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Bonecrusher

A little bit of afters

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I spent my Christmas Day at my uncles's.

However once the glasses were re-filled and the turkey devoured we relaxed in the lounge.

And the first subject of conversation was the possibility of alien life.

I wish I hadn't bothered because my uncle said we were "unique" in the universe.

He based this conclusion on the fact of an 1% shift of the Earth's axis making life impossible.

He even thought the Drake's equation was full of holes.

The irony being was his fence sitting on the Roswell incident.

My only counter argument was a lifeform not necesarily being carbon-based to live on an other planet.

However I didn't voice my views on him being arrogant and stupid because I love him to bits.

What do you think about this?

Edited by Medium Brown

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Arthur C. Clarke said that there are two options -either we'e alone in the universe or we're not, both are equally terrifying.

even if life is staggeringly rare, even if it takes one in a googleplex chances to actually be able to produce life let alone sustsin it, the universe is vast, history is long and we're not alone, it's almost impossible for us to be. the nearest neighbour may be on the other side of the galaxy a few million light years away, but we,re not alone.

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Arthur C. Clarke said that there are two options -either we'e alone in the universe or we're not, both are equally terrifying.

even if life is staggeringly rare, even if it takes one in a googleplex chances to actually be able to produce life let alone sustsin it, the universe is vast, history is long and we're not alone, it's almost impossible for us to be. the nearest neighbour may be on the other side of the galaxy a few million light years away, but we,re not alone.

This is why he could do with a session with one of the more experienced members here.

I think he's intelligent enough despite his naivety to take it on board.

But you need to explain in more than laymans terms for it to finally sink in.

He even compared the possibility of life sustaining planets to diamonds in the beach.

It's no wonder I make a crack about an engagement ring.

Btw my cousin was on my side all the time.

Edited by Medium Brown
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I seriously doubt we are alone. I think they have been coming here for thousands of years maybe even hundreds of thousands. Our planet and sun is young compared to others so there has been plenty of time for life much more intelligent than us to evolve and move out through the universe exploring and maybe even doing a little genetic engineering along the way.

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Arthur C. Clarke said that there are two options -either we'e alone in the universe or we're not, both are equally terrifying.

even if life is staggeringly rare, even if it takes one in a googleplex chances to actually be able to produce life let alone sustsin it, the universe is vast, history is long and we're not alone, it's almost impossible for us to be. the nearest neighbour may be on the other side of the galaxy a few million light years away, but we,re not alone.

I agree with this

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It makes no sense that in the vast universe all life is crammed onto our tiny globe. Virtually every cubic inch here is teeming with a wide variety of life. Millions of species here and nothing elsewhere. To think that is obsurd.

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I think when we discover another Earth-like planet we may be able to extrapolate the possible number of these planets existing in our galaxy. It's an evolutionary accident of circumstances that we humans exist at all. It's possible another planet such as ours my exist for its entire lifetime without intelligent life such as ours ever evolving on it.

On the other hand, it may be inevitable that intelligence will evolve at some point in time given the right environment. Given the age of the universe, what chances are there that intelligent life exists out there at the same moment as we do? I think this point makes finding other civilizations less likely.

There may have evolved many intelligences in the galaxy in the past and many may exist in the future, but at this moment in time we may have to be very lucky to discover one.

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What would happen though if there was an 1% shift in the Earth's axis now.

I know it dosn't sound a lot but it could disorientate some species.

Of major concern could be the migratory patterns of birds.

And if it was higher it could turn jungles into ice fields.

But if this 1% shift happened before life was set it could still function.

I think the premise for his hypothesis needs to be explored more.

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I think when we discover another Earth-like planet we may be able to extrapolate the possible number of these planets existing in our galaxy. It's an evolutionary accident of circumstances that we humans exist at all. It's possible another planet such as ours my exist for its entire lifetime without intelligent life such as ours ever evolving on it.

On the other hand, it may be inevitable that intelligence will evolve at some point in time given the right environment. Given the age of the universe, what chances are there that intelligent life exists out there at the same moment as we do? I think this point makes finding other civilizations less likely.

There may have evolved many intelligences in the galaxy in the past and many may exist in the future, but at this moment in time we may have to be very lucky to discover one.

Intelligence appears to improve the chances of it's own survival. Humans started out as a very vulnerable species, small in numbers, and could have been easily destroyed by diseases, environmental changes, or natural disasters. The exercise of intelligence has made it possible for human numbers to grow, and for the species to nearly cover the planet. Any of the threats mentioned above are now much less likely to cause our extinction.

In the future, we will probably even be able to cope with such problems as an asteroid on course to strike Earth. Species than can expand their territory, to the extent of traveling the galaxy could even avoid the danger of nearby supernovae or the broiling expansion of a smaller star in its terminal phase. I anticipate that intelligent life exists as a dense population throughout the galaxy.

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What would happen though if there was an 1% shift in the Earth's axis now.

I know it dosn't sound a lot but it could disorientate some species.

Of major concern could be the migratory patterns of birds.

And if it was higher it could turn jungles into ice fields.

But if this 1% shift happened before life was set it could still function.

I think the premise for his hypothesis needs to be explored more.

There is an immense amount of momentum in the spinning Earth. It acts like a gyroscope to resist sudden changes in axial tilt. Slow changes occur, its true. Called precession, these vary the direction of the Earth's axis by 1 degree in about 60 years. A vast circle some 47 degrees across is traced out by the Earth's axis every 26,000 years. These changes in axial tilt do not seem to have seriously troubled life on Earth.
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There is an immense amount of momentum in the spinning Earth. It acts like a gyroscope to resist sudden changes in axial tilt. Slow changes occur, its true. Called precession, these vary the direction of the Earth's axis by 1 degree in about 60 years. A vast circle some 47 degrees across is traced out by the Earth's axis every 26,000 years. These changes in axial tilt do not seem to have seriously troubled life on Earth.

Belated thanks for all that info but my uncle still hasn't took it on board.

He's now claiming it's something to do with the distances between the Earth,Moon and Sun.

How these distances line up so perfectly where the Moon covers the Sun in an eclipse.

And because of this perfect symmetry he thinks it's a one in a million chance that we have life.

Tbh I don't think it matters what distance the objects are apart as long as it's in the Goldilocks zone.

He'll have to do a bit better than that to convince me there isn't intelligent life in the cosmos.

However some crackpots would have us believe our place in the Solar System is part of some intelligent design.

Tbh I think it's a bit more random than that and it's quite possible this randomness is part and parcel of the universe.

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Arthur C. Clarke said that there are two options -either we'e alone in the universe or we're not, both are equally terrifying.

even if life is staggeringly rare, even if it takes one in a googleplex chances to actually be able to produce life let alone sustsin it, the universe is vast, history is long and we're not alone, it's almost impossible for us to be. the nearest neighbour may be on the other side of the galaxy a few million light years away, but we,re not alone.

i was talking about this just the other day in a thread with UMer, Bison, its all interesting stuff. i think that quote from the great Arthur C is brilliant.

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The size/distance ratios of the Sun and Moon as seen from Earth, so that they appear roughly the same size, is far from perfect. There are solar eclipses where the Moon is a little farther away and/or the Sun a little nearer to us. These produce annular solar eclipses. A substantial portion of the outside edge of the Sun is visible, because it is not covered by the Moon.

The Moon was once much closer to the Earth and is still receding from it. It once appeared far larger than necessary to cover the Sun, and one day, will never appear large enough to do so.

Having a large, nearby Moon does tend to help stabilize the Earth's axis. Mars, which has no substantial moons, is believed to have varied its axial tilt to a greater degree. Fortunately for any life that may reside there, these changes would apparently have taken place over hundreds of thousands or millions of years. It seems reasonable that there would have been time for life to adapt to these very gradual changes.

There might be a number of ways for planets to have reasonably stable axes. Moons of a super-Jovian planet in another solar system might be as large as Earth, or at least large enough to hold onto a substantial atmosphere, and so harbor advanced forms of life. Such moons would haves their axes held firmly by the planets they orbited.

Planets within the close-in habitable zones of small red stars would be similarly stable. In this case, the same face of the planet would always be exposed to the star. Extremes of heat and cold may be substantially reduced by robust atmospheric circulation. This would presumably be driven by the heat at the sub-stellar point, perhaps establishing a planet-wide convection cell, traveling to the frigid zone on the opposite side of the planet, and returning.

Edited by bison
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