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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Comfort in Wisdom

Posted by Euroranger on September 17, 2013


2012 - 2013 arctic ice sheet

Remember when the Arctic was gonna be ice free soon due to Global Warming? Yeah…about that. Never mind. L to R: Arctic sea ice coverage 2012, 2013. In case yer a GW fanboi, the right pic is what’s known as “more” and not “less”.

If, like me, you were trolling around on the internet within the past 4-5 years you likely ran into an article or forum conversation regarding global warming.  Remember those days?  The world was heating up so drastically that within 30 years the Great Plains would be a desert, Venice would be under 10 feet of water and the Arctic would be a summer paradise?  Droughts, floods, famines, wars, environmental apocalypse was virtually at the door and that we needed to ACT NOW TO SAVE THE PLANET!  Remember all that stuff?  Remember how, if you didn’t simply automatically swallow the “hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies” that proved Global Warming (or “GW” at the time for the in-crowd cool kids) was a thing and that it was undoubtedly linked to increased CO2 emissions by modern human civilization, that you were a global warming denier, didn’t believe in science, was likely some kind of fundamentalist anti-science wingnut?  Remember the “good old days” of being a tree hugging concerned leftist and how absolutely sure you were that anyone who opposed your views on this subject were simply evil, degenerate idiots who lacked the smarts to agree with your views because…”science”?

I hope you remember those days because, well, they’re kind of gone…again.

It all started just a few years ago with actual skeptical people (which apparently didn’t include a whole lot of scientists unfortunately) observing that, hey, it hasn’t gotten warmer where I am.  Those folks were told (you evil, degenerate idiot you) that local conditions vary but, by the-God-we-don’t-believe-exists-but-whose-name-makes-swearing-a-lot-easier, Global Warming Climate Change (the new and improved accepted term because evil, degenerate idiots kept pointing out all the “warming” holes in the theory) was real because SCIENCE (and you’re a stupidhead if you don’t automatically agree).  Then someone who also wasn’t as smart as all the patchouli smelling hipster kids pointed out that the temperatures on Mars was also rising.  Naturally, he too was shouted down as a troglodytic Luddite (even though he was a scientist) because “[h]is views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion,’said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England’s Oxford University” (because it’s not actual science that determines fact but the consensus of a group of people).  I mean, sure, human produced CO2 emissions MUST be the cause of rising global temperatures (even though there are pretty much zero people on Mars…since Gary Sinise left in the alien spaceship anyway) and definitely NOT because the Sun (the giant ball thermonuclear fire that burns at around 27 million degrees at its core) was in a more active than usual cycle (remember kids: CO2 > enormous ball of nuclear fire next door…when it comes to what makes the planet hotter).

And surely you remember being the fool who was chided for looking smug when the whole “Climategate” scandal broke.  You know…that event where hackers got hold of thousands of emails from scientists who were convinced that GW/Climate Change was occurring as a result of human activity and that, unless we radically changed our entire society (pretty much just western society which actually contributes the minority of the CO2 but hey…don’t get stuck on facts NOW) we were all GOING TO DIE?  Yeah, you recall that.  Remember how prior to that scandal one of the issues skeptical people had with this whole cabal of scientists shrieking from the rooftops of all the ivory towers how this was all going to be one enormous environmental disaster was that they wouldn’t grant access to the data they were collecting, wouldn’t honor freedom of information requests so skeptics could truly look at the raw information to see if these dire predictions were true and how the scandal exposed emails wherein the scientists were worried about how to spin observations that showed their “climate models” that were all apparently forecasting global annihilation weren’t jiving when they should be…and that those findings should simply be ignored or maybe put through a algorithm that would churn out “acceptable” data that would jive better with their models?  Remember how if you pointed at that and said that such activities aren’t those of people on the up and up and that perhaps a less biased, less fueled-by-millions-of-research-dollars studies MIGHT be a better idea…that you were once more pilloried for being a backwards, delusional fool?

Chicken Little press conference.

Pictured above: someone who rational, level-headed people probably wouldn’t trust with a forecast of the future OR the latest demiGod to those on the left who seem to exist solely for the purpose of wringing their hands over the latest manufactured crisis-du-jour. Either or.

Anyway, remember all those good old days of…just 3 years ago?  Yeah, well, turns out, if you were thinking with your own brain and thought that taking the word of a bunch of leftist organizations who seemed a whole lot more interested in how to leverage the scare about Global Warming into a socialist wealth redistribution scheme via “carbon offset credits” wasn’t a sound basis to frantically be doing the scientific community version of Chicken Little…step up to claim your prize.  Turns out that an early report leaked from the IPCC (the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is trying to figure out how to spin revelations that all those peer reviewed studies who were all in lockstep uniformity just 20 years ago that predicted global temperatures would rise by 0.2C (a big number on a global scale)…had only risen 1/4 of that (0.05C).  Yeah, it seems that of those 117 studies who all uniformly foretold climate doom back in the 1990’s…that were the backbone of the entire Global Warming/Climate Change crowd…only 3 were even remotely close and 114 (that’d be a whopping 97.4%) weren’t just wrong but, on average, overestimated the amount of global warming that actually ended up happening by more than 200%.

What does this have to do with wisdom though?  Only this: wise people realize that a new field of study that suddenly gains enormous prominence, the attention of the entire globe and sees hundreds of millions of research dollars being handed out to anyone willing to conduct a global warming study MIGHT be susceptible to influence, bias and corruption because (get this): scientists are people too.  People are subject to the same weaknesses and sins and scientists are no exception and scientists AREN’T machines incapable of mistakes or outright lying…they’re people just like you and me.

Does this settle the idiocy of the ever panicking leftist crowd vis-a-vis Global Warming/Climate Change/the Sky Is Falling?  Of course not.  You’d have to believe that facts and subjective thought have any effect on such thinking and, subjective observation long ago ruled out that theory.  What it does do though is to re-affirm that cooler heads (not an intended pun but an apt one nonetheless) are called for and, in this instance (as in most others), those who say “stay the course, let’s see if this is real or not” turned out, yet again, to be right.

Let’s be entirely clear here for a moment: the globe DID get warmer.  There seems to be a lot less proof now that CO2 or other greenhouse gasses are to blame for the rise than was previously thought but the fact still remains that we did get warmer.  Also, regardless of whether there is a human origin for such a rise it’s still a good idea to move our economies away from a fossil fuel basis for energy supply (and towards cleaner, renewable sources).  This is simply a good idea even minus the typical hysterical climate reasoning.  What skeptics like me have always said is that while we need to move towards those goals, there is no emergency thundering toward us that should stampede us collectively into stupid, half-baked solutions to problems that don’t really exist.  And that’s why wisdom, sometimes, is comfortable.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

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Yet another gone

Posted by Euroranger on August 27, 2012


So…one of my childhood heroes died this past weekend.  My hero was an old man.  He led a full and very interesting life.  His passing marks what I think will be the beginning of a era that marks a long slide backward for, well, not just our generation or even our country but perhaps all of mankind.  This is sad to me not because of the slide we’ll all experience but because it’s entirely avoidable.  It’ll happen anyway and when it’s done someone will one day finally stick their head up, look around and ask “hey, whatever happened to that guy” and someone else will have to say “oh, he died” and we’ll all collectively realize (or maybe not) that we’ve lost something that used to be a really important part of being an American.

Yes, my hero was an American.  The funny thing about heroes: there are a lot of them.  Another funny thing about heroes: they tend to be heroes because of a single defining moment or event.  My hero was one of many such heroes.  He was an ordinary man that did extraordinary things.  He also tends to be associated with a single defining moment for so many people and indeed, when I was a kid, he was my hero for that one thing he’d done.  However, my hero was a hero’s hero because as I got older and learned more about him, he got even more heroic.  Normal heroes have their moment in the sun and then they either bask in it for a time or pass out of it and move on.  My hero kind of didn’t really do either.  He accomplished something nobody can top but rather than even linger a moment in the limelight as quite possibly the world’s most famous man, not only did he move on he never really moved into the limelight in the first place.  Unlike so many others, he didn’t try to parlay his fame and accomplishments into a political career, didn’t endorse products, didn’t seek out new publicity or even try and capitalize on his old fame.  In fact, he refused most requests for interviews, quit autographing various items when he discovered they were being resold for large amounts of money.  He even had to go to court twice to keep others from cashing in on his fame and when he won both times…he donated the suit proceeds to charities.

Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 on the way to the Moon

Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 on the way to the Moon

Neil Alden Armstrong personified service, modesty, accomplishment and humility as no person I’ve ever been aware of before.  He was not only the first man to walk on a heavenly body other than the Earth, he was also the man who saved Gemini 8 from the first in-space emergency and did it with a cool head and no doubts.  He oversaw the commission that investigated the Challenger disaster and eventually went on to sit on the board of the company whose O-rings were found to be at fault for the disaster…solely so he could help ensure such never happened again.  He walked on the Moon in July of 1969 but upon returning said he’d step aside and let other astronauts take his place and less than 2 years later, he retired from NASA altogether.  When he and the crew of Apollo 11 returned and after their 45 day tour of the United States to celebrate their achievement, when Armstrong had his pick of literally thousands of options for what he’d do next, he chose to go to Vietnam with Bob Hope and visit the troops there during some of the darkest days of the war.

There is literally so many things to say about Armstrong that define his humility and humble nature that I can’t even begin to list them all.  If I just keep it to Apollo 11 (and ignore the years as a navy aviator, his service during the Korean War, his years as a test pilot, his astronaut career during the Gemini program) Armstrong:

  • Manually landed the lunar lander, Eagle, after realizing via several emergency alarms and observing that they were erroneously drifting toward a hazardous rocky area.  Later it was discovered that Armstrong’s takeover from the automatic landing system likely saved their lives and that he’d used nearly all the planned and reserve fuel to do so.
  • That while on the Moon, and in the midst of a fierce United States/Soviet Union space race, Armstrong left a small package of memorial items to deceased Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov, and Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee.  For having just over 145 minutes on the surface of the Moon and the fact that nearly every action was scripted down to the second, this was a memorial he insisted, as mission commander, be included in the itinerary when he learned of it.
  • After they re-entered the Eagle and closed and sealed the hatch, Armstrong and Aldrin discovered that, in their bulky spacesuits, they had broken the breaker ignition switch for the ascent engine.  Rather than radio Houston with an emergency Armstrong broke off and used part of a ballpoint pen and managed to push the circuit breaker in to activate the launch sequence.
  • Despite being the first man on the Moon and there being preserved video of his first steps, in the entire Apollo 11 photographic record, there are only five images of Armstrong partly shown or reflected…mostly because he was the man taking the pictures.  No direct still photographs of the man who took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” while on the Moon.

But perhaps the truly most remarkable thing about Neil Armstrong was how he passed on.  He died on a summer Saturday afternoon, perhaps the man credited with the most famous accomplishment in the history of mankind, and his passing was merely noted by most media outlets.  In a day and age where network news channels broke into their scheduled programming to gnash teeth, whine, moan and wring hands at the passing of Steve Jobs, Armstrong’s passing wasn’t mentioned for hours after the event and even then initially only in the scrolling news line at the bottom of the screen.  Obit writers spend more time writing about people who are still alive so when they do pass, the article is complete, without error, and unemotional.  The only real writing they do when someone does pass is fill in the blanks about how and surviving relatives, etc.  There should have certainly been more on hand for someone like Armstrong, without a doubt and by the fact that there wasn’t is a testament not only to the man’s desire to live his life privately but that he was successful in doing so.  That even when America discovered they’d lost a hero of the stature of a Neil Armstrong that they collectively shrugged their shoulders is more an indictment of how far we’ve fallen as a people and how much further we’ll still fall as our only crop of astronaut heroes who have walked on the surface of another worlds starts to die off from old age and nobody standing behind them to replace them.

Godspeed Neil Armstrong.  You’ll be missed by those who know how great you were and how much poorer we all collectively are with your absence.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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Please make it stop

Posted by Euroranger on February 14, 2012


Obi Wan the Wise

Also, this is not the Hope and Change you were looking for...but it can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

So, just a quick word today on something I kinda need to get off my chest.  I’ve made no secret of my dislike for Barack Obama’s presidency.  I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid like so many of my fellow Americans did 4 years ago.  I didn’t fall for all the Hope and Change slick marketing bullshit like so many did.  I didn’t go and cast a vote one way or the other based solely on the race of one of the candidates like so many did.  Barry is a product of the Chicago political machine and as Obi Wan once sagely observed, “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”  He also immediately followed that up with, “We must be cautious” but I guess nobody stuck around long enough to give THAT warning any real thought.  Anyway, despite my absolute misgivings over putting a complete political novice in charge of the world’s most prosperous and powerful country, for the sake of that same country, I really wished I was wrong and that he’d turn out to be at least not a complete unmitigated disaster of a president.  However, as we all know now, the only thing Barry’s managed to accomplish with his presidency, to me so far, is to make Jimmy Carter’s presidency look not quite as bad by comparison…and that’s not a good thing.  This all gets spit out here today because of the budget Obama squatted out a couple of days ago and, well, it really just pisses me off.

Why angry?  Well, let’s start with the nearly universally accepted acknowledgement that this budget will never be passed.  That’s right.  Barry knows it.  Both sides in Congress know it.  Every credible media outlet bothering to comment on it knows it.  Quite simply: it’s not a budget…it’s a campaign platform.  In other words, it’s outright lies.  The man is STILL the president of this country for almost another entire freakin’ year and something as serious to the country right now as our collective finances…and he completely abandons leadership and responsibility in favor of fucking campaigning.  Goddamn it Obama you asshole, YOU’RE ALREADY THE FUCKING PRESIDENT, START DOING THE GODDAMNED JOB!  I don’t think it’s too much to ask that this pathetic excuse for an entirely two-dimensional, manufactured, Chicago stuffed shirt grows a brain, spine or balls and does the job the idiot majority of the voters in this country elected him to do 3 years ago.  I mean, for crissake, when he won last time he won a FOUR year job.  It’s still got a year to go and he’s simply abandoning the job and diverting his attention to ask us to give him the same job for four MORE years?  How about you do the job you’re supposed to be doing now, do it well and, hey guess what?…people will re-elect you because you’re doing a good job.

Obama facepalm

"Oh shit...math. They told me there'd be no math."

But you’re not, you never intended to and this (our collective future) is just one goddamned great big game to you, isn’t it?

You said 3 years ago that you’d halve the debt.  When you were sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2009 the debt held by the public was $6.3 trillion.  The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (your own guys!!!) estimates that the debt held by the public will be about $12.8 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2013.  Half of $6.3 trillion would be $3.15 trillion.  Gee Barry, you only missed the mark by $9.65 trillion dollars!  Thaaaaat close.  You didn’t halve the debt, YOU FREAKIN’ DOUBLED IT!!!!  How does the most powerful man in the world not know the difference between “multiply” and “divide”?

So, after last year’s wildly popular, record setting $3.73 trillion budget proposal (I have to describe it as “wildly popular” because English simply doesn’t have an adequate term to relate the concept of “what-the-hell-is-the-matter-with-you” outrage) and huge public backlash against such ridiculous economic recklessness, what does the president’s budget this year look like?  Oh, it’s merely a $3.7 trillion budget adding an additional $1.3 trillion in new debt.  Keep in mind, the entire debt up to Obama’s presidency was $6.3 trillion.  His budget last year (2012) produced a $1.327 trillion dollar deficit and this one (2013), if passed (which, to be fair doesn’t have even the theoretical snowball’s chance in hell) would add another $1.3 trillion.  The magic of his first two years?  Yeah, that was $1.267 trillion (2010) and $1.560 trillion (2011). Hoping that Barry’s adding/subtracting skills are magically better than his multiply/divide confusion, that’s $5.454 trillion in new debt…IN JUST FOUR YEARS!  It took us 230+ years to amass $6.3 trillion, Barry would stack up an additional 87% to what was there when he took office…in just his first administration.

I have to break this part out so it doesn’t get lost in all the clutter.  In each of Obama’s 3 recorded years and his now one requested year, his budgets have never produced LESS than a $1.2 trillion debt.  But since I’m about to compare him with his immediate predecessor (whom he initially blamed for all this) we need to use similar measures and for that I need to express the Obama budgets in Bush era budget terms.  Barack Obama’s budget debts:

  • 2013 – $1300 billion (proposed)
  • 2012 – $1327 billion (all the rest are actual from here down)
  • 2011 – $1560 billion
  • 2010 – $1267 billion

Bush’s last 4 budgets by contrast:

  • 2009 – $1413 billion (that’s actual…his submitted budget had just $407 billion)
  • 2008 – $455 billion
  • 2007 – $161 billion
  • 2006 – $248 billion
Deficit chart

If you're like Barry, numbers can sometimes be hard to grasp. How about a picture? Does a picture help?

Those are pretty stark numbers folks.  Look, let’s be clear here for a moment: while I don’t by any means like Barack Obama as a president, I didn’t much care for Bush either.  But the hard evidence is that in Bush’s last 4 years his TOTAL submitted budgets added less to the debt than any ONE of Barack Obama’s last three SINGLE years.  That means that 3 years of Obama budgets are worse, debt-wise, that TWELVE years of Bush’s worst.  People flat out hated Bush and thought he was dumber than a stump…but is this brains by comparison?  Really?

Finally and personally, while Barry has yet to find a program he can’t resist throwing bushels of borrowed money at, this proposed 2013 budget of his, while claiming to highlight “new manufacturing and new sources of energy and new skills and education for the American people” actually CUTS NASA’s budget…which was already just $18.7 billion for 2012 to $17.7 billion for 2013.  For crying out loud, one of the few government programs that has ever done anything to further the human condition and this jackass can’t figure out how to fund it to the tune of better than 1/2 of one freakin’ percent of the entire federal budget?  For instance, he proposes a cut for Mars exploration of $226 million or 38.5%.  Lopping nearly 40% off scientific exploration and our future as a species in space…from the asshole whose administration gave Solyndra $535 million?  This idiot shouldn’t be trusted with his own milk money much less the finances of the United States of America.

Anyway, the entire upshot of all this (get this) is the generally perceived wisdom in the media (which has got to be a bigger oxymoron than any of us realize reading that) that this budget is Barry’s campaign platform for the 2012 election.  Pause a moment and think on that.  Obama introduces a budget solely as a political move (it’s not meant to actually, you know, run the frickin’ country…it’s solely for his personal quest to get re-elected) and it’s this gawdawfully bad.  I mean, if it’s anyone with a clue, he introduces a budget that he could point at and say “I’m working hard here to get the job done”.  But no.  Not Barry.  This document is analogous to a slacker at work, in the week before his annual review, showing up at the office in his bathrobe and then proceeding to take a nap in his office.  Not hustle and get some important work done to show he’s competent and capable.  No, double down on everything he’s done wrong to that point and go all in.  Mind you, maybe Barry IS intelligent enough to know that his record to this point is so absolutely awful that nothing he can do this late will save it…so he abandons doing the job at all and goes full balls out on a smoke and mirrors (Hope and Change again anyone) marketing campaign.

You see, while I don’t much care for any of the Republican candidates, literally anyone would be better in the Oval Office than this failed Chicago community organizer.  I don’t know if we can take another 4 years of him.  I know we certainly can’t afford it.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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Home Alone? Maybe not.

Posted by Euroranger on February 2, 2012


Facehugger

Let's hope we're not talking about discovering new species of pests...cause these would probably be worse than roaches.

So, if it’s not evident by now, I’m kind of a fan of space travel and science-y type stuff like that.  When I was younger, my quest to become a scientist (I really liked and was quite good at chemistry) was neatly derailed by an impervious mental block I had with calculus.  I took calculus a grand total of 4 times in my education career and never scored higher than the mid-40s in any attempt.  For whatever reason my brain, which could do the spatial gymnastics of chemistry and quantum physical states just fine, simply refused to grasp the concept of imaginary numbers.  It is what effectively stopped my education in the sciences and diverted me to history…and it is a lack I still lament to this day.  I can grasp almost every obscure, theoretical conversation to be had in science but apply math to it?  Not a chance.

Anyway, when I was younger I devoured astronomy.  I attended an evening course at a local observatory when we lived in West Virginia, knew everything there was to know about the Apollo missions and I even vaguely recall being awakened and plopped down in front of the TV when I was still less than three years old so I could see Neil Armstrong take man’s first steps onto the Moon.  Since that moment, if it had to do with space exploration, I would read it.  While I couldn’t professionally contribute to the field I was so interested in, I would sometimes reflect on a question that science still strives to answer today.  Now this will sound corny and way more than a little nerdy but I’d find myself considering the many factors that had to go into the rise of life on Earth and, given those factors and the combinations they had to occur in, what the chances were for there to be a parallel occurrence elsewhere in the galaxy.  Like for instance, whenever there’d be a UFO show on TV and they’re showing artists renderings or even grainy, fuzzy photographs of actual UFOs, I’d think of all that implied about intelligent life elsewhere and what certain things you could infer if you were to accept that an alien race was buzzing around our general vicinity in ships that sometimes look suspiciously like hubcaps.

This ends up sounding something like this.  If there’s a spaceship crewed with more than 1 alien you can assume:

  • They have physical form (they need spaceships to travel)
  • With physical form you can assume they’re not invincible (they need protection from the hazards of space, can’t breathe vacuum, etc)
  • They have a culture (a single being cannot, on its own, construct a spaceship) and they are curious (because they went to the trouble to build something to leave their home with)
  • Their culture features cooperative relationships (needed to collectively build a spaceship)
  • They have education and a means of preserving learning (because a single generation can’t learn everything it needs to learn in order to build a spaceship)
  • This suggests they’re capable of appreciating past and future tense of time (not necessarily a given) and it suggests they age and die (also, not necessarily a given)
  • If they’re here then they’re capable of empathy because they aren’t warlike nor attempting to contact us directly when they’ve encountered us.  They put themselves in our position (hell, this may also suggest they’ve BEEN in our position)
  • Considering just the existence of the spaceship suggests they’re accomplished in language, logic, mathematics, metallurgy (which also suggests other skills like mastering fire, mining, etc), measurement, electrical engineering, locomotion (whatever matter to energy propulsion system they use), medicine, agriculture (they need a way to sustain themselves away from their world which suggests coming up with excess food for a long trip or being able to continually produce food during the trip), government (some kind of collective effort is needed for many of these)
  • If you consider just the metallurgy aspect then you can infer they’re not the only species on their planet as evolutionary forces existed for them to be pushed in the direction of discovery of something durable and more workable than the rocks they almost certainly found around themselves early in their existence.  Being a hunted species is a powerful competitive force and leads one to try and develop better and more effective weapons with which to defend oneself.  Mining (the way they get metals) suggests there is a fuel source for fire and that they had achieved some system wherein some individuals had time to take from food provision to turn to curiosity and discovery of raw materials they could turn into metal.
  • You can also assume a number of things about their home world such as it has a source of free running water which, in turn, suggests that it’s mean temperature is probably not too different from our own planet’s.  Their planet provides at least a modicum of materials to constitute a food source and this suggests plant life of some variety at some point in their evolution which further suggests water, light and warmth are some key necessary conditions for life to form.
  • The planet they come from probably has a somewhat similar atmosphere as combustion typically requires oxygen to occur and you’d need combustion as a precursor to being able to reproduce heat at will (for survival) and great amounts of heat for forging and smelting (again with the metallurgy).  Because water pretty much has to be present, the likelihood is that oxygen is there too (being 2/3 of what makes up water).
  • Their planet likely has a liquid metal center to it which can be suggestive of age and planetary mass.  The liquid metal center would generate a magnetic bubble around the planet that would allow life to form and evolve without the excessive interference of cosmic rays or nearby stellar radiation.  Planets without such a center wouldn’t have a protective shield against such radiation and life would find it much more difficult to arise and evolve (although maybe not impossible).
  • Given the likely necessity of a magnetic radiation shield (ours is called the Van Allen Belt, by the way) and the attendant implied planetary size range, you can also possibly deduce a range for gravitational strength…which in turn can suggest possible physical forms for the aliens.  For instance, if they can build and explore but do so without having to physically make contact this suggests they have vision of some variety which also infers their bodies have cellular structures which can be differentiated into different organs and such.
GJ 667 Cc

Artists concept of what an earth-like planet might look like. Note the lack of Lady GaGa, the Geico gekko, and any Jersey Shore episodes. It could be raining pure sulfuric acid there and it's still likely a better place than Earth.

Anyhow, just some of the things my brain does when I’m not gainfully occupying it by playing online video games.  It wanders like that.  Oh, and the reason I mention this at all is because of this news article I just read earlier today got me to thinking about just that very alien life.  It seems a couple of the assumptions I’d formed over the past many years since childhood are reasonable.  Scientists say they’ve located a nearby system (a trinary star system though!) that has a planet that sits smack in the middle of that system’s habitable zone…which is the zone where surface temperatures are just right for liquid water.  Within just the next few years our telescopes will be able to not only detect these planets via the gravitational wobble they impart to their parent star(s) but we’ll be able to visualize them directly (gather light reflected from them).  Once that happens, it means, in theory that we’ll be able to do a spectral analysis of that light…to see what colors got reflected by the planet.  If we see lots of green and blue…that suggests plant life on landforms and oceans.

Exciting times to be paying attention to science, for sure.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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