Particles found to break speed of light

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Particles found to break speed of light

An international group of scientists have reported that numerous experiments over the last 3 years have shown neutrinos travelling faster than light.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/science-light-idUSL5E7KM4CW20110922

 

 

 

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Prediction before I read

Prediction before I read this: This is yet another over-hyped, "It travels faster than light! (Except, not really. But sorta/kinda. But actually not.)"

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Here's what they're saying

Here's what they're saying in the article:

"The totally unexpected finding emerged from research by a physicists working on an experiment dubbed OPERA run jointly by the CERN particle research centre near Geneva and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy.

 

A total of 15,000 beams of neutrinos -- tiny particles that pervade the cosmos -- were fired over a period of 3 years from CERN towards Gran Sasso 730 (500 miles) km away, where they were picked up by giant detectors.

 

Light would have covered the distance in around 2.4 thousandths of a second, but the neutrinos took 60 nanoseconds -- or 60 billionths of a second -- less than light beams would have taken.

 

"It is a tiny difference," said Ereditato, who also works at Berne University in Switzerland, "but conceptually it is incredibly important. The finding is so startling that, for the moment, everybody should be very prudent."

 

Ereditato declined to speculate on what it might mean if other physicists, who will be officially informed of the discovery at a meeting in CERN on Friday, found that OPERA's measurements were correct. "

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

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natural wrote:Prediction

natural wrote:

Prediction before I read this: This is yet another over-hyped, "It travels faster than light! (Except, not really. But sorta/kinda. But actually not.)"

Actually 60 ns faster is quite the feat

 


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Wha'd I tell ya?:Dr. Karl

Wha'd I tell ya?:

Dr. Karl Hudnut wrote:

The reporting here is incorrect. Einstein’s theory *DOES NOT HOLD* that nothing can travel faster than light. That is a very common misconception. Einstein’s theory starts with one axiom (a self evident truth) and one postulate (a statement deemed to be true without further argument). The axiom from Einstein’s theory can be stated: the laws of physics should not depend on the frame of reference of the observer. This is a self evident truth. The postulate can be stated: light will be measured to travel at the same speed by all observers regardless of reference frame. This postulate was based on experimental evidence available in 1905 and still available today. When the axiom and postulate are applied to observers traveling at constant speed relative to one another, you get the special theory of relativity, published as part of Einsteins 1905 paper. One of the conclusions is that “the speed of light is constant and absolute in free space”. It falls out of the mathematics. This conclusion is part of the special theory of relativity. It has to date not been dis-proven. If it is, then the postulate must be incorrect. It would mean that light *can* be measured to travel at a different speed depending on the frame of reference of the observer. I don’t get from the article that this is what has occurred. When the axiom and postulate are applied to gravitational and accelerating frames of reference, you the general theory of relativity, published in 1916. The general relativity mathematics bring forth strange things like black holes, worm holes, time warps, time travel etc. in the so called “fabric of space and time.” The stuff science fiction authors and buff’s are so enamored with. Including me. Most of it has not been practically realized. Only the more mundane stuff like gravity lenses, time dilation, length contraction have been observed. If any experiment can be performed that is in contradiction to the conclusions, then we would merely say, as would Einstein, that the postulate of the constancy of the speed of light, regardless of reference frame, must be incorrect. That’s not such a big deal, really. It would change a lot of physics. It would be very exciting. But it would just mean that the one postulate, one that none of us have ever been able to intuit anyway, is incorrect.

This is not the first time that experiments have been performed that have particles traveling faster than light *in a medium other than free space*. In this case neutrinos travel through, air, water and apparently rock faster than light does. That does not violate the fundamental postulate that the speed of light is constant regardless of the frame of reference of the observer.

Get it right.

Dr. Karl Hudnut, UCAR – COSMIC.

Sep 22, 2011 4:27pm EDT

It's possible this guy is incorrect about the findings. It does appear that the scientists reporting this are convinced, but it has yet to be confirmed, and there is a large possibility of error, or at least misinterpretation.

Certainly, Reuters over-hyped it. The particles were not 'found' to break the speed of light. They are suspected of breaking the speed of light.

It's like when police catch a suspect. The papers shouldn't report: "Murderer found!" They should report, "Suspect found."

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natural wrote:Wha'd I tell

natural wrote:

Wha'd I tell ya?:

Dr. Karl Hudnut wrote:

The reporting here is incorrect. Einstein’s theory *DOES NOT HOLD* that nothing can travel faster than light. That is a very common misconception. Einstein’s theory starts with one axiom (a self evident truth) and one postulate (a statement deemed to be true without further argument). The axiom from Einstein’s theory can be stated: the laws of physics should not depend on the frame of reference of the observer. This is a self evident truth. The postulate can be stated: light will be measured to travel at the same speed by all observers regardless of reference frame. This postulate was based on experimental evidence available in 1905 and still available today. When the axiom and postulate are applied to observers traveling at constant speed relative to one another, you get the special theory of relativity, published as part of Einsteins 1905 paper. One of the conclusions is that “the speed of light is constant and absolute in free space”. It falls out of the mathematics. This conclusion is part of the special theory of relativity. It has to date not been dis-proven. If it is, then the postulate must be incorrect. It would mean that light *can* be measured to travel at a different speed depending on the frame of reference of the observer. I don’t get from the article that this is what has occurred. When the axiom and postulate are applied to gravitational and accelerating frames of reference, you the general theory of relativity, published in 1916. The general relativity mathematics bring forth strange things like black holes, worm holes, time warps, time travel etc. in the so called “fabric of space and time.” The stuff science fiction authors and buff’s are so enamored with. Including me. Most of it has not been practically realized. Only the more mundane stuff like gravity lenses, time dilation, length contraction have been observed. If any experiment can be performed that is in contradiction to the conclusions, then we would merely say, as would Einstein, that the postulate of the constancy of the speed of light, regardless of reference frame, must be incorrect. That’s not such a big deal, really. It would change a lot of physics. It would be very exciting. But it would just mean that the one postulate, one that none of us have ever been able to intuit anyway, is incorrect.

This is not the first time that experiments have been performed that have particles traveling faster than light *in a medium other than free space*. In this case neutrinos travel through, air, water and apparently rock faster than light does. That does not violate the fundamental postulate that the speed of light is constant regardless of the frame of reference of the observer.

Get it right.

Dr. Karl Hudnut, UCAR – COSMIC.

Sep 22, 2011 4:27pm EDT

It's possible this guy is incorrect about the findings. It does appear that the scientists reporting this are convinced, but it has yet to be confirmed, and there is a large possibility of error, or at least misinterpretation.

Certainly, Reuters over-hyped it. The particles were not 'found' to break the speed of light. They are suspected of breaking the speed of light.

It's like when police catch a suspect. The papers shouldn't report: "Murderer found!" They should report, "Suspect found."

 

I think scientists involved would be know about Cherenekov radiation, phase velocity etc.. before they submitted their results.

 

The Lorentz transformation does indeed put the speed limit at speed of light in a vacuum and it would be interesting if there were some tweaks to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I don't know on this one. As a physics geek is there anyone who even cares if neutrinos happen to travel at 0.000001% faster than the speed of light? That might push the ultimate speed slightly higher but not enough for us to launch star ships.

 

 

Is there a real ultimate speed but Einstein did not have the right particle in mind? Well, in that case, special relativity remains relevant but with a tiny change in one number. On the other hand, if there is no real ultimates speed, then most of the science from the past century fails.

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Just for the record,

 ... it was 0.0026% faster: 60 nS in 2.3 mS.

I have no useful comment on the implications.


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What fucking gets me, is

What fucking gets me, is there is going to be some dip shit theist who will say, "See see see science got it wrong so god does exist"

THE POINT of science is to self correct, so IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF proven true, it does not debunk prior science, it will simply be revised and updated. A lot like when you figure out that cars without lead gas pollute less. The future of travel wont end because cars had less technology in the past.

This is freaky, but not magical. It still wont change the speed of light, because the speed of light depends on a certain structure of particles to be considered light. All it will mean is that there are separate elements that can travel faster.

And it still would not make space travel practical in the Star Trec sense. You would still have to figure out HOW to build material and fuel that could withstand the speed required. I do not see humans ever having the ability to build a ship that could do even close to the speed of light, much less faster.

I certainly think we can get to other planets within our solar system, but I really think our species will always be stuck on this island.

Whatever freaky stuff science may find in the future, I do not think it will ever justify science fiction. I am sure that this discovery IF IF IF IF IF IF IF proven true, will only serve to work towards new technology with local implications, but nothing wooish or si fi ish.

AND if proven true, it means science gets to learn something new and gets to update it's data. So all this DEPENDS on independent verification and a shitload of kicking the tires.

Sounds neat, and certainly far more interesting than bullshit books of myth.

AND what I like about the scientists involved in this is that THEY ALL SAID, "We want others to come in and test this so they can confirm our findings".

 

 

 

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Meh. Unless the properties

Meh. Unless the properties of space/time outside our solar system are significantly different than inside, we are really not all that far away from being able to expand beyond the system, though the costs would be extravagant. However, looking at human history, and some of the ridiculously unattainable goals some people with excessive resources have pursued in the past, it is inevitable that someone will leave the solar system, some day (provided we don't lose our technology, progress, and existence). The speed of light being capable of being matched or exceeded is not a significant factor to this. There are plenty of stars we could get to even if the highest speeds ever reached by humanity prove to be the highest speeds we can ever travel at (which is significantly lower than the speed of light, and also is significantly likely to be improved upon).

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This is SciAm's take on it.

This is SciAm's take on it.  I find them a decent source usually as they always name their sources which means you can drill as deep as you want.

 

 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=particles-found-to-travel

 

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My concerns about this are

My concerns about this are raised immediately they mentioned that these particles are travelling through a lot of matter, not just free space, and within a gravity field as well.

One would certainly expect the researchers to be fully aware of this, but I am suprised I didn't see a specific mention of these potentially complicating factors, and that they had been allowed for.

Very interesting, but incomplete report, at least until such things are properly addressed.

I will be listening to all my regular Science podcasts with even more interest than usual.

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Vastet wrote:Meh. Unless the

Vastet wrote:
Meh. Unless the properties of space/time outside our solar system are significantly different than inside, we are really not all that far away from being able to expand beyond the system, though the costs would be extravagant. However, looking at human history, and some of the ridiculously unattainable goals some people with excessive resources have pursued in the past, it is inevitable that someone will leave the solar system, some day (provided we don't lose our technology, progress, and existence). The speed of light being capable of being matched or exceeded is not a significant factor to this. There are plenty of stars we could get to even if the highest speeds ever reached by humanity prove to be the highest speeds we can ever travel at (which is significantly lower than the speed of light, and also is significantly likely to be improved upon).

I'm sorry. There is a huge difference between accepting that there will be future fantastic discoveries does not allow my brain to fall out.

We are talking about sub atomic particles, not huge objects like a spaceship. Size matters and organization of that matter matters. Just because a ray of light can travel a certain speed doesn't mean a rocket ever will. They are not the same structures and are not arranged the same way.

Thats like comparing a skate board to a Lamborgini because they both have wheels. Particles exist in both a ray of light and in the atoms that would make up the material of a rocket. So unless you can come up with a machine that can shrink an entire rocket down to the size of a sub atomic particle, I'd say you're screwed.

That doesn't mean there wont be future technology that will wow us that we don't know of now. But I am not going to include the absurd because I don't know the future.

I can't disprove god because I don't know the future. That is the same logic you are using.

 

Until you can PROVE it is possible by empirical demonstration, I see no need to hold that position.

"We once thought that flying like a bird was impossible" is a bad argument. Netwon also thought alchemy would go somewhere too.

Discovering something only means you have discovered something, it does not mean all possibilities will be true because of a change in data. It only means we have new data.

It is to me just like the past 19 years since the Redskins last Super Bowl, when a fellow fan, year after year says, "We're going to have a great season this year". My response, "I'll believe it when I see it". Until the Super Bowl is actually played this year, I won't assume that the Redskins will win it just because I want them to win it.

My point is good use of logic DOES allow for brainstorming, but it does not assume that all things are possible as a starting position.

Wanting something to be true does not mean it will be true. The only way to determine what is true is to go with the best data we currently have and keep testing it and revising it when new data pops up and the willingness to discard bad data.

 

RIGHT NOW i do not see HOW you can move an object as big as a rocket as fast as a ray of light. Will we make things that will go faster than we currently have? No doubt in my mind.

But there are HUGE obstructions beyond a certain point that I would say would limit us. The fact for example, that even something as small as a grain of sand speeding around our planet while the shuttle orbits CAN damage it like bullet strong enough can penetrate a bullet proof vest. AND that is with the shuttle falling around the planet at 20,000mph.

 

It is true that a forward motion in no gravity would allow for the object to go faster and faster. But doing such also depends on avoiding objects in it's path. I doubt technology is ever going to get to the point that you could manipulate a spacecraft to avoid even the tiniest of objects, much less at the speed of light, even if we could make a spacecraft go that fast.

 

EVEN IF we could build a spacecraft that would not break up at that speed, it would still require the ability to avoid microscopic objects at that speed. Hitting even the smallest object at that speed would be like a NASCAR hitting the wall at 200mph.

So I DO value the brainstorming that has lead scientists to things like computers and especially the Hubble Telescope, and I am sure there will be things humans come up with that seem impossible. But until it can be proven it is merely an idea. And in human history, most ideas fail. The ones that work go beyond speculation because they have been proven.

RIGHT NOW you are speculating and doing so quite badly because you are treating human made objects like sub atomic particles and they are NOT the same thing. There is a HUGE gap there. And one quite frankly, I wouldn't hedge my bets on.

 

 

 

 

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One idea that humans seemed

One idea that humans seemed to be overly focused on in regards to leaving this planet is that we need to find another planet to live on.

There are a lot of reasons why we shouldn't bother.  If we build a HUUUUUUGE space station and set it in orbit around the sun, and we set it to spinning to create artifical gravity, we would only need to occasionally visit asteroids or very occasionally maybe some planet for building materials.  We could have a self-contained man-made environment.

Imagine a structure so big we could have small rainforests in it as well as many other kinds of earth-like natural environments.  We could generate our own oxygen from such a huge number of plant life.  As well as food.  We could create a micro-environment of what Earth already is.

As long as we have a nearby star to harvest light-energy from why would we need a planet?

They have all these different levels of gravity that our bodies aren't evolved for.  They probably often have tectonic quakes and storms of one kind or another.  Such a pain in the butt.

The only time we would need to abandon this solar system is before Sol dies.

There's a lot of stuff we'd still need to figure out to make this happen but nothing insurmountable.

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Pacioli wrote:

 ... it was 0.0026% faster: 60 nS in 2.3 mS.

I have no useful comment on the implications.

 

There are not a great deal of implications.

 

First off is the idea that the difference is so really small that it matters little. What would the new “fastest speed there is” be? Something like a hand width per second? Ain't no star ships to be found around here.

 

Second, special relativity has been confirmed about a zillion times over. In fact, there is a really simple experiment that anyone can perform. Get as many people with cell phones together as you can and compare the clocks. Want to bet that they all agree to whatever precision each phone can display?

 

The clock signal on cell phones comes from the GPS system. You may not have GPS service on your phone but the receiver is in there (that being how 911 or whatever your country uses as the number for emergency call uses can find you). That requires a correction based on special relativity.

 

So yah, there is a universal speed limit. Perhaps it is vanishingly larger than we thought. It certainly would not be the first time that Einstein got something wrong.

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Brian, your entire response

Brian, your entire response is a strawman. I specifically noted that light speed is irrelevant to journeys to other stars, because we can get there conventionally. Now pull your head out of the sand and read my post again.

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ftw

From what I understood that's not the news. That neutrinos could travel faster than light I thought it was well known -- they have no mass. The point is why those particles can travel FTL, because they say it seems that space-time is not so smooth.


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luca wrote:From what I

luca wrote:

From what I understood that's not the news. That neutrinos could travel faster than light I thought it was well known -- they have no mass. The point is why those particles can travel FTL, because they say it seems that space-time is not so smooth.

No, actually, having zero mass is what allows a particle to reach the speed of light, not exceed it.

 

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Vastet wrote:Brian, your

Vastet wrote:
Brian, your entire response is a strawman. I specifically noted that light speed is irrelevant to journeys to other stars, because we can get there conventionally. Now pull your head out of the sand and read my post again.

Once again you miss my point. YOU STILL SPECULATED.

Now EVEN WITH our conventional current material, since you want to avoid the other. Fine, I'll deal with the here and now.

YOU STILL have huge problems I do not CURRENTLY SEE us getting over. Mars, IF IF IF IF IF we get our heads out of our ass I do think is obtainable. But considering what happened with Apollo 13 and the two shuttles that blew up, that is STILL a several month journey which would depend on nothing catastrophic happening.  The further the distance and higher the speed the more risk there is. Even without the speed the distance alone STILL requires nothing major going wrong. EVEN IF WE HAVE THE MONEY AND MATERIAL.

Getting further away from this island is not like pulling over and changing a tire. Something goes wrong that cannot be fixed it is not like you can pull over.

Saying that we can fly doesn't mean all planes wont crash. Saying we can fly didn't make the concord safe.  Saying that we can build cars didn't make the ford pinto safe.

What you are suggesting is a TALL ORDER and I just don't see it happening much less practical even if we could.

All you have said is "we can". So? Again, I'll believe it when I see it. I think even if we could send humans outside our solar system, with all the things that happen with just planes on earth, I think the odds of us making it to another solar system without getting killed by something, are slim, EVEN WITH what we have now.

So until it actually happens, I'll stick to saying "Sounds nice, but so what". Angelina Jolie exists and I exist but I am not holding out hope for a hummer from her because the possibility exists. It is still remote. So until she actually gives me a hummer I wont assume she will.

Believe me I WANT YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG, because the thought of our current reality of being stuck on a planet full of nutty theists sucks. But again, all I can say is that I'll believe it when I see it.

 

 

 

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Brian37 wrote:Believe me I

Brian37 wrote:

Believe me I WANT YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG, because the thought of our current reality of being stuck on a planet full of nutty theists sucks. But again, all I can say is that I'll believe it when I see it.

Oh that's relatively easy there.  We send a barrage of ships.  If some of the members of the convoy don't make it, that'll suck, but it's not going to be the end of the Universe.

Why would we only send one ship?  That's silly.

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I'm with you, Watcher. Don't

I'm with you, Watcher. Don't want to get sucked into this topic again, though. If you search the forums, you should find some really good discussions on this. I think the words 'interstellar travel' might work in the google search.

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natural wrote:If you search

natural wrote:

If you search the forums, you should find some really good discussions on this.

Yeah, I remember Kevin Brown and myself arguing against Hamby on this topic a few years back.

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Watcher wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Believe me I WANT YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG, because the thought of our current reality of being stuck on a planet full of nutty theists sucks. But again, all I can say is that I'll believe it when I see it.

Oh that's relatively easy there.  We send a barrage of ships.  If some of the members of the convoy don't make it, that'll suck, but it's not going to be the end of the Universe.

Why would we only send one ship?  That's silly.


 

Indeed. Now I wish that I had linked it earlier but it tracks across several news sources. It happens that we may have found a useful source for antimatter quite close by. As with all cutting edge science, we don't know if it will pan out but if it does, then Mars is only a few days away. The Oort cometary cloud is on the order of a couple or three months away.


 

If we slam enough comets into Mars, then we can build an environment there. Possibly but we do not have numbers enough to say how probable it may be.


 

Still, if the deal proves out, here are some relevant facts.


 

If we build city size star ships. It will take them twenty years (at constant acceleration of 1g) to get up to the speed where relativity starts to get interesting. At this point, earth time and ship time track close enough not to matter.


 

Here is where it gets interesting. Twenty years of constant boost will take you about ten light years. However, once special relativity starts to work it's wonders, a mere thirty years of ship time will take you across the galaxy.


 

This brings up a rather interesting conundrum. Even at a fairly low speed, the whole galaxy could be spanned in a million or so years by any civilization willing to promote the effort. So where are they? Seriously, there is no really good reason why we do not already have robotic probes from all over the galaxy surrounding us. No good answer has been offered on this.

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p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

This brings up a rather interesting conundrum. Even at a fairly low speed, the whole galaxy could be spanned in a million or so years by any civilization willing to promote the effort. So where are they? Seriously, there is no really good reason why we do not already have robotic probes from all over the galaxy surrounding us. No good answer has been offered on this.

 

I've read up on this question before.  These are some possibilities off the tip of my brain.

1.) They are here already.  Now I'm not a UFO nut thinking the Greys are beaming people up out of their bedroom windows to conduct anal probes on people.  But there are some weird stories about Unexplained things flying around that no one can come up with a good, concrete answer on.

2.) They don't care.

3.) They are intently studying and expanding across a small corner of the Galaxy.  Sending probes so far away just to look around a ho hum star out of billions of stars isn't worth their time.

4.) We're the first technologically inclined intelligent species in our particular galaxy.

5.) They blew themselves up over their freaky alien religion.

6.) They sit around smoking alien weed and making sweet sweet alien love to each other.  No ambition having bastards.  You will be our slaves one day.

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Once again with your

Once again with your strawmen Brian. I did no speculation. In point of fact we could send a vessel to another star TODAY. Now shut up and stop embarrassing yourself.

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@AIG: Many have supposed

@AIG: Many have supposed that such a method would be the antithesis of discovery, as the very probes used to explore the galaxy would consume it in an ever increasing rate. Suggestions of safeguards ignore the possibility of error in replication, where it takes only one faulty probe to start the cascade. It has been suggested that any such probe discovered by a civilisation would be destroyed out of self preservation, and that designing such probes could be construed as an act of aggression against the galaxy. While Watcher gave some good reasons why we haven't seen such a probe, I believe this to be a far more convincing hypothesis.

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Self replicating probes?  I

Self replicating probes?  I don't think he mentioned anything about self replicating ones.

But that's really interesting what you mentioned, Vastet.  I've never stumbled across anything along those lines of thinking before.

Where did you read about that?

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Watcher wrote:Answers in

Watcher wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

This brings up a rather interesting conundrum. Even at a fairly low speed, the whole galaxy could be spanned in a million or so years by any civilization willing to promote the effort. So where are they? Seriously, there is no really good reason why we do not already have robotic probes from all over the galaxy surrounding us. No good answer has been offered on this.

 

I've read up on this question before.  These are some possibilities off the tip of my brain.

1.) They are here already.  Now I'm not a UFO nut thinking the Greys are beaming people up out of their bedroom windows to conduct anal probes on people.  But there are some weird stories about Unexplained things flying around that no one can come up with a good, concrete answer on.

2.) They don't care.

3.) They are intently studying and expanding across a small corner of the Galaxy.  Sending probes so far away just to look around a ho hum star out of billions of stars isn't worth their time.

4.) We're the first technologically inclined intelligent species in our particular galaxy.

5.) They blew themselves up over their freaky alien religion.

6.) They sit around smoking alien weed and making sweet sweet alien love to each other.  No ambition having bastards.  You will be our slaves one day.

 

So much sci-fi on this topic comes to mind.  I can't think of anything original on the subject at all.  It may be that there is no practical and efficient way for interstellar travel.  I think we all grew up with too much startreck where you press a button and warp.  Even if the universe were teaming with life, only a small percentage would advance to a civilization analogous to ours, and we're pretty far off from littering even our immediate stellar neighborhood with any technology, let alone advanced probes.  Once a civilization makes it this far, it has the ability to self destruct, so even being generous, I would say that by chance 50% of them do just that.  From the remaining extremely small number, only a very lucky few would achieve interstellar travel, and even so, if not efficient, they would have to use their resources wisely.  

And all this is assuming that the universe has an abundance of life, which is a naked assertion, if only 10% of the originally thought number of planets capable of sustaining life were present, that would exponentially lower the amount of civilizations.  At that point, they may have just not reached us yet, our galaxy is a BIG ASS place.  

I'm not sure there is any mystery here, just good ole inhospitable universe.

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Well, he may not have

Well, he may not have explicitly stated it, I inferred it from reading up on ideas of exploring the galaxy and comparing the suggested time he mentioned it would take vs the previous proposals of "Von Neuman Probes(sp)", which theoretically could explore the galaxy entire on the order of 500MA.
It was some time ago that I did this research into theoretical methods of galactic exploration, but the name of the probe should allow you to easily find materials. Unless I got it wrong, but I don't think I did.

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Vastet wrote:"Von Neuman

Vastet wrote:
"Von Neuman Probes(sp)", which theoretically could explore the galaxy entire on the order of 500MA. It was some time ago that I did this research into theoretical methods of galactic exploration, but the name of the probe should allow you to easily find materials. Unless I got it wrong, but I don't think I did.

Aha.  Found it.  You were only off by one N.  Neumann.  Thanks. 

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Glad I was that close. I

Glad I was that close. I guarantee that a year or two from now when I next mention them I'll have again forgotten the correct spelling. lol

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p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

OK, I did not have self replicating probes in mind. I agree that such an idea is likely bad though. I remember reading a short story years ago about an engineer who made a machine that could make a duplicate of itself at 1:10 scale. Sadly enough, he had a single bad instruction. Instead of making a single copy, it made 10 copies. By the time he realized that the stop code was bad, there were too many of them to get control back.

 

If you like sci-fi, check Greg Bear. He has written on the topic a couple of times.

 

“Blood Music” is about a scientist who engages in an illegal experiment. He develops a line of cells which are capable of acting collectively as an intelligent critter. Because the idea is illegal, his source is his own white blood cells. When he is found out and ordered to destroy the work, he saves a sample by injecting them back into himself. Now he has smart blood. What comes from that? Well, get thee to the library because there are huge moral implications.

 

“The Forge of god” is a novel about a planet that actively declares war on the whole galaxy by specifically making self replicating probes. When they arrive at Earth, there is really no technology which can stop them. Fortunately, there is an opposed alien race that gets here a few months ahead and they manage to save enough to resettle Mars just before the earth becomes a new black hole.

 

The story continues thousands of years later with “Anvil of Stars” but I will not give a spoiler on that as the ending is totally fucked up.

 

Fred Saberhagen also has an interesting universe. The Berserker novels posit that a couple of billion years ago, there was an interstellar war where both sides made doomsday weapons. Basically, intelligent star ships Programmed to destroy all life. Since both sides made them, they are at war with each other but since there is no a galactic civilization that never had a dog in that race to begin with, the war between the two factions is the only thing that keeps them from being a much bigger issue for everyone in general.

 

Past that, the real point that I was going for is the general idea that we can make a few assumptions and see where they go.

 

The galaxy can be filled by (non replicating) probes in a million or so years.

 

If only 1% of star systems were to send out only 1,000 probes each, then there should be at least ten such probes in our own solar system right now.

 

So where are they?

 

Viable options? Not very many.

 

We are specially positioned in time near the beginning of galactic exploration. OK, that is possible but it violates the Copernican principal. Not like that is a law or anything but there is a stunning lack supporting logic for the idea.

 

We really are alone. That would be odd considering how many stars there are in the galaxy. Again, if even a tiny percentage of star systems can do it, there has already been enough time for it to have happened many times over.

 

There is some critical point to star travel that we seem to be missing. Could be, don't know, lack evidence.

 

Aliens hate us and have us corralled. Possible. I don't think that there is a question that we are a totally fucked up species. Still, we seem to be pretty good at dealing with fucked up situations.

 

 

The genetic evidence shows that about 70,000 years ago, there were about 2,000 people. Then a volcano went off and we ran away. A couple hundred years ago, we passed the point where we could farm enough to feed ourselves. Industry fixed that. Global thermonuclear war? I like to think that we got past that one. Not that I really expect that there will not be a few here and there over the years but the big problem seems to have passed. Global warming? Not sure if it is as big of a deal as some of us would like the rest of us to buy into but it is clearly a problem. The historical evidence suggests that we will figure that one out one way or another.

 

That leaves us with possibly a bigger question. Races which are more fucked up than us will self exterminate. Races that are better off than us should dominate the galaxy and have motive to help us out of our hole.

 

The only solution I see here is that we are about as enlightened as it is even possible to be. Everyone else either destroys themselves somehow or they never get all that much better than us.

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I remember reading a thought

I remember reading a thought experiment about an intelligent species that existed on a planet with total cloud cover all of the time.  As such they never had astronomy or any special curiosity to go into outerspace.  Instead they became masters of everything within their world but never ventured away from it.

Or what about an intelligent species that developed and lived constantly in caves or underground burrows?  Agoraphobia would probably be pretty intense in these species.

The idea of any of them traveling out into the void of space would perhaps be so terrifying that they would actively stop themselves from considering it.

Aquatic species often would probably be something kinda comparable to our dolphins.  No matter how smart they couldn't build rockets.

Maybe we're pretty fearless as a species compared to other intelligent species out there.  Maybe all the ones that were as fearless as us or more so would have self-destructed before they could get out into space.

The possibilities are endless.  But there's something out there.  At least in my opinion.  I would be utterly dumbfounded if there was nothing out there not only living but something out there intelligent.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

This brings up a rather interesting conundrum. Even at a fairly low speed, the whole galaxy could be spanned in a million or so years by any civilization willing to promote the effort. So where are they? Seriously, there is no really good reason why we do not already have robotic probes from all over the galaxy surrounding us. No good answer has been offered on this.

 

This is my primary argument for why we are alone in this galaxy. Whichever life-form develops space travel first--provided that they do not end up wiping themselves out--will be able to colonize the entire galaxy in such a short time (on the order of 1 million years, which sounds long, but over the course of 14 billion years is tiny tiny tiny), that the probability is extremely high they they will complete colonization before any other species manages to evolve intelligence and technology to even get off the planet. So, since no one has done it before, we must be (to a high degree of probability) the first species to get the chance. Let's hope we don't blow it.

It's like the origin of life, or the origin of any dominating 'technology'. Once life began, it filled up the planet at an exponential rate and basically life was covering the whole planet in an instant (in geological time). After that, no other form of life could even get started, because the existing life would just consume it.

Like the spread of humanity across the planet. For millions of years, we were stuck in Africa. Then you get the first diaspora of hominids, followed by neanderthal, and finally sapiens, in successive waves. The last wave of modern H sapiens sapiens took less than 200,000 years, forcing all other hominids into extinction.

We're the only ones left, and as long as humans are around, no other species will be able to enter our niche. Before us, there were no technological species. As soon as we figured that out, we spread across the whole planet in the blink of an eye (geologically speaking).

There is pretty much no place on Earth you can live and not find evidence of humans. It would be like chimps evolving to human intelligence without ever spotting a human around. Just not going to happen.

If we were not the first, we would not even be here talking about it, because the first ones would already have colonized the Sol system, and we never would have got a chance to evolve. They would have dominated our primitive planet, without even thinking about it. Or maybe they would make it like a zoo, like we keep chimps in zoos, but even chimps in zoos have evidence of their captors. We've got nothing. Not a peep.

The balance of probabilities says, we're the first. So, to answer the question:

Where are they?

They are us.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

We are specially positioned in time near the beginning of galactic exploration. OK, that is possible but it violates the Copernican principal. Not like that is a law or anything but there is a stunning lack supporting logic for the idea.

 

We really are alone. That would be odd considering how many stars there are in the galaxy. Again, if even a tiny percentage of star systems can do it, there has already been enough time for it to have happened many times over.

I see your Copernican principle and raise you an Anthropic principle. See my signature below. Is it strange/miraculous that we are the first? No. If we were not the first, we would not be here right now talking about it. The first ones will dominate the galaxy in no time flat (geologically speaking). There will be no place you can go and not find evidence of them. Since there's no evidence, they must not have happened yet. So, we are alone and we are the first (assuming we don't blow ourselves up before we manage it proper).

Quote:
There is some critical point to star travel that we seem to be missing. Could be, don't know, lack evidence.

Doubt it severely. You don't even need to get to relativistic speeds. Even a tenth of the speed of light will enable you to cross the galaxy in only a million years. Sounds long to us short-lived individuals. But the universe is fucking old, and a million years is nothing in the timescale of stars, planets, and evolution.

Quote:
Aliens hate us and have us corralled. Possible. I don't think that there is a question that we are a totally fucked up species. Still, we seem to be pretty good at dealing with fucked up situations.

Doesn't explain lack of evidence. If they colonized the galaxy, odds are (by probability) that it wasn't recently. They would literally be everywhere. The whole solar system would be filled. Just as we (or any life-form) will fill up whatever niche it can. That's the nature of life. It replicates. Exponential growth.

Quote:

The only solution I see here is that we are about as enlightened as it is even possible to be. Everyone else either destroys themselves somehow or they never get all that much better than us.

 

Or we're the first. Somebody's got to be the first. Nobody gets to be the second. Anthropic principle. If we're asking the question, and the asking of the question depends on some condition X, then X is true. Same reason you're alive. Same reason you're conscious. Same reason the universe can support life at all. If it couldn't, we wouldn't be here talking about it.

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Watcher wrote:But there's

Watcher wrote:
But there's something out there.  At least in my opinion.  I would be utterly dumbfounded if there was nothing out there not only living but something out there intelligent.

There is probably lots of life out there, in my opinion. It's just that we're the first technologically advanced enough to get a chance at space travel. Again, if some other life form had the ability, it would already be here, and we wouldn't.

Intelligent life might be in other galaxies, but the Milky Way is too small. Maybe a galaxy a few hundred million light years away, or further. The further you go, the higher the probability. I wouldn't be surprised if our descendants eventually meet advanced life from a distant galaxy, but that will likely be at least a few hundred million years from now, probably longer.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

OK, I did not have self replicating probes in mind. I agree that such an idea is likely bad though.

All life-forms are self-replicating probes. Any interstellar travel (of the interstellar species itself) is exactly equivalent to the invention of Von Neumann probes. It's only a question of how enlightened they are, whether they (we) are merely destructive consumers of everything they find, or if they (we) are able to achieve some sort of balance of sustainability. The tendency to just consume everything is always going to be there. It's built in to life by natural selection and survival. But we don't have to surrender to that blindly. We can potentially manage colonization while preserving whatever wonders we discover out there (such as other life). Let's hope we figure it out as a species. Right now, I think we would majorly fuck up the galaxy if we managed interstellar travel with our current species mind-set.

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natural wrote:Watcher

natural wrote:

...but the Milky Way is too small. Maybe a galaxy a few hundred million light years away, or further. The further you go, the higher the probability. I wouldn't be surprised if our descendants eventually meet advanced life from a distant galaxy, but that will likely be at least a few hundred million years from now, probably longer.

Too small?  The Milky Way and Andromeda are the two largest galaxies by far in our local group of galaxies.  And this local group is probably going to be the limit of what we could ever reach.  All the other groups of galaxies are on the other side of an ever widening gulf of expanding space.

Astronomers estimate that there are 200 billion to 400 billion stars contained within the Milky Way.

That ain't small, my friend. 

Maybe we're just unusually dexterious for any species around the universe.  Maybe we are an exception to a rule that most all species intelligent or no don't have the manual dexterity for building such intricate tools.

 

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There are a few

There are a few possibilities that have not been mentioned, and a couple of considerations about our own planetary history to consider as well (or were, but I was too eager to post lol).
First, there is the possibility that life could attain intelligence without gaining the tools necessary for a technological society. Aquatic life in particular would have significant problems even getting an industrial age.
Resources could be a factor. If humanity had evolved 2 billion years ago we wouldn't have nearly as much oil and coal as we do. It could be that some species evolve intelligence before there is sufficient resources to get them past fossil fuels.
Another consideration is distance and technology development speeds. It could very well be that if SETI were around 1500 years ago they would have detected something. But now the species, as we are in the process of doing, has shifted from radio frequencies that travel long distances to high efficiency fibre optics and the like, and they are no longer detectable.

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With distance, it's only

With distance, it's only been what, 110 years since frequencies were used that could be detected from a distance? That's not a long time to travel. Its not like someone on the other side of the galaxy would see anything when looking in our direction.
Yet another possibility is that intelligence isn't always an evolutionary advantage. In fact, though problematic to view the only example we have, it did take about 4 billion years before a species capable of space flight came to be.
Disasters are a consideration as well. There have been dozens of extinction events, and 5 of them wiped out most of the life around at the time. How many species may have been on the verge of tool use when the climate drastically changed or a giant rock fell on their heads? How many alien species may have similar misfortune? Or worse, with a gamma ray burst or a flyby black hole?
The universe does not appear to be a safe environment for life at every corner. We could be lucky.

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Or we could be very unlucky

Or we could be very unlucky (or luckier, depending), and be in a galaxy that has little life, while others team with it.
Natural makes some great points, and we could very well be the first simply because someone has to be. But we also may be one of a few that arise at similar times.
I don't think the galaxy could be colonised in a million years. The article on Von Neumann probes said it would take 500 MA to explore the entire galaxy with tech more sophisticated than we have. Colonising it could take much much longer than that. I'm unwilling to assume the development of ftl tech due to the possibility that it is literally impossible.
Considering that its taken about 500 MA for life to develop from the first multi-cellular organisms to today, that gives a pretty big window for other intelligence to arise.

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Btw AIG, I've read Gregs

Btw AIG, I've read Gregs Star Wars novel(s), and have heard many times about his stand alone series. I intend to pick them up sometime when I have some spare cash.

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Vastet wrote:If humanity had

Vastet wrote:
If humanity had evolved 2 billion years ago we wouldn't have nearly as much oil and coal as we do.

Oooh, that's a good point, Vastet.  To expand on that idea I once read somewhere a long time ago that our solar system is a "third generation" solar system.  Meaning we are comprised of material that is the left over debris from two previous solar systems that died.  They calculated this based on the higher level elements found, like iron and whatnot.

If we were a first generation solar system we wouldn't have metal at all.  What the heck would we do then?  We'd be stuck in the stone age no matter what.

Also the 500 Million years thing, I glanced through a wiki article about the Von Neumann probes and it stated on there that it wasn't 500 Million but 500 thousand.  Just FYI on that.  Maybe the article was wrong.  I haven't investigated hardly at all on that topic yet.

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Tbh, it's more likely that

Tbh, it's more likely that my memory is faulty than that the article is wrong. That would throw out my proposed window.

editted due to misreading

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Watcher wrote:If we were a

Watcher wrote:

If we were a first generation solar system we wouldn't have metal at all.  What the heck would we do then?  We'd be stuck in the stone age no matter what.

Wait a minute.  If we were a first generation solar system we'd only have gas giants for planets wouldn't we.  I've read of theories about how life could exist in gas giants.   I think Carl Sagan discussed this idea in one of his books.

Ok, so maybe second generation and iron would be as rare as gold or something.  We'd be screwed for space travel.

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The probability of

The probability of intelligent life harnessing energy could very well be directly tied to the age of the universe due to the nature of stars fusing heavier and heavier elements.

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Watcher wrote: natural

Watcher wrote:

natural wrote:

...but the Milky Way is too small. Maybe a galaxy a few hundred million light years away, or further. The further you go, the higher the probability. I wouldn't be surprised if our descendants eventually meet advanced life from a distant galaxy, but that will likely be at least a few hundred million years from now, probably longer.

Too small?  The Milky Way and Andromeda are the two largest galaxies by far in our local group of galaxies.

And yet, we could still populate the entire Milky Way in about 1 million years given the ability to send ships between stars at 10% of the speed of light. Even at 1% of the speed of light, it would only take about 10 million years.

The universe is about 14 billion years old. 10 million years is less than 1 thousandth of the age of the universe.

Life has been on Earth about 3.5 billion years. 10 million years is only about 0.3% of the span of life on Earth.

Fish came onto land about 375 million years ago. 10 million years is only about 2.7% of the length of time quadrupeds have existed.

It only took about 5 million years for our human-chimp common ancestor to give rise to humans.

Suppose an alien life-form figured out interstellar travel only 20 million years ago. Suppose the fastest they could go was 1% of c. They would have filled the entire galaxy by 10 million years ago. By the time they came here, we still wouldn't have split from chimps yet. We would be culture-less, technology-less apes that couldn't even talk to each other in a full language.

The aliens would come here, say, "Well, yet another planet with no technological life. No problem moving in then. Gee, I wonder if we'll ever find any alien civilizations more advanced than we are. They should be everywhere! So, well... Where are they?"

If aliens developed interstellar travel even 20 million years ago (the blink of an eye in terms of life, the universe, and everything!) there would have been no sign of us. They would have found the entire Milky Way galaxy empty of alien civilizations, just as we find it today.

If they had developed it even earlier, they would have found us even more primitive.

It would be a very large coincidence if they just happened to develop interstellar travel in the last 5 or 10 million years, and they simply haven't got this far yet. Why a coincidence? Because 5-10 million years is a tiny tiny fraction of the age of the universe, the age of life, the age of quadrupeds, the age of social organisms, the age of mammals, etc.

The odds are much greater that we are simply the first.

That's why the Milky Way is too small. Because it's small enough to traverse in only about 10 million years, even given quite conservative estimates of maximum interstellar travel speeds. And 10 million years is too small, in the grand scheme of things, to be considered likely that interstellar aliens already exist but haven't made it here yet.

Quote:
And this local group is probably going to be the limit of what we could ever reach.  All the other groups of galaxies are on the other side of an ever widening gulf of expanding space.

Let's worry about that problem 5-10 million years from now.

Quote:
Astronomers estimate that there are 200 billion to 400 billion stars contained within the Milky Way.

That ain't small, my friend.

It doesn't matter how many there are. It only matters how far away they are. If there were 400 trillion stars in the same volume of space, we would fill it up just as fast, if not faster (shorter distances between).

Exponential growth is a bitch. 1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8.

Doesn't sound like much until realize that in only 10 steps, you get from 1 to 1024. And in only 20 steps you get from 1 to 1 million. 30 steps gets you to 1 billion. 40 steps to a trillion (ish).

And that's assuming a multiplication factor of only 2. It's much much faster if you only increase that to 3. There's really no limit to how many ships a single system could send out. Well, yes, there is actually a limit. The speed of light.

Aside from that, exponential growth ensures that, as fast as we can get somewhere, we will fill it up.

The typical distance between neighbouring stars (in our region) is about 5 light years. At 1% of the speed of light, that would take about 500 years. With a conservative reproduction base of only 2, here's what the number of colonized star systems would look like:

 

Travel time 500
Reproduction rate 2
   
Years Systems
                                -                                              1
                             500                                            2
                         1,000                                            4
                         1,500                                            8
                         2,000                                         16
                         2,500                                         32
                         3,000                                         64
                         3,500                                       128
                         4,000                                       256
                         4,500                                       512
                         5,000                                   1,024
                         5,500                                   2,048
                         6,000                                   4,096
                         6,500                                   8,192
                         7,000                                 16,384
                         7,500                                 32,768
                         8,000                                 65,536
                         8,500                               131,072
                         9,000                               262,144
                         9,500                               524,288
                       10,000                           1,048,576
                       10,500                           2,097,152
                       11,000                           4,194,304
                       11,500                           8,388,608
                       12,000                         16,777,216
                       12,500                         33,554,432
                       13,000                         67,108,864
                       13,500                      134,217,728
                       14,000                      268,435,456
                       14,500                      536,870,912
                       15,000                   1,073,741,824
                       15,500                   2,147,483,648
                       16,000                   4,294,967,296
                       16,500                   8,589,934,592
                       17,000                17,179,869,184
                       17,500                34,359,738,368
                       18,000                68,719,476,736
                       18,500              137,438,953,472
                       19,000              274,877,906,944
                       19,500              549,755,813,888
                       20,000          1,099,511,627,776

 

So, assuming there is no limit to the number of star systems (though there actually is), we would already have colonized over 1 trillion systems in only 20,000 years.

Now, obviously, that is not possible, because there aren't 1 trillion star systems within 200 light-years' distance from Earth. But that just proves my point! If we could colonize 1 trillion systems, we would. Easily. Especially considering this is a conservative estimate of reproduction capabilities.

Exponential growth is a bitch. As fast as we can visit star systems (which is only limited by velocity of travel), we will colonize all of them.

Just watch a video of bacteria replicating in a Petri dish. It doesn't look like much to start. But each cell can replicate itself, and so it accelerates and accelerates, and pretty soon those fuckers will fill the whole fucking Petri dish. And they can't even fucking move!

Whatever species is the first to figure out interstellar travel, the only limit to their colonization of the entire Milky Way will be how fast they can practically travel. As fast as they can get somewhere, it will be colonized.

Quote:
Maybe we're just unusually dexterious for any species around the universe.  Maybe we are an exception to a rule that most all species intelligent or no don't have the manual dexterity for building such intricate tools.

Personally, I think we're just lucky. That's all. Somebody gets to be first. Nobody gets to be second.

Why is the most intelligent species on the planet descended from mammals and not dinosaurs? Pure fucking luck. A fucking meteor. That's all.

And if it's not us, and we kill ourselves, but don't destroy the entire planet, then maybe it'll be the descendants of dogs, or rats, or bees, or elephants or something. Who knows? All I know is we've got a legitimate shot at it, for whatever random reason.

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Watcher
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natural wrote:The universe

natural wrote:

The universe is about 14 billion years old. 10 million years is less than 1 thousandth of the age of the universe.

13.7 billion is the most accurate prediction I've read of.  So about that, yeah.

natural wrote:
Life has been on Earth about 3.5 billion years. 10 million years is only about 0.3% of the span of life on Earth.

Yeah, isn't that crazy?  It took the Earth this long to generate one species that could even make a bronze axe, much less a rocket ship.  And guess what?   Even though our star, Sol, still has 5 billion years or so of it's existence left, it won't matter to the life on Earth.   In 1 billion years the sun will have expanded so much as it consumes it's hydrogen reserves that the Earth will be too hot to sustain life except maybe deeeeeeeeeep underground.  There will be no liquids on the surface of the Earth.  They would have boiled away.

From the beginning of life on earth, which was around 3.5 billion years, it has wasted all of that time, most of it in a single celled state of life, until just recently, maybe around 160,000 years ago to create our species.  And even in our species lifetime only around 40,000 years ago did we have some kind of mental leap and start really exhibiting abstract thought by creating art and whatnot.   And even after that, even after that, it wasn't until about 10,000 years ago we started growing crops.

And even then, the industrial age and modern science didn't come into existence until the last 300 lousy years.

All that wasted time, to generate not only 1 species out of hundreds and hundreds of millions to create our curious type, but even after that we've wasted practically all of it until we got here.

10 million years?   Life apparently needs 10 million years to even figure out the difference between its ass and a hole in the ground.

natural wrote:
It doesn't matter how many there are. It only matters how far away they are. If there were 400 trillion stars in the same volume of space, we would fill it up just as fast, if not faster (shorter distances between).

Yeah it does.  Let's take two paths from San Diego to New York City.   You just drive.   Just drive non-stop only stopping for gas, food, and sleep.

I'll stop at every museum, historical marker, park, etc.  That shit slows you down.   And don't get me started on drama.  Fuck, we'd be colonized on Mars right now if it wasn't for our drama.  And any social species, which would be a required characteristic for anything to become a space traveling species, is going to be full of drama.  War is the biggest drama we get involved in.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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hs

If someone is still interested, I can link this:

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1384486

"New results from OPERA on neutrino properties"


ex-minister
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Brian37 wrote:What fucking

Brian37 wrote:

What fucking gets me, is there is going to be some dip shit theist who will say, "See see see science got it wrong so god does exist"

 

 

 

You called it correctly. 

science god takes a hit, relatively disproven?

http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76874

 

 Einstein.

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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My new favorite joke...

The bartender said "We don't like your type in here." A neutrino walked into a bar.