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Posts posted by Moontanman

  1. Not that much sooner. We have at least half a billion years before we truly have to worry about the Earth becoming too hot for us complex life forms.


    The earth wouldn't have to become very much hotter to significantly curb complex life forms. The upper limit for complex life is somewhere around 50C but that is for some very tough plants, animals need temps lower than that. Most of complex life on earth lives below 40C average.



    Mars is the most Earth-Like planet in the solar system. That's why I don't think it will take that long to terraform. It's the same with Titan. But if you are referring to Venus, that will probably take thousands of years to properly terraform as it has little to no water present. And then, I'm not sure about the challenges of terraforming gas giants, but I'm pretty certain it's near impossible to do that.


    Terra forming is just a stop gag measure anyway you look at it. Self contained orbiting colony world/ships are the only way to go.



    It doesn't really matter, because they will need to be around star systems to sustain themselves. Whether or not they land on planets is up the colonists. But, a planet does offer important advantages that colony ships can't provide, such as safety from radiation/space objects, gravity, living space, a stable biosphere, etc.


    No they only need star systems for raw materials, a properly build and maintained colony will provide everything humans need, including an ecology in huge ship spun for artificial gravity. Inside they would be like a valley on the Earth rolled up. They would not be sterile tin cans only to be used to travel in. People would live in them and have no knowledge of or need of planets.



    I do. We may know where the stars are at, but we are pretty much in the same position as the Austronesians were when they left for the Pacific islands. We also don't know where to go, and before we decide on a star system we would have to send probes to gather information. Or just accept the risks and go to that star system anyway. At the very least, this doubles the time necessary to actually go out and make stable colonies on those star systems, even if we launch the probes ahead of time.


    Star wisp type probes could be sent out ahead of the colony at very near C to report back about what lay ahead. If no suitable material was found in orbit around a star, unlikely that nothing would orbit a star, the colony ship could go one to the next star.



    And there is only so much we can carry on our ships before it becomes impossible to accelerate and decelerate it at a significant fraction of the speed of light. So, it is not likely that you can create hundreds of colonies from just one ship, unless you reduce the speed that it can travel (in which case it will take much longer to colonize the entire galaxy...). Maybe two or three colonies, but not hundreds, and they all would have to stay in the same star system (unless the next one is very close, say 1-2 light years away).


    Using things like magnetic sails even a large colony/world ship could be sent to another star. using the stellar wind to accelerate and decelerate.


    After decades, or hundreds of years of traveling across space, I'm pretty certain that most societies will settle down for an indefinite period of time before they too decide to embark on a colonization trip (IF their star systems have the proper materials and resources). Or not at all, depending on the society. When they first land, there will be no industry and food and water will be the most important things.


    They will not land, they will simply go into orbit and start using asteroid/cometary material to build new ships and replace volatiles and other lost compounds. planets are not only not necessary they are not an easy source of materials and be avoided.





    You missed the point. My point is that after 50,000 years, we still haven't been able to colonize a significant fraction of the Earth, despite modern technology. Antarctica was just pulled out as an example. Other examples include the Sahara Desert and vast areas of Siberia. In fact, we as a species only occupy less than 20% of the total surface area of our own planet despite having more than 50,000 years to do the job. In some cases, it's easier to get to the moon than it is to reach certain areas of our own planet.


    Name a land area that is harder to get to than the moon please. We do not colonize these areas for good solid reasons, we cannot live there, an orbiting colony would be a much better place to live than Antarctica or the Sahara. Most of the Earth surface is not suitable for human needs. Our colony world/ships will be great environments with controlled weather and 100% suitable for humans. since they will be controlled environments no need to worry about finding a place to live among the stars all we need is raw materials.


    At the same time, there are regions of the galaxy that would be completely unsuitable for human colonization, such as the galactic core or nebulas, or freezing ice worlds like Pluto. So, in that sense, Antarctica is relevant because it shows that we are not able to fully colonize our own planet, let alone the entire galaxy which will have environments far hazardous than that of Antarctica.


    We would avoid areas where our ships couldn't protect us and planets are irrelevant. small ice worlds could be broken up for materials.



    If we have great difficulty occupying our own planet completely, what makes any of us think that we could colonize the entire galaxy in a few hundred thousand years?


    Because we wouldn't be occupying planets!


    Given 5 million years, though, then we as a species (or our successors) might occupy a significant fraction of our galaxy. A few hundred thousand years is a bit of a stretch and very, very unlikely.


    Even 10 million years is a eye blink in terms of the galaxy, the only other option is to sit and wait for extinction.




    I'm patient :) . I'm pretty certain we will know the answer to that question far, far sooner than we will colonize the galaxy, or reach the next star system on our own.


    we need to get things going by pursuing the exploration and exploitation of our solar system now. a simple natural disaster could keep all of it from ever happening. Once we are in space and colonizing the asteroids it will be much more difficult to kill us all and we will take complex Earth life with us, if nothing else for food.

  2. Well, yeah, I knew that! Although, most estimates give around a billion years or so: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14219191.900.html



    There are more than one school of thought on this, some think the sun will warm up faster than others and I thin the 1 billion mark is for all life, complex life will die out much sooner.


    Estimates vary, ranging from a few decades to hundreds of thousands of years. I'm not sure which of them to believe, but I'm pretty certain (my opinion only) that we could do it in less than a 1000. After all, we've managed to change the face of our own planet in less than a century, and we have the potential to do a lot more to it in a very short amount of time. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen...


    Mars may or may not be a harder nut to crack, no way to know anyway you look at it but mars too will become uninhabitable at about the same time the earth does.




    See, that's the problem. It assumes that every society that leaves Earth will either make it or decide to continue the colonization of the galaxy once they settle down. It is not a good idea to send out only 2 ships anyways because both of them could get destroyed. And if they land on a system that is remarkably resource poor or metal poor then there will not be much in the way of interstellar colonization from that society. And that's not even the tip of the iceberg (e.g. cultural, political, economic, technological etc could come into play).


    I was just using 2 colony ships as an example, The Earth could produce thousands of them as could each colony. Or a colony could fail but i am not talking about colonizing planets, I am talking about orbiting colonies that exist independent of planets, possibly torus shaped rotating to produce artificial gravity with it's own ecosystem inside, miles across.


    Just think of what happened to some Polynesian societies; not every one of them (in fact, most of them) decided to embark on a colonization journey once they settled down, and some of them couldn't even if they wanted to because the islands were too resource poor. It took a full 4000 years (even though they could have presumably done it in a couple of centuries given their seafaring skills) to colonize the Pacific. And on top of that, the Pacific Ocean is not quite as big as an entire galaxy (and the engineering challenges, energy and resources necessary to overcome is much greater for colonizing a galaxy than an ocean).


    I don't think its a fair comparison, the Polynesians did a very good job with very slow speeds and no way of knowing where they were going or what they would find when they got there. a self contained orbiting colony could traverse the distance between stars slowly in a few hundred years. make copies of it's self from asteroid like material and then go on. Each stop could produce hundreds of colonies, some would leave some would stay awhile. Some stops wouldn't produce anything and the ships would go on.


    For the Earth in general, we still haven't been able to accomplish the task after 50,000 years, when we left Africa, as Antarctica still remains uninhabited.


    Don't you think that Antarctica has little or no bearing on what we are talking about? Primitives didn't have the technology to survive there and we don't want to live in a place so bare and stark.




    That's true. Which is why I'm not a fan of the rare Earth hypothesis at all.


    A couple more data points and we'll know.


    Considering the Milky Way is approximately 100,000 light years in diameter, we'd need near lightspeed or faster-than-light travel to colonize the entire galaxy in 120,000 years.


    I didn't say a 120,000 years I said a few hundred thousand years and if we colonized via artificial colony worlds the number could increase exponentially until the expanding front of human colonization was a wave encompassing hundreds of stars a day. Even if it took a million years it would still be in the blink of an eye geologically speaking. I gave an example of one colony sending out two self contained colonies and then each of those two sending out two to make four, take that out 500 hundred times and see how many colonies you would have. then think of each colony sending out hundreds of other colonies each time as well as each colony moving on after the easily obtained resources of a star system are used up. You get a wave front of colonization that is astounding to say the least. Since no planets are needed even stars with no planets or stars that are unsuitable for planets could be used. If during the travel of a colony they pass a world that is suitable for complex life but has no such life we could leave some there. this of course assumes complex life is rare. If complex life is common then we would probably avoid planetary systems with complex life to avoid competition with any possible intelligent natives.

  3. Only three??? I'm pretty certain that there are more options.


    I'd like to entertain more if you can think of them.


    I don't like the look of this option :-( I hope I'm not alive if humanity ultimately chooses this path.


    Life on the Earth will indeed eventually become extinct no matter what we do. If nothing else the sun will brighten to the point that complex life will become impossible. this will probably happen in a couple hundred million years for sure, some say much sooner.



    Terraforming planets in our solar system would be easy enough, but I'm not sure how feasible it would be on another star system, especially since the colonists won't be able to take a lot of things with them. The third option though:


    Actually Terra forming even Mars will take as much time as colonizing the galaxy, a couple hundred thousand years anyway.




    Seems to be the most plausible of them all, assuming we don't wipe ourselves out first (or revert back to the dark ages). This is certainly doable within the next couple of centuries. Although, I will dispute your prediction about colonizing the galaxy in a few hundred thousand years, I would place it at a few million years.


    Some studies have been done that show if you could send out a colony ship every few hundred years as you go to each star. Say two ships from the Earth to two near by stars then 500 years later two ships from each of these stars and so on it wouldn't be but a few hundred thousand years before we could be around every suitable star in the galaxy.


    I don't think complex life is rare. And all of the proponents of this idea (e.g. the Rare Earth Hypothesis) seem to be employing the infamous argumentum ad ignorantiam. Of course, if you mean a technological species, then that might be much more rare (or very rare that we would find such a species that is as far down the road as we are).


    I waver back and forth on this issue, some of the arguments for rare complex life are quite compelling but it assumes that complex life every where has to have the same conditions we do and you cannot draw a curve from one data point. We don't even know if what we think of as life is even the most common life in the universe, we might be a rare fluke and silicon life is everywhere else.

  4. My premise is this, there are basically three ultimate destinies for humanity and complex life on the Earth.


    1. We stay here and ride out the Earth and become extinct along with everything else when a natural disaster of some sort wipes out life on the Earth.


    2. Humans colonize the solar system by Terra forming other planets and eventually go to the stars and do the same thing there. We would travel via very fast (near C)space craft to other stars with suitable planets, we might take some complex life with us.


    3. We colonize the solar system through orbiting colonies and bypass planets altogether. Using these huge colony ships similar to O'Neil cylinders we can spread out slowly and occupy the Galaxy in a few hundred thousands years. again we would take much of Earth's complex life with us. Stars with large populations of asteroid like bodies would be preferred. Tau Ceti is an example of this type of star.


    If complex life is as rare as some think then we could be thought of as spreading complex life around the galaxy.

  5. There are very few animals that are pure carnivores on the Earth. Most carnivores will eat some plant material, fruits are taken by many carnivores and some will even take some leaves and other material. Snakes are about the only pure carnivores I can think of off the top of my head but I am sure there are others. To some extent it's not that carnivores will not eat plant material, most of them simply cannot digest it efficiently. Humans are omnivores much like bears, canids will eat almost anything if they have too and will choose to eat fruits, nuts, and even roots. Even herbivores will take some animal material from time to time. Cows eat a significant number of insects but that is mostly by accident and it's unknown if they contribute anything the cow really needs. What carnivore are you thinking of teaching to eat plants?

  6. Yes adding water is adding something, water allows chemical reactions to take place. with out water they take place too slowly if at all. Water is simply the substance that both dissolves the chemicals necessary for life and allows them to interact with each other. This is well known but the is no single mysterious property of water that isn't shared with other liquids. Liquid ammonia isn't as good as water in some ways, in others it is better. Hot Concentrated Sulfuric Acid is different but not inferior as well. Liquids that might substitute for water consist of






    various other hydrocarbons






    I am sure there are others but the point is that all of these have both good and bad points.

    H2O has bad points as well, expanding on freezing is very bad for life, cells burst. a solvent that simply freezes might be much better. I really don't see how you can say water is so great when we have only one data point. For all we know life might be almost always based in a hydrocarbon of some sort. Water life might be a rare fluke. We are biased for water because it is our drink of necessity. It may be that water is rarely used by life, until we get a few more data points there is just no way to know.


    i'd ignore pioneer if i were you, he tends to live in his own little world where reality need not apply.


    I've become rather good at nailing jello to a wall on these forums. Arguing evolution with creationists has taught me a lot.

  7. you seem to think there is some sort of racist intent where we are discriminating against someone of particular skin colour. it is not so.


    that would be a bit like calling discussion about whether a baby is going to be a boy or a girl sexist.


    First a baby conceived by a white and a black person would be neither, it would be of mixed race. Race is not dominant recessive characteristic like eye color.

    Second labels of race exist to marginalize humans into us and them groups with the them being somewhat less than us. I am of mixed race, for me it's really never been a problem due to being mixed of several races and no one really noticing it. I have medium complexion that tans very easily and Grey eyes and very thick course white hair (used to be brown and kinky) Not many would guess i am of mixed race, Native American, European, and African, maybe even some Asian. I have been in the front row of the audience of racism and I have seen and heard everyone talk junk about anyone they thought was less than "white" so don't think for a minute that worrying about the race of a baby of white and black parents is anything other than race. The assumption the baby would have to be one or the other reveals a racist attitude.

  8. Actually Boron does form complex molecules in the same vein as Carbon. At somewhat different pressures and temperatures Boron can imitate carbon in several areas. The point is that while Silicon has been thought a viable alternative to Carbon in very cold temps like the surface of Titan or as Silicone at temps like the surface of Venus Boron can also form complex chains of molecules but Silicon cannot form Bucky balls, Carbon can and Boron can.



  9. Why does everyone assume that a human/chimp hybrid would be a dumb human? Hybrid vigor could very well produce a being better than either of it's parents. When you breed a donkey and a horse you don't get a dumb horse. Mules are very smart and spirited animals, often they are smarter and stronger than either parent. It's an old wives tale that mules are stupid, I've worked with both mules and horses. Mules can be very smart even superior to the best horses. Mules are also not always sterile, it's rare but since most if not all male mules are neutered breeding seldom takes place.

  10. Ask anybody who smokes weed and they will tell you they like nature. The stereotypical stoner hippies always want to save animals and forests. I began smoking about 3 years ago on a casual basis and since I have taken an intrest in biology and evolution and I think it is because of weed. So you have to admit that there is something in weed that makes you like and appreciate nature.


    So there is something in the chemical THC that when the brain gets high on it over a period of time it slowing makes you like nature. But is this just a fluke of evolution that this plant gets this unusual chemical or is there something behind evolution...like a god.


    So how does science explain the evolution of THC in marijuana without saying from random mutations when this plants evolution had a goal. Humans are smart and destructive so marijuana get us high while slowing making our minds appreciate and like nature. And it makes us peaceful. Maybe nature has the key to world peace.


    The only thing I know of that pots increases my love of is good music, Doritos, and chocolate!


    It's been many years but "I still recall the juke box hall where the music played"



    An alien spacecraft land on my yard and captures me when I'm asleep. They take me somewhere completely detached from everything, but in Earth. And they say to me that I'm gonna be the one who they will show everything I ask. I think and think and think and ask them a few questions. Here I go:


    1. Are you laws of physics the same as ours?

    2. In your world, do you have the concept of God?

    3. Is politics a main part of your lives?

    4. In your world, do you have wars?

    5. What is the advantage of being a human?


    Now I've been thinking quite enough, and getting all sorts of answers, but I thought I'd the best answers here.


    So what would be the best and most sincere answers?


    If this ever happens please ask more pertinent questions, those are either irrelevant or not likely to be known by aliens.


    Getting back on topic, three sexes might allow greater diversity but make it harder to find a mate. Two sexes might be a better trade off between diversity and mate finding. John Varley invented Three sexes for his trilogy Titan, Wizard, and Demon. His aliens were basically centaurs and each individual had three sex organs but only two individual sexes. Each individual was either male or female but each had either two penises or two vaginae but both had at least one penis and one vagina. there were twenty nine different ways (or some number close to that) for them to mate including an individual being able to effectively clone herself. They could mate the first time frontally to produce a viable egg and then implant the egg in a rear vagina and mate again to produce offspring. It made for a wild story but it's difficult to see how this could evolve naturally, the aliens were the result of ID.

  12. In recent years the discovery of the Bucky ball, C60 molecule, was touted as proof of the versatile nature of the Carbon bond and an example of why it was so good at being the scaffolding of life. But another element can make Bucky ball type molecules, Boron. The B80 molecule is stable and shows that Boron is also a very versatile atom, does this point to the possibility that Boron might in some environments make a suitable scaffolding for life as well?

  13. I wandered outside into my backyard this morning. The intense heat had caused most of our grass to wither and die. To my surprise, I found two "baby" mango trees growing along our fence in good condition. I wondered whether I could grow them hydroponically in my aquarium. As I'm typing this, my hands are still dirty from digging them up.


    I have a 50 gallon tank running on a dual filter. I put one plant in each portion of the filter and have it rigged up according to information I found on Wikipedia. I have a turtle and a school of goldfish I use for naturally skeletonizing remains of small animals, so a great amount of waste is generated. Will the plants be able to survive and thrive on this alone, or do they need additional nutrients?


    I've grown several species of trees and several herbaceous plants with the bare roots dangling down in the aquarium water. Aeration is usually the key to this but some will grow with out extra aeration.

  14. Not hard to comment on at all, I take the opposite stance, I think life has adapted to water not the other way around. If we lived on a planet with seas of Hot Concentrated Sulfuric Acid we would think the same thing about HCSA. Our life would be preternaturally adapted to HCSA and we see water as just another chemical with some attributes that might make it work in a limited way under unusual conditions as a life solvent.

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