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Comment: Re:CFCs aren't naturally occurring? (Score 1) 211

by Mark Claire (#42127855) Attached to: Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations
I disagree. This isn't generally how science works. You would have to make an argument as to why you would expect a planet with a crust of chlorine and flourine and the specific mechanism that works in a self-consistent chemical framework to continuously produce CFC's at a level that they could build up against photolysis in a planetary atmosphere. You cant get six orders of magnitude increase in flux for free just by saying "anything could happen" It's just not a very convincing argument. It is absolutly unequivocal that the CFC's in our atmosphere are anthropogenically produced. If our project is funded, we will calculate the fluxes necessary to sustatin ever larger quantities in various atmopsheric regimes. You are then free to make an argument that those fluxes are able to be produced by volcanoes using principles of physics and chemistry - If you can do so, I'll gladly change my mind. That is how science works.

Comment: Re:CFCs aren't naturally occurring? (Score 2) 211

by Mark Claire (#42106221) Attached to: Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations
The website you linked to isn't overly packed with peer-reviewed research ideas. My colleagues who study volcanic emissions and halocarbons do tell me that measurements of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) (which the unscientific label of "honorary CFC" as it was regulated in the Montreal Protocol) may in fact be produced in extremely minor quantities by some volcanoes. This is cool as it points to new science. But the measured fluxes are 6 orders of magnitude lower than the anthropogenic fluxes. i.e. it doesn't really matter in the long run - there is no conspiracy here. I looked briefly at three of the articles you cited and they are talking about natural halocarbons, but not chloroflourocarbons. Given the other links to climate-science denial and even plate-tectonic denial on that website, I'm a bit skeptical.

Comment: Re:Much more than that (Score 1) 211

by Mark Claire (#42106097) Attached to: Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations
And answer to this could lie in the future of our own solar system. Let's say for a moment that the upper-end of the IPCC predictions actually occur and we are looking at 5-10 C rise in global average temperature over the next 500 years. Disaster? Yes End of the World? No - but it will make conditions here much more difficult... Mars is a cold planet, and leaving the ethics part of it aside for the moment, could be a very desirable place to live, if it wasn't so damn cold. One way to warm it up would be to artificially pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, in an attempt to warm up the CO2/H2O ice caps. Our scientific question is would this world be astronomically detectable - we think that the answer might be yes, which would be really cool. (Even if we could pull this off, we would still need pressure and oxygen to breathe). PS - I'm one of the scientists involved. Shameless plug for project here: http://www.petridish.org/projects/do-aliens-use-hairspray

Comment: Ask Me Anything (Score 3, Interesting) 211

by Mark Claire (#42106013) Attached to: Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations
Hi all. I'm one of the scientists involved in this project. We are trying out this new kickstarter-for-science approach as it's both hard to get NASA funds for SETI, and it's also surprisingly hard to get small "seed money" type grants to do cutting edge work. We've started our own non-profit scientific research organization (http://bmsis.org) and are trying to do science outside the confines of the traditional academic structure. We'd love your support if you can (http://www.petridish.org/projects/do-aliens-use-hairspray) but more than that, we'd love to hear any ideas/answer questions about the project.

Comment: Re:Detecting terraforming more interesting than cf (Score 2) 211

by Mark Claire (#42105611) Attached to: Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations
I'm one of the scientists involved in the project. We see this primarily as a search for terraformed worlds, rather than looking for inadvertent technological byproducts. We've started a kickstarter-like drive to do the fundamental research needed to find out if an actively terraformed world would be detectable over astronomical distances. Details are here: http://www.petridish.org/projects/do-aliens-use-hairspray -Mark

Comment: Re:The problem with CFC (Score 3, Informative) 211

by Mark Claire (#42105561) Attached to: Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations
I'm one of the scientists affiliated with this project. It's very true that SETI in general terms is a "needle in a haystack" sort of search. So one way to look at this is that we are suggesting more "needles" to look for. So far, we are searching for radio waves and optical pulses. Looking for technosignature molecules in a planetary atmosphere (if it actually works, which is what we are trying to figure out with our proposal), is a third needle. I also totally agree with your points about looking for "inadvertent" CFC use by a young and dumb civilization like ourselves. As Hans Adler pointed out, we on the science team are thinking of this more as a search for terraformed worlds. For instance, if we were going to colonize Mars and try and live on the surface in the next century or so, we would likely need to warm up the atmosphere, and CFC's would be a good starting place (and possibly detectable over interstellar space)

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