Posts tagged life

Hints of life on Venus

RAS, astrobiology, astronomy, venus, life, phosphine, ET, 2020

An international team of astronomers, led by Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, today announced the discovery of a rare molecule – phosphine – in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially, or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. Astronomers have speculated for decades that high clouds on Venus could offer a home for microbes – floating free of the scorching surface, but still needing to tolerate very high acidity. The detection of phosphine molecules, which consist of hydrogen and phosphorus, could point to this extra-terrestrial ‘aerial’ life. The new discovery is described in a paper in Nature Astronomy.


Where Are They?

poetry, life, questions, fermi paradox, wikipedia, found poetry, list, 2019

  7.1 Extraterrestrial life is rare or non-existent
  7.2 No other intelligent species have arisen
  7.3 Intelligent alien species lack advanced technology
  7.4 Water world hypothesis<br/>  7.5 It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself
  7.6 It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others
  7.7 Periodic extinction by natural events
  7.8 Intelligent civilizations are too far apart in space or time
  7.9 Lack of resources to spread physically throughout the galaxy
  7.10 Lack of desire to live on planets
  7.11 It is cheaper to transfer information for exploration
  7.12 Human beings have not existed long enough
  7.13 We are not listening properly
  7.14 Civilizations broadcast detectable radio signals only for a brief period of time
  7.15 They tend to isolate themselves
  7.16 Colonization is not the norm
  7.17 Outcomes between all and nothing
  7.18 They are too alien
  7.19 Everyone is listening but no one is transmitting
  7.20 Earth is deliberately not contacted
  7.21 Earth is purposely isolated (planetarium hypothesis)
  7.22 It is dangerous to communicate
  7.23 They are here unacknowledged

( Found poetry via Fermi’s Paradox and WIkipedia)

SLOWAVE – An Exploration on Sleep + Society

culture, ideas, sleep, slowave, dreams, lifehacks, optimisation, industry, work, life, art

Our anxiety about sleep underscores some uncomfortable realities about the present. How is it that an essential biological function has had to fight so hard to be recognized as, well, essential? When we look back on our lives, the third we spend recharging registers as an opportunity cost, something to be overcome. But what if the on/off binary that we understand consciousness through was the wrong lens to use on sleep? Can we reject the awake/asleep binary, and plot sleeping and dreaming on an expanded spectrum of consciousness? Sleep isn’t death–it’s something else entirely. The future of sleep won’t be its absence, it will be a new class of people leveraging its creative potential. Slowave is the response to this realization


Unexpected Life Found In The Ocean’s Deepest Trench

ocean, life, fish, benthic realism, ghost fish, Mariana Trench

Once on the bottom, they waited and watched. And they got some big surprises. “We saw the deepest living fish ever recorded,” says Drazen. “Definitely something new. We took one look at the thing and were amazed — big, wide, winglike fins, this eel-like tail and this scalloped face. It was very unique.” They nicknamed it the “ghost fish” for its almost translucent skin. It appears to be a new species of snailfish — living 5 miles below the surface.

I Have Seen The Tops of Clouds

clouds, cloud appreciation, progress, humanity, life, optimism, dark optimism

When I am very frightened, I look out the window on airplanes and say very quietly: I have seen the tops of clouds And I have. In all the history of humanity, I am one of the few that has seen the tops of clouds. Many would have died to do so, and some did. I have seen them many times. I have seen the Earth from space, and spun it around like a god to see what’s on the other side. We are the only consciousness we’ve ever found that has looked deep into the infinite dark, and instead of dark, we saw galaxies. Galaxies! Suns and worlds beyond number. We have looked into our world and found atoms, atomic forces, systems that dance to the glorious music of the universe. We have seen actual wonders that verge on the ineffable. We have coined a word for the ineffable. We have coined thousands of words for the ineffable. In our pain we find a kind of magic, in our worst and meanest specimens we find the flesh of a common human story.


oldest living things, Rachel Sussman, photography, life, death, decay, growth

Of the thirty ancient living things that Sussman has photographed, two have since died. “One was a thirteen-thousand-year-old ‘underground forest’ outside a botanical garden in Pretoria,” she said. “Apparently, they changed the traffic pattern and just bulldozed right over it. The other was a thirty-five-hundred-year-old tree just outside Orlando, Florida—actually, the original tourist attraction before Disney. Meth heads snuck into it to do meth, and they accidentally burned it down.–9

Why Are We So Busy?

overload, productivity, work, economics, keynes, life, busyness, doing nothing, capital

According to Keynes, the nineteenth century had unleashed such a torrent of technological innovation—“electricity, petrol, steel, rubber, cotton, the chemical industries, automatic machinery and the methods of mass production”—that further growth was inevitable. The size of the global economy, he forecast, would increase sevenfold in the following century, and this, in concert with ever greater “technical improvements,” would usher in the fifteen-hour week. To Keynes, the coming age of abundance, while welcome, would pose a new and in some ways even bigger challenge. With so little need for labor, people would have to figure out what to do with themselves: “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won.” The example offered by the idle rich was, he observed, “very depressing”

The allure of D’Annunzio

bbok review, D’Annunzio, Fiume, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Christopher Duggan, TLS, beauty, poetry, life

D’Annunzio’s heroic exploits as a pilot during the war (Hughes-Hallett’s excellent account of this phase of the poet’s life underlines his genuine bravery) and his occupation of the city of Fiume in 1919–20 in defiance of the government in Rome and the international community cemented his position as prophet-bard and champion of national regeneration. The Fiume episode, whose aesthetic, moral and political perverseness is vividly captured by Hughes-Hallett, provided the nascent Fascist movement with further material on which Mussolini later drew: choreographed parades and ceremonies, ritualized chants, exotic uniforms, the celebration of youth, the cult of the heroic (and shaven-headed) leader, inflammatory speeches from balconies designed to generate a collective euphoria akin to religious enthusiasm.

Conway’s Game of Life for Curved Surfaces

life, conway, surfaces, topology, smoothlife, meshlife, programming

Last time, we talked about an interesting generalization of Conway’s Game of Life and walked through the details of how it was derived, and investigated some strategies for discretizing it. Today, let’s go even further and finally come to the subject discussed in the title: Conway’s Game of Life for curved surfaces–2/