Tag Archives | Earth
Is the notion that our planet’s roundness a massive conspiracy perpetrated across centuries? The fascinating Flat Earth Society says yes, and attempts to address all of your doubts in their comprehensive FAQ guide:
The evidence for a flat earth is derived from many different facets of science and philosophy. The simplest is by relying on ones own senses to discern the true nature of the world around us. The world looks flat, the bottoms of clouds are flat, the movement of the sun; these are all examples of your senses telling you that we do not live on a spherical heliocentric world
Perhaps the best example of flat earth proof is the Bedford Level Experiment. In short, this was an experiment preformed many times on a six-mile stretch of water that proved the surface of the water to be flat. It did not conform to the curvature of the earth that round earth proponents teach.
Did we all originate from Mars or somewhere else? Dr Ellis Silver argues that we may have.
via Alien Disclosure Group (ADG)
This year, other scientists have argued that life originated on Mars, due to a mineral found in Martian meteorites, thought to be crucial to the genesis of life. Another experiment showed that amino acids could have arrived in impacts with comets, which suggests life might be widespread in the solar system.
But a new book by American ecologist Dr Ellis Silver argues that humans may well not be from Earth – and may have arrived separately. Silver offers arguments, based on human physiology, that suggest we may not have evolved alongside other life on Earth, but arrived from elsewhere, brought here by aliens as recently as a few tens of thousands of years ago.
Silver, an environmentalist who is currently working with the effort to clean plastic debris from the Pacific, says his book aims to provoke debate, and is based on scientific work on the difference between humans and other animals.
The MIT Technology Review writes that earthly lifeforms appear to have 10 billion years’ worth of complexity, yet our planet is only 4.5 billion years old. So do our origins lie elsewhere?
As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself.
Alexei Sharov at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore and Richard Gordon at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida argue that it’s possible to measure the complexity of life and the rate at which it has increased from prokaryotes to eukaryotes to more complex creatures such as worms, fish and finally mammals. That produces a clear exponential increase identical to that behind Moore’s Law although in this case the doubling time is 376 million years rather than two years.
That raises an interesting question.
Finally, we’ll have a spot for humanity to open a second franchise? Live Science writes:
The first truly Earth-like alien planet is likely to be spotted next year, an epic discovery that would cause humanity to reassess its place in the universe. “I’m very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year,” said Abel Mendez, who runs the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.
Astronomers discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a sunlike star in 1995. Since they, they’ve spotted more than 800 worlds beyond our own solar system, and many more candidates await confirmation by follow-up observations. A number of exoplanets found over the last few years share one or two key traits with our own world — such as size or inferred surface temperature — but they have yet to bag a bona fide “alien Earth.”
NASA’s prolific Kepler Space Telescope, for example, has flagged more than 2,300 potential planets since its March 2009 launch.
This may sound reminiscent of a certain famous novel by Jules Verne, or Hollywood movie if you prefer, but it’s really in progress reports Tom Levitt for CNN:
Humans have reached the moon and are planning to return samples from Mars, but when it comes to exploring the land deep beneath our feet, we have only scratched the surface of our planet.
This may be about to change with a $1 billion mission to drill 6 km (3.7 miles) beneath the seafloor to reach the Earth’s mantle — a 3000 km-thick layer of slowly deforming rock between the crust and the core which makes up the majority of our planet — and bring back the first ever fresh samples.
It could help answer some of our biggest questions about the origins and evolution of Earth itself, with almost all of the sea floor and continents that make up the Earth´s surface originating from the mantle.
Reports Peter Aldhous on New Scientist:
It’s easy not to trash the planet — if you’re dirt poor and die young. But is it possible for all of us to live long and satisfying lives without costing the Earth? That’s the question behind a measure of national well-being called the Happy Planet Index (HPI). Its latest update, released this week ahead of the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development, names Costa Rica as the world’s most “developed” nation and puts the US on the sick list.
To show how different the world looks when viewed according to the HPI, rather than conventional wealth, New Scientist applied distorting lenses. In the top map, countries are sized according to their GDP, and shaded by GDP per capita. As sub-Saharan Africa almost shrinks from view, western Europe, the US and Japan swell and flush a deep red.
But this wealth has fuelled massively unsustainable use of natural resources. Nic Marks of the New Economics Foundation in London developed HPI as an alternative measure, “to capture the tension between good lives now and good lives in the future”…
If planet Earth, on a macro level, really is a being called Gaia that is functionally alive, then I hope I’m not standing on an uncomfortable spot. Via Junk Science:
Is Earth really a sort of giant living organism as the Gaia hypothesis predicts? A new discovery may provide a key to answering this question. This key of sulfur could allow scientists to unlock heretofore hidden interactions between ocean organisms, atmosphere, and land — interactions that might provide evidence supporting this famous theory.
The Gaia hypothesis — first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s — holds that Earth’s physical and biological processes are inextricably connected to form a self-regulating, essentially sentient, system.
Newly published work done at the University of Maryland provides a tool for tracing and measuring the movement of sulfur through ocean organisms, the atmosphere and the land in ways that may help prove or disprove the controversial Gaia theory.
Planet Under Pressure commissioned a 3-minute animated film showing the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes. Whether you agree with the filmmakers’ conclusions or not (comment below), I suspect you’ll admit that it’s a pretty cool piece of animation:
Welcome to the Anthropocene
From AstroBiology Magazine:
The Earth is alive, asserts a new scientific theory of life emerging from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The trans-disciplinary theory demonstrates that purportedly inanimate, non-living objects — for example, planets, water, proteins, and DNA — are animate, that is, alive.
Erik Andrulis, PhD, assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology, advanced his controversial framework in his manuscript “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life,” published in the peer-reviewed journal, Life. His theory explains not only the evolutionary emergence of life on Earth and in the Universe but also the structure and function of existing cells and biospheres.
In addition to resolving long-standing paradoxes and puzzles in chemistry and biology, Andrulis’ theory unifies quantum and celestial mechanics. His unorthodox solution to this quintessential problem in physics differs from mainstream approaches, like string theory, as it is simple, non-mathematical, and experimentally and experientially verifiable.