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Other Influential Pre Space Age Writers

The romantic pre-space age speculations about Venus resembling a tropical, younger Earth and about Mars containing a more-established advanced civilization were enhanced by several fiction writers in the 1930s and 1940s especially the U.S. author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) and the Irish novelist, scholar, and Christian apologeticist Clive Staples (C. S.) Lewis (1898-1963).

Other Worlds Other Life

The ancient Greek atomists were willing to entertain the idea of other inhabited worlds beyond ours, but the widespread acceptance of Aristotle's finite cosmos limited speculation about life beyond the Earth. The Moon was a possible location for extraterrestrial life, and several ancient writers imagined flying through the air and landing on the lunar surface. Even fictional travel beyond the Moon was unthinkable because Aristotle said that this region was filled with impenetrable, crystalline matter.

Ammonoid Mode of Life

On the other hand, some writers (Mutvei and Reyment, 1973 Mutvei, 1975 Weitschat and Bandel, 1991 Dagys and Weitschat, 1993b) have been more or less critical of the idea of jet-powered swimming in ammonoids. These writers pointed out the great differences between most ammonoids and living Nautilus in anatomical design and in intraspecific variation of shell morphology. If ammonoids were jet-powered swimmers, their populations had to have been subdivided into several subpopulations characterized by different shell design and hence, different swimming ability and mode of life. This interpretation is not in agreement with the conditions either in living Nautilus or in living coleoid cephalopods. Furthermore, ammonoids do not show any sign of natural selection toward streamlined shell shape during their evolution.

Philosophy Of Approach

In the past, many serious writers have speculated about the existence of life on other planets Percival Lowell (1908), H. Spencer Jones (1949), Harlow Shapley (1959), and Hubertus Strughold (1955), to name a few. But, generally speaking, the subject has been covered in only a qualitative manner. It is the present objective to try to establish reasonable quantitative

Pluralism and Causality

Non-realist views of causation, and a refusal to accept the causation correlation distinction, have a long precedent among empiricist philosophers and scientists, but they enjoy little popularity today.16 Few if any writers on the levels of selection explicitly endorse non-realism about causation. Nonetheless, it is sometimes suggested that to talk about the 'true' levels of selection involves a mistaken reification of causal relations, or ignores the fact that causal chains can be chopped up in multiple ways. For example, Kitcher (2004) argues that it makes no sense to ask about 'the real locus of causation in selection processes' (p. 89, emphasis in original). He writes 'one can tell all the facts about how genotype and phenotype frequencies change across the generations including the causal explanations of the changes without any commitment to a definite level at which selection acts' (ibid. p. 89). Far from being a natural default position, realism about the levels of selection is...

Section The accomplishments of Rome

The literary output of Rome was immense and included epic and lyric poetry, comic and tragic drama, history and military memoirs, and theological and philosophical writings.5 Among the famous Roman writers were Virgil, Horace, Plautus, Terence, Seneca, Plutarch, Tacitus, Julius Caesar, St. Augustine, Lucretius, Marcus Aurelius, Juvenal, Ovid, and Cicero.

Lowells Calculations And My Search

It has been stated by some writers of the Pluto story that Percival Lowell's calculations greatly aided my finding Pluto. Quite to the contrary, when I found out in the latter part of 1929 how Lowell had drastically changed his predicted position of Planet X from Libra to Gemini, this indicated to me that considerable uncertainty was involved, and I could not take the prediction seriously.

Section Introduction

Many writers include Egypt as part of the Middle East. In this book, though, I shall use the term to designate only Southwest Asia (Turkey, Iran, and the countries in the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent). Even with this restricted definition, the Middle East is a region of unique historical importance. It was there that agriculture was first developed, that writing was invented, that the first cities were built, and that civilization began.

Weighing invisible matter

Covered as front page news by the New York Times. I can still remember that it was the Monday (in July 1987) after a US-flagged tanker hit a mine in the Persian Gulf. I spent much of the day answering phone calls from science writers and assuring them that there was no danger we would be sucked into these black holes at any time in the future. Despite the excitement surrounding this result I had misgivings. After all, we'd found what we'd been after could we have fooled ourselves There were some unexplained features in the data, and the analysis had been done with spherical models. My view of science now is that we sometimes progress through optimistic interpretation, and I don't worry so much about a result that might turn out to be wrong because of some new development (in fact, I think it's vital to publish those results). Back then, however, I agonized over the possibility of getting ''caught'' in an error.

How to determine what parsimony does not presuppose

A number of writers have attempted to find models that induce ordinal equivalence. Three have succeeded, Felsenstein (1973, 1979) and Tuffley and Steel (1997). In Felsenstein's model, characters are constrained to have very low probabilities of changing state, but there is no requirement that the probability of a character's changing from state i to state j on a branch is the same as its probability of changing from state j to state i. In Tuffley and Steel's, characters can have high probabilities of changing state (though they need not), but the probabilities of change must be symmetrical.6 The models are very different, but each entails ordinal equivalence.

Converging on the humanoid

That different mammals emphasize different sensory modalities has long been known, and writers attempting to enter the mind of, say, a dog will typically try to transpose the wealth of olfactory 'images' into something more amenable to human comprehension. So, too, we can ask to what extent equivalences might exist between sensory assimilations dependent, say, on olfaction, electroreception, or echolocation. The last case is of particular interest because in a famous essay Thomas Nagel argued, as part of a consideration of what it is to be conscious, that the mind of a bat was effectively unknowable to us.205 Nagel's article has attracted an enormous amount of attention, but it may be that he underestimated the underlying degrees of similarity in sensory perceptions. Thus, in referring to bat echoloca-tion he remarked that 'bat sonar, while clearly a form of perception, is not similar in its operation to any sense that we possess, and there is no reason to suppose that it is...

Section Some important individual figures

The most famous of the great figures of the Enlightenment was the witty and prolific French writer Fran ois Marie Arouet (1694-1778), better know by his pseudonym Voltaire. As a young man, Voltaire's anti-establishment comments got him thrown in jail, and for a while he was forced to leave France. The two years he then spent in England were a turning point in his life, and he became convinced of the superiority of the English constitutional system over the authoritarian regime operating in his native land. After returning to France, he wrote his first major philosophical work, Letters on the English, a book whose publication in 1734 might be taken as the start of the Enlightenment. Although personally rather anti-Semitic, Voltaire was a passionate opponent of religious persecution, and he inveighed against it constantly. He was also a consistent proponent of freedom of speech. His attitude was, I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it, although...

Large Space Settlements Hallmark of a Solar System Civilization

The large space settlement is often viewed as the centerpiece of a grand technical vision, involving the construction of humanmade miniworlds that would result in the spread of life and civilization throughout the solar system. Long before the space age began, the British physicist and writer John Desmond Bernal (1910-71) speculated about the colonization of space and the construction of very large, spherical space settlements (now called Bernal spheres) in his futuristic 1929 work The World, the Flesh and the Devil. Although Bernal's use of the term space colony has yielded to the more politically acceptable expression space settlement, his basic idea of a large, self-sufficient human habitat in space has stimulated numerous space age era studies. These subsequent studies have spawned other interesting habitat concepts some engineering extrapolations of Bernal's basic notion and others dramatically different in form or purpose.

Alien Creatures Science Fiction or Fact

According to the well-known writer Isaac Asimov (1920-92), one very important aspect of science fiction is not just its ability to predict a particular technical breakthrough but rather its ability to predict change itself through technology. Change plays a very important role in modern life. People who are responsible for societal planning must not only con- As a fiery philosopher and writer, the former Dominican monk Giordano Bruno managed to antagonize authorities throughout western Europe by adamantly supporting such politically sensitive and religiously unpopular (at the time) concepts as the heliocentric cosmology of Nicolaus Copernicus, the infinite size of the universe, and the existence of intelligent life on other worlds. While a member of the Dominican religious order, he had an abrasive personality and nurtured the tendency to voice his own, often extremely unpopular, opinions boldly to the annoyance of his fellow monks. To avoid prosecution for heresy, Bruno left the...

The Satellites Of Mars Predictions of Martian Moons

The idea that Mars might have two satellites was introduced by the British writer Jonathan Swift in his famous satirical work Gulliver's Travels, published in 1726. There is no doubt, from internal evidence, that Swift was familiar with Kepler's third law relating the period of a satellite to the dimensions of its orbit. Consequently, it is probable that he also knew of the prediction concerning the moons of Mars and adopted it in his description of Lemuel Gulliver's visit to the flying island of Laputa. The inhabitants of Laputa, wrote Swift, have . . . discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars. The idea that Mars has two moons was also mentioned by Voltaire, apparently under the influence of Swift, in his novel Microm gas, published in 1750.

Valuing Dogs Technologies Workers Knowledges

Referring to advertisements for the sale of working sheepdogs, Donald McCaig, the Virginia sheep farmer and astute writer on the history and current state of herding border collies in Britain and the United States, noted that categorically the dogs fall somewhere between livestock and coworkers for the human shepherds.19 These dogs are not pets or family members, although they are still commodities. Working dogs are tools that are part of the farm's capital stock, and they are laborers who produce surplus value by giving more than they get in a market-driven economic system. I think that is more than an analogy, but it is not an identity. Working dogs produce and they reproduce, and in neither process are they their own self-directed creatures in relation to lively capital, even though enlisting their active cooperation (self-direction) is essential to their productive and reproductive jobs. But they are not human slaves or wage laborers, and it would be a serious mistake to theorize...

Light elements from the big bang

An important, though at the time not widely appreciated, step in this direction was Burbidge's (1958) recognition that the helium abundance in the Milky Way is larger than might be expected from the rate of production of helium in known types of stars in the numbers indicated by the stellar luminosity of this galaxy. He noted that some galaxies emit large amounts of energy at radio wavelengths (making them detectable by radio telescopes, as we have discussed), and he asked whether the source of this energy might be the copious conversion of hydrogen to helium. He did not mention the possibility of helium production in a big bang. Gamow (1956) did the calculations in that direction, carried out by the present writer, (Gamow 1948b) and later in some more detail by Fermi and Turkevich, lead to

Formation and Evolution of the Moon

This means that every nineteen hours the Earth rotated and passed through a daylight time and a nighttime. Slowly, in the 4.56 billion years since the Earth first formed, the rotation of the Earth has slowed and days have gotten longer. Days are still getting longer, because of conservation of angular momentum As the Moon pulls the tides around the Earth, the Earth's rotation is slowed by tidal friction. As the rotation slows, to conserve angular momentum, the Moon moves slightly farther from the Earth.This is the same effect as a skater slowing his spinning by extending his arms. By analyzing the tidal rhythmites and other rocks that also record tides or days scientists have created a record of day length over the past 2.5 billion years. Previously only a few data points were available, and scientists extrapolated the data back to try to determine the day length at the beginning of Earth formation. It was then thought that day length in the early solar...

Gifted Young Tuscan

Galileo Galilei was an impoverished young man with big ambitions and many talents. He was to prove a brilliant writer. He was musical like his father. He could draw and paint, and he seriously considered making his livelihood in art - a career that traditionally was very prestigious in Florence, where training opportunities were second to none.

Debates and the geosphere

This, the writer of the 1923 article learned when, in 1927, he was invited to lecture on his finding and thinkings before the Geological Society of Washington, D.C. an organization heavily manned by the staff of the United States Geological Survey. A discussion followed the lecture, and six elders spoke their prepared rebuttals. They demanded, in effect, a return to sanity and Uniformitarianism.

Towards a theology of evolution

Lawyer in America, already notorious for his risky and ingenious defence of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two Chicago teenagers who abducted, bludgeoned to death, and then mutilated with acid a schoolboy and neighbour, a luckless fourteen-year-old known as Robert Franks. This murderous pair were bunglers of a high order, but had it seems undertaken the atrocity in the belief that they would escape detection. There was, ostensibly, no other motive. At the trial, Darrow undercut the prosecution by an unexpected change to a plea of 'Guilty', followed by a rhetorical harangue to the effect that Leopold and Loeb retained their innocence because of the environment in which they were nurtured, one of intellectual stimulation, but emotional starvation, and in the case of Leopold, the corruption of a young mind that inevitably results from being made to read Nietzsche. This libertarian argument, delivered as a thrilling speech that concluded with a quotation from Omar Khayyam, has plenty of...

Black Holes And Galactic Travel

The time, energy and logistic limits posed by traveling in reasonable times to our closest stars (let alone to Galactic destinations) motivate the search for propulsion means alternative to what is based on current physics. This is a common goal among science fiction writers and scientists alike. The measurements taken from scientific satellites indicate the space-time continuum of the Theory of General Relativity is nearly flat if space-time could be warped , that is, curved, the force and energy available from gravitation would be much larger than predicted by the simple Newton's Law. Then a new propulsion system would, in principle, be possible Alcubierre, 1994 Obousy and Cleaver, 2008 . Such a system has been proposed by Mills Mills, 1997 and is examined in Ford and Roman, 2000 Minami, 2008 . The conclusions regarding feasibility are for the moment rather speculative, also due to the mathematical complexity of tensor calculus required by General Relativity Maccone, 2008a , but at...

Science Fact and Science Fiction

Kepler's Somnium inaugurated a new literary genre. This genre joined the findings of science with literary inventiveness to depict the life and society of intelligent extraterrestrial beings. Literary critics claim that Somnium is the earliest known example of science fiction. They show a line of influence extending from Kepler to the pioneering science fiction writer H. G. Wells. Wells read Somnium before writing The First Men in the Moon (1901). Following Kepler's lead, he put his lunar civilization beneath the Moon's surface. In Wells's novel, lunar craters are part of a vast system of underground shafts extending for nearly a hundred miles toward the center of the Moon.

A brief history of cave biology Modern science c

Dekay, originally trained as a physician, was an amateur natural historian and friend of writers that represented the American Romantic Movement. He was hired by the Geological Survey of New York and put in charge of the 'zoological productions.' Applying his own Romantic

The nonprevalence of humanoids

What we know of the social insects, and especially the extraordinary organization of agriculture and warfare among the ants, is striking both in terms of their convergence and in the almost alien nature of these complex societies. Certainly the jointed skeletons, the compound eyes, the miniaturized clones, and apparently robotic social organization are a familiar staple of science fiction. Suppose that there are advanced extraterrestrials will they be like us, at least vaguely hu-manoid, or so alien as to defy belief and perhaps even recognition, let alone communication The majority certainly tends towards the latter opinion. It probably owes as much as anything to George Gaylord Simpson, one of the last century's great evolutionary biologists.1 He was a prolific writer, and among the 16 papers he published in 1964 was one baldly entitled 'The nonprevalence of humanoids'.2

The History of Bee Classifications

Thomson (1872) made a classification that in various ways is more modern than those of earlier writers, although he called the main named divisions tribes. His classification is summarized in Table 18-4. Except for the association of Epeolus, Nomada, and the pasitines with Robertson (1904) thoughtfully developed a new classification for bees his families were widely accepted by North American hymenopterists such as Viereck (1916) and by American textbook writers. Table 18-7 summarizes it, with some interpretation based on Robertson's 1903 papers. A noteworthy feature of Robertson's classification is recognition of the two large groups, Pygidialia and Apygidialia. As stated elsewhere, the pygidial plate has been lost repeatedly and independently. Robertson was not familiar with the numerous pygidialate colletids or the remnants of such plates in many of his Cerati-noidea and in the megachilid tribe Lithurgini. Like

Has the Earth Been Visited

There are equally provocative archaeological circumstances that the writers of such sensational books have somehow missed. For example, in the frieze of the great Aztec pyramids at San Juan Teotihuacan, outside Mexico City, there is a repeated figure, described as a rain god, but looking for all the world like an

Able Bodies And Companion Species

Hero Academia Rubberhose

I remember going to the old Denver Bears Stadium in the 1950s when Bill and the other boys were bat and ball boys. I regretted not being able to be a bat boy in the same way I regretted not being able to be a Jesuit, so I heard my dolls' confessions in my closet with the sliding doors and said Mass for them on my dresser. I have changed since then from a junior Catholic theologian to a much less innocent feminist scribbler, from a parochial school basketball forward, to a writer of her own game stories. You gave me the same skills you gave my brothers, Bill and Rick. You taught us all to score about the same time we learned to read.1 That night in 1958 when you and the Rocky Mountain News scribe Chet Nelson asked me how I had scored a contested baseball play on which you couldn't agree, and then used my scoring, you gave me something precious you recognized me in your work. You gave me your regard. of generational passage, no less corporeal and no less full of desire and lure, no less...

A giant lightning ball

In his book Cauldron of Hell Tunguska (1977) the American science writer Jack Stoneley poses the question could some particularly massive form of ball lightning conceivably be associated with the Tunguska event To answer it, he quotes the British scientist Anthony Lawton, who was also the scientific editor of Stoneley's book, as saying that to cause such devastation would require a lightning ball nearly 1 kilometre in diameter. Stoneley claims that from eyewitness reports early Tunguska researchers reckoned the fireball to be about 1 kilometre across. 'This is so close that we cannot dismiss the possibility that the Siberian monster might have been a giant lightning ball', he writes.

Dinosaurs as a Part of Popular Culture in Fiction

Valley The Rex

Similar portrayals of modern dinosaurs in remote places were written from 1915 to 1944 by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). Among the dinosaurs were well-known favorites, Stegosaurus (Chapter 12) and Triceratops (Chapter 13). From the 1940s through to the present day, science-fiction magazines and comic books also continued this imaginative theme of humans in conflict with dinosaurs. Some contemporary writers have attempted to incorporate scientific knowledge about dinosaurs in their fictionalized accounts, such as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (1990) and The Lost World (1995), and Robert Bakker's Raptor Red (1996).

Would Like So Much To Explore

Gallo Matese Perrino

From his earliest childhood, Viktor had developed a love for writing, reading and literature. In particular, he liked the science fiction novels of Tsiolkovskiy and the classics of Lyermontov, London and others. He would visit the library often. When a student, he wrote articles about movies for publication in the local newspaper, and reviewed the literature of ancient China. He had an impressive literature style. It is not too far from the truth to say that Viktor was one of the best journalists, writers and reviewer among the young physicists in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s. In addition, he liked music, history and art. Many years later, when a cosmonaut, he travelled with his colleagues to one of the eastern cities. In touring its galleries and museums, he served as a guide for the cosmonaut group. He was a great planner and organiser. As a student, his only group sport was handball. He preferred individual sports, particularly skiing, chess and biking. He was a...

From antimatter to mirror matter

No mirror matter has yet been discovered or made in the laboratory, but neutrinos provide a misty glimpse of the mirror world. Neutrinos are the most pervasive elementary particles in the universe. There are about 50 billion neutrinos for every electron they are everywhere but they cannot be seen and rarely interact with matter. Tens of thousands pass through our body every second. They have no charge and, although previously thought to have no mass at all, they are now believed to have a small amount of mass. There are three known types of neutrino - muon, tau and electron - and they are all created in the centre of the Sun, in supernovas and in the cosmic rays hitting the upper atmosphere. (In his famous book The Quark and the Jaguar, Murray Gell-Mann writes that the neutrinos produced by the Sun 'reach the surface of the earth by raining down on us during the day, but at night they come up at us through the earth'. This aspect of neutrino behaviour inspired writer John Updike to...

Towards an Understanding of the Biogeography of the Lost World

Different aspects of the Pantepui region have been of particular interest to various writers (e.g. Hoogmoed 1979 Duellman 1999 Gorzula and Senaris 1998 McDiarmid and Donnelly 2005 Rull 2005a,b Senaris and MacCulloch 2005 MacCulloch et al. 2007 Rull and Nogue 2007) and Pantepui region has been suggested to be well suitable to study biogeographic and evolutionary theories (Rull 2005a,b, 2007). In a recent synopsis, McDiarmid and Donnelly (2005) summarized the different hypotheses trying to explain diversity patterns within the region. The Distance Dispersal hypothesis (1) was derived from observations on the Pantepui bird fauna by Mayr and Phelps (1967). These authors proposed that some Andean bird species reached the tepuis crossing the valleys of the Orinoco and Negro Rivers and subsequently became established at some of the Western tepuis. Further dispersal through 'island hopping' across the Pantepui to the Eastern massifs is suggested

Having Been Originally Breathed

I have lost count of the irate letters I have received from readers of a previous book, taking me to task for, as the writers think, deliberately omitting the vital phrase, 'by the Creator' after 'breathed' Am I not wantonly distorting Darwin's intention These zealous correspondents forget that Darwin's great book went through six editions. In the first edition, the sentence is as I have written it here. Presumably bowing to pressure from the religious lobby, Darwin inserted 'by the Creator' in the second and all subsequent editions. Unless there is a very good reason to the contrary, when quoting On the Origin of Species I always quote the first edition. This is partly because my own copy of that historic print run of 1,250 is one of my most precious possessions, given me by my benefactor and friend Charles Simonyi.

The Development of Planetary Astronomy

Those who accepted the Newtonian model of the cosmos did not share Newton's reluctance to comment on the plurality of worlds. By 1750 a large number of English and continental scientists, philosophers, literary figures, and popular writers discussed pluralism within the context ofthe Newtonian system. Pluralism and Newtonianism flourished together as the Newtonian world view was widely accepted during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Fiction and Fascination

While engineers were defining the mathematical basis for the design of space tethers and space elevators, science-fiction writers and artists brought the new technology to the attention of a broader public. In 1979 the famous science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke published his novel The Fountains of Paradise, which describes the development and construction of a space elevator in the 22nd century. Microscopically thin but ultrastrong hyperfilaments made from continuous pseudo-one-dimensional diamond crystal'' are used to construct the cable. The crystals are produced in space, where gravity does not impede their growth. The epilogue of the book describes the situation some 600 years after the construction of the first connection with space, when Earth is encircled by a giant ring a wheel-shaped space station that is connected to the surface by several space elevators. The science-fiction writer with the most stories about space tethers was the late Robert L. Forward. Apart from the...

Geoffrey R Burbidge and Jayant V Narlikar Some comments on the early history of the CMBR

Adams has kindly communicated to the writer his estimate of the relative intensity, in the spectrum of Z Ophiuchi, of the A3874.62, R(0) interstellar line of the A3883 CN band and the A3874.00, R(1) line, as 5 to 1. B0J (J + 1) + has the values 0 and 3.78 cm-1 for the 0 and 1 rotational states and for the two lines

When Species Meet

And so in the chapters to follow, readers will meet cloned dogs, databased tigers, a baseball writer on crutches, a health and genetics activist in Fresno, wolves and dogs in Syria and the French Alps, Chicken Little and Bush legs in Moldavia, tsetse flies and guinea pigs in a Zimbabwean lab in a young adult novel, feral cats, whales wearing cameras, felons and pooches in training in prison, and a talented dog and middle-aged woman playing a sport together in California. All of these are figures, and all are mundanely here, on this earth, now, asking who we will become when species meet.

The first Tunguska expedition

Tunguska Expedition

No one has better described inhospitable Siberia than the Russian writer Anton Chekhov. He was 30 years old when in 1890 he made an incredible trip, mainly by horse carriage and river boat, across Siberia to the island of Sakhalin, a penal colony in tsarist Russia. 'Why is it so cold in this Siberia of yours ' With this question of his coach driver, Chekhov's journal of his expedition, A Journey to Sakhalin, begins. 'Because that's the way God wants it', replies the driver. He travelled in relatively more inhabited areas of Siberia, yet Chekhov complained 'Siberian highways have their scurvy little stations They pop up every 20 or 25 miles. You drive at night, on and on, until you feel giddy and ill, but you keep on going, and if you venture to ask the driver, how many miles it is to the next station, he invariably says, Not less than twelve .' They were now in a 'vast and sinister' primeval forest in which 'the weak and imprudent often perish', as described by the Russian writer Yuri...

A question as old as astronomy itself

Observations of exoplanets but he soon realised that this was impossible with the instruments then available. In the seventeenth century, philosophers and writers wondered about the possibility of inhabited worlds nearer to ours might there be life elsewhere within the solar system In the works of Fontenelle and Cyrano de Bergerac, the likelihood of living things upon Venus and the Moon was explored. These may have been rather vain speculations, but two centuries later the debate came once more to the fore with Giovanni Schiaparelli's announcement of the existence of canali on Mars -taken by some to be proof of an intelligent civilisation. Astronomical opinion remained divided on this question for a long time, until space probes settled it once and for all in the 1960s.

The Earth Fast Facts about a Planet in Orbit

To a very close approximation, the Earth is a sphere.The sphericity of the Earth has been known and accepted by most peoples and civilizations since at least the second century B.C.E. This is a surprise to many students schooled in the United States, since the curriculum commonly states that Christopher Columbus discovered that the world is round in 1492. Jeffrey Burton Russell and other historians point to the American writer Washington Irving, among others, as the source of the flat-Earth story Irving made the Columbus story into a tale of Columbus sailing against all advice that his ships would eventually fall off the edge of the Earth, and subsequently finding new continents and demonstrating there was no edge from which to fall. Irving may have had as his source Antoine-Jean Letronne, a French academician, who wrote that medieval Europeans widely believed in a flat Earth, and Irving's reputation was such that his statement was apparently never checked. In fact there have been...

The Lost Diary of Admiral Byrd

Like the other writers in this genre, Bernard's goals are quite lofty, and he offers the requisite laundry list of things that he seeks to prove. Some of them are familiar the earth is hollow with polar openings, the poles have never been reached as this is an impossibility, and the hollow earth is probably filled with plant and animal life waiting to be discovered. Some of them are new it is more logical to suppose that flying saucers come from the earth's interior than from another planet, the inner earth will provide a safe haven for refugees from a nuclear holocaust, and

The Philadelphia Experiment

According to conspiracy writer Commander X, Tesla's first experience with time travel occurred in March of 1895 (From Jessup's original work) The subject of UFO's in its present state is like astronomy in that it is purely observational 'science,' not an experimental one necessarily, therefore, it must be based on observation and not on experiment. Observation, in this case, consists of everything which can be found to have bearing on the subject. There are thousands of references to it in ancient literature, but the authors did not know that their references had any bearing, for the subject did not then exist. The writers were recording such things as met their senses solely through an honest effort to report inexplicable observational data.

The Interior of the Earth

Deep mines give us some information about composition and heat at depth, but even the deepest hole on Earth, the 7.5-mile- (12-km-) deep drill hole in Russia's Kola Peninsula, is still well within the crust and fails to approach even the upper mantle. As the writer Brad Lemley put it in Discover magazine, using the Kola drill hole to investigate the deep interior of the Earth is like learning about Alaska by driving from St. Petersburg, Florida, to nearby Tampa. Though 7.5 miles (12 km) is very deep by human standards, it does not reach through even the outermost, thinnest layer of the Earth.

Solution They Are Somewhere But the Universe Is Stranger Than We Imagine

Some might say physicists are arrogant, filled with hubris for daring to claim such success for their theories science, being the product of the human brain, cannot possibly capture the subtleties and mysteries of the universe. in my experience such people tend to accept the uFo explanation of the Fermi paradox. However, a few scientists and many SF writers have offered some interesting suggestions. They explain the paradox by supposing that the Universe is not quite what physicists think it is.150 While it is certainly true that science has not told us everything indeed, what remains to be discovered seems to grow exponentially it is wrong to say science has told us nothing. The Universe seems to be intelligible and over the past 400 years our science a process involving hundreds of thousands of people working individually and cooperatively has yielded reliable knowledge about the Universe. Any new theories not only have to explain new observations and experimental findings, but also...

Close Encounters The Consequences of Contact

Writers and filmmakers have thoroughly exploited the concept of contact with extraterrestrial life and the potential consequences for the human race. The publication of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells at the end of the 19th century started the very popular alien-invasion subgenre in science fiction.

Opening the Black

Lego City Coast Guard Shinking Boat

The prospect of life on Mars has captivated dreamers and visionaries for ages. Barely a century ago, astronomers and fantasy writers could peer into the night sky and imagine the red planet's mottled surface laced with canals or seething with warlike aliens set to invade Earth. In the 1960s, the first images beamed back to us by Mariner spacecraft quashed any lingering visions of canals or ruined cities. If we were ever to find signs of Martian life, it was clear we would have to search beneath the surface of an arid, bitterly cold planet with air too thin to breathe. A Viking lander did just that in 1976 it scooped up material from the planet's surface, analyzed it chemically, and found no clear evidence of life. That disappointment, however, did not quench our curiosity. Perhaps there was once a golden age on Mars,

The bombardment hypothesis

The bombardment hypothesis has its roots in explanations for stones falling from the heavens. From earliest times until the start of the nineteenth century, it was widely believed that some types of stone grew in the air and fell from the skies, notably on dark nights and during storms (see Marvin 1986, for a review). The oldest known report of a stone falling from the sky comes from China in 644 BC. Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), in his NaturalisHistoria, distinguished four classes of stone, the last which, the ceraunius (or ceraunia), was highly prized by Parthian magicians and was found in places that had been struck by lightning. Later writers divided the cerauniae into two varieties stony and metallic. These stones include true meteorites that, in some cases, observers had witnessed falling from heaven. Stones known to have fallen from the sky were often set in shrines and worshipped. During the third century BC, a largish meteorite fell in Phrygia and was taken to Pessinus and set...

Ammonoid Shell Morphology

Some taxa show extreme intraspecific variation of shell shape and ornamentation. As reported by Dagys and Weitschat (1993a, b), the adult shells of the Triassic ammonoid Czekanowskites rieberi range morphologically from keeled smooth suboxycones with narrow umbilicus, through feebly ribbed platycones with a little wider umblicus, to subcadicones with relatively wide umbilicus and straight ribs with bullae. Consequently, the streamlined oxycones and subbenthic cadicones lived together within the same biotope. Based on these observations, Dagys and Weitschat came to the conclusion that streamlining of shell cannot play any important role among such slow-swimming animals as ammonoids (Dagys and Weitschat, 1993b 26). Those writers also pointed out that high intraspecific variation also occurs in several other groups of Triassic ammonoids, and that it has created serious problems in taxonomy.

Timeline One Hundred Years of an Enigma

1946 The Russian science-fiction writer Alexander Kazantsev publishes a story suggesting that the Tunguska object was an alien spaceship. 1964 The Russian science-fiction writers Genrikh Altov and Valentina Zhuravleva suggest that Tunguska was zapped by a laser beam sent by ETs. 1994 An unknown American writer suggests that the explosion was caused by a Nikola Tesla experiment on a death ray which got out of hand.

The Columbian Explosion

Other writers have discussed the crucial role of epidemic Eurasian and African diseases in the European expansion into the Americas, but most shy away from clearly stating that this was driven by underlying biological differences differences that conferred a practical advantage, a kind of superiority, in this particular situation. But there is plenty of evidence that these biological differences existed. When Europeans launched

Section Moslem cultural achievements An evaluation

The set of achievements listed above clearly surpasses those of most other civilizations. Many recent writers, however, tend to exaggerate the importance of those accomplishments, and it has become fashionable to assert that Moslem civilization was enormously superior to European culture during the Middle Ages. It seems to me that that assertion is incorrect. 1) Writers often compare the culture of the entire Arab world (sometimes, indeed, the entire Moslem world) with that of a portion of Europe, rather than with all of Europe, including the parts within the Byzantine Empire. Although at times the Moslem world was more advanced culturally than the Byzantines, it was never much more advanced. 2) Writers often compare Arab achievements in the entire Medieval Era with those of Western Europe during the Dark Ages alone. But the Dark Ages only comprise half of the Medieval Era.

Section Evidence of the high average intelligence of the Jews

It has long been noted that Jews are greatly over-represented in the learned professions and in other intellectual occupations.10 For example, the fraction of American scientists, college professors, lawyers, physicians, journalists, writers, movie producers, and economists who are Jews is very much higher by about a factor of ten than the fraction of Jews in the general population. Also, despite widespread anti-Semitism in the old Soviet Union (including quotas restricting their access to universities), Jews comprised about one-quarter of the Soviet Academy of Science.

Solution The Zoo Scenario

This general idea has a long history in science fiction, predating Ball's publication. For example, Star Trek had the Prime Directive, which stated that the Federation should not interfere with the natural development of a planet. (The Directive was more honored in the breach than the observance, of course, since the writers had to generate plots.) And before that, an established trope of the Astounding of the 1950s (under the strong but quixotic editorship of John Campbell, Astounding was the leading SF magazine of the day59) was of Earth under quarantine either because ETCs were protecting us or, more commonly, because mankind was a threat to them. One could also argue that Tsiolkovsky's solution to the paradox that ETCs have set Earth aside in order to let mankind evolve to a state of perfection contains the seeds of the zoo scenario.

Bermuda Triangle and Oceanic Fields

The Bermuda Triangle is an ocean area, hazily defined by Bermuda, Florida, and Puerto Rico (Figure 2.34). This is the region where overzealous authors have insisted that mysterious forces, usually magnetic, have caused the disappearance of ships and planes since records have beeen kept, following Columbus's voyage of discovery. To create even more mystery, writers have also grossly distorted the incidence of military plane loss in that triangle. Modern magnetic charts show that there is most certainly no unique geomagnetic field observed in that ocean region. Serious researchers have proved that, given the weather and traffic, the number of ships and planes lost within the Bermuda Triangle is not unusual.2 Responsible analysis of the evidence shows that the only true mystery is why some of the public persists in believing this foolishness.

Preface The Cambridge sandwich

This leads to the last two chapters (10 and 11), and a brief coda (Chapter 12). Too often evolutionary convergence is regarded as simply anecdotal, good for a bedtime story. Its importance is surely underestimated, and for two reasons. The first is scientific. Ideas on evolution about such features as adaptation and trends have been under fierce attack, especially by those who believe that if contingent happenstance dogs every step of evolution then assuredly the emergence of humans is a cosmic accident, leaving us free to make the world as we will, with such happy results as are plain to see. Yet convergence tells us two things that evolutionary trends are real, and that adaptation is not some occasional cog in the organic machine, but is central to the explanation of how we came to be here. In principle, such ideas are in themselves so unremarkable as to require no comment, were it not for the ferocious attacks by such writers as S. J. Gould. What, one wonders, did he get so excited...

The second Tunguska expedition

Kulik was an excellent writer and speaker and made meteorites popular among the Soviet population. He made his Moscow audience shiver when, in a lecture, accompanied by Strukov's 'moving pictures of the appalling desolation', he remarked 'Thus, had this meteorite fallen in central Belgium, there would have been no living creature left in the whole country on London, none left alive south of Manchester or east of Bristol. Had it fallen on New York, Philadelphia might have escaped with only its windows shattered, and New Haven and Boston escaped too. But all life in the central area of the meteor's impact would have been blotted out instantaneously.'

Herbert George H G Wells and Invaders from Mars

Another very influential science-fiction writer of the late 19th and early 20th century was Herbert George (H. G.) Wells. He inspired many future astronautical pioneers with his exciting fictional works that popularized the idea of space travel and life on other worlds. For example, in 1897, he wrote The War of the Worlds the classic tale about extraterrestrial invaders from Mars. He settled in London in 1891 and began to write extensively on educational matters. His career as a science-fiction writer started in 1895 with publication of the incredibly popular book The Time Machine. At the turn of the century, he focused his attention on space travel and the consequences of alien contact. Between 1897 and 1898, The War of the Worlds appeared as a magazine serial and then as a book. Wells followed this very popular space-invasion story with The First Men in the Moon, which H. G. Wells cleverly solved (or more accurately ignored) the technical aspects of space travel in his 1901 novel,...

Lowells Legacy

Lowell's popularity may have waned within the scientific community, but it remained high with the mass audience he cultivated in his lectures and books. His influence in the public arena grew when several early science fiction writers set their stories in the Mars he portrayed. Readers of these tales were probably not familiar with Lowell's astronomical work, yet they came to view Mars as a place of deserts, canals, and a doomed race of intelligent beings. Three writers, the Englishman H. G. Wells (1866 1946), the German Kurd Lasswitz (1848 1910), and the American Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875 1950), produced enormously popular novels set in a Lowellian Mars. Wells cleverly combined the story of a dying Mars with the theme of a coming great war in his novel The War of the Worlds (1897). Wells's Martians leave their decaying planet to conquer the Earth with the help of advanced weapon and transportation technology. Their invasion fails when they succumb to bacterial infections harmless...

Ammonoid Septa

Kulicki, 1979 Kulicki and Mutvei, 1988). As in living Nautilus, the septal surface was covered by a wettable glycoprotein (conchiolin) sheet, but due to the considerably increased septal surface, by septal folding, this sheet attained a considerably larger surface in ammonoids. Also the inner surface of each chamber wall in ammo-noids was coated by an organic sheet (Weitschat, 1986 Weitschat and Bandel, 1991). In many ammonoids (summarized in Weitschat and Bandel, 1991), the chambers contained siphuncular sheets that extended from the septal sheets and chamber-wall sheets to the siphuncular surface and became attached to it (Weitschat, 1986 Weitschat and Bandel, 1991 Tanabe and Landman, 1996). The siphuncular sheets created circumsiphonal reservoirs around the siphuncle. Checa (1996) interpreted some of the siphuncular sheets as being formed by desiccation of mucus in cameral liquid, but that interpretation is not supported by our observations. As illustrated in Fig. 12.4A-D, the...

Flying High

Space stations will presumably become more than just research platforms and temporary housing structures in the future. Certainly, many futurists and science-fiction writers have envisioned the construction of large sky cities that might permanently house many thousands of people. Indeed, for the terraforming pioneers, living within the artificial confines of a sky city will not be significantly different from living within the artificial confines established on the planet's surface.

Section The Hebrews

The source of Hebrew monotheism is unclear. They, themselves attributed it to a legendary patriarch, Abraham, the purported grandfather of Jacob. Others suggest that it was Moses who was the true founder of the religion. (A problem with that hypothesis is that Moses appears to be merely a legendary figure.) Some writers have suggested that Hebrew monotheism is derived from the religion of Ikhnaton (see section 28-6), which the Hebrews learned about during their stay in Egypt. It is a tempting hypothesis, but no proof has ever been presented. The Old Testament also includes many historical books (most of which cover the period from 1200 bc to 586 bc), as well as collections of poetry and proverbs, and various legendary tales. The entire collection composed by a few dozen writers from a small country fits readily into a single volume. However, that one volume is the best known, most widely read, and most influential work of literature in all of human history.

Need To Know

What do I mean when I say this is our origin story Just whom am I referring to A bunch of males who are not only dead but white Is this story accepted and embraced by everyone Of course not. But our knowledge of Cosmic Evolution is not in conflict with the core beliefs of most of the religions, and it certainly isn't necessary to discard or discredit older origin stories to embrace this new one. Even if you go to church, temple, or ashram for the singing and the dancing (that's the part I like), for the comfort of spiritual community, or to receive ancient wisdom, you probably accept that science has clued us in to some big truths about our origins that the writers of our ancient texts could not have known. Except for some Rastas I used to play with in a reggae band, and some Jehovah's Witnesses who've knocked on my door, I haven't met many people who take a seven-day Genesis literally.

Song Of Ourselves

Our efforts to anticipate and find life out there require us to start with some image of what that life should be like. Seventeenth-century writers imagined men and women in European dress occupying a universe of alternative Earths. Now the likenesses we paint out there take the form of squirming proteins swimming in Earth-like seas.

Authors preface

As the telling of human interest stories. Produced by actor Tom Hanks, the drama series From the Earth to the Moon included an episode about the flight of Apollo 13, a flight that has become a byword for human doggedness and ingenuity in the face of overwhelming challenges. Rather than remake a story that had been well told in an earlier cinema release, the writers concocted a battle of wills between two characters - an older journalist who read up on the technicalities and complexities of the mission and did his level best to explain them to the public, and a young, upstart reporter whose mantra was human interest. Not for him the reading of the spacecraft's checklist or of NASA's official press kit. A line from the upstart makes the case for the modern view. You think America wants to know about PC burns and passive thermal rolls That's not news, man. That is 'Sominex' '' - the latter being a brand of sleeping pill. He perceived an America that neither understood nor cared about...


Gregory L Reece is an independent writer and scholar based in Montevallo, Alabama, whose research and publishing interests include philosophy of religion and the study of new religious movements. His previous books were Elvis Religion The Cult of the King (2006) and UFO Religion Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Culture (2007), both published by I.B.Tauris.

Paying Attention

Vincent the Rhodesian ridgeback was not an agility dog. He was the walking and running companion of New Zealand Aotearoa writer and dog lover, Ian Wedde. Wedde and Vincent have taught me much that I need to say about the sport of agility, a game that I play with my fast herding dog, Cayenne. She enriches my ignorance. Playing agility with Cayenne helps me understand a controversial, modern relationship between people and dogs training to a high standard of performance for a competitive sport. Training together, a particular woman and a particular dog, not Man and Animal in the abstract, is a historically located, multispecies, subject-shaping encounter in a contact zone fraught with power, knowledge and technique, moral questions and the chance for joint, cross-species invention that is simultaneously work and play. Writing this chapter with Cayenne is not a literary conceit but a condition of work. She is, legally, a research dog in the University of California, just as I am a...

So Little Time

Nearly 200 years later, the writer John McPhee struggled, as all of us must, to understand the vast stretches of time demonstrated by Earth's layered topography. He coined the term deep time as a label. He states in his book Basin and Range, Numbers do not seem to work well with regard to deep time. Any number above a couple of thousand years fifty thousand, fifty million will with nearly equal effect awe the imagination to the point of paralysis.

Arndt von Hippel

He is quite a good writer and I enjoyed a chuckle or two as I read the manuscript. I got the sense of a Fantastic Voyage approach a very nice job of tying in the evolutionary connections the integration of familiar examples .gives one a sense that this material has some relevance to the real world.

Literature and film

Nowadays ants have lost their previous importance in legend and ritual, but instead they figure prominently in books and films. The French writer Bernard Werber, for instance, is widely known for his best-selling Ants trilogy (The Empire of the Ants, The Day of the Ants, and The Revolution of the Ants). Ants now figure in a broad range of popular culture, from many works of science fiction, to novels, children's books, comics, and video games.

Plate tectonics

Plate Tectonics is a unifying concept in the Earth Sciences. It was formulated in the 1960s and provides a partial, mechanistic basis for the previously established model of Continental Drift. Although he was not the first to suggest that continents move relative to one another, the concept was mainly developed by Wegener in the 1910s and 1920s. He suggested that the continents had moved relative to each other, based on a study of palaeoclimatology, continental geometry, palaeontological provinces and structural correlations. His ideas, however, were criticised (e.g. Jeffreys, 1942) and were not completely accepted by the geological community, because he was unable to present a convincing mechanism for continental movement. Nevertheless, as a student, the present writer was convinced by his arguments, and especially by those of DuToit (1937), that the continents had indeed parted and drifted one from another.

The usual suspects

As far back as 1969, a Russian writer, P.I. Privalova (believed to be the pseudonym of Igor Zotkin, a member of the then Committee of Meteorites of the Soviet Academy of Science), published a list of 77 theories that had been put forward to explain the Tunguska event. The list could be stretched to 120, Ms Privalova hinted, if one was at a campfire in the taiga with a glass of vodka. As the following list has been compiled without the benefit of a glass of vodka at a taiga campfire, it includes only a 'dirty dozen'.

Back to Basics

As the atmospheric CO2 continues to be broken down, carbon will begin to precipitate out of the atmosphere and accordingly begin to accumulate on the planet's surface. By the end of the atmospheric-conversion process, it is estimated that a layer of carbon some 100-m thick will have accumulated around the planet. This carbon layer need not be thought of as a waste product since, as geologist and science-fiction writer Stephen Gillett has pointed out, ''With molecular nanotechnology carbon becomes the most valuable raw material.''11 Indeed, many of the construction materials of the future will likely be engineered according to nanotechnology principles, and, accordingly, a by-product process that produces large quantities of carbon can be considered a very definite bonus.

SETI Perseveres

The burden of SETI research was assumed, in part, by the SETI Institute. Its members took the end of HRMS quietly. Astronomer Seth Shostak said, No one's falling on their swords here. 9 Instead, the Institute immediately began a search for private funds to replace NASA money. Contributions soon arrived from wealthy SETI supporters. Contributors included science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft, Gordon Moore of Intel, and David Packard and William Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard.

Surveyor oflnferno

But before leaving Florence, he gave a lecture in the city's prestigious Academy, founded to promote Tuscan as the foundation for the common Italian written language. He had been set the task of describing the location and dimensions of Dante's Hell. Florence was not a city to take its famous authors lightly. A well-known dramatist had once been exiled because he had announced that the sainted Catherine of Siena was a better writer than Florence's own Boccaccio

Apollo In Retrospect

Futurist and science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury had higher aspirations for the lunar programme's long-term meaning. In 1994, he said, I'm willing to predict to you that 10,000 years from now, the people of the future will look back and say July 1969 was the greatest month and the greatest day in the history of mankind. It will never change because on that day, mankind freed itself from gravity. We've been clinging here on this planet for millions of years and hoping someday to reach the Moon. We dreamt about it when we were living in caves. And finally we broke free and the spirit of mankind soared into space on that night and it will never stop soaring.''

Same As The Old Mars

Jonathan Eberhart, the superb writer who covered planetary exploration for Science News and was a fixture at our conferences for years until he retired in the early nineties, was also known to many as an excellent singer songwriter. We had fun rocking out together at some planetary meetings in the eighties Jonathan sang and played piano, I played guitar, planetary geologist Dave Pieri played bass, and Kelly Beatty, the editor of Sky and Telescope, played drums. It was the ultimate geek jam, a regular planetary Nerdstock. Jonathan's song Lament for a Red Planet is an ode to all the lost visions of a vibrant, comfortable, and living Mars from the past of science and science fiction. I first heard him sing it in the pressroom at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory the week of the Viking 2 landing on Mars. In a deep, sea-shanty voice, he sang

Universal rhodopsin

These writers are fully aware of the implications when they continue, 'The primary olfactory centers in the brains of vertebrates and insects thus appear to share canonical cell arrangements and common physiological properties Furthermore, vertebrates and insects show remarkable parallels in events underlying the development of glomeruli Do such commonalities suggest that the glomerulus, as an olfactory functional unit originated in a common bilaterian ancestor i.e. to insects and vertebrates Or, is common design and physiology the consequence of convergent evolution Is there a uniquely logical response to common selective pressures such that to construct a glomerulus requires the same set of rules '213

No Choreographer

To be fair to the preformationists, they did face up, fairly and squarely, to the logical necessity of the regress, however absurd it seemed. At least some of them really did believe that the first woman (or man) contained miniaturized embryos of all her descendants, nested inside each other like Russian dolls. And there is a sense in which they had to believe that a sense that is worth mentioning because it prefigures the nub of this chapter. If you believe Adam was 'made' rather than being born, you imply that Adam didn't have genes - or at least didn't need them in order to develop. Adam had no embryology but just sprang into existence. A related inference led the Victorian writer Philip Gosse (the father in Edmund Gosse's Father and Son) to write a book called Omphalos (Greek for 'navel') arguing that Adam must have had a navel, even though he was never born. A more sophisticated consequence of omphalogical reasoning would be that stars whose distance from us is more than a few...

The Shaver Mystery

Shaver Mystery Dero

Shavertron is devoted to the life, theories, and art of Richard Shaver, a not-so-well-known writer of pulp science fiction stories in the 1940s. He is much more than that, however. His stories were sold as true by Shaver and his Amazing Stories publisher Ray Palmer and proved to have a lasting impact on the world of esoterica. Indeed, the Shaver Mystery, as the events surrounding his stories came to be called, is credited by some as providing the impetus for the flying saucer craze of the late 1940s.

Message to the Stars

The historic significance ofthe Pioneer mission was immediately evident to science writer Eric Burgess, who suggested that Pioneer 10 carry a message from humanity to intelligent beings in outer space. He argued that because Pioneer 10 was the first artificial object to leave the solar system, it was a sign to the

Born Again

The new genetics is not an abstraction in dog worlds, whether one considers the politics of owning microsatellite markers, the details of a commercial gene test, the problem of funding research, competing narratives of origin and behavior, the pain of watching a dog suffer genetic illness, the personally felt controversies in dog clubs over breeding practices, or the cross-cutting social worlds that tie different kinds of expertise together. When I asked Sharp what she thought breeders, geneticists, dog magazine writers, and others might have learned from one another on CANGEN or other places, she zeroed in on the rapid and deep transformations in genetics over the last decades. Her growth in genetic knowledge, she suggested, including her ability to handle the whole apparatus of molecular genetics, was natural and continuous until she logged on

After Contact

Carl Sagan Frank Drake

In the late nineteenth century, science fiction writers imagined that contact with an extraterrestrial civilization would bring disaster to humanity. By the twentieth century, scientists were more optimistic about the results of alien contact. They stressed the benefits of communication with advanced life in the universe. The New York Times (Nov. 22, 1976) responded to Ryle with an editorial entitled Should Mankind Hide The Times editorial writers argued that any distant civilization would be superior to ours and have no need to use the crude methods of domination employed by Columbus in the New World. On the contrary, intelligent aliens might offer us a cure for cancer or the knowledge for controlling thermonuclear energy.

Sea Squirt Anatomy

Ciona Adult Sea Squirt

Vertebrates are all the animals with backbones, the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. These animals have attracted a great deal of study. The efforts of generations of vertebrate palaeontologists have been repaid by the discovery of countless spectacular fossils the heavily armoured fishes of the Siluro-Devonian, seven- and eight-toed amphibians, sail-backed mammal-like reptiles, early birds and dinosaurs with feathers, giant rhinoceroses, rodents with horns, horse-eating flightless birds, and sabre-toothed cats. These fossils tell us where the living vertebrates have come from, and they show us glimpses of different worlds that seem so bizarre that they would defy the imagination of a science fiction writer. Despite all of this information that has accumulated over the past 200 years, the origin of the group is hotly debated.


Six distinct aspects of Tuscany we therefore recognize, two when it was fluid, two when level and dry, two when it was broken and as I prove this fact concerning Tuscany by inference from many places examined by me, so do I affirm it with reference to the entire earth, from the descriptions of different places contributed by different writers.

Cable Catapults

The Cable Catapult System is an idea of the late Robert L. Forward (he died in September 2002) of Tethers Unlimited, a company working on the development of advanced space tether concepts. Forward was also a famous science-fiction writer who featured space tethers in many of his books the cable catapult appears in his novel Camelot 30K (1993), but it is more than just fantasy.

The Origin of Life

The origin of life is one of the unsolved fundamental mysteries in modern natural science. The endeavour to discover some of its secrets continues to challenge researchers from many different scientific domains such as astrophysics and planetary sciences, geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, organic, inorganic, analytical, and physical chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, biology, and even mathematics. Not to forget the profound interest of philosophers, writers, theologians, and artists in a wide spectrum of aspects on the scientific basics of our origin. How could life originate In spite of the lack of the whole process, some clear-cut steps in the evolutionary origin of life seem to be established and common sense, today.

Scalding Fruit

Leopold had enlisted the help of an adventurer named Henry Morton Stanley, a former staff writer for the New York Herald, already famous for his publicity stunt of finding the lost missionary Dr. David Livingstone. Stanley set off on a five-year journey to sign land treaties with local chiefs across central Africa, promising liquor, clothing, and some toiletries in exchange for lumber and ivory, in addition to the limitless physical labor of the natives. Within twenty years, Stanley had claimed for King Leopold an estate that was seventy-five times larger that the nation of Belgium. He called it Congo Free State, a corruption of Kongo, the name of one of the ancient native kingdoms that had signed itself away. Leopold promised to run this magnificent African cake for the charity and benefit of the natives.

The Funeral

Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov Remains

The popular writer Konstantin Simonov wrote in Pravda Warriors know that the most difficult aspect of a reconnaissance mission is to return across the front line to one's own position. The front line in space reconnaissance, in the struggle to reveal the mysteries of nature, is re-entering the Earth's atmosphere the final step before landing. It was precisely at this final step that the crew of the Salyut orbital station perished.'' The writer and broadcaster Patrick Moore said ''Certainly, the uppermost thought in my mind is sadness at the deaths of these three brave men. They will never be forgotten. Unfortunately, nothing can bring them back, but the sympathy of the whole world will go out to their relatives, to their countless friends, and to all the people of the USSR.'' The disaster overshadowed the Congress of Soviet Writers' hosted by the Kremlin, where the famous poet Yevgeniy Yevtushenko read a memorial poem

Galileo Galilei

The Inquisitor at Padua for example assured them that, not only had he made the judgement and revocation known to the professors of philosophy and mathematics at the university, but he had also included other public lecturers , the priesthood, various scholars, our writers - and had a copy displayed in every booksellers.


The viewpoint Huxley satirized in the 1920s was at least a century old. It first appeared in the early days of the Industrial Revolution when steam engines were equated with the progress of British civilization. A number of nineteenth-century writers believed that excess energy made available by steam engines advanced the level of civilized life in Great Britain.

Zapped by a laser

Intelligent life on this planet in the form of two Russian science writers has suggested that Tunguska was mistakenly zapped by a laser sent by ETs from a giant planet orbiting the star 61 Cygni, about eleven light-years away from us. In a lengthy article published in the magazine Zvezda in 1964, Genrikh Altov and Valentina Zhurav-leva said that the violent volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in August 1883 generated strong radio waves. This signal was received eleven years later by Cygnian scientists. But they misread the signal as greetings from a distant civilisation. How could a volcano generate a radio signal Altov and Zhuravleva simply said that the volcanic ash, flung high into the atmosphere, disturbed the ionosphere, which could have generated a radio signal. The signal was so strong that it reached far out into space. The writers' choice of the star 61 Cygni was obvious 61 Cygni is a binary star in 1964 one of its two stars was the only one known to have an extra-solar planet. Now...

Spaceship Tunguska

The world now knew of the immense destructive power of 'the fireball, the mushroom cloud and the intense heat' of an atomic bomb blast. It did not take some Soviet scientists and science fiction writers long to connect the images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the images of Tunguska - the fireball, the heat, the thundering noise, the enormous cloud of dust and the devastated forest. One of them was Alexander Kazantsev, an engineer who had graduated from Siberia's Tomsk Technological Institute in 1930. He was also a well-known science fiction writer who in 1946 published a story, 'The blast', in Vokrug Sveta, a popular Russian magazine of science and adventure, in which he presented the bizarre idea that the Tunguska explosion was caused by a 'cosmic visitor' - an extra-terrestrial spaceship, cylindrical in shape and propelled by nuclear fuel. Because of a malfunction the spaceship plunged out of control through Earth's atmosphere, and within a fraction of a second it and its occupants...

The Roman Style

In Rome, the jurist and theologian Camillo Borghese had just been elected pope under the name Paul V. His personal lifestyle was simple and modest - but he had very definite ideas about the absolute authority of the papacy. The very day after his election he ordered the immediate decapitation of a writer from Cremona, whose offence had been to compare a former pope with the Roman Emperor Tiberius.

Radioactive Tunguska

In 1980, the American science writer T.R. LeMair expanded upon Zolotov's 'humanitarianism' idea in his book Stones from the Stars. He claimed that the time of the Tunguska explosion seemed 'too fortuitous for an accident'. If the Siberian missile had met Earth just 4 hours and 47 minutes later, it would have scored a bull's-eye hit on the seat of the tsarist empire and a tiny change of course would have devastated populated areas of China and India. He suggested that 'the flaming object was being expertly navigated' using Lake Baikal as a reference point 'The body approached from the south, but when about 140 miles from the explosion point, while over Kezhma, it abruptly changed course to the east. Two hundred and fifty miles later, while above Preobrazhenka, it reversed its heading toward the west. It exploded above the taiga.' A thorough scientific review of eyewitness accounts suggests otherwise the object did not change its course as it moved across the sky from south-southeast to...

Message to Earth

An entire mythology has evolved about the absence of discernible female genitalia. It was a column by the respected science writer Tom O'Toole, of the Washington Post, that first reported that NASA officials had censored an original depiction of the woman. This tale was then circulated in nationally syndicated columns by Art Hoppe, Jack Stapleton, Jr., and others. Stapleton imagined the enraged citizens of another planet receiving the plaque, and in a paroxysm of moral outrage covering over with adhesive tape the pornographic representation of the feet of the man and the woman. One letter writer to the Washington Daily News proposed that if the woman was to be censored, then for consistency the noses of the humans should have been painted blue. A tut-tutting letter in Playboy magazine complained about this further intrusion of government censorship, Such a letter more nearly describes the state of mind of the writer than of the likely extraterrestrial recipients of the message. The...

The Canals of Mars

Them the canals very wide others, like P. Lowell . . . extremely narrow. The writer W. H. Pickering gives them an intermediate breadth . . . The long canals never appear to him to be as narrow as they are drawn by Lowell. highly cratered surface, surprisingly similar to that of the Moon. Although this discovery aroused considerable interest when it was reported, the possibility of craters on Mars had been predicted several years earlier. It was mentioned, for example, in 1944 by a science writer D. L. Gyr in a book entitled Life on Mars. Later, around 1949 and 1950, three astronomers, R. B. Baldwin, C. L. Tombaugh, and E. J. Opik, independently, suggested that there might be craters on the surface of Mars. This view was based largely on the proximity of the planet to the asteroidal belt, so that formation of craters by impact with asteroidal and related fragments was to be expected.

Microcosmic Gods

*Sturgeon was one of Carl's favorite SF writers. He also wrote several Star Trek episodes. Which is funny, because Carl hated Star Trek. The week of the Viking 2 landing on Mars, his son Dorion and I got him to sit through The Menagerie, the pilot episode of the original Star Trek. Carl admitted that it was much better than he'd expected. fPart of the secret comes from chemicals he extracts from CCannabis indica

Youthful Wanderings

If Drummond saw the need for the integration of theory and practice, in Alexander Monro he had the ideal scholar to make this vision a reality. Monro and the other four original faculty members had studied medicine under Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738) at the University of Leyden, in Holland. Boerhaave is recognized as the first modern medical doctor in Western history, for he stressed the need to observe directly, to diagnose, and then to treat patients in an era when doctors usually kept a safe distance from their patients. A gifted writer and lecturer, Boerhaave attracted many to Leyden and made it the center of medical training in Europe. The curriculum he created wove together strands of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and pathology. Postmortems were made routine, which was a major innovation. As a follower of Newton's, Boerhaave also looked for general laws about the systematic operation of the body and the progress of disease within it. Monro brought this sensibility with him to...