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Space Science

Alcohol Haze At Galactic Heart 22

Kentai writes: "According to the BBC: 'The detection of yet more alcohol in a giant molecular cloud near the centre of our galaxy could give clues to the origin of complex organic molecules in space.' I knew my life revolved around alcohol!"
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Alcohol Haze At Galactic Heart

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  • uh oh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by laymil ( 14940 ) <> on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @07:05PM (#2408644) Homepage
    someones trying to raid God's liquor stash...better watch out!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @09:11PM (#2408912)
    When I find myself in a cloud of alcohol, I frequently find myself emitting large amounts of organic compounds too.
  • by pubudu ( 67714 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @10:06PM (#2409079)
    ... this cloud lies near an area where young stars are forming ... This would liberate the molecules from their chilly nurseries, depositing them into interstellar space ...

    Bureau of ATF officials are now on their way to the region looking for their intergalactic still. "Young adults tend to think that moonshining is a fun way to avoid their state's liquor laws, but the "Dukes of Hazaard" is not an accurate portrayal of this dangerous business," said Agt. Washington Fleming, who is leading the operation. "The quanity involved, although small by galactic standards, suggests that this is not being done just for personal use, and that makes it a Federal matter. Also, once they start selling it, they step on the heals of organized crime, and are so pitting themselves against a more ruthless foe than Boss Hog."

  • by hhe_hee ( 470065 ) <prodigy&acc,umu,se> on Wednesday October 10, 2001 @11:48AM (#2410875) Homepage
    Ok, here's a serious comment. This could reveal much of the mystery about our own origin. How life began in the first place in our solar system. And maybe life is forming right now far away in that cloud, think about that for a while. We could be watching the formation of life (at a great distance of course) in that cloud. It's like a giant Miller-Urey experiment [] where a mixture of methane, ammonia, water vapour, and hydrogen was circulated through a liquid water solution and continuously sparked by a corona discharge elsewhere in the apparatus. The discharge may be thought to represent lightning flashes on the early Earth. After several days of exposure to sparking, the solution changed colour. Subsequent analysis indicated that several amino and hydroxy acids, intimately involved in contemporary life, had been produced by this simple procedure.

    There are several key steps in the origins of life:
    • Formation of complex organic molecules
    • Self-replicating systems
    • Protein synthesis; DNA is the genetic material, but it requires proteins to replicate
    • Compartmentalization: the first cell

    And origins of complex organic molecules are believed to be:
    • Nucleosynthesis in stars to form complex molecules
    • molecular clouds
    • A very significant fraction of the Earth' s carbon came from extensive cometary bombardment on the primitive Earth
    • It's like a giant Miller-Urey experiment []

      I'd prefer a giant Miller-Beer experiment.

    • the formation of life (at a great distance of course) And about 50,000 years ago.
    • Nucleosynthesis in stars to form complex molecules

      Wouldn't the part to take place in the stars be the formation of complex atoms (i.e. Hydrogen into Helium via fusion and then into heavier elements needed to create life, notably Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon)?

      A very significant fraction of the Earth' s carbon came from extensive cometary bombardment on the primitive Earth

      There is an awfully large amount of carbon on earth, (think of all the limestone, oil and coal that's still in the ground, let alone the carbon in every living thing and in the atmosphere). What kind of percentage are you thinking here, 1%? 2%? ???

  • blink (Score:2, Redundant)

    by ErikZ ( 55491 )

    ....and slowly, though the eons, the cloud coalesces into clumps. In the more massive clumps something wonderful emerges! A star is born...made of beer.

    It's gentle amber light pours over the proto-planets. The inner planets are made of more dense materials, salt, peanuts, etc. The outer planets are mostly gaseous in nature...
  • Do they use this stuff to make Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters? If so, have they located Zaphod yet?

    In a perfect world, intelligent life doesn't evolve.
  • Beer telescope!

  • Arggghh! Why wasn't I born a few centuries later, when I could travel there...?

    Imagine all the alcohol.... 8-)

    I guess this deep-freeze-yourself business is gonna become more popular now. Not to mention that scientists now have good reason to work on speeding up space travel...

  • From the article:

    Vinyl alcohol, actually a non-inebriating complex organic molecule...

    Awww shit! And I was getting all ready to "boldly go"...

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.