Re: Fermi Paradox
Everybody forgets the "Fl" part of the Drake equation.
"Fl" means "planets per star that can support life". Whilst its great having all of the building blocks for life abundant throughout the universe, the conditions to support life is one of (if not THE) most critical elements.
Most of our observable locality is awash with DNA-destroying Ionising radiation and the one thing that stops all life on earth frying to death in the bath of radiation we're pummelled with every day is the lovely warm comforting blanket of the vast magnetic field we have around us.
That blanket is pretty unique in that it's so stable. You only have to look in our own back yard (solar system) to see that without a magnetic field life just cannot survive for long enough to develop and evolve to complex life.
Mars seems to have been rich in the building blocks for life in the past but with it's magnetic field it all came to nothing. The Moon Europa has a magnetic field and a lot of the building blocks for life right there. Surely the chance of complex life there (under the ice) hangs on whether that field is enough to sustain the relentless smash of radiation from Jupiter.
Maybe we need to stop looking for the building blocks and start looking for the signs of a stable magnetic field first?