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View Diary: Who can own the future? (262 comments)

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  •  There is one line from Hitchhikers Guide (17+ / 0-)

    H2G2 sums up the quandary nicely

    Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space...
    What this means is many fold.  In terms of the speed of light, there is a limit to what one can see, called the light cone.  If the universe is 14 billion years old, then we can see 14 billion back in time, or 1X10^23 km.  There may be important thing beyond that that we can't see.

    Second, thing are really spread out.  Think of the pacific and the island on the maps that does not exist.  And that is just about 165 million square kilometers.  If we started at earth, and search one light year in all direction, we would have to cover a on the order of 1X10^26 kilometers cubed.  Philip Plait takes about vast size when he talks about so-called asteroid fields in movies, and how dense they appear to be.  There is a lot of mass in these things, but there is also a great deal of area, so we think things will be a lot less dense than shown.

    Then there is time.  14 billion years.  2 million years ago we have discovered fire.  5 thousand years ago we had the wheel, metal, writing, all the basis of a technological society.  In three thousand years we can assume to have space flight.  10 thousand years.  If we believe physics it will never be viable to venture far beyond our solar system.  Something is likely to destroy us well before the sun is gone in a billion years.  So say we have a life of 100,000 years, and life in the universe has been going on for 10 billion years. That means there is a 1 in 10,000 chance that life exists at the 'same time' as us, meaning that it existed back in time enough for us to see.  This is not as bad as it sounds if assume a large number of planets that that figure reaches unity, but only 10% of the stars currently known could support such a planet, and only 1000 planets have been detected.

    So maybe there are a million planets that had life in our light cone and maybe some life still exist.  But space is big. And there is another quote from Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy.

       It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
    •  Your point about time (7+ / 0-)

      is the key.

      I like Carl Sagan's idea of condensing the Universe's age down to one year.  Yosef 52 posted an excellent diary referencing the evolution of modern humans as happening in the last couple of minutes of that time line.  Our modern technology would exist in only a couple of seconds.

      •  He has a great (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4CasandChlo, No Exit

        series, taken from chapters of his recent book. Thanks for mentioning it.

        Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

        by side pocket on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:39:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just as an aside: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan, llywrch, SuWho

        And in no way arguing the point that we have only been around a couple of seconds.

        There are many new archeological digs that indicate that we have been "agrarian - builders - civilization" far longer than 5,000 years, more like 10,000 to 12,000. There are archeological sites under water off India and Japan that could only have been above water during the last ice age - which was 12,000 years ago.

        The theory is that much of this has gone unpublished or at least doubted because it goes against so much western judeo Christian thought regarding the beginning of "religion and society" - - it is also so long ago that it is damn hard to find evidence of it, but they are starting to do so.

        I find it fascinating and understandable, many in society can't accept evolution - never mind that society may well be two or three times older than previously thought.

        Oh, and aliens? I suspect they are out there. For the sole reason that as indicated, there are so many different worlds that even if 99% faded out - 1% would be a ton of beady eyed perverted sick mofos.  That and I am a bit of a ufo nut.

        Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick: The "party of Jesus" wouldn't invite him to their convention - fearing his "platform."

        by 4CasandChlo on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:14:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would these pervert aliens (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4CasandChlo, orlbucfan

          be interested in performing anal probes on humans by any chance?  

          Sorry, I couldn't resist.  

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:46:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One in the same! (0+ / 0-)

            Do you know the same ones I know? Because, yes, I do seem to be a little concerned about their ummm "interests" in humanity!

            All in fun - no problem "not resisting" that was exactly how I meant it, thanx for posting.

            Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick: The "party of Jesus" wouldn't invite him to their convention - fearing his "platform."

            by 4CasandChlo on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:40:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The relevant question is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          how long ago did we develop the capability to make and detect interstellar (or intergalactic) communications?  And more importantly, how long will we retain that capability?

          If the total time is in the hundreds or even thousands of years it is an inconsequential blip and may explain the Fermi Paradox.  Sure, intelligent life may exist elsewhere in the universe, but not at the same TIME as intelligent life on earth.

    •  Brin universe has interesting answers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to this quandary.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:11:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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