The Moon

Watching some of these science shows that Jenn comes up with on the PVR leads to some interesting thoughts.

For example: maybe one of the most important components in a planetary system that will spontaneously start to support life is: a large, single, moon.

Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Life on Earth is dependent on the infusion of complex elements and molecules, formed in the core, and probably started in the ocean depths where those elements and molecules are brought together under great pressure near undersea volcanoes -- the subduction and induction zones caused by continental drift.
  • Continental drift may be partially enabled by the constant tidal kneading of the crust by the moon's gravitational force as it orbits.
  • The crust on the Earth is much younger than it would have been had the Mars-sized object not collided with it 4.5 billion years ago, a collision which formed the Moon.
  • Life on Earth is protected from solar radiation by a strong magnetosphere, generated by the rotation of the molten core, rotation which probably received a whole whack of energy in the collision which formed the Moon.
Put together, it argues for Europa being another credible site of life formation -- at least on the primitive level -- deep pressures, water, and potential volcanoes caused by tidal forces from Jupiter.

Here's more: a video that shows how the Earth's magnetosphere helps protect the planet from coronal mass ejection (CME) events.  But relevant to this discussion is the observation that CME events have pretty much stripped any free water away from Venus, making life there unlikely, at least in the way that we understand.  The take-away from that: Venus doesn't have a magnetosphere, which to me means that either Venus' core isn't spinning the way Earth's is, or that Venus' core has a significantly different composition.  And looking at the topography, there isn't clear evidence of specific volcanic activity, or plate tectonics in general.


Sennheiser HD 500A

After using these Sennheiser HD 500A headphones, for a week, I can say that
  • they are really comfortable; and
  • they are much better quality than the MP3's I'm listening to.
We got them a couple years ago when the therapists that were working with Alex wanted him to do this "Active Listening" therapy, where special music/sounds were played to a child in order to stimulate parts of the brain.  Like all of these medical things, it was incredibly expensive, something like $250 for the CD and the headphones.  Not really sure that it did any good in the long run, as Alex quickly decided he didn't like the headset on his head.  The headphones today go for $140 on eBay, so I guess we did get some kind of value for the money.

But I found these headphones in the basement on the weekend while digging through boxes (ie "ineffectually moving things between piles") and figured I'd bring them into the office.  I have recently gone through a couple phases of music listening, first commandeering an old iPod of Alex's that isn't being used, then deciding I'd just listen to the music through iTunes on the laptop directly.  I still have the iPod earbuds for use when I am on the road, but these headphones are great for the office.

I used to listen to music directly off my phone, and I still do sometimes when I am in between calls while wearing the headset, but I've tried to become more battery-use conscious because I've had some days where I've been critically low on battery.