Finding a water world certainly increases our chances of finding life outside of the solar system. But don't hold your breath waiting for scientists to find an "extra-solar civilization." While life may be common in the universe, it's probably mostly bacterial. On Earth for example, life appeared almost as soon as the crust cooled, but consisted almost entirely of microbes for about 4 billion years. All the interesting stuff has happened only in the last 500 million years. If that's how long it takes for life to get off the ground, then extraterrestrial civilizations are likely few and far between.Comment Posted By Jonathan On 21.12.2009 @ 19:29
I highly recommend that you read "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe," by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee. Ward and Brownlee argue that the presence of intelligent life on Earth is the result of an astoundingly unlikely set of circumstances. While microbial life is probably common throughout the universe, complex metazoans may be vanishingly rare. That would explain Fermi's paradox.
Someone else recommended that book to me after I wrote a similar post to this one last year. Or maybe it was early this year.
At any rate, even if it isn't "vanishingly rare" it is probably rare enough that it may arise every couple of hundred million years. And then all the things that could destroy it come into play so that a fully mature species capable of space travel might have occurred only 2 or 3 times in the entire history of the universe.
Then again, an alien may be sitting right next to you right now and you'd never know it because he chooses not to have you see him. But he and his buddies in the Galactic Federation are scoping us out, seeing if we're worthy of membership.
I would not be surprised at either scenario.
ed.Comment Posted By Jonathan On 3.08.2009 @ 15:24
Finnegan said that he’d like to see a show “where torture backfired.” All the experts agreed that torture, even when used in the show’s “ticking bomb” context, would never work.
The experts are dishonest. One need only observe the spectacular success of the interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammed to know that torture absolutely works, and breaking is a question of "when," not "if."
I'd much rather listen to people make up crappy excuses not to torture than crappy excuses to torture, but neither is a satisfactory substitute for honest debate on the topic. Yes, torture works, but is it worth the cost in terms of our morality and prestige? That is a question worth answering.Comment Posted By Jonathan On 12.01.2009 @ 20:31
Bush no doubt told Obama all about the flying saucers. They're Obama's problem now. :)Comment Posted By Jonathan On 11.11.2008 @ 08:49
What a surprise. Obama goes 18 months of a campaign without pulling the race card, then he mentions it once at a fundraiser and you come down on him like it's his identity. If race isn't such a sore spot for you, then why do you react so violently towards it when it encompasses about 1/10000th of the material he's said in the past week? Just take a look at your column:
Barack Obama used his race
He is the oppressed minority.
oppressed minorities in this country
Anything they define as racism is accepted
the color of his skin
Rev. Al Sharpton
race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Fr. Michael Pfleger. someone struggling to suppress his own prejudice
Can you try any harder to create an "us" versus "them" mentality here? I don't really await your response, because it's predictable. "Look, look, the commenter is doing exactly what I thought he would!" You mean you make a post that tries to mock minorities while identifying Obama with them much stronger than he has ever identified himself as such, and we're not supposed to call it what it is?
What the fuck do you think a political race is all about except "us versus them" you nitwit? You Obama people scare the shit out of me - looking for a world where everyone agrees about everything - just as long as what people agree on is what you think.
Obama is the one who is playing identity politics - and doing so for the most anti-democratic, dictatorial reasons imaginable; he wants to inoculate himself against any criticism at all. Your candidate's skin color isn't at issue; it's the thickness of his skin. He can't stand people disagreeing with him.
You have an authoritarian, anti-democratic mindset that makes you more dangerous than Nixon, Bush, and any other 5 presidents put together. Get your head out of your ass and recognize the fact that there are two sides in this debate. Believe what you want but don't dismiss your opponents as racists or "dividers" of the American people when their only crime is that they disagree with your political views.
ed.Comment Posted By Jonathan On 25.06.2008 @ 09:55
Excellent analysis, sir! I have added you to my blogroll.
Crush LiberalismComment Posted By Jonathan On 19.03.2007 @ 07:12
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.
Thomas Paine, "The Rights of Man", 1792Comment Posted By Jonathan On 16.01.2007 @ 07:35
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
Darrell: Is that you?
Shawn, people like you have been calling us morons for years. But we shut you up because Presdient Bush won twice.
You know where you can put your hate.
Mr Moran, in reply to me, wrote above:
and fantasies that only a leftist twit believes
Is a "leftist twit" more stupid or smarter than a "moron".Comment Posted By Jonathan On 14.01.2007 @ 14:30
Thanks for taking the time to give me a professional perspective. I haven't been here very long and I was unaware that you are an intel professional. I could tell that you were knowledgeable from your post #2 on this thread.
I've been lurking over at Intel-Dump.com where there are several knowledgable people and after reading many posts over a period of time I have come to much the same conclusion as you state in your post.
I realize that intel is a land of smoke and mirrors with rarely any clear cut answers, that's one of the reasons that I react so stongly to things like "slam dunk there are WMDs". I'm not trying to take "cheap shots" so much as I'm trying to stimulate some debate on issues.
You are obviously privy to far more information than I am, I'm just a lower middle class guy with an internet connection and a burning desire to know more than I do. That being said, I would have assumed that if there were any evidence of WMD programs in Iraq the Bush administration would have made sure to make the information public, particularly so after the very embarrassing lack of any WMDs in Iraq. To the best of my recollection I have not read of any such WMD program in Iraq.
As for Tenet, I really have no way of judging his qualifications. A private citizen can only assume that the Director of the CIA would have access to the best and latest information and would not deliberately distort that information for political purposes. That assumption was apparently wrong and Tenet did indeed distort information.
When dealing with the rhetoric coming from the Bush administration now, I use the old adage which Bush so famously mangled "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me". When you combine the falsehoods coming from Tenet with some of the pollyannaish statements from other members of the Bush administration it gives little reason to believe anything they say.
Was not the White House Iraq Group "cherry picking" intel in order to make the threat from Iraq appear greater than it was? Looking at the Downing Street Memo it would certainly appear that way to the layman. As I understand it, no official sources have either denied the authenticity of the DSM or questioned it's accuracy. Is that so?
On 24 February 2001 during Powell's visit to Cairo, Egypt. Answering a question about the US-led sanctions against Iraq, the Secretary of State said:
We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq...
The quote above would lead the layperson to believe that Saddam was indeed contained and that he was no threat to either his neighbors or the US. I'd be interested in your take on this.
My personal opinion is that striking directly against Iran at the present time would be a foolhardy thing to do, given that our ground forces are all committed already and that the Iranians showed during the Iran Iraq war that they have no problem with taking staggering losses in order to achieve a military objective. From what I understand Iran actually sent waves of children to clear mine fields, each one clutching a plastic key to get them into paradise.
Once again, thanks for taking the time to try and educate me and any others that might be reading this.Comment Posted By Jonathan On 13.01.2007 @ 18:43
You are having conversations with yourself, going wildly off base, posting comments not even tangentially related to the post. And when you respond to someone, you never respond directly but rather bring up new straw men, logical fallacies, and fantasies that only a leftist twit believes.
I don't try to be annoying and I'm sorry that I annoy you, I shall try to improve. I'm used to a freewheeling conversation style, I cut my online rhetorical teeth on usenet where anything goes and there is no moderation at all. On usenet every statement you make is challenged and you have to be prepared to back up anything you claim with documented facts.
It is a documented fact that Rumsfeld overruled Shinseki's estimate of the number of troops needed for the occupation of Iraq, I have provided links to that fact. It is also a documented fact that Abizaid confirmed Shinseki's original estimate to have been correct in hindsight, I have provided a link to that fact. I have also provided a link to the fact that Rumsfeld threatened to fire anyone who even mentioned planning for the occupation. Do you think that Brigadier General Scheid lied when he made that statement? "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." - U.S. Military Academy Honor Code
The Army's own counter insurgency manual calls for a troop to population ratio of twenty troops per one thousand civilians. The arithmetic involved is grade school level to show that the US forces in Iraq are now and have been woefully inadequate to fight a counter insurgency war. That is why the effort in Iraq has been so remarkably unsuccessful, despite the best efforts of our honorable troops. The kinetic combat portion of the war went remarkably well, the counter insurgency part of the operation has been a major flop.
Unlike virtually all your other posters, I have provided links to reputable information sources for my claims.
When I've gone off topic it is in answer to posts that other people have made.If I have made logical fallacies or errors of fact I wish that you would point them out to me so that I may correct the error of my ways. Almost none of your other posters seem to want to respond to my posts so I have to conclude that they either agree with me or have no answer to the points that I make.
If I have presented conspiracy theories, I wish that you would point them out to me so that I may correct my thinking. If I have presented straw men, I wish that you would point them out to me since it is not my intention to present such arguments.
I note that there are very few actual conversations on your blog, most all of the posts either agree with your positions or disagree with them and they are mostly statements of opinion rather than facts.
I have been posting over at Balloon-Juice.com, they have a very freewheeling conversational style there although it is too much of a leftist echo chamber for my tastes. I'm not interested in me-too type posting. Everyone's point of view is expressed, both left and right and I haven't seen anyone get banned for anything yet. There are a lot of ad hominem arguments and personal insults, I don't care for either and don't engage in such.
I'm sort of surprised that you do not welcome more traffic, postings and click throughs. The more active your blog is, the more traffic you are going to attract. I find the comments section of most blogs a good bit more interesting than the blog posts themselves, I'm interested in conversation. If I wanted just to read or hear other peoples opinions I could stick to the newspapers, television or radio, but I find them boring and banal.
After this post I fully expect to be banned, you do not appear to wish to have your opinions or those of your fellow conservatives vigorously challenged and I'm unable to keep from doing that.
I've been banned from quite a lot of sites, both left and right for challenging dogma in a vigorous manner, If I get banned from one more, I'll just move on somewhere else.
Anyway, take care and have a good day. I wish you luck in your online endeavor.Comment Posted By Jonathan On 13.01.2007 @ 09:50