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Comment Re:Sterile and shattered. (Score 1) 228

One thing we know for certain about at least some of the Galilean moons that due to the gravitational craziness of Jupiter and the big moons, these bodies are pretty damned dynamic. Io is probably the most geologically active body in the solar system, and while Europa's icy crust is fairly dull, a liquid ocean underneath suggests that it is very geologically active as well. I wonder with planets being that much closer to the star, and that much closer to each other, that the relatively low energy output of their star would be made up for by similar gravitational interplay, and being that much closer even though the star is very dim, there's still a lot of energy available. I don't think there's any kind of real proof forthcoming, but there seems a general view in scientific circles that where you have liquid water, organic material and energy, life may be an inevitability.

Comment Re:Overshadowed by systemic racism. (Score 1) 228

I can certainly understand why he is a pretty vile human being, but that doesn't going any distance towards defending him.

My honest view is that he has no sincerely held views. I think he just says things to piss people off, and has gathered together a following of young white men in their late teens and early twenties who think that it's really cool to be a repugnant bigot. I don't think that has anything to do with whether Milo was the victim of abuse as a child, and everything to do with the fact that he's an entertainer who has a following to immature and stupid to realize that he's playing them for laughs and giggles.

But even the further end of the conservative spectrum, while certainly happy to openly despise women and minorities, still have pedophilia as possibly their only remaining red line.

Comment Re:Sterile and shattered. (Score 1) 228

I remember playing a SciFi tabletop roleplaying game years ago that had a world generation system, and that one suggested that a tidally-locked world could have a "habitable zone" along the terminator, where temperatures were relatively moderate. I don't know how reasonable that is, since I would imagine that having half the planet's atmosphere at one temperature extreme and the other half at another could lead to some pretty extraordinary heat exchange, in the form of pretty brutal storms.

Comment Re:Sterile and shattered. (Score 4, Interesting) 228

I think that greatly depends. Without a strong magnetic field, the Earth would look a lot like Mars, with much of its ancient primordial atmosphere blown away. I can imagine if one or more of those planets do indeed have a strong magnetic field, then I don't see how it is improbable that they could not harbor life. At the moment, we can't even declare with a high degree of assurance that Mars does not host life.

Comment Re:Unlikely (Score 4, Insightful) 228

Well yes, much in the same way one infers the presence of a stream of electrons from an electrical charge or the Big Bang from the CMBR, relative proportions of hydrogen, helium and lithium in the Universe and the red-shift of distant galaxies. Even a particle accelerator like the LHC at CERN does not in fact directly image subatomic particles. For chrissakes, what you "see" isn't a raw image, but is heavily processed by your nervous system, beginning right at the retina itself, then by the optic nerve and then by visual centers in the brain. In other words, what you "see" isn't actually the photons that the physical structures of the eye captures.

Lots of science is inference, seeing as many phenomenon cannot be directly observed. If you're saying inference is somehow questionable, then you're basically calling all form of observation questionable.

Submission + - 7 Earth-like planets found orbiting star 39 light-years from Earth (

MightyMartian writes: From the story:

Scientists have discovered what looks the best place so far where life as we know it may exist outside our own solar system. Seven Earth-sized planets, all of which could contain water, have been found orbiting a small star 39 light-years away. "We have made a crucial step toward finding if there is life out there," said Amaury Triaud, co-author of the study. "I don't think any time before we had the right planets to discover and find out if there was.

Comment Re:no one asked for this (Score 2) 53

I guess one could possibly integrate into some sort of home filesharing appliance, although my limited experience with this kind of hardware suggests they already have their own variations on this. Perhaps not quite the same level of security, but I fail to see why that would matter that much in a home setting. I guess someone could build an cloud app with it, but then again, there are already lots of those around.

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