The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once. The widely accepted age of the universe, as estimated by general relativity, is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or singularity. Only after this point began to expand in a "Big Bang" did the universe officially begin.Although the Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity, some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity."The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there," Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.Ali and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end.
Say someone came up to you selling a dietary supplement—a pill that you take once a day—that could boost your energy, improve your body’s ability to repair its DNA, and keep you healthier as you get older.
It might sound like a scam, or more likely just another in a sea of confusing, undifferentiated claims that make up the $20 billion dollar supplement industry.
But let’s say that someone is MIT’s Lenny Guarente, one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of aging research. And he’s being advised by five Nobel Prize winners and two dozen other top researchers in their fields. You might pay a little more attention.
HOW WOULD THE WORLD CHANGE IF WE FOUND EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE? By Elizabeth Howell – Jan 29, 2015The ALH84001 meteorite, which in a 1996 Science publication was speculated to be host to what could be ancient Martian fossils. That finding is still under dispute today. Credit: NASA/JSC/Stanford UniversityIn 1938, Orson Welles narrated a radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” as a series of simulated radio bulletins of what was happening in real time as Martians arrived on our home planet. The broadcast is widely remembered for creating public panic, although to what extent is hotly debated today.Still, the incident serves as an illustration of what could happen when the first life beyond Earth is discovered. While scientists might be excited by the prospect, introducing the public, politicians and interest groups to the idea could take some time.How extraterrestrial life would change our world view is a research interest of Steven Dick, who just completed a term as the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair of Astrobiology. The chair is jointly sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Program and the John W. Kluge Center, at the Library of Congress.Dick is a former astronomer and historian at the United States Naval Observatory, a past chief historian for NASA, and has published several books concerning the discovery of life beyond Earth. To Dick, even the discovery of microbes would be a profound shift for science.“If we found microbes, it would have an effect on science, especially biology, by universalizing biology,” he said. “We only have one case of biology on Earth. It’s all related. It’s all DNA-based. If we found an independent example on Mars or Europa, we have a chance of forming a universal biology.”
Best quote “By the time he realized she was 13, he was already done in love with her”
This is the end…I might also recommend the beginning at the link below – thick reading but worthy.
Aside from issues of life and death, there is no more urgent task for
American intellectuals and writers than to think critically about the salience,
even the tyranny, of technology in individual and collective life. All revolutions
exaggerate, and the digital revolution is no different. We are still in the middle
of the great transformation, but it is not too early to begin to expose the
exaggerations, and to sort out the continuities from the discontinuities. The
burden of proof falls on the revolutionaries, and their success in the
marketplace is not sufficient proof. Presumptions of obsolescence, which are
often nothing more than the marketing techniques of corporate behemoths,
need to be scrupulously examined. By now we are familiar enough with the
magnitude of the changes in all the spheres of our existence to move beyond
the futuristic rhapsodies that characterize much of the literature on the
subject. We can no longer roll over and celebrate and shop. Every phone in
every pocket contains a “picture of ourselves,” and we must ascertain what that
picture is and whether we should wish to resist it. Here is a humanist
proposition for the age of Google: The processing of information is not the
highest aim to which the human spirit can aspire, and neither is
competitiveness in a global economy. The character of our society cannot be
determined by engineers.
“Our very mastery seems to escape our mastery,” Michel Serres has
anxiously remarked. “How can we dominate our domination; how can we
master our own mastery?” Every technology is used before it is completely
understood. There is always a lag between an innovation and the apprehension
of its consequences. We are living in that lag, and it is a right time to keep our
heads and reflect. We have much to gain and much to lose. In the media, for
example, the general inebriation about the multiplicity of platforms has
distracted many people from the scruple that questions of quality on the new
platforms should be no different from questions of quality on the old
platforms. Otherwise a quantitative expansion will result in a qualitative
contraction. The new devices do not in themselves authorize a revision of the
standards of evidence and argument and style that we championed in the old
devices. (What a voluptuous device paper is!) Such revisions may be made on1/8/2015 Among the Disrupted NYTimes.com
other grounds — out of commercial ambition, for example; but there is
nothing innovative about pandering for the sake of a profit. The decision to
prefer the requirements of commerce to the requirements of culture cannot be
exonerated by the thrills of the digital revolution.
And therein lies a consoling irony of our situation. The machines may be
more neutral about their uses than the propagandists and the advertisers want
us to believe. We can leave aside the ideology of digitality and its aggressions,
and regard the devices as simply new means for old ends. Tradition “travels”
in many ways. It has already flourished in many technologies — but only when
its flourishing has been the objective. I will give an example from the
humanities. The day is approaching when the dream of the democratization of
knowledge — Borges’s fantasy of “the total library” — will be realized. Soon all
the collections in all the libraries and all the archives in the world will be
available to everyone with a screen. Who would not welcome such a vast
enfranchisement? But universal accessibility is not the end of the story, it is
the beginning. The humanistic methods that were practiced before
digitalization will be even more urgent after digitalization, because we will
need help in navigating the unprecedented welter. Searches for keywords will
not provide contexts for keywords. Patterns that are revealed by searches will
not identify their own causes and reasons. The new order will not relieve us of
the old burdens, and the old pleasures, of erudition and interpretation.
Is all this — is humanism — sentimental? But sentimentality is not always
a counterfeit emotion. Sometimes sentiment is warranted by reality. The
persistence of humanism through the centuries, in the face of formidable
intellectual and social obstacles, has been owed to the truth of its
representations of our complexly beating hearts, and to the guidance that it
has offered, in its variegated and conflicting versions, for a soulful and
sensitive existence. There is nothing soft about the quest for a significant life.
And a complacent humanist is a humanist who has not read his books closely,
since they teach disquiet and difficulty. In a society rife with theories and
practices that flatten and shrink and chill the human subject, the humanist is
the dissenter. Never mind the platforms. Our solemn responsibility is for the1/8/2015 Among the Disrupted NYTimes.com
Leon Wieseltier is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and the author of
A version of this article appears in print on January 18, 2015, on page BR1 of the Sunday Book
Review with the headline: Among the Disrupted.