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Comment Re:Nice story but... (Score 1) 168

They aren't covering the surface of Mars because Mars no longer has a magnetic field or substantial atmosphere. Earth's magnetic field protects our atmosphere from being stripped away by the solar wind. And the magnetic field, combined with the atmosphere, protects those of us on the ground from the harmful radiation that the sun emits, random gamma rays from space, and other nasty stuff that we have yet to discover.

Long ago Mars did have a magnetic field. It also likely had a substantial atmosphere because the liquid water that once flowed on its surface could not exist without adequate pressure to keep it from simply boiling off. The magnetic field and atmosphere there did the same job as they do here: protect the surface from radiation, thus allowing life to potentially exist on its surface.

Mars had a magnetic field and atmosphere because its core was still liquid and spinning, much like the Earths core still does today, and spinning spheres of molten metal generate magnetic fields. However since Mars is smaller it thus cooled a lot faster. Once the Martian core cooled enough, it stopped spinning and stopped generating a magnetic field. The solar wind was then able to strip the Martian atmosphere away, leading to the tenuous atmosphere Mars has today. With the protections of the magnetic field and atmosphere gone, there was nothing to protect the organisms that would be on mars surface. Solar and extra-solar radiation have likely sterilized the surface entirely by now, as well as causing any exposed liquid or gaseous water to have disassociated into its component oxygen and hydrogen atoms and floated off into space.

That is why the best chance of finding life on mars is underground. Solid mass can protect against radiation very well. Get deep enough underground, and the radiation drops to levels that can allow a microbe to survive. This is also how any microorganisms from Mars would have survived the journey through inter-plantetary space. They would have needed to be deep enough inside of a large enough rock that the sheer mass of it would be enough to shield them during their frozen journey from Mars to Earth.

Comment Re:Dubious Evidence (Score 4, Interesting) 168

Its because the organisms being talked about are likely some form of bacteria or similarly simple single celled organism. There are many, many varieties of that kind of life, and there seems to be at least one microorganism that can survive in almost every extreme condition short of raw flame, and I'm not even certain if that would stop them forever.

So, this is how I see it having gone down:

Life evolved on mars as single cellular organisms and those organisms spread all over the planet, including places where it was extremely warm, and places where it was chillingly cold. Some of those hardy organisms started to work their way deeper and deeper into some rocks in an exceptionally frigid part of the planet, where they lived, if not thrived, highly adapated to the cold, to the point where they could survive being frozen during the coldest parts of the martian year.

One day, during one of the several bombardments of the solar system by meteors and comets and whatnot, something struck the martian surface near these organisms hard enough to accelerate the rock they were living in out of mars' gravitational field. Coincidentially, this rock was also large enough that when it would eventually enter earths atmosphere, enough of it would survive that not every little organism in it would be fried from the re-entry heat.

So this rock floats in space and the little organisms in it get frozen. And I mean really frozen. Phillip J. Fry frozen. Because, you know, it's actually cold in space. And this rock drifts around, going who knows where for thousands, millions, maybe even billions of years, until it gets caught in earths gravity well. It falls down the well, hits the atmosphere and the outer layers start burning off, and the rest of it starts to warm up. The little organisms in the center of the rock get thawed out, and when the meteor hits one of the early earths primordial seas, some of these little organisms start to slip out of the micro-fractures that were inflicted on whatever remains of their rock.

Those little organisms find for themselves an environment that is alien, but useable. And they thrive. If not off the bat, then within a few generations thanks to how fast single celled organisms can evolve. At some point we get primordial earths first figurative algae bloom, and suddenly the seas are full of em! They start sucking up the methane and other gasses that were present in the early earths atmosphere, coughing out oxygen, and eventually the oxygen in the atmosphere exceeded the earths capacity to store it in rocks and we started to get an oxygenated atmosphere. The seas turned from green to blue as other gasses were driven out of the oceans and replaced by oxygen, and stuff started evolving until one day we arrive at a discussion where some people can wrap their heads around the plausible, yet highly speculative possibility that maybe life did in fact start on Mars instead of Earth, and other people simply can't handle such an awesome idea.

Comment Radiation makes Europa a bad target (Score 1) 86

The radiation belts around Jupiter make that whole system a bad target for human exploration unless they can come up with some kind of personal electromagnetic shielding that can protect someone on the surface. I think, if and when shielding equipment like that becomes available, it will be for vehicles only as it will likely require a pretty decent power supply.

A more feasible mission would be to a moon around Saturn, where the radiation is not so out of the ordinary.

Comment Re:The US just has to control everything, eh? (Score 1) 238

Well look on the bright side, at least one prominent US agency has now shown interest in halting global warming and reducing the amount of CO2 in the air.

And if they happen to find a way to harmlessly dissipate an incoming hurricane or super-typhoon before it annihilates a population center, so much the better.

Comment Re:As a recovering porn addict, I find this stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 509

One could also argue that the near ubiquitous availability of porn is simply allowing men to get what they want without a lot of hassle. Namely dating, courtship, and maintenance of a girlfriend/wife who, while attractive, good company, and (hopefully) a very good friend, simply does not live up to the task of keeping the mans sexual drive satisfied.

Porn addiction should be looked at in a couple different directions.The first is the direction that is being talked about so far in this discussion, namely of men who can't control themselves and spiral out of control with an addiction.

Another direction to look is what kind of family life does he have? Does his gf/wife make sure to tend to his needs? Does she care enough about him to get interested in things that he enjoys, sex among them? If there is sex, is it kept interesting? Or has it gotten incredibly stale and any attempts to make it interesting have been failures, either because they just didn't work, or worse, because the woman had no interest in exploring those options and simply expected the man to be satisfied with what he had? Or is this man in a worst case scenario where he has tried his best to find companionship, only to be left out in the cold and judged as not worth anyone's time in a relationship?

What a lot of people need to come to terms with is simply that people have sexual urges. For extensive periods of time our societies have placed a great amount of weight on suppressing those urges and judging them to be "unclean", meaning that only the boldest or most well connected had access to avenues of sexual experimentation. Now with porn literally everywhere, everyone can experience, at least at a distance, almost anything sexually imaginable. The game has changed, quite literally.

With sexual freedom comes a lot of people discovering urges they may never have been able to realize they had. And to be honest up to this point the majority of those people discovering themselves sexually have been men. Women are getting there, but it is taking them longer because of natures built in sexual imbalances. And this is one of the main parts of the problem.

Men have discovered that they want more than to just take a girl out to dinner and a movie on a regular basis, and if they are lucky, they get to have sex on rare occasion. Men have discovered that they want to have sex a lot more often than in the past and women are taking a long time to adapt to these new sexual demands.

Women hold the keys to the sexual kingdom quite closely and refuse to open the gates unless great sacrifice is made in order to get there. Men have simply started to decide that the price of admission is too high, and they are choosing substitutions that are more easily accessible.

As misogynistic as it sounds, the porn problem is caused in part by women making themselves unrealistically unavailable when demand has never been higher. The same thing happens in any high demand, low supply market. High demand and unavailability of any alternatives means everyone competes tooth and nail to pay top dollar for one unit of the coveted item. Then something else that works to satisfy the same demand comes along and suddenly everyone starts to wonder why they're paying out the ass for the cow when the imitation milk is damn near free.

It's simple economics only with sex as the currency. Men want sex but are tired of having to pay for the hassle of dates that may not be enjoyable, relationships that become stale after so long, and escalating costs for lower and lower returns. Until women start to become sexually open as well, porn will continue to be a huge problem for society because men gotta have it, and now they don't need women to get it anymore.

Porn addiction is the end result of mens biological imperative being artificially suppressed for thousands of years by societies that looked down on it and left most men with little to no way of actually expressing it, and suddenly removing that suppression by way of all manner of sexual experiences suddenly being a click away.

Men have adapted to porns availability and now demand sex in high enough quantity to actually keep those primal drives satisfied. Society needs to adapt to that, or porn addiction will become more and more widespread as men choose easy access to jerk off material as opposed to the high cost of empty relationships.

Comment Re:Killer microbes (Score 2) 82

There is a very, very slim chance that we may all be descendants of martian microbes. Mars would have cooled a lot earlier than earth, favorable conditions may have manifested earlier, and something could have evolved there and gotten stuck in a rock that was later ejected from mars by some collision and made its way to earth, ultimately landing in earths primordial soup and seeding the planet.

Very slim chance, but I like the thought that we may all be martians.

Comment Re:why? (Score 1) 778

If this bullshit disables noscript, then I'm done with firefox, or I will just refuse to downgrade to version 23, and stay with my version 17 E.S.R.

Running noscript and being able to whitelist only sites that I trust is essential for me to keep my sanity on the web. And if you look at what sites want to run javascript when you visit certain pages, it really opens your eyes to just how much god damned advertizing and browser tracking there is on the internet. If a web page needs me to enable 5 third party java script domains, they are not worth my time, because I do not want to allow all kinds of useless shit that adds nothing to the experience and sucks down CPU cycles while sending my habits to some damned advertizing database.

Comment Re:what happens (Score 1) 57

Except that black holes radiate energy at a temperature that seems to be inversely proportional to its mass. Even a simple stellar mass black hole emits so little radiation that is is for all intents and purposes, black. A black hole will not become visible until it nears the end of its life, when its contents are rapidly radiating away and the rate of energy release brings its temperature into a detectable range. Right now they emit virtually nothing, so we literally can not see them.

We can, however, infer their existence through the effects of gravity on other nearby stars. We can also use this effect to infer their mass, which is exactly how we have figured out that at the very center of our own galaxy there is a black hole with 4.1-4.5 million times the mass of our Sun.

Comment Re:In Soviet Russia (Score 1) 549

Looks like we're in Soviet Russia then, since Youtube does watch you (watch history, subscriptions, all to send you target ads), Google does search you (again, to sell you targeted ads), your email does read you (think about who else gets to read all your email and turn them into an open book about your life). Hell, as Windows incorporates more DRM measures and gets more and more locked down, it kind of does boot you from being in control. Facebook of course is just commercialized surveillance where its users are the product and are served up to advertisers for the purpose of selling my crap to the masses. Text messages....I got nothing there. Phone listens to you...well same thing as email. Who else gets to listen? Sad that what was once a hilarious joke is now turning true before our eyes.

Comment Just because I have nothing to hide... (Score 5, Insightful) 404

..does not mean you have any business going through my life with a fine tooth comb.

The "Nothing to Hide" argument is a fallacy that falls apart upon examination:

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