that there is life, and lots of it, toward the galactic center (though in the very central regions the place is so crowded and chaotic with stars in crazy complex orbits and lots of interactions that life would be a bit hard…) there ought to be a very complex set of old societies of many different life forms interacting. Unless, of course, one of them is a Borg like “destroyer of worlds”… It is toward the outer edges that a rational society would head. It gives the maximum life span to that society and the most opportunity to develop as they wish, away from the chaos of the core groups.

All of which implies that there simply will be generational ships, some quite large, floating around ‘out here’. Most likely arriving from the direction of the older and more crowded central regions. Most likely NOT interested in advertising their existence too broadly (lest some malevolent society ‘mess with them’). And while they might hang around for a few generations, the general cultural norm will be to ‘move along’. They have already made the leap to space to avoid Star Death, so why would they want to go back to being rock bound?

And that, IMHO, is the simplest answer that accounts for all the facts. Even the new ones about just how crammed full of planets our galaxy happens to be.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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40 Responses to Galaxy Full of Other Earths

  1. Jeff Alberts says:

    “(Though SETI implies they don’t use the radio much…)”

    Of course not! They’re using iPods! ;)

  2. bruce says:

    Its an interesting thought, would two earths generate similar living forms? I’d guess, very unlikely, and if the earths had different climate and asteroid experiences the life forms would be even further apart.
    I don’t care how long a lizard evolves, I don’t think it will manufacture pencils.

    Of course if there are infinite planets there should be infinite earths just like ours.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    IMHO, it’s simply because a generational ship has no need to broadcast anything. We are busy moving our ‘broadcasts’ to direct satellite downward directed signals and things sent over fibre and wires. What does go up tends to be tight beams aimed at said satellites. At any reasonable distance such beams will be covering a very small arc of sky (not to mention being near impossible to detect – we can barely pick up Voyager at the edge of our Solar System, to 10,000 or a million times weaker?… )

    Even a cluster of generational ships will find it easier to use lasers to communicate with zero leakage.

    Add the fact that compression, encryption, and spread spectrum (all of which can be used to assure efficient communications, not just hide) tend to make a signal that looks ever more like ‘noise’ and IMHO the SETI folks are just looking for the wrong thing in the wrong places…

    I’d be looking for flashes of ultra-high flicker rate laser lights and evidence for spread spectrum ‘fuzz’ over broad bands of transmission.

    At any rate, if the giant sized colony ship idea is correct, there would be little communications outside the ship anyway, most of that would be over short distances, and likely on a tight beam at a remote small ship, so unlikely to repeat (as ‘things move’…) Any communications ‘back to the mother colony’ would also tend to be beamed, and directed inward toward the galaxy core (so we ought to look ‘outward’ to detect them… or directly inward to see the reply) but even that is unlikely to be done. Why? By the time an answer would be sent “things move” and it would be unlikely that a return beam would find the same ship. The most likely way around that which I can see is to send a signal saying “Here is what we have learned [packet]; reply on vector x,y,z in 20 years.” As the ship moves, it would need to send expected location for reply. This too implies that any signal found would not repeat…

    It might also be part of why one would have a highly elliptical orbit. Puts you outside all the solar noise and oort cloud junk ever few thousand years for clearer communications…

    At any rate, broadcast (as opposed to narrowcast beams) radio on a single channel seems very unlikely to me. Heck, even our communications are moving away from it with spread spectrum being more common these days along with burst mode data transmission and a very large number of transmitters on any one frequency using time division, code devision, and geographical division (short range) to keep the signals separated. From any distance that would look like noise…

    I also can’t think of any reasonable way to spot a semi-dark generational / colony ship at great distance. Would a battleship gray sphere of 1/2 km even be visible at the orbit of the Kuiper Belt? The Hubble found one of a bit shy of 1 km:

    http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n0912/17kbo/

    But it is “icy” so likely highly reflective.

    So IFF we had Hubble pointed at it and IFF we were looking for the signal and IFF it was bigger than 1 km or a brighter surface we MIGHT find it…

    Any guess what the changes would be of catching a 20 second IR pulse laser com link pointed at a scout ship visiting a nearby KBO to pick up some materials? Yeah, ‘zero’…

    UPDATE: Reading the rest of the article in that link about HOW they spotted it, it was via the blink of the starlight from one of the ‘guidance stars’ on Hubble. They didn’t actually see it at all. Just a ‘blip’ in one of the star watching guidance sensors. So color doesn’t matter and they might well see one smaller (depends on what speed of blip they can spot…) HOWEVER, it also means that they can’t know what it was, and it has to have moved in a particular very precise place to be detected. Not going to be spotting any ‘generational ships’ that way… Even if big ones.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Bruce:

    I think the answer is “it depends”.

    There are consistent themes that keep coming back. But with variations.

    Rhinocerids, for example. BIG land dwelling herbivores with a pointy thing on their nose. From the present Rhinoceros to the Triceratops. They also periodically go extinct and then re-evolve. One of natures ‘looks good but dead end’ designs…. (Can’t hide underground in comet strikes…)

    Flying things. High metabolic rate and wings. From bats to birds to pterodactyls. Even butterflies and bees.

    Predators have forward facing eyes, great stereo vision, large front arms / paws, and generally no ‘poky things’ on their heads. Prey tend to have side facing eyes, very large ears (better detection of predators) large rear legs (fast acceleration away from threats) and large guts (digesting non-prey bulky plant foods). Predators are crafty and often coordinate in packs. Prey are prone to paranoia and easy startling and hang out in herds, but often show no coordinated defense. Often you get ‘poky things’ on the head end. Those generalities are likely to hold as they are determined by the relative needs of prey and predator.

    Yes, there are exceptions. Primates have forward eyes and stereo vision for better swinging through the trees… Killer Whales do not have forward eyes as they use sonar.

    There was a bipedal dinosaur with great forward vision and arms in the process of becoming more utilitarian tools. It looks to have hunted in packs. If not extinct, it could well have evolved into our niche.

    Periodically we see mass extinctions, then species radiation back to re-fill the empty niches.

    The conclusion is pretty simple. Any alien life WILL have things living in those same niches. The particular biochemistry and the specifics will vary, but the overall class and form will be recognizable.

    So there will be saprophytes that clean up the dead stuff. Maybe mold and yeast like. Maybe bacteria like. There will be flying things and likely even rhinocerids and dung ‘beetles’. There will likely also be some bi-pedal life form with forward facing eyes and hands, a modestly large brain, and social life style.

    It might be an “advanced lizard”, or an “advanced bird”, or even the equivalent of an “advanced mammal”. (My money would be on “advanced lizard with bird like warm metabolism” – aka “advanced dinosaur” – as they WERE winning, but for an unfortunate rock fall event…)

    We would likely also find that on worlds without ice ages they were cold blooded (why have such things as heat control and fur if not needed?) while on some other planets the size might be much larger (fewer rock fall events, more caves to hide in) or smaller (more rock fall events…).

    In short: Alien life will likely LOOK a lot like familiar things, but have surprising variations based on ‘local history and climate’.

  5. Although I too would like to think that I am unique, experimental evidence points in the other direction.

    My web is unusually slow today, almost inaccessible. Perhaps world leaders do not want us to share information on their powerlessness over reality.

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    The universe is alive!…but not with life here and there but ALIVE. Wanna see a universe from the outside?…just go to the closest mirror and look at it.
    As the fields of the universe are turned around almost 360ºon the polished metal surface of the mirror, it gives you back a real image of the universe.
    Believe it or not!
    They are nagging universes too,…those are of the electron kind.

  7. Yes, the whole universe is alive; We are each part of that reality!

    I went to New Orleans to try to get some rest, but I couldn’t do so. Why?

    Society is sliding toward disaster; I am powerless to stop it.

    Professor Curry’s blog may be our best hope of averting disaster.

    Here are a couple of my attempts to awaken the public:

    1. Complexity versus simplicity:

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/25/nature-physics-insight-complexity/#comment-162451

    2. Uncertainty versus action:

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/28/keith-seitter-on-the-uncertainty-monster/#comment-163368

    Two keys that helped me discover reality and my place in the universe:

    1. Mass is stored energy (E = mc^2)
    2. Atomic rest mass data
    http://www.omatumr.com//Data/2000Data.htm

    Those keys allowed me to avoid pitfalls of big, sweeping, alluring theoretical concepts (Oscillating solar neutrinos, Superheavy elements, Pandora’s Box of FUN isotopic anomalies, etc.) and discover there is no reason to fear reality:

    1. http://arxiv.org/abs/1102.1499 or
    http://news.mst.edu/2003/03/research_suggests_neutron_repu.html

    2. http://journalofcosmology.com/BigBang102.html

    Reality is not fearful, but world leader’s attempts to control reality are indeed dangerous.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K Manuel

  8. Post Scripts (now that the web is working) –

    1. Measurements show that our elements were made in the same nuclear furnace that heats Earth and sustains our lives today.

    2. Other living forms may not have the ability to traverse interstellar distances any more than elements from distant stars or interstellar grains have the ability to traverse interstellar distances.

    3. If our galaxy is expanding as part of the expanding universe, as it appears, then Earth was much closer to the center of the Milky Way five billion years (5 Gyrs) ago when the Sun exploded and ejected the material that now orbits it.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo & Oliver:

    A few years ago I’d reached the conclusion that matter was just condensed light. Balls of photons that had slowed down so much that their energy had been embodied in ‘rest mass’. I was somewhat dreading the notion that I’d need to reinvent particle physics to figure out what was really going on.

    You can imagine my relief at discovering the whole Electric Universe / Plasma Universe folks and Oliver’s work on the Neutron Sun. I realized I was not alone in seeing ‘modern physics’ as just a bollixed up mess; that it “wasn’t me”…

    Oddly, a neighbor of mine was somewhat instrumental in that vision. He, too, is Hispanic in origin (though born in the USA) and has a fondness for talking of harmonics…

    At any rate, I still find a fair amount of physics as taught to me useful ( up to about 1970 or so it wasn’t too bad.). But I still find comfort in how recent ‘discoveries’ are generally supportive of the plasma / electric universe and neutron views.

    Is our present civilization doomed? Most certainly. ALL civilizations are.

    So don’t despair over it. It is just the normal cycle of life playing out. While some effort to ‘slow it down’ enough for you and yours to not be around when it “goes splat” is a reasonable thing to do; don’t lose sleep over it. It is like being stressed and afraid of your own death. No sense in that. We all die. All societies die. Life begins again. Civilizations start again.

    IMHO, the best thing to do is simply enjoy the ride, be at peace with the process, do what you reasonably can to “slow it down” or minimize the damage to you and yours. And maybe find a way to help the next cycle restart a little higher up the spiritual scale of octaves…

    One of my “someday” fantasies is a ‘clay tablet printer’. A kind of an inkjet printer that puts printing INTO the glaze layer of tablets / tiles that can then be fired. We have an ‘existence proof’ of how valuable a basement full of tiles can be in what we have re-learned about Babylon… Then it would just be “Fire up the computer, print and fire the tiles, and store in the protected basement / cave.”

    What to put on them? I’d start with math and chemistry, practical Engineering and history – especially ancient history. Multiple languages (Rosetta Stone writ large – with at least English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Hieroglyphs, Greek, Russian, Hawaiian / Polynesian, Gaelic, Cuneiform, Akkadian, Aramaic)

    Sometime after that I’d start working on things like the Greek Classics, Shakespeare, anthologies of poetry, the Bible…

    Simply because I know that every civilization collapses. This one will too. Global Governance will eventually happen, then when that one falls, there will be no ‘other country’ to preserve our history (as the Arabs did with some of the Greek classics… )

    It’s THE best thing I can think of to help the future…

    But as I’ll likely never get to actually do it myself, if anyone else wants to do it, well, go for it!

    Frankly, I’d not be surprised to find that the tile industry might already have a ’tile printer’ for putting graphic designs on tiles direct from computer. It might be as simple as buying them…

    I wonder if there is a market for wall / floor tiles with the collected works of Plato on them? Or math texts through calculus…

  10. Bruce Ryan says:

    Just one thought, as I understand it humanoids nearly died out at one point in prehistory. Had we dissolved into the soil the Earth would be an environmentalist dream. I presume another creature might evolve to the point it too could manhandle the environment :-). Maybe whales could redeploy landside,
    Such a fine line between success in evolution and what we characterize as advanced lifeforms. Perhaps the dinosaurs dna was so robust it precluded the ability to move forward (again thinking from the point of view of self absorbed humans) or perhaps that seed of development simply was protein for a better creature.
    I guess I’m just stuck on the notion that we are incredibly fortunate, in such a wide world to have come into existence and be. That thought so overwhealms me I struggle to imagine intelligent life managing the maze.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Bruce:

    There are two problems with the “bottleneck almost extinguished humans” thesis. Not to rain on your parade, but it’s just not quite as extreme as it seems.

    First, the simple one:

    The proposed “Toba Event” near extinction was placed at about 70,000 years ago. Neanderthals also came through that event (and may have done better than modern humans at getting through such a cold challenge).

    So even IF “modern humans” had become extinct, that would have just left the field clear for Neanderthals to evolve into ‘modern humans’. As some of us suspect Neanders were both nicer and smarter than moderns and that moderns mostly had a violent temper and deception on their side, this might have been a blessing to modernity ;-)

    It was not all primates, and not even all hominids, that were nearly extinguished…

    The other is a bit more complex (and I’m not sure if they have allowed for it in the calculations or not – but from the look of it, not…)

    Notice that they always talk about the “Mitochondrial Eve” and the Y-Chromosome Adam? That means they are looking at a sex linked marker.

    The problem is that sex linked markers are subject to extinction based ONLY on how common they are in the gene pool. Minor markers become extinct whenever a generation is unisex and become less prominent (so more at risk) each time a generation has a skewed sex ratio.

    You can actually see this in last names (in the west) as they are now sex-linked.

    So say your name is Frizoalorizogovitch, and there is only one of your male line left. You have 5 kids, all female. Guess what, your name dies with you. Yet YOUR GENES DID NOT.

    Similarly, a Y chromosome type may end with that same father, but the broad genetic line goes one.

    For the mitochondria side, I carry my Mothers mitochondria. My children carry my WIFE’s mitochondria, not mine. Only if my mother had some female offspring did her mitochondria continue. Yet I carry 1/2 of her non-mitochondria genes.

    Over time, minor types of Y-Chromosomes and Mitochondria will tend to expire simply due to the ‘roll of the dice’ on sex ratio of generations of offspring.

    On the other side, there are mutations happening all the time. So new types do come into existence.

    Comparing those rates of mutation to what is expected can predict, roughly, how long a given ‘type’ has been around. In theory, you can ‘run the clock backward’ and see if type A vs type B shows 10,000 years or 100,000 years of ‘isolation’ between their first common type.

    However…

    You have a very large ‘known unknown’. How many OTHER types of Y-Chromosome and Mitochondria were in existence in the middle times, but went extinct from the sex ratio issue?

    For that reason, I question the validity of the whole Adam and Eve paradigm AND the implied ‘small number’ of individuals at some past date. It might simply be reflecting the fact that only a small number of those original Mitochondria and Y-Chromosomes are ever going to make it to the distant future, and only the more common ones at that. (Unless the minor ones have some exceptional advantage sufficient to overcome the adverse selection on gender assortment).

    I’ve never seen this issue mentioned in any of the articles about the ‘population bottleneck’, so it is entirely a matter of faith that it was (somehow) accounted for…

  12. u.k.(us) says:

    “2) They are smarter than we are.
    3) They have been here, but see no reason to talk to us much.”
    =======
    I guess they aren’t liberals, else they would be telling us how to live our lives.

  13. Joe Prins says:

    Something in the recesses of my memory I recall a tale of Isaac Asimov: Are we alone? Or perhaps it was paperback. At any rate, the good doctor calculated that there must be millions of “earths” in this galaxy and even more in the universe. Seems to me that some people are trying tosteal his thunder.

  14. Great post E.M.!
    As you say, so much space.
    I would like to add – so many unknowns, so much to learn, still!

    I like your ‘summation’:
    1) We are not alone.
    2) They are smarter than we are.
    3) They have been here, but see no reason to talk to us much.

    Makes me question whether we have got our, (i.e., Darwin’s), evolution theory right?

  15. Rob L says:

    Another answer to the seeming absence of intelligent life – perhaps the galaxy is a malevolent place, predators are silent.

    Some would also question whether there is any point to colonisation – but evolution teaches us that if any activity or behaviour results in an increase in population then eventually a mechanism/rationalisation (eg religion, war, curiosity) will evolve to provide the motivation.

    For me the most compelling answer to why we don’t see little green men is that biological intelligence is extremely ill-suited to space-faring, and AI has little to no interest in meat.

    We will have AI in the next 10-100 years, (and may eventually even be able to ‘upload’ humans). At which point carting meat to other systems may seem entirely pointless. AI can completely fill Milky Way in less than half a million years, (biological life probably 1-2 million if motivated). But AI has little need for habitable planets or awkwardly deep gravity wells – they are probably entirely happy in the Oort Cloud or in the moons of a Gas Giant.

    And for humans even if we do get to another planet with life on it we will almost certainly find that the biosphere is entirely incompatible with our own biology: Malevolent pathogens and poisons, too hot, too cold, too much water, too little water, too dark, too light, excessive radiation, wrong atmospheric composition, excessive pressure, insufficient pressure, massive winds, excessive volcanism, tidal locking, uncooperative natives…. Humans would probably struggle to survive even on something as compatible as earth during the Jurassic.

    We would almost certainly need to sterilise the planet and start again to get the biospheric composition closer to our needs, a process that takes 1000’s of years and is such a massive undertaking that it would undoubtedly be cheaper and easier to just build large space habitats.

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: There are 4,780,000 results when google “glaze printing”…

  17. kuhnkat says:

    EM,

    I think you might be quite interested in the studies used to compile this report:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/dnamutationrates.html

    they hit on mutation rates and mitochondrial inheritance with surprises in comparison to accepted knowledge. When you realize how old some of the referenced studies are you start to realize how slowly non-consensus data moves into the mainstream!!

    Another fun link is:

  18. kuhnkat says:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v15/n2/acceleration

    showing accelerated decay rates under special conditions. Hmm, heat and basically strong electrical fields. How Velokovskian!!!

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @u.k.(us):

    Chuckle! ;-)

    @Joe Prins:

    I think they are more “proving his thunder” by showing they exist… OTOH, it would be nice to find the title and put an homage here…

    @Ken McMurtrie:

    I think Darwin has it generally right, but there are some “additions” in us…

    @Adolfo:

    “computerized glaze printing ceramic” gives a Yahoo! count of 106,000 (once you tell it to NOT use ‘glass’ instead of glaze…)

    Gee, maybe I can just BUY one… (Or maybe 100 OTHER folks can buy one and start making those tablets… HINT HINT!!)

    @Rob L.:

    Once you are out of the gravity well (and possessed of technology) it really makes no sense to go back to a planet surface. It’s about $10,000 / lb to orbit. We MIGHT be able to get that down to $100 / lb. Compare to the asteroid belt where you can pick up platinum and stainless steel chunks for nearly free… Also, if a big rock heads at Earth, not much we can do but die. In space, your radar blips, your thrusters fire a few seconds, and it goes past… Visit the nearby gas giant / moon / iceball and pick up more reaction mass at your leisure…

    Per “meat” vs “AI”: I do expect well find “mechanical life” in space. I also think we’ll find plenty of biological based life. Not everyone will be able to “upload” and many of us might prefer to retain things like touch and, er, um, ‘recreations’…

    I sort of hinted at ‘predators’ with that Borg reference, but yes, I only weakly hinted at it as I was shying away from the probability that some highly predatory races would evolve and, well, ‘consumption happens’…

    I have a half formed thesis that follows that line, but in a softer form.

    Suppose that the first visitors were “multicultural” and much more “humanist” in the sense of “warm fuzzy have sex and enjoy life” types. What do you get from such a group visit? Gee, sounds a Whole Lot like that whole Hindu thing…. Kama Sutra and all… Multiple “gods” with many variations of physical form and lifestyle. (Similar age legends from Mesopotamia have beings who lived in the sea and came on land to teach, ‘fish head’ and all..) In Egypt of a similar period we have the many and multiple “gods” too.

    So, some time passes… EITHER there is a Palace Revolt and one guy takes over, OR there is a New Guy In Town who chases them out, but sees a good gig and takes it over….

    We have the Veda’s saying there was a war in heaven. We have evidence on the ground of some cities in / near there being vaporized.

    And what happens?

    Egypt suddenly has a mono-theist take over…
    Israel has an ‘only one God’ moment.
    The Hindu gods stop visiting.
    The Mesopotamian gods stop visiting (and Mesopotamia ‘has issues’, that whole ‘Tower Of Babble” thing…)
    The Greek and Romans continue to worship multiple gods, but have the visitations / observations end.
    The related Norse gods stop visiting. (There are symmetrical legends of Apollo flying off to a frozen land where the sun doesn’t set, and IIRC Oden flying off to a warmer place from time to time…)

    A bit more time passes…

    ALL the Gods/ gods stop visiting…

    Egypt reverts to multitheism.
    The Jews wander off and “cling to their guns and religion’ of only one God.
    (Yes, I like people who ‘cling to their guns and religion’ ;-)
    India, Rome, Greece, Pagans, et al continue praying to their multiple gods, who continue to not return… as time passes it becomes more mythological and less foundational.

    (At a later point Mohamed, who was teaching Christianity from a Bible, continues to push it, but with his own ‘twists’; his followers toss the Biblical basis – as ‘that Bible has been lost and the current Christian Bible is corrupted – and compile his statements into the Koran and make it foundational. FWIW, I think there’s validity to their claim about the Bible in that Mohamed was likely using the Gnostic Bible and the Romans kind of made a mess of it with the Catholic version via some ‘keeping and tossing’. This, BTW, also lead to the Protestant Bible being a bit different and to several hundred years of war between Protestants and Catholics over some of the same points – in particular, “iconoclasts” didn’t like worship of an ‘idol’ of Jesus… Which is why Catholics may put a statue of Jesus and Mary at the altar, but a Southern Baptist never will… but I digress…)

    OK, at this point the hypothesis holds that the ‘multiculturals’ managed to overthrow the dictatorial “one god” but everyone was weakened in the process. So they don’t do much ‘interacting’ for a “long time”. When they finally recover enough to repossess the area (perhaps after some much larger interstellar disruption is finally smoothed and settled) they come back and find we’ve really cocked it all up. We’ve made all their visitation / teaching / Ph.D. thesis visits foundational to our culture as various religions and we’ve commenced to killing each other in massive numbers over it.

    Any reasonably compassionate multicultural advanced race will at that point realize they are responsible (even if it was precipitated by an internal power struggle) and feel some pretty good guilt.

    From that point forward, I see things unfolding more as a “small band of fixers” trying to minimize the damage (as they can’t field as large a visitation force as before) while study of what went wrong is done. Thus the very sporadic observations of ‘advanced beings or craft’ since then.

    They also realize that with the dominance of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity (and the collapse of Paganism, Roman and Greek, and Norse mythologies of gods) they’ve only got Hindu’s as folks who won’t be freaked out if they say “Um, your ‘one God’ was really a rogue usurper of power and we put him in prison…”

    So begins a long many hundreds of years process of indirectly advocating against ‘Religion’ and for ‘multiculturalism’…

    At any rate, I think it would make a good plot for a novel (Yet Another Superslow Project) and I’d appreciate if nobody ‘ripped it off’ (and a reminder it’s copyright by me…) But if I don’t get it done before I die, well, then it’s fair game ;-)

    That would also explain why recent ‘visitations’ have been ‘at a distance’ as they developed their own version of the Prime Directive. Only interacting with selected Leadership of different nations to try to undo the cultural damage from that historical loop. Trying to nudge us back to our original form: Simply living life and studying nature, learning and growing, and without all the mythology based on their visits…

    (The novel idea then takes a turn into the present with things like Alien Advisors helping the Nazis with their ‘nature myths’ and trying to move Jews off of their God fixation – and THAT goes horridly wrong.. then helping the US Presidents more recently with suppression of Islam and moving them to a more secular view and THAT goes horridly wrong… and they have a ‘huddle’ and are trying to figure out if it’s THEM or US that keeps cocking things up! ;-) End novel… )

    So it is a Novel, or ‘directed historical speculation’? Only time will tell…

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    @kuhnkat (20:30:08) : That big round thing above us make us “decay”, non continuously of course, using “diseases” once in a while, so as to not let us live longer than a Gleissberg Cycle. (80-100 years). Need to get a ten feet thick lead roof and surrounded by a Faraday´s cage … :-)

  21. pouncer says:

    Dare I suggest that the “discovery” of extra-solar planets is a inference drawn from computer models — no more (nor less) well verified than global warming connected to CO2?

    If a high number of VERY slight variations in red shift and other measures are fed into the giant computer according to a currently popular model, then a planet may be discovered. If the same measures are fed into the same computer using a less popular model — well, it doesn’t make the newspapers…

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like the easy “answer” is “under glaze decals”. You get to trade 3 firings for the computer printing of the decals..

    @Pouncer:

    Party pooper ;-)

  23. Big Al says:

    I’ve thought allot about the possibility of other people from other places. First got interested in 1957 after reading ” Flying Sauces are Real”
    Years later the book ” The Andreasson Affair” was a real jolt to my thinking. (depends on you view of hypnotic regression)

  24. larrygeiger says:

    There is no one else out there or there is a way to communicate information faster than light which we cannot yet detect.

    If there are lots of folks out there and there is no hidden FTL communication, then we would see all sorts of stuff. We don’t.

    If there is FTL communication, then there is no reason to physicall travel. If I could visit 50 extra-terrestrial civilizations in a lifetime, from the comfort of my own home here on cozy earth, then why in the world would I want to fly off into the inhospitable, non-gravitational vacuum? If they are sufficiently advanced to communicate FTL, then they can probably create an avatar like experience.

  25. @E.M.Smith:

    We face the same problem today that has always plagued mankind:

    Selfishness, self-centeredness (i.e. mental illness) blocks us from seeing reality. The primary aim of most religions is reducing selfishness. In the 1930s the Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Karl Jung suggested that awakening to reality can be like a spiritual experience.**

    Several decades later in a discussion of “Scientific Tunnel Vision” in the book “The Road Less Traveled” [Simon & Schuster, 1978] the American psychiatrist Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote:

    “This beginning possibility of unification of religion and science is the most significant and exciting happening in our intellectual life today” (p. 228).

    Later on page 289, Dr. M. Scott Peck explains how mental illness blocks our ability to see reality:

    “We live our lives in a real world. To live them well it is necessary that we come to understand the reality of the world as best we can.”

    1. “Mental health is DEDICATION TO REALITY at all costs.” (Caps inserted for emphasis)

    2. “Mental illness occurs when the conscious will of the individual substantially deviates from the will of God, which is his or her own unconscious will.”

    Oliver K. Manuel

    **Dr. Jung’s description fits our finding in 2000 that a previously unknown nuclear force (neutron repulsion) powers the Sun, controls our climate, and sustains life on Earth.

  26. Sera says:

    @ Oliver:

    Rather than the sun having an iron core, what if the iron was ‘rafting’ near the surface? That might explain 1) the iron emissions 2) sunspot formation and 3) would not interfere with the ‘neutron repulsion’ theory.

  27. david says:

    E.M.
    “Simply because I know that every civilization collapses. This one will too. Global Governance will eventually happen, then when that one falls, there will be no ‘other country’ to preserve our history (as the Arabs did with some of the Greek classics… )

    Yes, the ancient Hindus taught three phases. creation, preservation, destruction, three “gunas” of which every act is predominately one. These three gunas are tamas (darkness), rajas (activity), and sattva (spirtual)
    Tamasic activity are those that divide, those corruptions which power reveals in any political system, the smallness of selfish desire, first piting the individual against the world, then, a little expanded, the family against the neighboring family, (Hatfield’s vs the McCoys), then expanded to nation against nation, then perhaps to world against world. (BTW, this all ties into our discussion on infinity and “maya” being that which sees only in part and divides)

    Your feeding the bunny is an example of a sattva act. (An expanding of the hearts feeling) Your recognition of the inevitable changes in the temporal world is wisdom and likewise sattva, but not expansion of the heart, but of the head, or wisdom. Your choice of working in florida was in all likely rajas.

    “Global Governance will eventually happen” Yes, here I also agree. Ass technology and populations advance, the world becomes ever smaller, and more interdependent. My hope is that some of the US ideals of individual liberty and responsability will survive, and we will eventually evolve to a United States of the world. I see no hope for any other model.

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    @Big Al:

    I read those too… The only problem I see with ‘regression’ is that the hypnotist has to set the stage correctly. If not done VERY carefully, the tendency for the subject to give the hypnotist what they want becomes too large and you get self fulfilling by proxy…

    It can be as simple as always asking “what happened next” and “are you sure?” vs asking “Was there a ship in the sky?” or “Were you picked up?”

    A similar thing was found in a lot of abuse memory recovery where the regressed folks suddenly discovered they had been abused as children, except later it was shown many of the events could not have happened. (IIRC the long ago story right…)

    I find the physical and historical evidence more compelling.

    @LarryGeiger:

    So, nobody ever travels to Europe from America (or the reverse) since we can just watch TV now?

    Researchers don’t go to the Amazon since they can just call a local guy to collect data?

    “Climate Scientists” don’t look out the window and just play with computer models? Oh, wait… ;-)

    Per ‘inhospitable and non-gravitational’: The flip side of that is the fact that gravity is your prison and there is little less hospitable than being stuck in a gravity well with a 50 km space rock incoming at Mach 50.

    I can speak for at least one person (and by proxy for several I’ve seen in writing) who are of the opinion that if WE do not get off this rock in the next couple of thousand years then WE go extinct at the next big rock fall.

    In space, you can just spin your craft for all the “G” you want. You can move out of the way of any rocks. LOADS of materials are available all over. You can chose how close or far to be from the star / sun. etc. Basically, it can be a safer and more stable place to be, once you pick a long time span view.

    I’m curious as to what all the “stuff we would see” would be?

    I can see a case for “might” see: Flashes of tight laser beams. MASER beams. After that, the “inverse square” bites mighty hard and regular non-collimated EM signals would end up so diffuse we wouldn’t see much at all “right quick”.

    Spaceships, even those up to 1000 km across, would not be seen even if they were in the Oort Cloud. Anywhere beyond that, we couldn’t even see small planet sized objects unless they orbit a sun (and even then we only see it via modulation of stellar light).

    So I’m curious what your seeing that I’m not…

    @Oliver K. Manuel:

    There is much truth in that… One of the hardest things to do is “See your neighbor as yourself”. We are all prisoners of our world view and slaves to our senses…

    @Sera:

    Interesting question… Can Iron float on a neutron core? When does what destabilize?…

    @David:

    There is also much in the Hindu belief system that I find attractive. Unfortunately, when I looked at learning Sanskrit, I found a tendency to get lost in the huge volume of letters used per word and the sound system didn’t “click” for me. Don’t know why. I can hold onto the ideas as English translations, but as xxasxxvssaxxx vs ymasxxxssaxffsxx it just becomes a blur… Actually quite sad…

    I’d set out to learn to read the Vedas in their original language and rapidly discovered it would consume my whole life in swimming up stream against my nature.

    Oddly, I can pick up Japanese words in one or two uses and had a French 2 class in UC during a summer session where we learned something like 3000 words, 3 or 4 tenses ( IIRC it was past simple, past subjunctive, future, conditional?) and some long list of metaphors. Realize that the normal quarter is 10 weeks, and during the summer they chop that down to 6 weeks, one of which is the Final Exam period. So all told, about a 5 week span to ‘learn’… Got a B I think… So it’s not like I have a problem learning languages. (Though I still struggle with scripts. Russian is a slow decode for me as is Greek. Then again, I only had one 6 unit class in Russian and Greek was all from a DIY book…)

    At any rate, the ‘science’ part of the Vedas looks to have real honest understanding of reality in it (though sometimes encoded oddly, like the math system is a bit odd – but works). That encourages me to think the historical and spiritual part are most likely also well grounded.

    Oh, I forgot to include the link for the “Under glaze Decals”:

    http://ceramicdecals.org/Kinds_of_Decals.html

    It’s a pretty big industry, so unclear if one could just order “The collected works of Shakespeare” from a source in China for $40 or would need to pay $10 / custom decal… Or just buy blank decal sheets and metalized ink cartridges for your printer at at home… Still, MUCH more promising that a complete ‘from scratch’ approach…

    So maybe some ‘preservation sattva’ is possible via clay…

  29. pouncer says:

    Oh sure. Somebody expresses less than complete enthusiasm for your cool new scientific belief and you call ’em names.

    Okay. You’re human. After all. Me too, actually.

    (Although, you’ll have to take my word about that. There might be grounds for a conspiracy theorist to posit visiting space aliens work the internet comment community discouraging speculation about their existence by pretending to be human and making skeptical posts. Such a conspiracy theory requires no evidence. But to whatever extent testimony is evidence I make the claim that I am human and I infer most of the others posting here are as well. Even Oliver.)

    But back to the topic of skepticism regarding the discovery of planets. I’m less skeptical about this science than I am about ACGW because noboby is yet threatening to tax me in consequence of the discoveries. When and if scientists start demanding I pay for a launch to such destinations I’ll tune up the scrutiny to a higher pitch. (but, see end note)

    That said, I begin with a skeptical attitude not purely as a curmudgeon but because we’ve been through this before.

    Remember Pluto? Used to be our ninth planet?

    The “scientific” method leading up to the discovery of that ninth planet is as solidly based as any in the history of science. The known planets wobbled. All the laws of physics said SOMETHING had to cause the wobble. God is not out there yanking some ethereal chain. The best calculations using the best physics indicated that there MUST be some “Planet X” of such-and-such size and mass “out there” is some “Location Y” (where Y was less a pure location than a matrix of distance and inclination and direction and other factors I’m not getting into right now… ) So the boffins turned their telescopes toward location Y, and found a iceball and voila! Pluto:The Ninth Planet. PLuto was named, in part, in homage to _P_ercival _L_ovell, who also lent the imaginations of humankind, for a while, the glorious canals of Mars. But in all the hoopla surrounding the prediction and discovery of “Planet X / PLuto” we kind of lost track of the fact that Pluto was NOT the size and mass of predicted Planet X, and in fact was just barely in the vicinity of “Location Y.” The hunt for the actual “Planet X” went on for years. Eventually the hunt turned to looking for some other kind of “Something” (God’s leash still being an unacceptable hypothesis) to explain the wobble of Neptune and company. It seems to me no coincidence that the general surrender of the hypothetical “Planet X” and the general effort to de-classify Pluto as a planet occured in the same generation of astronomers.

    ANYHOW, the prediction and validation process applied to Pluto to me seems partly echoed in the current process of identifying extra-solar planets. We (humanity, exemplified by our specialists and technology) find a little periodic dimming the light from certain stars. The light wobbles. Maybe there are belts of dust between there and here. Maybe there is a giant Dyson-sphere-style engine pulling power at a very slow phase out of that star for a Class III civilization. Or maybe there’s a planet (“Planet X-n”) in an orbit (Location Y-1″) that eclipses the disc of that star for us, every once in a while. So we attempt to validate that guess with interferometry or spectral this and radial that — and voila! A New Planet.

    It’s probably true. But … It might NOT be true, or at least not in exactly the way we think is true based on the first few decades of measurement.

    I can’t help but wonder if wobbling stars are highly advanced advanced civilizations sending their version of Morse code. Shift red, shift blue, shift red (but not quite as much) shift blue (a bit extra) shift red (normal) … .._ _.
    The bit rate frankly sucks, but you can bet that anybody with instruments sensitive enough to detect the signal is smart enough to interpret it correctly. Uh, unless they happen to mistakenly believe that “planets are common” meme, you know.

    Now, the promised end note about taxing for science: The history of scientific thought has gone back and forth about how crowded it might be in Outer Space. When fission and fusion were still unknown the explanation for sunshine depended on “gravitational infall” of matter from Space into the Sun. Since the Earth was at least ten million years old, or so, and the Sun had shone since inception, then the Solar System must have been brim-full of matter to keep falling in. (When Darwin and the geologists posited an Earth of a BILLION year’s age, the Astronomers had hissy-fits. ) Anyhow, young Earth implied crowded space and young other Planets like Mars (that therefore might have also developed life, as evidenced by canals) and other big, if more distant, planets like “Planet X”. A much older Earth and a sustainable nuclear-powered Sun and the empty location-Y without a massive Planet X all led to the current consensus about a mostly empty Space. Lately, we’ve got data (some already discussed here) that Space is not-empty to levels of dangerously frequent collision. Asteroids and dust clouds and cosmic ray belts — OH MY!

    IF I had to pay some sort of science-based global tax for research into, and alleviation of, global catestrophic impending whatever, I’d personally be happier about paying for space-watch efforts. If it’s not empty, I’m (we’re) more likely to trip over something. What might be –on the scale of stars and planets a minor stumble — would — on the scale of my life, and finances — translate to a Wrath of God level event I’d just as soon not experience. I’d track the junk we put up there ourselves. I’d pay to have people watch out for falling rocks. Blow out the killer dust. Harden the grid against space-based EM pulses. Buy warning sirens at least and maybe some “ballards” or something to intercept dangerously directed incoming traffic. To me, that sort of thing makes some sense. Obviously, I’m Not in Charge.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pouncer:

    Hey, didn’t you see the smiley face? That was saying “OK, so your right…” via inflecting the (already a bit funny) phrase ‘party pooper’…

    Don’t know if it might be just California Dialect or not, but calling someone a “Party Pooper” with a bit of humor in the voice is a common way our her of saying “Sure you may be right, but we’re having fun being wrong”…

    Then again, if you ARE an alien, maybe you just forgot to put a smiley on your ‘sarcastic retort’… Gosh, this interspecies communication stuff can be tricky. It wasn’t so hard with my dog, but the cat never got the hang of it. Best we could manage was me figuring out what he wanted and giving it to him… ;-)

    And Ballards? What’s a Ballards?

    http://ballards.com/

    You’re going to hire a Texas Wreckers company? Well, I guess if it worked for Bruce Willis…
    ;-)

    But, to be serious for a moment:

    I’d not intended to ruffle any feathers as the smiley WAS intended to be the admission of “You have a point that I’d rather ignore but can’t quite.”

    But even if 75% of them end up being ‘not a planet’, the number of planets is going ‘way high’…

  31. LG says:

    Might be somewhat OT:
    Article @ space.com :

    ‘Crackpot’ Theory of Everything Reveals Dark Side of Peer Review’

    Link: http://www.space.com/14416-crackpot-theory-reveals-dark-side-peer-review.html

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @LG:

    Well, once I got past the PopUp it was an interesting read… So “everything is alive and like spinning man…” can get peer reviewed… Who knew ;-)

  33. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. About writing records: Why not using an “Electric Arc Engraver”? You could write on metal sheets. It can be easily done attaching one wire, from the alternate current plug, to the pen and the other wire connected through a neon light impedance to the metal plate which it will be etched.

  34. Pascvaks says:

    Wikipedia – “Oort cloud is a hypothesized spherical cloud of comets which may lie roughly 50000 AU, or nearly a light-year, from the Sun.”

    Always wondered how you see anything “real” through a cloud of ice balls.

    Thoughts –

    God stopped and smiled and said, “LET THE GAMES BEGIN!”, when His latest creation in the Garden of Eden, told not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, as every life form before had been told for 4.5 billion years, asked “Why?”.

    Evolution is a Roller Coaster, built in a Minefield, on the side of a Mountain, in the Middle of a Swamp, that‘s smack-dab in the Midst of a Desert, encased in a bubble of rather Clement and Inclement Weather where it is rare to find a True Friend who can really read your mind and knows exactly where and how to scratch your back or tickle your tummy just sooooooo.

    I still can’t figure out if the Universe is part of Heaven or Hell. Wouldn’t you think that it would be obvious?

    The Universe is so BIG that there must be other planets with life. Gotta’ be! If these life forms have Immortal Souls too, it sure seems there’s a googolplex of googolplexes of googolplexes of Immortals. Now, it seems that given this conundrum, we (each of us) are capable of being countless life forms at the same time across the expanse of all creation (and “Heaven“ might not be too crowded after all), or –if we’re limited to being just one life form at a time– there’s a hell of a lot of angels and each one is like a little atom in one GREAT BIG “ONENESS” (and we really don‘t count for much in the Grand Scheme of Things).

    (-;As always, I keep asking myself, “Why?” I just can’t stop! Think it’s genetic?;-)

    PS: I still can’t get it out of my mind that the Great Pyramids have within them some form of off-world galactic repository of knowledge that, at this time, we’re just not smart enough to “see” and “crack”. Now (SarcOn), I’m also convinced that there was never anything important in the inside chambers, these were “come-ons”, teases, that the real stuff is under sever layers of rock (or the entire thing) and we have to blow them apart to find the hidden treasures of the Galactic Repository. Right? (-;SarcOff;-) People! Ya can’t live with ’em, and ya can’t live without ’em! (And they’re all a little crazy!)

  35. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: Always wondered how you see anything “real” through a cloud of ice balls.
    Comets made of “Ice-Cream”? That´s over, as “Deep Impact” probe proved it (Before it reaching the comet there was an electric arc).
    As for the universe: Remember the topological “Klein bottle”?. Nature´s trick for overcoming entropy is LIFE.
    Now, well polished surfaces reflect waves: If you want to see a Universe from the outside just go to the nearest mirror and see it…..
    The greek tarot card for universe: cosmos, represents a being half man and half woman, surrounded by the “Ouroboros”, the snake biting its tail…..
    Simple truths are hard to accept, occasionally when our “conscience”happens to witness a glimpse of truth, it faints: This is our “buffer”, our defense against awakening; but we can get small glimpses of truth little by little and a small “piece” at a time. Trouble is that knowledge entails being responsible for what we know and we don´t like it.

  36. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: Here it is:

  37. Pascvaks says:

    I’ve seen a lot of truth in my time, only problem is I’m nearsighted, and just before I faint everything goes and gets real blurry and starts to spin; it’s like something or someone is spinning that damn mirror. I get real nausieated and weakkneed, then I hear a little voice inside my head saying, “This too shall pass.” (Whatever they put in those South American tomatoes has a real kick;-)

  38. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    Metals are valuable. When there are ‘collapses’ folks tend to gather them up and melt them… Also, only a few do not corrode.

    Ceramics are both ‘weather proof / corrosion proof’ and of no particular ‘recycle’ value once fired… Durable AND ‘low value’ as materials…

    @Pascvaks:

    That about sums it up ;-)

    I find a simple answer to be “we just happened”… then you don’t have to look for all the rational consistent ‘why’…

    “Why? Don’t ask why. Down that path lies insanity and ruin. -E.M.Smith”

  39. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: What if the pyramids were some sort of “solid state” device?

  40. @ PAscvaks
    “……as every life form before had been told for 4.5 billion years, asked “Why?”.”
    A feature of all my grandchildren’s learning processes, from about 2 years, has been “WHY”. To some extent it becomes a game because the various responses they get prompt all sorts of interesting reactions.
    It has always been incessant, and I am usually reminded of the robot #5, in the movie ‘Short Circuit’ – ” Number 5 ALIVE! Input! Input! Input!…..”
    Whatever our origin(s), to me, our physiological and psychological characteristics are so complex and interesting, natural evolution seems remote.

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