Land or Water: Where Does Technology-based Intelligence Thrive?
The question of whether intelligent life is more likely to emerge on
land or in water has intrigued scientists for a long time. A new study
by Dr. Manasvi Lingam from Florida Institute of Technology offers a
novel approach to address this question using Bayesian statistics.
Bayesian Analysis of Technological Intelligence in Land and Oceans,” a
paper by Lingam and researchers from the University of Texas and
Università di Roma, was published in the March edition of The
Humans are a classic example of the kind of
technological intelligence that can profoundly sculpt the biosphere
through purposeful activities and produce detectable signatures of their
In the paper, the authors performed a Bayesian
analysis of the probability of technologically intelligent species
existing in land-based habitats and ocean-based habitats. It was found
that ocean-based habitats should be more likely to host technological
species, if all other factors are held equal, because ocean worlds are
likely to be much more common.
yet, we find ourselves having emerged on land instead of oceans, so
there’s a paradox, broadly speaking, out there,” Lingam said.
paper also explored possibilities of how the emergence of intelligent
technology-based life may be disfavored in the ocean, thereby dissolving
“We say that, well, maybe it takes a really long
time for life to emerge in the ocean because of various biophysical
reasons such as the sensory capacities in land versus water,” Lingam
“Another possibility is, due to some set of factors (e.g.,
energy sources), maybe oceans are not as habitable for intelligent life
as we think they ought to be. Currently, the conventional thinking is
that liquid water is needed for life. Well, maybe it is indeed
imperative for life, but maybe an excess of it (i.e., only oceans)
hampers technological intelligence in some ways. So that was another
solution to the paradox we came up with.”
team was able to come to the conclusions in the paper through
synthesizing two distinct avenues. First, they drew extensively on data
from Earth to ascertain what intelligent life on this planet has looked
like, ranging from primates to cephalopods (e.g., octopuses) and
cetaceans (e.g., dolphins).
Looking at the cognitive toolkit of
humans, Lingam said they sought to understand in what subtle ways human
abilities differ from the cognitive capacity of marine life such as
whales and dolphins. The second part of the research involved
mathematics and physics, specifically Bayesian probability theory, which
enables one to calculate the relevant probabilities based on some
While the conclusions in the paper were
derived on a probabilistic basis, Lingam said there is still a lot of
multidisciplinary work that can be done with refining and extending the
“I think one of the nice things about this model is that some of the assumptions can be tested,” Lingam said.
can either be gauged by future observational data from telescopes, or
some of them can be tested by conducting experiments and field studies
on earth, such as looking further at ethology (animal behavior), delving
further into how cognition operates on land-based animals versus
aquatic animals. I think there’s a lot of different animals that could
be further assessed to refine the study. All these questions can, and
hopefully should, attract people from a very wide range of fields.”
Lingam, future work pertaining to this study will include grappling
with the metabolic role of oxygen in shaping the evolution of complex
life and how ubiquitous the element may be on various planets. He will
also aim to understand what role the levels of oxygen concentration
could have on the evolution of intelligent life.
Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say
Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.
space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.
During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.
Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.
despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.
To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.
while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.
Betelgeuse is acting strange again
Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.
However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.
Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of
Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.
Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.
Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.
A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.
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