To complement the previous post about Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar, I here add what happened on December 31st, the last day of the year.
- 1:30 pm: Origin of the Proconsul and the Ramapithecus, probable ancestors of humans.
- 10:30 pm: First human being appears.
- 11:00 pm: Use of stone tools.
- 11:46 pm: Domestication of fire.
- 11:56 pm: Most recent glacial period.
- 11:59:20 pm: Invention of agriculture.
- 11:59:50 pm: Great discoveries on astronomy.
- 11:59:52 pm: Alphabet invention, Hammurabic legal codes.
- 11:59:53 pm: Bronze metallurgy, compass invention, Trojan War, Olmec culture.
- 11:59:54 pm: Iron metallurgy, Kingdom of Israel.
- 11:59:55 pm: Birth of Buddha and Confucious, Ch’in Dynasty China, Periclean Athens.
- 11:59:56 pm: Euclidean geometry, Archimedean physics, Ptolemaic astronomy, Greek Olympic games, Roman Empire, Birth of Christ.
- 11:59:58 pm: Mayan civilization, Sung Dynasty China, Byzantine empire, Mongol invasion, Crusades.
- 11:59:59 pm: Voyages of discovery from Europe and from Ming Dynasty China, Columbus lands in America, Renaissance in Europe.
- Today, first second of the new year: Beginning of modern culture, science and technology development, French revolution, World War I, World War II, Apollo lands on the moon, spacecraft planetary exploration, search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
All wars, inventions, discoveries, kings, revolutions, independences, and all the written history of humankind happens in the las 10 seconds of December 31st.
This makes me wonder what is important in life. We have been here for a really short period of time.
Humanity has gone through many studies and thousands of discoveries so we could know what we know today. But not everything has been easy, numerous theories and hypothesis turned out to be wrong thanks to the perseverance, intuition and curiosity of great scientists that brought them down.
With this said, I number 5 theories that long ago were thought to be absolute truths but we now know are far from being facts:
- Alchemy can change lead into gold, is able to create the philosopher’s stone and the life elixir.
- The Earth is 6,000 years old.
- The Atom is the smallest particle in the Universe.
- Heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones.
- The liver is the organ who is in charge of sending blood to the entire body.
The statements above were firmly believed. This is one of the main reasons why we must not be surprised if what we think today turns out not to be true in a near future. That’s why it is really important to constantly:
- break paradigms,
- refuse any type of dogma,
- think outside the box,
- question what has been stipulated by others or by ourselves, and
- always keep questioning.
Finally, I would like to bring out this video in which Steve Jobs shares a couple of thoughts with Stanford’s graduated students in 2005. If you haven’t seen it, it will definitely leave you a couple of things to think about, and if you have already seen it, it’s worth watching it again.
And to prove it:
- I have a coccyx, trace of the tail our ancestors once had.
- I have an appendix, its function was to facilitate plant digestion. Today it isn’t really needed because our food intake is much more easy to digest.
- I once had wisdom teeth, they gave me a lot of pain due to the small space I had for such monstrosities in my jaws. However, they were actually pretty useful in the days in which our daily diet consisted in mammoth meat.
- Goosebumps, useless today, but when we were covered with hair it helped us get protected from cold and look scarier and bigger to intimadate our enemies.
- I have tonsils, they haven’t caused me any trouble and I hope they keep it that way. Their function was to filtrate bacteria and microorganisms to prevent body infections.
I recommend this incredible interactive documentary about our evolution.