One of the great challenges in reconstructing a mass extinction is making sense of what happened when. In the same way we have divided living things into a hierarchy of divisions—domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species—geologists have broken apart the long history of our planet into eon, era, period, epoch, and age.
Biologists discovered the microbiome just over the past couple of decades. They are still puzzling out how the microbes in your body help keep you healthy and well nourished. A person's microbiome might even be an important factor in controlling his or her obesity.
Even the majority of the cells in your body are microorganisms. They outnumber the cells of your body by 10 to 1. Those microbes are living, metabolizing chemicals, producing waste chemicals, and interacting with each other. Collectively, they are known as your microbiome. You are their ecosystem. It's wild.
Our ancestors who did not have a fear of heights, who did not have a fear of eating something poisonous, who did not have a fear of venomous snakes and spiders, who were not afraid of drowning, well—they're dead.
In my opinion, the sexiest thing about a woman is her smile. If the woman doesn't smile, or doesn't smile well, men will not dig her. They will look for other women, who smile well. What's involved in smiling? Good teeth, attentiveness, engaging eyes, and the ability to be happy. Each of these is an apparently inheritable trait.
If the world and all its species of animals and plants were created at once by some supernatural force or event, we might expect nothing but the fossils of familiar, living species as we dig down in Earth's crust.
We are all one race. The only difference is the color of our skin, and that comes from how close your ancestors lived to the Equator or at high altitudes like Tibetans. There have always been tribes, but what we have to appreciate now is that we live in a global community. And tribal loyalties…they're not relevant to our future.
If NASA is to reach beyond the Moon and someday reach Mars, it must be relieved of the burden of launching people and cargo to low earth orbit. To do that, we must invest more in commercial spaceflight.
At some level, as an altruistic human (a consequence of my evolutionary heritage), I feel bad for the creationists. They have been left out of the wonderful process of science and its ability to reveal so much about nature. I'm heartbroken for their kids.
I really believe in science. It is a faith. It is a reverence akin to religion. But as we always say, it's different from religion in that, as near as we can tell, it exists outside of us. It has an objective quality, the process of science.
As I write, we now consider nature to have given rise to three or four foundational types of living things, or domains of life. I'm going with four. We have Bacteria, Archaea (microbes that are fundamentally different from bacteria), Eukarya (that's us, animals and plants together), and Vira. You could also call that last one Viruses.
If you have this idea that the earth is only 6,000 years old, you are denying, if you will, everything that you can touch and see. You're not paying attention to what's happening in the universe around you.
Television isn't inherently good or bad. You go to a bookstore, there are how many thousands of books, but how many of those do you want? Five? Television's the same way. If you're going to show people stuff, television is the way to go. Words and pictures show things.
What would we learn from an alien? It could be astonishing. We'd quickly find out if life necessarily needs a genetic code, a cell membrane, similar kinds of appendages, and familiar sorts of sensory organs.
In terrestrial life, the characteristic elements in a membrane are carbon, nitrogen, potassium, and sodium. There's a place to start … unless Europan life came up with a totally different way to make a membrane. Then how would you find it? If you like this kind of thinking, consider becoming an astrobiologist.
It would take a big change in Earth's geology and chemistry for it to become exactly like Venus. But humans are pouring carbon dioxide into Earth's atmosphere right now at an alarming rate, shoving our climate in that high-carbon direction, which is a terrifying prospect. We do not want to become even a little like Venus.
I worked at comedy clubs - if I can use the term 'work' - for several years. I middled at one point. I never made it; I was never a headliner. I never made enough time to write enough good material, in my opinion.
Fossil-fuel plants pay virtually none of the cost of dumping greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the air. Instead, we all pay for it. If the cost of global warming is included, fossil fuels are the most expensive thing you can think of.