Comment Archives: Stories: Life + Outdoors

Re: “Tabby's Star

I'm predicting at least three planets will be found orbiting KIC 8462. One slightly larger than Earth, one about the same size as Uranus and one about 3 times the size of Jupiter.

Posted by Dwight Huth on 07/18/2017 at 11:12 AM

Re: “How Did Our Agates Form?

Dear Professor Garlick, I enjoy your entries (and enjoyed your classes at HSU!). I should note, however, that it is incorrect to say that lavas "invariably contains a few percent dissolved water", especially the ones of rhyolite variety. If they did, it would be unlikely that they would erupt as lava (rather as tephra). Correct is a few tenths of a weight percent at the highest (we've measured many of these things). Sincerely,

Professor Jonathan Castro

Posted by castroj69 on 07/14/2017 at 5:57 AM

Re: “Tabby's Star

Thanks Keith. I don't not share the belief that our future is uncharted. The hard cold facts tell me that our future is death, the heat death of the universe if nothing else. The only solution would be to get outside of the constraints of this universe. Constraints such as time.

That raises an interesting logical parallel, though as a theist it is an easy line of reasoning for me to follow. The simple logic does not offend me. That does not seem the case with many others. They seem hell bent (if you'll pardon the expression) on finding some other way. But logic is our only light according to the apostle John. Wish more people grasped that shocking fact.

I don't think it mundane that you speak of survival. And I don't think you have in your mind the picture of surviving for a millennia or two. I suspect that without realizing it, you picture a perpetual survival albeit punctuated by great threats of our ultimate end along the way. We are concerned that our own infantile understanding might kill us. Playing God is like that, dangerous.

If that is so, you are REALLY talking about eternal life. What an odd desire given the facts of nature as revealed objectively BY nature. Nature seems to indicate we must look elsewhere for such hope. And she does so with the cold facts of the empirical application of the laws of logic that we call science. It is an odd desire indeed unless it is one of the byproducts of our having been created in God's image or something along such lines. The same logic that makes science possible does not refute such hope. We take such desires for granted but rarely stop to allow the same logic we do science with to guide our questions about those desires. We don't even ASK such questions.

IF God is there (not in the primitive Greek or Babylonian sense of another creature INSIDE this universe mistaken for forces or celestial bodies OF nature, but the monotheistic sense of an uncreated God OUTSIDE this universe along the lines of eternal multiverse theory), then he transcends time as an ETERNAL being. He can see the future the same as the past. And in that case our future is not uncharted.

I am not saying we are determined because God knows what we will do BEFORE we do it. I mean the sense that C.S. Lewis considered and articulated, that there IS no before or after for God because he is not limited to spacetime as we are. He simply sees us making our free choices outside of the time line.

Oh the places logic can take us, beyond where it can take us in the empirical realm alone. So long as our metaphysics is consistent with the objective empirical evidence I think our faith is quite reasonable and explains oddities in our psyche like longings for civility, justice, and survival. Nature's testimony alone on these oddities is hopeless as I examine the situation.

I think we are looking for far more than survival, but company. We are looking for life. But what if contact has already been made? I fear we may have missed the obvious and dismissed as primitive, that which was far more sophisticated than we ever imagined or manufactured in our own infant minds.

1 John 1:2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

Posted by Robert Lockett on 07/08/2017 at 11:10 PM

Re: “Tabby's Star

Robert Lockett asked, "What's in it for humanity?"

We journey into an uncharted future. Technological singularity, AI, nanotechnology and the like. It would be nice to know if we can survive these changes. An example of high-tech ET life around a remote star would indicate the future is survivable. So far, we don't know.

Of course, we could be the first in our corner of the universe (light cone) in which case we travel into the future with no guidance.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Keith Henson on 07/08/2017 at 7:46 AM

Re: “Tabby's Star

Why do you wish to find extraterrestrial life? What's in it for humanity?

Posted by Robert Lockett on 07/07/2017 at 6:59 PM

Re: “'Nuclear Batteries'

A terrorist attack on an above-ground conventional nuclear power station seems a lot more feasible than causing a release of radioactivity from a deeply-buried, comparatively small (9-foot diameter) SMR. One reason of many why I'd like to see this technology pursued.

Posted by barryevans on 07/06/2017 at 10:35 AM

Re: “Drop it Like a Pot

Very enjoyable read. I took up crabbing a long time ago, as it was a hobby of my grandfather's. He passed away, but I started a website in his memory - http://crabbingzone.com

Posted by Ryan Rodden on 07/01/2017 at 9:56 AM

Re: “It's About Time

Thanks for the correct (1922) attribution, wmngreer! (It's usually given to Einstein, John Wheeler, Woody Allen...)

Posted by barryevans on 07/01/2017 at 7:40 AM

Re: “Tabby's Star

Yeah, the energy has to go somewhere...maybe that 22% is only hard to imagine for a generation that's barely got off its home planet?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by barryevans on 06/30/2017 at 4:32 AM

Re: “Tabby's Star

Something is blocking considerable light from Tabby's star. By the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it's got to radiate, but at first look, it does not. At least it is 60 deg K or colder.

There are two ways this could happen, the light blocking stuff is way out from the star where the re-radiation temperature is low, or the radiation is being directed away from our line of sight. There are power satellite designs that radiate waste heat directionally away from the local ecliptic, but one 22 % of the area of the photosphere of Tabby's star is hard to imagine.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Keith Henson on 06/29/2017 at 6:55 PM

Re: “It's About Time

"Time is what keeps everything from happening at once." Ray Cummings

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by wmngreer on 06/26/2017 at 6:20 PM

Re: “It's Nothing. Really.

Nothingness is beyond human comprehension or conceptualization. This perhaps speaks more to human limitation than to the nature of Reality.

Posted by wmngreer on 06/26/2017 at 6:05 PM

Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Posted by Tobi Wa Olu on 06/23/2017 at 1:37 PM

Re: “'Nuclear Batteries'

Our ultimate energy source is nuclear power from the sun, and the huge exponent in Einstein's elegant equation provides all the guidance humans need to deliver clean air and water, sustainable communities and prosperity, for billions, forever: http://www.businessinsider.com/thorium-mol…, http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/what-is-….

Fortunately, the EPA Clean Power Plan clearly supports an all of the above energy strategy.

Unfortunately, the Renewables/Fossil Fuels Industries continue to oppose this strategy, while billions live in poverty and tens of millions die each year from energy poverty and air pollution: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/anal…, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releas…, http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documen….

It is past time for all states and nations to identify a clear path towards global energy production and prosperity, which is consistent with all Climate Change Targets and Emission Mandates: http://docketpublic.energy.ca.gov/PublicDo….

We either start making decisions based on scientific consensus, or continue to rely on some other metric, which will insure smarter species evolve to replace humans: http://www.pewinternet.org/interactives/pu….

Posted by Kirk Gothier1 on 06/18/2017 at 11:54 AM

Re: “'Nuclear Batteries'

Presumably, the reason for an SMR is to significantly lower the cost of building the plant. So then they string 12 of them together. Would be more cost effective for the consumer to build a right sized, much more efficient conventional reactor.
There simply no question that SMRs are financially grossly non-competitive, hence the lining-up at the Federal "pig-trough" for massive subsidies.
If the folks in the Pacific Northwest are so enamored by the technology, then use your own money to build the plant.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Keller on 06/15/2017 at 6:15 PM

Re: “'Nuclear Batteries'

The reason nuclear power generation gets compared to nuclear weapons is that each and every reactor is in essence a potential dirty bomb. The definition of dirty bomb is a deliberate radioactive release, and by attacking a nuclear power plant terrorists could cause a deliberate radioactive release. why would we put these materials close to population centers? They are targets plain and simple, and potential dirty bombs.

1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by Russshackleford on 06/15/2017 at 1:52 PM

Re: “It's About Time

5 minutes well spent Evans. If the universe is an aquarium of sorts, time is the glass. Why would that make us uneasy?

Posted by Robert Lockett on 06/11/2017 at 6:42 AM

Re: “E-Cigarettes vs. Tobacco

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Posted by Mr. Nastytoe on 06/07/2017 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Myth of the Invisible Ships

By the way, I also like the explanation where the person says they wood question their sanity, because no one else was looking, and therefore stay silent. There was a famous sociological perception experiment with Confederates where the Confederates stated that two lines were different in size when they were really the same, and most people agreed with them!
This would be another more consistent hypothesis than humans not noticing the ships!

Posted by MtVelveteen on 06/04/2017 at 8:52 AM

Re: “Myth of the Invisible Ships

Well, my comment is that ignoring and survival mode are contradictory , so therefore, one can't have it both ways:
To begin with, Humans are one of the most curious species on the planet.
If they were on "survival mode", it's inherent hyper-focus triggered by the brain's amygdala would actually add to curiosity to the point of hyper-vigilance. The possibility that is brought up in the other post regarding them being aboriginals who is phenomenology include seeing spirits all the time is also a good point. But you can trust that under those circumstances they would have been very aware. Maybe not help early responsive, but very aware. Their survival depends on that awareness in a wild environment.
Of course, the truth is we bring confirmatory bias from our own belief systems to any situation, so I don't know that my analysis is anymore correct.
ButIMO, the natural state of the human - especially spiritually - at that in history, combines with survival brain physiology, to conclude that the invisible hypothesis, or the "they are spirits, and we just hope they will keep moving on" are the more likely explanations.

Posted by MtVelveteen on 06/04/2017 at 8:50 AM

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