Springtails Help Fertilise Mosses

Previously it was thought that the first insects to help with plant fertilisation were the bees, which evolved with flowering plants during the Cretaceous Period about 100 million years ago (mya), but recent research at Portland State University has shown that mosses, which first appeared about 450 mya, emit scents which attract springtails (small arthropods which appeared at least 400 mya).

Before this study, moss reproduction was primarily thought to depend on individual sperm swimming through a water layer between male and female plants. Now it is known that springtails can transfer the sperm and increase fertilisation rates substantially.

Friends with benefits: Study finds insects aid in moss sex.

Homo Habilis Intelligence Increased by Gene Duplication

There is some evidence (although not conclusive) that a duplication of a gene in Homo habilis led to an increase in their intelligence by increasing the number of connections between the neurons in their brains. In two reports published in Cell in May 2012, Evan Eichler, a geneticist at the University of Washington in Seattle and others investigated their earlier finding that humans have four copies of a gene called SRGAP2. They calculate that at least one of the copies appeared about 2.4 million years ago, at the time that Homo habilis first appeared. Franck Polleux, a neurobiologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, found that when this gene is added to mice brains it increases the number of connections between their neurons and so, probably, their intelligence.

More information at Human brain shaped by duplicate genes : Nature News & Comment.

Human population history

Human population 50-40 thousand years ago was about 1.5 million as calculated by paleodemographer Jean-Noel Biraben, according to a report in Science et Avenir March 2012 page 58. In Europe the population of hunter-gatherers was 200,000 just before the demographic transition of the neolithic 9000 ybp. This figure represents 0.05 people per square kilometer according to calculations by Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, director of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).

World Parliament – Reality today or just a Pipedream?

One of my conclusions from the study of history is that peace will not be possible until the world has some form of effective government which can enforce its will on national governments which wage war on their own citizens (such as Syria) or on other governments.

I recently stumbled upon the World Parliament website, and was surprised to find that it already sits, has a draft constitution and some draft legislation. Its constitution begins with the preamble given below. Sadly, I believe this is moonshine. The citizens of the world cannot form a parliament without the consent of the governments of the nations of the world, and we are still a very long way away from this.

I will explore this issue in future volumes of Time Crystal.

Here is the preamble to the so-called World Parliament’s Constitution

Realizing that Humanity today has come to a turning point in history and that we are on the threshold of an new world order which promises to usher in an era of peace, prosperity, justice and harmony;

Aware of the interdependence of people, nations and all life;

Aware that man’s abuse of science and technology has brought Humanity to the brink of disaster through the production of horrendous weaponry of mass destruction and to the brink of ecological and social catastrophe;

Aware that the traditional concept of security through military defense is a total illusion both for the present and for the future;

Aware of the misery and conflicts caused by ever increasing disparity between rich and poor;

Conscious of our obligation to posterity to save Humanity from imminent and total annihilation;

Conscious that Humanity is One despite the existence of diverse nations, races, creeds, ideologies and cultures and that the principle of unity in diversity is the basis for a new age when war shall be outlawed and peace prevail; when the earth’s total resources shall be equitably used for human welfare; and when basic human rights and responsibilities shall be shared by all without discrimination;

Conscious of the inescapable reality that the greatest hope for the survival of life on earth is the establishment of a democratic world government;

We, citizens of the world, hereby resolve to establish a world federation to be governed in accordance with this constitution for the Federation of Earth.

 

Excellent Introduction to the Higgs Boson

For an excellent introduction to the Higgs Boson, see

Frequently Asked Questions: The Higgs! – CERN Bulletin.

Extracts:

According to the Englert-Brout-Higgs mechanism, the property that we measure as the ‘mass’ of a particle is the result of a constant interaction with a field that permeates the Universe like a sort of “ether”. The existence of this Englert-Brout-Higgs field is definitively proven by the discovery of the corresponding quantum particle – the Higgs boson.

It should not be thought that the Englert-Brout-Higgs field is responsible for all the mass in the Universe. Your interaction with the field actually contributes less than 1 kg to your mass. The remainder comes mainly from the strong force binding quarks inside nucleons, with a tiny contribution from the electromagnetic force that reigns over the atomic and molecular scales.

Higgs bosons are quantum fluctuations in the Englert-Brout-Higgs field that are visible experimentally only when energy is “injected” into the field. Concentrating the right amount of energy in proton-proton collisions at the LHC excites the Englert-Brout-Higgs field, which resonates at a precise energy corresponding to the mass of the Higgs boson.  The Higgs boson appears momentarily before decaying into other particles that the LHC experiments can measure. Some theories predict the existence of multiple Higgs bosons.

Higgs Boson probably discovered at CERN

It looks very much as if the Higgs Boson has been identified at CERN, it was announced today during an emotional webcast at which Peter Higgs was present. Results from both CMS and ATLAS were presented. The presenters emphasised, however, that a lot more work needs to be done to both confirm the results and investigate the properties of the new particle.

Scientists find oldest known mineral in meteorite

Panguite is a new titanium oxide (named after Pan Gu, the giant from ancient Chinese mythology who established the world by separating yin from yang to create the earth and the sky) which has been discovered by scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) embedded in space rock—one they believe to be among the oldest minerals formed in the solar system.

In 1969, an exploding fireball tore through the sky over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorite across the state of Chihuahua. More than 40 years later, the Allende meteorite is still serving the scientific community as a rich source of information about the early stages of our solar system’s evolution.

via Scientists find new primitive mineral in meteorite.

The toughest life on Earth

Living organisms surviving in open space supports the idea of ‘panspermia’ – life spreading from one planet to another, or even between solar systems.

The life in this case was lichen but it seems possible that organisms could colonise planets by hitching rides on asteroids. ESA (European Space Agency) is probing this intriguing theory further on future Station missions with different samples.

via The toughest life on Earth.

New Eurasian Center for Big History & System Forecasting

The Eurasian Center for Big History & System Forecasting (ECBSF) seeks to develop a unified and interdisciplinary history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life and Humanity. It also seeks to develop system forecasting of social, political, demographic, ethnic and cultural processes at regional and global levels.

for more information see Mission Statement.