The Advent of Parallax Distance to Measure Immense Distances in Space


Stellar parallax is a measurement technique developed by Friedrich Bessel to measure far away objects in deep space. The process of stellar parallax involves measuring an object from two separate vantage points hinging upon the fact that the object being observed will appear to move a lot more than objects further behind it (e.g. if an observer closes one eye and views their finger in front of a building, and then repeats this act with their second eye closed and the first eye open, the observers finger will appear as though it has moved much further left or right, relative to the other objects behind it). Because Bessel developed a method of calculation to take advantage of this phenomena, astronomers now have the ability to map grand distances with relative accuracy. Bessel worked out that if an observer took an image of a star when the Earth was at either side of its orbit around the sun, it would be possible to observe the star shifting in its position. By knowing how much a star shifts, it is possible to calculate the distance the star is from its observation point on Earth. Bessel surmised that the relatively close star 61 Cygni must be 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) kilometers away from the Earth because of his parallax distance method. This technique unfortunately is severely limited as the diameter of the Earth’s orbit is only 300,000,000 (300 million) kilometers which means that the parallax method can only measure objects up to a factor of 1,000,000x (1 million) the Earths orbital rotation, allowing for a maximum distance of 300,000,000,000,000 (300 trillion) kilometers which is only a tiny fraction of the size of the Milky Way Galaxy or the universe as a whole

The Evolution of Primitive and Sophisticated Neural Networks


The human brain has 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) connections and 86,000,000,000 (86 billion) neurons, which is more connections and neurons than there are stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Ironically, the majority of the most successful creatures on Earth do not have a brain; organisms like plants, coral, and jellyfish. The sea squirt is a primary example as it has just 200 neurons, allowing it only to perceive and display simple interaction with the environment by sensing light and moving its flagellum. The sea squirt moves around until it finds a rock, then it dumps its tail and uses those once dedicated neurons for different applications, staying anchored to this spot for the rest of its life. Neurons were originally designed to allow for simple motion and movement, but as evolution progressed steadily, neural networks began to build and design intelligent life which is capable of consciousness and a sense of self but also more abstract concepts like art, mathematics, and science

Dung Beetle Celestial Navigation


Dung beetles use the Milky Way Galaxy to navigate. The dung beetle’s eyes are much too small and imprecise to see individual stars, however they are accurate enough to see the presence of the stars within the Milky Way Galaxy itself. Dung beetles have a particularly difficult time navigating in a straight line on cloudy or obstructed nights which is what initially lead scientists to the discovery of the dung beetle’s navigation methods. This find was the first time an animal or insect was discovered to navigate using primitive astronomy techniques