overwhelmed by questions? bedeviled by doubts? don’t know where to turn
in the search for truth? how can you know? whom do...
zyx!
evy, gather some evidence,
and I, big sci, will appoint
a high-level committee to
study your findings!
Episode 2
BARR...
look out
the window!!!
somebody do
something!
this may not be a good time to follow
your intuition, vera! no one here know...
it looks
pretty
barren and
lifeless!
all our food comes
from living things,
after all!
I hope the planet isn’t
as barren a...
yes, similar, except that
the drake equation calcu­
lates the fraction of
planets with intelligent
life. that’s an even
sm...
to be continued...
logically, either
we’re about to be
rescued, or we’re in
serious trouble...
and by the
way, i’m a she,
...
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Claim Testers Episode 2: Barren World

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In Episode 2, the claim-testing gang comes face-to-face with a living organism from another planet!

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Claim Testers Episode 2: Barren World

  1. 1. overwhelmed by questions? bedeviled by doubts? don’t know where to turn in the search for truth? how can you know? whom do you call? well, here’s whom ! call the created and drawn for the big history project by larry gonick Episode 2 BARREN WORLD brianna, jesse, and the Claim testers—Andor, Evy, Vera, and Big Sci—find themselves face to face with an alien—or is it?
  2. 2. zyx! evy, gather some evidence, and I, big sci, will appoint a high-level committee to study your findings! Episode 2 BARREN WORLD who—or what—is that? brianna, jesse, and the Claim testers—Andor, Evy, Vera, and Big Sci—find themselves face to face with an alien—or is it? very logical, andor! i’m going to go see for myself! it certainly looks like an alien... it either is an alien or else it isn’t, you know... whoa! check this out!!! weird! how can this— um—vehicle be so much larger inside than it is outside? space warp? mind warp? mirrors? evy, see what you can find here... andor, try to make sense of what­ever evy digs up... and Vera, if you have any ideas, i’d like to hear them! zyx! ok! let’s all go!! maybe it isn’t a vehicle at all... maybe it’s a stage set! BIG HISTORY PROJECT CLAIM TESTERS: EPISODE 2: BARREN WORLD 2
  3. 3. look out the window!!! somebody do something! this may not be a good time to follow your intuition, vera! no one here knows how to operate the controls of this machine. “doing something” could have catastrophic effects. logically, it’s best to do nothing and go along for the ride! um... I don’t think it’s a stage set... um... guys... the door is closing behind us... this doesn’t feel right! we’re in danger! how can you be sure without evidence, vera? ak! ootah! the momentum of the vessel surrounding us is undergoing a SUDDEN change! you have to admit, there could be other reasons: maybe the door was closed to keep insects out—whoa! I can just tell, that’s all! did we lose them? I think so... what a relief! more rapid changes in momentum! a relief, brianna? they might have rescued us! shooting first and rescuing later doesn’t seem logical, though! ulp! we’re approaching an alien planet... oof! consistent with a zigzag flight path! look! we’re being shot at! BIG HISTORY PROJECT CLAIM TESTERS: EPISODE 2: BARREN WORLD 3
  4. 4. it looks pretty barren and lifeless! all our food comes from living things, after all! I hope the planet isn’t as barren and lifeless as this refrigerator, because i’m hungry! and why is that, andor? so... is any life out there, or not?`` do you think there’s any­ thing to eat— ulp—outside? only if this planet sup­ ports life, brianna! probably not... out of the planets with the right climate, only a frac­tion have the right chemicals to make life... and out of those planets, only a fraction actually go on to generate life... so you see... if you work out the arith­metic, only a very small per­centage of planets support life! we’ve probably landed on a barren world, because that’s what’s out there, mostly! andor, is this like the drake equation? i’ve read about that! think of it this way: start with the total number of stars in the galaxy... only some of those stars have planets... only a small fraction of those planets are the right distance from their star to have conditions friendly to life... BIG HISTORY PROJECT CLAIM TESTERS: EPISODE 2: BARREN WORLD 4
  5. 5. yes, similar, except that the drake equation calcu­ lates the fraction of planets with intelligent life. that’s an even smaller percentage! but andor, you’re talking about all the planets in the milky way galaxy! we want to know about this world right here! wherever here is... something tells me it’s worth taking a look... it would make sense to choose a planet with food, not just land­ some­where at random! vera, any opinion? yeah! after all, doesn’t the alien have to eat too? great! i’ll try to find evidence of life! um... like what? signs of water! clouds! erosion! gul­leys! streams! lakes! take the temperature! study the chemistry of the air and soil! specifically, try to find carbon, hydro­ gen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur—the elements of life—and temperatures between 0 0 and 100 0 centigrade, at which water is liquid! that sounds like the perfect “goldi­­ locks conditions” we have on earth! but couldn’t there be some weird kind of life on a very different planet? we’ll see, I guess... zyx! and evy can analyze its chemical composition! breaking out my spectrometer! hey, what’s this? he’s lowering a bucket... great! now we can scoop up a sample from the surface! An instrument that measures the light emitted when heating a test material. The resulting color spectrum will tell us exactly what elements are present! what’s that? BIG HISTORY PROJECT CLAIM TESTERS: EPISODE 2: BARREN WORLD 5
  6. 6. to be continued... logically, either we’re about to be rescued, or we’re in serious trouble... and by the way, i’m a she, not a he... okay, let’s have it—what? here! eat some of this! eat! it won’t hurt you! how do we know it’s OK? aside from your word, that is! well, I do now, after listen­ing to all of you for hours and hours! you’re a pretty talkative bunch, you know? you speak english??!! feel free to test it in any way you like! whoa! by the vibrating voltmeters of m.I.T.! after we escaped from the cygnusian police cruiser, I chose to hide on a life- bearing planet. like you, I have to eat life forms! but I chose a world with no intelligent life, because I didn’t want anyone to see us and report us... while you do, i’ll fill you in... I am zyx-27, a fugitive from planet 3 of cygnus epsilon... and i’m not a crim­inal, or at least I haven’t done anything wrong... unfortunately, they seem to have found us anyway... look at ’em all! amazing! it has the exact same molec­ ular structure as fried chicken! BIG HISTORY PROJECT CLAIM TESTERS: EPISODE 2: BARREN WORLD 6

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