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lewis_dartnell142 karma

I'm a biologist by background (Oxford), and am now an astrobiology researcher - looking into the possibility of life on other planers... My day job focusses on Mars, and if hardy bacteria could survive near the surface, and how to detect their 'biosignatures'

lewis_dartnell132 karma

That is a really good question. I do wonder if eastern cultures might be far better off than westerners. Having a stronger, community spirit I think would be better for rebuilding as a society than a more individualistic, profit-focussed mindset

lewis_dartnell89 karma

It depends exactly which form of existential hazard you mean. Clearly we're currently facing a global pandemic, and the methods to prevent this becoming too disastrous are all over the news at the moment. But there are other hazards that, although improbably, could also collapse global civilisation. Geophysical hazards, like a supervolcano eruption (such as the one underlying Yellowstone Park) wouldn't leave us with many options and it's not the sort of thing you could prevent. An asteroid impact could be deflected, if detected early enough.

And then there's the really stupid stuff we do to ourselves. Nuclear war, environmental collapse, etc...

lewis_dartnell80 karma

Well, I'd like to think that there will be meaningful social changes that come out of this pandemic. Issues like zero-hour contracts, lack of paid sick leave, lack of national health services, etc are all come to the fore at the moment, and hopefully this will be the jolt to improve these situations.

It's also worth pointing out that there was a silver lining to the Bubonic Plaque (not that Covid-19 will be as devastating). In Britain, and the rest of Europe to a certain extent, the surviving labourers found that they had much more leverage and the feudal system loosened.

lewis_dartnell76 karma

Do you mean like downloading directly into your brain from a computer connection..? I don't see that being possible for the foreseeable future.

But in a sense, that's exactly what books already do for you. You can absorb through your eyes the knowledge accumulated by someone 1,000 miles away, or 1,000 years in the past, without you ever meeting them... That thought blows my mind