Posts tagged Astronomy and the Universe
I was on the fence of making this an OTTO or not but I think I’d first just like to babble it in the broadest abstract. String Theory, Quantum Physics, and the Standard Model all make perfectly clear sense. I’ll attempt to convey why I think so while a bit out of it from my medication, so forgive me if I start talking about dolphin unicorns or something equally asinine.
Quantum Physics is often considered confusing or baffling, this is (I feel) one of the reasons that many people choose to take faith over learning. Science appears to get more complicated with each generation to the random passerby. But really with each new advance in our knowledge of the universe the science becomes more simple and more elegant. Science is truly beautiful, the pinnacle of our abilities, and I think it is unfortunate that it can look so complicated. The good feelings that folks latch onto when they take on faith can easily be replicated through science.
The dopamine impact of “finally getting” something is immense, better than any drug I’ve ever been exposed to. But I am digressing.
You might wonder why small things act differently than big things. The Macro world is much more different than the Macro world. For instance, you may know the phrase “To repeat the same experiment and expect different results is the definition of madness.” Whoever originally coined this apparently didn’t take a second to think about it. In science, especially Quantum Physics does do the same experiment and expect different results because they do experience them.
Observe a very small particle and the photons (light) you are using to see those particles will actually be moved by the photons! Every time you attempt to observe these things they are not only not where you saw them (since you pushed them out of the way) but also not in a single definite position.
But why? Why is it that it is not unusual for matter to seemingly blink in and out of existence at the quantum level but not at the macro world we are all used to? I don’t know all the answers but I do have an example that might help. Imagine, if you will, the the “possibilities” possible are a party balloon. The more you inflate this balloon the larger it gets and the more restrictions it suffers under. If you fill the balloon enough you won’t be able to mold it in any way without breaking it (breaking the laws restricting it).
What do you get, however, if your “possibilities” balloon is only partially inflated? If its on a smaller level of existence? The possibilities become far greater and even can result in things dramatically different from what we are used to.
You are used to straight balloons whereas the smaller world is used to…
To put it simply this is why we feel awkward by those differences. Our lives have been all about the straight balloon, all the forces that interact on us limit our possibilities. You can only get so large before gravitation is playing a strong role in your life.
But on the micro level? Forces you otherwise aren’t even aware of have incredibly powerful impacts. You are comprised of an immense amount of Atoms. A number with something like 30 zeroes following the digit. You have trillions of trillions (of trillions?) of different atoms that would all have to do something spontaneous at the same time for you to replicate the Quantum world. But just think, how many atoms need to do these things on their own to have a complete experience?
Suppose that little things
Behaved very differently
Than anything big
Nothing’s really as it seems
It’s so wonderfully different
Than anything big
The world is a dynamic mess
Of jiggling things
It’s hard to believe
- Richard Feynman [From Symphony of Science.]
This is why I think Quantum Physics makes perfect sense, it is beautiful because it is intuitive. You would naturally expect that things on the small scale would be much more different than the big things. Big things have all sorts of forces acting on them at levels that are far greater and far more numerous! Our balloons are filled to near bursting and we really don’t have any options. I don’t see a problem with that either, I revel in the fact that there exists a universe within our own from an educational standpoint, a place where we can always see new things because it is a world that is not as strictly restricted as the one our naked eye can see or experience.
So then, what about String Theory and the Standard Model? Well first we’ll look at the Standard Model, really the answer for both of these is exactly the same but still here it is:
Presuming I grabbed the correct one (I believe I have) this equation can account for basically all physical phenomena, and as far as I’m aware this is why there is such a big effort to find the Higgs Boson (which likely was found in December). The Boson is incredibly important and without it the answers aren’t accurate.
But why would there be a single equation? Naturally any variables in this equation that don’t apply to the certain problem you are trying to work out would end up as 0s and eliminate themselves. But beyond that think about the universe for a moment. As far as we can tell, and as far as I know, the entire universe is made of something.
Everything in this entire universe is basically comprised of a series of the same matter with slightly different numbers or charges. But at the end of the day we are all a mixture of a few of the same spices, all the effects we see in the universe are either motivated or created by the existence of these spices. So why would the universe not then have a single equation? Where is the necessity for separate mathematics to answer separate issues? There is none that I can see. If the entire universe is made of sand you can then use what you know about sand to explain everything and you most certainly wouldn’t presume that some sand is special, in this thought experiment all sand is sand.
String Theory too attempts to find that “thing” that makes up everything, I suspect that it is right or very close to being correct. As I mentioned in a previous post, a circle is effectively a polygon with infinitely many sides (and consequently appears to be single sided at the same time), this means that if you did take a simple circle and each vibration produced a different important spice of our universe, you could easily account for everything with a single mechanic.
There is literally no reason to assume that everything in this universe cannot be boiled down to something so simple. It is the ultimate execution of Occam’s Razor, a beautifully simple answer that has the same level or greater utility as all alternatives.
At this point it becomes a matter of finding them, if the “strings” are not found in my own lifetime I will be so shocked I might short out electronics within a mile of my death.
How about that dark matter?! Seems like a mighty big cop out doesn’t it!? This is again something that seems perfectly reasonable. Science attempts to either observe things directly or to observe the impact of those things on other things. We cannot, for instance, see gravity at all but we can see how it impacts us and all the things around us. There is no form of light that we can use to see gravity, we can see the influence of it by bending light but we cannot ultimately see the literal thing.
Dark matter is not unlike gravity, we can see its presence acting heavily on the universe. Why then is it called “dark”? Couldn’t you just shine a light on it? The name is terrible, like Global Warming it conveys the wrong message. It’s not that this matter is dark it is that it doesn’t interact with light in any fashion. It’s translucent not dark, a black hole is dark, dark matter is merely invisible.
“Hey now! You guys can believe in invisible things but we can’t?!”
I hate to build up straw men, but that does seem like a natural thought for some. The difference here is that you can literally see the impact of these invisible things. Gravity holds me down every second of every day, deities haven’t entered into my life at any point. Dark Matter, Gravity, and other things we cannot see are constantly having an impact on us.
This impact is not emotional, it is physical and real. There is no philosophy, that is the dramatic difference, we know these things are happening.
That’s the ultimate beauty of theories, the theory is how we think something works, the actual mechanic we are trying to explain most certainly does exist it is just that we are not certain how it does. Gravitation was incorrectly explained many times, there were many erroneous theories of gravity. At no point did any of these theories make gravitation cease to exist.
So that’s that, I think I’m awake enough to go write now. Thanks for your time. Keep learning, keep exploring, keep thinking, your brain is eating up 20% of the Calories you take in…you may as well make use out of every last one of them.
Enjoy the fantasy, the fun, the stories
But make sure that there’s a clear sharp line
Drawn on the floor
To do otherwise is to embrace madness
- James Randi [From Symphony of Science (once again : p).]
I’m pretty tired. So I think today I’m just going to mention something super awesome and leave the rest to a different website. This is called piggy-backing! Let’s do this!
You know what a tornado is? I’m sure you do, crazy swirling funnels of air that destroy everything in their path. Well imagine a big one, lets say ten thousand kilometers across, lets also imagine this thing is completely on fire.
Yeah, these are a thing.
These things can get as big as the Earth, if you took the Earth and set it side by side 5 times. That’s crazy, insane, awesome, and a bunch of other words. The scale is basically impossible for me to wrap my head around and its super fun to think about.
So yeah, that’s what I got for today. Let that imagery float around your brain for the rest of the night and day.
I am constantly fighting with time. My perception of time is inherently skewed and I can’t put my finger on when just about anything in my life actually happened. Birthdays are basically the closest I come to getting fairly accurate on what the event signifies and what date that the original event happened.
Otherwise it is a nightmare. Which is where my issues with story writing tend to manifest most clearly. Space and Time are two things I cannot handle well on their own, put them together and you have this hybrid monster that I cannot comprehend much less defeat.
So today I decided to bridge those gaps with the help of the internet. At least as far as my story writing is concerned, I took the rough distance of the regions in my story world and then I found the average time it would take to get from point A to point B,C,D, and so on. I then found the difference in time for riding a horse or a horse drawing a carriage.
One would assume that a horse would be quicker but you also need to haul gear with the horse and food for the horse. The actual strain on the rider is less than walking but the time is longer. Then if you are hauling something like a carriage or a cart it becomes even more pronounced. Do you have a group moving in tandem? They are likely to move less fast than a single scout.
I took all this information and then figured out when each event I’ve already written would need to play out to fit a reasonable timeframe. I extrapolated that on Excel and created a triple column (could actually do better as four) timeline of all events in the first book both written and unwritten.
What this leaves with now is merely filling in the blanks. Adding content in the gaps and adding the sections I haven’t written yet.
I went from a seemingly uncontrollable mass of locations, characters, and timelines to a very easy to follow timeline split into three parts. It turned writing today from a bit of a stressful endeavor into more of a pleasurable one. It also helped that I watched the rest of the Wonders of the Universe, anytime I get my hands on new astronomy documentaries I am a happy man.
So it looks as though the initial draft of the story could be finished quite soon. If I could marry that accomplishment with other successes in the next few months I think that this could become one of my favorite years. The trick then will be to mark it on a calendar, otherwise I’ll be back at square one.
As for the potentially unrelated nature of the title. I was inspired to do what I did by the fact that I literally watched water boil today. Watching small bubbles grow and multiply, slowly overtaking the water until the entire thing was a writhing mass of expanding and escaping gas.
It was quite lovely and the grits weren’t too bad either.
I am a huge fan of numbers. I love statistics dearly and enjoy any sort of comparative diagram. Especially when dealing on the astronomical scale, the reality of how small I truly am is very exciting and opens doors in the mind that are difficult to get ajar. They never seem to open wide but just trying is such a treat.
Mathematics, is at its heart, the only subjective truth in the universe. At least that I know of so far, it is this subjectivity that gives it beauty to me. It is difficult to tarnish math, one of my favorite quotes about this says “Statistics don’t lie, People do.” Math is a sanctuary, a land one can travel that is not tainted by morality, or belief, it is something of solid true objective meaning. Math will never betray you and as long as you are willing to learn it will open a seemingly infinite number of doors. Man…back to that door metaphor.
Admittedly this is not really an examination as much as it is a love letter to math. Which I believe is a bit ironic because I am not a stellar mathematician. I love a good excel sheet, I enjoy calculating things in my head, and I am all aflutter when I see a new time to make a complex formula. But I am, perhaps hypocritically so, not good at the highest levels of mathematics. This creates a deeper wonder and desire to learn it however, to see numbers in their full beauty.
Astrophysics and Fractals are two of my favorite examples of mathematics. The first because as I had mentioned before astronomically large numbers excite me. Visually let me grab a picture:
This image is of an “Earth Sized Hole” that was left on Jupiter after a Meteor Impact. The entire Earth, this massive swath of rock that we call home. The surface that more than 6 billion people all live upon. Millenia of documented human history have transpired on. All of this is but a mere spec on a slice of Jupiter. The staggering difference in sizes, those massive differences in numbers. That, I believe, is true beauty.
To continue on this Earth Jupiter topic, let me grab a few other numbers. I weight about 135 lbs on Earth. If I was on Jupiter I would weigh 319.5 lbs! Gravity itself requires an intense amount of matter for you to feel the results (just think with the entire size of the Earth it is merely holding you against the surface, not even crushing you to a pulp). That said, Jupiter has enough extra mass to more than double my weight! 2.3x heavier if you were curious (roughly). Speaking of mass, Jupiter contains 300 times the mass of Earth. If that doesn’t metaphorically crap your pants I honestly don’t know what will. Just try to grasp that, all the mass of earth replicated 300 times! I can’t even properly visualize the full surface area of my city, let alone my state, or my continent, or the Moon or Earth, and here is an object that dwarfs us to a point of obscurity. The diameter of Jupiter is insane as well being over ten times that of Earth. I would have a 30 foot wide waist if that were the case, which would make it very difficult to fit through…doors. Unless I stood sideways, however our hallway is only about 10 feet across. Which raises more issues.
I’ve shown before the pale blue dot, an image of the Earth where we are a single pixel on a massive picture of space. A single spec of light emitting from a vast unknown. When thinking about Jupter, and how it dwarfs our size. Even Jupiter is but a child in a room of adults. Our sun could swallow Jupiter hundreds of times over (an understatement).
So here we are. Examining a marble, that marble an object 300 times the size of Earth. That Earth ~1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 times larger than the average person. These numbers all becoming awash in our minds. Or at the very least mine. These things are astounding, nearly unimaginable (I try to stray from impossibilities), yet numbers can swallow up these things and produce manageable data. This is the ultimate power of subjectivity, the ultimate beauty of mathematics, and one of the reasons I get a cognitive ‘boner’ every time I’m presented with data. It also gives me another reason to remind people why they are so inconsequential in size and why that is not a bad thing .
Update: I would be remiss if I didn’t plug a few of my Fractal Artworks while discussing the beauty of Math:
Coming this Week on TheIOS:
ADIOS: The King of Spes: Votum.
IIWP (If I was President): Taxation
It is a term that gets thrown around so much that it got me thinking. Following off the theme of the last post my question is this: Is anything you do not a waste of time?
Perhaps it is just a matter of the glass being half empty, half full, or perhaps just twice as big as it should be. But isn’t everything a waste of time?
Every book you read, every thing you do, every mark you make, each of these things will be null in respect to you once you die. Every person you influence in any manner will also die and with them the events become null. Given humanities overall inability to separate from ancient fantasy I have doubts that humanity will ever make it off the Earth. We are likely to see cycles of intellectual growth, great destruction caused by fantastical ignorance, and then a recovery period. This will extend the time and resources needed to reach a colony in space and just might push us up until the big end.
That big end for the Earth of course being when the sun expands and swallows it. Every single activity ever committed by a person will be scorched to cinders and yanked into the center of the sun. In that moment every single action of humanity becomes moot. For the exception of maybe some satellites that are well out of harms way but it is only a matter of time before something destroys them.
So really isn’t everything a waste of time? Then again how do you properly use time? Who is the judge of what is a constructive use of time? These are questions that so frequently seem to be treated as self evident when the answers are hardly so.
People often ask the question of “Why are we here?” Which I believe I’ve touched on before but most recently it popped a similar thought into my head. To be succinct “Why Not?” Of the massive number of possible formula’s for universes that could possibly exist each has the same chance of existing as every other universe.
Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and every other science that I don’t fully understand are based specifically within our own universe. It is one of those tautological “It is because it is.” kind of situations. So we are no more special than any other possible universe, sure we have life as we know it, but that is a self fulfilling setup. Anytime we find life it’ll be life as we know it because we have found it and thus we know it.
Life as we know it has changed over the entire span of human existence and was different before we existed. Life as we know it will continue to change and if we discovered another universe (or even another planet) with different life following rules that we do not fully understand we will now have a new understanding of life as we know it.
All that separates life in this universe from another universe that may or may not exist from being under our oh so wonderful “life as we know it” tag is us finding it.
Because of this I see nothing special about this universe which makes me wonder. So it isn’t a question of why we are here, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be here. Not all why questions are necessarily ones that have an actual answer. Just like “Why do people generate more energy than the sun.” I can’t take credit for that revelation, Richard Dawkins had a similar one “Why are Unicorns Hollow.” Just because you can ask it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a valid or important question.
My question isn’t necessarily better. I realize the irony or hypocrisy in me asking it, but I am finding it odd to assume that life shouldn’t be here. There is no better chance of any other universe than this one, and everything that makes it special is only special because it involves us in some manner or another.
As a point of clarification before closing this little thought, I don’t hate our reality, in fact I find it very awesome, but I don’t need some unanswerable question to justify that feeling. Since we exist I see reason enough.
Alright the last exam for Dinosaurs is today so lets discuss the two final topics, swimming reptiles and (appropriately enough) Extinction. I’ll use my original style for Dinosaur exams because frankly I’m pretty tired.
Short and long-necked plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and mosasaurs. Their relative speeds and individual characteristics?
Plesiosaurs were likely the slowest of the group, which frankly was not much of a hindrance given their size. Whales don’t exactly travel at mach 1 through the sea but they get the job done. In the world of plesiosaurs you have the long neck versions, Elasmosaurs, and the short necked version, Pliosaurs. The Elasmosaurs may have struck their pray like a snake, recoiling their long necks and lashing out from the fog of the sea. This would actually seem like a more reasonable origin for the snake striking system than just getting high one day and telling all your snake buddies you have a ‘great idea’.
Mososaurs are probably the second group in terms of speed. These fellows were short necked, long, snake-ish (not so much snake moreso ish), reptiles with four fins (not unlike Plesiosaurs). Now while second they were second in speed, when taking their size into account, isn’t much of a silver medal. They were gold in the sense that their size would cause you to poo in fear and then their speed would gobble you up before you could escape.
One thing I forgot to mention is their long paddle tails, this would of sucked because its in the study notes as “something you need to know” so that could have very well been a missed question .
The final group to talk about is the Ichthyosaurs, these little dudes are adorable-ish and fast like dolphins. They had fish like fins that waggled left to right and everything else really was so fish like that I might as well use the slide image instead of trying to describe a fish.
They gave live birth like sea mammals, tail first even, scientists know this because they found a fossil that died during birth and it has a smaller fossil (a baby) sticking out its rump tail first. What a way to go out.
How did plesiosaurs swim?
Obviously we can’t ask them but there are many visual cues when you look at an animals bone structure as to how it likely moved. They had four sets of flippers that they probably used like oars, which is pretty neato and quite a cool visual. There is no modern day animal in the sea that does this (to my knowledge) which makes it all the more interesting.
What are fish-eating teeth like?
Long, Pointed, and Spaced. Essentially they are like those pronged spears people use to not only possible spear a fish but to at the very least entrap it between the prongs.
What are the adaptations for speed in Ichthyosaurs?
I already gave this one away, they were built like dolphins and swam with a tail that was side to side and not up and down or anything else.
How did they give birth?
Ah…gave this one away too. Just like sea mammals they birthed live and backwardly facing so that the animal could breath the longest (since the umbilical cord wouldn’t have snapped yet).
How did Eurhinosaurus live?
An Ichthyosaur with a very long upper jaw or bill that looked a lot like a sawfish. They likely swam through fields of fish and swung their heads around to chop up pray then came back through and gobbled that stuff up. Regardless they weren’t winning any beauty competitions.
What were Mosasaurs related to and how did they swim and eat.
Lizards, especially Komodo Dragons and Snakes. These are the large snakelike fellas I told you about earlier that were pretty fast and pretty huge. They had a ratcheting snake like jaw just like a snake that probably…well..ratcheted food down their gullet.
Mass vs background extinctions?
Background extinctions happen all the time, something like 99+% of all things that have ever lived on the planet are dead and gone. Given time all species go extinct, unfortunately even we are extremely vulnerable.
Mass Extinctions involve basically everything on the Earth dying off geologically instantly.
What were the two biggest mass extinctions?
The P-TR (Permian-Triassic) and the K-T extinctions, had you been alive for either you wouldn’t be alive (which goes without saying ;D).
What is the probable cause of the K-T extinction?
An asteroid dropping hits junk into the Gulf of Mexico region of the world.
What were the consequences of an asteroid impact?
Temperatures rise dramatically for a short period of time (hundreds of degrees dramatically), matter is rocketed into the atmosphere and blankets the entire planet in darkness for a while, most vegetation and anything else that can burn on the surface of the earth does. Also you have animals dying and anything that eats them dying and anything that eats them dying. See where I’m going with this?
What evidence do we have to support this hypothesis?
There are large quantities of Iridium about the point where the KT boundary is which is not an element you’d commonly see on the surface of Earth, however from an extraterrestrial source its not all that unheard of. They also have found a crater that fits the estimated 10 km asteroid. Yeah I know big dude. Essentially in a flash 10 billion Hiroshima sized bombs were exploded and the world was changed forever (organically speaking).
Amazing stuff. Looking forward to the exam, all credit here should be directed to my Professor. The images, the questions, and indeed the knowledge I gained to answer them are thanks to him.
So time has passed and we have reached what we would now call Humans, Homo Sapiens, or any other clever naming agent you can grow to love. There is little to talk about here, not because much hasn’t happened, but because it is all easily accessible in the plethora of required history courses you will take in school.
One can hope we’ll survive ourselves. Assuming we do we have many millions of years to go before the current theorized end comes (the scientific one not all the religious ones that pop up annually). We are years away from what is the predicted end. That’s a much less clean way of saying 1 Googol years from now, or (arguably) even cleaner would be 1 with 1 hundred zeroes following it. It’s a fantastically long time that even I didn’t quite grasp till I saw it written out in this post.
Over this time we’ll have stars born and stars die. Black holes will grow and shrink (via a process championed by Stephen Hawking). Galaxies will soar away from one another with each passing day, planets will be consumed in the expansion of stars, the Earth will be scorched by the sun (all things left as they are). Eventually all matter will be stretched to an extreme and ever widening point where heat is no longer generated. This will leave an entire universe with absolutely no action which technically would also mean that time has ‘ended’.
I’m skeptical as I’ve stated before. We have not accounted for the excess gravity all over (the idea behind the possible existence of dark matter) and frankly there tends to be new information found with each passing year and certainly with each passing decade. It’s not to say we don’t have ages, 1 Google years is an amazing amount of time. So many wonderful (and unfortunately terrible) things can transpire between now and the purposed end.
My theory? While I’m hardly a better source than any astrophysicist I think that there is some currently unknown rubber band response to the expansion. At a certain point the stretch will get so extreme that everything will then rocket inwards. It seems quite reasonable to assume that this is what has happened the X amount of times in the past and will happen the X amount of times in the future. Of course there is also the possibility that the recoiling inwards is exponentially proportional to the expulsion outwards with each ‘bang’ and perhaps we are experiencing what will end up being the final shot. Who knows, it would be quite unfortunate but we still have far more time than needed for just about anything.
It is currently the state of all things mortal or otherwise to reach a state of inaction, it would be nice if we put more energy into prolonging and enhancing the time of action we each have. With each dollar we spend on death instead of life we are creating a large imbalance that could indeed snowball one day. I just hope it hasn’t already begun.
I’ve left out unimaginably large amounts of time, but that’s because who knows what will happen down to the number. The chaos effect makes estimating things highly difficult if not impossible. Neat stuff.
So when last we met (if memory serves) we were discussing the first life on Earth. Tiny tiny little organisms that one cannot see with their naked eye (unless you squint really really hard…ok you still can’t). Slowly the organisms become more complex, initially it was a matter of symbiosis for at least some. Small organisms began fusing to one another (see mitochondria) to create more complex and indeed more efficient systems. With the noticeably copious amounts of space in the sea and the development of an Atmosphere there was not much to worry about but taking in energy, via eating or sunlight, and reproducing like you had nothing left to do.
Some organisms split like a particularly tasty banana in your ice cream, others mated. As time passed and the bigger is better mentality started to pick up we begin to see visible formations in the sea. Eventually plants will dominate the sea and spread out onto land. With the introduction of a nice firm atmosphere (firm my way of saying effective) to protect their cells from the ultraviolet sunlight there was little reason to stay bound to the sea. The first’ ‘animals’ would be completely secluded to the sea and would spread quite well. Considering the absolutely massive nature of the ocean and its ability to reduce gravity’s effect on organisms it makes surviving and growing much easier than on land (at least initially, these days you get eaten by many crazy animals in the sea).
Once the surface land is absolutely covered in plants (maybe sooner) there is a revelation, as always, a copious amount of food leads to the introduction of something that’ll eat it. Indeed someday there will be a bacteria that absolutely engorges itself on our plastic waste, it is just a matter of waiting. As the first animals move to land they bring a second source of food to the land, that being them. Carnivores would soon fill that gap as well. I often wonder if the copious levels of land carnivores are what lead some animals to return to the sea. Indeed all sea mammals are incidents of animals that were initially land mammals and moved to the sea. The motion of a dolphin is hauntingly similar to the motion of a gazelle, and in some cases you can find the remains of what once were legs in whale corpses and other sea mammals as they move ever closer to lose all evidence of their previous adventures on land.
Somewhere in here you have dinosaurs rise. They have a pretty long and successful run (I believe there was a mass extinction or two) until the drop of a meteor that I’ve read was large enough to fill the rose bowl (or some football stadium). It impacted somewhere in the gulf of Mexico and utterly dominated the planet. Basically all life on Earth died. Before this point there were tiny little mice like animals, which might not be accurate, so just imagine a cute little mammal of your choice. Essentially before Dinosaurs were extinguished this was the pinnacle of our particular class in the animal kingdom. After dinosaurs mammals popped out and started to show their talents. It would be some many millions of years but eventually a particularly successful class of apes came to be the most dominant of all animal species (relative to land mass covered…and I suppose not counting insects).
People often wonder why Humans made that jump mentally. As I’ve stated before I think it was a case of substantial amounts of food. Evolutionarily there is no real advantage to being exceedingly smarter than your prey, it doesn’t take much to catch a Gazelle, strength and big teeth will do it more often than not. However with a single mutation of the brain taking it just far enough above the average level of ape intelligence it would become, much like the original organisms spreading across the planet, a snowball effect. With every evolutionary generation the human brain would grow larger, at one time even there was more than one type of human. However, for reasons I don’t know personally, one particular answer I’ve heard was the mistake by the now extinct humanoids to let their opponents spread into Europe and across to Asia, this essentially locked them into a small area and they died off. But again take that with a grain of salt.
So slowly but surely, this ever increasing effect, like the pull of a black hole growing with each uncontrollable growth we move on to modern day. Which is where we will stop for now. Tomorrow may indeed be the final episode of this little collection. It’ll be about what is to come (in the most general of senses) and the ‘end’…as well as a bit of philosophy that I hope someday to get clarified.
So where were we? Well science is not my strong point, I’m more about the philosophy of things using science as backup. That being said if you catch any scientific inaccuracies in here don’t be all too surprised. The general idea should be close enough for Jazz however.
Generally speaking the further away from a star you are the larger you are. I’m not entirely sure why but I’ve read a few times that it has to do with the lower temperatures. As planets are forming there was probably an issue with certain matter being burned away from inner planets (like say Ice) which didn’t burn off on the outer planets. This would give them much more mass to pull in even more matter until they hit whatever limit (that is before they’d start hitting those uncomfortably large star sizes).
While there are other planets in our Solar System and I’m sure with a good drink and a weekend you could get to know any of them and find them to be quite friendly folks. However there is one that is substantially more important at the moment. That would be Earth, which in the beginning like all other matter was in a fairly hot state. This molten sphere was spinning quite merrily, getting belted by frozen comets and meteor rocks and probably a unicorn or two (okay likely not the latter).
According to a report I read (and subsequently watched on FORA.tv, again you all should check it out), the Moon was formed from a rather large impact during the early days of the Earth. A massive object smashed into the Earth launching a fairly large, dare I say moon sized, chunk of rock into the atmosphere. Interestingly as the video notes the composition of the moon fits quite nicely with this theory and frankly I see little reason not to believe it, I imagine otherwise it would be quite hard for something the size of the moon to be flying by and get stuck in our orbit.
About 4 billion years ago, which frankly isn’t all that long when thinking about non-living things, the first life sprouted up. The presence of water on Earth is not exactly all that surprising. I’d be willing to bet that any planet in the relative range that we are from our star (that is further if their star is larger or closer if their star is smaller) would find quite a lot of water on them. Comets which were, amongst other things, pretty icy were pummeling anything they could get attracted to. Those planets too close to stars would have it subsequently evaporate and those further would have it freeze (special exceptions aside). However for your average planet in this area like that of ours found themselves covered in water. This is helpful because, generally speaking, you are going to be hard pressed to find water and not find life in it. Even extremely toxic, extremely hot, or extremely cold (see ice) water can have life either living merrily or at least being in stasis within them.
I personally wonder if Virus’s were not the first ‘life’ on the Earth. An in-between stage moving from the many non-living (see incapable or acting on own) things to the living. They have very simple processes and a very simple goal. Simply to sustain their existence through whatever means possible. There is and likely never will be any evidence of this and it is merely a thought. However what I can say is that once the acidity of the Oceans (volcanic activity is hell on a PH balance) were friendly enough the bacteria that sprung forth was quite happy to do so.
It seems almost silly to imagine hundreds of millions of years, in which every fraction of a second there is a reaction of chemicals and elements across an almost unfathomably large space would not return some sort of unusual side effect. It’s a very good side effect because without it we wouldn’t have chicken…oh or us. I keep forgetting you need to exist before you eat chicken.
The fact that life is so happy in water makes much sense. Ultraviolet light and other radiations that do well to destroy the genetic makeup that comprises life have relative difficulty permeating water as easily as other substances (exceptions like Lead aside). Unlike Lead and rock, Water is also easy to move through which is a very helpful addition. Though even without water I’m sure that some sort of extreme bacteria would live quite happily in a mercury rich cave dining on the walls.
At some point it became apparent that there was a massive orb blasting endless levels of ultraviolet light onto the planet. Organisms began converting this matter for energy creating a seemingly endless supply of food. They began to convert the CO2 flowing through the air (and wherever else it could squeeze its deadly butt into) into Oxygen. This process would help bolster the atmosphere and probably for a bit was actually quite extreme. Anything that wasn’t prepared to process Oxygen would have found the result quite fatal.
But whenever a massive supply of new food arises something arises to consume it. At some point in here there was surely something that noticed everything around it could produce energy if consumed. Carnivores likely arose at this point. Indeed on thinking back carnivores probably popped up before even the photosynthesis, I just get ahead of myself.
We now had carnivores, herbivores, water, and copious levels of oxygen. However all things included in this conversation are still so small that unless there is an absolutely grotesquely large collection of them we couldn’t see them with the naked eye. Stuff that would make plankton squint…well maybe not but it would sure as hell be hard for us to see.
Tomorrow we’ll move onto the first plants and hope that I don’t butcher too much while trying to make my various points. Who knows in a few decades I might have a nice solid little lecture out of this thing (I redo it yearly).