# Rare Earth: more evidence

I keep a running list of the reasons why we should consider Earth as rare in the Universe.

• Theia’s impact delivered more than just iron and nickel to Earth’s core (producing an extra large magnetosphere) but also (probably) delivered additional carbon, nitrogen and sulfur — chemicals which, like oxygen and hydrogen, are volatile and tend to get boiled off during a planet’s accretion phase (forming from the solar system’s proto-disc).

• Tidally locked planets and moons would lose their magnetosphere (the dynamo engine within a iron molten cored planet). Without this magnetic shield solar and cosmic radiation would ravage any life that had arisen on the planet.

The reason I keep this list is that it supports the 2^Nth theory I maintain about how to calculate a Rare Earth.

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The “Two to the N’th” theory is an approximate probability that describes the uniqueness in the Universe of a electromagnetic-energy manipulating species — that is, us. Essentially, all factors that contributed to the existence of humanity can be distilled down to coin flips. Every coin flip = 50% probability. Add up a bunch of coin flips (landing on heads) and you get a probability that represents how unique we are.

For instance: If we assume that one out of every two stars in the Universe/Galaxy is singular not binary (binary star systems are too unstable to support planetary life) that’s coin flip number one (2^1). Of those, if half are the right size (a very conservative estimate) — another coin flip (2^2). If you examine all the factors, turn them into 50% (one flip) or 25% (two flips) or 12.5% (three flips) etc. you end up with a whole load of coin flips or powers of two (2^Nth).

I’ve done the compilation (that is, keeping this growing list) and determined that over 60 is the current number of coin flips that all landed up “heads” which represents how lucky/unique we are in the universe. The probability of flipping 60 coins and ALL OF THEM landing heads — represents the probability of Humanity.

How often would 60 coin flips all land on heads? Well, we know it happened at least once (that US!). But what is 2^60th power?

1,152,921,504,606,846,976

The probability of Humanity is 1 out of 1.1 quintillion. Is that rare? Probably.

I continue to collect these “features” which helped contribute to our existence. I suspect that we’ll get to seventy here some time soon: 2^70 = 1 sextillion.

Here’s a handy approximator:

• 2^10 = ~one thousand
• 2^20 = ~one million
• 2^30 = ~one billion
• 2^40 = ~one trillion
• 2^60 = ~one quintillion
• 2^70 = ~one sextillion (or one billion trillion)

#### 15 responses to “Rare Earth: more evidence”

• Phil Huston

Apparently George won’t leave his posts up (had to quit following – so close and so far away, you know? So send him this https://kayelynnebooth.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/short-fiction-contest-paranormal-stories-sought/

I don’t write that stuff, but for those who do, send it in.

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• Phil Huston

There I was, expecting a discourse on neodymium magnets, the ones that crank up the energy in a dynamic microphone cartridge. Or a transducer magnet. Or even the following in anticipation of your book launch!
No. All that collander helmet UFO talk. the cosmos runs on it’s own. Thgis dimension and time or merely our particular experience. Math makes my head hurt. Except music, and if you approach it dimensionally it’s really geometry. Gotta love a drummer who can sing AND play.

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• Tom Being Tom

This takes me back to the theory of Carl Sagan: the chance of life is extremely rare, but in an infinite universe extremely rare happens. But for two such happenstances to occur anywhere within the same time frame or spacial vicinity so as to lead to encounters between two stellar occupants, well that’s actually and probably impossible.

Which is why, I am to understand, Carl Sagan didn’t believe in UFOs.

(Although a friend who’s REALLY into UFOs recently told me he’s uncovered evidence that Carl Sagan did in fact believe in UFOs but was told by the CIA to shut up about it, or else. He’s quite the conspiracy buff, though, so I don’t know …)

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• Anony Mole

Yes, Sagan’s thoughts are appropriate here.

This 2^Nth theory is just a way to put simple numbers (simple but huge numbers) to the question beneath the Fermi Paradox.

Flipping coins is an easy concept. Every “heads” in a sequence halves the likelihood that the happy (or not) accident that is technologically advanced humanity will happen again. What are the odds of 60 coin flips all landing heads? An easy question. A (nearly) impossible answer.

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• George F.

I love your numbers, but in an infinite Universe, your math doesn’t mean much. Just my humble opinion.

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• Anony Mole

In the multiverse numbers don’t mean much. But the universe isn’t infinite. I mean, it it’s effectively infinite as far as exploration is concerned. But in trying to theorize about other alien intelligences — numbers do count. That pretty much the gist of this 2^Nth concept. “Are we alone?” – the numbers say yes.

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