Brugle on November 12, 2009, 10:16:22 am
So.  What does everyone say?  Burn the heretic?  Or make him wear a funny hat?

What if he already wears a funny hat?

I don't like hats, but if that's the rule on this site...

quadibloc on November 12, 2009, 07:39:19 pm
So.  What does everyone say?  Burn the heretic?  Or make him wear a funny hat?

I'm not trying to hurt another person because he takes seriously a scientific theory that I suspect (based only on general rules of judging credibility, not studying the specific issue itself) is unsound.

My goal isn't to hurt, shame, or ridicule someone else. I'm trying, instead, to provide the "heretic", and anyone else who would benefit, with some common-sense knowledge of what to look out for so as not to get fooled.

Sean Roach on November 12, 2009, 08:46:40 pm
I was just saying the argument was getting increasingly religious.

quadibloc on November 12, 2009, 11:12:39 pm
Anyways, i think it's sort of cute that Reggie has apparently discovered a greenhouse gas (I presume, to help warm and terraform Mars) that is also hallucinogenic.

Sean Roach on November 12, 2009, 11:18:30 pm
I was thinking it was a source of carbon to be exploited.

Azure Priest on November 13, 2009, 07:33:39 am
Mars does indeed have Carbon Dioxide and Methane ICE at the poles. There is also strong evidence large current or previously existent sources of water and water ice. Any attempt at colonization of Mars must be careful not to unleash microscopic life forms (bacteria, fungi, etc) that were merely dormant and not DEAD and to which the settlers are not likely to have resistance or immunity.

GeoModder on November 13, 2009, 08:59:00 am
Let's not confuse EU theory with Velikovsky's ideas.  While many EU scientists appreciate Velikovsky, I'm pretty sure that they consider much of what he proposed to be wrong.  (Similarly, psychologists who reject Freud's specific theories can appreciate Freud.)  The idea that Venus came from Jupiter in historical times is from Velikovsky and is not part of any EU theory that I know.

Appearantly I mixed the two. Sorry 'bout that.

Any attempt at colonization of Mars must be careful not to unleash microscopic life forms (bacteria, fungi, etc) that were merely dormant and not DEAD and to which the settlers are not likely to have resistance or immunity.

Then this lifeform must first be compatible with terrestrial life (in this case humans).
« Last Edit: November 13, 2009, 09:01:22 am by GeoModder »

Sean Roach on November 13, 2009, 09:08:09 am
Except.  I'm completely immune, (or believe myself to be), to rust, soft rot, and potato blight.
Unless those organisms developed for attacking multi-celled animals, any discoverers are likely safe.
Emphasis on likely.

Sean Roach on November 13, 2009, 09:11:00 am
Huh.  On the terraforming angle...
What about feeding that methane to the bugs, to jumpstart terraforming?
Perhaps he's talking about causing an outbreak of background bacteria to process the soil and thicken the atmosphere?

ObscureDragom on November 13, 2009, 12:31:35 pm
Burning Methane produces carbon dioxide,  doesn't it?  Something that can darken the sky and hold heat as well as provide a tasty treat for plant life?

Azure Priest on November 16, 2009, 07:36:04 am
Let's not confuse EU theory with Velikovsky's ideas.  While many EU scientists appreciate Velikovsky, I'm pretty sure that they consider much of what he proposed to be wrong.  (Similarly, psychologists who reject Freud's specific theories can appreciate Freud.)  The idea that Venus came from Jupiter in historical times is from Velikovsky and is not part of any EU theory that I know.

Appearantly I mixed the two. Sorry 'bout that.

Any attempt at colonization of Mars must be careful not to unleash microscopic life forms (bacteria, fungi, etc) that were merely dormant and not DEAD and to which the settlers are not likely to have resistance or immunity.

Then this lifeform must first be compatible with terrestrial life (in this case humans).

Bacteria and fungi don't have to be "compatible" with anything. They grow wherever they find something they "like." Even in the most inhospitable environments, microscopic organisms have been found. The only constants noted are water (humans are mostly water) and something that can be metabolized. The human body has PLENTY that can be metabolized. A particular example are the spores for ANTRHAX. Spores for this pathogen have been found buried for decades, but once exposed to water and a growing medium become infectious.

The human body is under CONSTANT attack by bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. The reason we are not all extinct is that our immune system recognizes the intruders and can mount a defense, exterminating the intruder before any damage is done. If a martian fungal spore is brought out of dormancy and infects a human, that human's immune system would not recognize the intruder, would not know how to mount a defense and that human could die.

quadibloc on November 16, 2009, 08:24:20 am
If a martian fungal spore is brought out of dormancy and infects a human, that human's immune system would not recognize the intruder, would not know how to mount a defense and that human could die.

Indeed.

It is true that many Earthly disease organisms have evolved complex relationships with their hosts. One would not expect it to be possible for a human to be infected by Martian malaria or measles - or AIDS. But when it comes to Martian mold or mildew, though, such a more complex microorganism (one unlikely to have already been brought to Earth by surviving a passage on a meteorite) could just view a human being as a big pile of sugars.

So, while the risk is very low, I take issue with Robert Zubrin's claim that the risk of back contamination from Mars is essentially nonexistent.

GeoModder on November 16, 2009, 09:19:55 am
Bacteria and fungi don't have to be "compatible" with anything. They grow wherever they find something they "like." Even in the most inhospitable environments, microscopic organisms have been found. The only constants noted are water (humans are mostly water) and something that can be metabolized. The human body has PLENTY that can be metabolized. A particular example are the spores for ANTRHAX. Spores for this pathogen have been found buried for decades, but once exposed to water and a growing medium become infectious.

Different planet, different circumstances. For all we know the water this hypothetical martian fungi is used to is a tad too different from the water terrestrial life contains to be used as breeding ground. Not to mention all the other "hosts" terrestrial life already carries that is in some way potentially lethal for an alien (martian) intruder. This infection stuff goes both ways.

The human body is under CONSTANT attack by bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. The reason we are not all extinct is that our immune system recognizes the intruders and can mount a defense, exterminating the intruder before any damage is done. If a martian fungal spore is brought out of dormancy and infects a human, that human's immune system would not recognize the intruder, would not know how to mount a defense and that human could die.

In most cases the tiny buggers ignore humans because we're not a "privileged" host (yet). It's only once a mutation finds something appetizing in us they become dangerous.
I suppose the heisa around this Mexian flu is a good example: it's lethal in some cases/circumstances to us, but it's also a bug that took its sweet time before predating on humans if you look who is the original host of it, and how long humanity has lived with the original host.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 03:12:49 pm by GeoModder »

Azure Priest on November 17, 2009, 07:42:02 am

Bacteria and fungi don't have to be "compatible" with anything. They grow wherever they find something they "like." Even in the most inhospitable environments, microscopic organisms have been found. The only constants noted are water (humans are mostly water) and something that can be metabolized. The human body has PLENTY that can be metabolized. A particular example are the spores for ANTRHAX. Spores for this pathogen have been found buried for decades, but once exposed to water and a growing medium become infectious.
Different planet, different circumstances. For all we know the water this hypothetical martian fungi is used to is a tad too different from the water terrestrial life contains to be used as breeding ground. Not to mention all the other "hosts" terrestrial life already carries that is in some way potentially lethal for an alien (martian) intruder. This infection stuff goes both ways.

By what mechanism are you differentiating water? Water is UNIVERSALLY (H2O), ergo Mars water is the same as Earth water. The defining factor is a pathogen's virility ie how fast it multiplies or spreads. Something like say, the common cold, multiplies very slowly, and so the immune system can adapt to it. Something like EBOLA, multiplies AND spreads far too quickly for the immune system to react unless there's already some form of natural immunity. Further have you no knowledge of history? There are numerous accounts of populations bringing their native bacterial, fungal, viral parasites. Infections to which they were resistant, into a new environment and those infections react to something they "like" in the new place and wreck havok! There are also numerous occurrences of populations going to an "alien" environment and being decimated by something to which they had no resistance. Granted, it wasn't going to another planet, but the principle remains the same. In order for your "incompatible" premise to work, it would have to be something completely para-natural in origin.


GeoModder on November 17, 2009, 09:49:25 am
By what mechanism are you differentiating water?

I'm talking trace elements. 'Natural' water on Earth supposedly has a different chemistry solvation (sp?) then 'natural' water on Mars. We are used on the fact that about all harmful bacteria and viruses on Earth can use the same 'kind' of water. But does that necessarily mean the same counts on another celestial body?

Water is UNIVERSALLY (H2O), ergo Mars water is the same as Earth water. The defining factor is a pathogen's virility ie how fast it multiplies or spreads. Something like say, the common cold, multiplies very slowly, and so the immune system can adapt to it. Something like EBOLA, multiplies AND spreads far too quickly for the immune system to react unless there's already some form of natural immunity. Further have you no knowledge of history? There are numerous accounts of populations bringing their native bacterial, fungal, viral parasites. Infections to which they were resistant, into a new environment and those infections react to something they "like" in the new place and wreck havok! There are also numerous occurrences of populations going to an "alien" environment and being decimated by something to which they had no resistance. Granted, it wasn't going to another planet, but the principle remains the same. In order for your "incompatible" premise to work, it would have to be something completely para-natural in origin.

I've read enough on history to know that a number of plagues occured, thank you very much. You could also wonder why not EVERY single bacteria/virus unknown to a distant human population becomes lethal once contact is somehow made. And there are numerous of those basically harmless ones. Even basic life like bacteria and viruses needs to adapt in order to cross this border to a new type of contact so to speak. In the case of the most virulent plagues like Ebola or the Pest there seems to be something in common with the prime plague carrier. In the former supposedly apes/monkeys which share about 98+% of their genetic material with humans (if that is the border these needs to cross). In the case of the Pest it was easier since this disease already feasted upon humans from another population.
Therefore I maintain that a single alien bacteria or virus dormant species isn't necesarily lethal to any human it encounters by chance.

 

anything