atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4265: Come to think of it....

On my way home from work today I was thinking about how I always say that our government is running the printing presses at "emergency maximum". The fact is, the government is printing so much new money it would be impossible actually to print it all. What they're doing in fact is hitting a few keys on a keyboard and the money magically appears in bank accounts.

If it wasn't a matter of shifting electrons around, they couldn't do it.

...and wouldn't it be nice if we could get away with doing that kind of shit?

* * *

Somehow I managed to get through the entire blogroll without finding anything worth blogging about, so here's this: 15 things millennials accept as fact.

I'm calling attention to #9, "GAYS LEAD THE SAME LIVES WE DO"
I’ve heard Jon Stewart say this and it often comes up when discussing gay marriage and adoption. Do any of these people know any fags? They are perfectly wonderful human beings with whom I spend much of my time, but they are also hair-whiteningly decadent. They call me an amateur for having participated in a couple threesomes. They’ve had dozens of eightsomes.
"Hair-whiteningly decadent". Yeah. This really isn't a surprise to anyone who, y'know, has actually read anything about the behavior of homosexuals that doesn't sugar-coat and politically correctify things.

I just wanted to point that out. (What gays do in private is their own affair and I would never dream of telling them they can't do it. Still, because I refuse to accept the myths, I am considered a homophobe. Yeah.)

The rest of his list is equally correct.

* * *

The other day I was thinking about life on Titan. Some folks have suggested that life there might be hydrocarbon-based (like Earth life is based on amino acids and proteins); there's a sentence fragment stuck in my brain about "the diesel trees of Titan". So I was giving some thought to what that life might look like.

If anything had bones, the bones could be made from paraffin or other waxes. At the surface temperature on Titan (-179°C) paraffin would be rock hard, more than hard enough to be structural in Titan gravity (about 0.14 G, roughly 1/8th Earth gravity).

Not much light gets to the surface, so a hydrocarbon-based plant analogue would probably photosynthesize with radio waves instead of visible light. There ought to be enough RF energy hitting Titan to sustain cryogenic life, though it wouldn't be as energetic as terrestrial life (by a long shot). Saturn just doesn't emit radio like Jupiter does, but it's still got plenty of energy to throw around. Titan also has a relatively hot core, so thermal energy would be another source of energy for life to take advantage of, like deep sea thermal vents.

There probably has not been enough time since the formation of the solar system for sentient life to have evolved on Titan; it's simply too cold and there isn't enough energy in its biosphere. (Assuming it has a biosphere.) But if it did--

I imagined what a native's reaction would be to a manned mission from Earth landing there. First off, the lander would be too hot for them to get close to--even with the kind of insulation that would keep the interior at 70° on a planet with an average temperature somewhere near -300° the thing would still radiate waste heat that would be vaporizing-hot to a native of Titan. (Kind of like what would happen if a silicon-based lifeform landed here on Earth: their ship would have to be made of something that doesn't melt at 700° F, and we couldn't get too close to the thing without dying.)

Visible light might be dangerous to them, like x-rays and gamma rays are to us. Same reason--their bodies aren't built to deal with photons that have such high energies, because they simply don't exist in their biosphere, and the chemistry that makes up their metabolism could easily be photophobic.

They might be able to attack and injure humans wearing environment suits, though from a distance because the e-suits would also radiate waste heat. For projectiles, the natives could work water ice the way our forebears once worked flint. Heck, they might even have the ability to melt and cast stuff from water; at -300° ice is pretty strong, though--again--liquid water would be dangerously hot to them. (We work with molten metals all the time, so it's not impossible.) No idea if the natives would do so, though, as I haven't gotten as far as thinking about their psychology or anything. Why would they attack humans? Could the humans have thoughtlessly killed some of them by landing there? Or would the natives just run away from the searing hot thing that came down from above, spitting random death?

It's mainly just fun stuff to occupy my brain while I'm trying to get to sleep, but you never know; I might end up with a story from this.

* * *

While looking up a few facts to write that last bit, I happened across a cross-section of Saturn. Apparently there's a layer which consists of "helium rain". How awesome is that? (Jupiter has a similar layer, but it's helium and neon.)

* * *

Apparently a little bit of astronomy goes a long way.

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