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Old 2011-10-17, 02:18   #1
Zeta-Flux
 
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Default How long until annihilation?

No, this thread is not about crazy religious claims about when the end of the world is coming. (We already know that will happen in 2450 AD.) And no, this thread is not my attempt to get a smiley named after me. (My behavior on other threads comprise my attempts in that regard.)

This thread is instead about what motivates some people. It seems to me that a lot of people are motivated by the thought of fame. The idea that they (or their ideas) will go down in history, and affect future generations.

On the flip side, we know that the sun will eventually go red giant and destroy our planet. With the speed of light barrier (still intact), the enormous distances to habitable planets, and the resources we would need to carry those distances, some scientists posit that there is no chance we will ever get out of our solar system.

Moreover, one of the current theories on the universe is that it is expanding and eventually (we still have a long, long, long while yet) this expansive force will rip all mater apart, effectively destroying any record of our existence.

On a smaller time-frame, it seems likely that if our species is to progress then future generations will be so much smarter than we are that our results will seem trivial.

So, here are my questions. Do you believe that humanity and all records of its existence are doomed to extinction? Why? If so, how long do you think we have (feel free to give multiple guesses if necessary)? Finally, do these answers affect how you live your life?

Last fiddled with by Zeta-Flux on 2011-10-17 at 03:14 Reason: Put "super-nova" for "red giant" by mistake.
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Old 2011-10-17, 02:49   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
No, this thread is not about crazy religious claims about when the end of the world is coming.

On the flip side, we know that the sun will eventually go super-nova and destroy our planet. ?
And our resident ignorant religious extremist weighs in with more pseudo-science.

Our sun will not become a nova. It lacks sufficient mass. It will
become a red giant, then shrink into a white dwarf.

Last fiddled with by R.D. Silverman on 2011-10-17 at 02:49 Reason: typo
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Old 2011-10-17, 03:02   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
Our sun will not become a nova. It lacks sufficient mass. It will become a red giant, then shrink into a white dwarf.
A distinction without a difference in the context of the question.
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Old 2011-10-17, 03:07   #4
Zeta-Flux
 
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Woops, and thanks William.

This "religious extremist" apologizes for his "pseudo-science." I freely admit I should have said "red giant" and not "super-nova". I should also note that not only was this mistake inadvertent, but I believe the science about how and when the sun will become a red giant.

Now, care to answer the questions I posed?

(P.S. I fixed my original post.)

Last fiddled with by Zeta-Flux on 2011-10-17 at 03:15
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Old 2011-10-17, 03:36   #5
petrw1
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My prediction is that GIMPS (under the direction of George's Great^M50 Grandson) will have LL'd, DC'd and fully factored every MP in the current range up to 1B before that happens.
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Old 2011-10-17, 04:30   #6
LaurV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petrw1 View Post
My prediction is that GIMPS (under the direction of George's Great^M50 Grandson) will have LL'd, DC'd and fully factored every MP in the current range up to 1B before that happens.
Bwhaaa, haaa haaa! 10 points! This was a good one, at the power of m fifty!
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Old 2011-10-17, 04:55   #7
axn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
So, here are my questions. Do you believe that humanity and all records of its existence are doomed to extinction? Why?
Yes. Because http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
If so, how long do you think we have (feel free to give multiple guesses if necessary)? Finally, do these answers affect how you live your life?
Irrelevant. The timescale involved would be much greater than my personal lifespan. So a few zeroes here or there doesn't matter much.

I don't think, however, that we'll be wiped out by the sun going red-giant.
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Old 2011-10-17, 07:41   #8
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Quote:
expansive force will rip all mater apart
YIKES! and I grow maters. Horrible thought, they will all be ripped apart!

More seriously, the probability that man will destroy himself via some explosive (fusion/fission/antimatter) event is significant. As is the probability we will be wiped out by a meteorite. As is the probability we will be wiped out by some unknown disease either man-made or naturally occurring.

DarJones
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Old 2011-10-17, 07:59   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
More seriously, the probability that man will destroy himself via some explosive (fusion/fission/antimatter) event is significant. As is the probability we will be wiped out by a meteorite. As is the probability we will be wiped out by some unknown disease either man-made or naturally occurring.
And none of them will wipe out "all records of our existence"
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Old 2011-10-17, 09:16   #10
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Old 2011-10-17, 13:51   #11
jasonp
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The problem with history is that it's only one set of samples, and we can't make up others (yet?). This matters because it's hard to imagine how long even a country will last in its present form, given the likelihood of natural and human-made disasters, and the dynamics of normal life in general. Prediction is very tricky, especially about the future.

I personally am somewhat optimistic. The far future you imagine populated with staggeringly intelligent beings will not come to pass unless we, their ancestors, exert ourselves.
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