from the world's big
Aliens may be woven into the fabric of nature and even ourselves
Could life on Earth have spawned more than once?
It's a simple question on the lips of every sci-fi fan since the dawn of the genre. Why haven't we found alien life? This is known as the Fermi Paradox, named after physicist Enrico Fermi. It's the idea that the sheer multiplicity of Earth-like planets should produce life somewhere and with a high probability, an alien civilization, if not several. So why haven't we found them or why haven't they found us? Several theories have been posited.
One reason may be that they've already gone extinct. A nuclear war or climate catastrophe wiped them out, already. Another is, since our sun and planet are relatively young, we may be one of the first forms of intelligent life to develop. In 2010, UK Royal Astronomer Lord Martin Rees suggested that extraterrestrial life may be so far advanced that we are not yet at the level where we can recognize it.
“Just as a chimpanzee can't understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains," Rees said. Dr. Frank Drake is an expert on the search for alien life. He says that the digital revolution may be limiting the ability of aliens to detect us, since we are no longer hurling TV and radio transmissions into space.
Professor Paul Davies is no stranger to unusual ideas. The cosmologist as proffered several on extraterrestrials himself. One is that aliens may have visited earth billions of years ago and left a message in the DNA of some early life-form for us to find. He's suggested we start investigating the genomes of bacteria and other creatures to see if we can find any.
Another, the British-born astrobiologist, along with colleague Dr. Sara Imari Walker, proposed that the basic structure of all life may not be DNA or even carbon, but information. After all, DNA is at its heart a set of instructions for putting an organism together. And as the universe since the Big Bang has moved forward on mathematically calculable scientific principles, one must consider math an essential force of the universe itself. A lot of their colleagues take umbrage with the view of life as information, as one might imagine.
Now, Paul Davies has a new theory that alien particles might be interwoven into the fabric of our planet and even live inside our bodies. Advanced alien civilizations may have been able to play with life the way chemists manipulate compounds, and these alien particles could have entered our world. Since some bacteria and other organisms don't act the way scientists think they ought to.
Professor Davies calls it “entirely reasonable" that the simplest life forms came into being more than once on the surface of our planet. So where might such alien life be? Consider bacteria that live inside of poisonous lakes or alongside volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean. “It could be right under our noses, or even in our noses," Davies said. Particles one tenth the size of bacteria cause kidney stones. Might these be alien in origin? Davies thinks so. “It could even be that 'weird life' and real life are intermingled," he said.
Certain bacteria and other microbes may be alien in origin, according to Dr. Davies.
So if there is such an abundance of alien life right here among us, why haven't we detected it? Davies says the reason is our monitoring techniques are tailored to our known biochemical understanding of life. These organisms would operate entirely differently. There are in fact certain microbes like this that have been discovered recently.
Kenneth Nealson at the University of Southern California (USC) found a certain kind of bacterium that eats and breathes electricity. Though he doesn't directly call it an alien species, its properties are unlike any “normal" bacteria that we know of. And in fact, different detection methods must be employed to find them. A similar variety was discovered by microbiologist Derek Lovley at the US Geological Survey, now called Geobacter. Today, these microbes are being employed in things like biological fuel cells and a sewage system powered by the bacteria that transforms sewage into clean water and electricity.
Most biologists believe that life on Earth began with one specific event. But it is possible that it may have emerged more than once, or even on several different occasions. Professor Davies has therefore called for a "mission to Earth." This would be a systematic search in and around unusual locations across the globe to find and categorize weird forms of life that don't fit into the normal definition. “If someone discovers shadow life or weird life, it will be the biggest sensation in biology since Darwin," he said. Davies believes that the cost would be far less compared to say, the search for life on Mars.
Even if such alien life died out, Davies believes we can find biomarkers left behind. “If alternative life had a distinctly different metabolism, say, it might have altered rocks or created mineral deposits in a way that cannot be explained by the activities of known organisms," he said. Should it be discovered that life on Earth started more than once, it would significantly increase the credibility of this theory.
The vast majority of life on our planet consists of microbes. Yet, many have never been analyzed or had their genomes sequenced. Today, it's still hard to detect other forms of life outside the normal, biochemical means. "We could be surrounded by little microbes intermingled with known life and be completely unaware," Davies said.
To see Prof. Davies speak on encoded alien messages inside of microbes DNA, click here:
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.