You are much luckier than you think
Reading this article will forever change your life, giving you a new perspective and reason to be happy and feel blessed. Gratitude can increase happiness, so this article will make you happier now and for the rest of your life. Even if you're an atheist, you should thank God for this.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
Eric Hoffer

Wouldn't it be great to live in a world filled with miracles? You do. Let's begin with one of the most basic: the miracle of life.

Imagine that you won hundreds of millions of dollars in a multi-state lottery. Then you won it again, not just once but thousands of times in a row. Then someone fell madly in love with you, not your money, who was the most attractive person in the world and the nicest, most considerate, charming, cheerful, intelligent, interesting, affectionate, honest, loyal, and best kisser—ever.

Then you won the Nobel Prize—all of them, year after year.

Then you took up golf and always hit a hole-in-one.

Then you set a world record in every sport, were elected President of the United States, created world peace, solved homelessness and global warming, and were so popular that even your opponent's wife and children voted for you.

You'd feel very fortunate, wouldn't you? You would be incredibly lucky.

Is that how lucky you are? Not even close; you are incomprehensibly more lucky than that. You are millions and billions and trillions of times more lucky.


Yes, really. How do I know? Statistical probability. Flip a coin: heads or tails, 50-50 odds, easy to understand, right? When chromosomes recombine in the process of meiosis, the chance of your DNA forming — thus, the chance of you existing — is so close to zero it is an absolute wonder that you exist. A professor said that “any couple could have … 70 trillion different possible children.” Even if your parents had billions of children, what is the chance of them creating you? Not zero, but very close to it.

And what was the chance of them finding one another and marrying? Very slim. And what was the chance of them even existing? Very close to zero. To calculate the probability of you even having a 1 in 70 trillion chance of life, start multiplying the almost zero chance of each of your many ancestors living and surviving long enough to reproduce, without doctors, hospitals, paramedics, antibiotics, flu shots, police, grocery stores, and cozy homes.

With each generation, the chance of your genes surviving was vanishingly small: many trillions of times more likely to not occur than occur.

Now consider the countless generations that existed since the dawn of life, with each generation diluting your chance of life from almost zero to almost zero times that: multiplying very, very tiny numbers by very, very tiny numbers gives you numbers that are very, very, very, very tiny: numbers that make winning every lottery seem like a sure bet in comparison. And yet you exist; you beat all those odds. Your life is a miracle beyond comprehension.

But for you to live, there had to be an Earth situated at just the right distance from a star of just the right size: our Sun. Peer into the night sky and you'll see thousands of stars, but there are many more; estimates of the number of stars in the universe range from 70 sextillion (70,000 million million million) to much more: 1024, or a one followed by 24 zeros—a number so big that Einstein couldn't fully wrap his mind around it. Even the low estimate is “about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts.

And guess what? We've yet to detect signs of life anywhere except here on Earth.

But without a number of meteorite impacts at just the right time and place, the history of the Earth would be radically different. Almost certainly, humans wouldn't be here, and even if they were, you and I certainly would not be. You likely also owe your existence to “nickel-eating bacteria [that] may have worsened the world's worst mass die-off,” setting the stage for other life to take its place. That culminated in humans—and you.

From an H2 program, The Universe:

Laura Danly, Ph.D., Griffith Observatory: “Everything in the Universe is determined by the fundamental forces of nature. The strength of those forces are characterized by numbers called fundamental constants that are so sensitive that if they changed by just a little bit, the Universe as we know it wouldn't be here. For example, if the rate of expansion of the Universe right after the Big Bang had changed by one part in a quintillion … the Universe would continue to expand, or collapse back on itself, and none of this would be possible.”

To illustrate how big one quintillion is, she said there are about one quintillion grains of sand on Earth. Imagine changing that total by just one grain—an infinitesimal change, but one no greater in extent than the one Dr. Danly cited that made life possible.

I was never one to have an inherent, unquestioning belief in God, but scientific facts like this should make you wonder. Was it really just luck that led to the creation of the Universe and Earth hospitable to life? Criminal courts haven't quantitated what “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” means, but considering how often judges and juries are wrong, it is safe to assume they don't demand one-in-a-million odds. But consider this: One-in-a-million is a trillion (1000 billion, or a million million) times more probable than one-in-a-quintillion!

That fascinating program also discussed how slightly nonuniform distribution of matter allowed stars to form (without stars, there would be no humans; we're primarily made of stardust).

Related: Our Improbable Existence Is No Evidence for a Multiverse: Experts in probability have spotted a logical flaw in theorists' reasoning
Excerpt: “We can model what the universe would have looked like if its constants—the strength of gravity, the mass of an electron, the cosmological constant—had been slightly different. What has become clear is that … they had to have pretty much exactly the values they had in order for life to be possible. The physicist Lee Smolin has calculated that the odds of life-compatible numbers coming up by chance is 1 in 10229.”

However, it wasn't only earth-shattering events that changed history; mosquito bites, breezes, falling branches, and countless trillions of seemingly inconsequential events shaped history, affecting who lives and who dies—and when they die, all of their possible descendants instantly lose their chance of living. As that happens innumerable times per day, every day, the future is constantly in flux.

A temperature difference of less than one degree may change if rain changes to slippery ice that leads to an accident that kills you. Or you may miss a traffic light by one second and, because of it, be in the wrong place at just the right time minutes later when a thug drops a bowling ball from a freeway overpass that shatters your skull, spraying your brains onto your wife and daughter.

That really happened to an ophthalmologist in Detroit returning home after taking his family to dinner in Windsor. Perhaps a request from another patron delayed his server by a minute—long enough to put him in the crosshairs instead of some other driver. Or perhaps he was delayed leaving his office that day by squeezing in a patient with a flake of rust in his eye that fell in when he worked on his muffler; perhaps the flake would have missed his eye if his head moved by a fraction of an inch. No eye foreign body, no extra appointment that day, no delay just long enough to be the unlucky one.

Events like this happen all the time. Trivial changes make a world of difference in who lives and who dies. If we could rewind Earth's history 100,000 years, what is the chance that all the random events that led to you would be repeated? Zero, for all practical purposes. That is also true if only the last century were replayed. Would replaying the last century a hundred trillion times give you a good shot at life? Nope.

Researchers believe that human intelligence originated because of “a simple invertebrate animal living in the sea 500 million years ago experienced a 'genetic accident', which resulted in extra copies of these genes being made.” What if that genetic accident occurred in an animal eaten before it could pass on its genes, like most sea invertebrates? We wouldn't be here. Doubt me? Ask any mermaid you happen to see.

Humans have an interesting yardstick for happiness: how fortunate they are in comparison with others. Do they have more money? A nicer home? Better car, job, and health? Partners who are kinder and more attractive? More luck playing the lottery?

These comparisons are trivial because we're all lottery winners; we won the lottery of life.

Anything alive is miraculously lucky, but you could have been a mosquito fried in a bug zapper or an earthworm squashed by a tire, with never any friends, happy memories, or loved ones to cherish your memory when you're gone. You're alive, you're human, and even if you are unemployed and hungry, you are trillions and trillions (and trillions!) of times more fortunate than all of the people who could have existed, but never did, and never will. So make every day a Thanksgiving day. You have much to be thankful for; you have life.

Still not convinced how lucky you are? Perhaps you let yourself be happy only to the extent your luck exceeds that of other ultimate lottery winners. But luck can never be adequately assessed until it's all over.

Consider Lauren Bump. At age 24, her resplendent beauty would make many Hollywood stars jealous. She was educated, smart, and dreamed of being a doctor before deciding to instead become a Physician Assistant. Not long before she was scheduled to graduate, she went jogging and was stabbed to death—surely a more agonizing way to die than being clubbed over the head, as happened to my father. The roommate of Lauren's alleged killer, Christian Ivan Bautista, said he bragged, “I stuck that (expletive). I cut her up real nice.

Or consider Eve Carson. 22 years old, gorgeous, student body president at the University of North Carolina, and a recipient of the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, but killed by a shotgun blast to the head.

Or consider 7th Heaven actress Sarah Goldberg, who died at age 40.

Or consider actress Brittany Murphy (star of many films, including Drop Dead Gorgeous and The Dead Girl), who died at age 32.

Or consider Reeva Steenkamp, the South African model who was shot and killed by Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic athlete who blasted her through his bathroom door.

Or consider this List of models who died during their careers in the 21st century. They had what our dysfunctional world values most — beautiful bodies — yet they had too little of what we all value most: life.

Or consider 30 child actors who died young.

Or consider Elvis Presley, a legend in his own time and the King of Rock and Roll, who died alone, ignominiously in his bathroom, on a very unglamorous throne, possibly straining to pass stool because of drug-induced constipation.

Or consider Michael Jackson: once supremely talented, successful, famous, rich, and handsome, he first destroyed his looks before contributing to his premature death. The pinnacle of his luck eclipsed anything most people will ever know, yet who would trade places with him now? No one.

And your reason? Because you're much luckier than he was. He's not alive, but you are, so enjoy it, and don't let problems get you down, for the only ones who have them are those still living.

Lucky you.

Oh, one more thing: If you're depressed about getting older, remember this: Aging beats the alternative. And never waste a minute worrying about your chronological age; it's your biological age that ultimately kills you. But you can affect it, so you can live longer if you wish.

Lucky you.

Yes, I know: there's always someone luckier than you: someone richer, smarter, or more attractive. But when you consider how incredibly lucky you are to be alive, that makes as much sense as Warren Buffett being depressed because he isn't quite as rich as Bill Gates.

I want to be an astrophysicist. I want to prove to the world that God does exist through science.
11-year-old William Maillis after receiving his Associate in Arts degree
Comment: This article summarizes key points in that proof. Whether scientific or legal, proof ultimately is rooted in probability.

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr

Are you homeless?

If so, you might be lucky enough to meet someone who wants to give you a home: me. Last year I offered to give free Thanksgiving dinners and free firewood; now I'm offering a free home.


  1. Book by astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Ph.D.: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is
  2. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe editorial excerpt: “Paleontologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee think all of us should feel lucky. Their rare Earth hypothesis predicts that while simple, microbial life will be very widespread in the universe, complex animal or plant life will be extremely rare.”
  3. Fine-tuned Universe
  4. Intelligent Life Really Can't Exist Anywhere Else
    Based on: The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life is Rare
  5. Scientists find water microdroplets can transform into hydrogen peroxide when condensing on cold surfaces
    Excerpt: “The researchers also speculate that this newly recognized chemical ability of water could have played a key role in jumpstarting the chemistry for life on Earth billions of years ago, as well as produced our planet's first atmospheric oxygen before life emerged. ‘This spontaneous production of hydrogen peroxide may be a missing part of the story of how the building blocks of life were formed on early,’ [Professor Richard] Zare said.”
  6. T. Boone Pickens: Class of 2013: Here's What I'd Give Up to be You
    Comment: One of the best articles ever written.
  7. Meteorite 'changed Earth's history'
  8. Meteorite strikes made life on Earth possible
  9. New Theories Link Asteroid Impacts to Major Changes in Earth's History
  10. Study suggests asteroids might play key role in spreading life
  11. Are Asteroids History's Greatest Killers?
  12. Meteorites, Impacts, and Mass Extinction
  13. Impact-caused extinction events
  14. Huge Asteroid Is Still the Central Villain in Dinosaurs’ Extinction
  15. Alien Life May Be Rare Across the Universe
    Comment: Extensive searches for signs of life on other planets has so far turned up nothing, thus making life on Earth all the more exceptional.
  16. Origin of Intelligence and Mental Illness Linked to Ancient Genetic Accident based on Synaptic scaffold evolution generated components of vertebrate cognitive complexity
  17. Memory Strategy May Help Depressed People Remember the Good Times
  18. Improving Memory for Specific Events Can Alleviate Symptoms of Depression
    Comment: IMHO, including specific events such as why everyone alive should be thrilled they were born when almost everyone who could have lived never had the chance. “Almost everyone” = 99.99999999999999999999999999999++++% (BTW, that number is considerably lower than what it really is; the true number would fill a page with many more 9s).
  19. Alternative Way to Explain Life's Complexity Proposed
    Comment: Sure, and pocket calculators evolved from personal computers that evolved from supercomputers.
  20. Could Life Be Older Than Earth Itself?
  21. Why does anything exist? Scientists find a bit of the answer
    Excerpt: “Everything seems to add up, it is just that it doesn't come to anything near the amount of difference we need to explain the evolution of the universe.”
    Comment: So scientists still cannot explain it.
  22. “ … there were at least 100 billion galaxies in the entire Universe.
    Comment: Where did all that matter and energy come from? The greatest mystery in the Universe is where its staggering amount of matter and energy came from. It seems utterly impossible that it always existed, yet equally implausible that lots of something arose from nothing.
  23. Can Science Lead to Faith?
  24. Life On Earth Shockingly Comes from out of This World
  25. Earth-Bound Asteroids Carried Ever-Evolving, Life-Starting Organic Compounds
  26. Life-Producing Phosphorus Carried to Earth by Meteorites
  27. Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites
  28. Clay May Have Been Birthplace of Life On Earth, New Study Suggests
  29. Moon and Earth Have Common Water Source
    Comment: Do you know what that means?
  30. Earth's water is older than the sun: Likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space
    Comment: Just one of the countless lucky events that led to our Earth.
    1. The Spliceosome: More Than Meets the Eye
      Comment: The chance of that occurring as a result of random mutations (blah, blah, blah) isn't zero, but darn close to it.

      I began medical school convinced God didn't exist and the origin of life was just a fortunate chance occurrence, but by the time I graduated in the top 1% of my class (hence I understood virtually everything my professors taught), I thought it was preposterous to think all this complexity spontaneously arose and then evolved into such mind-boggling intricacy we still don't understand half of it. After digging for decades, I learned that biology is enormously more complicated than I assumed after college and medical school. It's easy to understand how evolution proceeds when one or two changes confer an obvious benefit, but not when some change is utterly useless (and potentially harmful) until all of the many pieces of the puzzle miraculously fall into place and everything magically harmonizes with existing systems of physiology, etc.

      Then there's another issue: the Earth is more hospitable to life now than billions of years ago when life supposedly arose from chance, yet in all that time, we've never seen de novo generation of new forms of life that would be very conspicuous by being based on different biology. What's in fruit flies and worms is often in you and me, like different computers running very similar operating systems (OSs). Computers can also run entirely different OSs but the fundamental elements of life possess similarity or absolute equivalence strongly suggesting that life arose once, not again and again, as likely would have happened many times as Earth became ever more hospitable to life IF life could indeed arise from chance.
  31. List of people who died in road accidents.
  32. Education may not improve our life chances of happiness
  33. Looking for happiness in all the wrong places
  34. 'Missing' disaster led to all-time worst extinction
    Excerpt: “If confirmed, it would mean that life in the Permian period was hit by a double whammy that made the extinction of the dinosaurs look like a tea party.”
  35. Psychologists discover the simplest way to boost your mood: awe-inspiring experiences
  36. Being in awe can expand time and enhance well-being
  37. Volcanic eruptions that changed human history
  38. Comet impacts may have led to life on Earth -- and perhaps elsewhere
  39. A Valuable Lesson in Gratitude
  40. The aliens are silent because they're dead: Life on other planets would probably go extinct soon after its origin, due to runaway heating or cooling on their fledgling planets
  41. Moon was produced by a head-on collision between Earth and a forming planet
  42. Do gut microbes shape our evolution?: Researcher proposes that a host's microbiota can steer its evolution in new directions
  43. Placenta in females, muscle mass in males: Dual heritage of a virus
  44. Reality guide: Six problems physics can't explain: From the dark energy ripping the cosmos apart to the part consciousness plays in creating reality, quantum physics and cosmology retain many mysteries
    Excerpt: “The standard model of particle physics … doesn't fully explain the different strengths of weak, strong and electromagnetic forces, for example, or the masses of the particles it introduces. These quantities have to be measured experimentally and tacked on to the theory. Were any of them to have even marginally different values, the universe would look very different. The Higgs boson's mass, for example, is just about the smallest it can be without the universe's matter becoming unstable.”
  45. Life may have emerged not once, but many times on Earth: Far from being a miracle that happened just once in 4 billion years, life's beginnings could have been so commonplace that it began many times over
    Comment: All known life stemmed from LUCA (the last universal common ancestor). If life is just “a matter of basic chemistry – no magic required, no rare ingredients, no bolt from the blue,” as that article alleges, why don't we see life springing into existence now, de novo? Or why haven't other lifeforms emerged from a non-LUCA source? The Earth is obviously hospitable to life, so if life were a matter of simple chemistry and chance, in billions of years it should have arisen so many times it would seem quotidian, not a miracle.
  46. Why we have yet to find extraterrestrial life
  47. How fungi helped create life as we know it
  48. Iron-silica particles unlock part of the mystery of Earth's oxygenation: The original sunscreen: Particles in ancient seawater helped cyanobacteria to oxygenate Earth's oceans billions of years ago
  49. Steep decline in student belief that God created humans, 32-year Australian study reveals
  50. Did key building blocks for life come from deep space?
    Excerpt: “… compelling new evidence that this component for life was found to be generated in outer space and delivered to Earth in its first one billion years by meteorites or comets.”
  51. Study shows comets impacted start of life on earth
  52. Stripping the linchpins from the life-making machine reaffirms its seminal evolution: A daring experiment delivers whopping evidence of the translational system's seminal appearance in evolution
  53. New study reveals common table salt may have been crucial for the origins of life
  54. Life has a new ingredient: Inosine could be a potential route to the first RNA and the origin of life on Earth
  55. Planetary collision that formed the moon made life possible on Earth: Study: Planetary delivery explains enigmatic features of Earth's carbon and nitrogen
  56. New evidence suggests volcanoes caused biggest mass extinction ever: Mercury found in ancient rock around the world supports theory that eruptions caused 'Great Dying' 252 million years ago.
  57. ‘Slime’ shows how algae have shaped our climate, evolution and daily lives: A new book will have you looking at pond scum in a whole new light
  58. Why are you and I and everything else here? Physicists explore the question of matter/antimatter
  59. Book: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing
  60. The Mystery of Time's Arrow: This simple model of the universe shows how one natural law points toward order.
  61. If you were to move all of the matter in the universe into one corner, how much space would it take up?
    Comment: If all the known matter in the universe were evenly distributed, it could not support life as we know it because it would be too scattered: “… only about 0.0000000000000000000042 percent of the universe contains any matter.”
  62. According to the big bang theory, all the matter in the universe erupted from a singularity. Why didn't all this matter--cheek by jowl as it was--immediately collapse into a black hole?
  63. Complex life may only exist because of millions of years of groundwork by ancient fungi
  64. Researchers wonder if ancient supernovae prompted human ancestors to walk upright
  65. Earth's heavy metals result of supernova explosion, University of Guelph Research Reveals
  66. Researchers identify the origins of metabolism
  67. Human pregnancy dependent on cells evolved in platypus-like animal 300 million years ago
  68. Electricity-driven undersea reactions may have been important for the emergence of life
  69. Origin of life: The importance of interfaces
  70. Were hot, humid summers the key to life's origins?
  71. Ocean fizz could have helped to kick-start life: Microscopic bubbles can bring together biomolecules such as DNA.
  72. Gigantic asteroid collision boosted biodiversity on Earth
  73. Asteroid Dust Triggered an Explosion of Life on Ancient Earth: At 466 million years ago, the breakup of a large space rock may have led to major changes in our planet’s biodiversity
  74. An ancient rock suggests a new theory for how life started
  75. Scientists identify molecule that could have helped cells survive—and thrive—on early Earth (cyclophospholipids)
  76. Showing how the tiniest particles in our universe saved us from complete annihilation
  77. Would humans evolve again if we rewound time? Our species emerged as a result of a mind-bending number of random events and mutations, but it may also have been inevitable that humans, or something like us, would walk the Earth.
    Comment: Short answer: no. Long answer: No way.
  78. Four Reasons You Shouldn’t Exist: Physics says you’re an impurity in an otherwise beautiful universe.
  79. If the World Began Again, Would Life as We Know It Exist? Experiments in evolution are exploring what would happen if we rewound the tape of life.
    Comment: Would life as we know it exist? No. Crucial facets of what developed arose from random chance.
  80. Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs hit just right for maximum damage
  81. Ancient asteroid impacts created the ingredients of life on Earth and Mars
  82. Complex cells may have evolved due to a shortage of trace metals
  83. Exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth, study shows
  84. How a greenhouse catastrophe killed nearly all life: Scientists show the unfolding of one of the largest mass extinctions in Earth's history
  85. Why Earth's History Appears So Miraculous: The strange, cosmic reason our evolutionary path will look ever luckier the longer we survive
  86. Chance played a major role in keeping Earth fit for life
  87. Discovery boosts theory that life on Earth arose from RNA-DNA mix
    Comment: This is like asserting that a Ford factory arose from its blueprints. The information in RNA and DNA cannot engender life without many other components, the absence of just one of which can make the others useless, analogous to how breaking just one link in a chain can render it worthless.
  88. January 22, 2018: Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth's Start: A series of fossil finds suggests that life on Earth started earlier than anyone thought, calling into question a widely held theory of the solar system's beginnings.
  89. January 28, 2021: 635 million-year-old fungi-like microfossil that bailed us out of an ice age discovered
  90. February 24, 2021: Evidence that Earth's first cells could have made specialized compartments
  91. March 16, 2021: What sparked life on Earth? Perhaps bolts from the blue
  92. March 16, 2021: Lightning strikes played a vital role in life's origins on Earth: study
  93. May 23, 2023: Life on Earth quickly became independent from lightning as a nitrogen source, says new study
  94. March 16, 2021: Phosphorus for Earth's earliest life may have been forged by lightning: Long thought to have been delivered by meteorites, the element is crucial for DNA and RNA
  95. March 26, 2021: New theory suggests large blobs of material in Earth's mantle are remnants of protoplanet Theia
  96. April 28, 2021: The story of Earth and the question no scientist ever asked
  97. April 30, 2021: One incredible ocean crossing may have made human evolution possible
  98. May 13, 2021: Life may have become cellular by using unusual molecules
  99. May 17, 2021: The 5 mass extinction events that shaped the history of Earth — and the 6th that's happening now: The death of the dinosaurs was just one of five global events that saw millions of species wiped out. How do these events happen? And how can we stop it happening again?
  100. June 4, 2021: Did heat from impacts on asteroids provide the ingredients for life on Earth?
    Related: June 24, 2021: Asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs still shaping life beneath impact crater
  101. June 24, 2021: Comet strike may have sparked civilisation shift
  102. June 7, 2021: How basic physics and chemistry constrain cellular functions in primitive and modern cells
  103. June 10, 2021: Robot chemist offers insight into the origins of life
    Related: Robotic chemist may be able to recreate Earth's primordial soup
  104. July 7, 2021: Changes in Earth's orbit enabled the emergence of complex life
  105. July 8, 2021: Early Earth was bombarded by series of city-sized asteroids
  106. September 27, 2021: Answering a century-old question on the origins of life
  107. October 11, 2021: Primates' ancestors may have left trees to survive asteroid
  108. November 8, 2021: Earth may have grown around a rock from an alien star system: Interstellar objects like ‘Oumuamua might pass through our solar system in such high numbers that one could have acted as a seed around which Earth grew
  109. A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life: Back when the sun was 30% dimmer, Earth should have frozen solid. Yet water flowed and life blossomed. The solution to the paradox shows that we might have that faint sun to owe for life's existence — with critical consequences for the possibility of life outside Earth.
  110. February 7, 2022: Is the 'fine-tuned universe' an illusion?
  111. March 4, 2022: Burst of animal evolution altered chemical make-up of Earth's mantle: The Cambrian explosion 500 million years ago saw a huge variety of animals evolve – and also led to carbon being buried in the seabed and ultimately carried into the planet's mantle
  112. March 10, 2022: 'Seafloor fertilizer factory' helped breathe life into Earth
  113. April 26, 2022: Life on Earth was started by a meteorite, new evidence suggests: Discovery of DNA building blocks in meteor samples may explain how life survived ‘substantial geochemical challenges’ of planet's infancy
  114. May 18, 2022: Origin of Life Theory Involving RNA–Protein Hybrid Gets New Support: A structure that links amino acids suggests that early organisms could have been based on an RNA-protein mix
  115. June 11, 2022: Is life the result of the laws of entropy? Nearly 80 years ago, Erwin Schrödinger used the physics of the day to try to understand the origins of life. Now, Stephon Alexander and Salvador Almagro-Moreno try to do the same with modern science
  116. You're astonishing! Life can be better appreciated when you remember how wonderfully and frighteningly unlikely it is that you exist at all
    Comment: Heavy on philosophy and speculation, light on science.
  117. September 30, 2022: The Milky Way's Spiral Arms May Have Carved Earth's Continents: A controversial new theory suggests the Milky Way galaxy's arms sent comets hurtling toward early Earth, where impacts built new continental crust
  118. January 23, 2023: Split-second of evolutionary cellular change could have led to mammals, suggests new hypothesis
  119. January 27, 2023: Multicellular life may have begun with brief alliances between cells
  120. March 20, 2023: Oxygen on early Earth may have come from quartz crushed by earthquakes: Billions of years ago, crushed quartz reacting with water could have created the conditions needed for the evolution of the photosynthetic microbes responsible for most of the oxygen now in Earth's atmosphere
  121. April 13, 2023: Early break-up of eastern African forests shaped our ape ancestors: Forests in eastern Africa started turning into grassland 10 million years earlier than previously thought, which may have driven the evolution of upright apes
  122. November 16, 2023: Scientists Find First Evidence That Groups of Apes Cooperate: Some bonobos are challenging the notion that humans are the only primates capable of group-to-group alliances.
  123. April 18, 2023: How soils changed life on Earth
  124. May 2, 2023: A stormy, active sun may have kickstarted life on Earth
  125. May 4, 2023: A New Idea for How to Assemble Life: If we want to understand complex constructions, such as ourselves, assembly theory says we must account for the entire history of how such entities came to be.
  126. May 23, 2023: The laws of physics have not always been symmetric, which may explain why you exist
  127. June 1, 2023: New theory may explain Earth's oxygen-rich atmosphere and the late evolution of animal life
  128. August 31, 2023: Human ancestors nearly went extinct 900,000 years ago: A new technique analysing modern genetic data suggests that pre-humans survived in a group of only 1,280 individuals.
  129. August 31, 2023: Extreme cold may have nearly wiped out human ancestors 900,000 years ago: Ancestral populations rebounded by about 100,000 years later, a contested DNA analysis suggests
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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