|Big Bang||January 1|
|Origin of Milky Way Galaxy||May 1|
|Origin of the solar system||September 9|
|Formation of the Earth||September 14|
|Origin of life on Earth||~ September 25|
|Formation of the oldest rocks known on Earth||October 2|
|Date of oldest fossils (bacteria and blue-green algae)||October 9|
|Invention of sex (by microorganisms)||~ November 1|
|Oldest fossil photosynthetic plants||November 12|
|Eukaryotes (first cells with nuclei) flourish||November 15|
Now flip forward to December 31, in cosmic year #1:
|First humans||~ 10:30 p.m.|
|Widespread use of stone tools||11:00 p.m.|
|Domestication of fire by Peking man||11:46 p.m.|
|Beginning of most recent glacial period||11:56 p.m.|
|Seafarers settle Australia||11:58 p.m.|
|Extensive cave painting in Europe||11:59 p.m.|
And now it's time to drop the ball: Happy New Year!
|Renaissance in Europe; voyages of discovery from Europe and from Ming Dynasty China; emergence of the experimental method in science||11:59:59 p.m.|
|Widespread development of science and technology; emergence of global culture; acquisition of the means of self-destruction of the human species; first steps in spacecraft planetary exploration and the search of extraterrestrial intelligence||Now: The first second of New Year's Day|
Future Quiz #2-
1. The approximate age of the universe is _____ years.
2. The representation of time via a cosmic calendar was introduced in The Dragons of Eden and on the Cosmos television program by _____________.
3. (T/F) Sagan thought it reasonable to expect extraterrestrial help to come and save us from ourselves, at some indeterminate point in the future (as in his "Contact" story), and to think we might migrate to other worlds in the near term if we make Earth uninhabitable.
4. Chabon's "Omega Glory" was inspired by Star Trek, and by _____________.
5.(T/F) Chabon agrees with the letter of the Sex Pistols anthem: there is no future, it does not exist.
6. (T/F) Chabon laments the loss of our ability (or will) to envision anything beyond the next hundred years or so, as if we lacked the fundamental faith that there will in fact be any future at all beyond that not-too distant date. (Do you?)
7. What did Chabon's little boy think about the prospects of our long-term future? What do you think about them? How deep is your conception of meaningful time? How much of the future is real to you?
8. How old is our sun? (young, middle aged, senescent...?)
9. Rees calls himself what kind of optimist and pessimist? How about you?
10. What's the best question about the human conception of time and the future I haven't asked you?