16 May 2013

Strange world

Sea pig

Chapter 25: Xenophyophore

page 343: undersea mountains, abyssal plains. Deeper still are trenches, which teem with microscopic life forms.

page 344: seabed sediment also holds radioactive iron ejected by a supernova 2.2 million years ago and preserved in the fossilized remains of bacteria.

page 344:  Dali painting. See image above.

page 349: Julian Barbour [suggests] time does not flow like a stream.  Lee Smolin says we need a new starting point for explaining the directionality of time. A friendly critic responds here.

page 350: perhaps...it is matter itself that is truly astonishing.  John Gray writes:
Even if there are such things as laws of nature, there's no reason to think they must be accessible to the human mind. What science suggests is the opposite. If our minds evolved by natural selection as Darwin proposed, shaped more by a struggle for survival than by any search for truth, it's highly unlikely that we'll ever fully understand the universe. Almost certainly the world is a far stranger place than humans can possibly imagine.

This is the twenty-sixth in a new series of notes and comments on chapters in The Book of Barely Imagined Beings. It appears around the time of the US publication, and adds to an earlier series that appeared around UK publication.

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