Astrobioloblog is now dead!

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I’ve had a lot of fun writing this blog, and have been very surprised by its modest level of popularity, thank you to everyone who’s ever read a post and/or commented.

However, due to work, study and various other demands I’ve not posted anything for ages. My scientific interests have drifted a bit now too, so I’ve decided to officially shut the blog down, I’ll no longer be posting or replying to comments, but will leave all content online.

All the best!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 310,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Why Ducks are better than Dinosaurs

Most people prefer a good Tyrannosaur to a lowly duck. It’s a matter of choice of course, but when thinking about dinosaurs you probably have visions of ruthless predators with teeth the size of meat cleavers, or titanic herbivores bigger than small buildings, whereas ducks tend to float around in ponds inquiring after handfuls of bread.

However palaeontologists and biologists have revealed evidence that the humble duck may have triumphed over the mighty dinosaurs.

Continue reading ‘Why Ducks are better than Dinosaurs’

How the Earth was born

In a previous post I wrote about how we discovered the age of the Earth, and I mentioned that our planet formed at the same time as the other rocky bodies in our Solar System.

I didn’t say HOW this happened though. So now I will.

Happy now?

Continue reading ‘How the Earth was born’

First Contact Scenarios – Confusion

Imagine that an intelligent alien species has discovered us, and that they have the ability to journey to Earth to make first contact.

It may sound like a fantastical scenario better suited to fiction than to science, and for more than two centuries this has largely been the case, but over the last few years a number of scientists have begun to debate first contact scenarios, both in scholarly domains and in the mass media.

What do you think first contact would be like?

I’ve had a few ideas of my own, inspired heavily by sci-fi I admit, and in previous posts I’ve looked at scenarios in which the aliens may not even be interested in us, or that they may make first contact with us, but covertly. In this post I’ll look at the idea that they do try to make an overt first contact, but that we may have a mutual problem in understanding each other.

Continue reading ‘First Contact Scenarios – Confusion’

How old is the Earth? And how do we know?

In 1650 the Archbishop James Ussher announced that the Earth was thousands of years old.

Almost six thousand years old in fact. He had discovered that the world had been created on the 23rd of October 4004 BC. At lunchtime.

This was a pretty momentous conclusion. Not only had Ussher calculated the age of our world to a superhuman degree of precision, he was also lending credence to the idea that the Earth had a beginning (many cultures believed the Earth has always existed, and always will) and that it was pretty damn old, 6,000 years-worth of old.

Today, most people are comfortable with the idea that the Earth hasn’t existed in perpetuity, and most people are OK with the fact that the Earth is billions of years old. But this is a pretty recent mindset. Up until about one hundred years ago, no one really had any idea how old the Earth was.

Here’s what happened…

Continue reading ‘How old is the Earth? And how do we know?’

First Contact Scenarios – Espionage

Imagine that intelligent alien life exists, that its discovered humanity, and that it has the technology to reach us. What would first contact between humanity and aliens be like?

In the first post in this series I looked at the idea that advanced alien civilisations might be totally indifferent to our existence and would simply choose to ignore us.

In the other scenarios in this series I’ll assume that they are interested in us, and in this post, that they arrive on Earth, but in a rather covert fashion.

Continue reading ‘First Contact Scenarios – Espionage’


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