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posted by hubie on Saturday March 02, @05:01AM   Printer-friendly

Evolution has produced a wondrously diverse variety of lifeforms here on Earth. It just so happens that talking primates with opposable thumbs rose to the top and are building a spacefaring civilization. And we're land-dwellers. But what about other planets? If the dominant species on an ocean world builds a technological civilization of some sort, would they be able to escape their ocean home and explore space?

A new article in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society examines the idea of civilizations on other worlds and the factors that govern their ability to explore their solar systems. Its title is "Introducing the Exoplanet Escape Factor and the Fishbowl Worlds (Two conceptual tools for the search of extra-terrestrial civilizations)." The sole author is Elio Quiroga, a professor at the Universidad del Atlántico Medio in Spain.

We have no way of knowing if other Extraterrestrial Intelligences (ETIs) exist or not. There's at least some possibility that other civilizations exist, and we're certainly in no position to say for sure that they don't. The Drake Equation is one of the tools we use to talk about the existence of ETIs. It's a kind of structured thought experiment in the form of an equation that allows us to estimate the existence of other active, communicative ETIs. Some of the variables in the Drake Equation (DE) are the star formation rate, the number of planets around those stars, and the fraction of planets that could form life and on which life could evolve to become an ETI.

In his new research article, Quiroga comes up with two new concepts that feed into the DE: the Exoplanet Escape Factor and Fishbowl worlds.

[...] Quiroga's Exoplanet Escape Factor (Fex) can help us imagine what kinds of worlds could host ETIs. It can help us anticipate the factors that prevent or at least inhibit space travel, and it brings more complexity into the Drake Equation. It leads us to the idea of Fishbowl Worlds, inescapable planets that could keep a civilization planet-bound forever.

Without the ability to ever escape their planet and explore their solar systems, and without the ability to communicate beyond their worlds, could entire civilizations rise and fall without ever knowing the Universe they were a part of? Could it happen right under our noses, so to speak, and we'd never know ?

[Source]: Universe Today

[Also Covered By]: Phys.Org

An interesting conjecture worth pondering about !!


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, @06:30AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, @06:30AM (#1347052)

    "Yes"

    "So there's no other life out there?"

    "There is. They're alone too."

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Mojibake Tengu on Saturday March 02, @09:12AM (3 children)

    by Mojibake Tengu (8598) on Saturday March 02, @09:12AM (#1347056) Journal

    I don't believe that nonsense.

    If we talk about really intelligent civilization, emerge of spirituality of some kind is inevitable in that. Why?

    The concept of Spirituality itself is founded on understanding the barriers.

    Even animals do understand barriers and cooperate to defeat them. This is exactly how civilizations rise to existence. Spirituality is a breaking point in mental processes which provides a breakthrough thinking by imagination, 'what if?' mode.

    So, once objective presence of percepted physical or mental barrier come into consciousness, methods to overcome it inevitably become being tried and problems analyzed.
    The best example for accepted human history how this actually happens is the concept of flying.

    Though I am not surprised an Anticivilization invented such disgusting idea of impossibility to overcome existing barriers. For Cultists, it's in their blood. Literally.
    Perhaps the Machines will teach them how to become better beings.

    --
    Respect Authorities. Know your social status. Woke responsibly.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by anubi on Saturday March 02, @11:54AM (1 child)

      by anubi (2828) on Saturday March 02, @11:54AM (#1347064) Journal

      I am posting this for anyone doing research into people and religion. I can make no claim any of it is true. I can offer no proof of anything. This is only my attempt to document my own experience of spirituality.

      I consider Religion to be created by Man, I have a very strong belief in a creator of the universe as well as the design of all life forms. This includes any processes like evolution. I define this creator as that which causes things to exist.

      My belief is a result of trying to understand how stuff works.

      I mostly understand the basis of how stuff we make works.

      What I flat do not understand at all is the essence of life, even the existence of universe itself.

      Everything I understand tells me I shouldn't exist. But my self-cognizance tells me I do.

      Also those feelings I get, that tell me to either do or avoid certain things. I see that expressed in nearly life form. My mother's people, the native American Indian, were well aware of The Great Spirit. My father's people were Christian. I have noted all over the world, the "common people" are really good people, with the same basic wiring as myself.

      I am so guided that I am being trained, like an AI, on Earth in a manner very similar to how we are training AI neural nets. Ethics. Love. Compassion. How to discern what is good and what is evil. Right and wrong. I feel connection to other life forms...especially sentient animals.

      I am being taught by something. I don't have the right words to describe it. "Love", "Hate", "Anger", "Awe", "Happiness", "Sadness", Gratitude", and "Guilt" are the closest descriptors of my internal feedback loops ( aka "Conscience" ). I do not appear to be able to generate these on my own. They seem to appear out of thin air as a result of something I have done or done to me. "Guilt" being by far the most painful one. That one is strong enough to force me to self-immolate. I seem to have little control over them.

      Most people I have talked to are aware of this same phenomenon, and use different words to describe it..."good vibes", "a bad feeling about this", " get the heebie jeebies something bad is fixing to happen", etc.

      Something seems to have a DMA ( Direct Memory Access ) port into me. As an engineer, I use the only words I know to try to describe my own religious experience. Sometimes I become quite aware of activity on that port. I believe my dreams are coming in via that port, as those dreams are so targeted to teach me certain things by temporarily planting experiences in me. Apparently some drugs enhance the activity of that port. Ayahuasca. Haven't used any so I plead ignorance.

      There are those before me who I believe have had more intensive encounters with this phenomenon and left texts documenting their experience. Today, these texts are known as the holy books of various religions. There are also many counterfeit texts out there, written solely for the purpose of enslaving people. How is a Religion different from a Cult? The main guidance I have on it is that a true religion recognizes the magnificence of creation and it's creator, where a cult is to recognize the authority of the human leaders of the Cult. I can't identify any Religion as being the one true belief system. This is something in you. I won't find it in a building. It is evidenced by witnessing the creation itself.

      Whatever this creator is, it's artistic and engineering skills to me is beyond measure. I am simply in awe of it.

      Especially the miracle of life and consciousness, all made of stuff we still can't explain what it is or where it came from. It's way over my comprehension level.

      Respect creation, and don't #uck it up.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by The Vocal Minority on Sunday March 03, @05:31AM

        by The Vocal Minority (2765) on Sunday March 03, @05:31AM (#1347176) Journal

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I also wonder from time to time how it is that I exist when it doesn't make any sense that I do.

        One big difference I have from you is that I don't just see my conscious mind as "me". I also include the unconscious processes that I am not aware of and feel ownership of the feelings and perspectives that bubble up from that (and I don't experience there being a distinct line either, there are things I am vaguely aware of, and things that suddenly "pop" into consciousness when they had previously been unconscious processes). I think that you are right, though, to identify that with spirituality/God. I think once you get deep enough down you come to some sort of a collective unconscious\forms\God.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday March 03, @01:55AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 03, @01:55AM (#1347158) Journal

      If we talk about really intelligent civilization, emerge of spirituality of some kind is inevitable in that. Why?

      The concept of Spirituality itself is founded on understanding the barriers.

      By that definition, I wouldn't be surprised to find that your Spirituality is literally impossible for anything in our universe no matter how intelligent or civilized. It would require a foot outside the sandbox.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Saturday March 02, @09:24AM (11 children)

    by anubi (2828) on Saturday March 02, @09:24AM (#1347057) Journal

    This is for someone who designs rockets...

    How much more gravity could we have before no known rocket fuel we know of would have sufficient energy to leave Earth's gravity well?

    About what is the current ratio of total rocket ( rocket+fuel+payload, as it sits on the pad ) to payload delivered to leave our solar system ( like Voyager )?

    Voyager's numbers would be fine. I am not that familiar with practical rocketry, but someone here might know that right off the top of their head.

    I get the idea that if the earth had maybe 20% more mass, it may be impossible for us to escape our gravity well with any known fuel.

    Launching satellites would still be a pipe dream?

    To get to synchronous orbit? LEO?

    - ignorant but curious - knowing I am surrounded here by a wealth of knowledge.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, @01:09PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, @01:09PM (#1347065)

      How much more gravity could we have before no known rocket fuel we know of would have sufficient energy to leave Earth's gravity well?

      There's no real answer to that, just more stages. It's all really about Delta V. We need 7km/s to get to low orbit.
      We got about 3km/s per stage with 1950s/60s tech. Really pushing the limits I think we can get about 5 km/s now. But that's a pretty big stage, with a small payload. And each stage is the payload of the previous stage. It gets very big, very quickly.

      Regarding the actual rockets, it's all about Isp.* The best chemical rockets we have get an Isp of about 420. NERVA got 700 and was projected to eventually get 1200, maybe even 2000.

      Personal opinion is that if you had a big slow rotation planet with an orbital delta V of 12 km/s they might get some small satellites up if they are intelligent and far-seeing enough to see the benefits, but that would be the end of it unless they go nuclear.

      *Isp is basically how many seconds of 1 pound of thrust you get burning 1 pound of fuel. More is better. :)

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, @10:09PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, @10:09PM (#1347139)

        Thinking about this, there probably is a limit. The cube/square law means you can't just scale rockets up. At some point no material can handle the stress involved. That gives an upper limit on the size of the first stage. I guess you could go smaller on the other end, but on a 15 km/s planet you'd be launching a Saturn V to put a cubesat in orbit.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Saturday March 02, @01:37PM (7 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday March 02, @01:37PM (#1347067)

      Larry Niven (and friends') Man Kzin Wars series repeatedly mentioned this concept of, basically, how large a race's home world was vs how developed they were as a society before spreading into the galaxy. Simple relationship: heavier planet, higher escape velocity, more developed society required to get off the rock and into space. The more warlike races, therefore, came from smaller/lighter homeworlds. Lots of assumption and extrapolation packed in there, and of course there would be exceptions, but the general concept should fit pretty well to real-galaxy data.

      What everyone is missing is: differing exploration and development pathways in the physics of our (local corner of the?) universe. Does a civilization make progress first in chemistry, electromagnetism, nuclear reactions? We know the pathway we took, and we pack a lot of assumptions in there about how it was all interdependent and each step "required" progress in all the other areas to move forward, but certainly our path, which has completely missed flurgenspurtz so far, is not the only path of discovery possible. Other civilizations which discovered flurgenspurtz before developing nuclear fission energy release may have abandoned the whole messy radiation hazard pathway because they have something so far superior in terms of safe, clean controlled energy release.

      Our recent interest in developing hydrogen as a natural resource is a great example - what if hydrogen and electricity had taken over hydrocarbon exploitation 40 years ago as the primary energy source for Earth civilization?

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by mhajicek on Saturday March 02, @06:34PM (1 child)

        by mhajicek (51) on Saturday March 02, @06:34PM (#1347104)

        There is also the fact that much of our technological development has been due to how warlike we are. We didn't find the Apollo project for the purpose of going to the moon; we funded it to develop the technologies necessary to build ICBMs.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday March 02, @06:36PM

          by mhajicek (51) on Saturday March 02, @06:36PM (#1347105)

          *fund the Apollo project.

          --
          The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @03:10AM (4 children)

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @03:10AM (#1348360) Homepage

        I'd say it's the other way around. The more warlike, the more motivated.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 12, @02:01PM (3 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 12, @02:01PM (#1348404)

          Warlike does motivate, but warlike with rocks and spears doesn't reach orbit anywhere.

          To reach orbit you at least need to have a stable rear area. Even if your society isn't warlike, but is advanced and can recognize credible interplanetary/interstellar threats, that's plenty of motivation to build effective defenses.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @02:47PM (2 children)

            by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @02:47PM (#1348416) Homepage

            And warlike doesn't get very far without a stable rear area either. The number I've heard is five support personnel for every body on the front lines, and that doesn't begin to count civic and industry.

            Niven thought herbivore equaled peaceful and purely defensive. Needs an intro to a dairy bull. :)

            (Acquainted with Larry in meatspace. Great guy, but not a fan of his writing.)

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 12, @03:21PM (1 child)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 12, @03:21PM (#1348424)

              I found Ringworld in my High School library, was my first access to any science fiction novel - young and impressionable, makes a difference.

              The Man-Kzin Wars series was publishing while I was in college, so I did read just about all of them - and they were authored by a lot of different people "writing in the Ringworld universe."

              Around about that time I also read "the Integral Trees" which I thought was trying just a bit too hard... not that such places don't exist in the Universe, just that you might have to survey several Milky Way sized galaxies before finding one...

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
              • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday March 13, @01:27AM

                by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday March 13, @01:27AM (#1348486) Homepage

                I had about 30 years of SF saturation before I ever read any Niven. By that point I was less interested in hardware and more in characters, which is, shall we say, the opposite of Niven's expertise. What I might have loved 20 years before... at that point in my reading career just bored me.

                And now I write my own to suit myself. :)

                --
                And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, @04:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, @04:19AM (#1347172)

      How much more gravity could we have before no known rocket fuel we know of would have sufficient energy to leave Earth's gravity well?

      The gravity we have now kept us grounded until the 50s. With more gravity it might have taken longer, or we could have been smarter and gotten into space sooner

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by looorg on Saturday March 02, @11:01AM (17 children)

    by looorg (578) on Saturday March 02, @11:01AM (#1347062)

    N=R* x f(p) x n(e) x f(l) x f(i) x f(c) x L

    Is it really more or new concepts? Isn't it just more variables for the Drake equation, or similar? An equation we already believe is somewhat sketchy and filled to the brim with good wishes and hopeful assumptions? The "prison planet"/fishbowl or whatever are just versions or outliers of f(c) (sign of their existence in space) and L (period of interstellar communication). Where they are set to zero, or a very close approximation.

    Also if anyone of those are zero. The whole thing will be zero. That said most of them are listed as being fractions or averages so it's unlikely that any of them are actually zero, but that is perhaps by design. It's still just wishful thinking and assumptions.

    But is he trying to validate the Drake Equation by saying that we don't know or can't see/find/hear them cause they are trapped on their planet. But they are totally out there, just trapped. Or they don't care about leaving their planet. They might not even be interested in the space stuff (yet). After all for a long time neither were we. The stars, the sun and the moon was just pretty, or scary or divine, things up in the sky. Then someone started to dream about going there ... eons later ... we went there.

    In some regard I get the feeling he is trying to Drake it up.

    But with that in mind we might as well be alone. While the top comment here was currently modded as being Funny it's also then very apt. We are all alone on our own. So we might as well be alone. Philosophically insightful.

    We have no way of knowing if other Extraterrestrial Intelligences (ETIs) exist or not.

    Unless we already know. Cause they have been here but it's getting covered up. But lets say we don't know and it has not been covered up somehow. Which is also a bit far fetched but always an option. Unless proven otherwise are we not alone? Why assume someone is out there when we don't know. Isn't it better to assume alone until we know more but prepare for there being scary things out there.

    Also if those things are trapped on their own planet isn't that better for us? More galaxy for us, plus once we find them it will be easier to pacify/exterminate (cause that or those are things we like to do as a species) them with orbital bombardment if they can't shoot back.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday March 02, @01:48PM (8 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday March 02, @01:48PM (#1347069)

      >prepare for there being scary things out there.

      Most of us don't even prepare well for rising water levels in unusually rainy/windy weather, preparing for something so open-ended as "Aliens are coming!" with a time window of +/- a few billion years, with the whole spectrum of friendly through hostile through indifferent, and the quantity spectrum of nano-probes through joy-riders in 4 passenger family vehicles through multi-solar-system colonization/mining armadas...

      Many archaeological artifacts all over Earth seem to point towards "sky people" - but are they pointing at actual sky people, or imagined ones?

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday March 03, @01:20AM (7 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 03, @01:20AM (#1347156) Journal

        Most of us don't even prepare well for rising water levels in unusually rainy/windy weather,

        Especially when someone is paying us not to prepare. I'll note several perverse factors in the US such as subsidized flood insurance and a huge political valuation difference between disaster relief and disaster preparedness making it so that we don't prepare well.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday March 03, @01:22PM (6 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday March 03, @01:22PM (#1347207)

          Well, as far as alien disaster preparation goes, I think the first step has already been taken: basic education of a significant portion of the population in recognition of the concept of aliens to speed up global awareness of alien activity on Earth.

          False reports are an inevitable consequence of this education, just like the uptick in rare disease self diagnosis based on Dr. Google, but I am willing to bet that Dr. Google has also resulted in higher rates of the positive rare disease Dx in with all the false positives. Lyme disease being one particular poster child, but the bigger effects are probably in the long tail of truly rare stuff.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday March 13, @01:32AM (5 children)

            by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday March 13, @01:32AM (#1348487) Homepage

            OT side note: while Lyme gets blamed for all manner of ills... turns out when ticks are present it's actually endemic (hardly a surprise), and those ills are probably coincidental. There was a large study in Wisconsin a couple decades back that found around 40% of both people and dogs had Lyme antibodies without ever having shown Lyme symptoms.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 13, @02:39AM (4 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 13, @02:39AM (#1348497)

              As I understand it, Lyme looks a lot like syphilis under the microscope and a lot of Lyme carriers/sufferers were mis-diagnosed as having syphilis, and treated for it somewhat ineffectively...

              I just call it a Dr. Google poster child because it wasn't until after the internet, and the "I have Lyme" believers community got some organization and data, that Lyme seemed to start being taken seriously by the mainstream medical community. Of course there's a whole bag of symptoms attributed to it that may or may not be causally linked - just like so much else out there.

              Mainstream medicine has little to be proud of in terms of accurate Dx and treatment rates... so many people suffer from mis-diagnosis year after year until they finally luck into a Dx and treatment of what they really had and then "poof, magic, aren't we wonderful?" Well, yeah, cool that YOU cured my brother's plantars warts in a week, but those 8 other jerk-offs that blamed the symptoms on everything but plantars warts for nearly five years... yeah, not making the community as a whole look too sharp. Even scarier is: maybe he didn't have plantars warts, but the treatment for them worked on whatever he had... a lot of "practical practice" works that way.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
              • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday March 13, @03:28AM (3 children)

                by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday March 13, @03:28AM (#1348501) Homepage

                Yeah, very aware of the problem of mis- or absent diagnosis. For 30 years I got "You're not overweight, so it can't be your thyroid." And then "You test in range, so it can't be..." BEEP, wrong...

                Tho I'm croggled that anyone would fail to do a gram test and distinguish a bacterium's type before using a gram-specific antibiotic..Lots of crap can be hard to ID under the microscope; that's why we have these tests.

                --
                And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 13, @03:15PM (2 children)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 13, @03:15PM (#1348564)

                  >I'm croggled that anyone would fail to do a gram test and distinguish a bacterium's type before using a gram-specific antibiotic

                  Had a friend who had a little white spot on her chest - not exactly under the bra, but close. In her regular checkup she asked her M.D. about it and he glanced, out of the corner of his eye from across the room, and pronounced "fungus." and wrote her a script for steroid cream. He wasn't wrong, but how often do they make those snap calls because "it's (almost) always fungus" or "Lyme is really rare, and has never been confirmed south of Vermont." or "I'm paranoid that my female patients may construe my examination as sexual abuse so I'm just going to guess" and they're actually wrong.

                  The AMA has put our M.D.s on a pedestal and trained them to think of themselves as infallible deities whose time is too valuable to be bothered with things like un-billed examination time or tests that might be called un-necessary (and low profit.)

                  As I understand it, the limited capacity of the residency program is their excuse for why they consistently under-supply our market with M.D.s - in my mind that's a serious structural failure that needs to be addressed. In their minds, that's keeping demand for (and self-worth estimation and compensation of) M.D.s high - which they seem to think is good. I'm all for the AMA looking out for their (self) membership, but not at the expense of the people they serve - and they've been progressively "boiling the frogs" abusing their patients more and more, for decades.

                  In the 1970s my pediatrician had a lab in her office, staff to culture swabs and tell you within less than a day if you had strep, mono, staph, or likely a virus, and prescribe antibiotics (or not) and rest/isolation recommendations accordingly. Ain't nobody got time for that anymore, apparently. Now if your infant has a mild fever (above the guidelines for vaccine administration) you're instantly given a script for broad spectrum antibiotics - nuke 'em from orbit, just to be sure. Side effects for the infant or society at large? Not considered, just gotta make sure we can keep those vaccines pumping in on schedule - wouldn't want to have to think too hard at the next appointment about how to adjust the schedule due to delays in earlier course administration.

                  >Lots of crap can be hard to ID under the microscope; that's why we have these tests.

                  Instead of (or at least in addition to) building machines to sample HVAC airstreams for bio-terror cultures, you'd think we would be working toward in-office culture ID machines - like the blood analyzers and similar that have been around for 30+ years. Instead, we've developed this central specialist infrastructure where your M.D. sends you to a lab-clinic where they do the blood draws / swabs / pee in cup / etc. (and, incidentally, you get lots of waiting room exposure to a broad spectrum of patients from all over town), and then that clinic ships your samples off to a central processing lab (no mixups EVER occur in that process) and they batch-process your shit and get back to you days later telling you: "Well, we are required by law to disclose this result to you immediately: you're HIV positive. Now, these results are frequently false positives, and we're escalating your case to a Western Blot analysis, but it's Friday and they won't read your samples until Monday and you'll get a confirmation or refutation of the HIV positive status next Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, hopefully. Meanwhile, enjoy your first days post-partum experience with your new baby and your spouse now that we've planted these seeds of mistrust, doubt and uncertainty into your highly emotionally charged heads..." Yes, that was our post C-section experience with our 2nd child and, of course, Western Blot came back HIV negative, late Tuesday afternoon. Well, the hospital did the sample collection without sending us to a clinic, but I'm sure most US residents have experienced the lab-sample clinic more than once in the past 30 years...

                  --
                  🌻🌻 [google.com]
                  • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday March 13, @04:45PM (1 child)

                    by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday March 13, @04:45PM (#1348584) Homepage

                    "As I understand it, the limited capacity of the residency program is their excuse for why they consistently under-supply our market with M.D.s"

                    To my understanding, it's because the AMA will only certify something like 470 new MDs per year.

                    Which doesn't begin to keep up with demand.

                    --
                    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
                    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 13, @06:14PM

                      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 13, @06:14PM (#1348604)

                      >the AMA will only certify something like 470 new MDs per year.

                      That's astonishingly low, but:

                      What percentage of MDs belong to the AMA? 15-18% In fact, it is estimated that only 15-18% of doctors in the US are paying members of the AMA. In one study conducted by Jackson and Coker, only 11% of physicians who responded believe the AMA stand for the views of doctors.

                      In 2022, the number of people who graduated from medical schools across the United States amounted to 28,753 graduates.

                      Not all of those 28,753 go on to complete a residency, get licensed, get malpractice insurance, and actually practice... more meaningless stats from the internet at large:

                      About 65–93% of medical school students become doctors.

                      The average length of a physician's career is between 31 and 36 years

                      that puts us at somewhat more than 339996563/33.5*.93*28753 = 380 residents per doctor on an ongoing basis (not accounting for M.D. em/immigration, which at present puts about a 10% boost on the number of physicians, or about 340 residents per doctor).

                      Random point of contrast:

                      In 2022, 421,300 doctors were employed in Germany

                      for a ratio of about 200 residents per doctor.

                      Do you feel served? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_(The_Twilight_Zone) [wikipedia.org]

                      83200000/421300 =

                      --
                      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday March 02, @06:37PM (7 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday March 02, @06:37PM (#1347106) Homepage Journal

      The Drake equation is nonsense. It's missing the most important variables, and the ones we know, we're not sure of.

      Example: On how many worlds are both a total solar eclipse and a total lunar eclipse possible? What, exactly, is necessary for life to begin in the first place?

      People keep talking about the Kepplar (SP?) system, but the solar system has three planets in its habitable zone. Only one has life. Mars may have at one time. Venus is almost a duplicate of Earth. Why is it a hell hole with surface temperatures that will melt lead? CO2. Why is it there? It never developed life!

      Why not?

      Maybe it did... [mcgrewbooks.com] except, of course, I don't think the solar system is old enough.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by deimtee on Saturday March 02, @10:04PM (5 children)

        by deimtee (3272) on Saturday March 02, @10:04PM (#1347138) Journal

        While a moon might be necessary, I'm pretty sure eclipses are not. There's a theory that comes into fashion every so often and then gets discredited that the Moon is why our atmosphere is not like Venus'.

        I think the difficult thing is the two knife edges we are walking along:
        1/ between developing new technology as an old technology becomes too inefficient or expensive to maintain or as a required resource is exhausted. We have wars and international competition driving technology forward, but also using lots of resources. If we fall off that advancement curve, it is over. The large quantities of easy access "bootstrap" resources are gone.

        2/ This is a more subtle sociological one. We are on a borderline between being too social and not social enough. Less social and we would never have formed more than small groups and technology would never develop past what a small tribe could achieve. More social would be a trap in the other direction, we would end up with a "one world government" where the main goal of the leaders would be to maintain stability and their power. Technology advancement would be restricted and strongly directed. They would never allow the establishment of an independent off-world group.

        --
        If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday March 04, @10:00PM (1 child)

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday March 04, @10:00PM (#1347368) Homepage Journal

          In some of my fiction, aliens think life can only happen on a satellite of a planet like Jupiter. Here's one where they observe Earth and think life would be impossible (I have a few like that).
          We still haven't found extraforgostnic life [mcgrewbooks.com]

          --
          mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday March 05, @08:39PM

            by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday March 05, @08:39PM (#1347502) Journal

            "Life" is pretty hard to define at the lower end. Is a complex molecule that catalyses the production of copies of itself alive?
            My opinion is that life will form in any sufficiently complex chemical soup that has a supply of energy to it, keeping it in a temperature range that both allows complex molecules to be stable and provides energy to form unstable compounds.

            I think the origin of life wasn't some tiny cell forming spontaneously, but the whole interconnected lightning and meteorite driven soup tending towards being composed of the molecules that catalysed the formation of other molecules in great big "leaky" circular chains of self-production. Evolution of these loops of reaction steps to higher efficiency and less side products (less, but still huge quantities) would result in the circular loops evolving to become tighter. As soon as you get to the point you can apply evolution, you have life.

            --
            If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 12, @03:27PM (2 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 12, @03:27PM (#1348426)

          >The large quantities of easy access "bootstrap" resources are gone.

          That depends on your path... we're just starting to tap subterranean hydrogen gas reserves, for instance, and after that we may do some interesting things with solar power and sulfur cycles, not to mention our rather untapped avenue of fission, and the yet to be opened fusion pathway...

          Solar power for steam turbines is some pretty low-tech stuff that can get you large quantities of electricity - not terribly efficiently - but accessible enough for a bootstrap. Back in the Ringworld Universe, the main thing the Pak protectors guarded to ensure successful reboot of their societies after inevitable devastating wars was: knowledge. That can take a lot of time and resources to acquire if you completely lose it, but it's also relatively cheap to preserve.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Thursday March 14, @04:12AM (1 child)

            by deimtee (3272) on Thursday March 14, @04:12AM (#1348692) Journal

            I mix human nature into my estimates of that. Yeah, you could have a society dedicated to harnessing solar steam and powering an industrial society dedicated to getting the species into space. Roughly about the time global true communism produces a utopia here on Earth.

            EROEI is what drives the system and burning through the deposits of fossil fuels and easy ores is what allowed us to build to the point where the species is possibly going to expand into space. If we collapse, the hoarding of resources and energy is going to prevent that sort of largesse from happening again. Competition will just be too tough.

            Your point about knowledge is well taken, but I was referring to something like a post-nuclear war type of collapse. No matter how much knowledge they have, no society of less than 10's of millions is going to build a chip fab.

            Pessimistically, I can see it happening without a nuclear war. Improving efficiency and effectiveness of resource gathering may not keep up with the increasing difficulty, especially on the mining side of things. Austerity measures, "tighten your belt", and similar seem to be the order of the day.

            Very soon most western countries are going to hit an infrastructure crunch. 500 years ago they built castles to last forever. 200 years ago they built houses to last hundreds of years. Now they build houses that might last 50 years. Roads are degrading, here in AU they are ripping up country railways for "economic" reasons, it is cheaper to ship freight by trucks. The real reason is that the shippers don't pay for the roads. So we use inefficient trucks to ship megatonnes of grain and ore, and the taxpayer foots the bill to repair the road damage.

            That's just a couple of examples. I often see both politicians and businesses taking the short, easy, cheap way and leaving a bigger problem down the road a bit. Forgive me if I don't see your future society working together to build a starship fleet.

            --
            If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 14, @03:13PM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 14, @03:13PM (#1348753)

              >Roughly about the time global true communism produces a utopia here on Earth.

              You know, there was a time that LSD proponents were hopeful that dosing the water supplies of the big cities would trigger a transformation to global brotherhood and enlightenment... I doubt LSD is the pathway, but there may be something, something as simple as a meme (more likely something as unavoidable as a retrovirus) that transforms humans away from the competitive back stabbing war mongers they had to be to get to where we are, into a more fully cooperative society with goals larger than having a bigger palace with more servants than anyone you know of...

              >If we collapse, the hoarding of resources and energy is going to

              Be any worse than it is today? Today we're extracting and essentially burning through all kinds of resources to make consumer products with lifetimes as short as possible, with a fig leaf of "recyclable" that doesn't happen for the majority of things.

              Again, if "human nature" doesn't change, then yeah, doomed. That much was obvious 2000 years ago. A total collapse of industrial society will inevitably cause a shift in human behavior, the question will be: in reality do we become more like Mad Max, or Ghandi?

              >no society of less than 10's of millions is going to build a chip fab.

              I think that's a reasonable assertion, but a deeper question is: what can you do without chips?

              >Austerity measures, "tighten your belt", and similar seem to be the order of the day.

              If we keep growing from 8 billion to 12 and 20... the shit will hit the fan sooner or later. Some countries seem to be on a reversal trend already, but globally we're still adding 75 million per year - for a really long time now, what's up with that linear trend? - and the resource issue is a global one no matter how many walls are built.

              >Now they build houses that might last 50 years.

              That's job security, written into the building codes... make me king, I'll fix it.

              >here in AU they are ripping up country railways for "economic" reasons

              After the iron curtain went up, Russia ripped up railways in the bloc countries for "economic" reasons too, it was cheaper for the Russians to get iron that way than from ore in the ground.

              >the taxpayer foots the bill to repair the road damage.

              Effectively, the tax payers are subsidizing the trucking companies. If Aussie truckers live anything like US truckers, I think there are better lifestyles to subsidize.

              >I often see both politicians and businesses taking the short, easy, cheap way and leaving a bigger problem down the road a bit.

              Human nature, politicians are just a reflection of society at large. Businesses are in competition to extract as much wealth as possible from the populace, in exchange for the lowest cost of goods and services they can get away with.

              >I don't see your future society working together to build a starship fleet.

              Again, depends on the circumstances... Vulcans land and tell us the Klingons are coming in 60 years... that's a meme that might change things.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @02:54PM

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @02:54PM (#1348418) Homepage

        Not because of CO2. Doesn't matter what gas, the real factor is atmospheric density (Ideal Gas law). Venus is hot not because the atmosphere is mostly CO2, but because it's six times denser than Earth's in about the same gravity. Gravity X Density = Friction = Heat. Same as if you overfill a tire.

        However, if Venus were seeded to reduce most of the CO2 to calcium carbonate, followed by bioforms to release oxygen, things might change enough to make it marginally habitable. Much as happened on Earth.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Saturday March 02, @08:53PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Saturday March 02, @08:53PM (#1347130)

    could entire civilizations rise and fall without ever knowing the Universe they were a part of? Could it happen right under our noses, so to speak, and we'd never know

    Like, Africa? Or the continent of Australia?

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by SingularityPhoenix on Monday March 04, @09:41PM (1 child)

    by SingularityPhoenix (23544) on Monday March 04, @09:41PM (#1347365)

    We don't know what technology will or won't be possible. Technology has come so far in the last 200, 100, 50, even 20 years. Surely technological development can't continue forever. But how far can it go? What will or won't be possible? We have no way to know. Maybe we're near the end of what we can develop, maybe we have discovered so little that other species wouldn't even consider us intelligent.

    Maybe we figure out why there is almost no antimatter in the universe, apply the knowledge to directly convert matter into antimatter, use our antimatter rockets for >90% the speed of light travel, and wonder why anyone would use simple nuclear reactions that are as mundane as the billions of stars.

    Maybe one day we will spread across millions of dimensions, and talk about how simple 4 dimensional beings are.

    Maybe we discover antimatter tech and sterrilize the solar system of life in that same moment.

    Maybe one day we NO CARRIER

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 12, @03:43PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 12, @03:43PM (#1348429)

      >Surely technological development can't continue forever. But how far can it go?

      According to what we think we know so far, there's the heat death of the Universe, but any kind of practical backwards time travel would render that meaningless... Maybe backward time travel requires such enormous amounts of entropy creation that you substantially bring forward the heat death after you use it...

      And, of course, if you can hop to parallel Universes/timelines that opens a whole new dimension to explore. Of course, if you can hop out to another Universe/timeline but never hop back to the one you came from that would be a whole new level of faith...

      As for anti-matter, we are already creating tiny quantities of it, and it is created in nature as well - but it doesn't last long...

      I would advocate thinking of technological development as a high order multi-dimensional map rather than a progression like a timeline. It's entirely possible to "skip over" some areas of knowledge that might be a progression in one knowledge base, but the path taken in the development of another knowledge base might just circumvent a bunch of stuff and hop more directly to "the next thing" through a faster path that misses a lot of things along the way.

      In other words: the map of current knowledge looks sort of like a sponge... a million dimensional sponge, with threads of connectivity and lots of gaps.

      And what any one human thinks they know is a tiny chunk of what 8 billion of us living know.

      And while we're getting much better at preserving and passing on knowledge that we build upon, nearly two humans die per second and not everything they know gets passed on. So there are great chunks of the knowledge sponge that were once known and now forgotten.

      Nevermind what the dolphins know that we don't and likely never will...

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
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