Smallest, Faintest Galaxies of the Ancient Universe Spotted

Discussion in 'Science' started by chainbolt, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Hyram

    Hyram Member

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    I hereby bestow RnR with the Spider Robinson Award for Concise Heinleinisms.

    That, my friend, is absolute brilliance. Its the kind of thing that'd have all the Golden Era authors sucking their teeth, wishing that they'd been the one who came up with it in the first place :)
     
  2. power

    power Member

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    I honestly don't find this concept to be that far fetched, I hope that aliens just appear one day and accelerate our technology. Question is, would we be ready for it?
     
  3. RnR

    RnR Member

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    *bows deeply*

    Credit goes to Vernor Vinge for both introducing me to the technological singularity hypothesis, and using such a singularity to 'ascend', in his novel, 'Marooned in Realtime'.

    I have a big bromance going for Mr Vinge :D
     
  4. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

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    I dont think so. We are way too illogical and immature, wars an beheadings and the like are ongoing.
     
  5. DarkStyle

    DarkStyle Member

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    Kim Stanley Robinson would tickle your balls more. He describes the period of accelerating technological advance as the Accelerando.
     
  6. |guanA

    |guanA Member

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    I've heard of the concept before, (the last question by asimov talks about something similar, it is also the topic of some very good sci-fi.....), I don't think the concept itself is far fetched, I think that expecting humanity to reach that level is, we would destroy ourselves far before even getting close to that stage of evolution.

    A species would need to be deeply enlightened to be able to achieve the type of mentality that would evolve to 'transcendence'.

    Edit: Added to this, RnR talks about transcendence as a way to circumvent the issues of 2 way communication with another race (or at least, that's how I interpret it), if that is the case, the universe should be old enough by now for another race out there to have achieved this evolutionary state. We have been listening, and so far, nothing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  7. Hyram

    Hyram Member

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    Ah. Methinks one should attribute that concept not to Vernor, but his ex-wife Joan; she used it in her first full novel "Outcasts Of Heaven Belt". It should be no surprise to you to learn that MiRT's prequel "The Peace War" has its roots in a mostly-Joan-with-some-Vernor short "The Peddler's Apprentice".

    (It should also, then, be no surprise to learn that both Bobs (Heinlein & Silverberg) referred to Joan as "My kind of shameless hussy," and is allegedly the reason for RAH's fixation with nipples throughout his last novels, with Friday (from the novel of the same name) and Deety Carter (from 'Number Of The Beast') based on the young Joan.)
     
  8. toopy28

    toopy28 Member

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    Your looking at that the wrong way, all forms of life that have evolved past slime being carbon based and oxygen breathing are in a world abundant of aforementioned elements. What about a planet in the goldilocks zone that is abundant in silicon and Fluorine? or other elements we aren't even aware of as of yet?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    I am ready any time. ATM, the most important technology I need, is Viagra.
     
  10. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Damned if I can remember where I read it, but I recall a very convincing theory that the chances of us ever "making contact" with an intelligent species at a similar technological level to our own are zero to none.

    The logic goes something like this, if I can manage to interpret without completely screwing it up: Geological and evolutionary time scales are massive and here we are, close to 100,000 years of human evolution, and we've only just reached the point where SETI is a thing (or was... :(). We've been around for less than a cosmic eyeblink.

    Space is also really really big. Signals take an awfully long time even to travel across a single galaxy. Therefore, if there were any intelligent lifeforms in the "local" galactic vicinity (ie. potentially reachable in a human lifetime of space travel) that were capable of sending out a signal for us to pick up, they would have advanced far beyond that level by the time we pick it up. This would suggest that if there were such a species out there, they would have already found us (we are not shy about beaming energy out into space :)).

    As this has not happened, it is far more likely that any life we do encounter would be very far behind us in evolutionary terms. Basically, given the time frames and distances involved, we've either already been noticed by a fantastically advanced species (who probably took one look and went "yeah... nah" :lol:) or else any life out there is simply a sludge of microorganisms.

    Which is not to diminish the importance and impact of finding such sludge, if that were to ever happen.
    I look forward to the day that we can properly explore Europa. Seems like the best bet, liquid water under the crust and all.

    Regarding the OP, I thought that the "age of the universe" was pretty much fixed by the energy level of the Cosmic Microwave Background?
    Or have our techniques of measurement been skewed all this time?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  11. SuiCid3

    SuiCid3 Member

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    Who's to say that whatever other life is out there requires the same environment that we need, to thrive?
     
  12. RnR

    RnR Member

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    Cheers guys - I was looking for some scifi to read - you both gave me targets to hunt down :thumbup:

    Which ties in nicely with the question as to why would any advanced civilisation, in both technical and ethical matters, want to communicate with us. Perhaps its for the best for us.

    Not circumvent the issues of 2 way communication... 'transcendence' means there is no chance for 2 way communication. For all intent and purpose, if a species get something akin to our Age of Reason, a 'heart beat' later, that civilisation no longer exists within our universe.
     
  13. Alpha2k6

    Alpha2k6 Member

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    Yes we are alone in the universe..
    and the Moon is made of cheese..
    the Sun revolves around the Earth..
    and the Earth is also flat and if you sail too far you risk falling off the edge. :Paranoid: :lol:
     
  14. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

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    No but the universe revolves around our planet.........so it was thought.

    On sheer mathematics there has to be other life, no other way to look at it.
     
  15. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    Firstly the chances of "other elements that we aren't even aware of as of yet" existing is very slim. We are "discovering" a new element every few years but as the atomic number goes up they're increasingly unstable. There is a theoretical prediction of an island of stability around element 150 but so far that doesn't look very promising. The other problem would be that these very heavy elements are also chemically very reactive but who knows, something could be found however it's hard to see how a life form could evolve that has a chemistry based on elements that don't occur naturally. Remember some of the key elements for human life are only formed in supernova.

    As for undiscovered life forms based on exotic elements; that's a question I cannot really address but I suspect that we're carbon based because carbon has very good chemical properties for building very complex molecules. I'd assume there's significant kudos for any scientist who manages to creates the kinds of complex molecules that a living entity would need using other elements than the ones we know can get the job done.

    Of course we can all speculate but that's all it is, speculation. The key issue is that at the moment science simply cannot answer the question of "are we alone?"
     
  16. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

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    Correct Rob, there is not definitive answer at this point in time, 100% with you on that one, I cant see any proof of it.

    However working on an allegedly infinite universe, there has to be other life forms, and at all possible levels of civilisation.
     
  17. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    If we assume an infinite universe then not only must there be other sentient life, there must also be an infinite number exactly the same as all of us living on a planet they call Earth. There'll also be an infinite number of those where Germany wins WWII and an infinite number where it loses. The possibilities are infinite, literally.

    The steady state infinite universe theory was abandoned a long time ago. At this juncture though I'd say it's vital to qualify the word "universe". Generally when we use that word we mean "observable universe". It could well be that the universe is infinite and our observable universe is only one of an infinite number within the universe. Again our science doesn't help us here at all and I believe it will be a very long time, if ever, that it will be able to.

    All we can sensibly speak about is our observable universe, it is finite, created by a singularity. It is expanding and over time the size of our observable universe will get smaller. We do live in the golden age of our universe.
     
  18. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

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    There has been a large number of recent theories about the size of the universe, and the term infinite has been bandied around so much its commonplace. There are also different theories about the age of the universe itself. Which is true? Which isn't?

    It is to at least me a fascinating topic, and I dont think we will ever get the truth about the universe.

    Or is it like is shown in the closing scene in Men in Black? Who knows lol.
     
  19. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    As far as I know the steady state infinite model of the universe is long dead and buried thanks to the finding of the Cosmic Background Radiation the Big Bang Theory predicted.

    If we were to accept the observable universe as infinite in size and age then not only will there be an infinite number of planets with sentient life on them there'll be an infinite number of them whose inhabitants call their planet Earth, an infinite number of Earths where Germany wins WWII and infinite number where they don't. You need to be very careful using the word "infinite" :)

    As our observations stand today the big bang theory is by far the best fit. That theory allows us to predict the age, size and mass of the observable universe. It tells us that over time the size of our observable universe will get smaller as the current observable universe expands. If the theory is correct it can be said we exist in the golden age of our universe, it all goes downhill from here.

    Of course the big bang theory is not without its problems of dark matter and energy. The challenge for science today is to somehow combine Quantum Mechanics and Relativity and that's alluded the best of us for quite some time. What we do know today is that instant communication across even inter galactic distance are possible in theory. Unfortunately only between a traveller from here and us back on earth. Even this is only theoretical, trying to wrangle quantum entanglement is not trivial.

    I can only go back to what I said previously, there's good arguments both ways and we simply do not have the knowledge to advance one theory over another. Of course even if out universe is teeming with sentient life that opens another Pandora's Box of discussions. Personally before we go there would should pause to consider that the future of our own species is far from assured. Some will even argue that the process of evolution will inevitably result in a sentient species that is terminal at its own hands.
     
  20. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

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