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Comment In another universe this was modded +5 informative (Score 0) 258

You can find anything you like in the CMB (see Penrose's last paper) if you go looking for it. The question is to what significance. In a related thought, I've also noticed that there's quite the selection effect in (pre-print) papers that get advertised here... But don't listen to me! I'm just a practicing astrophysicist.

Comment Re:Controlled release actually not that implausibl (Score 2, Interesting) 451

Well, then it really depends if you're reducing the pressure buildup by drilling into it. The energy figure you're quoting is that of a super eruption, which you'll only have to worry about dissipating if the thing blows. So, when you talk about drilling into it without it blowing and then trying to dissipate all of that energy afterward, I would think that if by drilling into it there's less pressure than before, and it didn't blow before you drilled into it, then you might be in a safer place than before... Again, wild speculation on my part but what the hell, this is slashdot isn't it?

Comment Re:Controlled release actually not that implausibl (Score 1) 451

You sound like you actually know what you're talking about, so I'm glad you responded. Maybe instead of drilling into these already full chambers, we could somehow spot potential ones and drill them as a preventative measure? Also, I wonder if there's an advantage in being able to choose the orientation of the drilling line. I wonder if it'll be at all possible in the future to create, say for example, a network of channels before finally trying a controlled release. Shouldn't there be some sort of government agency out there asking these questions?

Comment Re:Good luck controling 800EJ (Score 1) 451

Well, the whole purpose of my post was to suggest that maybe a controlled release was actually within the realm of our technical capability, contrary to what most seem to be writing. It's not like I know enough about this to actually try to convince anybody that it's a solution, or of any solution. Since you ask though.... The energy figure you quote... I'm going to assume that it's the energy of a super volcano eruption, so when you say "let it all out" you're assuming that in every drilling scenario results in all the energy of a super eruption being released, which is not true unless the thing blows in every drilling scenario, which we don't know. Now that we're wayyy off into the land of speculation though, I'd think that drilling into magma pools that aren't yet filled would be a good preventative measure. For the already-developed super volcanoes, who knows? Somebody will have to do calculations of the pressure exerted by these pockets, how much pressure that particular area can tolerate, and by how much drilling would weaken it. I would speculate that drilling straight down might not be the best option - maybe we have an advantage in being able to choose the orientation of the drilling line... Who knows though? Like I said, not my area of science and not the intent of my initial post.

Comment Controlled release actually not that implausible (Score 2, Interesting) 451

I'm not very qualified to talk about this branch of science, but to further the controlled release idea that's been suggested by many users: Most responses have denied it as a possible solution due to the huge depths that these plumes reach. Some people are making a hidden assumption that you'd have to drill to the bottom of the plume. I don't know why. Secondly, from Wikipedia: "Supervolcanoes can occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is unable to break through the crust. Pressure builds in a large and growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain the pressure." and from the earth's crust article "the oceanic crust is 5 km (3 mi) to 10 km (6 mi) thick[1] and is composed primarily of basalt, diabase, and gabbro. The continental crust is typically from 30 km (20 mi) to 50 km (30 mi) thick, and is mostly composed of slightly less dense rocks than those of the oceanic crust." So, actually, I forget what the quoted number was for the furthest we can currently drill, but with at least a little bit of research it doesn't seem that implausible. Further, just thinking about it a little bit, precipitating a super-eruption by doing this might actually be a real concern but I think it depends on many factors: hole size, number of simultaneous holes, and composition of the plume. If there's anybody that's actually qualified to give advice on this topic, please feel free to correct me.

Comment Re:Momentum Conservation (Score 1) 392

Actually you're getting momentum out of less than thin air. The short answer is that photons are quasi-particles that are the quanta of the electromagnetic field, which you still have in the vacuum, and can do collisions with. See Surface Plasmon Resonance for a practical application of a natural phenomena that works precisely because of the conservation of momentum between a photon and plasmon polaritons.

Comment Re:Dumber dumbed-down discourse (Score 1) 1747

Well said, and impressively in far fewer lines than my own message. It blows my mind that a group of people with very definite political agendas have been able to convince so many that it's not them but the science that in-fact has the agenda. You can't lobby science. It doesn't care how much money you have or when the next election is.

Comment This is the height of ignorance (Score 1) 1747

This piece, and many of the opinions here just show the astounding levels of ignorance there are out there. The "climategate" email fiasco has resulted in 1 email (from nearly 20 years ago) being brought to light where scientists were engaged in frank discussion of problems they'd had with their data. Did they follow the scientific method and the standards of rigor properly? No, it doesn't seem so. Despite this, the science has marched on and the cause and impacts of human caused climate change have been independently studied and verified by groups of scientists the world over. The result, mostly propagated by the right, has been to throw out climate science entirely and this piece and many posters now want to throw out science all together? Part of the beauty of science is that it can studied, researched, and developed independently, yielding consistent results. Many groups of American and Russian physicists had found that after the fall of communism they'd reached the same results, for example. Theorists will work to propose new models and understanding about details of nature that wasn't known or well understood before, and then experimentalists will go out and try to confirm the theory, both verifying it and keeping it in check. When either group has reached a result, they'll publish in a peer-reviewed journal where the work can be independently verified and then built on by anybody who has the knowledge, motivation, and insight to do so. At it's very core, science is an attempt by us to describe the universe and everything in it from a rational perspective. The rationalist holds true that the criterion of truth is not sensory, but intellectual and deductive. It comes as no surprise but in fact a heartbreaking dissapointment to me that in the current climate of irrationality in the United States, and to a lesser extent Canada, you have this sort of stance taken against the intellectual and deductive search for truth.

Comment Descartes (Score 1) 451

Try Descartes Discourse on Method and Related Writings from Penguin. Descartes revolreally helps to set the foundations of science and the relationship to truth in a way that was not done before.

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In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur