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Blowing up the Earth

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#1 CygnuS

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 06:43 PM

If you gave a bunch of kids small firecrackers and didn't supervise them and everything went fine and then the next day gave them bigger firecrackers and everything went fine and then continued to do that....eventually something would go wrong. 

I just finished Lab-made Stars in the October Sky&T about a lab in New Mexico and lately we've been talking about CERN here at CN. Although some folks are worried about things like this I'm not since I am reasonably trusting of scientists. However, I do wonder where this will all go. Thiings do go wrong when we get too confident. At 59 years old I doubt I'll ever die from a scientific experiment gone wrong but lately I wonder about what these experiments will be like 50 or 100 years from now. Could a decimal point in the wrong place end it all? 


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#2 CharlesC

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 07:25 PM

Castle Bravo test was a miscalculation.  Twice the nuclear explosion than they expected.  Nearly killed the scientists.

I'm far more worried about the politicians than the scientists.


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#3 Jim Waters

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 07:39 PM

Its the politicians that will end up killing us.


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#4 jaraxx

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 07:47 PM

I think we're doing a great job of killing ourselves.



#5 Migwan

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 08:24 PM

Who's afraid of a little ol' star?  I know, let's make a singularity.   Seriously, my money is on a population explosion.      jd


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#6 ColoHank

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 08:50 AM

Who's afraid of a little ol' star?  I know, let's make a singularity.   Seriously, my money is on a population explosion.      jd

...and pathogens.



#7 llanitedave

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 09:14 AM

"This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper."

 

-- T.S. Eliot



#8 mich_al

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 10:42 AM

"This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper."

 

-- T.S. Eliot

and I'm hearing a faint sound off in the distance.



#9 Mister T

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 11:02 AM

Science Denial will be our end...


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#10 mich_al

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 11:48 AM

Science Denial will be our end...

Kinda like when the 'suits' ignored the engineers during the first space shuttle 'incident'?



#11 sg6

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 12:39 PM

Ever had the idea that as it is only gravity that at present seems to allow fusion, then at some time some one will produce a mini-black hole and convince everyone that they can manage it.

 

One error, it starts eating the earth.

 

Might be a reason for no other intelligences around, could all have gone down the fusion+black hole path and disappeared.



#12 EJN

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 03:09 PM

Ever had the idea that as it is only gravity that at present seems to allow fusion...

Where did you get the idea that only gravity allows fusion?

Thermonuclear weapons function by the fusion fuel (lithium deuteride) being compressed and heated by the hydrodynamic and radiation pressure of a fission bomb "trigger."

Edited by EJN, 29 August 2019 - 03:12 PM.


#13 CygnuS

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 11:31 PM

Its the politicians that will end up killing us.

They're not smart enough to create future complex scientific experiments that could go catastrophically wrong.



#14 CygnuS

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 11:38 PM

Science Denial will be our end...

Science deniers aren't that smart so I'm not too worried about them. It will take an entire team of smart people to blow the Earth up in the future. 100 years from those smart scientists will look back at CERN and laugh at its simplicity and limitations.


Edited by CygnuS, 29 August 2019 - 11:41 PM.


#15 BillP

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 04:31 PM

At 59 years old I doubt I'll ever die from a scientific experiment gone wrong but lately I wonder about what these experiments will be like 50 or 100 years from now. Could a decimal point in the wrong place end it all? 

 

I quite agree with the notion.  Science keeps playing with deeper and deeper mysteries, while human beings, scientists not an exception at all, do not advance at all in their thinking.  So I think very much likely that if an asteroid or similar does not due the planet in, then will very much be from some something that science uncovered and the ego-seeking profit-thinking stature-thinking individuals known as scientists released into the world.  I don't think it will be any big boom though, bust something subtle that has huge unexpected consequences that are not resolvable.  So more likely will be a slow and agonizing end.  It's never the obvious that does you in, but always the unexpected lol.gif


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#16 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:26 AM

I quite agree with the notion.  Science keeps playing with deeper and deeper mysteries, while human beings, scientists not an exception at all, do not advance at all in their thinking.  So I think very much likely that if an asteroid or similar does not due the planet in, then will very much be from some something that science uncovered and the ego-seeking profit-thinking stature-thinking individuals known as scientists released into the world.  I don't think it will be any big boom though, bust something subtle that has huge unexpected consequences that are not resolvable.  So more likely will be a slow and agonizing end.  It's never the obvious that does you in, but always the unexpected lol.gif

The clock’s already ticking! lol.gif



#17 llanitedave

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 09:13 AM

So, astronomers in this thread want all exploration and discovery to cease, freeze technology as it is-- or better yet, throw away what we've already got, turn our backs on all progress, and forget that we ever knew how to brush our teeth.

 

 

Got it.


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#18 xiando

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 10:12 AM

I quite agree with the notion.  Science keeps playing with deeper and deeper mysteries, while human beings, scientists not an exception at all, do not advance at all in their thinking.  So I think very much likely that if an asteroid or similar does not due the planet in, then will very much be from some something that science uncovered and the ego-seeking profit-thinking stature-thinking individuals known as scientists released into the world.  I don't think it will be any big boom though, bust something subtle that has huge unexpected consequences that are not resolvable.  So more likely will be a slow and agonizing end.  It's never the obvious that does you in, but always the unexpected lol.gif

Like actively encouraging western nations to self-sterilize to "save the world from over population... right left hand to the heart-ah!", and then discovering 50 years later that it was too effective? And that no one else was buying into the idea and subsequently more than doubled the world population during the intervening years ?lol.gif


Edited by xiando, 12 September 2019 - 10:15 AM.


#19 EJN

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 10:14 AM

So, astronomers in this thread want all exploration and discovery to cease, freeze technology as it is-- or better yet, throw away what we've already got, turn our backs on all progress, and forget that we ever knew how to brush our teeth.


Got it.



Yeah, I guess I missed the announcement that this became the anti-science forum.
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#20 BillP

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 06:18 PM

Yeah, I guess I missed the announcement that this became the anti-science forum.

 

Not anti-science, just anti-unbridled-science.  I get the feeling that science-touters like to think that there should be no limits or bounds on what they explore, investigate, and discover.  And they also seem to dislike diversity of opinion (i.e., disagreement from any that argue limitation for any reason).  So freedom-to-pursue-without-bounds seems to be the preferred motto.  If there is going to be no bridling of what is and is not appropriate to investigate and/or release, from societal or ethical perspectives of that society, then basically touting unmanaged and self-managed approaches - the quintessential of bad ideas. 

 

Science and scientific inquiry is a good thing when it is managed at the society-level, when it is determined that the potential gains will be of real benefit to the society and in a realm where the society has a distinct and immediate need, when the public funds used cannot be better used on more critical needs elsewhere.  Remember, even in "free" societies like the United States and others, the freedom is not unbridled.  Why there exists a Constitution and the body of U.S. Code.


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#21 City Kid

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:29 AM

 

 

Science and scientific inquiry is a good thing when it is managed at the society-level, when it is determined that the potential gains will be of real benefit to the society and in a realm where the society has a distinct and immediate need, when the public funds used cannot be better used on more critical needs elsewhere.  

That would be so much easier to agree with if we lived in an educated society. And your argument assumes that diverting funds from science would mean that they actually get  "used on more critical needs elsewhere". In theory I agree with what you're saying. In practice, not so much.


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#22 BillP

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 04:50 PM

In theory I agree with what you're saying. In practice, not so much.

 

I know what you mean.  Humans of all professions are so easily misguided by their own bias, egos, and desire for power and wealth.  But it is always good to have that "theory" of the proper way visible, if for nothing else but a reminder of how far me are missing the mark.  And as an example of how far we are missing that mark, next time some request for support for some esoteric scientific experiment comes up to determine some cosmological fact that has no real practical benefit to society, weigh that need against the fact that we have 1,360,000 homeless children in K through 12 school systems in the U.S (a trend that is increasing compared to last decade).  That's a staggering and thoroughly shameful statistic about our society.

 

Science needs to keep most of its focus for discovery downward to here on Earth and not into worthless cosmological pursuits like the origins of the cosmos.  Earth-Moon orbital operations and exploring our own solar system I can see as a priority if they are geared towards things we might leverage for our needs/improvement for societies here on Earth.  That and planetary defense from asteroids would be wise and fruitful space endeavors worthy of public funding.  All the pure science investigations, especially those for cosmological origins, should be relegated to private funding ONLY as they are basically throwing money away.

 

So given we do stupid stuff like this and ignore the important, yes very much believe humans will be the ultimate demise of the Earth!  We aren't smart enough to even take care of our children! 

 

Sorry for the harshness...it is just so frustrating sometimes and sad always.


Edited by BillP, 13 September 2019 - 04:51 PM.


#23 llanitedave

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:56 PM

I know what you mean.  Humans of all professions are so easily misguided by their own bias, egos, and desire for power and wealth.  But it is always good to have that "theory" of the proper way visible, if for nothing else but a reminder of how far me are missing the mark.  And as an example of how far we are missing that mark, next time some request for support for some esoteric scientific experiment comes up to determine some cosmological fact that has no real practical benefit to society, weigh that need against the fact that we have 1,360,000 homeless children in K through 12 school systems in the U.S (a trend that is increasing compared to last decade).  That's a staggering and thoroughly shameful statistic about our society.

 

Science needs to keep most of its focus for discovery downward to here on Earth and not into worthless cosmological pursuits like the origins of the cosmos.  Earth-Moon orbital operations and exploring our own solar system I can see as a priority if they are geared towards things we might leverage for our needs/improvement for societies here on Earth.  That and planetary defense from asteroids would be wise and fruitful space endeavors worthy of public funding.  All the pure science investigations, especially those for cosmological origins, should be relegated to private funding ONLY as they are basically throwing money away.

 

So given we do stupid stuff like this and ignore the important, yes very much believe humans will be the ultimate demise of the Earth!  We aren't smart enough to even take care of our children! 

 

Sorry for the harshness...it is just so frustrating sometimes and sad always.

Once again, though, and I've seen it so many times from so many people, you raise a false dichotomy.  Limiting the funds for scientific research is NOT going to improve K-12 education, nor will it improve homelessness.  Pursuing scientific research, even if it is "esoteric", will not make less wealth available to the poor.

 

Then there's this whole idea about what is "esoteric" in the first place.  If you will allow research only on subjects that you're confident will have an immediate practical benefit, then you've essentially cut out all science, everywhere.  What you want is engineering.

 

You mention planetary defense from asteroids, but you fail to see that the fact that we even understand the threat in the first place is because someone, somewhere, did "esoteric" research on distant, slowly moving points of light that had no real practical benefit to society.

 

You remind me very much of those who scoffed at man's early attempt to understand flight by studying birds.


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#24 DaveC2042

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 09:23 PM

Once again, though, and I've seen it so many times from so many people, you raise a false dichotomy. Limiting the funds for scientific research is NOT going to improve K-12 education, nor will it improve homelessness. Pursuing scientific research, even if it is "esoteric", will not make less wealth available to the poor.

Then there's this whole idea about what is "esoteric" in the first place. If you will allow research only on subjects that you're confident will have an immediate practical benefit, then you've essentially cut out all science, everywhere. What you want is engineering.

You mention planetary defense from asteroids, but you fail to see that the fact that we even understand the threat in the first place is because someone, somewhere, did "esoteric" research on distant, slowly moving points of light that had no real practical benefit to society.

You remind me very much of those who scoffed at man's early attempt to understand flight by studying birds.


The US annual military budget is around $700bn.

CERN cost around EUR5bn to build and has an annual budget of EUR1bn, funded by dozens of nations.

I don't think wasteful expenditure on science is why we can't find the money to help poor people.
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#25 EJN

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 10:40 PM

Science needs to keep most of its focus for discovery downward to here on Earth and not into worthless cosmological pursuits like the origins of the cosmos.  Earth-Moon orbital operations and exploring our own solar system I can see as a priority if they are geared towards things we might leverage for our needs/improvement for societies here on Earth.  That and planetary defense from asteroids would be wise and fruitful space endeavors worthy of public funding.  All the pure science investigations, especially those for cosmological origins, should be relegated to private funding ONLY as they are basically throwing money away.

 

Government (taxpayer) funding for science only came about after WWII, before that it was almost entirely

privately funded by universities, and organizations such as the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation.

 

And the largest chunk of government money for science goes to the NIH & CDC (National Institutes for Health

& Centers for Disease Control).


Edited by EJN, 13 September 2019 - 11:14 PM.

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