Any small "seed" pattern in Conway's Life that does not stabilize for a very long time. The term is not used to describe objects that are known to grow forever, and was originally defined as a pattern having a population of at most 10 and a Life-span of at least 100. Examples include the acorn, bunnies, pi heptomino, r-pentomino, rabbits, and thunderbird, as well as the unnamed patterns below. The first becomes the r-pentomino after two ticks. The second stabilizes after 608 generations into six blocks, 12 blinkers, and one loaf. The third lasts 1108 ticks, and the fourth lasts 148 ticks, after forming three blocks, a ship, and two gliders.
Source: Life Lexicon by Stephen Silver
and Eric Weissten's Treasure Trove
A common false belief is that, according to the Bible, Methuselah was the oldest person who ever lived.

Sir Thomas Browne in his Pseudodoxia Epidemica (book 7, chapter 3) says, "For hereof there is no determination from the Text; wherein it is only particular'd he was the longest liver of all the Patriarchs whose age is there expressed; but that he outlived all others we cannot well conclude. For of those nine whose death is mentioned before the floud, the Text expresseth that Enoch was the shortest liver1; who saw but three hundred sixty five years. But to affirm from hence, none of the rest, whose age is not expressed, did die before that time; is surely an illation whereto we cannot assent."

He also dismisses the popular conception that no-one could live a thousand years (one day in the sight of the Lord, according to Psalms 90:4), saying that it had no serious or metaphysical basis, all ages being alike in the eyes of God.

There is an inconsistency in Genesis, in that both Methuselah and Methusael are given as the father of Lamech. If these are alternative names of the same person, there is another inconsistency, in that the father of Methusael was Methujael (Gen. 4:18), but that of Methuselah was Enoch (Gen. 5:21).

A methuselah of champagne holds 6 L, that is eight normal bottles.

Gorgonzola provides me with two more snippets. As the ancient Hebrews used a lunar calendar, a lifespan of 969 months would amount to a quite reasonable 84 years.2 Also; going back to treating them as years; if you do a Bishop Ussher and add up the years mentioned in the Bible, you find that Methuselah and another patriarch both died in the year of the Flood. This conveniently gets them out of the way just in time or they drowned in the flood.

1. Hence Enoch's lament: "What am I, chopped liver?"

2. arieh points out this is of limited help if you're doing a Bishop Ussher, because Lamech bore children at 5 by this reckoning.

To the north of Death Valley, California, stand the White Mountains. Allegedly the dryest place on earth (less than 12 inches/30 cm annual precipitation). In 1957, Dr. Edmund Schulman discovered the world's oldest tree: a 4,723 year old bristlecone named Methuselah.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Methuselah -
Man of the dart, the son of Enoch, and grandfather of Noah. He was the oldest man of whom we have any record, dying at the age of nine hundred and sixty-nine years, in the year of the Flood (Genesis 5:21-27; 1 Chronicles 1:3).

Methuselah is also a song by the Smashing Pumpkins. (Maybe someone will be so kind as to write out the lyrics.)

A methuselah is also a really big bottle of wine; six litres to be exact, or about 1.4 US gallons. A methuselah holds eight regular size bottles of wine (750 ml each), or four magnums of wine (1.5 litres each). A methuselah of champagne is a particularly impressive offering at a large party - say, a wedding - but rather too large for run-of-the-mill events. As you can imagine, methuselahs can be rather heavy and hard to pour from.

As well as being the longest-lived man in Biblical history, (or not), Methuselah is now the name of a Planet. Aptly named, Methuselah the planet is now recognized as the oldest known planet, having formed some 12.7 billion years ago, astronomers report. This is all based on measurements from the Hubble Space Telescope, which indicate Methuselah is an extremely large gaseous object, twice as massive as Jupiter and apparently almost as old as the universe itself.

Seen as a "stunning revelation", scientists are now re-evaluating previous theories of planetary formation, since earlier notions doubted the presence of certain heavy elements in the universe required for said creation. Elements heavier than helium and hydrogen, as well as ingredients of silicon and iron, are necessary in the "recipe" which is then "cooked in the nuclear furnaces of stars" and then "recycled" in new stars, which include the families of planets.

Methuselah, the planet, was discovered amidst a cluster of ancient stars known as M4, which is 7,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius. Now orbiting a pair of burned-out stars, Methuselah itself cannot be seen, and has only been inferred by its effects on a previously discovered pulsar. Linked by gravity with a "white dwarf star", irregularities in the pulsar's signals revealed the presence of a third object orbiting the other two; voila, Methuselah.

Astronomers believe the life of this planet has been a "tempestuous" one, having to "live through" shock waves of closely dying and exploding stars. However, "living" in the outer region of cluster M4 seems to be an unlikely neighborhood for a planet, and according to most researchers is certainly an unlikely neighborhood for life itself, but, an expert from the Carnegie Institution asserts, "This means that 13 billion years ago, life could have arisen and then died out...this has immense implications," indeed. And lastly, there was a 1991 Star Trek episode entitled "Requiem for Methuselah" which dealt with the discovery of a planet, not deserted. May the force be...somewhere.


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