Read more "Wormhole Engineering For Beginniners"
Specifically, they suggested that wormholes are each pairs of black holes that are entangled with one another.
Entangled black holes could be generated in a number of ways. For instance, a pair of black holes could in principle be made simultaneously, and these would automatically be entangled. Alternatively, radiation given off by a black hole could be captured and then collapsed into a black hole, and the resulting black hole would be entangled with the black hole that supplied the ingredients for it.
Maldacena and Susskind not only suggested that wormholes are entangled black holes, but they argued that entanglement in general was linked to wormholes. They conjectured that entangled particles such as electrons and photons were connected by extraordinarily tiny wormholes.
Jensen and Karch found that if one imagined entangled pairs in a universe with four dimensions, they behaved in the same way as wormholes in a universe with an extra fifth dimension. Essentially, they discovered that entanglement and wormholes may be one and the same.
“Entangled pairs were the holographic images of a system with a wormhole,” Jensen said. Independent research from theoretical physicist Julian Sonner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology supports this finding.
The ability to create unifying myths (used here as powerful, defining stories, not fictions) is our most powerful, distinguishing characteristic as a species.
Harari consigns all those myths to the realm of fiction — not only religions but the whole enterprise of humanistic, rights-based liberalism: “There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings.” With a kind of courageous consistency, he argues that the life sciences reveal sapiens as nothing more than a bundle of neurons, blood and bile. And that, he concedes, destroys the whole basis for ethics, law and democracy.
Harari shrugs where he should shudder. It is not a minor thing to assert that the main evolutionary advantage of sapiens — their capacity to produce meaning — is a cruel and pointless joke. There is at least one other alternative: that the best of our stories are not frauds but hints, and that the whole unlikely story has led sapiens to a justified belief in their own dignity and purpose.
In this case, the myths produced by Homo sapiens would be not the lies we tell ourselves but the truths we dimly perceive.
Read more "“If you want to make your fiction universal, go small.”"
Science fiction shows are traditionally about the gimmick or the gadget and tend to be emotionally cool to the touch. We thought, “We’re going to have these big, huge action moments, so, we need to have the quieter, more human moments to say what this is all about.” You can’t always relate to the big action things, but you can relate to small moments. I worked with James Cameron, a few years ago, on a remake of Forbidden Planet, which is still sitting at Warner Bros., and he said one of the smartest things I’ve ever heard about science fiction. He said, “I thought science fiction was about familiar characters in unfamiliar settings. It took me ten years to realize that was wrong. It’s about relationships and not settings.” Terminator 2 was a father-son relationship, even though it’s not. Aliens was a mother-daughter relationship, even though it’s not. You don’t buy into huge car chases or sensates or interstellar warfare, but you can buy into a loving relationship or a father-son relationship, and you can buy into the small humor. If you want to make your fiction universal, go small. That’s the best way to do it.
In Babylonia the return of the spirits of the dead was greatly dreaded. Ishtar once uttered the terrible threat: “I will cause the dead to rise; they will then eat and live. The dead will be more numerous than the living.” When a foreign country was invaded, it was a common custom to break open the tombs and scatter the bones they contained. Probably it was believed, when such acts of vandalism were committed, that the offended spirits would plague their kinsfolk. Ghosts always haunted the homes they once lived in, and were as malignant as demons. It is significant to find in this connection that the bodies of enemies who were slain in battle were not given decent burial, but mutilated and left for birds and beasts of prey to devour.
The demons that plagued the dead might also attack the living. A fragmentary narrative, which used to be referred to as the “Cuthean Legend of Creation”, and has been shown by Mr. L.W. King to have no connection with the struggle between Merodach and the dragon, deals with a war waged by an ancient king against a horde of evil spirits, led by “the lord of heights, lord of the Anunaki (earth spirits)”. Some of the supernatural warriors had bodies like birds; others had “raven faces”, and all had been “suckled by Tiamat”.
For three years the king sent out great armies to attack the demons, but “none returned alive”. Then he decided to go forth himself to save his country from destruction. So he prepared for the conflict, and took the precaution of performing elaborate and therefore costly religious rites so as to secure the co-operation of the gods. His expedition was successful, for he routed the supernatural army. On his return home, he recorded his great victory on tablets which were placed in the shrine of Nergal at Cuthah.
This myth may be an echo of Nergal’s raid against Eresh-ki-gal. Or, being associated with Cuthah, it may have been composed to encourage burial in that city’s sacred cemetery, which had been cleared by the famous old king of the evil demons which tormented the dead and made seasonal attacks against the living.
Some worry too much about asteroid impacts, which are among the natural risks that are best understood and easiest to quantify. Moreover, it will soon be possible to reduce that risk by deflecting the path of asteroids heading for the earth. That’s why I support the B612 Sentinel project.
Oil reservoirs, formed over millions of years as carbon-rich sediments are compressed and cooked, are scattered like islands across Earth’s subsurface. Like other deep biosphere habitats, we know they harbor life, but we aren’t really sure how or when life got there.
“There’s a hypothesis that these bacteria were buried, then continued to live on in complete isolation,” study author Olga Zhaxybayeva told me.
To test that hypothesis, the team of researchers, hailing from Dartmouth College, the University of Alberta, and the University of Oslo, analyzed 11 genomes of the heat-loving bacterium Thermotoga. The bacteria was taken from oil reservoirs in the North Sea and Japan, and marine sites near the Kuril Islands, Italy and the Azores. They compared their results with publicly available Thermotoga genomes from North America and Australia.
Their analysis revealed a complex evolutionary history between the different genomes, suggesting rampant gene swapping across far-flung communities. And since the oil beds themselves are ancient, this genetic exchange has probably been going on for millions of years.
How microbes half a world apart actually exchange genetic material isn’t totally clear. Some bacteria are genetic scavengers, sucking up stray DNA willy-nilly. Others use microscopic tubes to pass genes back and forth in a weird bacterial version of sex. And viruses—which cut and paste DNA among surface-dwellers’ genomes all the time—might also shape the genetic landscape of the deep biosphere.
“The answer is probably that it happens in a variety of ways,” Zhaxybayeva told me. “But it’s really surprising to see how much it’s happening. It’s clear that these organisms are not nearly as isolated as we once thought.”
The author’s findings may also shed light on the nature of life on early Earth. Zhaxybayeva, who has been mapping Thermotoga’s lineage for over a decade, says the organism has deep roots in the tree of life.
“This lineage is perhaps one of the most ancient that exists today,” Zhaxybayeva said. “The fact that it’s anaerobic, and likes hot environments, fits with our understanding of where life on Earth first evolved.”
Thermotoga’s penchant for gene swapping may indicate a once-widespread adaptation for life in hydrothermal vents, where high heat and acid have no trouble shredding DNA apart.
“As temperatures rise, organisms accrue more DNA damage. One way to potentially repair their genome is to actually recombine it— to patch their genomes with similar DNA,” Zhaxybayeva said.
Top-notch DNA repair machinery may be life’s most precious survival tool. Who knows, maybe it’s Earth’s most ardent gene-swappers that could actually survive the long, dark, radiation-filled trip to another world.