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  • This Week in Science

    New Particle Discovered At The Large Hadron Collider | IFLScience
    Predicted to exist in the 1960s, a new subatomic particle was discovered in the LHC. Its existence could open up a new realm of physics.

  • #2
    Fan since Vagas Ferguson and Jerome Heavens!

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    • #3
      This is a great idea for a thread.

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      • #4
        Love it. I wish I had a better understanding of physics.

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        • #5
          Awesome discovery! Stories like these always make me wish we would have finished our LHC

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          • #6
            Lego-compatible prosthetic arm allows kids to make custom attachments | Digital Trends

            This didnt really happen this week but deal with it and check out the video.

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            • #7
              <iframe width="635" height="352" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2OSrvzNW9FE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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              • #8
                From Mountains to Moons: Multiple Discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons | NASA




                So we reached Pluto this week. During the trip three more moons were discovered bring the total to five.
                Last edited by Cackalacky; 07-17-2015, 05:41 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Corry View Post
                  <iframe width="635" height="352" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2OSrvzNW9FE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
                  Very cool. I wonder if there are any wind energy applications with this? The current bladed turbines are a bit bulky and visually unappealing but the ones on the boat could be applied to building structures as columns maybe.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cackalacky View Post
                    Very cool. I wonder if there are any wind energy applications with this? The current bladed turbines are a bit bulky and visually unappealing but the ones on the boat could be applied to building structures as columns maybe.
                    I recall reading about the Flettner Rotor in the 60's in Popular Science. The U.S. Army designed a Flettner Rotor Bomblet for biological weapons deployment in the 60's which was very effective but they dropped it as biological weapons lost favor.

                    Currently there is a Flettner Ventilator on the market. It,s for home/commercial installation. It does not have a tall stack but rather a lower profile then many roof turbines.

                    There's a detailed description of Flettner Wind Generator applications and principles here,

                    https://www.cdlive.lr.org/informatio...20COMPLETE.pdf

                    Starts at page 26. It has been adapted to wind turbines but I did not see an application as part of a building structure.

                    To use it with building columns you have to leave the building sides open on that floor. Obviously it would not be a work space. You'd need a lot of paperweights, safety netting etc. I imagine wind drag on the floor and ceiling (underside of floor above) and sidewalks (even if a parking floor) would create much higher drag than a ship application with only the deck to consider. Galloping Gertie harmonics would be a consideration a consideration. For you non Civil Engineers and physics majors google Tacoma Narrows bridge, a spectacular failure.

                    I don't see why they couldn't be roof mounted on tall buildings but again drag considerations and turbulence with AC units and such on the roof would have to be evaluated. Once again the canyons of Manhatten and Chicago don't lend themselves to the ship alone at sea model. You may end up with an unforeseen problem like I.M.Pei encountered with the "Plywood Palace" Bostonians nickname for the Prudential (or Hankcock) building where wind pressure in the canyons sucked the windows out of the building. Sheets of plywood were bolted in place while Pei and associates went back to the drawing board.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BGIF View Post
                      I recall reading about the Flettner Rotor in the 60's in Popular Science. The U.S. Army designed a Flettner Rotor Bomblet for biological weapons deployment in the 60's which was very effective but they dropped it as biological weapons lost favor.

                      Currently there is a Flettner Ventilator on the market. It,s for home/commercial installation. It does not have a tall stack but rather a lower profile then many roof turbines.

                      There's a detailed description of Flettner Wind Generator applications and principles here,

                      https://www.cdlive.lr.org/informatio...20COMPLETE.pdf

                      Starts at page 26. It has been adapted to wind turbines but I did not see an application as part of a building structure.

                      To use it with building columns you have to leave the building sides open on that floor. Obviously it would not be a work space. You'd need a lot of paperweights, safety netting etc. I imagine wind drag on the floor and ceiling (underside of floor above) and sidewalks (even if a parking floor) would create much higher drag than a ship application with only the deck to consider. Galloping Gertie harmonics would be a consideration a consideration. For you non Civil Engineers and physics majors google Tacoma Narrows bridge, a spectacular failure.

                      I don't see why they couldn't be roof mounted on tall buildings but again drag considerations and turbulence with AC units and such on the roof would have to be evaluated. Once again the canyons of Manhatten and Chicago don't lend themselves to the ship alone at sea model. You may end up with an unforeseen problem like I.M.Pei encountered with the "Plywood Palace" Bostonians nickname for the Prudential (or Hankcock) building where wind pressure in the canyons sucked the windows out of the building. Sheets of plywood were bolted in place while Pei and associates went back to the drawing board.
                      Yeah there will definitely be structural engineering design considerations :) Having lots of them would induce a bunch of additional torsion in structures as well which is not great. I was initially thinking that having column shaped versions of these would be much more visually appealing than other current designs.

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                      • #12

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                        • #13
                          I had never looked too deeply at the Pluto is not a planet debate, but I read a bit this week about it.

                          It's diameter is less than the straight-line distance from Boston to Dallas. More than 50% of its volume is ice. Even w/o the definition of a planet...yeah, no.
                          Last edited by Huntr; 07-17-2015, 08:23 AM.

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                          • #14
                            They discovered dragons, fellas...



                            China discovers winged, feathered 'dragon' - CNN.com

                            There has been no comment from Daenerys Targaryen.
                            Originally posted by koonja
                            I'm making peace with Woolly in 2017.

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                            • #15
                              evil pheasant dragon.
                              The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
                              Of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee

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                              • #16
                                Cue the gif of that dude throwing his bow at it.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by woolybug25 View Post
                                  They discovered dragons, fellas...



                                  China discovers winged, feathered 'dragon' - CNN.com

                                  There has been no comment from Daenerys Targaryen.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by woolybug25 View Post
                                    They discovered dragons, fellas...



                                    China discovers winged, feathered 'dragon' - CNN.com

                                    There has been no comment from Daenerys Targaryen.
                                    From a mythological perspective I could totally see how some ancient cultures could have found a dinosaur head/ body parts etc fossilized and came up with the idea of a dragon. Since dinosaur fossils are fairly common across the planet it makes sense that many cultures would have some version of them in their mythology independently of other cultures.

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                                    • #19
                                      The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
                                      Of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee

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                                      • #20

                                        Pluto's moon Charon.


                                        Pluto through the years


                                        Pluto and Charon

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                                        • #22
                                          NASA finds 'Earth's bigger, older cousin



                                          The planet, Kepler-452b, is about 1,400 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. It's about 60% bigger than Earth, NASA says, and is located in its star's habitable zone -- the region where life-sustaining liquid water is possible on the surface of a planet.

                                          A visitor there would experience gravity about twice that of Earth's, and planetary scientists say the odds of it having a rocky surface are "better than even."

                                          While it's a bit farther from its star than Earth is from the sun, its star is brighter, so the planet gets about the same amount of energy from its star as Earth does from the sun. And that sunlight would be very similar to Earth's, Jenkins said.

                                          If the assumptions of planetary geologists are correct, he said, Kepler-452b could have a thicker atmosphere than Earth's, as well as active volcanoes.

                                          It takes 385 days for the planet to orbit its star, very similar to Earth's 365-day year, NASA said. And because it's spent so long orbiting in this zone -- 6 billion years -- it's had plenty of time to brew life, Jenkins said.
                                          NASA finds 'Earth's bigger, older cousin' - CNN.com
                                          Originally posted by koonja
                                          I'm making peace with Woolly in 2017.

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                                          • #23
                                            Shout outs to our alien brethren on Earth2.

                                            Can we come hang when our planet kicks the bucket?

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                                            • #24
                                              On a serious note, how debilitating would it feel to be on a surface that has twice the gravity of earth?

                                              Would it be completely debilitating, or just extremely uncomfortable?

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                                              • #25
                                                Originally posted by IrishLion View Post
                                                On a serious note, how debilitating would it feel to be on a surface that has twice the gravity of earth?

                                                Would it be completely debilitating, or just extremely uncomfortable?
                                                HOW MUCH GRAVITY CAN HUMANS HANDLE?

                                                Humans are a very adaptable species. We do have our limits though. According to NASA’s Ames Research Center’s expert on humans in space, a person has survived 2x Earth’s gravity for 24 straight hours without ill effects. They go on to claim that it is theoretically possible for a human to adapt to a gravity environment that is between 2x and 3x that of the Earth. However, they say that at 4 times Earth’s gravity (4G) or above, human physiology cannot maintain sufficient blood-flow to the brain.

                                                In the future, it may be possible to break the 4G limit with enhancements in genetic manipulation and extremely strong mechanical replacement organs to keep our body’s systems running, but that technology is a long way off.
                                                Could Humans Colonize A Planet With Stronger Gravity?

                                                This planet has a 60% increase in gravity. So while I do think it would be quite noticeable, it wouldn't be debilitating. You would still be able to jump, walk and move around. Just not as well.

                                                I think (i'm just spitballin' here) that it would be a planet better suited for smaller people though. Simply because of the gravity issue. A 150 pound man would feel like he is 240 pounds. That seems uncomfortable, but manageable. But a 250 pound man would feel like he's 400 pounds. That's no bueno.
                                                Originally posted by koonja
                                                I'm making peace with Woolly in 2017.

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                                                • #26
                                                  Now we just need warp drive so we can visit!
                                                  Hi!

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                                                  • #27
                                                    Originally posted by woolybug25 View Post
                                                    Could Humans Colonize A Planet With Stronger Gravity?

                                                    This planet has a 60% increase in gravity. So while I do think it would be quite noticeable, it wouldn't be debilitating. You would still be able to jump, walk and move around. Just not as well.

                                                    I think (i'm just spitballin' here) that it would be a planet better suited for smaller people though. Simply because of the gravity issue. A 150 pound man would feel like he is 240 pounds. That seems uncomfortable, but manageable. But a 250 pound man would feel like he's 400 pounds. That's no bueno.
                                                    Would a person's body adapt to that new feeling of weight through an increase in muscle mass and whatnot to get back to a sort of "baseline" of operation? Or would we just be stuck as creatures that would be a bit more sluggish than we would be on earth?

                                                    And then, what about a human that came from this environment and visited Earth? Would they be Superman lol?

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                                                    • #28
                                                      Originally posted by IrishLion View Post
                                                      Would a person's body adapt to that new feeling of weight through an increase in muscle mass and whatnot to get back to a sort of "baseline" of operation? Or would we just be stuck as creatures that would be a bit more sluggish than we would be on earth?

                                                      And then, what about a human that came from this environment and visited Earth? Would they be Superman lol?
                                                      On your first point, everything I have been told is that your body adapts. Just like your body eventually adapts to zero gravity.

                                                      On your second point... the answer is YES.
                                                      Originally posted by koonja
                                                      I'm making peace with Woolly in 2017.

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                                                      • #29
                                                        Originally posted by no.1IrishFan View Post
                                                        Love it. I wish I had a better understanding of physics.
                                                        Some of these new discoveries are going to have scientists saying the same thing.

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                                                        • #30
                                                          .... debilitating for you; normal for them. Structures would have evolved to make life not only possible but thrive-able.



                                                          When Frank Drake of the giant radiotelescope observatory at Arecibo wanted to structure the theory as to whether ET-intelligence was likely, he created what others called The Drake Equation. It has several factors meant to sharpen discussion on key points.

                                                          There was once a little debate on how many stars were suitable for life on planets. Those numbers have risen over time to staggering amounts, as even some scenarios with multiple star systems and dwarf stars seem now possible.

                                                          Then there was almost violent rejection that there would be many planetary systems and nothing like Earth. Every year those objectors look dumb and dumber. As we get cleverer and cleverer, the Earth-like planets grow. I believe that Kepler has about 12 now, all in Cygnus where it is pointed.

                                                          Next the objectors will be forced to claim that life will not arise. They'll be horribly wrong too. We'll get the deepspace spectroscopy to spot free oxygen in the atmospheres, and that goofy idea will also hit the trash bin.

                                                          Finally the objectors will entrench their defenses on the idea that: OK! Life exists all over the place, BUT it is all single-cell simples --- NO ADVANCED LIFE!!! That position will be defensible only until the deepspace spectroscopy picks up signature nuclear fission fragments out there. Amoebas don't do that.

                                                          Then the only question left: will they get here, or we there? Or have they already? THERE's where the real fear lies that drives this behavior. All anthropologists know that inferior cultures are swallowed into technologically superior ones, and their individuality stops. Ernst Mayr of Harvard HATED this idea. Astronomer Rees from the UK said: if the ET phone rings, HANG UP!! The Brookings Institute study said: direct interaction is full of much greater risks than rewards. Such concerns almost canceled the SETI program, and made the study of UFO reports nearly impossible.

                                                          At the stage of finding new Earth-like planets, almost all of us really love this. As "it" gets closer and closer, we as a species begin to change our minds.

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                                                          • #31
                                                            Originally posted by IrishLion View Post
                                                            On a serious note, how debilitating would it feel to be on a surface that has twice the gravity of earth?

                                                            Would it be completely debilitating, or just extremely uncomfortable?
                                                            You can bet someone would be advertising a new diet called "The Mars Plan" where people are relocated to the red planet and instantly lose weight.

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                                                            • #32
                                                              Originally posted by ulukinatme View Post
                                                              You can bet someone would be advertising a new diet called "The Mars Plan" where people are relocated to the red planet and instantly lose weight.
                                                              "Come to Earth2, where you can lose weight and increase your muscle mass by 60% through simply being alive! You don't have to do anything! Just exist!"

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                                                              • #33
                                                                Originally posted by IrishLion View Post
                                                                "Come to Earth2, where you can lose weight and increase your muscle mass by 60% through simply being alive! You don't have to do anything! Just exist!"



                                                                Earth 2 (TV Series 1994–1995) - IMDb
                                                                Fan since Vagas Ferguson and Jerome Heavens!

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                                                                • #34
                                                                  Originally posted by woolybug25 View Post
                                                                  NASA finds 'Earth's bigger, older cousin





                                                                  NASA finds 'Earth's bigger, older cousin' - CNN.com
                                                                  This stuff makes me giddy. I think, next to Hubble, the Kepler mission is the best modern NASA mission. It's absolutely insane how many planets it's found.

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                                                                  • #35
                                                                    Science | From AAAS
                                                                    Unexpected Step: Snake Ancestor Had Four Feet
                                                                    A four-legged snake from the Early Cretaceous of Gondwana
                                                                    Last edited by Cackalacky; 07-26-2015, 10:35 PM.

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                                                                    • #36
                                                                      Assuming that the fossil guy even has his facts correct, this article shouldn't trumpet the "unexpected" word as if everyone should be stunned. It is in fact more a testimony as to how some scientists can be so technically bright while being so vision-dull.

                                                                      It is extremely likely that all animals of any size came from aquatic ancestry --- this is un-debated by all except Creationists. When "things" of size came onto land, WELL onto land and ultimately became true landlubbers, they crawled and "heaved" themselves up, using "paddles" or primitive "legs". Natural selection pressures (well known to convergent evolutionists) forced the bisymmetrically-placed four limb format to win the struggle for existence, and all large land-roving animals got that plan. {there are very good reasons as to why little things like insects did not.} The better, faster moving "walkers" would outcompete the only other plan-design form which could compete, the no-limbed "slitherers", for the vast majority of food niches. The slitherers were reduced to food niches right on the ground, and probably right on the shores to begin with. The four-limbs took the high ground, and literally looked down upon the slitherers who became prey if anything.

                                                                      So why would we get a primitive snake with legs? A simple guess would be that back in the "good ole days" of the Cretaceous, or whenever it really started, all the early slitherers had lost the game to the fast-movers. Except for semi-aquatic slither-swimmers, they probably didn't even exist. But as land life diversified, new niches opened up and gave opportunities for low-slung reptiles to creep into them. The most amazing awkward evolutionary trial-and-errors occur when there are new niches to be occupied --- Darwin's finches are an example --- most of those things would go immediately extinct if mainland better-adapted birds were introduced. The key for the push to "lose legs" and become a slitherer had to be, finally, the existence of rich food niches for small reptiles to feed on near the floor, which the Big Boys had moved beyond. If it became advantageous to feed off of these niches while hiding from the monsters by slithering inside narrow crevices and into holes, legs would become more of a risk than a reward --- Nature never tolerates that.

                                                                      The other thing that indicates the poverty of the mind of the bricklayer palaeontologist compared to the world-envisioning type, is that they somehow forget that they have such a tiny set of windows on the world's past to work with. This sort of try-legs, try-none, try-legs, try-none "dance" of evolutionary empowerment probably happened several times in many different continental environments.

                                                                      Was it interesting that the guy found a snake [pre-snake] with four legs? Yes. Was it Earth-shaking? Shouldn't be. Should we take comments like the legs were used to hold mates or prey seriously? Better just to laugh and roll eyes. But Sex and Violence sells, even in Science.

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                                                                      • #37
                                                                        Respectfully, I didn't take the articles intent like that at all. They discovered a transitional fossil. I am loathe to use that term but it has permeated the lay persons terminology and is part of the lexicon. Transitional fossils are important discoveries. And finding the fossil may have actually been unexpected not the fact that it existed. I assume most paleontologists would research what rock ages would yield specimens from certain eras but finding one is difficult and fantastic. Lots of hard work goes into finding these items as opposed to the magical hand waving of the doubters.

                                                                        Considering the main complaint against evolution is the whole kind from kind debate and they there aren't any transitional fossils for any kind, yes....I think it's exciting. I assume a four legged snake would be a bit shocking to those unfamiliar with the process of evolution even though to us knowledgable in such matters know about legless lizards or snakes with vestigial limbs, we know every species is a transitional form between its ancestors and it's progeny. I tend to save my eye rolls for the doubters
                                                                        Last edited by Cackalacky; 07-27-2015, 09:21 AM.

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                                                                        • #38
                                                                          No, It's not your opinion. You're just wrong.

                                                                          "Data-free opinion" has always been a favorite of mine.

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                                                                          • #39
                                                                            Washington D.C. is sinking into the ocean - CNN.com

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                                                                            • #40
                                                                              That's interesting. I recall DC being built on very crappy land right? Six inches of settlement, particularly differential settlement can pull a building apart.

                                                                              I assume most structures in DC are on shallow foundations but would love to know if they aren't. Here in Charleston we have to put most large structures on piles (60-90 ft deep) because of liquefaction induced settlements that can reach 1-1.5 ft.

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                                                                              • #41
                                                                                Building Blocks Of life Found Among Organic Compounds On Comet 67P – What Philae Discoveries Mean | IFLScience

                                                                                This is not surprising considering:
                                                                                Water Ice Detected on Comet's Surface

                                                                                and

                                                                                Interstellar and Circumstellar Molecules

                                                                                Not that these findings necessarily support ABIOGENESIS, but I think it definitely leads more credence to the possibility. The seeding of planets in hospitable locations with interstellar compounds that arise to form organic molecules is super interesting.

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                                                                                • #42
                                                                                  <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Charger prototype finding its way to Model S.
                                                                                  <a href="https://t.co/L9E4MR642G">https://t.co/L9E4MR642G</a></p>&mdash; Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) <a href="https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/629305813912326146">August 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



                                                                                  <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today in tentacle technology <a href="https://t.co/mPdOilNoI6">https://t.co/mPdOilNoI6</a></p>&mdash; Brian Fitzpatrick (@therealfitz) <a href="https://twitter.com/therealfitz/status/629308711220043776">August 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
                                                                                  Fan since Vagas Ferguson and Jerome Heavens!

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                                                                                  • #43
                                                                                    Fan since Vagas Ferguson and Jerome Heavens!

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                                                                                    • #44
                                                                                      Originally posted by connor_in View Post
                                                                                      <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Charger prototype finding its way to Model S.
                                                                                      <a href="https://t.co/L9E4MR642G">https://t.co/L9E4MR642G</a></p>&mdash; Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) <a href="https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/629305813912326146">August 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



                                                                                      <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today in tentacle technology <a href="https://t.co/mPdOilNoI6">https://t.co/mPdOilNoI6</a></p>&mdash; Brian Fitzpatrick (@therealfitz) <a href="https://twitter.com/therealfitz/status/629308711220043776">August 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
                                                                                      I don't know why but this just creeps me the fuck out, maybe because it is snake like? Idk
                                                                                      Hi!

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                                                                                      • #45
                                                                                        women &quot;found&quot; on mars

                                                                                        'WOMAN FOUND ON MARS' – now obvious men are from Venus • The Register



                                                                                        <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9saLqnRFY2E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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                                                                                        • #46
                                                                                          .... this is just NASA's and the internet's way of continuing to mock the former Face-on-Mars controversy, which was a legitimate concern [though an uncomfortable one] for NASA at the time. As to anyone's doubts as to it as a legitimate question [prior to several more orbiter pictures of the area], I sat with Carl Sagan [alone; he would never have acted this way if media were around] when he got kid-like excited about his first impressions of "The Face."

                                                                                          NASA doesn't need to keep mocking this, as a complete idiot named Richard Hoagland effectively has turned the whole concept of possible artificial structures on Mars into crude comedy with his unscientific over-the-top claims. And, as anyone of us can see as many things "in the clouds" if we wish to, this isn't even very clever.

                                                                                          The scientific way of approaching Martian exploration would be to note with honesty any genuinely unclear geographical locations [as to possible artificial elements] and just hold off on the goonism until getting a chance to get a rover in there. This philosophy would not only be in keeping with the scientific method, and open-minded explorative first steps towards data vs assumptions, but would probably ultimately increase NASA's funding of Mars exploration.

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                                                                                          • #47
                                                                                            Hasn't the "Men from Mars" always been a sci-fi cultural phenomenon? As long as I can remember, from the War of the Worlds (days of radio) to the Martian Man-Hunter (Digital Age of Comics).

                                                                                            Its definitely good to keep ourselves grounded when our only "eyes" are millions of miles away and the ones here on Earth are subject to Pareidolia (matrixing) and the limits of our imaginations.

                                                                                            Comedy has that effect IMO.

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                                                                                            • #48
                                                                                              She looks hot, I'd hit it. Probably a lonely princess venturing out and spying on this "new" thing on her planet. Obviously didn't expect to be seen.

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                                                                                              • #49
                                                                                                Turning potential scientific exploration into comedy only turns into a positive if one is dealing with mature minds who know when to turn the mockery off. Otherwise it creates an aura of non-seriousness which can go so far as to block even the thought of researching certain possibilities. Deciding that things are just "obviously ridiculous" is a dangerous societal game which should only be played [if ever] after great attention to detail as Coach would say. Scientific discovery often moves forward precisely because someone decided to explore the unlikely rather than the "safe" possibility.

                                                                                                The "Man from Mars" concept began much further back than War of the Worlds etc. In the late 1800s several major astronomers viewed Mars as a possible Solar System "cousin" for life. Much discussion centered around markings on the planet or possible markings. Heavyweight astronomers published their own versions of these possibilities, and there was little or no derision. Then Percival Lowell put "his" giant telescope in Tucson to the task and thought that he "clearly" saw the famous "canals". Publications by Lowell are what really stimulated the science fiction concepts of advanced life on Mars --- examples: Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter series in the 1920s/30s, H G Wells' War of the Worlds, and C S Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet among many others.

                                                                                                During the 1940s and early 1950s, even though better telescopy was making advanced life on Mars less likely, several apparent "explosions" were seen on Mars by US and Japanese astronomers --- one being Clyde Tombaugh. As we'd just detonated the first A-Bomb, this caused some consternation even among military thinkers. This was followed by the observation that the "darkening" of large surface areas of the planet seemed to cycle seasonally, leading to the reasonable speculation that some kind of groundcover growth was involved. NASA scientists such as Frank Salisbury of Utah State continued to pursue this possibility throughout the 50s and 60s, and NASA thought enough of the possibility that they included three tests for soil biology on the Viking Lander [this went beyond mild interest, as the scientific mission director, Jerry Soffen, told me personally when I was able to talk about this with him.] These tests came back puzzling, as two of the three could be seen as positive for biochemistry. But as years went on, the prime hypothesis shifted to one of highly Sun-radiation-impacted surface material, consisting of chemically-violent oxidizers. [similar to inorganic peroxides.]

                                                                                                None of that however vacates the idea that life COULD have formed on Mars early in its life cycle, as is shown by all our obsession with finding water and its effects today. This also does not vacate the idea that simple life might continue to persist in sheltered pockets or shallowly underground. It also doesn't vacate the hypothesis that Mars [or any planet with "solid ground"] might not have been visited sometime in the past by advanced space travelers --- something Sagan thought likely, by the way. People like Sagan and Michael Papagiannis and some of the more brave SETIans [it wouldn't take any bravery at all if there was not a culture of derision about this] have suggested in the relevant literature that looking for "left artifacts" on places like Mars, the asteroid belt, the Moon, Lagrangian Points, large moons like Ganymede or smaller ones like Iapetus, would be intelligent spots to search. Of course the comedians would laugh this off to the point of making funding difficult.

                                                                                                One should not underestimate the power of cultural "weather" to affect Congress' attitudes about funding NASA projects. Sagan had to make several personal appearances before Congress to try to get certain explorations into NASA's budget --- particularly regarding things like SETI, Titan, Mars --- note that all involved the search for non-terrestrial life. Because of the "comedy", we have to come at this set of concepts the long way around, mainly depending upon great new telescopy to slowly find Earth-like planets and hopefully atmospheric hints of life [free oxygen] and intelligence [nuclear fission products.] All that is great science of course, but other more "laughable" explorations could be going on without the negative cultural atmosphere.

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                                                                                                • #50
                                                                                                  OMM, I completely agree with everything you said. I wasn't disagreeing, just trying to add a different angle to it. Its definitely disheartening when you a have a person like Ted Cruz chairing the Science and Technology Senate Committee and he can't even be bothered to properly or even honestly assess the budget for NASA and has to be corrected like this:
                                                                                                  <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/peL7Qecg3qQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

                                                                                                  When we have people with this, in positions of power , like James Snowball Inhoffe and the child Louie Gohmert, who are seeking to undermine scientific progress and who have very little commitment to the true benefits of scientific exploration and data collection for the benefit of human kind, I just find stuff like this can be political fodder but it really just should be fodder for our imagination. Are there people that are going to think a humanoid person would be on Mars undiscovered all this time with no hint of technology? Possibly....The real tragedy is that persons like Ted Cruz actually get to decide what lives and what dies in the realm of NASA. If people like him want to find a reason to gain political points they will.
                                                                                                  Last edited by Cackalacky; 08-11-2015, 09:17 AM.

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