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About Aitor

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  • Birthday 12/04/1972

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  • Location
    Birmingham, UK
  • Interests
    Reading about Science in general
  • College Major/Degree
    Physics BSc (Hons), Astrophysics PhD
  • Favorite Area of Science
  • Occupation
    College Lecturer in Mathematics
  1. Thanks for your enthusiasm on the subject, Tyler. I noticed some of your facts are a "little" inaccurate: the Universe is actually only a bit less than 14 billion years old, i.e., about 3 times the age of the Earth. The solar system as a whole is rich in all sorts of elements heavier than lithium because it is born out of the remnants of a large star that died in a supernova many billion years ago, and it itself came from the enriched death throes of other rather primordial stars before that. After each stellar death, it takes time for the material to coalesce again to form new stars and
  2. Yes, plain old luck has a large part to play, but as far as fundamentals are concerned, if some are very advantageous to have, they should come around again after an initial obliteration. It's just chemistry, after all. Anything more complex arising from that would be more sensitive to random change. We can safely assume that we won't ever meet human-like creatures from other planets as a result, even if aliens may well have our life design. I definitely agree!
  3. Apologies for my feeling touchy recently. I was not having a good week. I tend to have surges of paranoia when I am stressed. Rather embarrassing when it flares up. Anyway, I enjoy the feedback from everyone. The original question is indeed quite narrow in its formulation and we can now summarise the results of the debate as follows: Life as we know it is successful because its design has allowed it to be so over other life designs, and this explains why we cannot see other types of life. Other life designs may be occurring all the time, in various places, but their less "fit" form
  4. To those who mentioned that I am going about my question in a quite wrong way, like I am a moron, I say this: My question is meant to trigger a discussion on current debatable views of the scientific community, it is not meant to be perfect or to be free of misconceptions. It is meant to make people discuss these VERY misconceptions. There is therefore no need to demean me like I am an idiot who doesn't know what he is talking about. I think people here need to be careful how they formulate their reply, as it sometimes comes across as patronising, arrogant and rude. A bit more respect, pl
  5. I'm having a problem with a photon not getting any closer or farther from us. A photon cannot ever be stationary, can it? Wouldn't this have repercussions on the bending of spacetime to make that photon travel at the speed c from or towards us?
  6. Let us look at the problem another way. For a different life form to exist without us being able to realise it is there, what should it be like and not like? So far, we saw that it should have no measurable effect on our environment so we don't notice. It is has a measurable effect on the environment, it exists where nobody looks. And whatever it does, it must be small and probably in small numbers to evade detection, unless it consists of things that we do not see as life (rock? gaseous substance? etc?). Also, it should not be DNA based, as this is the criterion that defines our l
  7. Moontanman, you're a genius! Your link yields the perfect article for this blog. I feel I have asked a very sensible question, worthy of investigation. CharonY, I admit that I know not of a place on Earth where bacteria or similar unicellular organisms do not live. I guess the "we ate all the barbarians" assertion might be true!
  8. Right, so a different kind of life is not prevented from appearing at any time, providing there are resources for it and the right conditions. The Earth is a pretty diverse place, and where our type of life cannot exist, there must therefore be a niche for another type. Why aren't we observing this? As for my assertion that making life is easy, it comes from our knowledge that fossilised remains of bacterial activity were found in a rock 3.8 billion years old somewhere on this planet (my memory is failing on that location detail), but at that time Earth was a pretty nasty place to be and i
  9. Galindo, it's not what I mean by tree of life. Evolution transforms species into others. Ultimately, the primordial organisms yield a vast array of new species that are completely different from each other. However, they remain related, because their fundamental building blocks and inner workings are exactly the same. Tracking the evolution of the complexity of these inner workings in reverse brings one back to just one primordial ancestor to all current living things, were they a tree, a leopard, a human, a bacterium, a virus, a archaeum, or a slime. This is the root of just one tree of l
  10. SOrry for having made my question unclear. My question is: "If life formed so early in the history of the Earth, thereby implying that it was a more likely event than we think, how come we see only evidence of 1 type of life on the Earth? Why does the tree of life only trace life's history only to one primordial life form? Why aren't there more trees of life?" Are the above questions clarifying my original question? Thanks for your contributions already. They are very pertinent and I am happy to accept them as valid answers. Anybody would know of (likely very recent) research
  11. Evidence suggests that life appeared very soon after the Earth formed. Right. This means that life can form easily. OK so far. But if life formed so easily, why has it appeared only once in Earth's history? Surely, if it can be produced easily, it should have come up in several places in various forms and the descendants of each life strand would somehow have left evidence of their existence. But there is only evidence of the current life. The only 2 things I can suggest are that: 1) Life appeared at the beginning in many ways and many places on the primordial Earth, but only the
  12. My name is not Aitor and I love all sciences. Yes, I do. There. I am a Maths lecturer and I adore my job (talk of being sad!). My passion though is whatever pertains to Astrophysics, from star formation to planetary discoveries, through black holes, dark matter and just beautiful pictures from the Hubble Telescope, because science is the right amount of logical and imaginative endeavours. (cheesy but true) And because I am not necessarily well in my head, I have created a world and let everyone enjoy it on my own website. How cool is that? (Do nerds do cool?) Cheers Aitor Past
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