I am at Google Zeitgeist in The Grove outside of London. Just had lunch with Mark Shuttleworth. While we had emailed a lot and he knows that I am a huge fan of Ubuntu, we had never personally met. What I loved about our lunch, that included Tariq Krim, Ola Ahlvarsson, Marc Samwer and Jonathan Zittrain, was that it made me dream. I grew up the son of an astronomer. I heard about space throughout my childhood and probably first landed sometime during adolescense when my cousin was killed by the Argentine Fascist Military and we were forced to emigrate (my father was considered suspicious by the military because he managed the Argentine Institute of Radioastronomy, and the military did not understand about space and thought it dangerous).

But throughout my childhood, the dinner conversations were pretty much like lunch conversations today. Is there life in the universe? (My father wrote a book about this subject that concluded that most likely there was but most likely we would never be able to communicate with them due to universe size, the shortness of our own lives and the slowness of the speed of light). Did life originate on earth? etc. Mark told me that he did believe in the theory of Panspermia, a theory that I also believe in (in spite of having such a stupid name). But his argument as to why Panspermia may be right was something I had never thought about: arrogance. Mark argued that every time we made a theory out of us being the center of attention, we humans were wrong. We said Europe was the center of the planet and the earth was flat, and we were wrong. We said that the earth was the center of the universe, and we were wrong. So why should we say that we are the center of life in the universe? Indeed.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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