September 24, 2006
Suppose that an alien comes into orbit around our planet, and
requests that a single human come aboard and in less than one
hour brief the alien about the human history of planet earth.
Here is Human History in a Hurry
LB would first show the alien his 10 fingers, and explain that
this is why we use a 10-based counting system. It is a nice coincidence
that the exponential time series 5x10^9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,0 works
perfectly for the base 10, has 10 elements, and needs each element
to be multiplied by 5 to fit the planetary, evolutionary, and
To conclude the intro to the briefing, LB would note that mathematical
concepts of Approximation and Scaling are embedded in the series,
and that so far neither of these concepts can be simulated by
Artificial Intelligence. Only the human mind can grok the informational
value of approximation and scaling.
With 55 minutes to go, the briefing begins
5x10^9 (about 5 billion years ago) a supernova explosion
just 1 light year away from the solar nebula sends a massive shockwave
into the solar/planetary disc, resulting in a large number of
planets (about 10, more at first in unstable orbits). Shortly
thereafter one of these protoplanets crashes into the early earth,
and like a billiard ball hit on its side, the collision produces
a rapidly spinning earth, setting the stage for the evolution
of a biphasic (waking and sleeping) system of learning, two time
5x10^8 (about 500 million years ago) the first fish, our
5x10^7 (about 50 million years ago) the first monkeys,
beginning the brainbranch of evolution with a prominent cerebral
cortex equipped with a biphasic/circadian system with its continuous
interaction of learning from the waking state, reorganized during
sleep. (LB now gives the alien a copy of the theory of learning,
published by the University of Chicago Press, in 1969, when the
first humans were landing on the moon. The moon is the result
of collision described at 5x10^9.)
5x10^6 (about 5 million years ago) the first humans, the
big brained biped.
5x10^5 (about 500,000 years ago) the first helpless offspring,
for at least 5 years. The pelvic outlet within the hips of the
human female can get no bigger, due to biomechanical restrictions
for walking and especially for running. For the first time in
evolution, there is huge brain growth after birth, inside the
cranium of the helpless neonate/infant/toddler.
5x10^4 (about 50,000 years ago) the first language and
the first symbolic thought..
5x10^3 (about 5000 years ago) the first writing, the first
cities, the first top-down/top-dog hierarchies, and the first
post-Darwinian dynamics inside cities, inside hierarchies, and
from the military activities of permanent armies. (LB uses the
example of pyramid building, where the afterlife of the pharoah
is more important than the life of the slave who builds the pyramid.
This is patently post-Darwinian.)
5x10^2 (starting about 500 years ago) the first printed
books with movable type, the merging of the hemispheres with the
Voyages of Discovery, the modern world (Copernicus and Columbus
5x10^1 (starting about 50 years ago) the first computers
for purchase, everything escalates, especially human population
and environmental damage.
5x10^0 (the first 5 years of the 21st Century, 2001-2005)
global warring anywhere and global warming everywhere, bookended
by 9/11 and Katrina.
With the briefing now completed, LB tells the alien of the converging
consensus that the next 10 years (2006-2015) are critical to somehow
avoid irreversible damage and even more human suffering, and asks
the alien for help