The Daily Roundup of Lesser Known Stories.
The Humorous, the Cool, and the Just Plain Stupid.
Saturday, May 19th: Biologists Think Aliens Live On Our Planet?
The Octopus, The Alien We All Know But Never Realized?
To most people the immediate image that comes to mind when you say octopus might involve pirates, ships, and some really big tentacles. The Kraken namely. Or maybe that’s just me. Biologists recently made some truly imagination inspiring claims about the octopus’ genomes that may be putting new images in the mind of pop culture for the eight armed Cephalopod.
Have you ever considered, that if there ever is intelligent life out there in the universe – humans probably wouldn’t make that cut right now honestly – that it might be living in our oceans? Maybe, sure; but you probably didn’t think it was the octopus!
These are the sounds of what is going around the internet currently, mainly through the conspiracy and fauxrticle (as I call them) sites, over sensationalizing the story just a bit.
It is true that a team of biologists (33) did co-author and publish; Cause of Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic? in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal (actual paper). The paper looks at the idea of the Cambrian Explosion as being seeded from interstellar bodies impacting our surface and spreading their bacteria and building blocks for life. This is a popular theory known as Panspermia, but the octopus is an oddity in the equation; showing up about 200 million years after the Cambrian Explosion, and currently having 33,000 protein-coding genomes. Way more than homo sapiens – us – at 20,000.
They are mainly used as the example of rapid evolution and intelligence, not as a theory their aliens. Sorry theorists, but saying the paper says octopus’ are alien because they were evolutionally affected by continued Panspermia is the equivalent of saying everything in the ocean or even most things on land are aliens (they say this in longer form in the paper, below is a quote). Octopus’ rightfully deserve that spotlight too, fascinating and devilishly clever as they are.
Therefore, similar living features like this “as if the genes were derived from some type of pre-existence” (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1981) apply to many other biological ensembles when closely examined. One little known yet cogent example is the response and resistance of the eye structures of the Drosophila fruit fly to normally lethally damaging UV radiation at 2537 Å, given that this wavelength does not penetrate the ozone layer and is thus not evident as a Darwinian selective factor at the surface of the Earth (Lutz and Grisewood, 1934) and see Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (1981, p.12–13).
I won’t be linking to any of the conspiracy or fauxrticle sites, sorry to disappoint conspiracists again. For now, I encourage you to brush up on some science literacy and read as much of the paper as you can.
(spoiler / jump to: the octopus part is 13. Evolution of intelligent complexity)
The legitimate science news sites are putting forth slightly more rational takes on the subject.
What About Parallel Universes?
In a Parallel Universe it’s highly plausible octopus’ could be alien overlords come to earth to watch and control humans from the shadowy lurking depths of the oceans and… city aquariums… I guess they would be taking the mice’s approach. And yes, the answer would still be 42 and “oh no, not again” in parallel universes.
Another subject that has tantalized our flights of fancy as well as our small and silver screens both, Space.com recently posted an article listing the main types of theories for Parallel Universes as well as their arguments for and against. Who knows, according to the Infinite Universes theory, there are enough universes out there to not only have dopplegangers of yourself do everything you never did, but having so many that they begin to repeat.
That means there could be another you out there somewhere doing the exact same thing your doing now, and even thinking about the same thing with the same patterns. Think hard and maybe you can say Hi! telepathically with your Alternate U-You.
Legendary Physicist Stephen Hawking, the Einstein of our time some say, passed away very recently. His passing filled many with sorrow for the loss of one of man-kinds greatest minds in history. He didn’t leave us empty handed though, birthing more theories and ground breaking work than almost any other physicist. He even gave us one final gift before his passing, on this exact subject – The Multiverse.
If Their Out There, They Cant Hide For Long Now
Researchers on Wednesday, May 16th released an image that had something in it we had yet to see in the cosmos. Oxygen!
More precisely, a spot of old oxygen 13.28 billion light years away; only a mere 550 million light years away from the very edge of the known universe.
Oxygen, as many (hopefully) know is plentiful in the universe now, along with other elements such as carbon and nitrogen; your basic life legos. These elements didn’t come about in the universe until the first stars had completed their initial life spans though, from fusion to nova, issuing forth from said stars.
What the finding shows us is that there are possibly pockets of various earlier generation stars we had yet to know about, where the very earliest life may have started as fast as 150 million years after the big bang.
See You Tomorrow!