Big Bang, Deflated? Universe May Have Had No Beginning If a new theory turns out to be true, the universe may not have started with a bang. In the new formulation, the universe was never a singularity, or an infinitely small and infinitely dense point of matter. In fact, the universe may have no beginning at all. "Our theory suggests that the age of the universe could be infinite," said study co-author Saurya Das, a theoretical physicist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. The new concept could also explain what dark matter — the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe — is actually made of, Das added. [The Big Bang to Civilization: 10 Amazing Origin Events] Big Bang under fire According to the Big Bang theory, the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. But that's not quite true. "So when we say that the universe begins with a big bang, we really have no right to say that," Brandenberger told Live Science. Quantum correction The upshot? A way to test the theory
Toward a Type 1 civilization Our civilization is fast approaching a tipping point. Humans will need to make the transition from nonrenewable fossil fuels as the primary source of our energy to renewable energy sources that will allow us to flourish into the future. Failure to make that transformation will doom us to the endless political machinations and economic conflicts that have plagued civilization for the last half-millennium. We need new technologies to be sure, but without evolved political and economic systems, we cannot become what we must. In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be civilizations of three levels of advancement: Type 1 can harness all of the energy of its home planet; Type 2 can harvest all of the power of its sun; and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy. Fossil fuels won't get us there. We are close.
Timeline JS - Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use. Geologic time scale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological measurement that relates stratigraphy to time, and is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships between events that have occurred throughout Earth's history. The table of geologic time spans presented here agrees with the nomenclature, dates and standard color codes set forth by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. Evidence from radiometric dating indicates that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. The geology or deep time of Earth's past has been organized into various units according to events which took place in each period. Different spans of time on the GTS are usually delimited by changes in the composition of strata which correspond to them, indicating major geological or paleontological events, such as mass extinctions. Terminology History and nomenclature of the time scale Graphical representation of Earth's history as a spiral
Extraterrestrial Life The official U.S. government position on extraterrestrial life and the three major efforts to search for it. Clockwise from top left: The development and testing of hypotheses on extraterrestrial life is known as "exobiology" or "astrobiology", although astrobiology also considers Earth-based life in its astronomical context. Many scientists consider extraterrestrial life plausible, but there is no direct evidence of its existence. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an ongoing search for signs of extraterrestrial life, from radios used to detect possible extraterrestrial signals, to telescopes used to search for potentially habitable extrasolar planets. It has also played a major role in works of science fiction. Science fiction works, especially Hollywood's involvement, has increased over the years the public's interest in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. §Background §Possible basis §Biochemistry All life on Earth is based upon 26 chemical elements.
The Stanford Astrobiology Course Welcome and introduction to website Astrobiology is at once one of the newest of scientific meta-disciplines, while at the same time encompassing some of our oldest and most profound questions. Beyond strictly utilitarian concerns, such as “what is for dinner?” and leaving offspring, asking the three great questions of astrobiology seems to be embedded in what it means to be human. While these questions are ancient questions, we now have the technological tools to grapple with them at a whole new scientific level. So what is Astrobiology? 1. 2. 3. To fulfill the promise of Astrobiology requires a tool not normally in many scientists’ arsenal: space exploration. This website has grown out of the oldest such class in the country, Stanford’s “Astrobiology and Space Exploration” course. This website arises as a complement to the lectures available on iTunesU and the many other wonderful astrobiology and space exploration related web sites. Where do we come from? Where are we going?
Welcome - The Flow of History Logarithmic timeline A logarithmic timeline is a timeline laid out according to a logarithmic scale. This necessarily implies a zero point and an infinity point, neither of which can be displayed. The most natural zero point is the Big Bang, looking forward, but the most common is the ever-changing present, looking backward. (Also possible is a zero point in the present, looking forward to the infinite future.) The idea of presenting history logarithmically goes back at least to 1932, when John B. Sparks copyrighted his "Histomap of Evolution". Around the same time it was also explored by the cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, who used it to propose that memories naturally fade in an exponential manner. A logarithmic scale enables events throughout time to be presented accurately, but enables more events to be included closer to one end. As we travel forward in geological time the more complex is the evolution of life forms and the more are the changes to be recorded. See also References
On the hunt for universal intelligence How do you use a scientific method to measure the intelligence of a human being, an animal, a machine or an extra-terrestrial? So far this has not been possible, but a team of Spanish and Australian researchers have taken a first step towards this by presenting the foundations to be used as a basis for this method in the journal Artificial Intelligence, and have also put forward a new intelligence test. "We have developed an 'anytime' intelligence test, in other words a test that can be interrupted at any time, but that gives a more accurate idea of the intelligence of the test subject if there is a longer time available in which to carry it out", José Hernández-Orallo, a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), tells SINC. This is just one of the many determining factors of the universal intelligence test. The researcher, along with his colleague David L. Use in artificial intelligence Explore further: Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones
The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots prophesied the rise of artificial intelligence Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, is one who has. She joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, program, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial. In her paper “Alien Minds," written for a forthcoming NASA publication, Schneider describes why alien life forms are likely to be synthetic, and how such creatures might think. “Most people have an iconic idea of aliens as these biological creatures, but that doesn’t make any sense from a timescale argument,” Shostak told me. With the latest updates from NASA’s Kepler mission showing potentially habitable worlds strewn across the galaxy, it’s becoming harder and harder to assert that we’re alone in the universe. I hope she’s right.