409 Six Nails, and counting


What on Earth can you do with nails, other than nailing?  John Bisbee  tells us.

this photo is one in a series


So, I took my lead-in photo for this blog; do you think there’s something unusual going on in that photo? There are six nails, intersecting in the one spot. Setting up the photo I bore in mind a snippet of information I retained over the years, from one of my books by Paul Davies (I don’t remember which one it was, I have at least half a dozen of them.

I quote professor Paul Davies in at least two of my essays, EXISTENCE  and FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE):  The creation of life on Earth was a fluke … the chance of life arising anywhere is as great as the chance of throwing six nails (pick-up sticks, tooth-picks, whatever) on the table and they end up - by chance, not the way I did it - on top of one another, all intersecting in the one spot. So, the chance of life arising is near zero. Brian Cox thinks that’s just about right (see the  SMH  article below).


But I got side-tracked, back to John Bisbee’s nails, he turns them into sculptures … stunning! 

via Visual News.






So, what was that about life on Earth being unique in our galaxy, even the universe?

Here's  Brian Cox,  (SMH):

The process which led to the creation of humankind on earth was a fluke - and it is highly unlikely it has been repeated anywhere else in the galaxy.


That is the view of English physicist Professor Brian Cox, who made the  assertion in an episode of BBC's  The Human Universe


Professor Cox thwarted suggestions alien life was a possibility and said he believed humans were the only form of civilisation in our galaxy, despite the astronomical number of other planets in it. 


The presenter and scientist, who also appeared on the ABC's Q&A program last week, blamed a series of "evolutionary bottlenecks" as the main reason no extraterrestrial life has been discovered.


"There is only one advanced technological civilisation in this galaxy and there has only ever been one - and that's us," Professor Cox said. "We are unique.


"It's a dizzying thought. There are billions of planets out there, surely there must have been a second genesis?


"But we must be careful because the story of life on this planet shows that the transition from single-celled life to complex life may not have been inevitable."


Professor Cox went on to say that the extinction of dinosaurs, believed by scientists to have been caused by a meteor impact, allowed mammals and ultimately humans to dominate the planet.


"We still struggle to understand how this happened," he said. "It's incredibly unusual. 

"We're confident this only happened once in the oceans of the primordial earth. Life here did squeeze through."


Professor Cox's views are in stark contrast to those of astrophysicists Dr Timothy Brandt and Dr David Spiege of Princeton University, who last month made the claim that our best chance of finding aliens, if they exist at all, lies in the examination of plant life on planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets. 


They said if alien life existed on exoplanets, it might be possible to detect traces of water, oxygen and chlorophyll. 


Meanwhile, NASA has offered a more widely accepted prediction; that one hundred million worlds in our galaxy are capable and fit to host alien life.