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Drake's equation

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Tas
49650.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:38 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Nah, the Greeks were far too busy lounging around at parties and discovering more about "man-on-man action", to paraphrase Mr Fry :)


Like I said, assuming they did not fall to infighting....lol

:-)

Tas

 
Davini994
49653.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:49 am Reply with quote

QI Individual wrote:
What would seem very interesting is the question how long it took, after the conditions on earth had been formed in which life (as we know it) had the possibility to emerge (in hindsight), for life to actually emerge.


Cosmically speaking, pretty much instantly. But that doesn't get you past any of the other probs, especially the single data point. This is discussed briefly and clearly in Bill Brysons book, if I remember correctly.

 
bobofel
49682.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:26 pm Reply with quote

The Roman Empire, much like the Christian Church, survived so long and became so prosperous because they could adapt and incorporate other people's ideas into their own. Almost all of the Roman gods are simply Greek gods with different names.

The Romans nicked most of the great Greek inventions. One of the most famous and important things that the Romans did invent was their amazing military tactics. These are one of the main reasons that the Romans did so well in wars, the discipline and training of their armies. The Testudo (tortiose) formation and the big sheilds with pointy stabby swords were very effective against the hordes of Gauls that they were usually fighting.

The Greeks had the porcupine/phalnax/spikey mass of sheilds and spears but were a much more begnine force, wanting less of an empire and more, as you put it, 'man-on-man action'. They were also just a group of allied cities, not a nation.

This is all from an amateur's knowledge, I'm afraid, so is probably all wrong but what the hey.

 
Mr Grue
49684.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:33 pm Reply with quote

I hope you're not suggesting that the Roman Empire adopted the Christian faith because it advocates pacifism and paying your taxes are you?

 
Flash
49739.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:20 pm Reply with quote

Here's my hypothesis, for which I offer no evidence:

1. Until the time of Hadrian, Christianity was tolerated in the Roman Empire because it was identified with Judaism, which is non-proselytising.

2. It caught on with the punters because no other religion was so lavish with its promises (eternal bliss to all who remain faithful to a short list of principles) and because it did not offer special treatment to the privileged and wealthy, and because prayers were stated to be answered immediately and for free (ie without the need for offerings in return).

3. The official gods were demanding, capricious and unprincipled, and the multiplicity of pagan gods had become so grotesque as to invite a backlash towards monotheism.

4. Mithras, the alternative candidate, did not offer to accept human burdens or share suffering.

 
Celebaelin
49757.  Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:06 am Reply with quote

Tas wrote:
Quote:
Yes, lots of discoveries were made by accident by people being in the right place at the right time. However, lots of other people may well have previously discovered the same effects and just not realised the potential.


Just look at the ancient world and the steam engine! They had a workable steam engine that drove a toy around and around but did not put the effect together with a wheeled cart. Just think. We could have had an industrial revolution (and the associated pollution) and then hopefully have become more ecologically friendly 2500+ years ago!

:-)

Tas

What's often overlooked when this is brought up is that the mettalurgy wasn't sufficiently well advanced to make steam engines. The Romans look like the best candidates for developing this aspect but making better swords and weapons out of iron was an ongoing process at any rate. It wasn't until the advent of machine tools* (developed to make better cannon barrels) that the precision required for the industrial revolution was attained.

* I'm a little hazy on this but I think one primitive form of steam powered machine produced the means to make steam locomotion possible.

 
Tas
49760.  Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:14 am Reply with quote

Quote:
What's often overlooked when this is brought up is that the mettalurgy wasn't sufficiently well advanced to make steam engines. The Romans look like the best candidates for developing this aspect but making better swords and weapons out of iron was an ongoing process at any rate. It wasn't until the advent of machine tools* (developed to make better cannon barrels) that the precision required for the industrial revolution was attained.

* I'm a little hazy on this but I think one primitive form of steam powered machine produced the means to make steam locomotion possible.


My hypothesis is that if one of those frightfully inventive Greek chaps had got it into his head, then the right moves may well have been made. I am not saying that they would have had things sorted out immediately, but if one of the city states had had the chance of 100 years R&D, who knows what may have happened. All it would have taken was one or two artisans with a patron sufficiently interested to start the ball rolling...

:-)

Tas

 
bobofel
49781.  Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:26 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
What's often overlooked when this is brought up is that the mettalurgy wasn't sufficiently well advanced to make steam engines. The Romans look like the best candidates for developing this aspect but making better swords and weapons out of iron was an ongoing process at any rate. It wasn't until the advent of machine tools* (developed to make better cannon barrels) that the precision required for the industrial revolution was attained.

* I'm a little hazy on this but I think one primitive form of steam powered machine produced the means to make steam locomotion possible.


Jeremy Clarkson did a very interesting programme on guns and in this he mentioned the precision needed. One man, I forget his name, managed to find a way to make cannonballs/bullets/barrels very accurately, to within a millemetre or so. This allowed steam engines to advance hugely in efficiency since easlier pistons had leaked a lot of steam when used. I think that the romans would have had to come a lot further before they managed to make a working, efficient steam engine.

 
Gray
49912.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:54 am Reply with quote

As Fred The Monk mentioned yesterday when I saw him, the Greeks didn't need to develop a steam engine because they had far greater 'technology' - millions of slaves which required no development, hardly any servicing and hardly any fuel.

 
Tas
49914.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:00 am Reply with quote

Quote:
hardly any servicing


There you go, bringing 'man-action' into it again. sheesh!

:-)

Tas

 
Amie
50086.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:10 pm Reply with quote

I think we all know what's on your mind Tas.

 
tetsabb
50113.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:50 pm Reply with quote

Just going back to a point made earlier, about the search for life, as opposed to intelligent life, beginnings have been made, inasmuch as the search for planets goes on apace, with great success so far -- one source says 155 as of June 13th 2005

http://exoplanets.org/

And, of course, the search for intelligent, radio-using life, has been available to all us Interent users for at least 6 years; we can all download the SETI@home software and help in the search from
http://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/
Your computer analyses digitalised radio data for a coherent signal.

 
djgordy
50114.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:53 pm Reply with quote

I've been searching for intelligent life on the internet for a few years now.

 
Gray
50134.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:14 am Reply with quote

Good luck with that.

There are moves afoot to build vast telescopes, possibly arrayed in space, to look at these planets directly - probably the constituent gases of their atmospheres in order to find signs of life. Things like 'too much' oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapour, or methane.

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_what_is.cfm

Hubble made a direcot observation some time back in 2001:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/extrasolar_atmosphere_011127-1.html

 
Tas
50148.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:41 am Reply with quote

Quote:
I think we all know what's on your mind Tas.


Well, he does keep banging on about it...

LOL

:-)

Tas

 

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