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Can We Survive the End of the Universe?

He's got the whole cosmos in his hands. Photo: © 2013 Lauro Roger McAllister. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License.



Can We Survive the End of the Universe?

The scariest monsters Russell T. Davies came up with during his time as Doctor Who’s showrunner were the Toclafane. Essentially six billion flying metal spheres (each containing a wired-up human head), they were all that was left of humanity at the end of the universe in 100 trillion years. What made them so frightening was what they represented: the certainty that the universe would inevitably end, and the equally chilling certainty that humanity—desperate to stay alive at any cost—would inevitably lose all of its dignity, morality, and hope before it did. Like all great Doctor Who villains, the Toclafane exaggerate a human attribute; the Daleks caricature our desire to improve ourselves, the Cybermen our obsession with efficiency, and the Toclafane our fear of death. But will our descendants have to face the same horrifying end as the Toclafane?      
Possibly not. Theoretical physicists suspect that at some point billions (but probably not trillions) of years from now, the universe will stretch, rip, or compress itself into something uninhabitable, but this suspicion is based on a number of very shaky hypotheses about what the universe really is, what dark matter and dark energy really are, and so forth. When we talk about how the universe will end, or what happened before the Big Bang, we are entering an area of physics that is so speculative that it may resemble theology more than it resembles physics as we generally understand it. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t work worth doing, but the study of First Things and Last Things is tricky and it’s unlikely that we’ve figured out all the details, absent most of the relevant evidence.
The ultimate fate of the universe depends on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, about which we know almost nothing. Image: NASA.
The ultimate fate of the universe depends on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, about which we know almost nothing. Image: NASA.
But assuming our understanding of the universe’s life cycle is basically correct, can we escape the end? Hypothetically speaking, yes, though not with our current level of technology. The obvious way of escaping the end of our universe, assuming our descendants know how, is to escape to a different universe entirely—much as we may need to escape our solar system before our Sun bites the dust in five or six billion years. The more creative alternative is to preserve the Sun, or indeed the universe itself, by some unknown means. I don’t pretend to know what those means might be—it’s impossible to reliably predict the state of technology in 50 years, never mind five billion—but it’s likely that these problems, or problems very similar to them, will need to be solved in some way. (Stephen Hawking’s recent suggestion that humans may one day have the power to manipulate the Higgs field certainly presents some intriguing possibilities.)
In other words, to answer the question I ask on the tin: we should take it as a matter of course that if we’re correct about the way the universe will end, our descendants will have a much more complete understanding of the problem than we do. While it demonstrates a kind of existential maturity to resign ourselves even at this early date to the certainty that escaping the end of the universe will be impossible, it isn’t especially rational. There’s still so much we don’t know—not only about the nature of the problem, but also about humanity’s capacity to solve it—and when we know so very little about what lies ahead, we may as well be optimistic.

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:


Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:




Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.

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