We Are Not Alone.

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:19 am UTC

chenille wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:And yes, there are some solar-independent ecosystems on Earth, but they're rather bleak compared to almost anywhere else on the planet.

Are there actually? Most of the ecosystems that get called solar-independent seem to be reliant on oxygen, and that's really as much a product of energy of energy from the sun as organic matter like marine snow is. As such, I don't think they are a fair analogy for how even microbial life on a moon like Europa might work, and I have a difficult time imaging what alternative source of chemical energy there might be that hasn't burned itself out a long time ago.


It seems they are not as bleak as I thought...

And while some creatures are reliant on oxygen, there are some anaerobic ones around there too. Still reading the wiki article, bacteria from the Chlorobiaceae family use the faint glow from the black smoker for photosynthesis. That's a new one for me.

User avatar
Fractal_Tangent
Today is my Birthday!
Posts: 921
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:34 pm UTC
Location: Here, I suppose. I could be elsewhere...

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:30 pm UTC

So, assuming that the surface of Europa is covered in roots (if that was the conclusion) why haven't we been told about it? What's the hold up? Surely, if Europa was covered in roots and someone wanted to keep it quiet, they just wouldn't release the photos that we have of Europa. This would be the single greatest discovery in the history of ever and people should be falling over their feet to publish stuff on it.

If I may, what is your background in skolnick1? Are you a university student/professor/googler? & What subjects as well. It's helpful to know at what level the other person is at so that you can gauge your answers and questions accordingly. In the interests of being open, I'm currently taking an MSc in Astrophysics following on from my MPhys which was in Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology with a master's project on galaxies and dark matter. I hope to be doing a PhD next year if I find someone who loves me and wants to give me funding.
eSOANEM wrote:
right now, that means it's Nazi punching time.


she/her/hers
=]

JudeMorrigan
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:35 pm UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:In the interests of being open, I'm currently taking an MSc in Astrophysics following on from my MPhys which was in Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology with a master's project on galaxies and dark matter.

You ... you should probably read this thread first then:

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=109751

I think it'll answer a lot of your questions about whom you're dealing with.

User avatar
Fractal_Tangent
Today is my Birthday!
Posts: 921
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:34 pm UTC
Location: Here, I suppose. I could be elsewhere...

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:36 pm UTC

Yeah, I did read that...
eSOANEM wrote:
right now, that means it's Nazi punching time.


she/her/hers
=]

skolnick1
Posts: 113
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:29 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby skolnick1 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:57 pm UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:So, assuming that the surface of Europa is covered in roots (if that was the conclusion) why haven't we been told about it? What's the hold up? Surely, if Europa was covered in roots and someone wanted to keep it quiet, they just wouldn't release the photos that we have of Europa. This would be the single greatest discovery in the history of ever and people should be falling over their feet to publish stuff on it.


I'm not sure why you're assuming a sort of paranoid mentality; I'm not saying it's "being kept from us", I'm saying that we have very little data; the hypothesis can't really be properly tested until we get a satellite or rover up there. Until then, it's pretty audacious to suppose that the reptile brain could distinguish biotic from tectonic patterns from across the solar system. This is why I'm posting in a webcomic forum rather than sending articles to Astrobiology.
chenille wrote:Are there actually? Most of the ecosystems that get called solar-independent seem to be reliant on oxygen, and that's really as much a product of energy of energy from the sun as organic matter like marine snow is. As such, I don't think they are a fair analogy for how even microbial life on a moon like Europa might work, and I have a difficult time imaging what alternative source of chemical energy there might be that hasn't burned itself out a long time ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithotroph
Stone?
There are things that eat stone and CO2, man.
Some of them spit out oxygen.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18638
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:22 pm UTC

Again, you're hearing an avalanche and claiming sentient zebras that like blue skies and ghost stories... the leaps you're making here in the absence of data is astounding.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

chenille
Posts: 397
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby chenille » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:45 am UTC

skolnick1 wrote:There are things that eat stone and CO2, man.
Some of them spit out oxygen.

I'd be interested to hear what they are; oxygen is relatively energy-consuming to make, and I haven't heard of any lithotrophs that bother. Most are rather dependent on oxygen. The ones that aren't still generally depend on some relatively strong oxidizing agent, like nitrate or sulfate, being present in the same environment as a reducing agent like hydrogen or ammonia. There's a reaction waiting to happen, and by catalyzing it they can enjoy the energy it gives.

But those reactions don't wait forever. On earth you get mixtures of reagents like that as a byproduct of the activity of other living things; for instance, decomposers produce sulfide in lower portions of lakes from compounds in dead bodies, and then there's a layer where it mixes with oxygen from the upper layers, which sulfur bacteria then exploit. But both the reducing and oxidizing agent are ultimately dependent on light energy to generate. Leave them together, and the sulfide would oxidize on its own.

Lots of people like to talk about the possibility of living things in oceans like Europa's, but I've never heard any plausible suggestion for how it would have stores of chemical reagents still available to them after millions and millions of years.

PolakoVoador wrote:And while some creatures are reliant on oxygen, there are some anaerobic ones around there too. Still reading the wiki article, bacteria from the Chlorobiaceae family use the faint glow from the black smoker for photosynthesis. That's a new one for me.

Anaerobes generally rely on energy from chemical compounds that other organisms, so I wouldn't assume they're truly independent of the sun either. The green sulfur bacteria using light from the vent could count, though. Thank you, I hadn't heard of them. I'm skeptical that would work be enough to have any Europaean life, but at least it's some idea.

User avatar
Fractal_Tangent
Today is my Birthday!
Posts: 921
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:34 pm UTC
Location: Here, I suppose. I could be elsewhere...

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:31 am UTC

skolnick1 wrote:
Fractal_Tangent wrote:So, assuming that the surface of Europa is covered in roots (if that was the conclusion) why haven't we been told about it? What's the hold up? Surely, if Europa was covered in roots and someone wanted to keep it quiet, they just wouldn't release the photos that we have of Europa. This would be the single greatest discovery in the history of ever and people should be falling over their feet to publish stuff on it.


I'm not sure why you're assuming a sort of paranoid mentality; I'm not saying it's "being kept from us", I'm saying that we have very little data; the hypothesis can't really be properly tested until we get a satellite or rover up there. Until then, it's pretty audacious to suppose that the reptile brain could distinguish biotic from tectonic patterns from across the solar system. This is why I'm posting in a webcomic forum rather than sending articles to Astrobiology.


Without wishing to be rude. A lot of your suppositions on this thread (and several others) involve uprooting (hehehe) a lot of what we know about science or a lot of stuff that we have sort of pinned down and relying on a mentality that scientists don't know or don't want to know. I feel like if Europa was covered in a gigantic root system there would be ways to find out without having to send a satellite or rover up there.

Your dark matter thread stated a lot of stuff but at one point I got a little bit worried because you said that a lot of what you wanted to suppose involved
overturning most of understood early-universe cosmology
which kind of treats early universe cosmology like it's arbitrary and that there's no real reason to have it (see inflation & the problems it solves. If you're going to decide that you want to get rid of dark matter and inflation, you suddenly have a lot more questions than answers). This also involves the people working on dark matter being so pig headed that they don't want to know (actually lots of people don't even like the idea of dark matter, they want to follow a road that modifies General Relativity) or haven't thought of your genius way of doing things.

The MS thread was a little bit frustrating to read because someone made a thread about what they could expect medically because someone they care about has got it and you've jumped in starting a debate about how MS actually works with people who know and have qualifications (or working towards them) in the field.

All of this tells me that you believe that the scientific community as a whole (at least in planetary science, cosmology and medicine) is completely unable to do its primary job i.e. find stuff out that might be counterintuitive. This kind of builds a picture of someone who is either really excited about science but doesn't know all that much & will defend their theories to the death or someone who is a bit of a crackpot.
eSOANEM wrote:
right now, that means it's Nazi punching time.


she/her/hers
=]

stianhat
Posts: 175
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:31 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby stianhat » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:20 am UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote: The entire post


+1

No actually, if possible, you get a +2.

I dropped out of this discussion the minute mr convinced here claimed that current knowledge (fly-by imagery) was enough to prove that it had to be something else than tectonics. Which is somewhat of a leap. Looking closely, there is a face on the surface of Mars (Cydonia), but we did not send rovers there to communicate with it.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10130
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:32 pm UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:This kind of builds a picture of someone who is either really excited about science but doesn't know all that much & will defend their theories to the death or someone who is a bit of a crackpot.


Those are different?

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:40 pm UTC

Yeah, I kinda thought the former was basically the definition of the latter. Did a double-take on that statement as well.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

User avatar
Fractal_Tangent
Today is my Birthday!
Posts: 921
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:34 pm UTC
Location: Here, I suppose. I could be elsewhere...

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:44 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Fractal_Tangent wrote:This kind of builds a picture of someone who is either really excited about science but doesn't know all that much & will defend their theories to the death or someone who is a bit of a crackpot.


Those are different?


I tend to take the first as 'a bit more naive, doesn't really know how the scientific process works (potentially undergraduate)' and the other as 'paranoid that the scientific system is willingfully stopping the genius idea'.
eSOANEM wrote:
right now, that means it's Nazi punching time.


she/her/hers
=]

User avatar
Dopefish
Posts: 854
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:46 am UTC
Location: The Well of Wishes

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Dopefish » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:15 pm UTC

As long as the conversation has veered this way, is there reason to believe that so called crackpots are physically and mentally sound but just (probably) wrong, or might many crackpots actually be delusional to the point of it being a mental health problem?

I'm probably naive, but when people fail to be reasonable in their beliefs (surrounding scientific questions) I have a much easier time accepting it as a side-effect of illness, then I do with people just being (for lack a better term) stupid. I'd like to believe that barring brain chemical imbalances and the like, everyone has the same potential to understand something and acknowledge what is reasonable, but maybe that's overly optimistic.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25782
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:32 am UTC

Many are, sure. The go-to example of Timecube is pretty clearly someone with deeper issues than some pseudoscientific beliefs here and there. Other crackpots, though, seem much more likely to be fairly neurotypical folks who are too ignorant and too arrogant to accept that they might be mistaken about something important.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18638
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:53 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Timecube

Well that was alarming
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:23 pm UTC

Oh dear, had you not seen it? Lucky 10,000!
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

User avatar
Dopefish
Posts: 854
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:46 am UTC
Location: The Well of Wishes

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Dopefish » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:35 pm UTC

I'd seen it, but I thought it was a parody of crackpots, and not a legitimate thing. That is quite unfortunate. Oh dear.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10130
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:11 pm UTC

Dopefish wrote:As long as the conversation has veered this way, is there reason to believe that so called crackpots are physically and mentally sound but just (probably) wrong, or might many crackpots actually be delusional to the point of it being a mental health problem?

I'm probably naive, but when people fail to be reasonable in their beliefs (surrounding scientific questions) I have a much easier time accepting it as a side-effect of illness, then I do with people just being (for lack a better term) stupid. I'd like to believe that barring brain chemical imbalances and the like, everyone has the same potential to understand something and acknowledge what is reasonable, but maybe that's overly optimistic.


Can people potentially understand things? Sure. But not everyone does everything they can potentially do. Maybe they don't know. Maybe they think they know, and are quite sure it's everyone else that's wrong.

Usually, crackpot ideas have a certain form underlying them(that is usually expressed poorly), that the proponents mistake for some sort of deep cleverness, and simply believe that others do not understand. Dunning-Kruger is of course, relevant here. This same pattern exists for all sorts of them...go look up some free energy schemes, if you like. Usually there's a nugget of understanding involved, surrounded by a lot of fail...yet they are utterly blind to the fail, focused only on the one bit that seems to make sense to them.

Timecube is an excellent example. He's just considering four frames of reference with regard to the earth. These are, obviously, entirely arbitrary, but everything stems from the idea that these are somehow significant, and he appears to be convinced that this bit of genius is simply not understood by everyone else.

Disallowing the possibility of someone understanding you, and still disagreeing, seems to be the first step on the path to nutterdom.

User avatar
Quizatzhaderac
Posts: 1510
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Space Florida

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:15 pm UTC

Regarding water based life on/ near the surface, is that possible at those temperatures? I know a lot of organisms have antifreeze agents, or can survive vitrification, but Europa is -110 C at the equator which seems to suggest 1) Nothing remotely like water is liquid 2) Vitrification is useless because a thaw never happens.
skolnick1 wrote:I'm not a geologist, so I have to operate under the assumption that, when the geologists have tried and failed to reconstruct the distribution based on tectonic models, it's because they're working with an incomplete data set rather than faulty models.
I would assume the purely geological data is very incomplete, compared to the data used to build tectonic models of Earth.
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:05 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25782
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:23 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote: Europa is -110 C at the equator which seems to suggest 1) Nothing remotely like water is liquid
Correction: nothing remotely like water stays liquid on the surface. But your argument is akin to noticing earth's surface temperature and concluding that nothing remotely like iron is liquid anywhere within the planet.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

JudeMorrigan
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby JudeMorrigan » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:59 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote: Europa is -110 C at the equator which seems to suggest 1) Nothing remotely like water is liquid
Correction: nothing remotely like water stays liquid on the surface. But your argument is akin to noticing earth's surface temperature and concluding that nothing remotely like iron is liquid anywhere within the planet.

Quizatzhaderac began their post by saying "Regarding water based life on near the surface".

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25782
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:37 pm UTC

What counts as "near", though? It wouldn't take all that much ice to insulate liquid water deeper down, if the moon is continually heated tidally.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Quizatzhaderac
Posts: 1510
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Space Florida

Re: We Are Not Alone.

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:16 pm UTC

Within the context of skolnick1's conjecture: near is close enough for gas exchange with the atmosphere. The probe won't land on anything squishy because everything short of argon is solid for kilometers down.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests