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Author Topic:   Nasa news conference (re: Arsenic-based life form?)
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 1613 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 31 of 78 (594290)
12-02-2010 9:58 PM


So they found NO alien life form once again. Surprise surprise.

Dr. A, how would you like to pay up? I don't except checks, because frankly you are just not that trustworthy.


Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by crashfrog, posted 12-02-2010 10:05 PM Bolder-dash has responded
 Message 39 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-03-2010 2:16 AM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 32 of 78 (594294)
12-02-2010 10:01 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Minnemooseus
12-02-2010 8:28 PM


Re: PZ Myers take on the issue
Thanks for that Moose, I can't believe I heard more mis-reported science on NPR. Usually they don't go for the sensationalism -- but at least they didn't claim that scientists found some completely separate lifeform.

I'm reminded of this cartoon: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1623#comic


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Minnemooseus, posted 12-02-2010 8:28 PM Minnemooseus has acknowledged this reply

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 33 of 78 (594295)
12-02-2010 10:05 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 9:58 PM


Dr. A, how would you like to pay up?

Why would he pay up? You lost. Your bet was that they would "find nothing", but they didn't "find nothing", they found something - a bacteria that can metabolize and incorporate arsenate instead of phosphate.

Did you think you were making a bet that they would announce alien life? That's not the bet you said you were making, though.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 9:58 PM Bolder-dash has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 11:14 PM crashfrog has responded

  
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 1613 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 34 of 78 (594299)
12-02-2010 11:14 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by crashfrog
12-02-2010 10:05 PM


Oh, I see. Nasa is now in the business of cataloging our pond scum. Gee, I was thinking they were in the space exploration business. Maybe they should change their acronym to avoid any confusion.

But its ok, I would expect you to be every bit as much of a weasel as Dr. A, so no surprise there.

So how long, and how much money has been spent looking for extra-terrestrial life? How long has SETI been looking for a signal from green men and how many billions have been spent with nothing to show? I for one sure am glad they money hasn't been wasted giving kids dying of malaria medicine. Or keeping Mono lake clean for that matter.

E.T., go home, go home!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by crashfrog, posted 12-02-2010 10:05 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 36 by Minnemooseus, posted 12-02-2010 11:26 PM Bolder-dash has not yet responded
 Message 37 by crashfrog, posted 12-03-2010 12:01 AM Bolder-dash has not yet responded
 Message 40 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-03-2010 2:23 AM Bolder-dash has not yet responded
 Message 41 by Rrhain, posted 12-03-2010 5:58 AM Bolder-dash has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 89 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 35 of 78 (594301)
12-02-2010 11:21 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 11:14 PM


So how long, and how much money has been spent looking for extra-terrestrial life? How long has SETI been looking for a signal from green men and how many billions have been spent with nothing to show? I for one sure am glad they money hasn't been wasted giving kids dying of malaria medicine. Or keeping Mono lake clean for that matter.

E.T., go home, go home!

So, would your religious belief be falsified if/when alien life is discovered?


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 11:14 PM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

  
Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3685
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 36 of 78 (594302)
12-02-2010 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 11:14 PM


If and where to spend the money
God forbid, I'm actually at least somewhat in agreement with you.

I invite you to go to my old topic To fund or not to fund - Are some science projects worth pursuing?.

Moose


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Yesterday on Fox News, commentator Glenn Beck said that he believes President Obama is a racist. To be fair, every time you watch Glenn Beck, it does get a little easier to hate white people." - Conan O'Brien

"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 11:14 PM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 37 of 78 (594310)
12-03-2010 12:01 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 11:14 PM


Oh, I see. Nasa is now in the business of cataloging our pond scum. Gee, I was thinking they were in the space exploration business.

They're in the science business, actually.

So how long, and how much money has been spent looking for extra-terrestrial life?

Not all that much, actually. How much money do you think it costs to listen to the radio?

How long has SETI been looking for a signal from green men and how many billions have been spent with nothing to show?

"Nothing to show?" Quite wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow_signal


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 11:14 PM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 38 of 78 (594341)
12-03-2010 1:55 AM


BTW, just wanted it on record:

crashfrog in September writes:

I think [alien life] would have something analogous to DNA, but it wouldn't necessarily have to be DNA - the phosphate-ribose backbone and the specific nucleobases seem kind of arbitrary. It's not hard to imagine something like an erythrose-arsenic backbone with funny bases, like hypoxanthine and inosine.

Message 14

Not the world's most amazing prediction (yet, somehow, better than any "prophecy" Buz has ever shown in the Bible...)


  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16073
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 39 of 78 (594344)
12-03-2010 2:16 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 9:58 PM


Dr. A, how would you like to pay up? I don't except checks, because frankly you are just not that trustworthy.

If you will tell us how much money you retrospectively wish to wager on your proposition: "I guarantee they have not found anything", then I shall be happy to accept either a check or cash.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 9:58 PM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16073
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


(2)
Message 40 of 78 (594345)
12-03-2010 2:23 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 11:14 PM


Oh, I see. Nasa is now in the business of cataloging our pond scum. Gee, I was thinking they were in the space exploration business. Maybe they should change their acronym to avoid any confusion.

While the scientists at NASA are certainly very clever, it is doubtful whether even they are up to the task of preventing creationists from becoming confused.

So how long, and how much money has been spent looking for extra-terrestrial life? How long has SETI been looking for a signal from green men and how many billions have been spent with nothing to show? I for one sure am glad they money hasn't been wasted giving kids dying of malaria medicine. Or keeping Mono lake clean for that matter.

To the nearest billion? --- zero.

Or to put it another way, less money than the USA spends on chewing-gum in a single year.

Or to put it in more familiar terms, less money than has been expended on brainwashing creationist idiots into talking shit.

P.S: According to creationist forum member AlphaOmegaKid, creationists are about to spend $150,000,000 on building a "replica" of Noah's Ark. Please do feel free to email them and tell them all about the malaria medicine.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 11:14 PM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

  
Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


(1)
Message 41 of 78 (594352)
12-03-2010 5:58 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Bolder-dash
12-02-2010 11:14 PM


Bolder-dash writes:

quote:
Oh, I see. Nasa is now in the business of cataloging our pond scum. Gee, I was thinking they were in the space exploration business. Maybe they should change their acronym to avoid any confusion.

(*sigh*)

What are they teaching in our schools these days?

Hint: Why were the Mars rovers launched?

Oh, who am I kidding? You won't do your own homework, so I'm going to have to tell you directly: Yes, examining the biology we have here on earth is an important part of space exploration because part of space exploration is looking for signs of life. It's part of the reason that every object that is sent into space to land on a foreign body must undergo extensive decontamination in order to ensure that we don't introduce earth-based organisms to other worlds. We don't want to contaminate any life on other bodies with ours.

So in order to help us understand what life might look like on other bodies, it would behoove us to understand all the various ways life might exist on our own planet. It will help us to know what we're looking for.

As far as we were able to tell, life on earth is based upon carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosophorus, and sulfur. To see that it is possible to have biochemistry that can substitute arsenic for phosphorus will help us determine other ways to look for life.

quote:
So how long, and how much money has been spent looking for extra-terrestrial life?

Since at least the 70s. What do you think Viking was doing on Mars?

Hint: Is it possible for a space project to do more than one thing?

Oh, but there I go again asking you to do some homework on your own.

quote:
I for one sure am glad they money hasn't been wasted giving kids dying of malaria medicine.

Right, because any research into anything that doesn't have immediate, material results is a complete waste of time. I mean, it isn't like quantum mechanics has ever had any material results.

Hmmm...I wonder what an investigation into how an organism might be able to continue living in the presence of arsenic might do to our understanding of basic biology and the treatment of toxicity. Madness!

Just because you aren't clever enough to figure out why something is valuable doesn't mean nobody else is. Are you one of the followers of Eric Cantor who seems to think that having people who know nothing about science going through NSF grants looking for "waste" is a good thing?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-02-2010 11:14 PM Bolder-dash has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-03-2010 6:28 AM Rrhain has responded

    
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 1613 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 42 of 78 (594353)
12-03-2010 6:28 AM
Reply to: Message 41 by Rrhain
12-03-2010 5:58 AM


A few select quotes:

"Youve got to hand it to NASA for their ability to routinely make a ruckus: Whereas many scientists struggle to elicit anything more than yawns from their audiences as they try to explain why their work matters (and, more pointedly, why it deserves tax or grant money), the whole aliens and outer space thing gives NASA a more receptive audience, and they know how to press that audiences buttons.

In this case, though, things have gotten a little out of hand: A NASA press release on an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life morphed into Jason Kottkes Has NASA discovered extraterrestrial life?, a question which he admitted was hyperbolic, which in turn mutated into progressively crazier herp-a-derp Internet speculation. Wireds Alexis Madrigal tweeted, Im sad to quell some of the @kottke-induced excitement about possible extraterrestrial life. Ive seen the Science paper. Its not that. geekosystem.com

"Then the stories calmed down, and instead it was that they had discovered an earthly life form that used a radically different chemistry. I was dubious, even at that. And then I finally got the paper from Science, and I'm sorry to let you all down, but it's none of the above. It's an extremophile bacterium that can be coaxed into substiting arsenic for phosphorus in some of its basic biochemistry. It's perfectly reasonable and interesting work in its own right, but it's not radical, it's not particularly surprising, and it's especially not extraterrestrial. It's the kind of thing that will get a sentence or three in biochemistry textbooks in the future." p.z. myers

"Admit it, when blogs spread the news that NASA would hold a briefing pertaining to newly-discovered life forms, you imagined something out of the movies.

But, in the end, all of the excitement turned out to be just this.

And, no, that's not an alien ... that's Bill Nye, the science guy.

The words "bait and switch" come to mind ... and so does the reality that NASA is fighting for survival now that the shuttle program is dying ... dare I say it? Training microbes from California to thrive on arsenic just doesn't have the same cache as sending a man to Mars... or does it.

On the scale of major disappointments, I'd rank this right up there with the day I realized my email pal from Nigeria never meant to share that inheritance

It's like channel surfing the Grammy show and in hopes of hitting Katy Perry... and landing on Justin Bieber instead.

It's like rooting for the 2022 World Cup to go to Kansas City ... and watching Kansas City lose to Qatar .... that's right ... Qatar.

The dream of encountering alien life dies hard ... but there's some consolation ... you you won't have to learn to speak "gort" ... at least for the time being."

www.necn.cm NASA Bait and Switch

"Incidentally, the CJR suggests NASA and AAAS handled this badly, as a matter of science communications. Hyping up a discovery with an exobiology spin that's a bit of a stretch, then gagging the professional journalists with an embargo so they can't debunk runaway rumors, and finally disappointing the public with a story that - however cool to biologists - is not what they expected. . . that seems like a series of questionable choices to me. I'm just sayin'. Scienceblogs.com

Oh, and one more thing...kiss my unimpressed derriere, preacher.

Edited by Bolder-dash, : to work some french into the discussion


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Rrhain, posted 12-03-2010 5:58 AM Rrhain has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18004
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 43 of 78 (594355)
12-03-2010 7:36 AM


Disappointing Announcement
I have to say I share what a couple other people have already expressed - this was a very disappointing announcement. It was also pretty much what I expected, not the specifics, but just that it would be something very mundane. I'm sure the people who work in this field are very excited (with good reason), and I believe the NASA people are correct when they say it improves the chances that life out in the void doesn't have to be like Earth-based life, but as PZ Meyers said, its just an extremophile that can be coaxed into using arsenic in place of phosphorus. Big whoop.

This is just a case of NASA over-hyping during a period of budgetary pressure.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by Dr Jack, posted 12-03-2010 8:16 AM Percy has responded

    
Drosophilla
Member (Idle past 1624 days)
Posts: 172
From: Doncaster, yorkshire, UK
Joined: 08-25-2009


Message 44 of 78 (594358)
12-03-2010 8:03 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Bolder-dash
12-03-2010 6:28 AM


Head up one's ass?
Hi BD,

Oh, and one more thing...kiss my unimpressed derriere, preacher.

Gee, and I thought a preacher was a religious guy who specialised in brainwashing the gullible!

Have you lived with your head up your ass all your life (or doesn't news percolate through to China?) Have you really no idea how NASA researches its ventures? Or why? No idea of benefits that have come from decades of research?

Do you feel proud that man has planted his feet on another world (don't tell me you are one of the 'man didn't go to the moon' conspiracy theorists!) or would you rather we still plodded around in sheepskins and lived in caves?

When I hear of someone trashing the achievements of others, or of mankind in general I conclude (born out by experience) that I'm in listening to a small-minded ill-informed moaner.

Oh, and your malaria medicine example cuts both ways: do you know how many Africans have been estimated to have died of AIDS over the past 3 decades due to the Catholic Church's refusal to promote contraception information? ....another proud moment of religious decision-making!

Edited by Drosophilla, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by Bolder-dash, posted 12-03-2010 6:28 AM Bolder-dash has not yet responded

  
Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 87 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 45 of 78 (594360)
12-03-2010 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by Percy
12-03-2010 7:36 AM


Re: Disappointing Announcement
...but as PZ Meyers said, its just an extremophile that can be coaxed into using arsenic in place of phosphorus. Big whoop.

I profoundly disagree with PZ Myers on this. I think he is massively underplaying how big a bit of biological news this is. That a bacterium has successfully evolved a means to substitute one of the absolutely fundamental building blocks of every key cellular mechanism and structure is most certainly a "big whoop".

The only thing that is a bit disappointing about the announcement is its billing as having major significance for astrobiology.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Percy, posted 12-03-2010 7:36 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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