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  1. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Okay but now extend that thought, what do these other civilizations have that we can subjugate and exploit? What is it that they have that we want?
    The ability to travel through space via whatever technology they'd created, I would assume. From there, humans would simply go out into the universe and proceed to just generally fuck things up, starting with the civilisations we've just encountered to get us out there in the first place. Humans are the cancer cells of the universe.

  2. #122
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    By the time we're able to do that we're already at a stage where organical labour doesn't stand a chance against mechanical labour.
    TIL, no one uses animals for labor anymore because cars and tractors exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Does this alternative biochemistry use an alternative periodic table?
    Why would it need to?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rudol Von Stroheim View Post
    I do not need to play the role of "holier than thou". I'm above that..

  3. #123
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    Why would it need to?
    It's the first time I'm hearing of alternative biochemistry so you tell me if it does need an alternative periodic table. Any explanation I would give will be dismissed as an assumption.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    TIL, no one uses animals for labor anymore because cars and tractors exist.
    Correct. Which is why horse carriages are banned on highways.

  4. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    The only alternative to space travel with technology is space travel without technology.
    Now you're thinking outside the box...congrats on the paradigm shift!

  5. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    It's the first time I'm hearing of alternative biochemistry so you tell me.
    So your first impulse to learning about a new field of science is to assume it uses "an alternative periodic table"? Sure champ.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rudol Von Stroheim View Post
    I do not need to play the role of "holier than thou". I'm above that..

  6. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    So your first impulse to learning about a new field of science is to assume it uses "an alternative periodic table"? Sure champ.
    Yes, because right now it's like claiming there's something other than a rectangle with 4 x 90 degree corners. Quite literally.

  7. #127
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Correct. Which is why horse carriages are banned on highways.
    So we're clear on the analogy here, you'd be using advanced tech to get from place to place and still be using animal labor once you get to those places. Sounds a lot like subjugating alien pops to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Yes, because right now it's like claiming there's something other than a rectangle with 4 x 90 degree corners. Quite literally.
    It's like claiming there's other shapes than rectangles that have different amounts of corners.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rudol Von Stroheim View Post
    I do not need to play the role of "holier than thou". I'm above that..

  8. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    It's like claiming there's other shapes than rectangles that have different amounts of corners.
    Then let's hear it.

  9. #129
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Then let's hear it.
    You can make a whole lot of chemicals that aren't based on carbon. The possible combinations are so varied that comments like:

    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Yeah but complex life necessarily has to be carbon-based.
    just demonstrate ignorance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rudol Von Stroheim View Post
    I do not need to play the role of "holier than thou". I'm above that..

  10. #130
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    It's the first time I'm hearing of alternative biochemistry so you tell me if it does need an alternative periodic table. Any explanation I would give will be dismissed as an assumption.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoth...f_biochemistry

    This is a pretty basic concept, and it isn't remotely a new one. Not being aware of it says a lot about how little you've read into these things.


  11. #131
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    You can make a whole lot of chemicals that aren't based on carbon. The possible combinations are so varied that comments like:



    just demonstrate ignorance.
    A carbon molecule has 6 electrons, which means that, like a cube with 6 sides, the bonds its able to make are perpendicular on each other. It's the only molecule that can do that, it's not even chemistry, it's geometry. The perpendicularity is what allows carbon chains to grow infinitely long, they stay out of each other's way. If the bonds aren't perpendicular, like silicon they will form crooked chains which weaken the strength of each bond with each addition, placing a hard limit on how complex the molecules can grow.

    Could some self-replication happen with a silicon molecule? Perhaps, perhaps something similar to simple amino acids can sprawl from it. Highly unlikely, but to assume it impossible would be just that, an assumption right? And if you want to call that 'life' that would be another leap stacked on top of the implausibility of it all, but I won't deny it either.

    However, to assume that such 'life' would be able to build genes, cells, and a civilization that somehow doesn't have the same limitations a carbon-based civilization would have (because let's not forget, we're now talking about non-carbon based life purely to get around all the aforementioned filters), that's not being open-minded anymore, that's being incredibly close-minded towards the wealth of knowledge enabling us to speculate on life in the universe in the first place, it's esotericism.

  12. #132
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    You can make a whole lot of chemicals that aren't based on carbon. The possible combinations are so varied that comments like:

    just demonstrate ignorance.
    True, but Carbon-based life still seems likelier than the alternatives for a number of reasons: Carbon has been shown to create lots of possible bindings - nothing similar has really been shown for likely alternatives like Silicon, and it is widely available in the universe (it's almost 10 times more common than silicon in the Milky Way - and of the top 5 our life is heavily based on three and the other two are inert gases), and we have seen some of the carbon-based starting-pieces for life in space.

    There can still be post-carbon computer civilizations, and possibly there could even be other forms of non-carbon life - it just seem less likely to start that way.

    For me a more interesting question is how many possibilities there are for Carbon-based life; we know that the genetic coding can vary, and there are more than 20 amino acids, so there might be alternatives - and some have even built alternatives to the usual CATG (or CAUG - which may be a likelier starting pint). Obviously if pan-spermia is true physically discovering aliens wouldn't necessarily give an answer for that.

  13. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoth...f_biochemistry

    This is a pretty basic concept, and it isn't remotely a new one. Not being aware of it says a lot about how little you've read into these things.
    Then you're already acknowledging how unique carbon is. Look how pitiful the alternatives are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forogil View Post
    For me a more interesting question is how many possibilities there are for Carbon-based life; we know that the genetic coding can vary, and there are more than 20 amino acids, so there might be alternatives - and some have even built alternatives to the usual CATG (or CAUG - which may be a likelier starting pint). Obviously if pan-spermia is true physically discovering aliens wouldn't necessarily give an answer for that.
    That's the saner approach for sure. Here's a problem with pan-spermia. You need second generation stars for life to exist and then somehow suffer some calamity that sends it off into space to hit another body on which it can grow. That's going to require extreme odds happening within a very short time. Our universe is only 13.8 billion years old. We're amongst the first life in it, and the odds are quite high that we're the first advanced civilization in the galaxy. That's a tragedy rather than an achievement. It means that most of the advanced civilizations will exist in the trillions of years of lifespan that our galaxy still has. We're the ones that are born and die at the starting line.

  14. #134
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Then you're already acknowledging how unique carbon is. Look how pitiful the alternatives are.
    Nope.

    Also, literally every element is "unique", so that's not even a valid basis for argument.


  15. #135
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    Nope.

    Also, literally every element is "unique", so that's not even a valid basis for argument.
    It depends on how they are "unique": Helium is unique in terms of superfluidity, Carbon is somewhat unique in terms of possibility of bonds (as basis for plastics, sugars, proteins, etc). Which one is most likely to be relevant for the development of life?

    And "uniqueness" shouldn't be overstated as one key insight of the periodic table is that elements share properties in the columns - and thus silicon is the only serious chemical contender.

    And as usual you have clearly not read and understood your link, as most of the linked list of alternatives are in fact carbon-based: specifically 11 still rely on carbon - but differ in other ways, 4 rely on other chemicals, and 2 are non-chemical (one depend on undiscovered physical "particles"; to give an indication of how realistic it is).

    Half of the chemical alternatives are still in the carbon-column (using silicon instead), and the other seem fairly farfetched - one has a note explaining why, and for the other the top search hit was https://galnet.fandom.com/wiki/Heter...cid-based_life - which might be good science fiction, but ...

  16. #136
    Quote Originally Posted by Forogil View Post
    True, but Carbon-based life still seems likelier than the alternatives for a number of reasons: Carbon has been shown to create lots of possible bindings - nothing similar has really been shown for likely alternatives like Silicon, and it is widely available in the universe (it's almost 10 times more common than silicon in the Milky Way - and of the top 5 our life is heavily based on three and the other two are inert gases), and we have seen some of the carbon-based starting-pieces for life in space.

    There can still be post-carbon computer civilizations, and possibly there could even be other forms of non-carbon life - it just seem less likely to start that way.

    For me a more interesting question is how many possibilities there are for Carbon-based life; we know that the genetic coding can vary, and there are more than 20 amino acids, so there might be alternatives - and some have even built alternatives to the usual CATG (or CAUG - which may be a likelier starting pint). Obviously if pan-spermia is true physically discovering aliens wouldn't necessarily give an answer for that.
    Likelier? Oh, yeah, definitely. That's not what's being argued. What's being argued by that account is that it's impossible for it to be otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    A carbon molecule has 6 electrons, which means that, like a cube with 6 sides, the bonds its able to make are perpendicular on each other. It's the only molecule that can do that, it's not even chemistry, it's geometry. The perpendicularity is what allows carbon chains to grow infinitely long, they stay out of each other's way. If the bonds aren't perpendicular, like silicon they will form crooked chains which weaken the strength of each bond with each addition, placing a hard limit on how complex the molecules can grow.

    Could some self-replication happen with a silicon molecule? Perhaps, perhaps something similar to simple amino acids can sprawl from it. Highly unlikely, but to assume it impossible would be just that, an assumption right? And if you want to call that 'life' that would be another leap stacked on top of the implausibility of it all, but I won't deny it either.

    However, to assume that such 'life' would be able to build genes, cells, and a civilization that somehow doesn't have the same limitations a carbon-based civilization would have (because let's not forget, we're now talking about non-carbon based life purely to get around all the aforementioned filters), that's not being open-minded anymore, that's being incredibly close-minded towards the wealth of knowledge enabling us to speculate on life in the universe in the first place, it's esotericism.
    Thanks for treating me like an idiot, but I took organic chem and biochem in college. It's not the only element that will allow for infinite stable chains. They've already theorized and modeled phosphorous based DNA-like info storage chains. To remind you:

    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Yeah but complex life necessarily has to be carbon-based.
    That's your assertion. You even admit it's bullshit when you claim that self replication is possible but unlikely with silicon, which isn't the most likely element to be used. Carbon is easier to use, but if there's a dearth of carbon in an environment, there's nothing to say other things can't be used. Or, alternatively, that life might have started out using carbon, and becoming silicon/phosphorus based. It's a bullshit assertion, that once again just displays your ignorance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rudol Von Stroheim View Post
    I do not need to play the role of "holier than thou". I'm above that..

  17. #137
    Then why didn't you correct me when I said carbon has a covalence of 6? It's 4. I'm displaying my ignorance for all to see here and it all just flies under the radar somehow.

    It's not the availability of an element that determines the length of a chain. Carbon doesn't even need organisms to form these chains, it's already there in crude oil. You're not going to find the same stuff in a heap of phosphorus or in a heap of silicon. It's a unique property of carbon.

    Even if carbon wasn't unique and plenty of other elements are able to form these huge chains as easily, which they don't, then that still doesn't get you to clarifying how that would make this other element more capable of passing all the other hurdles in the drake equation. Because that's ultimately why you need these elements to be able to match carbon in their chain lengths isn't it? You need these elements to then go on and outperform carbon in all the other challenges that limit the existence of intelligent life in this universe.

  18. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    Likelier? Oh, yeah, definitely. That's not what's being argued. What's being argued by that account is that it's impossible for it to be otherwise.
    That's not the only thing argued for, and I'm not ruling out the alternatives.

    However, based on the list of alternatives I wouldn't say that it's a stretch to describe the alternatives to Carbon as pitiful, especially if a list of alternatives to our current life is also dominated by Carbon - and includes hypothetical elementary particles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    Thanks for treating me like an idiot, but I took organic chem and biochem in college. It's not the only element that will allow for infinite stable chains. They've already theorized and modeled phosphorous based DNA-like info storage chains.
    And others hypothesize that a lack of phosphorus makes life in the universe rare (it's part of our DNA and not uncommon on earth).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    Then why didn't you correct me when I said carbon has a covalence of 6? It's 4. I'm displaying my ignorance for all to see here and it all just flies under the radar somehow.
    I was considering posting about that - with a link to Molymod.
    I guess I should have.

  19. #139
    Legendary! Logwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    Radio signals don't "deteriorate" over distance, dude. If you went out 50 light years with sensitive-enough equipment, you could pick up 50-year-old broadcasts.
    Radio waves do degrade over distance. We really have not reach out that far in the whole scheme of things...
    https://www.sciencealert.com/humanit...e-as-you-think

  20. #140
    Quote Originally Posted by Logwyn View Post
    Radio waves do degrade over distance. We really have not reach out that far in the whole scheme of things... https://www.sciencealert.com/humanit...e-as-you-think
    Yea..it's also been noted that the speed of light begins to slow down after a certain distance. ...not that it's really all that big of a deal for anyone but an astrophysicist

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