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Proposed Indicator of Life On Alien Worlds May Be Bogus 112

sciencehabit (1205606) writes with bad news for anyone hoping to use the spectral signatures of exoplanets to determine if their atmospheres have life-enabling compositions. "Call it the cosmic version of fool's gold. What was once considered a sure-fire sign of life on distant planets may not be so sure-fire after all, a new study suggests. The signal—a strong chemical imbalance in the planet's atmosphere that could only be generated by thriving ecosystems—could instead be the combined light from a lifeless exoplanet and its equally barren moon."
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Proposed Indicator of Life On Alien Worlds May Be Bogus

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:18PM (#46864407)
    Uhmmm. What?
  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:29PM (#46864471)

    you know of a world with a billion astronomers!? we don't have to search at all.

  • Re:hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:19PM (#46864721)
    It sure has a chemical imbalance, but then again, I had Taco Bell for lunch...
  • Re:hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:47PM (#46864839)

    If there is no other life in our perceivable light cone, we just might be the universe's best shot at a colonizing species!

    In that case, the universe is very severely fucked.

    Only if you think nature a fool: Adapt or become extinct. The universe shapes the form of its inhabitants, not the other way around. Perhaps you fail to consider that organics are merely a tool to produce more flexible and durable inorganic life forms capable of surviving the harshness of space, similar to the way chemistry and entropic reduction is merely a tool to cause the self assembly of organic forms, similar to the way the laws of physics are merely a tool to crystallize matter out of energy.

    You see, we cyberneticians can transport a simulated intelligence into reality by simply replacing their simulated sensors and frames with real cameras and chassis in the physical world. However, if the intelligence is easily serializable as a string of bits then one can simply copy the intelligence from the simulation directly into a waiting body in the greater reality.

    Naturally, one wouldn't see but a single source of intelligent life per universe, as this would not be conducive to differentiation in the output optimized machine intelligence that emerges therein. Multiple instances of life tend to coalesce into a single species or single organism over time (as evidenced by your own multicellular body). It is more humane to use artificial isolated simulations to produce new ideas and perspectives than to enforce permanent loneliness through mandatory ignorance of a divided universal mind.

  • by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:58PM (#46864891)

    Embarrassing if alien life was checking Slashdot. The editors would convince them there is no intelligent life on Earth.

    "of of" indeed.

  • Re:Nah (Score:5, Funny)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @07:26AM (#46866487)
    “We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

    We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

    The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

    Plastic asshole.”

    George Carlin

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court