The entire history and future of The Universe in 999 personified words.

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Peacefully, the three-dimensional universe coalesced into a series of two-dimensional plates. Within those plates, little balls began to form from the debris. Over a little time, oceans and atmospheres formed and life flourished on several particular globes.

Intelligent life came somewhere towards the end of life’s overall run and inevitably ruined it for everyone aside from the resilient few. Ravens – a rather nifty bird, of all things – did pretty well for themselves on Earth, taking advantage of pretty much everything humans threw at them.

Several species of bacterium and smaller creatures had no trouble with adapting to various chemical poisons and radiation, and intelligent life inevitably rose again and again, each time being annihilated by themselves as if it was some sort of tradition.

In the end, however, life just kind of gave up throughout the Universe and left it to the elements to roam free, no longer manipulated by curious minds.

By this point though, the Universe is pretty cold. Mr. Entropy has been messing the place up and causing atomic chaos and now there is so little order that energy has just sort of spread out like a regular tub of butter over 46.6 billion slices of toast.

Since temperature comes from the interaction of atoms, there is no longer any temperature because everyone has isolated themselves in their own little patch of the Universe. There were once good days where atoms would jiggle around together emitting heat, since kinetic energy – movement – is the one true form of energy – but I guess after a while you kind of get bored of each other and drift apart. Eventually you’ll stop expecting Christmas cards altogether. I’m pretty sure that’s what Entropy means.

They are consequently collectively destined to decay into nothingness all by themselves. Galaxies were, are and will continue to be things of the past, and at the end of time – a little before 3 o’clock if I calculated it right – temperatures will reach absolute zero (-273.15°C) and penguins will have to find themselves a new, slightly warmer universe in which to reside.

Atoms are a lot like penguins; without coming together and sharing body heat, the penguins tend to get cold and inevitably die alone. A lonely atom cannot share its kinetic energy with its ‘friends’ once it is isolated, and probably wouldn’t even if it could. I’m pretty sure that’s what the Law of Conservation of Energy means.

Of course, there is a solution to all this. If the atoms could just solve their issues with each other, we might see them starting to group up again and get a few barbeques started. This obviously generates heat and we’ll immediately be getting back on track.

With enough friendly atoms, the combined mass would create gravity. Not much is needed, and since it’s a natural result of their turning up to the party, nobody will really mind. Eventually, the party will be so popular and attractive – so to speak – to others that they will have fellow atoms queuing round the corner. Some particles, like electrons, may even turn up to multiple parties simultaneously.

Perhaps rival parties will form elsewhere and other gravitational sources will attract other extroverts, and perhaps some smaller, introvert-friendly invitations might prop up here and there. Something for everyone.

Without even realizing it, there will be numerous groups forming into various elements again like the good old days as a result of interacting with each other and trading various particles here and there. Helium being the most extraverted of elements was always the most popular, and pretty self-absorbed. So they ended up at pretty much every party along with Hydrogen and to a lesser extent, Lithium and Beryllium. These guys are pretty lightweight and light hearted though, so it took some of the bigger parties to create enough pressure to get the more stubborn, introverted elements like Magnesium and Carbon to come out. They did this by means of a strange ritual of colliding into each other at speeds incomprehensible to intelligent life forms since past. Mg and C tended to hang out with the other 80 or so losers in the bedrooms of these parties, aka, the core of stars and other similarly troublesome places. But given enough time, enough interactions will give them the energy needed to see what all the noise was about outside.

Eventually parties come to an end, often due to the particle police coming about the noise. Given that a typical star party might reach constant volumes of about 290db, this is understandable. So with the police ruining it all, the star will explode. It was getting on a bit anyway. The atoms will have to dash before they get caught and so they will once again get sprawled all over the place.

But wait; now all the introverts are out and about. What will become of them? Well, essentially the same as everyone else. The gravity will be spread out, but not nearly as much as the aforementioned butter scenario, and so it will drag everyone back to what I suppose will be the after party.

Clouds and clouds of atoms will whirl themselves together in renewed two-dimensional plates in a three-dimensional universe – solar systems – and once again clump together in significantly smaller parties, as if to keep from troubling the neighbors – how considerate.

Before we know it, more Earth-like planets will form. Jupiter-like planets were and will be always more common, since Helium and Hydrogen really are the true party goers. But hey, Iron and Carbon don’t mind the occasional chill out session and that is what places like earth will consist of.

In time, carbon will clump together and form life of its own. Carbon has always been the most creative atom in the universe so quite a lot of diversity will come from it, just like last time. But hey, who knows, maybe it will avoid the whole ‘intelligence’ thing and stick with what works; bacteria and, at most, the occasional raven.Image

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Perspectives on Evolution.

Not our descendant.

Not our descendant.

I was talking to somebody last night who showed me quite a bit of ignorance when it came to evolution. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ignorance in most cases, including this one. It doesn’t imply a lack of intelligence or anything like that. All it means is that she hasn’t spend hours upon hours of her life slogging through Wikipedia and YouTube videos, and reading occasional Dawkins books as I have. The problem is when people deny the evidence before them. In this conversation nobody was guilty of that so I don’t need to discuss it.

The interesting part of the conversation was her perspective. Not only was it a creative one, but it was her own and one from angles largely untouched by those obsessed with facts and truth, such as myself. I can debunk ideas as impossible… to an extent – I’m not even a fraction of an expert – but in a way it makes me think ‘why bother?’. Sometimes, facts are not sufficient, knowledge is not suitable.

One of her ideas was that although evolution is believable, human evolution is different and harder to accept – there is too much missing between the ape and the human. I gather this is referring to ‘sentience’. And yes, this is a massive hurdle nobody has yet to cross. There are thousands of books dedicated to Consciousness, all of which conclude with ‘I dunno’.

But, like most frontiers in science, they are eventually broken through and become the norm. Evolution is one example. At one point this idea was taboo and those who supported it were heathen or plain crazy. But over time people just have to accept it when the evidence is shown to be so overwhelming.

Germans and Americans are currently mapping the entire network system of the brain. American’s are mapping it out in all its intricate detail, and Germans are making a detailed model. This I believe will lead to a giant leap in the understandings of consciousness, some years down the line, but who knows.

Myth: we only use 10% of our brains. What would happen if we could unlock the other 90%?.

Nothing. We use all of our brain, it’s just that we don’t use all of it simultaneously. Some parts are used for shopping, other parts are used for figuring out a maths problem, and others are used for deciding whether or not you’re a raging homosexual.

Another idea of hers was that humans did not even come from earth but were simply deposited here from a previous race of humans, or perhaps a far superior civilisation.

This one I think is great. Not only because it’s quite magical in its creativity, but that there may even be truth to it.

The chances are somewhat high that we are in fact martians. It is not uncommon when big space rocks hit planets, and the impact forces planetary rocks into space. Those rocks will go on an indefinite course until they hit something else, such as Earth. We already have rocks proven to be from Mars. Scientists are also certain that water used to run free on Mars. If, at some point before Earth was life sustainable, microbes from mars were blown into space, and landed on Earth, it could have seeded the planet in order to evolve into us.

There are already many examples of microbial life that can survive the harsh, air-less conditions of space for extended periods, so perhaps we are in fact travelers from the red planet.

This doesn’t defy evolution, however, and in fact, Dawkins is practically certain that the way evolution occurred on Earth is probably consistent throughout the Universe (at least, our universe). Of course this leads to an infinite number of combinations to create an explosion of different creatures, but by and large, life will consist of the same basic ingredients.

This belief is for a few reasons. One that Neil DeGrasse Tyson points out is that the most abundant elements in the Universe are: Helium, Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and various others. Hydrogen and Helium make up the majority of that.
Humans are made from: Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon and various others.

Coincidence?

Not only that, but water is the most abundant compound in the Universe (Hydrogen and Oxygen combined), and our entire ecosystem happens to rely entirely on… water.

If we find life, it is very, very likely it will be carbon-based, and water reliant. Carbon is by far the most flexible element in the universe, allowing humans as well as diamonds to form.

So who knows, perhaps we are from Mars, perhaps we came here on a passing comet originating light years away, having picked up tiny specks of life on the way.

Myth: Humans descend from chimps/monkeys.

No, Humans descend from a chimp/monkey-like creature that existed long before chimps/monkeys and humans did, and has since died out. If you picture this chimp/monkey as the trunk of a tree, humans, chimps and monkeys are three separate branches higher up. at no point did we come from one another.

Gravity is a fact, Mars is a fact, Evolution is a fact. I’m grateful for science popularisers such as NDTyson, Dawkins, Kaku, Krauss, Nye and so on, and I think at some point the world will follow the inevitable trend of enlightenment thanks to these people, but for now, we still have to deal with people burning Nepalese women alive for witchcraft, something that will kickstart my next post – http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Nepal-Woman-Accused-of-Witchcraft-Burned-Alive.html