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Life Found In Deepest Layer of Earth's Crust

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  • Life elsewhere... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scubamage (727538) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:16PM (#34283596)
    It amazes me that people don't believe there's no life elsewhere in the universe when we're still discovering it in new forms here at home, with new ways of doing things, in new seemingly impossible places. I for one welcome our new microbial hydrocarbon munching leaders.
  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:17PM (#34283606) Homepage Journal

    "I don't know how to describe it - I can give you a list of problems, like Ventillation, Heating, Vitamin D - which all have obvious solutions available,"

    You mean cooling. In deep mines, it gets pretty hot. Temperature increases by 30-50 degrees Celsius for each kilometer of depth.

  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:20PM (#34283660) Homepage Journal

    Central Greenland or the depths of the Gobi desert would be even easier, and there's plenty of room.

  • Re:Ergo oil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Burnhard (1031106) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:20PM (#34283670)
    Yes, the rate is the issue. I expect some fields would re-fill with oil, given the number of fissures and cracks that are probably around the field itself. The oil would drain into the well from these places, wouldn't it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:33PM (#34283818)

    You might as well settle somewhere else in the 70% of wilderness we have in the US. Overcrowding and an urban sprawl are caused by people settling near each other and the lack of pioneer spirit, not because of a lack of unused territory. That might not be true of China and India, but our average population density is quite low.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:37PM (#34283864)
    While we're not running out of room, at least in most parts of the world, we are running the risk of running out of food and clean water. Space doesn't do you a damned bit of good if you haven't got food and water.
  • by toleraen (831634) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:48PM (#34284018)
    So just design the structure so that it floats. Maybe call it a boat, or a ship or something. Probably something that cruises around the ocean. I mean it worked for houses with wheels...you never hear of a trailer park getting hit by a tornado.
  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:50PM (#34284044) Homepage Journal

    Why don't humans populate more of the inner earth?

    I can think of several reasons.

    1. There's no need to. There is plenty of land aboveground.
    2. Most toxic gasses (esp corbon monoxide) are heavier than air and hard to pump out
    3. It gets hotter the further down you go
    4. Do YOU want to live in a windowless space?
    5. travel to and from the surface would take a LOT more time than an equal distance travelled on the surface
    6. The whole idea is energy-intensive at a time when we need to conserve energy

    That's just a few reasons from the top of my head.

  • Re:Ergo oil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:52PM (#34284054) Journal

    The sheer amount of chutzpah passing in place of intelligence in this post is just... astounding. It's like stupid has become legitimized!

    Ergo the oil argument that much of our oil supply is made from bacteria and not old dinosaurs.

    Which has what to do with sustainability, again? You imply sustainability by mentioning it in the next sentence.

    If the bacteria is supplied from the crust inside the earth, the oil fields can replenish and oil becomes much more sustainable than before.

    I mean... wow! It's just like farming!

    We know almost *nothing* about this process, except that the metabolic rate of these bacteria are mind numbingly slow. We're talking at rates where a single reproduction is a thousand years in length. Just how long are you willing to wait for your next tank of gas?

    Any way you look at this the findings become politically charged as the impact this has on our future energy supply could be enormous

    Unless, of course, you look at this with something other than stupid. Get that out of the way, and you see that this changes about as much the grass growth on your lawn over the next 3.5 minutes.

    With a little bit of googling you can readily find oil fields from old that have mysteriously started refilling with oil.

    This happens in all wells, either with Oil or Water. It's not like there's a bladder down under ground and we're going to empty it. Oil and water are present in the fissures and pores of the surrounding rocks and soil. When you pump out the water/oil, you create a low pressure point, and fluid seeps from the surrounding soil. It's only in the case of extreme ignorance that this effect seems remarkable.

    Your post is an extremely good example of why relying on the "wisdom of the crowds" can instead be relying on the "stupid foibles and commonly mistunderstood ideas" of the crowds.

  • Re:Ergo oil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pk001i (649678) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:56PM (#34284122)

    The carbon would come from the atmosphere and go back.

    How exactly does atmospheric carbon penetrate the kilometers of sediment and rock needed to reach most oceanic gabbros?

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday November 19, 2010 @03:02PM (#34284218)

    Ergo the oil argument that much of our oil supply is made from bacteria and not old dinosaurs. If the bacteria is supplied from the crust inside the earth, the oil fields can replenish and oil becomes much more sustainable than before.

    You seem to miss the part where TFA notes that bacteria found deep in the crust degrade the hydrocarbons, which are produced by abiotic processes. That's pretty much the opposite of having an oil supply made from bacteria.

  • Re:pervasive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GreenTom (1352587) on Friday November 19, 2010 @03:16PM (#34284358)
    Oh, I dunno, rats, cockroaches, mosquitos, mycobacterium tuberculosis?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @03:25PM (#34284472)

    It amazes me that people don't believe there's no life elsewhere in the universe

    I don't see what's so "amazing" about that. There's more than one big question you have to answer, before you can guess strongly enough about the probability of life existing elsewhere, to such a degree that it can be a serious belief.

    1. Can life exist in extreme places? (This one has pretty much been answered.)
    2. Can life arise in extreme places? (This is a totally unknown. All we have are guesses and hunches.)
    3. Can life travel extreme distances? (e.g. exogenesis) (Also unknown.)

    This particular life is just another confirmation that once life has somehow bootstrapped, it's very adaptable. Cool. But I'll bet you anything that it's related to us, and won't end up helping to answer the question about how easily life can arise.

    The exogensis idea is one that's pretty far-fetched, but not so far fetched to be totally wacked out. It's just barely believable that microbes can possibly ride a meteor between Earth, Mars, or Europa. But take it to a further extreme (interstellar) and it really does approach "wacked out." So to suggest a universe full of life, you pretty much have to accept "easy genesis."

    Now I know a lot of us have opinions on "easy genesis." From evolution we have a pretty good grasp that once life just barely gets started, it can go nuts from there. But as for getting started, we just have no evidence of it ever have happened more than once. Even on our seemingly-friendly Earth, we don't have a shred of evidence that it has happened more than once. (Yes, there are reasons for why even if it did, only one "tree" would remain, but nevertheless, that one tree is all we have seen.) So to take the leap into believing it does happen, requires a little more than reason. We're into intuition territory here. It's disappointing when people get reason wrong, but not at all amazing when subjective opinions diverge. People believing there's no extra-terrestrial life? Nothing amazing about that.

    Get back to us in a few decades. When they find life on Europa, and if that life isn't related to us, then it'll be amazing people don't believe the universe is full of life. But if they don't find it, then we still won't know a damn thing, unless the radio spectrometer guys come up with something.

    Until then, nobody really has reason to take a strong stand either way, and if they do, they're just being religious.

  • by Muros (1167213) on Friday November 19, 2010 @03:29PM (#34284516)
    If by "these guys" you mean BP, I wouldn't really be any more worried by that than any other drilling company, in fact I might actually feel a bit better about it. One thing that became clear during the whole recent fuckup in the gulf, was that despite the involvement of numerous companies in the monumental screw up, many of them equally culpable, the only ones with the balls to stand up and say "we could have done better" was vilified as an evil foreign company, while government officials were quite happy to let the indiginous companies who pay them fat wads of cash in brown paper bags weasel their way out of any responsibility, and let the press denounce dem greedy furriners and villify them in the eyes of the public. A company that at least took the heat and didn't try to wriggle their way out of it has some redeeming qualities, despite what I may think of them in general.
  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Friday November 19, 2010 @03:35PM (#34284592) Homepage

    Indian tribes own 3% of petroleum and gas reserves in the USA and 15% of coal.

    Sure. Until the day comes that Uncle Sam or one of his corporate owners wants them. Then their "ownership" will be respected about as well as all the other treaties have been over the last few hundred years....

  • Re:Ergo oil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:07PM (#34284944)

    Any way you look at this the findings become politically charged as the impact this has on our future energy supply could be enormous. With a little bit of googling you can readily find oil fields from old that have mysteriously started refilling with oil.

    Abiogenic oil [wikipedia.org], the great oil conspiracy theory. Which of these is the more likely:

    • There is a global conspiracy between oil corporations, national governments, and academics to push the accepted "fake" theory that oil reserves were created by compressed and heated biomass. The aim of this is to create an artificial scarcity and control the world, when in fact oil is plentiful, constantly regenerating, and can be found everywhere.
    • There is no global conspiracy. Oil reserves really were created from biomass, natural oil really is a scare resource, and the oil fields will eventually run dry.

    If oil fields refill, then why isn't the U.S. still producing large amounts of oil? Why did the U.S. hit peak oil and become reliant on Middle Eastern oil? Do people really believe that this is just a big conspiracy, and that the various U.S. governments since 1970 when the U.S. hit peak oil have all been in on the conspiracy? Why would they do this? What would they gain from this? Hmm.

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