An Autonomous Agent

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Category: science (Page 1 of 24)

The Meteorite (Chondrite) and its Organisms – Otto Hahn

Petrified life-forms compose the chondrites (which represent 86% of the total number of collected meteorites to date) proposed Otto Hahn in his book, The Meteorite (Chondrite) and its Organisms, containing 142 microphotographs to serve as his proof. Published in 1880 this work took the academic community by surprise. David Weinland wrote in Das Ausland:

The result of this study is the full conviction that, at least in these structures, we are really dealing with the remnants of corals, most of which belong to the Favositidae, a family that has so far only been found as fossils in the Paleozoic, the ancient layers of Earth.

Das Ausland, 1881, No. 16, Article 1

And also,

Well-preserved forms are, of course, quite rare; it is mostly debris, e.g. quite similar to that observed in young ocean limestone of the Mexican Gulf. After acquiring some practice and comparing many cuts, certain recurring forms can be restored quite easily. Especially developed are the sponges of which I have already determined three specific genera.

Das Ausland, 1881, No. 16, Article 1

Reading this in Das Ausland must have ruffled the feathers of directors of zoology and paleontology, especially coming from Weinland, who responded to Anton Rzehak’s criticism with:

This may still seem like a venturesome statement today, but my peers, who have known me for twenty-five years, will probably know that I do not easily pronounce my conviction.

Das Ausland, 1881, No. 26, Article 1

And indeed, Weinland went on to express his conviction by establishing in a treatise 16 genera each with multiple species, submitting his work to the Leopoldina and Acta, and proclaiming that:

Not ten years will pass before we will have a small universally recognized fauna of the meteorites.

Das Ausland, 1881, No. 26, Article 1

Certainly this is a fascinating story and a book worthy of reading! And regarding Hahn’s ideas about the iron meteorites, you will want to research the ironically named Chondrites.

Read: The Meteorite (Chondrite) and its Organisms

Read: Das Ausland Articles

Microfossils and Biomolecules in Meteorites – Dr. Richard B. Hoover

Microfossils and Biomolecules in Meteorites – Dr. Richard B. Hoover

This video by Dr. Richard B. Hoover points at why I am so interested in meteorites. Imagine if Dr. Hoover is correct and that life pervades the universe, or even lets say a large galaxy and/or group of galaxies. This is a viable outcome of nature and follows from simple exponential growth given a time span on a scale of billions of years. As long as life has evolved to be able to travel the vast distances between stars this is a simple and interesting hypothesis. But we are of course mostly interested in complex life — we are scanning right now for complex information signals in all numbers of frequencies when all we have to do is study the meteorites already in our possession. If the universe is filled with single cell life forms, it would suggest that the potential of life to manifest itself in form/energy/matter such as humans or dinosaurs, etc.. exists as a latent potential throughout the region of the universe inhabited by these life forms. And complex life arises almost immediately when a new planet or moon with suitable conditions arises. This would basically be the answer to the Drake Equation. It is highly likely that there are other complex lifeforms. We now would feel confident to search for complex life signatures because we know now that the universe is filled with simple life and primitive multicelluar life like trilobites, dinosaurs, mammals, etc… So now the ultimate question would seem to be where did the first evolution of these organisms arise? In our galaxy? the Andromeda galaxy? Where exactly are Earth’s lifeforms on this larger tree of life? Reality is starting to seem like something out of a science fiction book. Of course this is just one possible speculative scenario. I can imagine others.

Note, I have been photographing meteorites in cross polarized light for the past few years; including CO type meteorites. You can see my work at Solar Anamnesis.

Also consider reading these articles:

Claims of Indigenous Life Forms in Meteorites: A Short Review

Chandra Wickramasinghe Testimony

Scale – Geoffrey West

Scale, by Geoffrey West, is a thought provoking book about coarse grained quantitative network theories which concern the entire human species and its interaction with the environment. Although verbose — as I think the intended audience is upper high school and entry-level college — it is clear in its depictions and explanations. This book is an important summary of really profound work and research performed at the Santa Fe Institute. And it is a great introduction to understanding power laws and scaling in biology and network topologies.

Order Out of Chaos – Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers

A little bit of quantum physics, chemistry, biology and philosophy all rolled up into one important book. Order Out of Chaos (La Nouvelle Alliance as originally published in French) by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers is a paradigm changing book. The first parts of the book are an excellent overview on the historical development of science – the evolution of dynamics and the discovery of thermodynamics and their relationship is particularly fascinating.

Once the reader gets to the later parts, it becomes somewhat abstract and the reader may not be able to get through it without a background in chemistry and physics. Chapter Nine, when the phrase “Order Out of Chaos” is developed, is difficult. Despite this, it is much more accessible than a scientific paper on the subject. It may take two or three reads to fully absorb the ideas presented. Overall it is one of my favorite reads.

Some important conclusions from the book:

  • The arrow of time objectively exists and it arises from non-equilibrium and irreversibility at the microscopic level.
  • The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can be understood as a selection principal. It operates as a negative on allowable initial conditions, in other words it restricts systems with certain initial conditions from existing.
  • Time travel to the past is not allowed by thermodynamics because time reversal requires infinite information concerning the initial conditions of the system, an impossibility to an observer in the universe. This implies that information is closely connected to irreversibility and time.
  • Thermodynamics can be expressed from dynamics through the idea of correlations and internal-time operators. Thus, dynamics has been extended once again (general relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos theory).
  • The universe as a whole is in a non-equilibrium state and it is an irreversible process with pockets of reversible dynamics.
  • In general, one of the goals of the authors is to make dynamics and thermodynamics consistent with each other.

Philosophical Overdose YouTube Channel

Philosophical Overdose is an excellent source of material for watching/listening!

Description from channel:

Collection of Academic Philosophy Videos (both Analytic Philosophy & Continental Philosophy): Logic, Epistemology, History of Ideas, Consciousness, Skepticism, Science, Ontology, Political Theory, Ethics, Religion, etc.

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