Re: MISC: Exobiology, Brain Storage Capacity, & Ralph Merkle

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 09 Jan 1997 19:46:06 -0500

James Rogers wrote:
> Everyone learns inorganic chemistry under the assumption that water is the
> solvent. At the lower class levels, they don't even suggest that there is
> an entire parallel universe of chemical interactions based on, say, an H2S
> solvent environment.

The problem, from my understanding, with using H2S is that it is an
energy storeage device, while water is an energy sink. If you liken a
living organism to an electronic circuit, you want your chemical
reactions to give up energy, producing waste that is at a "grounded"


> In the situation you describe above, we might not be competing for living
> space, but we would be competing for resources. A rich palladium deposit is
> valuable whether you breathe oxygen or methane, and technology should allow
> us to retrieve these materials from almost any environment.

True, but you are assuming they would need the same resources. if they
are that different, they would develop much differently technologically,
especially on a chemistry basis. We may even develop some sort of
symbiosis if our waste products are their resources and vice versa. Take
the H2S/H2O issue. Or take our relationship to plants.

> I don't agree with your assumption of two eyes and ears. In most organisms,
> the number of sensors is a tradeoff between necessity, capability, and
> processing power. There is no requirement for a minimum number of
> auditory/optical sensors. Especially in the case of auditory sensors,
> having more increases your auditory capabilities significantly.
> Technically, you could detect and process surround sound with a single ear.

While I agree with you for most organisms, I was applying the argument
toward intelligent life. As we see with cetaceans with their incredible
auditory processing, able to 3d image an entire ocean in a few chirps,
they may have high brain to body mass ratios, but much of that brain
mass is wasted on signal processing. An intelligent creature will evolve
with the optimum mix of number of units vs processing requirements, as
it needs to use its brain for higher thinking, or to put it the other
way around, if it does evolve with an optimum mix, then it will have
that much greater evolutionary advantage toward developing intelligence.


Michael Lorrey ------------------------------------------------------------ President Northstar Technologies Agent Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

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