Sunday, October 9, 2016

Humankind is unlikely to be the universe's first civilization

How would the Kryptonians view this alien from Earth?
"The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space." by Carl Sagan.

If there was only us in the whole history of the universe, the probability would be less than one in 10 billion trillion. That is less than 1/1000000000000000000000000. Billions of trillions of stars exist only for us to follow the Kardashians? Seems like a pretty weird plan from the Big (wo)man upstairs. Or there's no such plan at all? And civilizations are all around us, in both space and time? Blooming and fading like wildflowers?


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Using this method, Frank and Sullivan calculated how unlikely life would be if there has never been another example of intelligent life among the universe’s twenty billion trillion stars, or even among just our own Milky Way galaxy’s hundred billion.

The results? Less than one in ten billion trillion. "To me, this implies that other intelligent, technology producing species very likely have evolved before us," said Frank. And when the equation is scaled down to include just our galaxy, the numbers are not as extreme.

However, the universe is more than 13 billion years old. "That means that even if there have been a thousand civilizations in our own galaxy, if they live only as long as we have been around -- roughly ten thousand years — then all of them are likely already extinct," explained Sullivan. "And others won't evolve until we are long gone."
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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

One million immigrants are still not enough to turn Germany's demographics around.

If only more could sing the Internationale!
Welcoming a number of refugees like in 2015 and prime minister Merkel is now close to losing her seat. Yet that many may still, technically, not be enough to turn Germany's demography around. Can many more be realistically brought in under a democratic regime, where a big part of the already present population will use votes to defend their interests? And immigration would only delay the aging problem for a while, until the immigrants' children become locals, with local reproductive patterns. Or should Germany go the way of Japan where, instead of immigration, they are building robotic exo-skeletons to help 70-years-olds jogging around? Immigration could be a good idea for individual nations, yet it won't work on the planetary scale half a century from now, when the likes of Mexico, India... will have also aged. Unless we allow in some E.T. immigrants?


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While the record number of migrants entering the country will slightly increase the population, not even a million migrants will reverse Germany’s long-term population decline. Olga Poetzsch, a spokesperson for the Federal Statistics Office, said that a look at the past shows that phases of high net immigration to Germany are usually followed by sharp drops.
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The latest population projections still predict a long-term shrinkage, for two reasons, says Poetzsch. The large cohort of “baby boomers” (those born between 1955 and 1965, approximately) will start to die off, pushing annual deaths above one million. At the same time, the number of women of child-bearing age will decrease. Even if the birth rate jumped from 1.4 to 1.6 children per woman, overall births would still decline in the long term.

“Developments in fertility and mortality that might prevent such high numbers for the deficit of births are currently not in sight,” Poetzsch adds.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Iran's supreme leader Khamenei thinks population aging may be unsolvable

It does look as evil as Houston by night
Remember Bush's Axis of Evil, those savage little countries hell-bent on destroying Western civilization...? Well, at least one of them, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is facing a baby drought so severe that its supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has to admit that the population aging problem may not be easily fixed. The fact of the matter is, at 1.8 babies/woman, Iran's birth rate is equal to that of the US. At the same fertility level, both countries may have more in common than they want to recognize. And there might be lots of misunderstanding in this world? It's just too easy to forget that, beyond everything, all countries are made up of human beings.


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“The issue of ageing population is an unsolvable problem and nowadays the developed countries even have no solutions to the problem,” IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei as saying at a meeting with the members of the country’s supreme statistics council Sep. 13.

He added that the country’s officials should have stopped policies aimed at controlling population growth.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Earth-like planet discovered around Proxima Centauri, the Sun's nearest neighbor

So close, yet so far. 4.24 light years = 10,000s of years of current-tech travel 
The banalization of our place in the Cosmos continues with the latest discovery of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our Sun at 4.2 light years away. A short 500 years ago, Galileo went to jail for questioning Earth's place at the center of the whole universe. We have gone a long way since then. Since the first exoplanet found in 1992, we have discovered thousands more around stars far from the Sun. Yet we didn't know for sure, not until now, that even our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, also has a rocky planet of its own. It looks like rocky planets, a category to which Earth belongs, are dime-a-dozen in the universe.


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Observations made with a telescope in Chile have indeed revealed a planet about as massive as Earth that orbits Proxima Centauri, which is a cosmic walk to the corner store at just 4.24 light-years away. And if conditions are right, the planet is in an orbit that’s warm enough for liquid water to survive on its surface.
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The Alpha Centauri system, long a wonderland for science fiction authors, is often considered a destination for humanity’s first leap into interstellar space—as well as a potential haven for future civilizations fleeing the inevitable destruction of Earth as we know it.

“A habitable, rocky planet around Proxima would be the most natural location to where our civilization could aspire to move after the sun will die, five billion years from now,” says Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an adviser to the Breakthrough Starshot project.
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