Science Tidbits #4

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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby scottydog » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:32 pm

RJDiogenes wrote: I still have high hopes for those plumes of methane that are detected on Mars in the Springtime.

After eating black beans last night, I know all about plumes of methane. :unsure:

Is it generally believed that an earth-like atmosphere on a planet is extremely rare in the universe? Or is the history of our planet likely one that many planets in the goldilocks zone would share?
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:03 pm

^Life has actually altered our atmosphere quite a bit, so it's a mystery how many worlds would share the exact mix of gasses we have.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:58 pm

My feeling is that almost any Earth-sized world in the Goldilocks Zone will have life-- although who's to say it's not anaerobic? Or some other kind of chemistry that we haven't guessed?

What really fascinates me is what a Jovian planet in the Goldilocks Zone would be like. We have nothing even remotely like that here.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:07 pm

A lot of unknowns out there. With no super-earths, Goldilocks Jovians, Mega-Plutos in our system we're pretty much in the dark on how these worlds would look.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:28 pm

Yeah, it's very exciting. I can't wait for the new space telescope to go up next year.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:42 pm

Yeah, I've been waiting with bated breath for James Webb to launch.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:40 pm

An interesting article that throws a little cold water on the idea of "Planet 9". As the author states this doesn't necessarily disprove the possibility of a planet out there- but it does bring the point home that we shouldn't take this idea as a given. As of late my optimism has been decreasing as more time passes without a discovery. A lot of effort is being put into this and we should find something soon... if the planet is out there.
I do have to point out though that space is vast and even if there is no "Planet 9" (as described by the theory) there is still plenty of room for a large object lurking somewhere between the Kuiper Belt and the inner reaches of the Oort Cloud.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:56 pm

^^ The link didn't make it.

It does seem to be taking an awfully long time to find it, given that were supposed to have narrowed down its position by its gravitational effects. But if it's not there, what's causing those effects? :unsure: Maybe it's just black as an eight-ball and hard to spot....
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:16 pm

There. Fixed the link. I usually check before I post so naturally the one time I didn't....
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:24 pm

It's always the way. :lol:

Well, that's too bad if it turns out that Planet Nine From Outer Space was a false alarm. I was looking forward to something new and weird.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:11 pm

Well the search isn't done yet, so there's still hope. It's just that the chances are diminishing and that people are a little too willing to take its existence as a given.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:52 pm

It did seem like a sure thing for a while....
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:31 pm

And it might yet be... time will tell.

Meanwhile, with the real Planet 9, the debate rages on.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:03 pm

We shall overcome. :D

Somebody posted a great reply to that article.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:08 pm

This article has been making the rounds today. Did humans make it to North America 130,000 years ago?
Personally I'm not sure. Critics are right that it's odd that there's no cutting tools present, just the hammer stones. The author of the Discover article here does point out what I have been thinking most of the day: other animals other than humans use tools. She proposes monkeys though the stones in question seem a little large for even the largest of new world monkeys. Birds immediately leapt to my mind. Some African vultures use stones to crack bone, so perhaps something like teratornis could be responsible. However the bones are said to be laid out oddly and I can't see a bird doing that.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:33 pm

Maybe it was the giant intelligent sloths with the underground maze burrows. :D

And birds are pretty intelligent. Who's to say there hasn't been an especially sapient, tool-using species at some point?

But I think the most likely answer is an ancestral species, like the Neanderthals. Whoever it was, it must have been a failed migration, because no other evidence has been found of a human presence that far back. It's certainly not unlikely that there have been many instances of human or near-human migrations to the Americas that didn't quite take.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Orpheus » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:42 am

RJDiogenes wrote:I want to travel the cosmos on WFRB, Classic Rock. :radio:


WFRB? Isn't that a country station? It sure was back in my days at Fort George G. Meade, MD (er... forget you ever heard of Ft GGM... for your own good)

I confess that when the weather warms up, I still listen to the Boston stations of my youth like WVBF (some of the others, like WBCN have changed format)

But I must admit its ads are painfully off-target "WVBF, there the hits haven't changed since you were a teen, and we assume your credit rating hasn't either"
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:29 pm

RJDiogenes wrote:And birds are pretty intelligent. Who's to say there hasn't been an especially sapient, tool-using species at some point?

Case in point.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:22 pm

Orpheus wrote:WFRB? Isn't that a country station? It sure was back in my days at Fort George G. Meade, MD (er... forget you ever heard of Ft GGM... for your own good)

Well, in this case it's a Fast Radio Burst station. :lol:

I confess that when the weather warms up, I still listen to the Boston stations of my youth like WVBF (some of the others, like WBCN have changed format)

I haven't listened to much local radio since the radio in my car died, but VBF used to be one of them. When last I listened, BCN was off the air, though, and ZLX was still Classic Rock, but playing stuff from the 90s (kind of an oxymoron there). I'll have to check to see what BCN is up to. I imagine it will become like MEX, appearing and disappearing at random intervals.

Lupine wrote:Case in point.

That's wonderful. There have been some amazing animal intelligence studies done on birds. They can recognize a large vocabulary, shapes, objects, colors, use deductive reasoning. And between their beaks and their claws, they're very dexterous (I once designed an odd alien species derived from birds). It's by no means far fetched that there may have been a "civilization" of birds more advanced than average.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby scottydog » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:02 pm

^^ Well, after seeing that vulture use tools, there's no way I can ever insult someone again by calling them a birdbrain.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:36 pm

You could try using it as a compliment. :D
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Fri May 12, 2017 3:02 pm

Some new information on Homo naledi. Most importantly we now have a date of 236,000 and 335,000 ya. Far too late for naledi to have played any role in our evolution (it had been played up as a possible ancestor at one point), but surprisingly recent. Recent enough to likely have interacted with beings like Homo heidelbergensis.
Still this site is very strange and I'm still of the opinion that something isn't right with the narrative we're being given.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Fri May 12, 2017 10:25 pm

Definitely anomalous, although it's quite fascinating that there are at least two caves giving evidence of identical cultural behaviors. The Naledi could certainly have evolved a million years earlier and we just happened to find an isolated surviving population first-- or it could be an example of parallel evolution. There are multiple existing primates with varied characteristics, so it was likely the same then.

But an alternative explanation for the subterranean burial pits occurs to me. If there were other competing, but more advanced, hominids in the region, those caves could be evidence of not culture, but genocide.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Fri May 12, 2017 10:34 pm

And Homo heidelberginsis did have fire at the time, so it would have been easier for them to go into the cave. It's also possible it might have been a ritual sacrifice on their part.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Sat May 13, 2017 6:14 pm

Whatever it was, it was a lot of trouble to do it, so it was something somebody really wanted to do. Unless the deepest parts of the cave were somehow more accessible a few hundred thousand years ago.
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