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Terez
01-16-2015, 05:32 PM
On Rachel Maddow, because her production staff did good with the clips, and because her joy is contagious:

http://on.msnbc.com/1AWs49t

Raw video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBXOUCP518g#t=440

Khoram
01-16-2015, 11:33 PM
This hurts me. So much.

Terez
01-17-2015, 12:19 AM
But you have to admit, it's pretty amazing.

GonzoTheGreat
01-17-2015, 03:35 AM
"They have broken the model!"

Actually, just yesterday evening, I watched a QI episode in which the question "how many moons does Earth have" was revisited once again (QI does that every couple of seasons, and always comes up with another right answer). This time, the answer that was considered correct was "zero", reasoning that Earth-Moon is a double planet, and thus we don't have any natural moons at all. This is not really unreasonable, but since there is no official definition for "double planet", it isn't definitive either. Thus, you can expect yet another answer in the R or S series of QI (I'm assuming they will need more time than in the past to come up with yet more new reasoning on this subject, as the number of low integers is rather limited).
And, to show that the idea of "zero moons" is not really new: I read about this when Pluto was still considered a planet too, and then people argued that Pluto and Charon formed a double planet system, and that Earth* and Moon* should be considered a double planet too.

* Should I have included the definite article "the" in front on those names, or not? Sometimes I have the impression that English was designed by someone who didn't know all that much about modern science.

Khoram
01-17-2015, 07:53 AM
But you have to admit, it's pretty amazing.

Yeah. It's amazing that there are people that ignorant in the world. BOTH of them.

I feel really sorry for that model in the background. Too bad nobody interrupted them to tell them how stupid they were on camera. :/

Nazbaque
01-17-2015, 08:13 AM
Well there is the thing about the Moon revolving around Earth's axis. From Earth's point of view Moon is always showing the same hemisphere. If one were to live on the Moon there wouldn't be such things as Earthrise and Earthset and the Sun would rise and set once a month and every blue moon. I don't know if this is a defining characteristic for natural satelites, but nevertheless I maintain that the Moon is clearly dominated by the Earth and they thus should not be considered a double planet.

GonzoTheGreat
01-17-2015, 09:05 AM
It is a common characteristic of ordinary natural satellites. However, one could argue, using the Pluto-Charon system as an example, that it can also be a common feature of double planets. Though of course, nowadays, Pluto and Charon would be a double dwarf planet.

Nazbaque
01-17-2015, 10:20 AM
It is a common characteristic of ordinary natural satellites. However, one could argue, using the Pluto-Charon system as an example, that it can also be a common feature of double planets. Though of course, nowadays, Pluto and Charon would be a double dwarf planet.

But if Pluto and Charon are the standard, then don't the ways in which Earth and Moon are different prove that they aren't double planets? Pluto and Charon are always "facing" a phantom spot between them. You might even say that they are satellites of a phantom planet. Earth however doesn't "face" the Moon. Otherwise the Moon would have a fixed location in our sky and most likely the 0 longitude would be the one closest to the Moon and there would be religious wars with the people who never see the Moon at all and don't believe in it.

Davian93
01-17-2015, 10:29 AM
But if Pluto and Charon are the standard, then don't the ways in which Earth and Moon are different prove that they aren't double planets? Pluto and Charon are always "facing" a phantom spot between them. You might even say that they are satellites of a phantom planet. Earth however doesn't "face" the Moon. Otherwise the Moon would have a fixed location in our sky and most likely the 0 longitude would be the one closest to the Moon and there would be religious wars with the people who never see the Moon at all and don't believe in it.

Exactly. A moon/satellite orbits the larger planet. This it's not a double planet. One is dominant in the relationship between a planet and moon.

On a side note about moons, Yavin 4 was a moon on the far side of the gas giant Yavin...now, you have a planet destroying super laser available, why not just destroy the planet between you instead of going around it. Is that not what you actually built it in the first place? To destroy planets? Blowing it up would destroy everything on Yavin 4 anyway and even if it didn't you could then fire again to take out the moon itself. Granted the laser in the first Death Star took a day to recharge but the initial blast would do more than enough damage anyway.

Seems like a plot gap is all.

GonzoTheGreat
01-17-2015, 10:47 AM
There is no standard for double planets.
This was considered by the IAU, and the result (so far) is "we'll think about it".

Historically, the concept "planet" has had quite a few problems attached to it when new information came along, so it makes sense for the IAU not to be hasty when it can be avoided; that, at least, it won't be the current crop of astronomers who go into the history books as "having it gotten wrong, again".
Originally, all the things that were "attached to the sky" and yet moved separately from the fixed stars were called planets. This included the Moon and the Sun, together with Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Then Copernicus kicked this structure apart, with some help from Brahe, Kepler and Galileo. So then only what we consider now planets were classified as such, including now Earth. A few more planets (Saturn and Uranus*) were discovered, but they weren't a problem. Then someone discovered Ceres, and there was much rejoicing (because there should've been (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titius–Bode_law) another planet in between Mars and Jupiter). A short while later someone discovered Pallas in the same part of the solar system, and before anyone knew it there were four planets in the same orbit. This led to a lot of debate, of course, but eventually it was decided to reclassify them as "asteroids". About a century later Pluto was discovered, and this was called a planet again. And, once again (though after a lot longer period now) it turned out there was a problem. After much debate, the current system, which is a good mix of theoretical considerations and observational data, was adopted. There are plenty of other theories which could extend the naming system, of course, but until more relevant data comes along, most astronomers will not be eager to caught out by inconvenient facts in public, so they won't make any too sweeping statements that they can't easily disavow again.

Things such as "gravitational locking" are interesting, but not decisive one way or another. It can also happen to stars, after all, so it can extend all across the range from asteroids (where it is also observed with objects too small to be rounded by their own gravity) to dwarf planets and stars. No clear reason seems to exist why planets should be excluded.

* Why isn't that one called "Uran" or "Urane", following the convention of calling Saturnus Saturn, and Neptunus Neptune? Even with new scientific discoveries English still manages to be illogical.

GonzoTheGreat
01-17-2015, 10:53 AM
On a side note about moons, Yavin 4 was a moon on the far side of the gas giant Yavin...now, you have a planet destroying super laser available, why not just destroy the planet between you instead of going around it. Is that not what you actually built it in the first place? To destroy planets?
Maybe Yavin was actually not a giant planet but instead a brown dwarf. In that case, it wouldn't have fallen in the class of objects that the Death Star was allowed to destroy, and therefore other measures would have been needed. As a bonus, this would have upgraded Yavin 4 from a moon to a planet, so then that celestial body would have been a legitimate target for the planet-destroying-laser.

Nazbaque
01-17-2015, 11:12 AM
Maybe Yavin was actually not a giant planet but instead a brown dwarf. In that case, it wouldn't have fallen in the class of objects that the Death Star was allowed to destroy, and therefore other measures would have been needed. As a bonus, this would have upgraded Yavin 4 from a moon to a planet, so then that celestial body would have been a legitimate target for the planet-destroying-laser.

But since the planet destroying laser was used on simple starships in Episode VI it just proves that Lucas is an idiot and all things good in Star Wars are simply there by accident or because of other people's hardwork which proves that Lucas is a credit hogging douchebag in addition to being an idiot.

GonzoTheGreat
01-17-2015, 11:19 AM
That's also a possibility, I admit. But my explanation has the advantage of being logically consistent.

Nazbaque
01-17-2015, 11:23 AM
That's also a possibility, I admit. But my explanation has the advantage of being logically consistent.

So does mine.

Terez
01-17-2015, 02:18 PM
Can we at least all agree that the moon is not a star?

Nazbaque
01-17-2015, 02:28 PM
I think there is a pornstar with Moon in her performance name.

The Unreasoner
01-17-2015, 02:35 PM
Does our moon have like, a name? I know our sun/star does (Sol, or Solaris, or something like that). I ask because it seems that Earth (Gaea, Terra) wouldn't need the definite article, but the moon should. Unless it's some Breakfast at Tiffany's kind of nonsense.

Khoram
01-17-2015, 02:44 PM
Does our moon have like, a name? I know our sun/star does (Sol, or Solaris, or something like that). I ask because it seems that Earth (Gaea, Terra) wouldn't need the definite article, but the moon should. Unless it's some Breakfast at Tiffany's kind of nonsense.

Luna. And the Sun is Sol.

Uno
01-17-2015, 06:42 PM
Well, since the term moon is named after the Moon, it's kind of odd to say that the Moon isn't a moon. If the Moon is so different from the natural satelites of other planets, it's rather those moons that aren't moons, so to speak.

Of course, all classificatory are somewhat random, in a way. I imagine a different civilization might be operating with quite different categories. For instance, they might think of gas giants as so different from rocky planets that they don't group them together at all, which would mean that the schematics of the solar system put on those discs on the Voyager and Pioneer probes would to them seem quite misleading if they should find them (quite apart from the fact that Pluto is still counted as a planet there, and other trans-Neptunian objects are completely absent, of course).

I would also assume that a civilization that originated on a moon orbiting a Jovian planet might employ a system quite different from ours. They might, for instance, be predisposed to think of the satelites of gas giants as the obvious place to look for life, much in the same way that our astronomers are on the outlook for rocky planets around distant stars. Their general cosmological-religious assumptions would certainly also be shaped by the gas giant dominating the sky. Just my random thoughts of the day.

The Unreasoner
01-17-2015, 07:03 PM
Would there be enough energy on gas-giant moons for complex life? Aren't they usually quite far from the star? And eclipses would probably cut the energy down even more.

Uno
01-17-2015, 07:20 PM
Would there be enough energy on gas-giant moons for complex life? Aren't they usually quite far from the star? And eclipses would probably cut the energy down even more.

Well, so-called hot Jupiters are very common in other star systems, I believe, so there's no rule that says that they have to be far from their star. I think they've even detected a few that are likely to be within the habitable zones of their systems.

Khoram
01-17-2015, 07:41 PM
The force of the gravity between the moon and the gas giant could cause friction, which would then lead to the heating of the surface of the moon, even if it's much further from its host star. As far as I know, though, they would still need to be in the Goldilocks zone in order to support life. Among other things.

The Unreasoner
01-17-2015, 08:44 PM
I suppose there could be animals living off substances that rely on geological processes that produce energy. I think there are some creatures on earth that live in geothermal vents, and are not dependent on the sun at all. And of course, there is tons of methane potentially available, and probably alcohol too.

But friction from gravity? I realize friction needs gravity, but could you turn the heat so produced into a reliable energy source? I sort of doubt it.

Also, I didn't know about hot gas giants. Thanks for that info.

Khoram
01-17-2015, 09:11 PM
Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme situations - in the vacuum of space, in extremely high and low temperatures, they can withstand extremely high pressures, etc. They're crazy.

In the case of the friction, it's more along the lines of tidal flexing, where it is caused by the moon moving closer and further away from the planet. That's why Europa has liquid water - it's primarily ice, but beneath the crust, there is liquid water because of the tidal flexing. It sort of acts like plate tectonics here on Earth.

The Unreasoner
01-17-2015, 10:42 PM
But how could an organism conceivably capture that energy? We rely on glucose and atp to store/deliver energy. Atp is recycled, or at least produced by the body, and glucose ultimately comes from photosynthesis. I think the food chain for those geothermal creatures depends on some kind of sulfur compound that is created in normal geological activity. Microorganisms process them, and in turn are eaten by other creatures (I think there was an albino lobster that was one). Whether or not the energy is in a sugar form by the time it reaches the top of the geothermal food chain, I don't know.

I know about jelly bears and other extremophiles, and they are impressive (though I doubt any could survive in open space for long). But my question isn't about what conditions could possibly support life. I'm asking about the precise chemical mechanism that could capture energy from friction. You say water is available. Can they make sugars? Is there carbon? Is there a silicon equivalent to glucose? H2 would be one way to store energy from water alone (though I think you would still need a salt or something), but it's really reactive.

Terez
01-18-2015, 03:11 AM
But you have to admit, it's pretty amazing.
Yeah. It's amazing that there are people that ignorant in the world. BOTH of them.
It occurs to me that I should have said it was amahzing.

Weird Harold
01-18-2015, 03:49 AM
* Why isn't that one called "Uran" or "Urane", following the convention of calling Saturnus Saturn, and Neptunus Neptune?

What would we do for astronomy based bad jokes and double entendres without "Uranus?"

GonzoTheGreat
01-18-2015, 04:11 AM
Can we at least all agree that the moon is not a star?Unfortunately, yes. It would be fun to argue about this, but I don't see on what grounds such an argument could seem to be valid.

Well, since the term moon is named after the Moon, it's kind of odd to say that the Moon isn't a moon. If the Moon is so different from the natural satelites of other planets, it's rather those moons that aren't moons, so to speak.That's astronomy for you. It happens fairly regularly that the first object of a certain type (after which the type is then named) turns out to be so aberrant that it isn't really an example of that type after all. On the one hand, this is bad luck, but another factor is probably that such outlying cases may be easier to spot, and thus are more likely to be noticed as being worthy of classification. A case in point is our own moon, which is a whole lot easier to see than the two very small moons that Mars has. But that extra size opens up the possibility of other complications (of the double planet kind) which don't exist when the difference in size between the main body and the alleged moon is large enough.

But friction from gravity? I realize friction needs gravity, but could you turn the heat so produced into a reliable energy source? I sort of doubt it.Europa (the moon) has a layer of about 100 km of water and ice on top of it. How much of that is water and how much is ice is unknown, though it is clear that the top is ice and there is water underneath. Even more than that: it is clear (from magnetic effects) that there is salty water down beneath the ice. So something is reliably producing enough energy to keep that water from freezing over, and life is amazingly good at then using such energy sources. Doesn't mean that life ever got started there, of course, but if it did, then I would bet that it is still going on. Whether or not it ever got around to producing complex (multicellular) life and then went on to tax administrations (and other results of intelligence) is unknown at the moment. If we do make contact, we might get a huge bill for unpaid taxes, which would answer that question.

Also, I didn't know about hot gas giants. Thanks for that info.Astronomers didn't know about them until they discovered them either. Actually, when I was a student, I was taught that they were impossible, since the heat from the star would prevent such planets from forming. That argument quite neatly explained the whole layout of our own solar system: small rocky planets close to the star and and big gas giants with rocky cores out where the star couldn't heat up the gas far enough to prevent the giant from forming.
Finding the first hot Jupiter caused quite a lot of scrambling, when astronomers tried to come up with a way of turning our own kind of solar system into one where Jupiter would be inside the orbit of Mercury. This could be done, but it would require an enormous number of amahzing coincidences. Not actually impossible, so this saved the theory of planet formation. Then another hot Jupiter was found, and another one, and another one, and ... So here we have yet another example where the first known case (our own solar system) is very unlike all the other known cases of its type.

We don't know how common our own type of solar system is. It may make up half such systems, or it may be incredibly rare. But we do know that detecting something like our own system is a lot more difficult than detecting the hot Jupiter type systems, so for now it isn't too much of a worry.

GonzoTheGreat
01-18-2015, 04:14 AM
What would do for astronomy based bad jokes and double entendres without "Uranus?"On the one hand: fair question. On the other hand: that only works in English. On the gripping hand: it is indeed English that we're talking about here.

Nazbaque
01-18-2015, 04:21 AM
Guys you are jumpimg ahead in your discussion. Before life can adapt to conditions it needs a starting point. For us there eventually was the first cell. Energy is an important point but unless the lifeform's very basic structure is so different from ours that theorising becomes pointless, there has to be water.

GonzoTheGreat
01-18-2015, 05:42 AM
But, as a couple of posters have already pointed out, there actually is water on Europa, despite that celestial body being too far away from its star to be in the standard "Goldilocks zone".
As for cells: that's how our type of life is organised. Maybe it is a universal feature, maybe not. Extrapolating based on one single case is a bit dodgy, I would say.

Nazbaque
01-18-2015, 06:14 AM
But, as a couple of posters have already pointed out, there actually is water on Europa, despite that celestial body being too far away from its star to be in the standard "Goldilocks zone".
As for cells: that's how our type of life is organised. Maybe it is a universal feature, maybe not. Extrapolating based on one single case is a bit dodgy, I would say.

And other types of life would be so different from ours that practically anything is possible so all theorising becomes pointless. So holding on to the only type of life we actually know about: there has to be water and energy, presumably there has to be carbon, though another element might serve as a chemical building block and the system has to stay stable for millions of years before there is a multicell organism. This is where life can truly start adapting to more extreme conditions and I would hesitate to put limits on how far it can go, but nevertheless there has to be a starting point and the requirements for that are quite strict by astrological standards.

The Unreasoner
01-18-2015, 07:25 AM
...are you just screwing with us, Nazbaque?

GonzoTheGreat
01-18-2015, 08:30 AM
...are you just screwing with us, Nazbaque?Why would you think that? :confused:

Just for the record: it has already been mentioned a couple of times that there is plenty of water and energy on Europa. In a fairly short search I haven't found actual confirmation of the presence of any Carbon there, though. So it is theoretically possible that Europa is the only major (say, large than a kilometre) body in the solar system which does not have any Carbon at all, but on the other hand, I would expect such an anomaly to have been noticed and published, so I would bet against this. It would be a quite interesting fact, after all, if true.

Davian93
01-18-2015, 12:21 PM
And other types of life would be so different from ours that practically anything is possible so all theorising becomes pointless. So holding on to the only type of life we actually know about: there has to be water and energy, presumably there has to be carbon, though another element might serve as a chemical building block and the system has to stay stable for millions of years before there is a multicell organism. This is where life can truly start adapting to more extreme conditions and I would hesitate to put limits on how far it can go, but nevertheless there has to be a starting point and the requirements for that are quite strict by astrological standards.

That's utterly ridiculous. If Star Trek has taught me anything about the subject (and I feel it has) there is inevitably a form of bipedal intelligent life there that will easily communicate with us in English and they will also all likely wear some sort of generic one-piece jumpsuit that labels them as part of that species/culture.

Khoram
01-18-2015, 12:45 PM
That's utterly ridiculous. If Star Trek has taught me anything about the subject (and I feel it has) there is inevitably a form of bipedal intelligent life there that will easily communicate with us in English and they will also all likely wear some sort of generic one-piece jumpsuit that labels them as part of that species/culture.

Don't be crazy. We'll have universal translators so that we'll think that they're speaking to us in English.

Nazbaque
01-18-2015, 02:29 PM
...are you just screwing with us, Nazbaque?

Nah this is still mere foreplay. But don't you worry, you climax far too quickly for my tastes so you're safe from me.

Nae'blis
01-18-2015, 03:00 PM
Nah this is still mere foreplay. But don't you worry, you climax far too quickly for my tastes so you're safe from me.

Just stop. We've got a pretty decent thread here. No trolling.

Nazbaque
01-18-2015, 03:14 PM
Aaaaaaw can't I have any fun? Fine fine I'll just sit quietly here in the corner.

*Sulks*

The Unreasoner
01-18-2015, 03:42 PM
I only meant he seemed to be repeating the points of other posters, adding nothing new. But fine, I'll ignore it...


So I heard that we crashed a satellite with microbes on it into Jupiter to avoid contaminating the moons with (our) life. But at what point can we ethically begin seeding (apparently) lifeless planets? We already have extremophiles. Sunless sulfur-eaters, resilient jelly-bears, cyanide-using bacteria...the list goes on. And if we ever intend to colonize planets, it would be nice to start terraforming now-with carefully chosen, self-replicating, organic machines.

Eta:
Titan seems to have everything. Water (possibly liquid), carbon (in a ready-to-use form, no less), and trapped chemical energy (from an apparrently self-sustaining process). They're only short on oxygen, as far as I can tell from cursory research, and we can bring a little with us. Greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to keep us not quite freezing, but far from the Sun, so maybe magnetic field isn't an issue?

Khoram
01-18-2015, 04:28 PM
The problem with terraforming is that it will take am extremely long time for us to get anywhere close to what we see in science fiction. Our best bet would be to find worlds as close to being Earth-like as possible. If there's an atmosphere, then that is where we'll start.

Kimon
01-18-2015, 04:34 PM
Does our moon have like, a name? I know our sun/star does (Sol, or Solaris, or something like that). I ask because it seems that Earth (Gaea, Terra) wouldn't need the definite article, but the moon should. Unless it's some Breakfast at Tiffany's kind of nonsense.

It's Luna in Latin, but I'm surprised that no one has yet provided the Greek name, since it appears prominently in WoT - Selene.

Davian93
01-18-2015, 04:56 PM
The problem with terraforming is that it will take am extremely long time for us to get anywhere close to what we see in science fiction. Our best bet would be to find worlds as close to being Earth-like as possible. If there's an atmosphere, then that is where we'll start.

We've been highly successful at terraforming the earth so far...of course we're making it less habitable and our huge increase carbon to the atmosphere is making it look a bit iffy moving forward.

But we are definitely modifying the planet :)

Uno
01-18-2015, 05:06 PM
I believe I've heard the possibility mentioned that other solar system bodies may already have been contaminated with terrestrial life through ejecta from asteroid impacts in the distant past. That, of course, would mean that if one did find life on Enceladus, Europa, or any other place, one would still be left with trying to determine whether it descendend from Earth or came from a separate abiogenesis. If it came from here (or, for that matter, if we came from there, ultimately), I suppose that would, in a way, make the solar system one extended biosphere, which strikes me as a rather neat idea.

Khoram
01-18-2015, 05:13 PM
And if life really is only carbon-based, would it even be possible to tell where the carbon came from?

I'm thinking it is possible, but I don't really know how. XD

Ivhon
01-18-2015, 11:13 PM
And if life really is only carbon-based, would it even be possible to tell where the carbon came from?

I'm thinking it is possible, but I don't really know how. XD

Carbon comes from nuclear fusion at the end of a star's life cycle.

Terez
01-19-2015, 12:03 AM
For the record, I failed astronomy. I still knew the moon was a satellite. I'm pretty sure I've known that since high school at the latest. It's one thing to not be able to recall that the term applies to the moon off the top of your head, and quite another thing to react to the news like these two did. "Oh, I don't like that. I don't even know what that is!" Do they really not know what a satellite is? Can they not extrapolate from the word "natural"? (I suspect the second question is extraneous.)

Nazbaque
01-19-2015, 02:01 AM
I only meant he seemed to be repeating the points of other posters, adding nothing new. But fine, I'll ignore it...

Okay now you are just picking a fight. If you are in that kind of mood go to a bar and steal a drink.

GonzoTheGreat
01-19-2015, 04:16 AM
It's Luna in Latin, but I'm surprised that no one has yet provided the Greek name, since it appears prominently in WoT - Selene.Everyone knew that, so why bother mentioning it? :p

We've been highly successful at terraforming the earth so far...of course we're making it less habitable and our huge increase carbon to the atmosphere is making it look a bit iffy moving forward.I think that you're searching for the word terradeforming.

And if life really is only carbon-based, would it even be possible to tell where the carbon came from?The issue there is not where the Carbon comes from; as has been mentioned, that's trivially easy. We are all stardust.

But once you get to the biochemistry, things can get a lot more interesting, and there is plenty of room for variety. For instance, our DNA is based on just four different amino acids; with RNA the number goes up to five. However, eukaryotes (critters more complicated than bacteria, roughly and inaccurately speaking) already use 21 different amino acids in their cells, and, based on what I know of organic chemistry, there are many (thousands, or even millions) more amino acids possible.
So an alien type of life could use another set of amino acids, and a totally different method for storing and transmitting its hereditary information than the DNA double helix on which we depend.
If you find a critter that functions quite well without any DNA or RNA, then there is a good chance that it is an extra terrestrial.

Khoram
01-19-2015, 05:59 AM
Carbon comes from nuclear fusion at the end of a star's life cycle.

Yes well, duh. :rolleyes: I was thinking more along the lines of is it possible to determine which star the carbon came from? If it didn't come from Sol?

GonzoTheGreat
01-19-2015, 07:17 AM
Yes well, duh. :rolleyes: I was thinking more along the lines of is it possible to determine which star the carbon came from? If it didn't come from Sol?
First: Sol isn't producing Carbon, yet. I hope. If it is, then we're likely to get in an enormous amount of trouble, as then our sun would go into a Red Giant stage quite rapidly. How rapidly, I do not know, as, with all our ideas on stellar evolution being shot to pieces by this unexpected issue anyway, we don't have a clue what would happen next.

Leaving that aside, and working with the assumption that you meant "the star that produced the Carbon that can be found in Sol and the rest of the solar system":
It might be possible to determine that some comet or other object originated elsewhere, if it had a very different distribution of Carbon isotopes. I would not be surprised if the various Carbon-forming and Carbon-using processes left a clear track record of which type of star they had occurred in. If so, then a comet that originated somewhere else in our galaxy would probably have a distinct make up of isotopes (not only of Carbon, of course, but also of other elements), and we could spot that if we looked for it.
It seems unlikely that this would be the case with any object in a stable orbit, such as asteroids, planets or major moons, though.

The Unreasoner
01-19-2015, 12:32 PM
I thought he was asking for a way to tell the difference between an organism descended from an artificial seed and an organism that evolved from its own (local) ancestors, especially if the basic mechanics are the same for all life everywhere.

It is possible, probably. You could look at some of the genes, look at the heritage implied. Carbon wouldn't help you, though. Even if what we send has some unique isotopes, future generations would use the local carbon.

The Unreasoner
01-19-2015, 12:39 PM
The problem with terraforming is that it will take am extremely long time for us to get anywhere close to what we see in science fiction. Our best bet would be to find worlds as close to being Earth-like as possible. If there's an atmosphere, then that is where we'll start.

How long will it take to get there, though? Sending a few life samples to Titan to begin the terraforming process shouldn't be beyond us. Maybe it will take hundreds of years before we can introduce plant life (or some oxygen producing organism, if photosynthesis is impossible). Maybe it will be even longer before it's ready for open air colonies. But so what? If we want a place in the galaxy, we need to think long term.

Davian93
01-19-2015, 12:40 PM
I will give you all props as I tried to derail this into a ST or SW thread twice and got ignored.

Davian93
01-19-2015, 12:43 PM
How long will it take to get there, though? Sending a few life samples to Titan to begin the terraforming process shouldn't be beyond us. Maybe it will take hundreds of years before we can introduce plant life (or some oxygen producing organism, if photosynthesis is impossible). Maybe it will be even longer before it's ready for open air colonies. But so what? If we want a place in the galaxy, we need to think long term.

On a serious note, this is why the decision to postpone Mars colonization back in the early 70s (thanks a bunch, Nixon, you clod!) was so stupid. Imagine if we had started trips to Mars by the late 70s and maybe even worked on a moon base and/or permanent presence on Mars? We'd be so much further on technologically than we are now (where we will be lucky if a human even walks on Mars by 2040).

Edit: For reference, Nixon killed NASAs proposed timeline for humans on Mars by the early 1980s due to wanting to cut their budget. 1 year of current DoD funding would eclipse basically all of NASAs funding since that date until present...to put it in perspective.

We have a finite window with our current energy technology to figure something out. In 50 years or 100 more years, we could be looking at a major collapse across the board due to the damage we've already inflicted on the world.

Khoram
01-19-2015, 12:49 PM
I will give you all props as I tried to derail this into a ST or SW thread twice and got ignored.

Well, science fact more often than not is much more interesting than science fiction. ;)

What I'm really looking forward to is the New Horizons craft that will be reaching Pluto later this year. I think it's arriving late summer.

Davian93
01-19-2015, 12:54 PM
Well, science fact more often than not is much more interesting than science fiction. ;)

What I'm really looking forward to is the New Horizons craft that will be reaching Pluto later this year. I think it's arriving late summer.

Mid-summer actually...scheduled to flyby on 14 July.

After that, it continues on to the Kuiper Belt to explore some asteroids/dwarf planets there (objects in the 30-50km diameter range)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/New_Horizons_Full_Trajectory.jpg

Khoram
01-19-2015, 01:07 PM
Yeah, NH is gonna be focusing on three KBOs (Kuiper Belt Objects). These are the three that scientists have found along NH's flight path.

Uno
01-19-2015, 03:25 PM
It is possible, probably. You could look at some of the genes, look at the heritage implied. Carbon wouldn't help you, though. Even if what we send has some unique isotopes, future generations would use the local carbon.

Yeah, one should be able to get a pretty good determination with at least high probability of the origin or descent of any organisms discovered on other solar system bodies by analyzing their genes. At least I would assume so. After all, isn't that typically how one goes about charting relations between terrestrial organisms these days?

GonzoTheGreat
01-20-2015, 04:44 AM
Yeah, one should be able to get a pretty good determination with at least high probability of the origin or descent of any organisms discovered on other solar system bodies by analyzing their genes. At least I would assume so. After all, isn't that typically how one goes about charting relations between terrestrial organisms these days?
Yes, it is. However, there are some problems with that:

1. The current crop of robots isn't equipped to do that kind of analysis.
So if some nice critter deposited a convenient sample in sealed test tube, that still wouldn't help at all.

2. If the critter isn't of common descent with terrestrial life, then it is very unlikely that it would have the same kind of DNA that we have.
So in that case, we would have to develop entirely new analysis techniques.

3. Developing such methods works best if you can grow the critters in your laboratory and do some experiments on their internals (and such).
It would be a lot more difficult to do with a robot that can only be given orders with a ten hour time delay, and doesn't have quite the right chemicals to do the analysis that seems to be interesting anyway.

Daekyras
01-20-2015, 04:49 AM
Yes well, duh. :rolleyes: I was thinking more along the lines of is it possible to determine which star the carbon came from? If it didn't come from Sol?

Duh? I was in third year in college before I learned that!

Khoram
01-20-2015, 09:57 AM
Duh? I was in third year in college before I learned that!

I'm a well-versed historian who also happens to love science?

:D

GonzoTheGreat
01-20-2015, 10:16 AM
Just for the record: none* of the Carbon we have on Earth came from Sol. All* of it originated in previous generations of stars, which died before our solar system formed. The question here seems to be (if it is meant as a serious one): might there be objects made up of Carbon (and other stuff) from other progenitor stars than the ones that supplied the bulk of our solar system's mass, and could we prove that if there were?
The answer (answers, if you want to be really picky) are: don't know and probably but not certainly yes.
The "don't know" is because we haven't found any really good candidates yet that I can remember, though I have a vague recollection of some things having been found that do not match the rest of the solar system. I definitely can't remember having read anything about their Carbon contents, though. If such rocks were found, then the most noticeable difference would be that radioactive minerals inside them showed them to be much older than the primordial cloud from which our system formed.
The "probably but not certainly yes" is because the products of that "other parent star" could in theory resemble those of our "standard parent star" so much that we couldn't really tell them apart, but it seems likely there would be some differences. Whether there would be any expected differences in Carbon isotopes is an interesting question to which I do not know the answer.

* It quite possible that a couple of atoms of Carbon were formed in the Sun. It is unlikely at this stage of our stars evolution, but unlikely things can happen, and there are a lot of Helium nuclei (three of which would have to combine to form Carbon) floating around there in a soup of Hydrogen plasma. It is even possible that such a Carbon atom then found its way towards Earth in the solar wind. I wouldn't consider that likely, and of course detecting it and proving its origin is entirely impossible.

The Unreasoner
01-20-2015, 01:13 PM
Yes, it is. However, there are some problems with that:

1. The current crop of robots isn't equipped to do that kind of analysis.
So if some nice critter deposited a convenient sample in sealed test tube, that still wouldn't help at all.

2. If the critter isn't of common descent with terrestrial life, then it is very unlikely that it would have the same kind of DNA that we have.
So in that case, we would have to develop entirely new analysis techniques.

3. Developing such methods works best if you can grow the critters in your laboratory and do some experiments on their internals (and such).
It would be a lot more difficult to do with a robot that can only be given orders with a ten hour time delay, and doesn't have quite the right chemicals to do the analysis that seems to be interesting anyway.

1. Well, sure. But I was thinking of what is hypothetically possible, not executable tomorrow.

2. Well I thought this was the point of Khoram's question (though he's still talking about carbon and where it came from, which doesn't seem like useful information to me. Wherever the carbon came from, (carbon based) life will use whatever is available locally in space and time). Determining whether an organism and shares a common ancestor with us should be possible. We should be able to put a date on the point of sundering, too. So we might be able to tell whether an asteroid kicked up some organisms millions of years ago that found a new home, or if we brought it with us, intentionally or otherwise. If we don't have a common ancestor, but we share the same basic elements like dna and mitochondria, life may tend to behave like it does on earth everywhere. And if we get nothing intelligible from sequencing or other analysis, we might conclude a separate abiogenesis, and wider variety in life than once thought.

3. Again, this seems to be a technical objection, rather than a theoretical one. Sequencing might become an automated process, or we might send human investigators in the future.

SauceyBlueConfetti
01-20-2015, 04:00 PM
Just for pure entertainment, conservative estimates:

Isaac Mizrahi: $20 million net worth
Rachel Maddow: $13 million
Shawn Killinger: $5 million

Terez
01-21-2015, 01:40 AM
And those cardigans were soooo terrible. Did anyone else get the impression that Mizrahi was high? He said amahzing three times. "The planet moon. The planet moooon..."

yks 6nnetu hing
01-21-2015, 01:46 AM
I'm a huge nerd

:D

fixed that for you.



you know, it's treads like this one that make me love TL :D

Frenzy
01-21-2015, 02:20 AM
Don't be crazy. We'll have babel fish so that we'll think that they're speaking to us in English.
fixed

GonzoTheGreat
01-21-2015, 03:34 AM
3. Again, this seems to be a technical objection, rather than a theoretical one. Sequencing might become an automated process, or we might send human investigators in the future.
Sequencing what?
That is not a trivial question; it is precisely the problem here.

Having human investigators present might help, but not necessarily much, nor is it a guarantee of success at all.

Terrestrial life is build from cells, and, for more "advanced" life, from conglomerates of cells. Every one of those cells has its own genetic material inside it (with the exception of things like red blood cells, which mess up this simple scheme). For the "advanced" life, this genetic material is conveniently stored in the nucleus.
Now consider the following hypothetical critter: single celled but macroscopic; let's say 100 pounds in weight. One set of genetic instructions somewhere within its body, with a total weight of a couple of picogram (one millionth of a microgram; I had to look up the weight of the human genome myself, I'd made a guess that it would be no more than a few microgram, which turned out to be true, albeit not very accurate). So how do you find that genetic material, if you do not even know what to look for in the first place?

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 03:52 AM
While I don't think your hypothetical creature is possible; assuming it were, wouldn't it probably have multiple nuclei? I think it would need multiple. Don't muscle cells have multiple nuclei?

In any case, I still think it would be possible. Once the device detects a creature, if would take a few samples, try to extract the DNA, then sequence it normally. If the results don't make sense (like if we missed the nucleus/i in your creature, if the thing has no DNA, if we got unlucky in the sampling, if there are more than four types of amino acids, or a different four, or whatever), then we have some evidence that it is radically different from us, and new tools are needed. If it came from here, or if all life is more or less the same, we'll get useful information.

GonzoTheGreat
01-21-2015, 04:01 AM
Muscle cells are part of multicellular organisms.
My hypothetical critter would have gone a different route towards being big: not having lots of little cells, but having one big one. Here on Earth, there are even some single celled amoebas which are bigger than certain multicellular organisms, showing that it is at least in principle possible.

And you have highlighted one snag in your scheme without noticing it already, by your inclusion of "if we got unlucky in the sampling". It could be the case that this critter is a descendant of terrestrial life, with DNA (or RNA) as basis of its genetic code, but because the wrong bit was picked for sampling, no genetic material was found.

I think it would be very interesting to find extra terrestrial life, no matter what its origin then turns out to be.

yks 6nnetu hing
01-21-2015, 04:19 AM
all those stories of alien probing: they're just trying to take samples to identify our life form.

Stretching Gonzo's analogy a bit further, if the critter has intelligence - and I don't even mean to the level of cognisence, I mean just the concept of too hot/too cold, pain receptors to indicate structural damage... and presumably some defence mechanisms in case of structural damage... the chances may very well be that once the critter is pricked for a sample, it emits... something. Which may be completely harmless, such as a rainbow, or severely damaging to our technology, such as concentrated sulphuric acid.

GonzoTheGreat
01-21-2015, 04:34 AM
Stretching your analogy a bit further: no human who got the "anal probe treatment" has secreted anything that hurt ETs equipment, as far as we know.

Of course, you are correct that other types of life are very likely to have defence mechanisms too.

yks 6nnetu hing
01-21-2015, 05:39 AM
Stretching your analogy a bit further: no human who got the "anal probe treatment" has secreted anything that hurt ETs equipment, as far as we know.

yes, well, I'd classify that as being somewhere neatly in the middle of the spectrum between "poops rainbows" and "bleeds acid". While not exactly aesthetically pleasing, not immensely harmful either.

That we know of.

http://www.surfnlearn.com/nibbler/nibbler.gif

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 10:09 AM
Muscle cells are part of multicellular organisms.
My hypothetical critter would have gone a different route towards being big: not having lots of little cells, but having one big one. Here on Earth, there are even some single celled amoebas which are bigger than certain multicellular organisms, showing that it is at least in principle possible.
No, I understood you. But I was saying that I thought large cells need to have multiple nuclei. Maybe to minimize the distance between DNA and ribosomes. I don't know if they have to have more than one though. But I know some of the larger amoeba have hundreds of nuclei.
And you have highlighted one snag in your scheme without noticing it already, by your inclusion of "if we got unlucky in the sampling". It could be the case that this critter is a descendant of terrestrial life, with DNA (or RNA) as basis of its genetic code, but because the wrong bit was picked for sampling, no genetic material was found.
I'm aware the idea isn't perfect. I just think most of these problems are solvable. Better sensors, better equipment, better algorithms. And as we encounter more varieties of life, we could fine tune the automated labs even more.
I think it would be very interesting to find extra terrestrial life, no matter what its origin then turns out to be.
Oh I agree. Again, I brought this up to answer what I thought Khoram was asking. But new life would be fascinating. It would be nice to have some idea of how much is out there, but while we can count planets, the idea that we know the probability of abiogenesis is laughable.

Although personally, I'm mostly interested in intelligent life. If all we find are ferns or plankton or something, I'd rather risk losing them in a colonization process than protect them and have humanity lose the planet.

Khoram
01-21-2015, 10:19 AM
I'm a huge nerd

:D
fixed that for you.



you know, it's treads like this one that make me love TL :D
Don't be crazy. We'll have babel fish so that we'll think that they're speaking to us in English.

fixed

Wow. Getting two posts edited one after the other.


I'm honoured. Really. :rolleyes:


And what I was asking was related to determining whether it was possible to find other carbon-based lifeforms based on where the carbon originated.

There is a downfall to not being properly schooled in the intricacies of the various sciences we've been discussing. XD

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 10:29 AM
Wow. Getting two posts edited one after the other.


I'm honoured. Really. :rolleyes:

Hey, what were you after with the carbon? I thought you wanted to track different abiogeneses, but I realized that doesn't make sense.

Eta:
Nm

GonzoTheGreat
01-21-2015, 10:44 AM
And what I was asking was related to determining whether it was possible to find other carbon-based lifeforms based on where the carbon originated.At first glance: unlikely.
If you can study the carbon inside such a life form, then I wouldn't really know why you needed to find the critter, since if you don't know where it is, then you can't study the carbon inside it either.

Assuming you're thinking in a somewhat different and more sensible direction:
By studying the carbon in a living being it would be possible to figure out where it had gotten its food from, but not whether its ancestors had come from that place too. I've never heard of it being done with carbon that way, but I do know that by studying the right minerals in someone's teeth it is possible to get a good idea of where he or she probably grew up. I say "probably", because the answer then isn't necessarily unique; in an example I saw in a documentary there were two or three places in Europe where someone buried beneath Stonehenge could have come from, none of them in Britain. But whether his parents had also come from there was impossible to determine.

How useful carbon is for such purposes I don't know. I do not know how quickly the carbon in humans is replaced (might be months, or perhaps years, or maybe just weeks). And when it comes to an unknown alien with unknown physiology and unknown influences from whatever it had been up to before it became a scientific sample, I would say that your guess would be just as bad* as mine.

There is a downfall to not being properly schooled in the intricacies of the various sciences we've been discussing. XDYou think so? :p

* Not good. The word "good" is definitely not applicable to this particular guess.

Weird Harold
01-21-2015, 03:24 PM
Although personally, I'm mostly interested in intelligent life. If all we find are ferns or plankton or something, I'd rather risk losing them in a colonization process than protect them and have humanity lose the planet.

An entire sub-genre of Golden Age science fiction was dedicated to exploring whether humans could even recognize life-forms that weren't carbon-based or possibly even recognize non-humanoid carbon-based intelligence.

One Star Trek (TOS) episode explored interactions with a silicon-based life-form.

The Gateway series even suggests that we should only be concerned with other CHON species, (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen,) because we wouldn't ever be interacting/competing with non-CHON species.

Nazbaque
01-21-2015, 04:18 PM
So what would you call that kind of predjudice? It's not racism but in the same way it goes beyond speciesism to the type of life. Lifeism?

Daekyras
01-21-2015, 04:21 PM
fixed that for you.



you know, it's treads like this one that make me love TL :D

Careful, I hear THOSE kinda guys can have there revenge....

Weird Harold
01-21-2015, 07:19 PM
So what would you call that kind of predjudice? It's not racism but in the same way it goes beyond speciesism to the type of life. Lifeism?
The premise wasn't that we would reject association with Non-CHON aliens, just that we would probably never cross paths with them and probably wouldn't be able to communicate with them if we did.

Frenzy
01-21-2015, 10:10 PM
Wow. Getting two posts edited one after the other.


I'm honoured. Really. :rolleyes:
Good, you should be :p
And what I was asking was related to determining whether it was possible to find other carbon-based lifeforms based on where the carbon originated.
What kind of markers would exist on Carbon atoms that would indicate they came from one or another exploding star? What if it passed through multiple stars before it ended up here, how would that be captured in the atomic structure?

Khoram
01-21-2015, 10:53 PM
Good, you should be :p

What kind of markers would exist on Carbon atoms that would indicate they came from one or another exploding star? What if it passed through multiple stars before it ended up here, how would that be captured in the atomic structure?

I was thinking that, because we use carbon-dating in order to determine (roughly) how old something is (as in the case with trying to determine the age of fossils or sediments), wouldn't we be able to determine the age of other carbon-based objects, even if they don't come from Earth? Which we can. So would we be able to use this to date carbon-based lifeforms as well?

Whether anything could be captured in the atomic structure or not to help determine where it came from, I don't know.

Frenzy
01-21-2015, 11:13 PM
I was thinking that, because we use carbon-dating in order to determine (roughly) how old something is (as in the case with trying to determine the age of fossils or sediments), wouldn't we be able to determine the age of other carbon-based objects, even if they don't come from Earth? Which we can. So would we be able to use this to date carbon-based lifeforms as well?

i may not explain this well, but i'll try. Carbon dating measures the ratio of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 atoms, and it's based upon knowing the ratio between the two when an organism is alive and the decay rate of Carbon-14. The less Carbon-14, the longer something's been dead. It has a limited range (I think it's 50,000 years, though I could be wrong) and won't work on stuff that died in the last 200 years because of carbon dumping in the atmosphere from the Industrial revolution messing up the calibration, so other forms of radiometric dating are used for older samples.

Since all of it is based on ratios of one form of an atom to another, i'm not sure if this could be applied to identifying sources of interstellar carbon. Maybe there is on the subatomic level, but that's beyond my training.

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 11:18 PM
The only variation possible in carbon that I know of is isotopes. Which indicate what I'll leave to others. I personally don't see how knowing the specific history of a carbon atom is all that useful, with the notable exception of carbon dating techniques on Earth.

On another note:
What are the advantages carbon-based life would have over silicon based life? What are the disadvantages? I believe carbon is more common, which seems like an advantage. I think it forms stronger bonds too, which I would guess is an advantage, though someone with a more thorough understanding of enzymes and the krebs cycle/fermentation/respiration than I do could probably tell us more. It's also lighter, which again makes me lean towards advantage, but I'm not certain.

Also: arsenic replaced the lighter element of the same group in some organisms here on Earth. So it seems that some carbon-based organisms, if they are in a silicon-rich environment (and carbon-poor) could evolve/mutate into silicon-based life, while still having many of the same properties of its carbon-based brethren. This makes me think that the differences to the degree WH talked about are not necessarily implied. And even if the differences are substantial, wouldn't we still have common interests (with intelligent creatures) in things like metals and hydrocarbons? Whether it'll lead to conflict or cooperation is hard to say, of course, but it seems that some 'collisions' are inevitable. Although I am slightly reassured that if an 'Other' intelligent organism ever finds itself in close proximity to us, it would have apparently come from a culture that thinks in long-term and along sustainable lines. After all its species would have survived long enough to develop the requisite technology to facillitate the encounter, and war is not sustainable (though extermination, alarmingly, probably is). But if we meet off Earth, we'd have a good chance of being on an even playing field.

Khoram
01-21-2015, 11:19 PM
i may not explain this well, but i'll try. Carbon dating measures the ratio of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 atoms, and it's based upon knowing the ratio between the two when an organism is alive and the decay rate of Carbon-14. The less Carbon-14, the longer something's been dead. It has a limited range (I think it's 50,000 years, though I could be wrong) and won't work on stuff that died in the last 200 years because of carbon dumping in the atmosphere from the Industrial revolution messing up the calibration, so other forms of radiometric dating are used for older samples.

Since all of it is based on ratios of one form of an atom to another, i'm not sure if this could be applied to identifying sources of interstellar carbon. Maybe there is on the subatomic level, but that's beyond my training.

For all I know, there could be some way of irradiating atoms that takes place in deep space that is yet to be observed by any of our technology that could thus lead to our being able to determine where the atoms originated. :rolleyes:



ETA: Man I wish I had continued in the sciences.

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 11:21 PM
I think without knowing the local history (like planet-local) of carbon, carbon dating is impossible.

Eta: Also, you'd probably need to have some idea on how fast an organism absorbed it.

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 11:23 PM
For all I know, there could be some way of irradiating atoms that takes place in deep space that is yet to be observed by any of our technology that could thus lead to our being able to determine where the atoms originated. :rolleyes:

But electrons are the same everywhere, aren't they?


Eta: For some reason I thought you said ionization. Although my answer still somewhat applies: neutrons are also the same everywhere (as far as I know).

Eta2:fixed the many typos in my last few posts.

Khoram
01-21-2015, 11:25 PM
I think without knowing the local history (like planet-local) of carbon, carbon dating is impossible.

Eta: Also, you'd probably need to have some idea on how fast an organism absorbed it.

So my plans for developing some new technique never thought of before in the scientific community have been squashed. Thanks a lot, guys. :p

But electrons are the same everywhere, aren't they?

Maybe not if we're thinking of parallel universes... :D

Actually, scratch that. The laws of physics wouldn't allow for that, no?

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 11:37 PM
Well, there's spin, but....yeah, probably not helpful.

What were you after? I thought my earlier post on genes would be helpful, but apparently not.

The Unreasoner
01-21-2015, 11:42 PM
Actually I had an idea that might be helpful (though I'm still not 100% clear on what we're after): detonate a large nuclear warhead in the atmosphere. That will produce lots of special isotopes, and (I think) in a well-understood distribution. So you could date accurately afterwards, once they settle.

Nazbaque
01-22-2015, 02:37 AM
Well this going to be a bit streched but there might also be matter from the (or a) previous universe. The theory goes that black holes suck matter back to where the big bang came from as if they were the blood veins of reality taking stuff back to the heart. Thus our universe keeps going towards absolute vacuum until it gets "thin" enough and the pressure "behind" it big enough that the heart of reality beats again and there is another big bang that pushes what ever is left of our universe to the edges. Now if this has any truth to it the question is "could matter go through this without being reduced to raw energy?"

GonzoTheGreat
01-22-2015, 04:06 AM
i may not explain this well, but i'll try. Carbon dating measures the ratio of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 atoms, and it's based upon knowing the ratio between the two when an organism is alive and the decay rate of Carbon-14. The less Carbon-14, the longer something's been dead. It has a limited range (I think it's 50,000 years, though I could be wrong) and won't work on stuff that died in the last 200 years because of carbon dumping in the atmosphere from the Industrial revolution messing up the calibration, so other forms of radiometric dating are used for older samples.This is a good explanation of it, I think. Of course, I already know this stuff, which may mess up my appreciation of the explanatory value of your work.

Some extra details that may (or may not) provide some further clarification:
The radioactive C14 isotope is produced as a result of cosmic rays hitting our atmosphere. Cosmic rays, being cosmic and all, would probably impact any planet in our galaxy. However, how many of them reach a planet depends on the local interplanetary situation (mostly the influence of the local star), so that is already one possible issue. Not a very big one, though, since we could easily measure the intensity of those cosmic rays in the place where we're looking for life.
The C14 is produced from N14 (Nitrogen-14), which is by far the most common Nitrogen isotope on Earth. And Nitrogen makes up the biggest part of our atmosphere, so there is plenty of material here for the cosmic rays to work on. However, most other planets have a very different composition for their atmospheres, with far less Nitrogen in it, so the cosmic rays wouldn't have as much to work with, resulting in far lower C14 levels.
C14 has a half life of 5,730 years. That means that if you put aside a sample in some dark cupboard, then, after 5,730 years, only half of the original amount would be left and the rest would be decayed into N14. After 11,460 years, only a quarter would be left, after 17,000 years only an eighth, and after 50,000 years only about one part in five hundred. That is more or less the detection limit (probably more as a result of unpredictable types of contamination than because we can't count atoms well enough), so if a sample is older than 50,000 years then radio-carbon dating can't tell how much older it is.

Also: arsenic replaced the lighter element of the same group in some organisms here on Earth.No, it didn't. A couple of researchers thought they had shown such an effect, but it turned out there was an undetected flaw in their experiment, and once that was detected and taken care of, the whole effect disappeared. Unfortunately, because it was a very neat result.

For all I know, there could be some way of irradiating atoms that takes place in deep space that is yet to be observed by any of our technology that could thus lead to our being able to determine where the atoms originated.At the moment at least, such an effect could not be detected by any technique known to mankind, so we couldn't use this anyway.

Now if this has any truth to it the question is "could matter go through this without being reduced to raw energy?"Probably not.

However, that's not the only question that idea would generate.
Another one is a result of the fact that in such a "new universe" the laws of nature might be different from what they were in the previous one. If so, then the matter that so bravely survived this cataclysm could easily discover that it was now totally unstable and fall apart in a fraction of a second as a result.

Other universes can be very dangerous indeed, and I would be tempted to say "don't try this at home" but doing so would be hypocritical. If I figure out how to make a new universe in my kitchen, I might very well do that, just to see what happens. And, unlike Adam Savage, I'm not a trained professional universe builder, so when it comes to "rejecting your reality and substituting my own" I would be just an amateur. Wouldn't stop me, though, I suspect.

Weird Harold
01-22-2015, 04:30 AM
What are the advantages carbon-based life would have over silicon based life? What are the disadvantages?

IIRC, The main difference is energy budgets; Carbon reactions store and release more energy than Silicon reactions. Silicon based life would therefore tend to be "slower" and more sedentary than CHON life.

Nazbaque
01-22-2015, 04:33 AM
Probably not.

However, that's not the only question that idea would generate.
Another one is a result of the fact that in such a "new universe" the laws of nature might be different from what they were in the previous one. If so, then the matter that so bravely survived this cataclysm could easily discover that it was now totally unstable and fall apart in a fraction of a second as a result.

Other universes can be very dangerous indeed, and I would be tempted to say "don't try this at home" but doing so would be hypocritical. If I figure out how to make a new universe in my kitchen, I might very well do that, just to see what happens. And, unlike Adam Savage, I'm not a trained professional universe builder, so when it comes to "rejecting your reality and substituting my own" I would be just an amateur. Wouldn't stop me, though, I suspect.

Oh there is a LOT of questions but the I wrote seemed to be the most relevant to the discussion. But if there is intrest, then there is also the point that there might be more than universe forming a chain so that our black holes collect matter for the next big bang of a different universe and likewise our next big bang comes from another universe so that the 'thinning' of our universe and the build up of pressure 'behind' it are not part of the same process and all estimates for when the next big bang comes are not just bloody difficult but absolutely impossible. Then there is the possibility that our black holes don't lead to the same place and our pressure is also collected from several universes so that what is formed is not a chain but a net.

Terez
02-13-2015, 12:08 AM
A friend of mine shared this with me on Facebook today and I felt the need to resurrect this thread:

http://www.koreus.com/video/qui-veut-gagner-des-millions-gravite-terre.html

I think this is from 2007. In a way, it's worse, because the QVC debacle only involved two ignorant people. This guy asked le public, and le public led him astray.

The only French you really need to know for this video:

Question: Which of these orbits around the Earth?
A: The moon
B: The sun
C...

I guess it's also important that he admonishes the audience to vote only "si vous savez...si vous savez" (if you know). My ability to understand spoken French is minimal so I can't be of much more help. Sophie knew the answer, but I can't figure out if she's his fiancée or not. I think at the end the host said something about fiancée, after he gave the right answer. He was also talking about how the audience was so divided (très partagé).

GonzoTheGreat
02-13-2015, 03:13 AM
Perhaps most of the public didn't understand French. That would be quite understandable; only a minority of the human species knows that language after all.

Terez
02-13-2015, 03:18 AM
Perhaps most of the public didn't understand French. That would be quite understandable; only a minority of the human species knows that language after all.
Yes, and the French are quite bitter about it. :D

Serieusement, I'm pretty sure the audience was tout français.

Davian93
02-13-2015, 07:04 AM
Perhaps most of the public didn't understand French. That would be quite understandable; only a minority of the human species knows that language after all.

It was the language of diplomacy and of the ultra-rich for like 300 years from the time of the Sun King until the late 19th century basically...I mean, that was a pretty good run for them.

GonzoTheGreat
02-13-2015, 07:23 AM
It was also the English court language a couple of centuries before that. So what? In those days, even many educated people weren't too clear on the precise nature of celestial mechanics.

Khoram
02-13-2015, 07:28 AM
So apparently the French are also stupid. Huh.

It's not a good day for my people. :(

Davian93
02-13-2015, 07:33 AM
So apparently the French are also stupid. Huh.

It's not a good day for my people. :(

You're not French, you're Canadian. Just ask any French person and they will tell you that.

Khoram
02-13-2015, 07:38 AM
You're not French, you're Canadian. Just ask any French person and they will tell you that.

Ah, but I'm part FRENCH Canadian. I speak the language of the Royals, barely changed over the course of 400 years.

Which just means that the French here is backwards and undeveloped.

My English, Italian, and Irish roots are more incorporated into modern society, however. We have learned to adapt to the changing world. ;)

Davian93
02-13-2015, 07:45 AM
Ah, but I'm part FRENCH Canadian. I speak the language of the Royals, barely changed over the course of 400 years.

Which just means that the French here is backwards and undeveloped.

My English, Italian, and Irish roots are more incorporated into modern society, however. We have learned to adapt to the changing world. ;)

LOL...which is pretty much what every French person I've spoken to says about the Quebecois.

Khoram
02-13-2015, 07:56 AM
Alas, they are more interested in sovereignty than they are in accepting the fact that they're idiots and should have been fully assimilated by the English. Because that never happened, we're having these problems today.

Not that I don't appreciate what French I have learned, but living here, with these people, gets to be a little much sometimes. Then I remember that Montreal is one of the safest places for an anglophone to live in the province. :D

Davian93
02-13-2015, 11:44 AM
Alas, they are more interested in sovereignty than they are in accepting the fact that they're idiots and should have been fully assimilated by the English. Because that never happened, we're having these problems today.

Not that I don't appreciate what French I have learned, but living here, with these people, gets to be a little much sometimes. Then I remember that Montreal is one of the safest places for an anglophone to live in the province. :D

There's also the great delis...and bagels.

And the old city is nice. As is your Chinatown.

Khoram
02-13-2015, 02:57 PM
And the West Island is great, but the South Shore and the East End are too far away to really matter.

Our bagels are the best. As is our smoked meat. :D

Frenzy
02-13-2015, 05:08 PM
So... when do the corporations win and i get to go traipsing about the 'verse swearing in Chinese?

Nazbaque
02-13-2015, 05:30 PM
So... when do the corporations win and i get to go traipsing about the 'verse swearing in Chinese?

Frenzy can swear in Chinese? Is there anything she can't do?

Khoram
02-13-2015, 07:11 PM
Frenzy can swear in Chinese? Is there anything she can't do?

Father children.

GonzoTheGreat
02-14-2015, 03:05 AM
Father children.
She thinks that's too much trouble, so she delegates that chore. She herself did the easy bit of getting children, remember?

The Unreasoner
02-14-2015, 04:36 AM
Father children.
Father sons would be more accurate. The technology for women to father daughters is out there. It's not legal (at least in the US), but you can make sperm cells from a sample of other cells. Even skin cells. So if you're paranoid about being on the hook for child support, wear an airtight mylar suit, and only ventilate in secure environments.

Daekyras
02-15-2015, 07:15 PM
Father sons would be more accurate. The technology for women to father daughters is out there. It's not legal (at least in the US), but you can make sperm cells from a sample of other cells. Even skin cells. So if you're paranoid about being on the hook for child support, wear an airtight mylar suit, and only ventilate in secure environments.

There are many men out there who have fathered children without any genetic links to them.

If frenzy wants to father some children I say more power to her. There are a lot of kids that have genetic "fathers" that are a slur on the word.

Nazbaque
02-15-2015, 08:15 PM
There are many men out there who have fathered children without any genetic links to them.

If frenzy wants to father some children I say more power to her. There are a lot of kids that have genetic "fathers" that are a slur on the word.

It's a slur only because of false expectations on the words 'father' and 'mother'. Those don't demand much. Now the word 'parent' is another thing entirely.

The Unreasoner
02-16-2015, 01:14 AM
There are many men out there who have fathered children without any genetic links to them.
I know this well. I come from a blended family. Genetics are not what makes a parent.

But you know what I meant. The physical act of 'fathering' a son, that is, providing the y chromosome. That is something Frenzy cannot do. And obviously Khoram meant fathering in the genetic sense, because he's not an asshole.

Daekyras
02-16-2015, 02:14 AM
I know this well. I come from a blended family. Genetics are not what makes a parent.

But you know what I meant. The physical act of 'fathering' a son, that is, providing the y chromosome. That is something Frenzy cannot do. And obviously Khoram meant fathering in the genetic sense, because he's not an asshole.

Easy big man, easy....I wasnt calling you out!

Are we sure about khoram? French? Canadian? IRISH? Thats a lot of asshole potential!!!

GonzoTheGreat
02-16-2015, 03:17 AM
According to a plausible seeming theory, having plenty of assholes around was necessary for making humankind possible. Specifically, this theory says that the Cambrian Explosion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian_explosion) happened because some animals developed a digestive system, their waste products opened up new ecological niches, and that triggered yet more evolutionary changes, which eventually resulted in humans, many of whom strive hard (sometimes in vain) to achieve the status of "asshole".

Nazbaque
02-16-2015, 10:11 AM
Easy big man, easy....I wasnt calling you out!

Are we sure about khoram? French? Canadian? IRISH? Thats a lot of asshole potential!!!

I must object to that one. Irish? Okay. French? Definitely. But Canadian? No doubt they have their own assholes, but that's becaus they are human beings. I might go so far as to say that on average Canadians are a bit less agravating than the global average of human beings. Of course if you had to choose one part of Canada that breaks this generality it would be Quebec so it doesn't help Khoram.

Khoram
02-16-2015, 10:56 AM
Yes, I was talking in the genetic sense.

Yes, I am all of the above. So maybe I am an asshole. An Irish Quebecer has to be the worst of the group. :rolleyes:

Actually, scratch that. Not only am I part Irish and part French, but I'm a French Quebecer as well. So that makes it even worse. Maybe I'm a budding asshole. Although I don't really know how I would go about it. XD

But I am first and foremost Canadian. So that trumps my French Quebec-ness. And I guess my Irishness as well. :D

The Unreasoner
02-16-2015, 11:06 AM
Lol. Khoram is like the least assholish person on the boards. Whatever his race or nationality, I would say he is more like an earnest dog than anything else. The both even like assholes. I can be a bit of a jerk, and Khoram even seems to like me.

Although I don't know why people always seem to assume that I get angry so easily. I really don't get angry that often. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've lost my temper in the last ten years. Even with Southpaw, you shouldn't read my posts as being shouted or something. More like Matt LeBlanc in Episodes.

Khoram
02-16-2015, 12:32 PM
Lol. Khoram is like the least assholish person on the boards. Whatever his race or nationality, I would say he is more like an earnest dog than anything else. The both even like assholes. I can be a bit of a jerk, and Khoram even seems to like me.

Lol I'm a dog, huh? What kind? As long as I'm not one that yips and yaps, then I'm fine with the canine comparison. :p

Not gonna lie, there are some posters who can annoy me, but I choose ignore the posters or the posts themselves.

Maybe I'm just naive, thinking that you guys aren't that bad. ;)

The Unreasoner
02-16-2015, 02:15 PM
I like small dogs. Though I like big dogs too. In any case, I meant in character. You're always around, always ready to play/post, and it seems like you're always so earnest. And I liked the asshole analogy.

But if you want me to associate a physical dog with you in my mind, that's fine. Do you like German Shephards? Huskies? I'm feeling black lab, but I think it ought to be your call. I've screwed up lots of mental images (I thought Terez's old avatar was a pet rock and imagined her dragging it around on a leash, thought Zombie was a girl, Lupus was a boy, and Crispin still calls up the image of a real live person with a similar tattoo), and it would be nice to finally get one right.
ETA:
What about one of these guys?

http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/attachments/3/1/0/6/3/t2176007-212-thumb-snoopy_1.gif?d=1226900381http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7297/11986003553_22b15d0664_m.jpg

Khoram
02-16-2015, 03:24 PM
I like small dogs. Though I like big dogs too. In any case, I meant in character. You're always around, always ready to play/post, and it seems like you're always so earnest. And I liked the asshole analogy.

But if you want me to associate a physical dog with you in my mind, that's fine. Do you like German Shephards? Huskies? I'm feeling black lab, but I think it ought to be your call. I've screwed up lots of mental images (I thought Terez's old avatar was a pet rock and imagined her dragging it around on a leash, thought Zombie was a girl, Lupus was a boy, and Crispin still calls up the image of a real live person with a similar tattoo), and it would be nice to finally get one right.
ETA:
What about one of these guys?

http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/attachments/3/1/0/6/3/t2176007-212-thumb-snoopy_1.gif?d=1226900381http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7297/11986003553_22b15d0664_m.jpg

HA! That's perfect! Snoopy taking on the Red Baron. :D

There's no real telling who somebody is on the internet; I do, however, like to be as earnest as possible. And who doesn't like being liked by people? Or at the very least, tolerable. ;)

And German Shephards and Huskies work, too.

Daekyras
02-16-2015, 04:17 PM
Lol. Khoram is like the least assholish person on the boards.

Khoram IS generally quite sound but least assholish? Come on. It's got to be...

....Anaiya. In the five years ive posted and probably five more ive lurked I dont think she's ever said a bad thing about anyone or anything.

Harold too now that I think of it.

P.s. i knew you werent angry, i was playing along. :)

Khoram
02-16-2015, 05:18 PM
Khoram IS generally quite sound but least assholish? Come on. It's got to be...

....Anaiya. In the five years ive posted and probably five more ive lurked I dont think she's ever said a bad thing about anyone or anything.

Harold too now that I think of it.

P.s. i knew you werent angry, i was playing along. :)

Theoryland: where a thread on the stupidity of people turns into a thread about who is the least asshole-ish at Theoryland. :p

Daekyras
02-16-2015, 05:52 PM
Theoryland: where a thread on the stupidity of people turns into a thread about who is the least asshole-ish at Theoryland. :p

Theoryland- where every thread is a free form poem.

Davian93
02-16-2015, 06:40 PM
I gotta say that this thread went in a weird direction.

Frenzy
02-16-2015, 07:08 PM
I gotta say that this thread went in a weird direction.

i like it!

GonzoTheGreat
02-17-2015, 02:48 AM
I gotta say that this thread went in a weird direction.
Yeah, one would have expected it to go nowhere, seeing as how lunatics learned here that they are not wanderers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet).