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Russian Team Prepares To Penetrate Lake Vostok 237

Lanxon writes "Lake Vostok, which has been sealed off from the world for 14 million years, is about to be penetrated by a Russian drill bit. The lake, which lies four kilometers below the icy surface of Antarctica, is unique in that it's been completely isolated from the other 150 subglacial lakes on the continent for such a long time. It's also oligotropic, meaning that it's supersaturated with oxygen — levels of the element are 50 times higher than those found in most typical freshwater lakes."
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Russian Team Prepares To Penetrate Lake Vostok

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  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:19PM (#34795726) Homepage Journal

    I hope for new life forms and new genomes for us, bioinformaticians.

    The more I learn about the way the phenotype is coded in the genome, the more in awe of the creation I am.

    Subhana Allah

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:24PM (#34795820) Homepage Journal

    "Once you pop that bubble so to speak the place will never be the same"

    That is true for almost everything we do on this planet whether we like it or not. It's our modus operandi.

    "And what's the chance that there's organisms that are harmful to our current ecosystems? " Not a great chance. Harm is never the ultimate goal of microorganisms that are "harmful" to us. Harm is always a byproduct of being able to use us and in order to do that, microorganism must coexist with us for some time.

    Randomness * really big numbers = very little probabilities.

  • by spidercoz ( 947220 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:33PM (#34795954) Journal
    Because it's there. Simple human curiosity, something your DNA seems to have deactivated. And this is real life, not a John Carpenter movie.
  • by mdielmann ( 514750 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:38PM (#34796032) Homepage Journal

    I fail to see the need to drill to this lake so far below the surface. For one thing I would be worried about bringing back up who knows what with organisms and bacteria that we have not seen before that could be dangerous, also don't you think they would be contaminating this lake by drilling into it?

    From the article:

    Now, the team has satisfied the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, which safeguards the continent's environment, that it's come up with a technique to sample the lake without contaminating it. Valery Lukin told New Scientist: "Once the lake is reached, the water pressure will push the working body and the drilling fluid upwards in the borehole, and then freeze again." The next season, the team will bore into that frozen water to recover a sample whose contents can then be analysed.

    I think it's similar to this mission at Lake Ellsworth [].

    So is it going to freeze before it hits the top of the bore then? If not that means we're releasing whatever is in that water into our environment. That could be really really bad any way you look at it. I'm not hopeful enough that it could release something giving us extreme life-extensions.

    So, drilling a hole in the ground and sucking out millions of barrels of hydrocarbons, which have been isolated for thousands (or millions) of years, as well as any organisms living there is fine. Collecting a sample from a lake that has been isolated for thousands of years for research is the beginning of the apocalypse? I can only assume you're quite concerned about the Large Hadron Collider, as well.

  • Re:Look Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MTTECHYBOY ( 799778 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:38PM (#34796036)
    It is a valid question, if you Drop the "What."
  • Re:Look Up (Score:1, Insightful)

    by gujo-odori ( 473191 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:22PM (#34796720)

    Would it be impolite to point out that she has accomplished far more in life than you or I have, or probably ever will? If Sarah Palin is dumb, therefore, there's a significantly greater than zero chance that you and I are even dumber.

  • Re:Look Up (Score:1, Insightful)

    by gujo-odori ( 473191 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:26PM (#34796792)

    Or at least you. As unqualified for the presidency as she may be, I'm at least smart enough to recognize that she almost certainly do worse than the current holder of that office, who is even less qualified and who appears to be on track to beat out Jimmy Carter as the least competent holder of that office during my lifetime (not that Jimmy Carter is not a highly competent individual in other areas; he just wasn't competent as POTUS).

  • Re:Look Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:43PM (#34797086) Homepage
    Accomplishments != intelligence. You can be very dumb and very accomplished. It isn't common, but it happens. I don't care what she accomplished or accomplishes, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am not dumber than she is. I also have little doubt she could not have accomplished anything without a lot of smarter people making decisions for her. I would also like to point out that I still am at my job, and didn't quit halfway through, so I consider myself more accomplished in my employment record.
  • Re:Look Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Unkyjar ( 1148699 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:59PM (#34797360)

    Is she more famous than 99% of the people on slashdot? Yeah, I'd say so. But more accomplished? I think it would be safe to say that you believe she's accomplished more than you, but I'm not sure if you could say that about everyone. Of course it all depends on what yardstick you're using to measure accomplishment. Is becoming a state governor more or less of an accomplishment than saving a person's life? Is raising a family more or less of an accomplishment than holding one together in poverty? etc... I think you get my point.

  • Re:Look Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CookieForYou ( 1945108 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @06:34PM (#34797906)

    Except that's not even true.

    His approval ratings are higher than Bush or Carter, he has had more victories for his agenda than most presidents in the first two years, has an astoundingly high approval rating OUTSIDE of the US, certainly higher than Bush and even Reagan during his first two years.

    While the health care thing is probably a non-ideal solution, it is apparently too painful for republicans to realize that it was an almost exact copy of the bill originally drafted by Bob Dole and rejected by democrats for being "too conservative". Frankly, it sounds like partisan hackery or talking-point-itis to claim he's the most incompetent president on record.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.