Month: November 2013

Extraterrestrial life

Extraterrestrial Life

 For decades, people have spread rumors regarding life outside the word, a phenomenon that has received support from tales on myriad encounters with extraterrestrial being. Some have argued that gods and the beginnings of life occurred in alien worlds. Over the years, science has also fuelled this debate and researchers from NASA claim to have come across conclusive evidence. NASA researchers claim to have found significant evidence proving a certain meteorite holds simple forms of life. This meteorite, they say, came from Mars and landed in Antarctica. Since them, researchers have come out, ignited by the ‘Mars fever’ and try to perform several studies. These studies will continue several years into the future, and possibly come out with the truth. This paper presents various arguments regarding life outside the earth in a bid to shed more light on the issue.

Mike Devarian, employed in one of NASA’s laboratories was fond of pointing out that a tragic disease that left one scientist and those who supported him changed their views. The picture an earth –centered view prevailed for thousands of years after the death of Aristotle. The astronomical view held by Aristotle came out clearer through elaborations by a different philosopher from Greek, Ptolemy, who died in A.D 168. Ptolemy established an intricate scheme to assist in the estimate orbits made by Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn. Scientists named the scheme the Ptolemaic scheme and it led to remarkable success, although it depended on incorrect physical principles. Later, Roman Catholic backed claims regarding the solar system as the clergy behind the proposition designed his own way of thinking. Therefore, it is not strange that surprising thoughts concerning the possibility of life in other planets existed for more than one thousand years.

Until recently, Mars appeared as the best candidate for a body that has features such as those on Earth. However, scientists have never stopped searching for other candidates in case Mars disappoints them. Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons has received several mentions by scientists as another good candidate that can support life. Descriptions of this moon place it highly and scientists cite that, albeit it has high temperatures, it can possibly support life. They support their propositions by giving examples of hot vents and hot regions on earth that sustain life. According to them, the essential perquisites for life are sources of energy and liquid water. Europa, they say, is one of the extraterrestrial bodies that have those prerequisites. Heat present in the body is warm enough to support life while water located under layers of ice can do the same.

Current findings purport that there exist some habitable in regions in the universe that can support extraterrestrial life. These regions exist in planets that orbit stars where the temperature ranges between zero degrees and one hundred degrees Celsius. Additionally, regions around stars support liquid water, which is an essential requirement for life. Reports from current operation under the guidance of NASA give more neutral regarding space bodies with capacities to support life. According to Landau (2013), the NASA scientists gave reports to one of their web pages with three names of planets that qualify as candidates for habitation. The three planets, discovered by a satellite named Kepler, lie in the midst of one hundred and fifty thousand stars. Scientists give several descriptions two of the bodies, Kepler 62e and 62f, which are part of a five-body system.

Theories regarding life in other planets go back a long way in history to the times of Greek philosophers. Over the years, there appears to have been more theories and tales on possibilities of life in other planets and bodies other than the earth. Scientists working with NASA have tasked themselves with activities to verify claims and their own suspicions. Several years back they stated that Mars was one of the candidates that could support life. They went steps further to find other bodies supposing Mars disappoints them. They came across Europa and Kepler planets, which they say consists of the essential prerequisites of life. Today, no one has conclusive findings regarding life in other bodies other than the earth, but studies have made remarkable steps that keep claims by scientists and enthusiasts relevant.


Technology Overload

Are we becoming inefficient because of too much technology?

Over the recent past, technology has taken an important place in our lives. I remember the first time I owned a black and white blackberry; I could not let it off my sight or hands. A few years down the line, you cannot look around without spotting a young man or woman, for that matter, fidgeting with a touch sensitive device; could be a smart-phone, iPad, or one of the trending tabs. We cannot miss noting how much technology has changed our lives. We can share information more easily, store huge chunks of information with little or no worry about space, and search for the same information at lightning speeds. However, technology has brought many distractions, so it is more like a double-edged knife.

With technological advancements, the temptation to multitask has increased. A person working on a document can switch to Google search or email by just clicking on an easily accessible icon, and suddenly he or she starts to switch between two tasks. Very few people have ever looked at the bigger picture to understand the influx that comes with these new devices like the iPad, iPhone, androids, or even laptops. A study in conducted recently that involved cutting off access to electronic mail in a place of work for five working days showed amazing results. The results of that study revealed that the employees multitasked less, spent more time on relevant tasks, and had lower levels of stress.

Spending more time on a single task, as opposed to switching from one application or gadget to another, is better. Switching from one task to another leads to cognitive switch, which normally comes at a cost. While we cannot switch off all our smart gadgets off and go back to operating manually, we can make some adjustments that will reduce the technology overload that clouds us. For instance, batching emails, which entails sending several emails at specific times instead of continual emailing, can help a bit. Batching emails can also decrease the overload by reducing the anxiety brought by expecting certain emails. In short, balancing between the e-world and the physical world stands as the best way to increase efficiency and organization.