Fermi’s Paradox: Theia & the Volcano

Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system sits atop a tectonically dead Mars.

OlympusMons

Mars is tectonically dead as it’s not as large as Earth, has a much smaller molten core and did not get hit by a Theia-like planet early in its formation. Eventually its electro-magneto engine slowed to a near stop, its core cooled, its volcanoes froze up.

Theia was the Mars sized planet that is theorized to have hit Earth early in the history of the solar system.

Theia

When Theia hit, much of its own iron & nickel core was transferred to Earth. The remainder of that planet was strewn around Earth in a massive debris disk that eventually formed the Moon.

Moon

This rare incident is most likely the prime reason life exists on Earth.

What did this impact contribute toward our humanly existence?

Firstly, an extra large iron/nickel core which provides the massive molten dynamo which drives the Magnetosphere. The Magnetosphere protects Earth from both solar and galactic winds (radiation). Winds that would blow our atmosphere away just as they did on Mars. This extra iron/nickel core also continues to contribute to the amount of magma on which the tectonic plates float.

And this impact gave us the Moon — the largest (in comparison to its host planet) moon in the solar system. And most likely a very rare sized moon for most of the galaxy/universe—especially for Goldilocks distance, rocky planets like Earth.

The existence of the Moon may actually be more important to our health and well being than we think.

The moon is like a shield that has obviously absorbed thousands of asteroid impacts in its history, many which would have struck Earth.

The Moon’s size means that it adds to tectonic flexing of Earth’s inner molten core thereby stress-heating the mantel (which is important, more on this later).

The Moon’s size also induces the tidal movement of Earth’s vast water system, a thing that probably aided the formation and rapid evolution of coastal life.

But back to the extra heavy iron/nickel core donated by Theia…

Earth’s tectonic plates and their constant movement–pulling and crushing together–contributes in multiple dimensions to the recycling of critical life sustaining elements. Vulcanism allows buried carbon, sequestered by hundreds of millions of years of plant growth and death, to be blasted back into the atmosphere as CO2. Which is a good thing. Without Carbon recycling the Earth would have froze and never emerged from its deep freeze.

Plate tectonics create mountain ranges—mineral-rich rock lifted into the sky where weathering erodes the rock and all the elements of life, allowing these minerals to drain into streams, rivers and the oceans where algae and zooplankton can consume them and thrive.

Continental plates and volcanoes keep the planet alive by recycling nutrients and green house gasses. There is the water cycle, the carbon cycle and the nutrients cycle—two of which would not happen without active tectonic plates and volcanoes.

However, this activity comes at a cost. Volcanoes and massive lava flows have destroyed millions of square kilometers of plant and animal life most likely contributing to if not causing most of the past extinction events. Even relatively small eruptions: Toba, Yellowstone, Krakatoa, Taupo, and hundreds of others cooled the planet, sometimes five to ten degrees Centigrade. A decades long volcanic winter would be no fun for a young technologically burgeoning species.

Theia and her contribution helped provide the environment where humanity could exist. But it also doomed us to live on a dangerous planet that has proven it regards life not at all.

We’re here because of Theia. A rare incident in the Cosmos. Fermi’s Paradox is not a paradox at all. We are unique in the Universe. But if Earth’s volcanoes have anything say in the matter, being unique may mean being dead.

Writer’s Log: 2235

Indecision. Self doubt. Disgust. The admission of futility. And so, a little break. A little of this and that… A brief interlude.

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Sensations of fractured glass tumbling through my veins.

Posed as a model, exposed and vulnerable, pale skin burning beneath false light.

Tiny claw marks, fresh in the dust, behind and above and within.

Ponderous steps through sickly tar, the stench of fermented gasses lifting as a miasma into my lungs.

Keys of plastic, bags of them, letters and numbers, a thousand monkeys shaking red cups of warm beer that smells like urine.

Whales of cumulus breach and explode scattering the froth of grey exhaust spewn from city buses.

Acres of withered milkweed poison orange and black monarchs that slow their wing beats, stop and tumble to the desiccated soil.

Granite seams, never friendly, stick and build the ire they hold for the fools at the surface.

A purple fungus tickles its mycelium along the nodules that have sprouted from my spine.

The penis of mighty Zeus hangs useless, spent and decrepit, having buried its head amongst the folds of a dying Gaea.

 

miscscenesreversed

Imagination = Empathy

Humans are the only (to our knowledge) beings capable of intentionally imagining a fictitious or fabricated reality.

• Imagine you’re in a desert. There’s nothing but greasewood brush, tussocks of bramble and strange looking cactus, bulbous nodes dangling off platter sized palms like testicles on a dying mule. Overhead, buzzards like drones circle your desiccated shape, a shape barely wide enough to cast a shadow. You step aside an unsuspecting boulder to have your calf bit and pumped full of rattlesnake venom. No warning. No baby-rattle susurration before the strike. The agony hits like a hot brand. You stumble and fall, your breath squeezed from your chest. A sensation like molten mercury seeps up your leg. The beast bites and slithers off, content in the knowledge that, though you won’t be its next meal, you will most definitely feed a fellow high desert compatriot.•

OK. Did you go there? Did you read along and imagine your/their plight? If so, then it was your imagination that provided the empathy you felt for this unfortunate soul lost in the desert.

Empathy is your imagination placing you in the situation of another.

Empathy is you commiserating with, through the virtual world of your mind’s pictorial capability, another being, human or otherwise.

You can imagine, therefore you can feel another’s suffering—virtually at least.

It is due to our expansive, our far-too-large-for-our-own-good brains that we have been cursed with the ability to empathize with another creature. We can imagine their pain. Their suffering. Their soul crushing loss or failure, or shame. Our imagination gives us this ability.

Altruism is our ability to share, often to our own detriment, our personal safety, wealth and prosperity. Why would we ever do this? Dogs don’t do this. Dolphins, chimps, corvids—species with advanced intelligence, even consciousness don’t do this. Only humans go out of their way to ensure another’s survival. Why?

Because we can imagine how it feels to be that other being.

Our imagination is the source of our empathy.

Corporate Charity

Public corporation charity is a crock.

Public corporations, those with symbols on a stock market exchange, have a single master – share holder equity. Absolutely everything they (the executives in concert with the board of directors) do is with the intent to increase (or maintain) share holder equity.

Everything.

Including pretending to “care” for the environment, community or their employees.

Last week the public corporation for which I work fired 10% of the corporate headquarters staff (40 people) and 10% of the shop floor staff (1000 people).

I slipped by (||) that far from getting the ax. Unfortunately, the fellow with whom I work, everyday—side by side—on software projects got the knife. His Business Analysis partner was cut too. And so, with a single whack of their brain dead sword, corporate gutted the “tribal knowledge” of one of the more important software applications in use by two dozen repair shops around the country. “The rest of you developers will have to take on the load.” — yeah right.

The CEO, up to now, had been one of those who touted the “we’re all one big family” vibe at every quarterly all-hands meeting. — yeah right.

And so it was with incredulity that I received an email which explored how important it was for this corporation to account for all the volunteer time we had invested in the last 12 months, including how important we thought the environment, community and education was and how this corporation should pursue supporting such things.

What a crock.

No matter what a public corporation says to the world, despite all of its press releases, all of its so called public principles of business conduct, there is one tenet they must obey above all others — increase share holder equity.

Everything else is a lie.