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3 billion years a second, aka Star Wars actually happened

 
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mithridates



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Location: President's office, Korean Space Agency

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:25 am    Post subject: 3 billion years a second, aka Star Wars actually happened Reply with quote

I wrote this last night on my board and realized that it doesn't get much traffic. Anyway, here's why Star Wars already happened somewhere:

Quote:
Now onto the next topic: Star Wars actually happened. The long time ago in a galaxy far away line is what got me thinking, and I checked the number of stars in the universe.

How many stars does an average galaxy have? The answer is about 400 billion, if we are to take our galaxy as an example. 400 billion, that's a hell of a lot of stars. To picture the number 400 billion, luckily I have a picture:


This is a hundred billion pennies stacked up right next to each other, on a football field for comparison. It measures 38 metres each side. Take this and multiply it by four, and you have the number of stars in *one* galaxy.

Now, how many galaxies are there in the universe? In the visibile universe, there are estimated to be about 240 billion of them. Each one of those has 400 billion stars. That gives a total of 96 000 000 000 000 000 000 000. I calculated that a few days ago, and here's what I found:


This is one quadrillion pennies. That black tower there is the Sears Tower. Now, let's multiply it by a thousand:



Now we have one quintillion of them. The previous towers are tiny blips in the corner. Now, take 96 000 more of these blocks and you have roughly the number of stars in the universe.

But we're not done yet. Each of those stars has a number of planets. Our sun was supposed to have nine but it looks like a lot of minor planets lie out in the Kuiper Belt and then the Oort Cloud, stretching all the way out to about 2 light-years or halfway to the nearest star. It would be safe to say that an average star has about the same number, some five to twenty planets and a whole lot of other stuff beyond. Then there are binary stars and other weird systems as well. Most of them are supposed to be too radioactive to support life, but there are beetles deep in the ground that thrive on an environment way more acidic than battery acid and creatres in the deep that live next to volcanic vents that should boil them alive, but they love it. It's safe to say that life is tenacious and not necessarily limited to the kind we know.

But in addition to that, there's also the matter of time. The universe has been around for 15 billion years, and that's a lot of time for civilizations to grow and die and things to change. There's also no indication of when the universe is going to end, and for all we know it's not going to end for at least another trillion or quadrillion years. If we have 96 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 stars, and we assume that only one in a million has had life and civilization, that still means that every second of every day, three billion years of history is happening as we speak. Three billion years every single second, and that's being very conservative. In the time it's taken me to write this mail that would mean that the universe has seen another 900 billion years of history.

With those odds, I am of the opinion that whatever has happened has happened before, and will happen again somewhere at some time. Though probability dictates that the exact same motion or event can't happen again, in reality people become more predictable the larger a group they become. People as individuals are hard to predict, but as a group it becomes easy. Life isn't all that chaotic and random when me, just one person, can not only know with near certainty the date of an upcoming election a few years in the future, but also who is likely to win it. When looking at probability models it's also important to recognize the value of historical force, culture, and peer pressure.

Anyway, that's why Star Wars already happened exactly as we saw it last week, just a long time ago. When I wake up in the morning I think I'll read this post again and check for clarity, if any. Surprised


The one thing that's impossible to calculate is the longevity of civilization. Earth has been around for ten billion years or so, and has only seen civilization during the past few thousand. It could either be a blip on the radar screen, or the start of something eternal, and we haven't seen enough to know which of the two it is. That's the biggest problem in the calculation that I found after waking up and thinking about it some more.
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Smee



Joined: 24 Dec 2004
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I read your message board sometimes, so I'm contributing to the traffic as best I can. Wink

Anyway, as far as we're concerned there's the barrier of the speed of light. That's why our space exploration programs are, and probably will be for a while, handcuffed.

I wonder if, for other civilizations, general relativity does not apply. (Like, how people say a society doesn't have a concept/thing if there's not a word for it.)

I think the answer will end up lying in string theory. Realizing the restrictions on three or four dimensions will create opportunities in the other six or twenty-two.
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
and has only seen civilization during the past few thousand



Judging by the level of discourse on this site, I'd say civilization is still more than a wee bit in the future.

But back to topic. Cool illustrations. Nietschze had something similar to say about this topic.

My question is: What are the odds that I will live long enough and be in the right place to meet Chewbacca, the coolest of the Star Wars characters?
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Hyalucent



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: British North America

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya-ta Boy wrote:

My question is: What are the odds that I will live long enough and be in the right place to meet Chewbacca, the coolest of the Star Wars characters?


But if he has a longer lifespan, does that make it more probable he would live to meet you? How's that for a paradox. Razz
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endofthewor1d



Joined: 01 Apr 2003
Location: the end of the wor1d.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what's even cooler to think about was that it is infinitely more likely that something similar to star wars happened... exactly replicating it in all ways except for jar jar binks.
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blunder1983



Joined: 12 Apr 2005

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chewie died in the extended universe. So the probability is 0. I THINK he got squashed by a moon :S

Lets see how much of a star wars geek i am, I'm gonna go hunting for the link

Chris

Yep I'm right:

Quote:
Solo and Chewbacca have had many close calls in the past, and have executed countless last-second escapes; Sernpidal was not to be one of them. As the moon rushed closer to the surface, Chewbacca was cut off from the Falcon. Anakin was faced with a terrible decision. The Falcon could not wait any longer. Rather than endanger everyone aboard, Anakin piloted the ship away, leaving Chewbacca behind. Chewbacca stood his ground, howling defiantly at the immense moon as it crashed into Sernpidal's surface, killing the mighty Wookiee instantly.


Anakin is Han Solo's son.

Read more at: http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/chewbacca/?id=eu
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mithridates



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Location: President's office, Korean Space Agency

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. Well, I should say that anything physically possible has already happened. Then again, we have no proof that the laws of physics operate in the same way on the other side of the universe, and it looks like black holes give out matter as well as suck it in, and there's quite a bit (huge understatement) that we don't know about.
Writing this thread makes me feel very small.
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pollyplummer



Joined: 07 Mar 2005
Location: McMinnvillve, Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 6:00 am    Post subject: Re: 3 billion years a second, aka Star Wars actually happene Reply with quote

mithridates wrote:

The one thing that's impossible to calculate is the longevity of civilization. Earth has been around for ten billion years or so, and has only seen civilization during the past few thousand. It could either be a blip on the radar screen, or the start of something eternal, and we haven't seen enough to know which of the two it is. That's the biggest problem in the calculation that I found after waking up and thinking about it some more.


Must we see in order to know? If you're looking for small poisons to ingest, the laws of physics should do nicely. The problem is that too much of it may inoculate you against revelation. Your patience for calculation eludes me.
Then again, if you're onto something, I'd better live long enough to meet this guy Wink ...
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." —Han Solo
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