### Mark The Date: Scientists Find 1.75 Billion Expiration Date On Earth

For those who are fastidious in scheduling on their iPhone planners, you might want to set one of those ten-minute alerts for 1.75 billion years to address any remaining items on your to-do list. Scientists have determined that, absent a nuclear holocaust, catastrophic asteroid or new William Shatner album, the Earth could continue to support life for at least another 1.75 billion years.

Indeed, the calculation is not exactly precise. With a strong wind at our planetary back, we could go as long as 3.25 billion years before the Earth will travel out of the solar system’s habitable zone and into the “hot zone.” We have only been around for 200,000 years, that is still a fairly generous amount of time.

The research can be found in the journal Astrobiology where the total time for the Earth in the habitable zone is calculated at 7.79 billion years. (Earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old unless you are a creationist where you still believe we are only a few thousand years old.)

#### 119 Responses to “Mark The Date: Scientists Find 1.75 Billion Expiration Date On Earth”

1. 1, September 20, 2013 at 7:18 am

The timing is less certain than that based upon recent nova / supernova events that happened billions of years earlier than the models show.

The larger problem is that humanity, in the clutches of Oil-Qaeda, will take care of the destruction business well before that (The Life and Death of Bright Things). –nervous laughter–

2. 2 Anonymously Yours 1, September 20, 2013 at 8:18 am

3. 3 Otteray Scribe 1, September 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

AY,
The calculations are basic physics, since the sun is nothing more than a giant fusion reaction. In other words, a really big hydrogen bomb type explosion. They can calculate mass and density, therefore the life cycle of the sun. Other stars have been studied for their behavior as the nuclear fuel runs out. If you want the math, here is a paper on the subject. This is seriously dense reading, but there are good pictures and diagrams (PDF warning, 44 pages total, may load slow):

http://sci-ed.org/documents/LCP%209%20%20EARTH%20SUN%20May%2020.pdf

As the nuclear fuel begins to run out, the sun will become a red giant, large enough to reach about the earths orbit. As the sun gets larger and brighter, earth will bake and the oceans will boil off.

4. 4 Anonymously Yours 1, September 20, 2013 at 8:58 am

Thank you OS…. Thank you…

5. 5 Tony C. 1, September 20, 2013 at 9:31 am

If I know us, the ten-minute alert will be about right, we tend to wait until there is barely enough (or not enough) time to address our problems… Just look at our progress (or complete lack thereof, or even anti-progress) on our Global Warming problem, our income disparity problem, our over-fishing problems, our Autism problems, our political corruption problems, our energy (and peak oil) problems, our diabetes and obesity and other health epidemic problems, and on and on.

A ten minute warning on the End of the Earth should roughly coincide with humanity’s realization that something really does need to be done….

6. 6 Gene H. 1, September 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

Stellar life cycle -

Short version;

Long version;

If you are interested in the chemistry of it in any kind of detail, Google the term “stellar nucleosynthesis”.

As you can guess by my avatar, I’m a big fan of stars.

7. 7 nick spinelli 1, September 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

I usually ignore expiration dates on food. They cause billions in dollars of waste. Food pantries cannot accept food w/ expired dates. I’m not talking perishables. I’ll give the milk, cheese, etc. a sniff if it’s been expired a week or so. The date is the about when food should be sold, not eaten. Few people realize that food panties throw away a can of corn, or box of mac n’ cheese, etc.if the date has expired. Hell, that shit is still good for a couple decades. Unintended consequences people.

8. 8 nick spinelli 1, September 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

Gene, Have you seen the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

9. 9 Gene H. 1, September 20, 2013 at 11:15 am

nick,

Yes I have. They are far less impressive than the real thing and in a much grungier neighborhood.

10. 10 Bruce 1, September 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

All this is immaterial, global warming, the sun burning out, etc. when everyone has nuclear weapons someone will use one and like a chain reaction the world will become uninhabitable to human life. What if the Ayatollah on his death bed decides it’s time for Armageddon

11. 11 Tony C. 1, September 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

Bruce: I think if anybody literally on their death bed orders nuclear war, the people beside the bed, with their own lives at stake, will say, “Sure, sure, hey we did it! Boom! You are a great and victorious leader! Would you like some Jello now?”

12. 1, September 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Don’t these dumb scientists know that GOD will decide when the Earth–which is 6,000 years old–will expire!

13. 1, September 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm

REM: It’s the End of the World As We Know It

14. 15 Triggernometry 1, September 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

This is irrelevant, as in about 330 million years the Sun will have become a Red Giant and expanded to engulf the Earth. Just look up where we are on the stellar main sequence and do the math.

15. 16 Darren Smith 1, September 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

So do we try to find a way to move to another planet when the time has arrived, spending a great deal of resources and effort in the process, or do we learn that a future extinction is ahead and just try to make the best of the time here?

Maybe a mixture of both.

16. 17 Otteray Scribe 1, September 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Darren,
I fear that will be a moot question given our current race over the environmental cliff. We won’t have to wait until the sun turns into a red giant, because the human race will already baked itself out of existence. At the rate we are going, by the end of this century.

17. 18 Anonymously Yours 1, September 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

OS,

I was surprised to hear one of the folks that works for an oil company in Colorado say that they were not worried about the contamination or something like that…. In the back ground was an over turned oil reserve tank…. I guess BPs still not concerned about the gulf either…

18. 19 Tony C. 1, September 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Darren: Presuming we avoid extinction beforehand, I would assume the most sensible thing to do is, long before we even lose Mercury, is to use the material of the inner solar system (and Earth) to build a modified version of a Dyson Ring. Modified to be discontinous, so the parts can be periodically moved further from the sun.

The average distance of the Earth from the sun is 150M km. So the circumference of Earth’s orbit is about 950M km. The dry surface of the Earth is about 150M sq km, which will presumably be enough space. But for this exercise, we can presume 500M sq km, the entire surface of the Earth, approximately.

The Earth’s height in orbit is a little over 12,000 km, so the area of the orbital band is 11.4 trillion sq km.

So, on average, we would want to provide structures orbiting the sun within the orbital band that give us, on average, 1 sq km per 11.4T/500M
sq km of area; that is a density 22,600 sq km per 1 sq km of surface area.

Which should be easily doable without collision. For example, to provide 100 sq km per structure, we could do that with disc structures about 12 km wide; in space I imagine well within the range of constructibility in the very near future. Also, each such disk would have 2.26M sq km to “work in,” which would be 1500 km on a side, which would allow about 725 km between disk edges (60 times the disc width, a good margin of safety, and discs can also be staggered within the orbital band for greater safety, should one explode or get hit by something).

I only say disks because they are easy to deal with; we could use rotating cylinders (to generate artificial gravity and day and night), bicycle-tire looking things, etc. Every few hundred thousand years, we can move them further from the sun. And presumably, long before the sun dies altogether, we can put engines on them and leave; and use plain old nuclear fission plants to power them — Trailing a very long way behind us, for safety. We could take up residence around Jupiter or Neptune or something. No real need to travel to another star; even with our current relatively primitive level of technology (I presume it is relatively primitive) I think this would be pretty survivable, given a few hundred thousand years notice.

19. 20 lottakatz 1, September 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Elaine, LOL, literally laughing out loud. It’s not a funny scenario but, ‘now we’ve got nuclear winter and Australia’s still like, WTF? but they’ll be dead soon…” the video is hilarious and outstanding. Great video.

20. 21 lottakatz 1, September 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Gene, beautiful videos. 100+ chemical variables, limitless space, time and opportunity: how majestic and just plain awesome is that? Everything that can happen has and will until time and energy runs out. How people can contemplate that and reject it for a viewpoint more relevant and consistent with a paramecium is a mystery to me. (no offense to the supposed mental development of paramecia in general.) Thanks for the videos.

21. 22 lottakatz 1, September 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

LoL, should be “elements”, on other blawgs I am a big fan of the “Edit” widget.

22. 1, September 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm

lotta,

Humor says it best, doesn’t it? I find the The Daily Show and The Colbert Report often provide us with the most astute perspectives on the way things are/what’s going down.

23. 24 bettykath 1, September 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I think the calculations missed something…….”We have two months or less to act.”

Harvey Wasserman

The Crisis at Fukushima 4 Demands a Global Take-Over September 19, 2013

We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focussed on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.

Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.

Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.

Why is this so serious?

We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.

Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool.Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.

Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. Fresh reports show that Tepco has just dumped another thousand tons of contaminated liquids into the sea

The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.

More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.

Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.

Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.

The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.

Just prior to the 3/11/11 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air.

Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.

Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.

According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.

The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.

Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.

Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.

We have two months or less to act.

For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.

You can sign the petition at: http://www dot nukefree dot org/crisis-fukushima-4-petition-un-us-global-response

If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.

The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.

—————————————————————-

Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press where this was originally published. He edits where the petition for global intervention at Fukushima is linked.

24. 25 lottakatz 1, September 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Elaine, I agree completely about TDS and CR; best comedy on the air.

25. 26 bettykath 1, September 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

My post on the possible acceleration of the end of the world as we know it is lost in cyber space. I tried to eliminate the links but may not have been successful but no moderation message.

26. 27 Otteray Scribe 1, September 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm

bettykath,
Your comment is snagged in the filter. The limit on links is two in a single comment. Do you want me to remove some or all the links and try to free it for you?

27. 28 Darren Smith 1, September 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

TOny:

Interesting project. I wonder would it be survivable by the individual, or over generations from the genetic effects of cosmic radiation?

28. 29 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:06 am

Darren: I think cosmic radiation can be “handled” for something that is essentially stable in orbit. There are enormous distances one can work with; and we already have super-conducting magnets.

The issues about cosmic radiation in a spaceship heading to Mars or something are confounded by the fact that the spaceship is a moving point, so its protection has to be moving with it. That’s what happens with Earth and its magnetic deflector shield, but it is huge, we can’t make a ship that big.

In an orbital system, however, the protection can be quite far from the protected target, and distance provides leverage, in that a small angle of deflection provided by super-magnets a few thousand kilometers closer to the sun could cast a kind of shadow charged-particle free zone in the orbital system (not a real shadow, light would still get through, just like light makes it through Earth’s magnetic shield). These deflectors would not have to be traveling at the same speed as the orbital system; it is just two rings moving at their own natural orbital speed. That is unlike the problem for a spaceship, where a distant deflector would have to be perfectly synchronized in speed and course with the spaceship to be constantly casting a particle-free zone on it.

There may be other sources of radiation to worry about, I am not read up on the problem, but I thought virtually all of it was from the Sun.

29. 30 Darren Smith 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:13 am

Interesting thank you Tony

30. 31 bettykath 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:14 am

31. 32 Otteray Scribe 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:20 am

BK, I took out all the links except the one to the petition. No problem.

32. 33 Otteray Scribe 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:21 am

Looks like the petition link is broken. Sorry about that, it was WordPress that chewed it up somehow.

33. 34 bettykath 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:47 am

The article with a link to the petition at the bottom of the page:

http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/7/2013/1985

This article originally came via email from a reliable source so I didn’t go to the original website. Sorry for being obtuse and difficult – it happens sometimes.

34. 35 rafflaw 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:18 am

My head is spinning with all of this math talk.

35. 36 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:07 am

rafflaw: Without math: Even if our Sun became a Red Giant and turned Earth into a cinder, there is plenty of room and plenty of space and plenty of materials to escape to space, within our own solar system, using what we already know, applied over the course of a thousand generations or so. More than enough to support far more life than currently exists on this planet.

If humanity fails to survive, it will not be because of a lack of engineering solutions or a lack of technology or know-how. It will be a failure of will, an inability to cooperate for the time required. At this point in our history, the only thing that should destroy humanity (barring extra-terrestrials if they exist) is politics. Even if an asteroid hits us tomorrow and wipes us out, I blame politics; we have had half a century to work on protections against that and because of politics we have dithered it away. The moment we knew asteroid strikes could be an extinction level event we should have been working to spot them, survive them and ultimately deflect them.

Once we knew it was possible to colonize space itself, we should have worked toward accomplishing a self-sustaining off-planet colony; even if just in orbit around the Earth.

Humanity is collectively mentally ill, so focused upon immediate rewards that we don’t care if it kills us to get them.

36. 37 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:25 am

This is a complete bogus story when everyone knows that sea level will rise in excess of 20 feet in 100 years.

Hurricanes will be more intense. Al Gore says CAT 6′s coming

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/23/al-gore-and-category-6-hurricanes/

Tornadoes will have a new classification EFHUTTON-5′s Thats when you people will listen.

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

37. 38 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:28 am

The Sun is in a bad slump. NOAA predicted very active hurricane season and NASA predicted very active sun spots. Neither has come to fruition.

Solar activity drops to 100-year low, puzzling scientists
LONDON: Predictions that 2013 would see an upsurge in solar activity and geomagnetic storms disrupting power grids and communications systems have proved to be a false alarm. Instead, the current peak in the solar cycle is the weakest for a century.

Subdued solar activity has prompted controversial comparisons with the Maunder Minimum, which occurred between 1645 and 1715, when a prolonged absence of sunspots and other indicators of solar activity coincided with the coldest period in the last millennium.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-09-18/science/42182028_1_sunspots-maunder-minimum-solar-cycle

Longest period in the written hurricane record to go without a CAT3-CAT5 hurricane strike on the U.S. Coast. Almost 8 years.

38. 39 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:30 am

50% of the United States forecast to be in the 30′s and 40′s by Tuesday morning. Winter is coming early this year.

Did I mention the sun is at a 100 year low for sunspot activity

http://www.weatherstreet.com/Temperature.htm

39. 40 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:36 am

Maybe we will last a long time seeing how we aren’t burning up the planet as fast as the models said we would. NO GLOBAL WARMING for the last 15 years.

Finally, the IPCC has toned down its climate change alarm. Can rational discussion now begin?

Next week, those who made dire predictions of ruinous climate change face their own inconvenient truth. The summary of the fifth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be published, showing that global temperatures are refusing to follow the path which was predicted for them by almost all climatic models. Since its first report in 1990

40. 41 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:47 am

My favorite take away paragraph from the spectator article.

“And while we are constantly reminded that ‘most scientists are agreed on climate change’, it is remarkable how many of the most prominent figures warning of climatic Armageddon are not themselves scientists. The chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, is a railway engineer. Al Gore, who shared a Nobel prize with the IPCC for his film of climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, is a failed US presidential candidate. Lord Stern, whose 2006 report provoked the then environment secretary David Miliband to say ‘the science is settled’, is an economist. Few scientists would make such a claim.”

ROTFLMFAO

An Engineer, the Failed president of the railroad job and a Lord of the flies

41. 42 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

Tony,

Solar radiation is the biggest problem, especially during solar flares, but your selective shielding idea won’t work because of cosmic rays. Although not as “abundant” as EM radiation from our nearest star, those high energy particles (mostly protons and alpha particles, not truly “rays” in the EM sense) are mitigated by both the solar wind and deflection from Earth’s own EM field. They can still cause many of the effects EM radiation does such as random mutation and screwing with electronics in addition to being reactive with atmospheric gases, creating unstable isotopes in a process called spallation (a form of nucleosynthesis). They are also practically omnipresent so deep space is no refuge. Unless a ring world had some sort of EM field comparable to a planet to deflect cosmic rays it, it would have to be a sealed system else the artificial atmosphere would eventually have chemistry and ablation issues. We really need some kind of EM shielding technology that isn’t “physical”, i.e. dense (and usually heavy) materials or ablative materials, in order to make space habitation/travel more amenable to humans.

Or we need to bioengineer ourselves to be better suited for high radiation environments (and low/variable gravity as well although we can simulate gravity with rotation). And at that point, we need to ask what is a human? Even if engineered, we are talking speciation. Add to that the isolation of space and eventually “we will become the aliens”.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thoroughly in the Sagan/Hawking “we’ve got to leave the cradle” camp. But without some significantly better shielding technology, any long term habitation is going to need to be planet-side where we can take advantage of natural EM and atmospheric protections (even if we have to terraform to make them more habitable) from solar and cosmic radiation.

Space habitats are going to be stop-gaps for a very long time until (if) we reach the technological sophistication to built a true Dyson ring (or a Niven ring depending on preference in nomenclature) – a proposition that is considerably more difficult and larger in scale than the smaller structures you are talking about. We are a planet-bound species. We evolved in a gravity well and with environmental protections from radiation. This creates some very challenging problems for both space travel in general and certainly for long term habitation in orbital/trans-orbital structures.

_____________

LK,

You’re welcome.

42. 43 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:53 am

Or we need to bioengineer ourselves to be better suited for high radiation

Yes I agree Gene just like whats coming out of Fukishima

GOOD JOB pointing that out Gene

43. 44 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:59 am

We were having a nice adult conversation about space exploration until the Koch suckers showed up . . .

44. 45 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:02 am

Our last big flare up of the sun happened back March 2012

“This was the biggest dose of heat we’ve received from a solar storm since 2005,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA Langley Research Center. “It was a big event, and shows how solar activity can directly affect our planet.”

Contrary to what others have said here that the sun is a constant NASA seems to think differently. Right Gene ?

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/22mar_saber/

45. 46 Otteray Scribe 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

Gene,
The deniers, paid or not, remind me of a folk song about why you never see a unicorn these days. The first time I heard this it was a live performance by Scottish folk singer, Carl Peterson.

46. 47 Otteray Scribe 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

And poor Joe cannot tell the difference between a single solar storm and dozens of decades of meticulous observation and measurement. Yes, the sun has weather, of sorts, as well.

47. 48 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

OS,

The sun absolutely has weather and (as the process of stellar evolution illustrates) climate. That it appears relatively stable is a function of deep time and the transience of the human lifespan. That being said, our sun is fairly stable and normal as far as stars go (G2V on the main sequence) although not nearly the most common type of star. Some stars are very violent and unpredictable, so much so that life as we know it simply wouldn’t be possible in any planetary systems they might have.

48. 49 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

Martin Mlynczak of NASA Langley Research Center says,

“It was a big event, and shows how solar activity can directly affect our planet.”

He means weather which leads to climate after a long reviewed statistical gathering of weather conditions of time LOL

49. 50 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thank God for the increase in CO2

For the three day period, March 8th through 10th, the thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy. Infrared radiation from CO2 and NO, the two most efficient coolants in the thermosphere, re-radiated 95% of that total back into space.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/22mar_saber/

Next you dupes will be claiming we need to reduce CO2 to warm the planet back up.

50. 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:37 am

Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thank God for the increase in CO2

=========================
Yep, once Cheezus gave us oil superiority, heavenly bliss flowed to all.

51. 53 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

Hey Mr New Tornado classification you should try inventing a new class called EF Hutton you can be like your buddy Al Gore who says we are gonna have CAT 6 hurricanes.

When they sound the alarm that an EFHutton tornado is coming maybe people will listen to you. LOL

52. 54 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

FLASH BACK:

Seventy-five years ago today, a major CAT 5 hurricane narrowly missed New York, but devastated Long Island and New England as a CAT 3 Hurricane. Had it made landfall 70 miles to the west, it would have destroyed New York City.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_New_England_hurricane

However Super Storm Sandy BARELY A CAT 1 hurricane is a sign of Global Warming LOL

Over 700 Dead and the militia given orders to shoot to kill because of widespread looting.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/118318497?searchTerm=flood%20death&searchLimits=fromyyyy=1938|||frommm|||fromdd|||toyyyy=1938|||tomm|||todd.

53. 55 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

You do realize this isn’t a thread about the weather or fossil fuels, don’t you, Troll?

Or are you paid by how many threads you purposefully disrupt?

54. 56 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:12 am

It’s not about Unicorns or Aliens but you dupes don’t have any problem posting videos about that stuff.

55. 57 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

At least I’m posting FACTUAL info with links instead of making stuff up to make it look like I know what I’m talking about. LOL

56. 58 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:16 am

Play with Kochs on your own time.

57. 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 8:07 am

… Even if an asteroid hits us tomorrow and wipes us out, I blame politics; we have had half a century to work on protections against that and because of politics we have dithered it away. The moment we knew asteroid strikes could be an extinction level event we should have been working to spot them, survive them and ultimately deflect them.

Humanity is collectively mentally ill, so focused upon immediate rewards that we don’t care if it kills us to get them.
========================
Yep, the Alien’s nickname for humanity on Earth is “Joe Blow.”

As to asteroid mass-extinction events and politics, I agree.

However, some of it was establishment scientists politicking with the data by Joe Blow Hard types:

A day or so ago a distinguished group of scientists determined that the theory which says a piece of an asteroid became a meteorite which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs was more likely to be reality than the competing theory.

The competing theory had been that volcanism, in the form of hyperactive eruptions in India, caused the dinosaur extinction.

What do State Crimes Against Democracy (SCAD) have to do with a chunk of asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs?

The answer is: a brave individual.

The brave individual, about 50 years ago, noticed that the scientific community was kowtowed, afraid, and timid about even seriously considering the theory that a chunk of asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Simply put, he noticed that there was tyranny of dogma within the scientific world, and that such tyranny would lead us to a bad place.

Therefore, “de Grazia dedicated the whole September 1963 issue of American Behavioral Scientist to the issue” concerning the part that catastrophes, like the chunk of asteroid (meteorite) strike, have played in the evolution on this planet.

(SCAD, links removed, see original). It took decades to figure out that asteroid impacts have had a major part to play in the way life got to the place it is.

No doubt your blame of politics is still valid, because “Humanity is collectively mentally ill” as you say.

We are collectively “Joe Blow.”

He is our collective intellect proving that a lethal mutation has taken place in our cognitive system (What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?).

58. 60 Joe Blow 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:19 am

Ha ha first I read that as master baiting, you know what you do Gene when your not posting comments to make yourself look smart. LOL

59. 61 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

For once, Dredd, we are almost in agreement on net effect although not on mechanics. Joe Blow’s “thinking” such as it is represents the kind of behavior easily associated with both the AVPR1a gene (and mutations thereof) and the structural abnormalities of people with a smaller, lesser functioning anterior cingulate cortex.

People like him can’t help being selfish sociopathic b@stards, but by the same token, they should never be allowed any kind of responsibility that affects the lives of others.

60. 62 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

I’m sorry! Could you repeat that, Joe? I couldn’t hear you for all the Koch in your mouth. It’s not polite to talk with your mouth full and your head empty.

61. 63 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 10:52 am

Gene: My idea is that we can use super-conducting magnets (like those used in particle accelerators) in space to create a magnetic shield much like the Earth’s magnetic field, on a small scale. The Earth’s field is only about 0.5 Gauss (a refrigerator magnet is about 100 Gauss), so it does not take much to deflect the solar wind, but the Earth’s field is very large, like a hundred thousand kilometers in diameter (well, infinite, but at some point the deflection is slight enough that, were the target in the path of the particle it would be hit anyway).

But if we think of such deflection of particles as a kind of ricochet off of a wedge (or like a photon bent by a prism) then the further the wedge is from the target, the smaller the deflection angle has to be. And the smaller the target, the smaller the angle needs to be.

I think it would be easier to run a super-conducting magnet in space than on the Earth; it is much easier to chill it in space, and with some known super-conducting materials we would not have to chill it at all.

I don’t know enough about engineering magnetic fields and how they interact with each other, but perhaps for other cosmic rays we could have a “ceiling” of super-conducting deflectors that protect the ring; each generating a very strong field. (The world’s strongest magnet is currently 250,000 Gauss, about 500,000 times the Earth’s magnetic field strength.)

I think the precursor to a Dyson Ring would be something like a beaded necklace of habitats. They certainly would have to be covered and pressurized; but we don’t need the ozone layer, we can protect ourselves from UV rays with any number of materials (including transparent ones). (If disks, they could have a habitat on each side and rotate for day/night).

The key (I think) if we live in space is to exploit the distances available to us and the energy of the solar power on a large scale, many thousands of times the space available on Earth. In a way, I think ditching nature and making our own environment is what has gotten us here; from building a better cave (an artificial one) to a better path (roads) to artificial lakes and rivers (with dams). Heck, we started out by building better rocks than what nature was providing (hand axes).

In space all sorts of our problems are solved by distance or available area; nuclear fission becomes safe (and energy transmittable by IR laser); pollution is not an issue, solar power is near infinite, travel is pretty much free (zero resistance or drag), etc.

62. 64 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

Dredd: Science is a human enterprise, and as such, some famous scientific leaders are protected emotionally instead of rationally, and it can take a generation or two for that to happen. Science is often a rather meandering stroll in the general direction of “the truth.”

That is human nature, large investments of one’s professional life are guarded jealously. We see the same thing happening in Physics, right now and for decades, because of String Theory. It is a dead end, I am personally certain, but at this point most physicists have invested a good part of their career in it. The only way out is for new physicists to realize the same thing and choose to specialize elsewhere (and there are good candidates like LQG), and in another 20 or thirty years, when the majority of string theorists have retired, we will hopefully see a revival of physics.

I think we have seen the same thing happen in Cosmology with the Big Bang and Inflation; there are serious flaws in that story and I think it will be, eventually, discarded. But there is resistance to the logic and emotional (and irrational, in my view) defenses of a Big Bang with Inflation because careers have been built on it.

I disagree with the idea that aliens would find this unusual. If they exist I think they will be sporadically emotional and irrational very much like us, meaning guided by rationality much of the time but prey to emotional obsession and stubbornness and irrational risk taking quite often. Or they wouldn’t have progressed; a great deal of our progress has been made because people (like Newton, Euler and Darwin) irrationally devoted breathtaking amounts of time to obsessively studying topics of curiosity that almost nobody cared about and that would probably never earn them a dime, just because they wanted to know.

Aliens don’t get into space unless, for some of them, like for some of us, research is its own reward, and some of that discovered knowledge is shared freely for the credit of having one’s name on it. In a way, that brings us back to the jealous defense of a wrong idea: If the idea is wrong, the credit or prestige of being the creator of the idea is obviously diminished.

63. 65 Otteray Scribe 1, September 21, 2013 at 11:30 am

Tony,
It is interesting that Steven Hawking does not seem to be caught up in the ego thing as much as some of his colleagues. He has surprised more than one symposium by making radical changes in the direction of his thinking.

I am torn about the Big Bang, and I always did think string theory was kind of nutty. When they come up with this stuff, they forget the universe works mostly by the rule of Ockham’s Razor. Unnecessarily complex theories are probably wrong for that very reason. Compare that to the elegant simplicity of the General Theory of Relativity or Newton’s Laws.

64. 66 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 11:32 am

Tony,

You should really read up on M-theory before dismissing String Theory altogether. It’s closing a lot of the gaps. Also, you might find this interesting: spacetime might be an illusion created by particle geometry.

https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20130917-a-jewel-at-the-heart-of-quantum-physics/

This new model makes Feynman diagrams a thing of the past. No diss on Feynman though. These guys are standing on his shoulders.

Also, it seems to play in to this idea that our 3D universe might be the result of a 4D singularity (which in turn plays into ‘tHooft and Susskind’s holographic universe idea).

65. 67 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 11:34 am

OS,

Speaking of simplicity, you should also check out that article on particle geometry as well. It’s orders of magnitude more efficient than Feynman diagrams.

66. 68 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

Tony,

In theory I agree what superconductors would be easier to use in space for a variety of reasons, but the scale and constraints of a ship and the scale and constraints of a habitat are two totally different engineering propositions.

67. 69 Triggernometry 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Wow, its warming to feel surrounded by so many fellow astrophysicists.

68. 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

Dredd: Science is a human enterprise, and as such, some famous scientific leaders are protected emotionally instead of rationally, and it can take a generation or two for that to happen. Science is often a rather meandering stroll in the general direction of “the truth.”

I disagree with the idea that aliens would find this unusual. If they exist I think they will be sporadically emotional and irrational very much like us, meaning guided by rationality much of the time but prey to emotional obsession and stubbornness and irrational risk taking quite often.
===============
You had previously said “Humanity is collectively mentally ill, so focused upon immediate rewards that we don’t care if it kills us to get them.”

Thus, you are in agreement with Ernst Mayr as paraphrased by Chomsky:

I’LL BEGIN with an interesting debate that took place some years ago between Carl Sagan, the well-known astrophysicist, and Ernst Mayr, the grand old man of American biology. They were debating the possibility of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. And Sagan, speaking from the point of view of an astrophysicist, pointed out that there are innumerable planets just like ours. There is no reason they shouldn’t have developed intelligent life. Mayr, from the point of view of a biologist, argued that it’s very unlikely that we’ll find any. And his reason was, he said, we have exactly one example: Earth. So let’s take a look at Earth.

And what he basically argued is that intelligence is a kind of lethal mutation … you’re just not going to find intelligent life elsewhere, and you probably won’t find it here for very long either because it’s just a lethal mutation … With the environmental crisis, we’re now in a situation where we can decide whether Mayr was right or not. If nothing significant is done about it, and pretty quickly, then he will have been correct: human intelligence is indeed a lethal mutation. Maybe some humans will survive, but it will be scattered and nothing like a decent existence, and we’ll take a lot of the rest of the living world along with us.

(What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?, link above). I suppose you and Mayr are saying that intelligence is a lethal mutation in both aliens and earthlings, as Mayr was wont to say too.

The solar induced catastrophe this post talks about, then, may be a solar cleansing built into the machine?

69. 71 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Dredd,

It is arguable that some kinds of intelligence is a lethal mutation, i.e. socipathy and psychopathy. The notion that intelligence as a whole is a lethal mutation is simply ridiculous. Just because our species is being selfish, shortsighted and stupid in handling our technological adolescence doesn’t mean an alien species would be. Absent evidence, the answer is just as likely that humans are uniquely self-destructive. As usual, Dredd, you take a fringer idea and run with it. Just because an idea is radical doesn’t mean it is correct.

70. 72 Bron 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

triggernometry:

“Wow, its warming to feel surrounded by so many fellow astrophysicists.”

you too?

71. 73 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Dredd: What Gene said.

Mayr’s argument is ludicrous from both a scientific and statistical point of view. Given the one example, Earth, the most intelligent species is not (absent intelligence) the fastest, quickest, best defended, most lethal or anything else; absent intelligence we are essentially prey animals.

But with intelligence, we dominate the planet and all other species; a Tyrannosaur or Great White or any other animal that ever lived could be trapped, killed and eaten by a single human using intelligence and nothing but the products of nature (suitably modified).

In the single example of Earth, humans win, and have multiplied to dominate virtually every corner of the planet they care to dominate; nothing can stand in their way; not even rivers and mountains if they get in our way.

To argue that intelligence is a lethal mutation is to ignore the evidence before our eyes, it certainly has not been lethal yet, and in fact stunningly the opposite; intelligence has multiplied a population of hundreds of thousands to billions. To declare that species suicide is inevitable is as wrong-headed as declaring that personal suicide is inevitable. While either is certainly possible I suspect both would be equally rare.

My belief, based on the evidence of our single example (with millons of species past and present) is that in the universe, life, plants, brains, and animals are probably as common as dirt, but conscious, recursively abstract thinking (which distinguishes humans from all other animals) may just be so rare a genetic accident and consequence of environmental accidents that we are truly unique. Out of all the millions of species that have existed for a few billion years, it seems to have occurred ONCE about 250,000 or 400,000 years ago (to me Heidelbergensis is the first species for which there is any evidence) and never again.

Just because an adaptation is devastatingly useful (like recursively abstract thinking) for both survival and reproduction is no guarantee it will occur. In fact, if that guarantee existed, think of all the predators (and species) on the brink of extinction, despite reasonably large brains, that would survive if only they could develop that adaptation.

72. 74 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Dredd: My views are consistent; I think humans are emotional animals and make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we are suicidal, or intelligence is lethal.

It means science can be slow and get stalled by irrational road blocks and turf protecting, but eventually the emotional persons being irrational or protecting their turf will be naturally retired from the debate, replaced by others with a lessened stake in the outcome, and science will creep forward again. Less like suicide, more like waiting in line at the DMV.

73. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Dredd,

It is arguable that some kinds of intelligence is a lethal mutation, i.e. socipathy and psychopathy. The notion that intelligence as a whole is a lethal mutation is simply ridiculous. Just because our species is being selfish, shortsighted and stupid in handling our technological adolescence doesn’t mean an alien species would be. Absent evidence, the answer is just as likely that humans are uniquely self-destructive. As usual, Dredd, you take a fringer idea and run with it. Just because an idea is radical doesn’t mean it is correct
————————————————
Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Dredd: What Gene said.

Mayr’s argument is ludicrous from both a scientific and statistical point of view. Given the one example, Earth, the most intelligent species is not (absent intelligence) the fastest, quickest, best defended, most lethal or anything else; absent intelligence we are essentially prey animals.

===============================

If you notice the title to the post I linked to, (“what kind of intelligence is a lethal mutation”) I did not intend to advance an argument that all intelligence is a lethal mutation.

So, I agree and instead advance an argument that the non-lethal type of intelligence is not necessarily the more predominant intelligence (politically) nor is it a lethal mutation.

The intelligence that holds power is more likely the lethal mutation form, which is another problem itself.

In the context of intelligence that is capable of adapting to our cosmic environment (including a Sun that will destroy all forms of human intelligence still here on Earth when the Sun does the thing JT posted about) it remains to be seen what the ultimate result will be.

Like Tony said, we have a difficult time, collectively, even taking the asteroid danger seriously enough.

It would seem that Cheezus will rapture away the lethal mutation intelligence, but the remaining intelligence that can take a warning will have to use other means.

74. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Dredd,
…As usual, Dredd, you take a fringer idea and run with it. Just because an idea is radical doesn’t mean it is correct.
========================
And as usual, very respected scientists around the world, Mayr and Chomsky, are called fringe by you, the center and light of all science.

You seek to make bufoonery holy intelligence.

75. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Dredd: My views are consistent;

======================
That is of no consequence, since consisten error is still error.

76. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Ernst Walter Mayr (July 5, 1904 – February 3, 2005) was one of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, and historian of science. His work contributed to the conceptual revolution that led to the modern evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics, systematics, and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the biological species concept. (Wikipedia).

77. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Avram Noam Chomsky … born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, and political commentator and activist. Working for most of his life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, he has authored over 100 books on various subjects.

He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, and the Chomsky–Schützenberger theorem.

Highly influential, between 1980 and 1992, Chomsky was cited within the field of Arts and Humanities more often than any other living scholar, and eighth overall within the Arts and Humanities Citation Index during the same period. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the “world’s top public intellectual” in a 2005 poll. (Wikipedia).

78. 1, September 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Dredd: My views are consistent; I think humans are emotional animals and make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we are suicidal, or intelligence is lethal.

It means science can be slow and get stalled by irrational road blocks and turf protecting, but eventually the emotional persons being irrational or protecting their turf will be naturally retired from the debate, replaced by others with a lessened stake in the outcome, and science will creep forward again. Less like suicide, more like waiting in line at the DMV.
==========================
So why are you worried about the asteroids, and why did you say upthread “Humanity is collectively mentally ill, so focused upon immediate rewards that we don’t care if it kills us to get them.”

Humanity is waiting in line at the DMV … that’s all, and of course these fellows should have listened to you, realizing your DMV thingy:

“One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” – Lamarck

“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this –hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension.” – Sigmund Freud

“Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

When an individual commits suicide or takes risks likely to end their existence, it is considered suicidal.

One wonders why that same principle would not apply to groups and Freud suggested:

“I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness.” – Sigmund Freud

The consensus of climate and nuclear scientists is that civilization can destroy itself with what it has fabricated while in the DMV line.

79. 81 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Which means what exactly other than they are famous?

Absolutely squat, Dredd.

Just because they have contributed to science doesn’t mean that some of their ideas aren’t out there and that everything they say is golden. If you want to be technical, it can be said that Joseph Mengele contributed greatly to modern medicine and the physiology of human endurance. Doesn’t mean he didn’t have some crazy ideas. Einstein couldn’t even come to grips with the implications of his work that resulted in Quantum Mechanics. Which resulted in the famous exchange of quotes “God does not play dice with the universe” to which Niels Bohr responded “Don’t tell God what to do with his dice.”

I seek to point out that your mindless worship of science, best exemplified by your ridiculous and total misunderstanding and misapplication of microbiology into something akin to worshiping The Force (of Bacteria) is buffoonery.

Because it is.

Replacing a blind faith in religion with a blind faith in science is still blindness. A hypothesis, no matter how attractive sounding, is just that until enough evidence exists to make it part of a cogent theory which then still requires refinement to distill laws. You like to state hypotheses as if they were fact simply because someone famous had them. That is bad science.

Again, while there is evidence that some mutations related to intellectual and emotional capacities are arguably lethal, there is no evidence that intelligence itself is a lethal mutation and for the reasons stated above.

And what Tony said about the nature of the advance of science in general. Much of your extremism in biology is rooted in personality within the field taking the “symbiosis is everything” tack versus the “genetic determinism” crowd. Both of which miss the boat entirely on how natural selection works. Monolithic thinking is simply not the way the universe generally operates and silver bullet solutions are as rare as hen’s teeth.

Also, you should know I don’t read anything you link to as a matter of general principle. Why? Because referring to your own blog isn’t a valid appeal to authority but especially when you generally don’t understand what it is you’re are reading and citing. I’m still laughing about you thinking abiotic chemistry is alive simply because it can replicate.

80. 82 Bron 1, September 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Gene H:

is Dredd committing argumentum ad verecundiam?

81. 83 Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Kinda, Bron. His error is a little more subtle than that and akin to what David does when he plays at lawyer. He often appeals to the right kind of authority but very often gets what they are saying wrong and/or out of context.

82. 84 Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Dredd: So why are you worried about the asteroids, and why did you say upthread “Humanity is collectively mentally ill, so focused upon immediate rewards that we don’t care if it kills us to get them.”

A drug addict is not suicidal, Dredd. They want something so bad they ignore risks and long term consequences, but that does not make them suicidal, just sort of unconcerned with their fate beyond their next fix.

To me, that is a form of mental illness, it is irrationality to the point of endangering one’s self and endangering others. Don’t misunderstand: Irrationality is okay in my book, but in its extremes it stops being okay and starts being dangerous.

That is why I say Humanity is mentally ill, because it acts irrationally to the point of endangering itself.

That does not mean Humanity is suicidal. And it is not some form of “intelligence” that is causing the danger, it is some form of stupidity, ignorance, addiction, greed, or a dangerous rejection of responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.

83. 1, September 22, 2013 at 8:10 am

In my first comment I mentioned a post that quotes from:

A massive star a million times brighter than our sun exploded way too early in its life, suggesting scientists don’t understand stellar evolution as well as they thought.

This might mean that we are fundamentally wrong about the evolution of massive stars, and that theories need revising,” said Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

According to theory, the doomed star, about 100 times our sun’s mass, was not mature enough to have evolved a massive iron core of nuclear fusion ash, considered a prerequisite for a core implosion that triggers the sort of supernova blast that was seen.

(Star Explodes, and So Might Theory, emphasis added). Even if the theory is revised and subsequently applies to the Sun, still the greater danger to the current civilization is not the Sun evaporating the Earth.

Civilization currently is the main danger to itself.

84. 86 Tony C. 1, September 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

Dredd: There are alternative explanations to that story, I am sure.

For one, they could have under-estimated the age of the star, which is possible since I believe those are found by inference, not direct evidence.

Secondly, “core implosion” is caused by sudden gravitational collapse of the star core. Well if black holes are scattered throughout the universe and can collide with each other (the central premise of most gravitational wave experiments in physics), then it is far more likely for a black hole to collide with an existing star; and a black hole falling into the star could plausibly cause a sudden gravitational collapse that I think would probably also cause a supernova. Although such a thing should be rare, it cannot be ruled out, and this event is hardly the evidence needed to kill a Theory that explains nearly perfectly the synthesis and statistical distribution of the different kinds of atoms we see throughout the universe.

85. 87 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

As usual, Dredd, you’re not really understanding what you are reading.

Luminous Blue Variables are an extremely rare type of star. First, they are hypergiants. The rule is the larger the star, the faster they burn. Second, they are variable stars. Although we don’t fully understand the helioseismology of LBVs, we do understand the helioseismology of some types of variable stars (like Cepheids) and more common stars like G, K and M stars fairly well. Well enough to know that whatever is causing the erratic behavior of LBVs (unless it’s a transient black hole as Tony suggests), that it is subject to mechanics that simply don’t apply to our much less massive sun. We know that in the entire spectrum of possible stellar forms, that our G2V star is fairly stable (although it like all stars has a resonant frequency) and that this is a good thing for the development of complex life. Any scenario where our sun would collapse prematurely is the ultimate black swan event. Barring something really crazy happening like a transient black hole, our sun will grow old, turn into a red giant (at which time the inner planets, including Earth, will be consumed), shed the bulk of its mass into a planetary nebula, collapse into a white dwarf and then eventually burn out to the totally dead cinder that is a black dwarf. Stars like ours simply don’t go out with a bang as a normal course of event, but with a whimper.

We understand stellar evolution fairly well. Just because we don’t understand every type of star’s processes doesn’t mean that we don’t understand most stellar processes. Is that knowledge perfect yet? No. But it’s pretty damn good. It’s a big universe and there is a lot of really strange stuff out there, but our sun is about as pedestrian as it gets without being a red dwarf.

86. 1, September 22, 2013 at 10:24 am

Word Press censors just got back from church evidently. They are righteously indignant and in hyper-censorship mode evidently.

87. 1, September 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

As usual, Dredd, you’re not really understanding what you are reading.

==============================
Actually you don’t understand what I am writing as usual.

I wrote:

Even if the theory is revised and subsequently applies to the Sun, still the greater danger to the current civilization is not the Sun evaporating the Earth.

Civilization currently is the main danger to itself.

Two things would have to happen, the theory is revised and it subsequently applies to the Sun.

Conditional.

The point was that civilization would still be a greater danger to itself than the Sun in any case.

88. 90 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

I understand what the word “if” means, Dredd.

I also understand when you’re talking from your nether regions.

There is no way a revision to our understanding of stellar evolution ends up with a result like SN 2005gl for our sun.

None.

Simply not enough mass for one thing.

You’d know that if you actually understood the subject.

A frog might not bump its butt when it jumps if it had wings.

That doesn’t make it an aviator.

89. 1, September 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

Gene H,

You are avoiding reality again. Off in the Gene land of straw men imaginations, talking about something only you brought up.

Mysteriously off base.

Like the Sun:

Almost every measure of solar activity flatlined over the weekend. The event, though not unprecedented, is odd considering that our local star has just passed what is supposed to be the peak of its solar cycle, when activity is at its highest.

“Quite frankly, we’re not very good at solar cycle predictions,” said Rutledge.

This weekend’s low activity is within the variation that the sun normally experiences and scientists don’t really know what its underlying cause might be.

(Sun Mysteriously Goes All Quiet Just When Its Activity Should Be Highest). They need you Gene, so, get over and educate them about stuff and things.

90. 1, September 22, 2013 at 11:22 am

Word Press censors evidently just got back from church.

They are evidently righteously indignant and in hyper-censorship mode.

91. 93 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 11:57 am

That’s right, Dredd. When it’s being shown you have no idea what you are talking about, change the subject. Solar weather prediction and understanding stellar evolution are two different things, dingus.

92. 94 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

I used to tutor astronomy at the college level. I can make you look like a fool all day. It’s pretty easy. Especially since you do all the hard work yourself.

93. 1, September 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

The ghost of Betelgeuse:

This is the first direct image of a star other than the Sun, made with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Called Alpha Orionis, or Betelgeuse, it is a red supergiant star marking the shoulder of the winter constellation Orion the Hunter (diagram at right).

The Hubble image reveals a huge ultraviolet atmosphere with a mysterious hot spot on the stellar behemoth’s surface. The enormous bright spot, more than ten times the diameter of Earth, is at least 2,000 Kelvin degrees hotter than the surface of the star.

The image suggests that a totally new physical phenomenon may be affecting the atmospheres of some stars. Follow-up observations will be needed to help astronomers understand whether the spot is linked to oscillations previously detected in the giant star, or whether it moves systematically across the star’s surface under the grip of powerful magnetic fields.

(Betelgeuse). Who ya gonna call, ghost busters!

Bust em Gene.

94. 1, September 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Red Dwarfs are calling Gene:

One mystery which has not been solved as of 2007 is the absence of red dwarf stars with no metals. (In astronomy, a metal is any element heavier than hydrogen or helium). The Big Bang model predicts the first generation of stars should have only hydrogen, helium, and trace amounts of lithium. If such stars included red dwarfs, they should still be observable today, but none have yet been identified. The preferred explanation is that without heavy elements only large and not yet observed population III stars can form, and these rapidly burn out leaving heavy elements which then allow for the formation of red dwarfs. Alternative explanations, such as that zero-metal red dwarfs are dim and could be few in number, are considered much less likely as they seem to conflict with stellar evolution models.

(Red Dwarf Mystery). Gene, you should not have stayed on the fringe.

They need you Tutor Man.

All these mysteries out there in abiotic evolution land, and you spend your time here with The Monkey Man talking about genetics.

What a waste of enlightenment.

95. 1, September 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

I used to tutor astronomy at the college level

===================
Not hard to figure out why you don’t anymore.

96. 1, September 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Gene,

They don’t know how stars work when mysteries show up, they only know how they evolved.

So get over there and ‘splain all that stuff and things to ‘em.

Be sure to take your whip and leather thingy …

97. 1, September 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Which means what exactly other than they are famous?

Absolutely squat, Dredd.

===========================
They are famous because they deserve to be and you are not famous because you deserve not to be.

That is how evolution works thru Genes.

98. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

… the most intelligent species is not (absent intelligence) the fastest, quickest, best defended, most lethal or anything else; absent intelligence we are essentially prey animals.

But with intelligence, we dominate the planet and all other species;

=========================
–end of part one–

99. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm

That assumes intelligence is the key to another key: domination.

But that would mean the dinosaurs were intelligent since they dominated.

Until the asteroid wiped them out … which brings up the asteroid again … which you also mentioned.

You also said we don’t need nature, which includes microbes.
–end of part two–

100. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

But that would cut off 98% of the genetic material at work in us, very little of which is human:

… some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes … 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial … exchanging messages with genes inside human cells … microbes cohabitating our body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, making us actually “superorganisms” that use our own genetic repertoire as well as those of our microbial symbionts … We just happen to look human because our human cells are much larger than bacterial cells … no matter how you look at it, it’s high time we acknowledge that part of being human is being microbial …

Microbes may indeed be subtly changing our brain early on — and for what purposes we cannot yet say … the mere fact that microorganisms can shape our minds brings up many more questions about how humans develop their identity … these findings call for a complete re-examination of human physiology and immunology. Attributes that were assumed to be human traits have been shown to result from human–microbe interactions.

Some would say that genomics has been able to distil some humility into humankind. The finalised version of the human genome deprived us of the illusion that we are one of the most complex creatures on Earth — an illusion that was at the basis of some guesses that Homo sapiens was expected to have at least 100,000 genes. When we look at a table of genomes by species, and specifically at the number of genes that have been counted or estimated for each species, we notice that humans are surpassed by several plants and invertebrates.

(The Human Microbiome Congress). Some of the greatest scientific accomplishments (e.g. human genome project) which the “finalised version of the human genome deprived us of the illusion that we are one of the most complex creatures on Earth”.
–end of part three–

101. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

That statement “the illusion” is telling.

The attitude that we it all with our exclusively evolved talents is questionable, fringe stuff isn’t it?
–end of part four–

102. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Now we know which part of my comment the Word Press Priests do not like.

As I said repeatedly above:

Word Press censors evidently just got back from church.

They are evidently righteously indignant and in hyper-censorship mode.

They do not like part three.

103. 105 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

You sure talk a lot when you’re not saying anything.

104. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Why are you censoring part three Genie?

105. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Cut my comment loose and delete parts 1, 2, and 4.

I will say noting if you stop saying nothing so much.

106. 108 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Nope. I’m just not interesting in logging in just to retrieve more of you inane babble that totally avoids the fact that an explosive ending is simply not in the cards for the sun and only someone ignorant about the basics of physics and astrophysics would think it was a possibility.

But you go ahead and ramble on about another topic you don’t understand.

It’s funny.

107. 109 Tony C. 1, September 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Dredd says: They are famous because they deserve to be

Fame is luck, and only loosely correlated with being “deserved.” Paris Hilton is famous, does she ‘deserve’ it? She did nothing for it, she isn’t beautiful, she isn’t talented, she doesn’t even have decent taste. She was born rich because her great grandfather DID deserve to be famous, for being the founder of a stellar Hotel brand and chain.

As PBS showed recently (The Secret Life of Evolution), Alfred Wallace independently discovered both Evolution and coined the phrase “The Fittest Survive” before he even knew Darwin was working in the same area; and Wallace was the originator of the metaphor of a “Tree of Life” with species branching out. Wallace discovered over 5000 species, originated the Wallace Line, and Darwin first published his theory as the Darwin-Wallace Theory of Evolution; yet Wallace has been nearly forgotten. He “deserves” to be famous, even Darwin thought so, but is not.

Fame is a result of capturing people’s imagination and / or attention. In science, fame is a usually the result of solving a tough or ground-breaking problem, or originating a new view of an existing problem (like Bohr’s atom, or Wegener’s Continental Drift), which captures (eventually) the attention of scientists and sometimes laymen.

But Fame does not confer infallibility. Einstein was fantastically famous, and Einstein totally wasted the last twenty years of his career on a hopeless quest, because he was wrong about particle physics and he stubbornly refused to abandon the dead end rabbit hole of research he insisted upon pursuing because of his distaste for Quantum Mechanics, the most successful theory of atomic matter ever devised.

Even if Fame was deserved for solving one problem or succeeding at one task, one should not allow that to lessen the barrier of examination of future claims or statements. Just as illogical as ad hominem attack is ad hominem support.

People are fallible. Particularly scientists speaking in conversation or off the top of their head: It is not uncommon in my field for a paper to go through a dozen drafts, one of ours went through thirty drafts before publication and three rounds of peer review (not three reviewers, three rounds of three reviewers each). That level of scrutiny is not applied to conversation, or even well considered commentary or summary, and you should take all such commentary or summary with a few grains of salt.

108. 110 Tony C. 1, September 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Dredd: But that would mean the dinosaurs were intelligent since they dominated.

No they didn’t. They spread across the planet, they did not control it, they did not control other species. They did not dominate, they hunted for whatever they ate and survived, if nature did not provide it they did not survive. Domination, as I use the term, is control: We control animals, any animals we care to control, and we largely control nature. Not weather; so we are still primitives in that sense, but neither Rome nor New York City is “natural.”

Dredd says: You also said we don’t need nature, which includes microbes.

You misinterpret on purpose, I suspect. Atoms are a part of nature too, I obviously do not think we could survive with them, either. So you draw the line at a ludicrous point.

Unlike wild plants and animals, we do not have to rely upon natural systems to grow our food, provide us water, or keep us clothed or warm (or cool) or dry. A jungle tiger abandoned in an empty desert would likely die, when an intelligent person with her wits about her could very well survive. Not because she is stronger than the tiger, or faster, but because she is smarter, and can manipulate and control nature and natural systems in ways the tiger is incapable of understanding. She can dominate her environment in a circumstance where the tiger can only be subordinate to it.

109. 111 Tony C. 1, September 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

oops: survive without them [atoms]. My typo.

110. 112 Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Tony,

Wallace was the man.

111. 113 Tony C. 1, September 23, 2013 at 7:52 am

Gene: Yes indeed. I am quite “credit where credit is due” sensitive myself, and although I knew Wallace was working on parallel arguments at the same time as Darwin, I mistakenly thought they were more minor contributions than they actually were. After watching that show and learning some of the details of the letters and interactions and the contents of Wallace’s notebooks, I think I was wrong; some of Wallace’s ideas are central to the theory, in particular his geographic explanation of the Wallace Line involving the evidence of prehistoric sea levels; that was genius.

I do suspect it is true Darwin thought of the Natural Selection idea first and deserves name priority, but Wallace contributed essential innovations and I think I need to train myself to call it by its original name: The Darwin-Wallace Theory of Evolution. Credit where credit is due.

112. 114 lottakatz 1, September 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Hurricanes and tornadoes and monsoons, oh my! Does anybody remember John Varley’s “Heavy Weather”? You don’t have to make up names for category 5+ tornadoes, there is already a name for a storm that large, large enough to be a permanent or semi-permanent weather artifact with which the earth, or physics, attempts to equalize or moderate global heat energy: The Great Red Spot. Read the book. Now, 20 years later and mindful of global warming it’s even more entertaining than when I first read it.

113. 1, September 24, 2013 at 9:07 am

Tony C. 1, September 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Dredd: But that would mean the dinosaurs were intelligent since they dominated.

No they didn’t. They spread across the planet, they did not control it, they did not control other species. They did not dominate, they hunted for whatever they ate and survived, if nature did not provide it they did not survive. Domination, as I use the term, is control: We control animals, any animals we care to control, and we largely control nature.

================================
Dream on with that magic thinking.

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, 231.4 million years ago, and were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years, from the beginning of the Jurassic (about 201 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (66 million years ago),” (Wikipedia)

Now, researchers have uncovered details on how this extraordinary diversity evolved so ancient crocodilians could survive in a world dominated by dinosaurs.” (Live Science).

Dinosaurs constitute one of the most successful groups of terrestrial vertebrate animals ever to inhabit the Earth. For over 160 million years in the Mesozoic Era, large dinosaurs dominated every terrestrial niche, appearing during the later part of the Triassic, flourishing through the Jurassic, and surviving until the very end of the Cretaceous.” (Natural History Museum).

They need your tutoring Tony C. They are starving for dominating enlightenment.

114. 116 Tony C. 1, September 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

Dredd: Apparently you need tutoring in English, Dredd.

Three definitions of dominate:
1) To govern, rule or control by superior authority or power
2) To exert an overwhelming guiding influence over something or someone
3) To enjoy a commanding position in some field

As I said, I used “dominate” in the sense of control, over nature, and the dinosaurs did not “dominate” the Earth in that sense. The word “dominant” is not the same as the word “dominate.” As used in your quote, it means predominant, common, or prevalent. That is also the sense in which “dominated a niche” is used; it means they were found in every niche. Not that they controlled nature.

They did not “rule” nature, or the world, or guide it, or anything else. They just existed. They did not “dominate” nature.

115. 1, September 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

Tony C. 1, September 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

Dredd: Apparently you need tutoring in English, Dredd.

Three definitions of dominate:

==================================
You can have as many as you like there in Tony Cyence heaven, with your whips and leather.

But I always go with experts:

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, 231.4 million years ago, and were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years, from the beginning of the Jurassic (about 201 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (66 million years ago),” (Wikipedia)

“Now, researchers have uncovered details on how this extraordinary diversity evolved so ancient crocodilians could survive in a world dominated by dinosaurs.” (Live Science).

Dinosaurs constitute one of the most successful groups of terrestrial vertebrate animals ever to inhabit the Earth. For over 160 million years in the Mesozoic Era, large dinosaurs dominated every terrestrial niche, appearing during the later part of the Triassic, flourishing through the Jurassic, and surviving until the very end of the Cretaceous.” (Natural History Museum).

116. 118 Tony C. 1, September 25, 2013 at 10:03 am

Dredd: Apparently not, since the dictionary authors are obviously experts. You only go with experts that agree with you, which is not accepting their expertise, it is just falsely justifying your own mistaken preconceptions by cherry-picking a few quotes that make the same mistake as you. It is incompetent egoism, no wonder you can’t ever get anything right.

117. 119 Gene H. 1, September 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

It’s also confirmation bias writ large. Just sayin’.

VOTE HERE FOR TOP NEWS ANALYSIS BLOG