Senate 1001 Days That Shaped the World! Disc. Gauls Attack Rome & Lay Siege to the Capitol (July, 390 BCE)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    You may, or may not, be familiar with this series of books; it started out quite sensibly really, with a volume for the 1001 essential books, another for movies and another for albums. Since then, apparently the books have been selling well because we've gone into a real jag here; they've since released books focusing on foods, buildings, gardens, golf courses, historical sites, natural wonders and classical recordings (good thing on that last one, since the albums book left out classical music entirely.)

    I suppose one's tolerance for these things depend upon one's own passions; I find the golf courses one kind of silly, but then I don't play golf. I do love music, so I love both the albums and the classical recordings book.

    That said, they've also released the book we'll be focusing on here. 1001 Days That Shaped the World, beginning with the Big Bang and wrapping up with last May's devestating earthquake in China. Some may interest us as a group more than others, but I think we'll have fun. I'm a little out of my depth here; The Senate is different from the Amp, where I generally post, but I found this book incredibly interesting and the topic isn't really suited for The Amp. So, here I am, hoping to find a welcoming group and a group of people ready to talk about the most important days in the history of our tiny little planet.

    Without further ado, let's get started.

    The Universe Explodes into Being
    The "Big Bang" is the beginning of universe.

    (13,700,000,000 Years Ago)

    The Big Bang theory, though of course, there wasn't a bang given the properties of sound in space, was put forward in the 1950s and remains the prevailing scientific opinion of how, not only our planet, but our entire universe came into being.

    The universe, incredibly small and incredibly hot, suffered a sudden expansion, from the minute to the larger and growing. It would have been some 380,000 years after this event that electrons and protons would finally come together; hydrogen collects and fuses into helium, and a star is born; these explode into supernovae and the universe as we know it begins.

    The book throws a lot of bones to the religious fundamentalists among us; I'm religious, but perhaps not entirely fundamentalist. Or perhaps fundamentalist, but not particularly religious. Regardless, I don't find anything in the Bible to directly contradict the idea of the Big Bang Theory and since I'm not a scientist, I give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Other religious scholars are less forgiving; more on that later.

    For now, the Big Bang? Thoughts?
  2. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
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    Big Bang thought.... first, the me being picky section of the post:
    It was actually a fair bit earlier than the 50s, with Hubble discovering the expanding universe in the 1920s, which led to the idea that everything was expanding from an earlier time. The name, I'll add, was coined in the late 40s by Fred Hoyle, as his way of ridiculing the theory as he didn't agree with it.
    Also, technically speaking, sound could travel in the early universe, just as sound can't go through a vaccuum, which isn't neccessarily the same thing as space. They discovered sound waves going through a nebula at insanely low frequencies a couple years ago.


    That aside, while its important, it seems trivially so. Obviously with no universe, there's no way that anything else that would be on the list would happen, or that we'd be able to discuss what should be on such a list. Though it seems like you could fill a good half a book with science things that had to happen.
  3. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    I'd imagine that there was a pretty loud bang, for a moment. Imagine: all the matter in the universe, compressed into an infinitesimally small point, undergoing explosive decompression at, essentially, the speed of light. There certainly wouldn't have been much nothing between all the stuff for sound not to be able to get through for a little while, at least!
  4. Lord Vivec Chosen One

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    Apr 17, 2006
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    Yeah, the big bang doesn't really contradict Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, though I'm sure there are some religions that it does contradict. Considering that the big bang theory was proposed by a Catholic priest, I'm pretty sure there is no major religious battle regarding it. If there are some scholars who have a problem with it, they are irrelevant because as far as Astrophysicists and High Energy Physicists are concerned, the big bang theory suffices for their studies/experiments.

    That's all I'm going to say regarding religion and the big bang theory.

    As for the science, there's quite a lot to discuss. There are many things we don't understand regarding the universe when it was born. For example, when two gamma rays collide, a particle and an antiparticle are born. That is how matter was formed is this universe; following E=mc^2. E is the combined energy of the two gamma rays; c is the speed of light. Therefore, m = E/(c^2). m is the combined masses of the two particles that are formed, in this case an electron and a positron. Therefore there should have been an equal number of particles and antiparticles in the universe, meaning that the universe be destroyed eventually because of particle-antiparticle annihilation. Why, then, is there such an asymmetry of particles to antiparticles.

    Another question involves the four forces: gravity, EM, strong, and weak. We've been able to reconcile EM, strong, and weak. But what about gravity? How can we reconcile that? Is string theory really the answer? Or does quantum gravity have the answer? Can we even test it?

    Despite the many questions, the Big Bang theory has a lot of validity to it. It managed to beat the steady-state theory, which was very popular at the time.
  5. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
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    i THINK the only proponent of the steady-state universe still kicking around is John Dobson, though he doesn't have the science background, just the amateur astronomer background.
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Brilliant. I'm out of my depth already; this is exactly what I was hoping would happen. If you think I'm being sarcastic, I'm not. I'm reading all this with great interest.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    No matter how you slice it, the existence of the universe is a precondition for us discussing the events that shaped the world. It's not trivial, but rather so utterly foundational that it almost always goes without saying, just as "I think, therefore I am" goes without saying...until someone finally bothers to say it.
  8. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Clarify, I'm using roughly this definition of trivial:
    - (of a theorem, proof, or the like) simple, transparent, or immediately evident.
    - Of, relating to, or being the simplest possible case; self-evident.

    I'd say, the existane of the universe is roughly that, without giving any additional insight.
  9. Saintheart Chosen One

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    Dec 16, 2000
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    In the beginning, the universe came into being. This has generally been regarded as a bad move and has annoyed a large number of people.
    - Douglas Adams.
  10. Obi Wan Bergkamp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 1998
    star 3
    Things got off to a good start.

    BTW: are you planning to post each event? - At the rate of one per day that's nearly 3 years
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Dinosaurs Wiped Out in Asteroid Horror?
    Did an asteroid striking Earth account for the demise of the prehistoric beasts?

    (65,000,000 BCE)

    This is, I believe, the only event in this book phrased as a question; many of these events are of more or less doubtful existence, particularly those far back in the mists of time.

    The idea that the dinosaurs perished in an asteroid impact and the ensuing fallout and devestation has so entered pop culture that I remember only growing up believing it. Originally, however, there was deep controversy surrounding it; most scientists believe in a world formed in interminable slowness, not in catastrophic events. Most likely, the truth is something close to what this theory argues; incredibly long periods of quietness seperated by the occasional burst of furious action.

    Most scientists now believe an asteroid impact, after some 100 million years of dinosaur prominence, changed the face of the world forever, wiping out dinosaurs, most marine reptiles and probably half of the world's plant life. Left behind where small and primitive mammals, birds, insects, small lizards and amphibians. Bigger no longer meant better.

    I recommend Walter Alvarez' solid and interesting book about the formation and investigation of the asteroid hypothesis, T. Rex and the Crater of Doom, for further reading on the subject.

    Regardless, certainly a moment that changed things forever; human ascendency has its roots in this event and the days that followed.
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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    Nov 6, 2001
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    This happens to be one of my pet research subjects that I occasionally get on a kick with and look up both new and more information about. The extinction of the dinosaurs is a fascinating subject, and one that is both formed mostly in concrete and yet still in motion for those who are still paying attention to it. There are many variations on the asteroid impact theory, many of which are plausible. It's possible that there was a very large asteroid that split off into several pieces, forming multiple impact craters. It's worth noting that the Deccan traps were in full bloom right around 65 million years ago, and it's likely that they either played some role in the extinction or were influenced in some way by the impact(s). It's also been postulated that the Yucatan impact wasn't the killer one, and an earlier one did them in.

    Of course, this wasn't the biggest extinction in history. That belongs to the one that happened about 250 million years ago, which wiped out over 90% of all life on earth.
  13. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
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    I'd say I agree that I'm very intrigued with how the Deccan traps may play into this, either as a cause at the same time as the asteroid impact(s), or if its possible that they were triggered by the impact.
    I think the multiple impact theory is also interesting simply because of how shallow the understanding seems to be of just what the Silverpit crater is, and if it really is an impact crater or not, given some issues with understanding an underwater impact location.

    I'd imagine that one could really list any extinction event for this, but I do see the K/T extinction as being worthy of note just as it did open the way for mammals, and we've not had a similar event change the course again since then.
  14. Steven_R Jedi Knight

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    Feb 2, 2008
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    While the extinction of the dinosaurs is nice for mammals from an evolutionary standpoint, I think it's ultimately because dinosaurs are frakin' cool. Kids love dinosaurs who grow to become adults that love dinosaurs. They've captured the public imagination far more than the Permian-Triassic extinction event. I mean, who really cares about trilobytes when T. Rex is available to play with?
  15. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    This :D


    I haven't studied this in-depth at all, but one of my professors said something about an asteroid a couple miles wide hitting the Yucatan and wiping them out. He didn't spend very much time on that since it wasn't the point of the class, but the way he presented the information about catastrophic impacts and slow accretion or whatever the word in is the formation of earth made it sounds pretty reasonable.
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I think it's extremely telling that at the end of the Cretaceous, dinosaurs were still the dominant life-form and yet there were only about 2 dozen known species alive at the time. The number is probably higher as we're still digging dinosaurs out of the ground and finding new species with each year, but still-that's incredibly tiny. In contrast, today mammals are the dominant species and there's literally hundreds of different species.

  17. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 11, 1998
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    Perhaps the dinosaurs just adapted...grew smaller, evolved into something different.
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Some of them did; they became birds, which are now considered part of the dinosaur family.

    But the big, traditional dinos were all in decline well before K-T.
  19. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 11, 1998
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    Were dinosaurs just in North America?
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    No. Dinosaurs lived every on the planet except for the Antarctic.

    Which is one reason why I don't think it was solely the asteroid that got them; Gregory S Paul* pointed out in the early 90s that the polar dinosaurs at the very least were used to dealing with no sunlight for months at a time.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_S._Paul
  21. Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus

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    Nov 12, 2003
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    They lived on Antartica, too---though the continent wasn't at its present location at the time.

    If dinosaurs did live near the poles, then they probably migrated seasonally, like modern day caribou.
  22. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 11, 1998
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  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    Yep.

    You guys have a tyrannosaur:

    http://dinosaurs.wikia.com/wiki/Albertosaurus
  24. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 11, 1998
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    That dinosaur has the stupidest name possible. It *must* be Canadian.:p
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    As long as we're on dinosaurs and Zaz' lack of knowledge about them...:p

    the scene where the Spinosaur in JP# takes a full-power bite to the neck from a Rex and lives=BS.

    T-Rex bite wounds were capable of removing a six-foot long, two-foot-deep cavity. That Spinosaur would've been dead on the ground from a neck injury like that. :p