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Skyline movie

Experts Warn Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI) Might Eat, Enslave, Attack Humans

There’s a latest study conducted by researchers at Penn State and NASA provides a useful outline of the various ways that encounters with ETI (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) could be beneficial, neutral or harmful to us.

The study faces up to the most chilling possibilities: ETI might “eat us, enslave us, attack us,” inadvertently infect us with horrible diseases or just decide to eliminate us for the greater good of the universe. (Regarding this last point, the report is especially concerned that ETI might be at least metaphorically green and see us a threat to the universe’s ecology.

The report about this study says:

Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis

An analysis of a broad range of possible contact scenarios in terms of their impact on humanity.

Baum, Seth D., Jacob D. Haqq-Misra, and Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, 2011. “Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis”. Acta Astronautica, vol. 68, no. 11-12 (June-July), pages 2114-2129.

Pre-print: Click here to view a full pre-print of the article (pdf). * Click here for the arXiv page.

Translations: Italian (pdf)I cannot confirm the accuracy of the translation.

Media coverage: This article attracted a bit of a media frenzy, prompted by the article Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists published in The Guardian. For further details, see this article’s Media Page.

Abstract:
While humanity has not yet observed any extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), contact with ETI remains possible. Contact could occur through a broad range of scenarios that have varying consequences for humanity. However, many discussions of this question assume that contact will follow a particular scenario that derives from the hopes and fears of the author. In this paper, we analyze a broad range of contact scenarios in terms of whether contact with ETI would benefit or harm humanity. This type of broad analysis can help us prepare for actual contact with ETI even if the details of contact do not fully resemble any specific scenario.
Non-Technical Summary: pdf version

Background: Extraterrestrial Encounter
To date, humanity has not made any form of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). But we cannot rule out the possibility that one or more ETI exist in our galaxy, or that we could detect, communicate with, or in other ways have contact with them in the future. There have been many analyses of how contact would proceed, but these tend to focus narrowly on one possible contact scenario. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the broad range of possible ETI contact scenarios in terms of whether the contact would benefit or harm humanity. Such scenario analysis helps train our minds to recognize patterns in actual outcomes, which can be valuable in the event of an encounter.

Scenarios That Would Benefit Humanity
There are several ways contact could benefit humanity. Merely detecting the existence of ETI would be beneficial because it would be such a monumental discovery – arguably the most important discovery in human history. Or, if ETI cooperate with us, then they might be of assistance to us on many of our intellectual and social challenges. Or, if they are uncooperative but we defeat them, then we gain a major moral victory and the opportunity to reverse engineer ETI technology.

Scenarios That Would Be Neutral To Humanity
There are also several ways contact could be neutral to humanity, meaning that we are indifferent to contact with ETI. If the ETI are invisible to us then they could have no impact on us. The invisibility could be intentional (they are hiding) or unintentional (they are too far away or are of a form that cannot interact with us). But they could seem invisible but covertly impact us. Another neutral scenario is if the benefits of mere detection are offset by undesirable aspects of the encounter, such as a drain on our resources or a dispute over how to respond.

Scenarios That Would Harm Humanity
There are many ways contact could harm humanity. This is because ETI are likely much stronger than humanity, which is in turn because humanity is a young civilization relative to astronomical time scales. ETI could harm us intentionally in several ways. ETI could attack and kill us, enslave us, or potentially even eat us. ETI could attack us out of selfishness or out of a more altruistic desire to protect the galaxy from us. We might be a threat to the galaxy just as we are a threat to our home planet. ETI could also harm us unintentionally. ETI might give us a biological or computer disease that our defenses cannot handle. Or, ETI might mechanically crush us while attempting some unrelated maneuver. Or, ETI might accidentally unleash some major destructive force into the galaxy such as a runaway artificial intelligence or an effect of a poorly-executed physics experiment. This major force might destroy the ETI too. Finally, ETI could demoralize humanity, if we learn that we are not special or not even particularly strong within the galaxy.

Source: The October 2011 Study

 

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Nibiru's Orbit

Scared Of Planet Nibiru? NASA Would Like To Help

According to numerous sources on the Internet, in 2012 a planet called Nibiru will collide with Earth, resulting in the extinction of the human race. Or the Earth’s magnetic poles will flip, causing the rotation of the planet to reverse, resulting in the extinction of the human race. Or the Earth will fall into something called a “dark rift” in the Milky Way — resulting in the extinction of the human race.

So, what’s NASA doing about it?

“NASA has nothing to do with the Planet Nibiru, because it doesn’t exist,” NASA astrobiologist David Morrison tells NPR’s Guy Raz. “What I am doing is trying to answer all these people who are really scared, and see if we can’t get some facts out to counteract the mythology on the Internet.”

Morrison writes a column called “Ask an Astrobiologist” on NASA’s Web site. Some years ago, he started receiving questions from people genuinely worried about what may happen in 2012.

The questions aren’t as funny as you might think. “I’ve had three from young people saying they were contemplating committing suicide,” says Morrison. “I’ve had two from women contemplating killing their children and themselves. I had one last week from a person who said, ‘I’m so scared, my only friend is my little dog. When should I put it to sleep so it won’t suffer?’ And I don’t know how to answer those questions.”

Morrison now maintains a 2012 FAQ, where he debunks the doomsday scenarios.

Magnetic poles flipping? “The Earth reverses its magnetic polarity once every 400,000 to 500,000 years. There’s no reason to think it will happen now, [and] no reason to think it will cause a problem if it did,” he says.

Dark rift? “The dark rift is just a place where there are dust clouds in the Milky Way. I can’t imagine where someone decided to be afraid of that.”

The only real proof for many 2012 believers will come on Jan. 1, 2013 — but Morrison says that won’t be the end of doomsday hoaxes.

“The Planet Nibiru was predicted to hit the Earth in May of 2003,” he says. “As far as I know, it didn’t. And someone just pushed reset, and now it’s coming in 2012. So I don’t think we’ll ever be rid of apocalyptic stories about Planet X and the end of the world.”

- source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120436493&ft=1&f=1007

Etruscan Alphabet 500 BC

Eight Ancient Writings Still Can’t Be Deciphered

WRITING is one of the greatest inventions in human history. Perhaps the greatest, since it made history possible. Without writing, there could be no accumulation of knowledge, no historical record, no science – and of course no books, newspapers or internet.

The first true writing we know of is Sumerian cuneiform – consisting mainly of wedge-shaped impressions on clay tablets – which was used more than 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Soon afterwards writing appeared in Egypt, and much later in Europe, China and Central America. Civilisations have invented hundreds of different writing systems. Some, such as the one you are reading now, have remained in use, but most have fallen into disuse.

These dead scripts tantalise us. We can see that they are writing, but what do they say?

That is the great challenge of decipherment: to reach deep into the past and hear the voices of the dead. When the Egyptian hieroglyphs were deciphered in 1823, they extended the span of recorded history by around 2000 years and allowed us to read the words of Ramses the Great. The decipherment of the Mayan glyphs revealed that the New World had a sophisticated, literate civilisation at the time of the Roman empire.

So how do you decipher an unknown script? There are two minimum requirements. First, there has to be enough material to work with. Secondly, there must be some link to a known language. It helps enormously if there is a bilingual inscription or identifiable proper names – the Rosetta Stone (see image), for example, is written in both ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek, and also contains the name of the Ptolemy dynasty. If there is no clear link, an attempt must be made to relate the concealed language to a known one.

Many ancient scripts have been deciphered (see “The great decipherments” and The ancient scripts), but some significant ones have yet to be cracked. These fall into three broad categories: a known script writing an unknown language; an unknown script writing a known language; and an unknown script writing an unknown language. The first two categories are more likely to yield to decipherment; the third – which recalls Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous “unknown unknowns” – is a much tougher proposition, though this doesn’t keep people from trying.

Most of the undeciphered scripts featured here have been partially deciphered, and well-known researchers have claimed that they have deciphered some much more fully. Further progress is possible for most of them, especially if new inscriptions are discovered, which fortunately happens fairly often.
1 Etruscan
Greek and not Greek

(known script, unknown language)

For those interested in language and writing, the Etruscans are a fascinating and frustrating bunch. Decipherment of the Etruscan language is like trying to learn English from reading nothing but gravestones. The Etruscan script was written in a form of the ancient Greek alphabet, but their language was unlike any other. So although Etruscan sentences can easily be “read”, nobody has much idea what they mean, apart from the names of people and places, and a smattering of vocabulary and standard phrases.

See Etruscan script on a gold plaque and an inkwell

The Etruscans were a prehistoric civilisation that arose in western Italy – what is now Tuscany and parts of Umbria – and was absorbed into the Roman empire by the first century BC. The Etruscans were highly literate, leaving thousands of texts. Many Etruscan artefacts are inscribed with the Greek alphabet, almost certainly borrowed from Greek colonists who settled in western Italy around 775 BC.

The everyday Etruscan alphabet is different, however. Although it strongly resembles the Greek one, it differs significantly too. The main difference is that Etruscan letters generally point in the opposite direction to Greek ones, because Etruscan was written from right to left.

Researchers persisted for over a century with efforts to relate Etruscan to other European languages – including Basque – by looking for similarities between readable Etruscan words and words in known languages. The attempt was hopeless. Etruscan is definitely not an Indo-European language and is now regarded as an isolate, like Basque.

Nevertheless, some Etruscan words can be understood from their contexts in inscriptions, such as Ruma (Rome), Clevsina (the city of Chiusi) and Fufluns (the god Dionysus). The problem has been to find the meanings of the many words that are not names. Perhaps 250 words have now been generally agreed, for example ci avil (three years), and this number is increasing as new inscriptions are discovered.
2 Meroitic hieroglyphs

voices of the black pharaohs

(known script, unknown language)

In the first millennium BC, the kingdom of Kush flourished around the two great bends of the river Nile between Abu Simbel and Khartoum, in what is now Sudan. The Kushite (or Meroitic, after the capital Meroe) civilisation was one of the most important early states of sub-Saharan Africa.

In 712 BC, Kushite kings conquered Egypt and were accepted as its 25th dynasty. The “black pharaohs” ruled for nearly 70 years until war with the Assyrians forced the Kushites back to their homeland in 656 BC.

The Meroitic hieroglyphs (see image) date from after this defeat: the Kushite pharaohs used Egyptian hieroglyphs, but from the 3rd century BC these increasingly appeared alongside a new, indigenous script. As in Egypt (for example, on the Rosetta Stone), there are two forms of this script: hieroglyphic, which was used on monuments and had essentially pictographic signs, and everyday cursive, or joined-up, writing.

There are 23 symbols in each form of Meroitic. In that respect it resembles a modern alphabet – unlike Egyptian hieroglyphics, which use hundreds of symbols. Around 1911, Francis Llewellyn Griffith, an Egyptologist at the University of Oxford, deciphered the phonetic values of both Meroitic scripts from inscriptions that record a text in Meroitic and Egyptian scripts.

Meroitic words can therefore be “read”, like Etruscan words. Frustratingly, however, they cannot be understood, because the Meroitic language is unknown. Proper names can be deciphered, and a few dozen other words, such as tenke (west) and ato (water), can be guessed from their contexts, but that is all.

Griffith always believed that Meroitic would eventually be deciphered. But despite decades of comparisons between Meroitic words and the ancient and modern African languages of the region, no convincing resemblance has yet been detected.
3 The New World

Olmec, Zapotec and Isthmian

(Olmec: unknown script, unknown language
Zapotec: unknown script, possibly known language
Isthmian: unknown script, possibly known language)

We know that the classical Mayan civilisation (around AD 250 to the 8th century) was literate, but the origins of writing in Central America – and the New World as a whole – are murky. The region has a number of undeciphered ancient scripts. Three have attracted particular interest: Olmec, Zapotec and Isthmian.

The earliest American script may come from the Olmecs, the region’s most ancient civilisation, which flourished along the Gulf of Mexico coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from around 1500 to 400 BC. The Olmecs were thought to be illiterate until the late 1990s, when an inscribed stone block was discovered by road builders. Dated to 900 BC, the inscription is made from 62 symbols, some of which are repeated. It is very probably writing, but without the discovery of further inscriptions there is no certainty, and no hope of decipherment.

The Zapotec civilisation of Oaxaca undoubtedly had writing. Some 1200 inscribed objects have been found, ranging from painted walls to pots, bones and shells. The date of the script appears to lie somewhere between 600 and 400 BC.

Scholars have been able to work out the Zapotec calendar and show it to be a precursor of the Mayan one. But even though Zapotec languages are still spoken in the area, it has proved more difficult to reconstruct the language of the script, in part because of the bewildering complexity of the modern Zapotecan language group.

The latest and most controversial of the three scripts is Isthmian (see image). Even its name is not agreed: some call it “epi-Olmec”. In 1902, an unusual statuette made of jade was ploughed up in a field in the Olmec area. It represents a man dressed as a duck, and was inscribed with about 70 unknown symbols. Deposited in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Tuxtla statuette was the only example of the script until 1986, when fishermen stumbled on a second example in a river: a 4-tonne slab of polished basalt with a much longer inscription.

The script dates to the 2nd century AD. The most likely language is an archaic version of Zoquean, a current language of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Two linguists, John Justeson of the State University of New York in Albany and Terrence Kaufman of the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have proposed a decipherment based on their reconstruction of “pre-proto-Zoquean”. Unless more inscriptions turn up, this must remain a well-informed conjecture.
4 Linear A
a Minoan mystery

(partially known script, unknown language)

In 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans discovered not one but two unknown scripts, both scratched on clay tablets, while digging at the “Palace of Minos” at Knossos in Crete – the centre of the Bronze-Age Minoan civilisation.

One of these, Linear B, was famously deciphered in 1952, making it Europe’s earliest readable writing (see “The great decipherments”). The other, Linear A, remains undeciphered.

Linear B dates from around 1450 BC. It is an archaic form of written Greek used by Greek-speakers who conquered parts of Crete around that time. Linear A is older, from the 18th century BC. It is the script of the Minoan civilisation, and the only solid link we have to the lost Minoan language.

Unfortunately for decipherers, we have much less Linear A than Linear B – around 1500 texts, mostly from Crete but also from other Aegean islands, mainland Greece, Turkey and Israel. The majority of the inscriptions are short or damaged.

The symbols of Linear A (see image) strongly resemble those of Linear B, but this does not mean that a Linear A symbol necessarily has the same sound as a similar Linear B symbol, because Minoan and Greek were different. You can read Linear A using Linear B sounds – but because no one knows Minoan, we cannot be sure if the words are correct. What can be deduced from such substitutions, however, is that the language of Linear A is not Greek.
We can read Linear A out loud – but since nobody knows Minoan, we cannot be sure if the words are correct
5 Rongo-rongo

the chant of Easter Island

(unknown script, probably known language)

Easter Island is a place of intrigue and mystery, and its indigenous script rongo-rongo is no exception.

Rongo-rongo (see image) means “chants” in Rapanui, the language of Easter Island. Although the language of rongo-rongo is probably similar to Rapanui, the script is complex and baffling. There are only 25 inscriptions, some quite long, and all written on driftwood.

Its age is puzzling. Local legend has it that the writing was brought to the island by boat when Easter Island was settled from Polynesia; the date is unknown, but could have been as early as AD 300. However, the first Europeans to land, a Dutch fleet in 1722, saw no evidence of rongo-rongo. When two Spanish ships arrived in 1770 and made a “treaty” claiming Easter Island for Spain, the islanders “signed” the treaty – but their signatures do not resemble rongo-rongo.
Local legend has it that the script was brought by boat when the island was settled from Polynesia

Captain James Cook, landing in 1774, saw no writing. The first confirmed sighting of rongo-rongo was by a French missionary in 1864, who noted that knowledge of the signs was dying out. Despite efforts by the bishop of Tahiti in the 1870s, no islanders could be found to read the writing. Since then scholars have been at odds on how to interpret it.

Not surprisingly, rongo-rongo has been a powerful kook attractor. One popular, but absurd, idea relates rongo-rongo to the Indus script simply because some of the signs are alike.

One thing is beyond dispute: the direction of reading is unusual, though not unique. To read a rongo-rongo tablet, you start at the bottom left-hand corner and read along the line. Then you turn the tablet by 180 degrees and begin reading the next line up, again from left to right. At the end of that line, you repeat the 180-degree turn, and so on. This is known as reverse boustrophedon (“boustrophedon” is ancient Greek for “as the ox turns” when ploughing).
6 Indus script
sign of the unicorn

(unknown script, possibly known language)

The remains of the Indus valley civilisation cover an area of Pakistan and north-west India about a quarter the size of Europe. At its peak, between 2500 and 1900 BC, its major cities were comparable with those of contemporary Mesopotamia and Egypt.

The exquisitely carved script of this civilisation is known from about 5000 inscriptions, many of them on stones found scattered in the houses and streets of its ruined cities. A frequent motif on the seals is a one-horned quadruped like a unicorn (a creature, legend has it, from India) (see image). The texts are tantalisingly brief. The average length is just five signs, the longest only 20. A few researchers have questioned if they really are writing, but the majority reckon they are.
The texts are tantalisingly brief, with an average length of just five signs

The language of the Indus civilisation may have died out altogether, though some speculate that it relates to the Dravidian languages now spoken only in southern India and in Baluchistan, not far from the Indus valley, where the Dravidian language is known as Brahui. If the Dravidian hypothesis is correct, it might be possible to match words from the old form of Tamil, a Dravidian language spoken in Tamil Nadu, with the Indus signs.

For example, a very common sign is the fish (see below). The Old Tamil word for fish is min. But min has another meaning too – “star” or “planet”. Perhaps the fish sign stands for an astral word – a bit like using a pictogram of the sun in a puzzle to mean “son”.

Attractive as such speculation is, we are still a long way from deciphering the Indus script. More than 100 decipherments of the script have been published since its discovery in the 1920s, some by respected archaeologists, but they differ widely, often wildly.
7 Proto-Elamite

oldest undeciphered writing

(partially known script, unknown language)

Proto-Elamite is the world’s oldest undeciphered script – assuming that it really is a fully developed writing system, which is by no means certain. It was used for perhaps 150 years from around 3050 BC in Elam, the biblical name for an area that corresponds roughly to today’s oilfields of western Iran. It is almost as old as the oldest writing of all, the earliest cuneiform from Mesopotamia. Little is known about the people who wrote the script.

Proto-Elamite preceded a partially deciphered script, Linear Elamite, used in the same area 750 years later. Linear Elamite in turn preceded a third script, a cuneiform that the Elamites used for many centuries starting in the 13th century BC. Elamite cuneiform was deciphered in the 19th century.

So there are three Elamite scripts, each separated by about 800 years and with no texts to fill the gaps: no Chaucer or Shakespeare to link Anglo-Saxon with modern English, as it were.

The relationship between Proto-Elamite and Linear Elamite is controversial. The discoverer of Proto-Elamite in the early 20th century was convinced that the two scripts wrote the same language. Later scholars agreed. But since the 1980s, specialists have become increasingly persuaded that there is no evidence for a shared language and culture. They have worked out Proto-Elamite arithmetic in impressive detail, but the language of the inscriptions is still completely unknown.
8 Phaistos disc

oldest printing, or hoax?

(unknown script, unknown language)

The notoriously solitary Phaistos disc from Crete appears to be the world’s oldest “printed” document. The disc, about 15 centimetres in diameter, occupies pride of place at the Heraklion Museum in Crete. Some say it should not be regarded as an undeciphered script because it is in fact a hoax – the Piltdown Man of ancient writing.

However, most authorities have treated it as genuine since its discovery by Italian archaeologists in 1908 at ancient Phaistos, in an archaeological context suggesting a date of about 1700 BC. Few scholars, however, have been intrepid enough to propose a decipherment.

The disc (see image) is made of baked clay and has inscriptions on both sides consisting of a spiral of symbols impressed into the wet clay with a set of stamps. The 241 or 242 symbols (one is obliterated) were made by 45 different stamps. This is about all that can be stated without fear of overstepping the evidence.

But why should anyone have bothered to produce a set of 45 stamps, rather than “writing” the signs afresh? If it was to mass-produce documents, why have no others been found? And why are the symbols unlike any of the signs of the other Cretan scripts?

One idea is that the disc was imported, possibly from Anatolia (one symbol resembles an Anatolian rock tomb). If so, the disc’s language may be some unknowable non-Cretan tongue. Unless more of the script is found, however, the Phaistos disc must remain a perplexing riddle.

Source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227106.000-decoding-antiquity-eight-scripts-that-still-cant-be-read.html?full=true

26971701

Can We Survive The Coming Century?

The new scientist.com features an in-depth study and analysis on how Earth would be look like in the next century until 2099. It is said that most humans could not survive if the whole planet will be warmer by 4 degrees Celsius. Read the article below.

ALLIGATORS basking off the English coast; a vast Brazilian desert; the mythical lost cities of Saigon, New Orleans, Venice and Mumbai; and 90 per cent of humanity vanished. Welcome to the world warmed by 4 °C.
Clearly this is a vision of the future that no one wants, but it might happen. Fearing that the best efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions may fail, or that planetary climate feedback mechanisms will accelerate warming, some scientists and economists are considering not only what this world of the future might be like, but how it could sustain a growing human population. They argue that surviving in the kinds of numbers that exist today, or even more, will be possible, but only if we use our uniquely human ingenuity to cooperate as a species to radically reorganise our world.
The good news is that the survival of humankind itself is not at stake: the species could continue if only a couple of hundred individuals remained. But maintaining the current global population of nearly 7 billion, or more, is going to require serious planning.
Four degrees may not sound like much – after all, it is less than a typical temperature change between night and day. It might sound quite pleasant, like moving to Florida from Boston, say, or retiring from the UK to southern Spain. An average warming of the entire globe by 4 °C is a very different matter, however, and would render the planet unrecognisable from anything humans have ever experienced. Indeed, human activity has and will have such a great impact that some have proposed describing the time from the 18th century onward as a new geological era, marked by human activity. “It can be considered the Anthropocene,” says Nobel prizewinning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.
A 4 °C rise could easily occur. The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose conclusions are generally accepted as conservative, predicted a rise of anywhere between 2 °C and 6.4 °C this century. And in August 2008, Bob Watson, former chair of the IPCC, warned that the world should work on mitigation and adaptation strategies to “prepare for 4 °C of warming”.
A key factor in how well we deal with a warmer world is how much time we have to adapt. When, and if, we get this hot depends not only on how much greenhouse gas we pump into the atmosphere and how quickly, but how sensitive the world’s climate is to these gases. It also depends whether “tipping points” are reached, in which climate feedback mechanisms rapidly speed warming. According to models, we could cook the planet by 4 °C by 2100. Some scientists fear that we may get there as soon as 2050.
If this happens, the ramifications for life on Earth are so terrifying that many scientists contacted for this article preferred not to contemplate them, saying only that we should concentrate on reducing emissions to a level where such a rise is known only in nightmares.
“Climatologists tend to fall into two camps: there are the cautious ones who say we need to cut emissions and won’t even think about high global temperatures; and there are the ones who tell us to run for the hills because we’re all doomed,” says Peter Cox, who studies the dynamics of climate systems at the University of Exeter, UK. “I prefer a middle ground. We have to accept that changes are inevitable and start to adapt now.”
Bearing in mind that a generation alive today might experience the scary side of these climate predictions, let us head bravely into this hotter world and consider whether and how we could survive it with most of our population intact. What might this future hold?
The last time the world experienced temperature rises of this magnitude was 55 million years ago, after the so-called Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum event. Then, the culprits were clathrates – large areas of frozen, chemically caged methane – which were released from the deep ocean in explosive belches that filled the atmosphere with around 5 gigatonnes of carbon. The already warm planet rocketed by 5 or 6 °C, tropical forests sprang up in ice-free polar regions, and the oceans turned so acidic from dissolved carbon dioxide that there was a vast die-off of sea life. Sea levels rose to 100 metres higher than today’s and desert stretched from southern Africa into Europe.
While the exact changes would depend on how quickly the temperature rose and how much polar ice melted, we can expect similar scenarios to unfold this time around. The first problem would be that many of the places where people live and grow food would no longer be suitable for either. Rising sea levels – from thermal expansion of the oceans, melting glaciers and storm surges – would drown today’s coastal regions in up to 2 metres of water initially, and possibly much more if the Greenland ice sheet and parts of Antarctica were to melt.
“It’s hard to see west Antarctica’s ice sheets surviving the century, meaning a sea-level rise of at least 1 or 2 metres,” says climatologist James Hansen, who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. “CO2 concentrations of 550 parts per million [compared with about 385 ppm now] would be disastrous,” he adds, “certainly leading to an ice-free planet, with sea level about 80 metres higher… and the trip getting there would be horrendous.”
Comets

Swarm of Comets Could Lead to Catastrophe

Planetary alignments including those swarm of comets are believed to be have influence with Earth’s planetary condition.

But normally, these influences could lead to catastrophic events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, storms and natural calamities.

Three comets 17P/Holmes, 8P/Tuttle, and Boattini are in alignment December 18-31, 2007, and which, according to the ancient calculations of the Persian Magi, presages violent Earth upheavals, of which the last such alignment occurred on December 26, 2004, during which the catastrophic Great Earthquake and Tsunami occurred costing the lives of over 250,000 human beings.

More about this article:http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1050.htm

Indian Prayer

Native American Indian Prayer

An Indian Prayer

by H. Kent Craig

My grandfather is the fire
My grandmother is the wind
The Earth is my mother
The Great Spirit is my father

The World stopped at my birth
and laid itself at my feet

And I shall swallow the Earth whole when I die
and the Earth and I will be one

Hail The Great Spirit, my father
without him no one could exist
because there would be no will to live

Hail The Earth, my mother
without which no food could be grown
and so cause the will to live to starve

Hail the wind, my grandmother
for she brings loving, lifegiving rain
nourishing us as she nourishes our crops

Hail the fire, my grandfather
for the light, the warmth, the comfort he brings
without which we be animals, not men

Hail my parent and grandparents
without which
not I
nor you
nor anyone else
could have existed

Life gives life
which gives unto itself
a promise of new life

Hail the Great Spirit, The Earth, the wind, the fire
praise my parents loudly
for they are your parents, too

Oh, Great Spirit, giver of my life
please accept this humble offering of prayer
this offering of praise
this honest reverence of my love for you.

Oh Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to the world,
Hear me!
I come to you as one of your many children.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
May I walk in beauty.
Make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things that you have made,
And my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may know the things
That you have taught your children–
The lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Make me strong, not to be superior to my brothers, but to be
able to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes, so that
When life fades as the faded sunset
My spirit will come to you without shame.

source: http://www.angelfire.com/md/elanmichaels/prayers.html

Alien life in space probably not too buff, researcher says

PULLMAN – Bad news, Battlestar Galactica fans: If there is life on other worlds, it probably doesn’t look like a swimsuit model.

A scientist at Washington State University says the first extraterrestrial life we find is likely to be single-celled organisms surviving on a moon of Saturn, or in the atmosphere of Venus. And not a Borg Queen in sight.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch recently co-authored the book “Life in the Universe,” in which he and Louis N. Irwin of the University of Texas-El Paso theorize on where humans should look for signs of other life.

It has been a lifelong interest for Schulze-Makuch, one of a small cadre of astrobiologists who ponder where earthlings will first find proof that we are not alone in the universe.
“Already as a little boy I was looking at the stars and wondering what could be out there,” he recalled during a recent interview in his office. “I liked Star Trek too.”

He was raised in Geisen, Germany, got a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and previously taught at Texas-El Paso, where he began working on contracts with NASA. Last year he was hired at WSU, not normally a hub of interstellar activity.
Schulze-Makuch contends that the best chance of finding some life in our solar system is on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, which has an atmosphere.

Four billion years ago, when life originated on Earth, the environmental conditions here were similar to those on Titan, Schulze-Makuch wrote in a recent paper.

“Life may have originated on Titan during its warmer early history and then developed adaptation strategies to cope with the increasingly cold conditions,” he wrote.

Single-celled organisms could be living in the atmosphere or in the surface ice of Titan.
There could also be organisms living in the dense atmosphere of Venus, which is much thicker than Earth’s, he said.

“Life is really hardy. It’s hard to get rid of it,” he said. “The individual is fragile.”
Schulze-Makuch’s work is no reason to abandon the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, said Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. He noted there are likely hundreds of billions of planets in our galaxy.

“Most of those will be sterile, admittedly, but it would be remarkable if none of them sport biology,” Shostak said.

Complex life requires more salubrious circumstances, so it will occur less frequently, Shostak said.

There is debate in the scientific community about whether intelligent creatures would look like us, since there are many body designs that would work, Shostak said. But some scientists argue that the basic humanoid shape is excellent for intelligent beings, he said.

Before we encounter something like the negligee-clad Number 6 from Galactica, the television series that features a genocidal war between humans and their robot creations, we’ll probably be looking at E.T. through a microscope, Schulze-Makuch said.

His book is designed to expand the parameters of the search for extraterrestrial life.

People should not be looking only for life forms similar to carbon-and-water species on Earth, he said. On another planet, life might exist in a magnetic field. And instead of water it might require methane.

That’s important to remember in designing space probes, he said. The probes should be able to detect completely different forms of life, he said.

One issue is that there is no good scientific definition of what exactly is life, he said. Mostly it’s based on genetic code, and mechanical requirements like a membrane and energy source, he said.

“Are viruses life? They cannot reproduce,” he said. “But I consider them alive.”

If there is life on Titan, it is a near certainty that it will be “independent Genesis,” that is, developed completely without ingredients from Earth. By contrast, any life found on Mars or Venus might be from bacteria that hitched a ride on a space probe or even a meteorite, he said.

“They could be our cousins,” he said.

Or, life on Earth could have originally come from Mars, he said.

He believes it’s time for humans to create a permanent space base on Mars, and to more aggressively explore other bodies in our solar system. The best way is through robotic missions, because human flight is too difficult and expensive.

Higher life would probably be found in another solar system, he said.

“I think it will be in our lifetime,” he said. “I think we are on the verge.”

Source: seattletimes.nwsource.com