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Comment: Re:TURNS 25!?!?! (Score 2) 43

by Applehu Akbar (#49544897) Attached to: Hubble Turns 25

Hubble is a prime example of why we space nutters want to get people out there. When we sent Hubble up into its 375-mile orbit, it was nothing but a paperweight until we were able to send a crew up there to fix it.

Not to mention that it was carried into orbit using Space Shuttle as its "first stage."

Comment: Re:solved problem (Score 1) 48

by Applehu Akbar (#49544797) Attached to: Cosmic Rays Could Reveal Secrets of Lightning On Earth

Wrong, and not just because you would appreciate some warning if lightning were to strike your bridge.

There are some strange things going on in thunderstorms (sprites, gamma rays, etc.) that point to the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions. We really need to know more about internal structure and process in thunderstorms.

Comment: This hypothesis can be tested (Score 2) 168

by Applehu Akbar (#49538243) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes

Let's try injecting water into some California fault, safely out in the desert, to see if a major fault can be moved using this technique. I know that the state doesn't have any water to spare at the moment, but we can use treated wastewater or other "junk" water for the experiment.

Comment: Re:Cautionary Tale? (Score 1) 182

I'm referring to the automatic assumption anti-science people make that any pro-science position is a shill for "big $INDUSTRY." Any use of GMO is automatically a plot by Monsanto, even open-source charity projects like golden rice.

Now that the anti-science movement is pressing on to oppose science itself rather than just its applications, the argument is getting even sillier. We're being asked to believe, for the most recent example, that "Big Astronomy" is strip-mining Hawaii. I suppose that explains why astronomers dominate Wall Street.

Comment: Re:We design our hardware, why not wetware? (Score 1) 182

If we gain control of human evolution, getting off this rock will be greatly facilitated by being able to create human "forks" adapted to conditions on some of the othe rocks in our vicinity. Instead of having to terraform them to our current liking, we can do "terraforming lite," in places that we meet halfway with versions of humanity adapted for thinner air, lower gravity, or perchlorates in your cricket flour.

Comment: Re:Cautionary Tale? (Score 1) 182

"Why is this a cautionary tale?"

Because GMO means evil, and GMO with humans is so evil that it might as well be Republican.

The objective described in the paper is well clear of ethics problems, because it's correction of a genetic abnormality, thalassemia.The first step, of course, is to learn to do this reliably. Then we'll be getting into enhancements. Tetrachromat vision? Enhanced memory? An immune system that can nuke anything?

when we get to the point of making changes in the human germline that are not just bug fixes in our firmware, we need to develop an ethical standard. And no, beiong afraid to explore the potential of the tech is not an ethical standard. How about: thou shalt not restrict the choices available to your offspring? For example, you could go for better memory, but not for lower intelligence.

Comment: Re:Wow this is cool ... (Score 1) 58

by Applehu Akbar (#49533715) Attached to: NASA Teams Scientific Experts To Find Life On Exoplanets

Parent is dead right. I can remember (Fifties and Sixties) when elaborate stories were spun by science popularizers about the supposed rarity of planets, just like the stories you see now "explaining" the lack of SETI finds as proof that some special barrier exists to the evolution of intelligence. In fact, the prevailing hypothesis of planetary formation was another star happening to pass sufficiently close to the Sun to draw out a filament of gas, which then condensed into our planets. Naturally, the odds against stars passing so close were already known to be ridiculously high. Hence, our solar system was thought to be almost unique in the galaxy.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer