Friday, January 30, 2009

Global Warming Confusion

In the midst of a dim economy, not much emphasis has been put on climate. But as we enter 2009 the fight is back on. And as you skim through the following articles, it is no wonder there is so much confusion. People tend to be on one side or the other, but probably not for careful evaluation of the facts. More by listening to what the talking heads recite.

Much of that content contains the message : It's our fault. The problems with this issue is complex and far reaching. The impacts, economically, are significant enough to warrant desire for a certain conclusion. So this is problematic and is illustrated by several links. The global warming issue has become a political issue. A media issue. A societal issue. But what it needs to be is a scientific issue. Global warming is about science, and people of the Earth deserve to know what SCIENCE has to say about it, regardless of outcome.

I certainly understand that science isn't really "consensus" in its nature. There is always, and always should, an alternative theory. But we need to know what is happenning. Is CO2 really a major driver of climate or, more importantly, can it become a major driver?? Is this the outcome of solar activity?? Is the result of being stuck in an ever changing interglacial?? The result of planet orbit variances?? How much are humans accountable for and responsible for??

If we are responsible, then we need to know and act. If we are not responsible, then we need to know as well. We still need to develop new technologies. New ways to master resources provided to us. We still have the need to progress at the rate we are now progressing. This cannot be limited by global conditions. If we are ever to achieve Kaku's Type 1 civilization, then must be prepared to adapt. Last I checked, an ice age was approaching fast, geologically speaking at least. I wonder if we have thought of creative ways to heat the world should we encounter the opposite effect of global warming??

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mars and Methane

NASA had a big discussion today in front of the whole world. And you will definitely find much hoopla surrounding it in the near future. It seems that they have found methane on the planet. And this is a big deal because it means Mars is active, probably either geologically or biologically.

And this brings us to a few possibilities as far as what is causing it. It may be volcanic activity where water and rock chemical reactions cause methane to seep out. It may be biological. There is also the possibility that it has been generated externally. By this I mean the methane could have been locked up in water and is now creeping out into the atmosphere. This seems to be the least likely of the three, but still it is a possibility.
Further testing needs to be done to verify what the source is. And while the scientists refrained somewhat from giddiness, there were hints that they were quite excited. They should be. Whether life exists or not on the red planet, they have done some solid research and concluded that Mars holds some surprises. Maybe some big ones.

As I've been saying, the evidence buildup on Mars is continuing. I won't go so far to say that there undoubtedly IS life there, but we are seeing more and more clues to this possibility. I'll try to restrain my enthusiasm, but it is difficult because I live in a time where the potential to find life outside of our planet is quite possible.

The question remains, is it there?? But we'll find out relatively soon. Most likely within the next 10-15 years I am guessing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Could we Find our Own Planet??

Lets roundup all of our technology used to detect exoplanets. Lets also pack all of our know-how as well. Lets even hypothetically take what we might develop in the foreseeable future.

Now, .... lets start a journey away from our planet. Imagine a GoogleEarth flyaway. I would think we could readily identify that our planet contains organic life from, say, Mars. So lets travel further. To Jupiter, to Saturn, to the planet exiled Pluto. Into the Kuiper Belt. How far can we get into space before Earth is no longer distinguishable as having life?? When does the signal for organic life become undetectable by our current technologies of science??

If we are to determine the presence of life on other distant planets, we only have one we can use as a model: Earth. And to identify such planets as Earthlike, containing life, we must be patient. We must let both our knowledge and technology ratchet up several notches. Maybe scores of notches, considering we may have to look deeply into space to find such ones. Either way, at least scientists are beginning to look at this question. If something Earthlike is close we will have to wait less. Is there another pale blue dot out there waiting to be found??