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Raiders of the Lost Lake

Article #286 • Written by Alan Bellows

In the early 1990s, a Russian drilling rig encountered something peculiar two miles beneath the coldest and most desolate place on Earth. For decades, the workers at Vostok Research Station in Antarctica had been extracting core samples from deep scientific boreholes, and analyzing the lasagna-like layers of ice to study Earth's bygone climate. But after tunneling through 414,000 layers or so-- about two miles into the icecap-- the layers abruptly ended. The ice below that depth was relatively clear and featureless, a deviation the scientists were at a loss to explain. In search of answers, the men drilled on.

Unbeknownst to the Russians, their drill had mingled with the uppermost reaches of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world; a pristine pocket of liquid whose ecosystem was separated from the rest of the Earth millions of years ago. As for what sort of organisms might lurk in that exotic environment today, no one can really be certain.

In prehistoric times the Antarctic continent was much more temperate, with lush tropical foliage and thriving wildlife. But millions of years ago the Earth's extra-flaky crust caused the landmasses of Australia and South America to gradually peel away from Antarctica, creating a ring of open sea around the southernmost continent. This allowed a massive oceanic current to begin encircling the pole, deflecting warmer northerly currents away from Antarctica's shores. Without warm water to moderate the temperature, a scab of polar ice developed over the formerly forested lands.

Roughly forty million years later, in 1996, the men and women of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) urged their Russian colleagues to halt their indiscriminate drilling.

From Columbia University
From Columbia University

Airborne radar and satellite altimetry had finally managed to penetrate the thick mound of ice over the south pole, and after electromagnetically groping every rock and crevice in Antarctica, a flat region 155 miles long and 31 miles wide was detected below Vostok Station. As improbable as it seemed, SCAR researchers surmised that a liquid lake must lie just below the Russians' steadily advancing bore shaft. In order to avoid contaminating the huge lake with surface bacteria and drilling chemicals, the tunneling had to be stopped.

Lake Vostok was found to have approximately the same surface area as the great Lake Ontario in North America, with more than thrice the depth. Separated from sunlight by two miles of solid ice, the subglacial lake is a place of profound darkness and bitter cold. The water temperature is estimated at 3 degrees below zero Celsius, but it maintains a liquid state due to the crushing weight of the polar ice slab; the temperature at which water freezes is significantly lower under such phenomenal pressure. It is also suspected that geothermal heat from the ground below adds some ambient warmth. According to the ice cores extracted by the Vostok Base scientists, the lonely lake has been sealed beneath the ice for at least 500,000 years, but possibly as much as 25 million.

As requested, the Russians temporarily suspended their drilling efforts pending further study. Their borehole-- which was filled with sixty tons of kerosene and freon to prevent re-freezing-- stopped within a mere 300 feet of the lake surface. The anomalous ice they had encountered turned out to be lake water which had long ago frozen to the bottom of the slowly migrating glacier. These ice samples provided a few insights into the lake's anatomy, such as its lack of salt, and its absurd overabundance of oxygen; under extreme pressures oxygen will more readily dissolve in water. If the drilling over Vostok had continued uninterrupted, thereby encroaching upon the liquid portion of the lake, the hapless Russians might have been assaulted by a towering geyser of ancient water and liberated oxygen due to the astonishing pressure of the hidden body of water.

Unusual microbes found in the ice above Lake Vostok
Unusual microbes found in the ice above Lake Vostok

In the wake of the lake's discovery, there arose considerable debate regarding the likelihood of finding life there. The environment is remarkably similar to the dark and cold ocean below the surface of Jupiter's ice moon Europa, so the discovery of life in Vostok could have interesting extraterrestrial implications. Due to the cold, the complete absence of sunlight, and the toxic levels of oxygen, many scientists are certain that Lake Vostok is sterile. That, however, would be a scientific first, since never before has a completely lifeless body of water been found on Earth. Extremophile organisms have turned up in the unlikeliest of places, including within volcanic vents on the ocean floor, in the rocks deep in the Earth's crust, and in frozen arctic soil.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that cold-tolerant creatures could thrive in the waters of Lake Vostok, overcoming the oxygen saturation with extraordinary natural antioxidants. But millions of years of evolutionary isolation in an extreme environment may have created some truly bizarre organisms. This notion is supported by the ice samples drawn from the ice just above Lake Vostok, where some unusual and unidentifiable microbial fossils have been found. But the possibility that they are merely contaminates has not yet been completely ruled out.

At present, a number of researchers are mulling over methods to investigate the lake's unique ecosystem without defiling its pristine nature. The introduction of any organisms or chemicals from the surface could irreversibly pollute its waters, and there is a small but real possibility that the lake's alien organisms could be dangerous to humans. To date, the best candidate seems to be the cryobot, a fittingly phallic penetrating probe designed to gingerly work its way into the virgin lake. Its heated tip would melt a channel straight into the ice as it unspools a power and communications line behind it. The melted water would quickly re-freeze behind the cryobot in temperatures which linger around minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and once it finally reached the water it would eject a small submersible hydrobot to capture images and take measurements.

The Cryobot is happy to see you
The Cryobot is happy to see you

Though most scientists are proceeding with considerable caution, and some advocate avoiding the lake altogether, there are reports that the Russian researchers intend to restart drilling in order to reach the lake before their rivals. The Antarctic Treaty of 1961 guarantees all nations the right to conduct non-military scientific study on the continent, therefore little can be done to intervene if the men at Vostok station insist upon proceeding. Several smaller lakes have since been identified beneath the Antarctic icecap, but geologists speculate many of these are linked by a network of under-ice rivers, so contaminating just one lake might taint them all beyond repair.

If science seizes the opportunity to properly explore this perplexing pocket of liquid, it would be equally enlightening whether there is a plethora of life or a complete absence thereof. If the lake is found to be sterile, its desolate waters will provide some measure of insight into life's practical limitations. But if living things do indeed lurk beneath the thick Antarctic icecap-- even if only in microbial form-- their presence will demonstrate that life is made up of truly resilient stuff, with scientific implications well beyond the scope of our planet.

Update 06 February 2012: The Russians seem to have penetrated the ice and reached the upper reaches of the subglacial lake. Further penetration is on hold due to international outcry for more precautions.



07 March 2013: "Russian scientists believe they have found a wholly new type of bacteria in the mysterious subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday. The samples obtained from the underground lake in May 2012 contained a bacteria which bore no resemblance to existing types, said Sergei Bulat of the genetics laboratory at the Saint Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics."



07 July 2013: "Analysis of ice cores obtained from the basin of Lake Vostok, the subglacial lake that Russian scientists drilled down to in 2012, have revealed DNA from an estimated 3,507 organisms. More info."

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 06 August 2007. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
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139 Comments
Meathammer
Posted 06 August 2007 at 03:45 pm

FIRST!!!


Meathammer
Posted 06 August 2007 at 04:00 pm

It's only a matter of time before they find that temple that the Predators keep the Aliens in.

You're playing a dangerous game, science!


rsmithx
Posted 06 August 2007 at 04:04 pm

Truly Damn Interesting, and also damn cold!


tednugentkicksass
Posted 06 August 2007 at 04:11 pm

"and after electromagnetically groping every rock and crevice in Antarctica"-- aam I the only one to find this hilarious?

I think I saw something about this in Sci-Am, but I don't recall reading anything about the Russian drill team. Those Russians must really like extremely deep holes. Maybe they think the Earth is filled with vodka or something.

On a more serious note-- Has anybody seen the new species (pl) they've found in Antarctic waters earlier this year? Pretty interesting stuff.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 06 August 2007 at 04:12 pm

Meathammer said: "It's only a matter of time before they find that temple that the Predators keep the Aliens in.


You're playing a dangerous game, science!"

What a bad movie. Funny, but BAD.


oldmancoyote
Posted 06 August 2007 at 04:30 pm

Wait a minute. The Ruskies get their vodka by drilling for it?


Christopher S. Putnam
Posted 06 August 2007 at 04:37 pm

"You're playing a dangerous game, science!"

What a bad movie. Funny, but BAD.

What about The Thing, then? With TWO alien monsters running around down there, there's like a... 200% chance we're going to uncover one of them! If I understand how statistics work.

Curse you, science!

Wait a minute. The Ruskies get their vodka by drilling for it?

Only in a perfect world.


agooga
Posted 06 August 2007 at 05:06 pm

Yeah, I know I'm a Neanderthal and all, but I really don't give a rip if they keep this ice lake uncontaminated or not.

Say they explore conventionally with drills and classical apparatus. Say they find microbes at the lake level. If said microbes exist at ground level as well, you can either dismiss them or accept the possibility that they can exist at both levels.

If you find "exotic" microbes with no analog on the surface, then you may assume that they came from the lake level. If the exotic bugs are interesting, maybe something can be learned or developed from the discovery.

Ultimately, if these bugs are not useful in some way, what's the point? And their usefulness comes not so much from where they were found but in what knowledge can be gained from them, IMHO.

Recovery of the bugs is important-- that's something that does not appear particularly feasible with the space dildo probe.


Bewildered
Posted 06 August 2007 at 06:22 pm

Didn't "The Scientists" find microbes thriving in nuclear waste? Was there a DI article on that? That was quite unexpected, so i don't see why there wouldn't be a whole plethora of lovely little bugs n stuff down there. Gee's people poke around a lot and look in some pretty weird places for things. I'd love to see what's down there, but if it means smashing in some poor bugs environment that has kept them safe and sound from us all these years, is it really worth it? The more this sort of thing happens, the more i think we are a virus, infecting every nook and cranny we can get to...


Old Man
Posted 06 August 2007 at 07:09 pm

I think it's important to go down there and find out what's lurking (we will anyway). We need to co-opt the Russians into the Great Ice Dildo Plot first, however. It might take the combined experience of men all over the world to plunge a phallus so deep into mother earth.


Rage Is The New Black
Posted 06 August 2007 at 07:17 pm

Anyways, I'd be less scared about messing up this environment, and more scared about some weird virus that could be in the lake, and unleashed upon humanity by when and if we bring that ice dildo contraption to the surface.


jerry maxwell
Posted 06 August 2007 at 07:27 pm

maybe i may be wrong here with this but i have always thought that ice is fresh water because salt makes it melt... am i wrong here? i was also thinking that the pressure of 2 miles of solid ice would surely create enough heat to melt the ice, thereby creating pockets of unfrozen water? surely at that depth the water would be unable to freeze due to pressure and geothermal warming (due to the lake's proximity to antarctic faultlines and volcanism)? i dunno. sounds like the ruskies were drilling for vodka indeed. (why is it that the russians always drill deeper than the americans?) there is something unmicrobial, even fishy, about their claims i think. as far as contaminating the underground rivers of antartica i seriously doubt we could do any worse than a two-mile hole filled with kerosene. am i not right in saying that kerosene is formed from oil which is formed through the bacteriological decay of carbon-based living organisms? so in my opinion the damage has already been done. let them drill. antarctica needs some new tourist spots and a huge freshwater geyser would be well worth visiting... i would....


ieatlettuce
Posted 06 August 2007 at 09:42 pm

Hmm... I thought that the salt makes water freeze at a lower temperature, but not that it stops it freezing altogether. Also, the article mentions the effects of pressure and geothermal pressure being the reasons that it is unfrozen.

My question is, did the Russians just happen to be digging in the right place? What made them dig there instead of somewhere else with a couple of miles of ice?


textual_harassment
Posted 06 August 2007 at 09:51 pm

jerry: Salt makes ice melt by lowering its freezing/melting point. Water that's completely saturated with salt will still freeze if you get it cold enough.

I don't think it's heat that's causing the water to stay liquid; as the article said, the lake is three degress below freezing. Normally, if you put enough pressure on a liquid it will turn solid. A good example is the Earth's core, which is solid iron. It's hot enough down there to melt iron, but the pressure of the Earth keeps it in the solid state.

Water is peculiar, though, in that when it freezes it forms a crystal and increases in volume. My guess is there's just not enough room for this transformation to take place under such pressure.

As for contamination, you'll note that the Russians stopped before they got to the liquid part of the lake. So nothing has gotten into the water yet.

agooga:
You're assuming that we can learn everything there is to know about this environment in one trip. With more knowledge and better technology people might be able go in and discover something that we never even thought to look for the first time.

And if we do find something down there that's useful or interesting, we don't want to destroy it in the process. Scientific explorers learned that lesson the hard way long ago.


spk
Posted 06 August 2007 at 10:00 pm

jerry maxwell said: "as far as contaminating the underground rivers of antartica i seriously doubt we could do any worse than a two-mile hole filled with kerosene. am i not right in saying that kerosene is formed from oil which is formed through the bacteriological decay of carbon-based living organisms? so in my opinion the damage has already been done. let them drill. antarctica needs some new tourist spots and a huge freshwater geyser would be well worth visiting… i would…."

The kero is contained and confined to one spot where it is insulated from spreading. i think getting it into a pristine water body which is subject to circulation and convection would be considerably worse. And environmental damage shouldn't be rated based on how it affect humans or our biosphere. there is a responsibility to minimise spoiling of areas like this that are completely untouched by our destructive, clumsy ways


Lisette
Posted 06 August 2007 at 10:12 pm

Leave the lake alone!!!

DI article as usual...
lasagna-like layers of ice... Earth's extra-flaky crust... awwww now I'm just hungry!!!


supercalafragalistic
Posted 06 August 2007 at 10:31 pm

Didn't the X-Files do an episode or a movie on aliens in Antarctica? What if any implications could their be for health care futuristic cures and technology to encounter life that has adapted to such an oxygen rich environment? Don't plants give off oxygen? Maybe all their oxygen that they gave off over the trazillions of eons is trapped in there? What implications and potential applications could there possibly be toward the advances in technology that would allow humans to live in more extreme climates than Earth? I look at it this way: If we hadn't decided to explore space we wouldn't have amazing gizmos like calculators. The Earth's waters are underexplored given their proximity to us compared to the moon and planet Mars. Should we take the time to probe deeper into their depths many great discoveries, creative breakthroughs and exciting applications await us as humans. That is my optimistic view. A more pessimistic view would be that bottled water companies everywhere are salivating over a great new product idea.


Illustrator
Posted 06 August 2007 at 11:02 pm

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!
The Russians have been drilling for vodka since time began.
6000 years ago Eve & Adam were taking a walk through Eden
and asked Boris & Natasha, what's with all the holes in 'your'
front yard? 'This place is too perfect' snarled Boris.
Or was it 13 billion years ago, no matter, to this day Antarctica
is the only continent without apple trees.

Good work and DI as well


EinsteinsBrain
Posted 07 August 2007 at 12:15 am

I think the Russians are planning a suprise attack... Drilling a tunnel to the United States. Once they take over, they will intall a puppet President who will take away all of our rights. I think they will come up under the White House. Wait, we are too late. We already have a puppet President in the White House. They are already here... Condi Rice translates the orders.


EinsteinsBrain
Posted 07 August 2007 at 12:16 am

*install... ok, I see it


Old Man
Posted 07 August 2007 at 12:22 am

Actually the flash animation above shows that there is a thick layer of ice moving over and through the lake the whole time, like a conveyor belt. Over a long time, it replaces all the water in the lake. This means that there is a whole layer of ice off to one side that contains a high concentration of lake run-off, including any microbes, etc. Scientists could study this first, instead of penetrating the lake's icy hymen with a hot phallus.

Another thing about the cryobot- when it goes deep, ice will re-form after it. Does this not grip the cable and prevent further, er... penetration?


HarleyHetz
Posted 07 August 2007 at 04:07 am

I think the cable unwinds itself from within the phallic device...kind of like...well nevermind...


nona
Posted 07 August 2007 at 04:39 am

Hmmm- a lost lake, frozen underground for centuries - bet they find an underwater dinosaur - which they'll then let loose to roam the earth's oceans, devouring people - I see a disaster movie coming.


just_dave
Posted 07 August 2007 at 05:29 am

Half a million year old lake under two miles of ice? I say don't worry about it, just blast on in & learn what we can from it. Al Gore says the ice will all be melted in a couple of decades anyway.


JamesCuthbert
Posted 07 August 2007 at 05:38 am

Interesting article probobaly won't amount to much tho, no aliens no strange creatures just a lake with nothing in it. Although apparently according to the article this could be equally as interesting. hmmmmm. I want aliens!


Evil Twin
Posted 07 August 2007 at 06:51 am

Can't we just leave well enough alone? The lake has been just fine without us for all these years, why ruin a good thing?

Let the Russians drill for their vodka somewhere else.


S0122017
Posted 07 August 2007 at 06:54 am

It sure doesn't sound like them Russians where out looking to study pristine lake water. What where they hoping to find out there? Like any self-respecting country they do a lot of scientific research, but in Antarctica? I thought Russia had perpetual lack of funding for any research for which there is no expected financial gain... I mean, even less than other countries. Where they hoping to find something else to make their troubles worthwhile?

Also, without reading the name of the autor, I knew who wrote it when I read the word "phallic". Im not judging, just pointing out.


Gadz
Posted 07 August 2007 at 06:55 am

Oh those hapless russians!


Trykt
Posted 07 August 2007 at 07:57 am

I think you might want to leave out the penis jokes next time, Alan. It seems people can't leave a phallus well enough alone.

Question about the probe (implied word "anal" notwithstanding): Wouldn't the probe pick up bacteria and other organic scum on its trip through the top ice? Surely it would still contaminate the lake below.

Also, anyone making a pool on how long before the water is bottled and sold?


Tink
Posted 07 August 2007 at 08:14 am

jerry maxwell says: ...i dunno. sounds like the ruskies were drilling for vodka indeed. (why is it that the russians always drill deeper than the americans?)...

Maybe they have longer "Poles". ;-P

Lisette says:...lasagna-like layers of ice… Earth's extra-flaky crust…

I think this puns for our "chef" floj. :+)

supercalafragalistic says:...A more pessimistic view would be that bottled water companies everywhere are salivating over a great new product idea...

Trykt says: ...anyone making a pool on how long before the water is bottled and sold?

Yep, that was my first thought; yum, bet that would taste good. lol.

Illustrator says:The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

EinsteinsBrain says:...the Russians are planning a suprise attack… Drilling a tunnel to the United States...

They don't have to drill, dear, they are closer than you think! A little over twelve miles away.

http://www.mapquest.com/atlas/main.adp?region=alaska

Now check this out!...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070806/ap_on_sc/gene_popsicle;_ylt=AhvMat7QET.D9aINfMGrzYMPLBIF

Entombed microbes flourish again in lab
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
Mon Aug 6, 5:04 PM ET WASHINGTON - Microorganisms locked in Antarctic ice for 100,000 years and more came to life and resumed growing when given warmth and nutrients in a laboratory

Damned Interesting! Thanks again Alan, and uh, keep it up. ;-P


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 07 August 2007 at 09:07 am

Virgin ecosystem? . . .. . . . . Penetrate it immediately!


Alan Bellows
Posted 07 August 2007 at 10:46 am

Trykt said: "I think you might want to leave out the penis jokes next time, Alan. It seems people can't leave a phallus well enough alone."

Perhaps you're right... but judging from the photo of the cryobot I knew that such comparisons were inevitable either way. When it comes to humor, sometime you've got to take the low-hanging fruit (no pun intended).


agooga
Posted 07 August 2007 at 11:23 am

agooga:

You're assuming that we can learn everything there is to know about this environment in one trip. With more knowledge and better technology people might be able go in and discover something that we never even thought to look for the first time.

Like what?

Ice. Rocks. Water. Maybe some tiny bugs.

I honestly don't care whether they use the silver pleasure probe or an oil well drill-- or just pack it up and forget about it. Honestly, it seems like a waste of time.


wargammer
Posted 07 August 2007 at 11:26 am

jerry maxwell said: "maybe i may be wrong here with this but i have always thought that ice is fresh water because salt makes it melt… am i wrong here? i was also thinking that the pressure of 2 miles of solid ice would surely create enough heat to melt the ice, thereby creating pockets of unfrozen water? surely at that depth the water would be unable to freeze due to pressure and geothermal warming (due to the lake's proximity to antarctic faultlines and volcanism)? i dunno. sounds like the ruskies were drilling for vodka indeed. (why is it that the russians always drill deeper than the americans?) there is something unmicrobial, even fishy, about their claims i think. as far as contaminating the underground rivers of antartica i seriously doubt we could do any worse than a two-mile hole filled with kerosene. am i not right in saying that kerosene is formed from oil which is formed through the bacteriological decay of carbon-based living organisms? so in my opinion the damage has already been done. let them drill. antarctica needs some new tourist spots and a huge freshwater geyser would be well worth visiting… i would…."

the Russians drill deeper becasue they know that oil is not a product of dead lizards but a natural product of the earth


S0122017
Posted 07 August 2007 at 11:59 am

Alan Bellows said: "Perhaps you're right… but judging from the photo of the cryobot I knew that such comparisons were inevitable either way. When it comes to humor, sometime you've got to take the low-hanging fruit (no pun intended)."

That bot just looks like a cylinder to me. I think what you are experiencing is called an obsession. Luckily it can be treated nowadays.


S0122017
Posted 07 August 2007 at 12:02 pm

wargammer said: "the Russians drill deeper becasue they know that oil is not a product of dead lizards but a natural product of the earth"

What, like magma? Complex hydrocarbons dont spontaneously come into existence.


Tink
Posted 07 August 2007 at 12:34 pm

S0122017 said: "That bot just looks like a cylinder to me. I think what you are experiencing is called an obsession. Luckily it can be treated nowadays."

Awww, don't Cryobot it! ;-)


Jeffrey93
Posted 07 August 2007 at 03:02 pm

Evil Twin said: "Can't we just leave well enough alone? The lake has been just fine without us for all these years, why ruin a good thing?


Let the Russians drill for their vodka somewhere else."

What actually makes a lake be "just fine"? If it can further science..go for it. It's not as if we have plans to have Oil tankers crashing through this lake...or dumping our industrial waste down this drill hole. It'll be "fine" if we explore it or not, so might as well explore away.

Whoever asked if the Russians just happened to be drilling in the right place....this lake is the size of Lake Ontario. That's f'ing huge! Stumbling across this would be like stumbling across the Grand Canyon, you didn't really have to be looking for it, you just find it due to it's enormous size.
http://www.fedpubs.com/mpchrt/maps/mappix/wslont.jpg


oldmancoyote
Posted 07 August 2007 at 04:42 pm

If the drilling over Vostok had continued uninterrupted, thereby encroaching upon the liquid portion of the lake, the hapless Russians might have been assaulted by a towering geyser of ancient water and liberated oxygen due to the astonishing pressure of the hidden body of water.

With modern directional drilling techniques they could come up underneath the lake. That would eliminte most chances of contamination. New B.O.P. (blow out preventers) would contain that darned old geyser.


agooga
Posted 07 August 2007 at 05:30 pm

oldmancoyote said: With modern directional drilling techniques they could come up underneath the lake. That would eliminte most chances of contamination. New B.O.P. (blow out preventers) would contain that darned old geyser."

True-- but it seems that the water would freeze before it got to the surface. I doubt there'd be a geyser at all, but what do I know?


oldmancoyote
Posted 07 August 2007 at 05:52 pm

agooga, maybe it would come out like a giant popsicle?


tednugentkicksass
Posted 07 August 2007 at 08:55 pm

I just figured out the Russian propensity for hole-diggery. Read the article "The Gravity Express" and you'll probably see where I'm going with this. They want the world to be 42 minutes away from obliteration at all times. Those cunning S.O.B's.

I would like to see spending for underground nuclear payload defence mechanisms. We won't be truely safe until an operable system is in place.
Though I can see the point in digging for underground vodka deposits with a temperature below freezing. Delicious mixed drinks for everybody.


vonmeth
Posted 07 August 2007 at 09:44 pm

Meathammer said: "FIRST!!!"

"...there are reports that the Russian researchers intend to restart drilling in order to reach the lake before their rivals."

Seems humans have a large desire to yell "FIRST" ....


Meathammer
Posted 08 August 2007 at 01:37 am

vonmeth said: ""…there are reports that the Russian researchers intend to restart drilling in order to reach the lake before their rivals."


Seems humans have a large desire to yell "FIRST" …."

pfft.....jealous


fvngvs
Posted 08 August 2007 at 05:40 am

Tink said: "Awww, don't Cryobot it! ;-)"

Now *that* one was truly evil, Tink. No more vodka for you tonight.


Existentialist
Posted 08 August 2007 at 06:06 am

There is an editorial in the NYT this morning (albeit regarding Russian activity at the *other* pole) that might shed some light at to Russian motivations for exploration:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/opinion/08borgerson.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1186578020-taKgxT50wN8e5shCNtZnfg

Although I do like the vodka theory!


MiladyM
Posted 08 August 2007 at 06:42 am

Meathammer said: "It's only a matter of time before they find that temple that the Predators keep the Aliens in.

You're playing a dangerous game, science!"

HECK YES!!! Or maybe they will find some nasty germ strand that we do not have any Immunity for and it will cause us all to be infected with rage like in the Movie 28 days! .....Now where is that nice piece of liver I had..yes , my Fava beans and Chianti is a nice added touch too...fuffffffffff...lol


MiladyM
Posted 08 August 2007 at 06:47 am

Meathammer said: "pfft…..jealous"

lol!!!!


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 08 August 2007 at 07:43 am

Jeffrey93 said: "What actually makes a lake be "just fine"? If it can further science..go for it. It's not as if we have plans to have Oil tankers crashing through this lake…or dumping our industrial waste down this drill hole. It'll be "fine" if we explore it or not, so might as well explore away.

"

It depends on what's down there, really. If there's something we decide is worth having, can we trust our greedy race not to do whatever it takes to get it?
Also, we can't know what kind of damage we can cause by exploring it. Is it possible that drilling a hole to this lake would relieve the extreme pressure that allows it to exist? The risk of damage to this contained ecosystem far outweighs what we could benefit from learning about it. We know it exists and we know why. Isn't that enough? I can think of a number of other places on this planet that would have been better off unprobed by us.


wh44
Posted 08 August 2007 at 08:07 am

Nicki the Heinous said: "The risk of damage to this contained ecosystem far outweighs what we could benefit from learning about it. We know it exists and we know why. Isn't that enough? I can think of a number of other places on this planet that would have been better off unprobed by us."

A fairly large percentage of the population does not regard anything that does not affect humans as worthy of protection. If you want to argue damage, you have to argue potential effects on humans: if we bung it up now, we won't be able to learn how microbes can survive in ice cold vodka ;-).


J.K.
Posted 08 August 2007 at 10:41 am

Meathammer: Jealous, no...just saying people like you need to grow up. Everytime I see someone do that I wish I had the access privledges on each place where it happens just to erase the posts as it's childish and serves no purpose.

Tink: *groan* ...bad, very bad joke.

...and on the post about the 'ice popsicle,' I'd personally hate to be on the receiving end of that ice dildo bullet at the potential velocity it could be escaping that well kerosene'd(oiled) passage. *Worded it that way to stick with Mr. Bellows lovely line of fallous jokes. Don't blame him for going there, most people may not admit it, but there always will eventually be some joker to call it out so that was a good pre-emptive strike.

Personally I'd love to see the contents of that lake as either way dead empty of life, stuff higher we know of, or newer would all be equally fascinating and reveal many new and valuable things about life in general.


Jeffrey93
Posted 08 August 2007 at 11:40 am

Nicki the Heinous said: "It depends on what's down there, really. If there's something we decide is worth having, can we trust our greedy race not to do whatever it takes to get it?

Also, we can't know what kind of damage we can cause by exploring it. Is it possible that drilling a hole to this lake would relieve the extreme pressure that allows it to exist? The risk of damage to this contained ecosystem far outweighs what we could benefit from learning about it. We know it exists and we know why. Isn't that enough? I can think of a number of other places on this planet that would have been better off unprobed by us."

The risk of damage to this contained ecosystem far outweighs what we could benefit from learning about it. Oh really? For all you know the cure for cancer is down there. Is that ecosystem not worth curing cancer?
Besides, we didn't know it existed. We were doing fine before finding it...and we'll be doing fine, if not better, after exploring it.

If I told you there was a newly discovered planet called Trashbgone....and then told you we are going to dump our garbage and nuclear waste on it, would you be upset that we are destroying a planet that, until just now, you didn't know existed?

Maybe this will make what I'm saying more clear.....I tell you today that you have an Uncle you have never met or even known about. I tell you tomorrow that he died. Do you cry over the loss?
This "lake" isn't doing us any good by leaving it be, it might not do us any good by exploring it...but it can't hurt. If it weren't for those Ruskies we wouldn't even know it existed....so how can we possibly get upset over exploring it? If it weren't for exploration we wouldn't have even known about it. Doesn't make sense to explore to find things...then once you find them...just pack up and go home.


Trykt
Posted 08 August 2007 at 12:14 pm

Nobody ever answers my questions. :(

I'm gonna go Cryobot it (seriously that was awesome).


agooga
Posted 08 August 2007 at 01:13 pm

How the hell do even know about TrashBgone? My people have been keeping it a secret for millenia...


Meathammer
Posted 08 August 2007 at 04:00 pm

J.K. said: "Meathammer: Jealous, no…just saying people like you need to grow up. Everytime I see someone do that I wish I had the access privledges on each place where it happens just to erase the posts as it's childish and serves no purpose....(later).... *Worded it that way to stick with Mr. Bellows lovely line of fallous jokes..."

Ummm....saying first is childish, but dick jokes are ok?

Geez, lighten up.


oldmancoyote
Posted 08 August 2007 at 05:00 pm

MiladyM said: "HECK YES!!! Or maybe they will find some nasty germ strand that we do not have any Immunity for and it will cause us all to be infected with rage like in the Movie 28 days!

I'm more afraid the water might be used on someone's vegetable garden. Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes anyone?


mjunk
Posted 08 August 2007 at 05:01 pm

Of course we have to explore it. Look, this is an ecosystem that has been seperated from us for anywhere from 500,000 to 25 million years. For all intents and purposes, it is another world, just as surely as if it were an alien planet. Would we stage a mission to Mars just to stop at orbiting the planet and looking down? Yes, be careful; yes, do not contaminate it; but for pete's sake, we have to explore it. That is what we do.


Tink
Posted 08 August 2007 at 05:02 pm

Dictionary Search Results

Sorry, we have no matches for fallous
Did you mean fallows?

Other Suggestions:
fallouts , falls , callous

*****

Definition of phallus

NOUN: pl. phal·li or phal·lus·es

1. Anatomy

A.The penis. ...

2. A representation of the penis.....

3. The immature penis considered in psychoanalysis as the libidinal object of infantile sexuality in the male.

I love it, you guys crack me up!


Bewildered
Posted 08 August 2007 at 11:01 pm

Jeffery93 - Maybe the dodo had the cure for cancer? Or some other animal that's now extinct due to human presence...


Mez
Posted 09 August 2007 at 08:13 am

Trykt said: "I'm gonna go Cryobot it"

HAHAHAHAHAHAH! I love it.


tarteauxpommes
Posted 09 August 2007 at 09:56 am

Holy crap this is cool. I must say, all the phallus jokes in the world must have been used up now within this article alone.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 09 August 2007 at 11:51 am

Jeffrey93 said: "The risk of damage to this contained ecosystem far outweighs what we could benefit from learning about it. Oh really? For all you know the cure for cancer is down there. Is that ecosystem not worth curing cancer?

Besides, we didn't know it existed. We were doing fine before finding it…and we'll be doing fine, if not better, after exploring it.

If I told you there was a newly discovered planet called Trashbgone….and then told you we are going to dump our garbage and nuclear waste on it, would you be upset that we are destroying a planet that, until just now, you didn't know existed?

Maybe this will make what I'm saying more clear…..I tell you today that you have an Uncle you have never met or even known about. I tell you tomorrow that he died. Do you cry over the loss?
This "lake" isn't doing us any good by leaving it be, it might not do us any good by exploring it…but it can't hurt. If it weren't for those Ruskies we wouldn't even know it existed….so how can we possibly get upset over exploring it? If it weren't for exploration we wouldn't have even known about it. Doesn't make sense to explore to find things…then once you find them…just pack up and go home."

I wasn't discussing the sentimental value of the lake, it's not a matter of being upset or not. Destroying something unknown is a bad idea whether we need it or not, because we don't know what effects us and what does not. The unknown planet Trashbgone could have effected us positively without us knowing and before we know what we've done, it's destroyed, damage done, no going back. Say that a man came across an animal in an unknown forest and mankind hadn't seen this animal before. He captures it, studies it, euthanizes it so he can take it apart and see how it works. We could find out afterwards it was one of the last breeding pair of a species that keeps the population of disease-infested rats that may cause an outbreak. Shouldn't we have backed away from it in the woods and observed it from afar? I'm not saying we should ignore this lake, but maybe we should adapt a more 'hands-off' approach to how we learn things.


Kao_Valin
Posted 09 August 2007 at 01:34 pm

The reality is no one knows exactly what is down there. Someone will go there no matter who says "oh you can't do that". With that in mind, it would be a good idea to perform the deep penetration lovingly and gentle for mother earth's first time than to let some evil hymen smasher have thier way and not call the next day.

Exploration does not carry a negative connation, people do. Purposely going out of our way not to know something simply because things are "okay the way they are" is actually practicing ignorance. That isnt an insult, just a proper description of the reaction I noticed. I placed no negative connatation on that, so none should be read from what I said.

There isnt anything inherintly wrong with the pursuit of knowledge. However, haphazardly pursuing knowledge at all costs is something different and inherint of those of similar character. These thoughts should be kept in mind when comming to conclusions about these sort of things.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 09 August 2007 at 01:59 pm

Kao_Valin said: "The reality is no one knows exactly what is down there. Someone will go there no matter who says "oh you can't do that". With that in mind, it would be a good idea to perform the deep penetration lovingly and gentle for mother earth's first time than to let some evil hymen smasher have thier way and not call the next day.


Exploration does not carry a negative connation, people do. Purposely going out of our way not to know something simply because things are "okay the way they are" is actually practicing ignorance. That isnt an insult, just a proper description of the reaction I noticed. I placed no negative connatation on that, so none should be read from what I said.

There isnt anything inherintly wrong with the pursuit of knowledge. However, haphazardly pursuing knowledge at all costs is something different and inherint of those of similar character. These thoughts should be kept in mind when comming to conclusions about these sort of things."

Good call. That's what I meant, but you clarified it somewhat. We needn't be so reckless.

P.S.
Hymen Smash would be an excellent name for a metal thrash band. ha ha!


Jeffrey93
Posted 09 August 2007 at 04:08 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "If I told you there was a newly discovered planet called Trashbgone….and then told you we are going to dump our garbage and nuclear waste on it, would you be upset that we are destroying a planet that, until just now, you didn't know existed?


Maybe this will make what I'm saying more clear…..I tell you today that you have an Uncle you have never met or even known about. I tell you tomorrow that he died. Do you cry over the loss?
This "lake" isn't doing us any good by leaving it be, it might not do us any good by exploring it…but it can't hurt. If it weren't for those Ruskies we wouldn't even know it existed….so how can we possibly get upset over exploring it? If it weren't for exploration we wouldn't have even known about it. Doesn't make sense to explore to find things…then once you find them…just pack up and go home."

I wasn't discussing the sentimental value of the lake, it's not a matter of being upset or not. Destroying something unknown is a bad idea whether we need it or not, because we don't know what effects us and what does not. The unknown planet Trashbgone could have effected us positively without us knowing and before we know what we've done, it's destroyed, damage done, no going back. Say that a man came across an animal in an unknown forest and mankind hadn't seen this animal before. He captures it, studies it, euthanizes it so he can take it apart and see how it works. We could find out afterwards it was one of the last breeding pair of a species that keeps the population of disease-infested rats that may cause an outbreak. Shouldn't we have backed away from it in the woods and observed it from afar? I'm not saying we should ignore this lake, but maybe we should adapt a more 'hands-off' approach to how we learn things."

You must have a lot of regrets. Maybe if we did this...this would have happened, maybe if we didn't do that this wouldn't have happened. You can't second guess everything. Yes we need to explore as much of our planet as possible. Yes we need to put effort into not damaging the planet as we explore. However, if I may cause 'some' damage to the planet by exploring it....well....sorry, I'm still exploring.
Think of the damage we cause to our own atmosphere each time we blast a shuttle into orbit. That's a helluva lot of pollution from one source, and for what?

The science and technology we gain from space exploration may one day help us deal with pollution, even that pollution that was caused by the space exploration itself.

It's opportunity cost, sorta. How much could we benefit compared to how much could we suffer. Benefits are unknown so they would always outweigh the negatives. This lake might be the fountain of youth. This lake might have some unknown gases that will escape into our atmosphere and remove 100% of the pollutants and restore the ozone layer. Or....we might pollute a lake, kill some species and not benefit at all. Personally...I'll take the risk of destroying this lake assuming that we probably won't and we will probably benefit from it's exploration somehow. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Can't win 'em all. You've gotta break some eggs to make an omelet.


Jeffrey93
Posted 09 August 2007 at 04:17 pm

Bewildered said: "Jeffery93 - Maybe the dodo had the cure for cancer? Or some other animal that's now extinct due to human presence…"

Maybe the Dodo could have been the source of a disease that would have eventually wiped out mankind? We just happened to wipe out the Dodo first.

If an animal is extinct because of humnan presence. Tough. I'm not condoning brazingly invading nature and destroying it. But if I survive and am maybe better off at the expense of another animal....I'll miss that animal.

This is like those stories you hear about where people were paralyzed after their vehicle veered off the road and into a ditch.....because a squirrel ran across the road. I'm not saying aim for the squirrel....but don't put yourself out by trying to avoid it.

Explore cautiously...but remember...we are what is important, not the microbiological life that might be found in some sub-freezing lake under a bunch of ice. I am not saying the little critters that might be down there have no importance at all, but the amount of importance they have is weighed by how they can benefit humans.


Bewildered
Posted 09 August 2007 at 05:51 pm

Good point :-) Although I personally feel that the search for cancer cures is in vain, cancer is a symptom of a troubled environment (or mind maybe?), and the human body trying to adapt unsucessfully causes tumors. The cause(s) need to be found and eliminated. Therefore, the changes we make to a pristine environment could bring about the same environmental changes that we have brought upon ourselves (or may have been brought upon us by explorers trying to repair their own ill's) and so the cycle repeats...


Jeffrey93
Posted 09 August 2007 at 05:55 pm

Everything has a cure, the problem is figuring out what is more practical. Eliminating the causes or finding the cure. Since we don't really know what causes cancer....a cure still seems to be the best bet.

I say scrap the Space Program and find a cure for cancer. But there is big money in both....government contracts for new space shuttles.....and costly cancer treatments. So I predict the status quo will be maintained for quite some time.


Nonemo
Posted 10 August 2007 at 07:13 am

Interesting discussion... indeed. But I just can't concentrate on a suitable reply for the sudden craving I have for lasagna... 414,000 fricken' layers of lasagna! Imagine that... Just imagine it.


boredwithfour
Posted 10 August 2007 at 08:18 am

The phallic bot will suffer unprecendented shrinkage.


Meathammer
Posted 10 August 2007 at 04:42 pm

boredwithfour said: "The phallic bot will suffer unprecendented shrinkage."

WOW, how could we have missed that until now?!?


supercalafragalistic
Posted 10 August 2007 at 05:58 pm

In the X-Files movie Mulder ends up in Antarctica and rescues Scully from an alien craft buried in the ice.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 10 August 2007 at 06:24 pm

I've been away for awhile...forgot how hilarious some of you guys are!

What a very interesting article. Didn't those Ruskies already try drilling a few holes in a futile attempt to...well I don't know what they hell they were doing but I remember reading somewhere it got so hot they had to stop.
I think they need to approach this very carefully instead of just drillin' on through. Do some tests first with the ice before they go sucking up "sterile" water. They don't know what's in there; for all we know a virgin form of the bubonic plague is down there. Curiosity killed the cat, remember?

I didn't know Mulder finally found the aliens...


Meeshymeg
Posted 11 August 2007 at 12:26 pm

Jeffrey93: " This "lake" isn't doing us any good by leaving it be, it might not do us any good by exploring it…but it can't hurt. If it weren't for those Ruskies we wouldn't even know it existed….so how can we possibly get upset over exploring it? ...

This lake might have some unknown gases that will escape into our atmosphere and remove 100% of the pollutants and restore the ozone layer. Or….we might pollute a lake, kill some species and not benefit at all. Personally…I'll take the risk of destroying this lake assuming that we probably won't and we will probably benefit from it's exploration somehow. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Can't win 'em all. You've gotta break some eggs to make an omelet....

Explore cautiously…but remember…we are what is important, not the microbiological life that might be found in some sub-freezing lake under a bunch of ice. I am not saying the little critters that might be down there have no importance at all, but the amount of importance they have is weighed by how they can benefit humans...

Everything has a cure, the problem is figuring out what is more practical. Eliminating the causes or finding the cure. Since we don't really know what causes cancer….a cure still seems to be the best bet."

Okay Jeffrey, so basically your point is that we are the most important and fuck everything else unless it can benefit us in some way, if not, who cares if we ruin it? A lot of people feel that way, but not everyone, and especially not a lot of readers on this site. Appreciation of these untouched, natural places (and also other species, doesn't seem like extinctions bother you either) is reason enough for me to wait. Of course I'm curious about what's in there, but I think we can hold off until we can do it with the least amount of impact. That way, we get it in it's most pure form and can get more legitimate samples, too.

I disagree that it can't hurt us, too. If the lake could theoretically clean our air of pollutants like you mentioned, couldn't it also poison our air somehow? Any life down there could help OR hurt us in ways we can't currently predict. Exploration is inevitable, but if we don't learn from our past mistakes, we can't progress. We'll always be clumsy plunderers, ruining things we didn't know we needed and getting subpar research. Why should it be like that when we can at least TRY to be more responsible about it, whether it works or not?

Just because I was ignorant of it's existence until now, that doesn't mean that it's unimportant. I try not to use my own self interest as the barometer of importance. Frankly, if we humans killed ourselves off with bombs and poison, which we are capable of, I wouldn't be around to actually be sad about it, but it'd be a pity if the planet couldn't recover without us due to all of the damage we did while we were here. Does it matter? Depends on your outlook, if you're a nihilist, no, it doesn't matter, but nothing does. Anything can happen, we don't know what we are doing. Drilling into an ancient lake could have incredible results, good or bad, for us OR the lake (well, it can only get worse for the lake). That's why we explore, but it's also why we need to be responsible. We know that life is precarious and things are very balanced, we KNOW that we aren't sure how to keep those things balanced when we go digging for stuff, so it seems like a no-brainer to try to do it the best way we can, which is all anyone could ever do. If we mess things up, at least we were trying not to.

And I really don't know what you mean by "everything has a cure." I guess the next ice age will come eventually, if that's what you mean.

I'm always so conflicted about posting this crap, but I get so worked up. Damn Interesting, Alan. Thanks!


supercalafragalistic
Posted 11 August 2007 at 02:58 pm

ICE ICE Baby.. Yo man, let's get outta here- word to your mutha.


Aero
Posted 12 August 2007 at 03:56 pm

Eventually someone will explore this, so why not now than later(Someone mentioned this already). Also, exploration is important. Think of all the important things that happened because some guy took a chance. America was found, for one thing. Or some guy decided to eat a tomato even though the general population thought they were posionious. However, other things happened too. Like introducing different animals, like rabbits to Australia, the number one pest. However, you have to take some chances(someone already mentioned this too). If we explore this lake, there are the chances of finding something, at least something different. This would or should help someone in the future in any or new branch of studies. If anything is found, it should benefit us. If the bubonic plague is down there, humans will adapt because we are quite resilent. Someones going to open that place up eventually. However, instead of leaving it, I say explore it, but don't change it.

Jeffrey93 said: "Maybe the Dodo could have been the source of a disease that would have eventually wiped out mankind? We just happened to wipe out the Dodo first.

If an animal is extinct because of humnan presence. Tough. I'm not condoning brazingly invading nature and destroying it. But if I survive and am maybe better off at the expense of another animal….I'll miss that animal.

This is like those stories you hear about where people were paralyzed after their vehicle veered off the road and into a ditch…..because a squirrel ran across the road. I'm not saying aim for the squirrel….but don't put yourself out by trying to avoid it.

Explore cautiously…but remember…we are what is important, not the microbiological life that might be found in some sub-freezing lake under a bunch of ice. I am not saying the little critters that might be down there have no importance at all, but the amount of importance they have is weighed by how they can benefit humans."

I highly doubt the dodo contained a disease, considering they were driven to extinction because they were an easy source of *food* and easy to catch because they had not encountered predators like mankind before, so they didn't know they should try to escape.

As for the squirrel, what if it was the last squirrel on earth?(Just a question...)

Also, even for things that do not benefit us, we are not the only living creatures on the planet. Even if it doesn't benefit us as meeshymeg said, we should still try to conserve it. What if it becomes useful in the future? Does the planet Mars benefit us? So does that mean if we just nuke it that it doesn't matter?(Maybe it does but that's not my point)

'nuff said


sillyme
Posted 12 August 2007 at 10:05 pm

Let's be nice. :) I don't think Jeffrey was saying to *ell with everything (and squirrels), I think he is just saying that 'IF' he had to choose, he would choose 'people' over animals. So...if I was walking down the road with a squirrel by my side (as I normally do), he would rather hit the squirrel instead of me. :) Ahhh...I feel the love. Right back at ya bro! ;)


Jeffrey93
Posted 13 August 2007 at 04:07 am

Sillyme hit the nail on the head pretty much. I'm not saying we are the only animals that deserve to live...but if there is a choice to be made between an "animal" and a human...you're one sick cookie if you EVER choose an 'animal'.

If it were the last squirrel on earth...and my choices were hitting and killing it...or swerving off the road and paralyzing myself. Bye bye squirrel.

I have a question for everyone involved in discussing this article. Let's just say this lake contained rare life that we have never seen before. The long term research done on these new species might provide us with an incredible amount of information and possibly some great benefits to mankind OR there might be absolutely no benefit in studying these species at all.
Here's the catch. The lake water (with microbiological goodies) cures both AIDS and Cancer. We would essentially have to mine this lake and drain as much of it was possible as it takes a large quantity per person to cure effectively.

What do we do? Wipe out several species we just discovered to cure two terrible diseases? Or study these critters for many many years while countless people die from AIDS and Cancer?


Richard
Posted 13 August 2007 at 05:53 am

If I may use an extremely crude analogy…

You don’t go around boffing every hot chick you see simply because it might be the best sex you’ve ever had. In addition to the possibility that you might get some icky venereal disease, or some “Fatal Attraction” consequences, you just don’t do it (unless you’re a pathological rapist or some other psycho who just doesn’t give a damn). You wait until you get a better idea whether it will be worth it or not.

This may be our only chance to study a truly pristine terrestrial environment. Lake Vostok isn’t going anywhere. Let’s learn as much as we can about it and its environs without deflowering its virgin waters, and then do that when we are certain we are properly protected from contaminating it or ourselves.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 13 August 2007 at 08:04 am

Jeffrey93 said: "Sillyme hit the nail on the head pretty much. I'm not saying we are the only animals that deserve to live…but if there is a choice to be made between an "animal" and a human…you're one sick cookie if you EVER choose an 'animal'.


If it were the last squirrel on earth…and my choices were hitting and killing it…or swerving off the road and paralyzing myself. Bye bye squirrel.

I have a question for everyone involved in discussing this article. Let's just say this lake contained rare life that we have never seen before. The long term research done on these new species might provide us with an incredible amount of information and possibly some great benefits to mankind OR there might be absolutely no benefit in studying these species at all.
Here's the catch. The lake water (with microbiological goodies) cures both AIDS and Cancer. We would essentially have to mine this lake and drain as much of it was possible as it takes a large quantity per person to cure effectively.

What do we do? Wipe out several species we just discovered to cure two terrible diseases? Or study these critters for many many years while countless people die from AIDS and Cancer?"

Not a fair question. We haven't any way of knowing if by doing so we would release three diseases more sinister than cancer or AIDS. Or the creatures could be the source of what makes that water a cure, and oops, we just wiped them out. The lake only had enough water in it to cure a million people and we've now made it impossible to make any more of that water. Would that be worth it? Ask the rest of the people dying and all those in the rest of the human future who get these diseases. Explain to them where the cure went. Wouldn't it be more valuable to learn why it cures cancer and AIDS? It isn't necessary to swoop in and obliterate this lake for the little fleeting value we get out of it. The lake should be explored, sure, but we should be smart about it. Looking at human history I would bet on our recklessness causing more problems than it solves.


Meeshymeg
Posted 13 August 2007 at 08:19 am

"What do we do? Wipe out several species we just discovered to cure two terrible diseases? Or study these critters for many many years while countless people die from AIDS and Cancer?"

Study them to make sure we can understand HOW they are curing those diseases, so we don't run out of those cures before we're done draining the lake. You might save a lot of people at first, but once it's gone, if we don't know how to replicate the process, what good was it to the world? Also, who gets the rights to the lake water in that case? Antarctica? The drillers? The scientists (ha, right)? Can they bogart it and jack up the prices? As soon as anything valuable is found down there, it will be a mad rush to see who can own and harvest and market it first, I think, and that would be detrimental to research. Some things can't be rushed, and while a little pressure could make some immediate breakthroughs due to all the people trying to figure it out, just a little discovery could lead to turf wars. Of course, maybe there's nothing there, you never know.

I agree with Richard, it will still be there when/if we figure out how to get into it without ruining it. I say "ruining" because if we go in there and mess with an environment that's been sealed off for this long, introducing anything to it might throw it out of balance. If anything changes, we can't get a clear picture of what happens in that kind of environment naturally, and can't benefit from it as much. I'm not heartless, I'm for research if it's beneficial to us, too. The best way to do research is to get the best, most accurate samples possible and know what to do with them. We don't have a clue how to do that yet, but they're working on it. What's the rush?


Meeshymeg
Posted 13 August 2007 at 09:56 am

Didn't see Nicki the Heinous' post before I posted last, but yeah, ditto.

I kind of understand the us over animals thing, Jeffrey, but it still sounds like you don't care about (or maybe don't get?) symbiosis and the implications of messing with things we don't understand. We don't live in a human vacuum, it's not us or animals (or microbes), it's all of us working together in lots of invisible ways. I could kill a few termites if they ate my house, but getting rid of all of the termites in the world would be disastrous. If there's anything alive in that lake, it might ONLY live in that lake. It might not be doing anything for us right now, but how do we know what it's capable of? Little things can have huge results, you know that, but it's not as simple as something miraculously curing diseases. There are a lot of microscopic things at work that would make those theoretical cures work just right, and interfering with any of them could halt the whole process or turn it into something malevolent. Introducing something from the surface into an isolated environment could be a total smallpox blanket.

I'd be willing to bet there's nothing down there that will help us immediately in a HUGE way, but there's probably SOMETHING unique, living or not, that can help us learn about that kind of environment.


Kao_Valin
Posted 13 August 2007 at 09:57 am

People are just going to weight things differently. Because of this I think it is important to try to keep everyone working as one on this to prevent competiveness when trying to deal with a delicate situation. You wouldnt want it to become a "Who could get there first?" situation like the space race, more like a "Which alternative serves the most goals with the smallest footprint?".

I think if countries did their own individual agendas, the question asked would be the former rather than the later. Not the working together guarentees the later question, just that the potential for patience is higher (if nothing else, red tape will slow it down). Also the combined budget would provide for more options as more countries could pool money as well as other things, like man power and technology.

I dont feel that the knowledge we come away with has to benefit us technologically or medicinally. I would much rather it do nothing more than show us another beautiful part of this planet. It is far more likely to be left alone should there be nothing of value there. I would hope the logistics involved in tapping the water would be too immense for practical (and impractical) water barrons to bother with it as well (dont get me started on bottled water).

[cynical] As for the water curing cancer and AIDS... well think about it. Pure-ish water is atainable thru filtering and treatment. We start drinking this "miracle" water and it starts dropping the cancer and AIDS rate as people drink more and more of the stuff. Then we find out there isnt anything special about the water. Turns out what cured us is replacing the crap we eat and drink now with good natural water. My bet is if that information did come out, no one would hear it. Not to say it wouldnt be all over the news, just that it'd blend in with the barrage of information thrown at us every day. [/cynical]

[cynicaler] Funnier still, what if down the line we find out that the trasportation of all the bottled water for the past 20 years or more is the reason for 10% of global warming? Then we find out that the pollution generated by bottled water is worse for our health than had we just drank locally made beer and soda for that 20 years? So there I said it, thanks jerk in the gym who is too bread for convenience to walk over to a drinking fountain. You just killed off two species and gave my baby cancer. What's that? Yes I do remember when we had dogs and cats. It's too bad they are gone forever now. Guess we will have to train monkeys to do things. Hey look they can do other stuff too (fast track 1,000 years) "Get away from me you damn dirty..." You get the picture [/cynicaler]


onbelay1
Posted 13 August 2007 at 01:07 pm

I say leave the virgin lake alone! If it has thrived millions of years the way it has without bothering us, then let it be. Scientists poking around in it and contaminating the already content ecosystem with that of the surface might trigger something.

And really, as if contaminating every water source on the surface isn't enough, now we have to abrade one under the surface.

Scientists need restraining orders.


HiEv
Posted 13 August 2007 at 02:30 pm

just_dave said: "Half a million year old lake under two miles of ice? I say don't worry about it, just blast on in & learn what we can from it. Al Gore says the ice will all be melted in a couple of decades anyway."

"Just blast in"?!?! Even the Russians aren't suggesting anything that stupid. Hasn't it occurred to you that "blasting in" could destroy most of what we could learn from it? And furthermore, no, Al Gore isn't saying, "the ice will all be melted in a couple of decades anyway." If you have to lie to support your argument it shows just how bad your argument is.

textual_harassment said: "agooga:
You're assuming that we can learn everything there is to know about this environment in one trip. With more knowledge and better technology people might be able go in and discover something that we never even thought to look for the first time."

agooga responded:"Like what?

Ice. Rocks. Water. Maybe some tiny bugs.

I honestly don't care whether they use the silver pleasure probe or an oil well drill– or just pack it up and forget about it. Honestly, it seems like a waste of time."

A failure of imagination on your part does not mean that there won't be anything of value there. Exploring the unknown often leads to unexpected benefits. One known benefit mentioned in the article is that it may help us better understand what kinds of places life can exist elsewhere in the universe, or even within our own solar system.

wargammer said: "the Russians drill deeper becasue they know that oil is not a product of dead lizards but a natural product of the earth"

S0122017 replied:"What, like magma? Complex hydrocarbons dont spontaneously come into existence."

Actually, yes, complex hydrocarbons do spontaneously come into existence. (Heck, life is an example of that.) Hydrocarbons are found all over the solar system. And, while apparently less common than petroleum from organic sources, abiogenic oil is both possible and likely. In contradiction with most of the rest of the world though, Russian and Ukrainian science has, for the last 50 years or so, held that oil mostly comes from non-organic sources. See:

The Straight Dope: Did oil really come from dinosaurs? (6/12/'06)
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/060512.html

Wikipedia: Abiogenic petroleum origin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin

Bewildered said: "Jeffery93 - Maybe the dodo had the cure for cancer? Or some other animal that's now extinct due to human presence…"

Jeffrey93 replied: "Maybe the Dodo could have been the source of a disease that would have eventually wiped out mankind? We just happened to wipe out the Dodo first."

Ugh. By that tortured logic shouldn't we kill off everything that might do us harm? The dodo is far more likely to have been a useful food source than a biological threat. (A bucket of KFD, anyone?)

The problem is, we'll never know what kind of benefits we could have gotten because we were too reckless, self-centered, and uncaring about the damage that was being done to the environment to consider the consequences down the road. Sure, there are risks to exploration, but if it's done carefully they can be minimized. Yes, "just blast in," as just_dave put it, is a terrible idea, but if we do things right we could reap unexpected benefits with little or no risk at all. So, put aside your improbable "doomsday" and "magic water" scenarios and try to have the forethought to see what could be gained by careful exploration and what could be lost by moving forward recklessly.

As the article points out, these subglacial lakes could all be connected, so if we screw this up we could never get another chance to get it right. We don't want to be the generation that through our carelessness destroyed information that could have been useful to future generations.


sillyme
Posted 13 August 2007 at 02:40 pm

We all need some pie! Where's the pie guy? I miss the pie guy. :(

("PIE...PIE...PIE" Did it work? )


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 13 August 2007 at 02:55 pm

Well put, HiEv . . . and KFD sounds delicious . . *stomach grumble*


Radiatidon
Posted 13 August 2007 at 03:29 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "Well put, HiEv . . . and KFD sounds delicious . . *stomach grumble*"

Actually ship’s logs and journals from the era, rate the Dodo as a most unpleasantly tasting and tough meat. A recipe from the 1600s suggested that it is best to boil the young bird for most of a day (two days for older birds), carve the meat from the breast (feed the rest to the dogs), and add a liberal amount of fruit to help the taste, the more the better. In lieu of fruit, drown it in rum and spices.

The main source of extinction is attributed to the various other critters brought to the island by man. Such as pigs, rats, and Crab-eating Macaques to name a few, which fed on the easy to reach ground-based Dodo nests.

Even archaeological digs of human settlements have found very little if any evidence of Dodo remains. There are more remains of other animals such as the Red Rail which is highly praised in the era’s same writings as a sought after meat.

One could say that might explain why KFD have to switch to a taster fowl which was still not high on the intelligence spectrum. Otherwise that franchise might have gone the way of the Dodo. ;)


oldmancoyote
Posted 13 August 2007 at 06:39 pm

Personally, I prefer Kentucky Fried Pteradactyl. You'll never get a bite of feather.


Jeffrey93
Posted 14 August 2007 at 04:38 am

onbelay1 said: "I say leave the virgin lake alone! If it has thrived millions of years the way it has without bothering us, then let it be. Scientists poking around in it and contaminating the already content ecosystem with that of the surface might trigger something.


And really, as if contaminating every water source on the surface isn't enough, now we have to abrade one under the surface.

Scientists need restraining orders."

I'll be the first to admit...I don't always buy into everything I say, I sometimes make arguments to create discussion, which proves to be quite interesting. However, this comment is just ridiculous.

It has thrived for millions of years

Now from the article....

Due to the cold, the complete absence of sunlight, and the toxic levels of oxygen, many scientists are certain that Lake Vostok is sterile.

Don't take this too personally...but that is just ignorant tree-hugger mentality. Don't touch it because it's thriving on it's own and we'd ruin it. Well...it's a very likely possibility that we couldn't possibly harm this lake if we tried, other than polluting a source of fresh water.
I just don't get it...the article says many scientist believe Lake Vostok is sterile...but somehow it's "thriving on it's own" so we should just leave it be.
I guess the moon was "thriving on it's own" too...that's why we haven't been back in so long. I'd hate to ruin that biological masterpiece.


onbelay1
Posted 14 August 2007 at 08:52 pm

Jeffrey93 said: I'll be the first to admit…I don't always buy into everything I say, I sometimes make arguments to create discussion, which proves to be quite interesting.

...
I guess the moon was "thriving on it's own" too…that's why we haven't been back in so long. I'd hate to ruin that biological masterpiece."

"Don't take this too personally…but that is just ignorant tree-hugger mentality."
Maybe tree-hugger mentality, but definetly not ignorant.

"I just don't get it…the article says many scientist believe Lake Vostok is sterile..."
Scientists also say "That, however, would be a scientific first, since never before has a completely lifeless body of water been found on Earth. Extremophile organisms have turned up in the unlikeliest of places, including within volcanic vents on the ocean floor, in the rocks deep in the Earth's crust, and in frozen arctic soil."

and

"a pristine pocket of liquid whose ecosystem was separated from the rest of the Earth millions of years ago. As for what sort of organisms might lurk in that exotic environment today, no one can really be certain... But millions of years of evolutionary isolation in an extreme environment may have created some truly bizarre organisms... there is a small but real possibility that the lake's alien organisms could be dangerous to humans."

Scientist have no way of knowing that if there are these bizarre organisms that evolved through extreme conditions, what kind of reaction they might have to being exposed to elements that they weren't exposed to for millions years.
There is also the possibility that nocuous organisms might be in the lake that our ecosystem might be vulnerable to. And considering these chances (and not to under estimate the scientific society) it is best if the lake is left alone.

"I guess the moon was "thriving on it's own" too…that's why we haven't been back in so long."
Yes, the moon is thriving on its own and the amount of time, effort, money, and reasearch put into unnecessary expeditions to the moon (so that a few more astronauts can have an Armstrong moment) can be put to necessary things like making the world we live in a better place: try finding cures for cancer, AIDS, and an et cetra amount of uncurable diseases, try finding a solution to poverty, to hunger, and an et cetra amount of problems without solutions.


the_abyss
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:04 pm

Wow. Another pristine environment unknown to man. for once we haven't rushed in and destroyed it, so for once let's protect it. Honestly, its more likely to have damaging micorbes in it than positive 'curing cancer' ones, but most likely their just some ordinary extremophiles. Pretty much all the diseases we have got haven't been from extreme places anyway- (ahem) HIV/AIDS was from stupid scientists researching on monkeys.

I agree with onbelay1, like the moon, research into this 'virgin' lake is going to be a waste of time. And as for those thinking that there are aliens or dinosaurs down there... well don't read so much sci-fi- it was written to help u escape this boring world in which we live, because there's nothing new here. Almost every biological scientific "breakthrough" hasn't yeilded many brilliant results.

Isn't there already a probe heading for Europa? i though i heard that somewhere. if they find life there, then there's likely to be similar stuff here. go stuff up that moon before wrecking the antarctic. If there's no life there, than there's probably in the lake either.

Let's just hope that the Europa probe (if there is one) finds that Europa's oceans are vodka. Then all the Russians can go and live there. it probably wouldn't be as cold!!


Kao_Valin
Posted 15 August 2007 at 11:16 am

"Almost every biological scientific "breakthrough" hasn't yeilded many brilliant results."

Well that is interesting. Animal psychology certainly benifits from biological studies. Genetic research is better supported when it has actual living examples.

As for a waste of time, that is completely your opinion. Gladly, the time used will not be your own so don't worry when we slide carefully thru that icey barrier ;). However, one certainly doesn't learn about the world around them by sitting at home saying different things are a waste of time.

I also like how people looking to support their argument for not going there by marking its potential to do damage. How very parental of you to point out we could take our eyes out :).


the_abyss
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:49 pm

Kao_Valin said: ""Almost every biological scientific "breakthrough" hasn't yeilded many brilliant results."


Well that is interesting. Animal psychology certainly benifits from biological studies. Genetic research is better supported when it has actual living examples.

As for a waste of time, that is completely your opinion. Gladly, the time used will not be your own so don't worry when we slide carefully thru that icey barrier ;). However, one certainly doesn't learn about the world around them by sitting at home saying different things are a waste of time.

I also like how people looking to support their argument for not going there by marking its potential to do damage. How very parental of you to point out we could take our eyes out :)."

alright maybe i made a sweeping generalisation with the biological breakthrough bit. Maybe it isn't a complete waste of time going into the lake, either, but its likely to either harm us, or the lake or both. Im not being parental, im being rational. Humans are reckless creatures and breakthroughs often come at a risk.

But by all means Kao_Valin, if you're so keep, take a dip yourself. I'm just pleased the decision isn't up to me! :)


the_abyss
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:51 pm

*keen. Grrr, why didn't i see that before. Must have been too much Antarctic vodka.


HiEv
Posted 16 August 2007 at 12:34 pm

the_abyss said: "Pretty much all the diseases we have got haven't been from extreme places anyway- (ahem) HIV/AIDS was from stupid scientists researching on monkeys."

Huh? First of all, we don't really know for sure the how/when/where of how SIV got transmitted to humans and became HIV, but the evidence is against it coming from "scientists researching on monkeys." What you're referring to is the 1992 Rolling Stone article which inspired the 1999 book, The River. However, since then evidence has come out that A) the virus most likely (95%) jumped to humans around 1930 (±20 years), putting it earlier than the polio vaccine research in the late 1950s, B) old samples from that research show no traces of SIV or HIV, and C) the research used macaque monkey kidney cells, which cannot get infected with SIV or HIV. All of this makes it highly improbable that the research had anything to do with the later spread of HIV/AIDS.

Currently the prevailing theory is the "hunter" theory, in which someone butchering a primate got cut and the virus was transferred that way. If that is the case then yes, it did come from "extreme places." Really though, we'll probably never know exactly how it happened, but we can pretty much rule out the "stupid scientists researching on monkeys" hypothesis at this point. See the later part of:

Wikipedia: HIV - Origin and discovery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV#Origin_and_discovery


Silverhill
Posted 16 August 2007 at 05:13 pm

supercalafragalistic said: "Don't plants give off oxygen? Maybe all their oxygen that they gave off over the trazillions of eons is trapped in there?"

Oxygen is released by photosynthetic plants, which need light, which isn't available 3600 m beneath the ice.

onbelay1 said: "Yes, the moon is thriving on its own and the amount of time, effort, money, and reasearch put into unnecessary expeditions to the moon (so that a few more astronauts can have an Armstrong moment) can be put to necessary things like making the world we live in a better place: try finding cures for cancer, AIDS, and an et cetra amount of uncurable diseases, try finding a solution to poverty, to hunger, and an et cetra amount of problems without solutions."

Space research, including but not limited to that of the Apollo program, yields many things that are quite useful for Earthly problems. LANDSAT imagery, for instance, has helped farmers improve crop yields by showing what is growing well and what has problems (such as diseases). This has helped with the hunger problem you mentioned.
(Note also that one of the biggest problems with hunger is not the quantity of food in the world, but the artificially uneven distribution thereof. In Somalia, for example, local warlords would raid food from UN supply trucks, sometimes just to make sure that rival warlords' people wouldn't get any food.)

A number of medical treatments and technologies have also been improved by things derived from space research. Look at this NASA spinoffs site to get some more ideas before off-handedly bashing such productive endeavors.
Yes, the Moon race was, to too great an extent, a political stunt---"Let's beat the godless Commies to the Moon!"---but, in the words of songwriter Leslie Fish, "Cynic beginnings---greed for big winnings / but look at all we've gotten from that race!"


Shandooga
Posted 23 August 2007 at 10:21 am

Yup, that was interesting. Made me thirsty, too.


grind
Posted 26 August 2007 at 01:54 am

Richard said: "If I may use an extremely crude analogy…
You don’t go around boffing every hot chick you see simply because it might be the best sex you’ve ever had.

Speak for yourself!


HiEv
Posted 26 August 2007 at 09:17 am

Silverhill said: "Oxygen is released by photosynthetic plants, which need light, which isn't available 3600 m beneath the ice."

Actually, about 73-87% of our oxygen comes from algae, not plants. See:

Ecology.com: The Most Important Organism?
http://www.ecology.com/dr-jacks-natural-world/most-important-organism/index.html

and, of course:

Damn Interesting: How Bacteria Nearly Destroyed All Life
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=673

However, you are correct that sunlight is required for the production of oxygen via. photosynthesis.


dogu4
Posted 26 August 2007 at 02:56 pm

Fascinating story. Considering the general ubiquitousness of life, finding some even in this isolated habitat is expected. I wonder how the chemosynthesizing life from deep down that exists in the cracks of the bedrock beneath the lake itself might have interacted with this potential life zone. It's hard to imagine a more exotic terrestrial natural environement to explore.


Aperio
Posted 01 September 2007 at 10:49 am

Somebody will finish the job of boring into the lake if only because it is there. Blowout preventer notwithstanding I have a visualization of sixty tons of aerosolized kerosene into which oxygen is infused under extreme pressure.... add a convenient ignition source... Could make things even more interesting for the folks on top to the point they might forget for a while why they were there in the first place....

A second thought that comes to mind is that the reason that we are not still stone age hunter/gatherers is because throughout the ages there were those who have pursued ideas others have said were impractical or not possible. There is knowledge to be found in the exploration of any question. -Wisdom is something else entirely.


dgelinas
Posted 07 September 2007 at 10:21 am

BREAKING NEWS - 3 members of the drill team are missing!


Alx_xlA
Posted 28 September 2007 at 09:02 pm

…and on the post about the 'ice popsicle,' I'd personally hate to be on the receiving end of that ice dildo bullet at the potential velocity it could be escaping that well kerosene'd(oiled) passage. "

I'm just going to take a shot in the dark, but I don't think they will go down the existing shaft. That would kind of defeat the purpose of having the CryoBot.


muhoboika
Posted 09 January 2008 at 06:47 pm

"Start the reactor Quaid"


JeTJon
Posted 07 March 2008 at 09:08 pm

HiEv said: "Actually, about 73-87% of our oxygen comes from algae, not plants. See:

Ecology.com: The Most Important Organism?

http://www.ecology.com/dr-jacks-natural-world/most-important-organism/index.html

and, of course:

Damn Interesting: How Bacteria Nearly Destroyed All Life

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=673

However, you are correct that sunlight is required for the production of oxygen via. photosynthesis."

Hence one major point of the article; exploring the lake, and doing so carefully.

There are many ways to create oxygen. Not just photosynthesis. The very fact that the lake is super saturated in oxygen indicates some non light based oxygen production therein. These organisms, if any, would shed tons of light on life in places like Jovian moons covered in ice with liquid water underneath.

As to possible uses, Oxygen is the number one carcinogen in the world, hence the talk of “anti-Oxidants” in health circles. Any life form in this lake would of necessity develop extreme levels of Anti-Oxidants, quite possibly lending a cure to many forms of cancer.

In the end, I think if the opportunity to explore with out destroying anything we may eventually wish to exploit should come up (it has, also in the article) then we should take it. Dumping 60 tons of kerosene and Freon into the environment seems like shear stupidity given the already obvious benefits we may receive from this lake. Who knows what else may come of it? That’s the whole freaking point of exploration


Anthropositor
Posted 30 March 2008 at 02:09 pm

As I wend my way back through these archives, this story certainly is near the top of my list so far, in terms of importance, because it involves a mistake just waiting to happen, which has not yet happened. But almost certainly, it will, unless a treaty is revised in a timely way, and sound minds prevail. A longshot.

I searced for signs of sense in the comments, finding smatterings here and there in great gobs of lunacy and goofiness. Having been here a few weeks, this is no longer a surprise. It is no less annoying.

I have studied water from my peculiar perspective for over forty years. I could easily write 20,000 words about it without stopping to think, coming up with concepts and ideas along the way which certainly none of you are at all likely to have been exposed to. Why on earth would I? So that a few dozen people can jabber nonsense with a few glints of thought here and there?

When I first came here, I was impressed both with the stories and the number of comments. I am still impressed with the stories. But distilling down to meaningful, or reasonable, or interesting, or thought provoking responses, we have almost nothing.

Stop huffing glue and spray-paint in the john. Stop lobbing spitballs and erasers at each other while the teacher is drawing a diagram. Stop scratching graffiti on your desks. Stop just absorbing knowledge as if it is just another form of entertainment. Make this resource of some sort of value to yourselves, and start being of value to yourselves and to those around you!

You just missed out on some really nifty things about water.

More and more, I understand why Ambrose Bierce told his readership off and disappeared into oblivion, searching for an interesting end.


sh0cktopus
Posted 31 March 2008 at 04:02 pm

Anthropositor said: a lot of depressing things

Sorry, but this isn't an exclusive club of mental giants. This is the internet, and anyone can come on here and post whatever they please. If you really have some damn interesting things to say about water, I wish you would. I, for one, would love to read about them, and I'm sure I'm not alone. There are a great many people who visit this site to read the articles, and refrain from posting comments because they don't have anything to say that would meet your high standards. And if they're like me, they wade through the comments just to find a couple that add more understanding to the topic. Believe me, you're not the only one who gets irritated by all of the meaningless noise in the comments. But if I get the gist of what you're saying here, in paraphrase: "I could have told you some interesting facts, but it's not worth my time, because you're a bunch of idiots. Yet I'm still going to waste my time and yours, telling you so in several eloquent paragraphs."

Why so grumpy? You just now figured out that the vast majority of the human race ain't too bright? You think EVERYONE that frequents this site wants to read about pie, first, religion v. evolution, politics, flame wars, etc.? I hope that if you enjoy the archives, and have something salient to contribute, that you will do so. You seem like an experienced and learned individual. Please impart your knowledge on those of us willing to hear it. Don't tell me "You missed out on some really nifty things about water" just because a bunch of jackasses took over the comments.

Well, that's all I have to say. I hope you join the ranks of such posters as Silverhill and Radiatidon that seem to have a widespread respect among the community for knowing a lot of things but not talking a lot of $#!+.

Peace,

The Electric Squid [thanks to sid]


Anthropositor
Posted 07 April 2008 at 07:19 am

Your remarks were not persuasive.


sid
Posted 07 April 2008 at 09:58 am

Gotta agree with the Squid, on this one. Don't leave us all hanging with tantalizing teases about your vast wealth of knowledge, Anthro. Lay it on us! If some people want to have fun here, or just be asses (which can also be fun), don't let that be the reason you choose to deprive the rest of us information that could prove to be enlightening and/or entertaining. Would you stop teaching an infant just because he reaches into his diaper and flings some poo? Perhaps you can be the spark to cause others to grow, intellectually.


Anthropositor
Posted 08 April 2008 at 08:45 pm

Nonsense. Information is ubiquitous. Knowledge, in and of itself, is not of much importance. It is in its' use, that the value or damage lies. You have mentioned a few of the regular posters who have made some intrinsic contributions, even while often being harrassed by the scatterbrained children among us. They deserve points for their patience.

I am not here for fun. I am here to do some things that need to be done, to catalyze creativity and new ideas. To examine problems and try to work out possible solutions. And the mistakes that need fixing.... infrastructure beyond conventional repair....economy in something very like a meltdown, with us squandering our resources waging an intractable war on the other side of the planet.

Shall we talk about the oceans? The ice caps? The turbulent atmosphere? Terra firma? Animals? Insects? Fish? Crises in every quadrant.

Spoonfeeding the idle curious who do not want to engage in any of the effort to bring about workable solutions is not in my game plan. Getting some of the lurkers more interested, even to the point of thinking of something to say and saying it with enough care that others are moved to a greater extent to participate responsibly. I would say that is a good idea.

As it happens, I have already made some comments about water elsewhere on this blog. Not just accumulated facts; ideas worth investigating, conjectures, brainstorms. I corrected a ratio dealing with isotopic variations of water. Since I have only been around here for perhaps a month, my remarks are either current or in the archives. If they are in the old archives, they are obviously toward the end of the comments. It is only in the recent stories that you may find them deeper in the list.

You bring up a valid point. Skipping over your sarcasm about my "vast store of knowledge," you go on to say, "If some people want to have fun here, or just be asses (which can also be fun), don't let that be the reason you choose to deprive the rest of us information that could prove to be enlightening and/or entertaining."
On another forum, about a year and a half ago, I posted the details of a procedure to prevent colds and flu. It is now afixed at the top of the General Health section. A child with a search engine could find it. And one day, when I have time, a selection of another group of my 1400+ will make it over to the blog, on diverse subjects.

I would rather be thought provoking and motivating. One who stirs the creative pot. And I don't just want to bring my ideas. I would love to hear some others. Ideas about the bee population disappearing, aberations in the health of several keystone species, including amphibians. Oops, back to water.

About that little spark of intelligence. It won't be nurtured amid silly cacophony. I know you guys know that.

I have already spoken of the obvious idiots on a few occasions. The ones who are just gratuitously, deliberately goofy. And I notice with a certain satisfaction that others have made some similar remarks to mine about them. I am certainly not the only one to have noticed the frothy airheadedness of the average denizens of cyberspace.

Less is said about the great preponderance of lurkers, outnumbering the rest by perhaps 100:1. What are the causes for such apathy, such SPECTATORSHIP. It is hard for me to fathom how we can have such access to information and not know what to do with it. Wow! That's interesting. The end.

I am of the opinion that the human race has a whole lot of raw talent that is pretty much invisible on the internet. Given that perspective, what is the likelihood that I will ultimately succeed in a self-embargo of my theories, ideas, and discoveries. Fat chance.


Socacrates
Posted 02 June 2008 at 07:05 pm

Meathammer said: "It's only a matter of time before they find that temple that the Predators keep the Aliens in.

You're playing a dangerous game, science!"

lol


sachse
Posted 22 August 2008 at 10:13 am

Anthropositor...love reading your comments..but.. sounds to me like you need a cookie...sheesh


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 22 August 2008 at 02:43 pm

Little pockets of where we havent been yet still exist on Earth? Good, let's keep it like that...


martym
Posted 22 August 2008 at 03:17 pm

What I don't understand it what worry do we have of contaminating the lake really? As the theory goes, we can't really concieve of anything from the surface that could survive. If an organism from the surface were to find itself in the lake, it would die! Or, if it by some astonishing fluke it could manage to instantly adapt to the new environment instantly, then isn't that just nature at it's finest? Still, wouldn't that be near impossible? wouldn't most extremeophiles have slowly evolved as the environment slowly chaged? For example, if something survived in the lake it did likely by many small adaptations as the lake froze over, then became encased in ice, then as the pressure mounted and the oxygen went it. If life survived, it evolved as the lake evolved, right?

As for chemicals, unless they were planning to send an oil tanker down there, I'd like to know what worry there could posssibly be that a bit of chemical could destroy the ecosystem of a lake as large and 3 times as deep as Lake Ontario! It would take a massive amount of chemical before it could have an effect over a significant area of the lake, no matter how fragile life is down there, certainly far more than would be expelled even if a few chemicals leaked through research tubes from time to time.

Now, on the other hand, the idea that extremophiles could adapt to less extreme situations and be a concern in OUR environment, that seems more plausible. But down there, the environment is it's own protection.


BlackFoxOne
Posted 23 August 2008 at 07:12 am

Wow, that is downright scary when you really think about it.

RD
http://useurl.us/12m


danielbb
Posted 25 August 2008 at 06:46 am

why is there never any new articles :-(


Silverhill
Posted 25 August 2008 at 02:26 pm

Look here for the reason. The article begins with:

Alan Bellows said: "As the manuscript-delivery deadline approaches for our Damn Interesting book, we must take drastic action to avoid being sucked into a temporal vortex of magnificent and frightful proportions. Consequently, we hope you won't mind a handful of re-runs while we enter phase three of the book-writing process..."
So, be patient, Gentle Reader. The DI crew is hard at work, and will be back on schedule soon.


Likeable Chris
Posted 28 August 2008 at 10:53 pm

Woot! I am the 119 post, a new personal best!


Sashadear
Posted 22 September 2008 at 07:22 am

Anthropositor - I agree with you that there are many remarks on this site that make my blood boil at the mere mediocricy of it all, but there are some good ideas that get flung aroud too.... and you come across as an intelligent and well informed individual, don't each and everyone of these posts engulf you in the interaction of the human kind? isn't itersting to see how we re-act towards each other? isn't it enlightning to see that an article of a few 100 (maybe 1000) words has sparked enough interest in us average folk for me to be the 120the post already? I am speaking under correction here, but i assume that a lot of the people that post here are not scientists, yet our brains are advanced enough to at least have an opinion - does that not deem us intelligent enough for you to part your knowledge onto us?

Please, just ignore the idiotic comments that come up from time to time, see them for pure entertainment purposes, and not for research purposes.
I myself do not know much about water, and i must admit that i never really found it interesting enough to do research on it, yet somehow it's found me, and i am dying for more...

PS: if you see my post as one of the idiotic ones, i beg you to be nice - my ego is fragile :)


BeyondChaos
Posted 30 October 2008 at 10:43 pm

Jeffrey93 said: "Sillyme hit the nail on the head pretty much. I'm not saying we are the only animals that deserve to live…but if there is a choice to be made between an "animal" and a human…you're one sick cookie if you EVER choose an 'animal'.
"

It depends on the person..............."It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society."


voxpopulisuxx
Posted 07 December 2008 at 06:07 pm

QUOTE:"a fittingly phallic penetrating probe designed to gingerly work its way into the virgin lake. Its heated tip would melt a channel straight into the ice as it unspools a power and communications line behind it"QUOTE
ummm I feel slightly flushed....


Thumper235
Posted 02 January 2009 at 05:19 pm

OBSERVATIONS OF EARTH.

I have been observing some females for a few years now. There are many (people that repeat themselves, with /low life comments). I strongly suspect that the majority of the population (possibly males and females) function off of a (DRONE-LIKE) form of reception and or communication). After billions of years on planet earth, this must be true. There can be only "SO MANY CHIEFS AND SO MANY INDIANS". However, there may be a small percentage of females that contains a higher amount of self control and emotional intellegence. These kind of people should be considered extremely valuable. In the future, the United States Government may wish to take part on a special set of experiments. These experiments would include the genetic incorporation of (additions or deletions) of neurological based factors that may increase an individuals emotional intellegence. This form of intellegence may provide extremely useful. "Were a this and were a that". In reality, there are many individuals. Some individuals may have an illusional impression that they are part of some global group "were a power". In reality (AGAIN), if this were true, no-one would ever die, there would never be any war etc..... Do not be fooled. We are actually pretty frail beings that are composed of "MOSTLY SPACE". This space "I speak of" is located between the atom and electron. If the world was a solid piece of matter, then, the world would only be as mile and a half in diameter. The only ,true "power being" would not be of the "CARBON CYCLE" and would not have any space between the electron and atoms, in thier body. NOW THE RECORD IS SET, STRAIGHT. If you are one of the females that contains a higher amount of emotional intellegence, I would like to have you contact me, so we can communicate(Uranight@hotmail.com). For all of the other people who go through life with thier illusionary "WERE A POWER" ,just visit your local grave-yard and say to your self "IF SOME OF THESE PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE INDESTRUCTABLE / ALL KNOWING POWER' THEN, WHY HAVE THEY CONVERTED TO LESS (TO NON-EXISTANT), INANIMATED MATTER?


Silverhill
Posted 05 January 2009 at 05:15 pm

You're not making a lot of sense there, Thumper235 (nor are you at all on topic with your mysterious "were a power" statements). Try again.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 06 January 2009 at 01:57 am

Silverhill said: "Try again."

Please don't. Don't ever try anything ever again. I'm not trying to start a flame war or anything, but I'm sick of crazy people's copy-pasted, block formatted, unreadable, delusional statements.


alex212
Posted 25 March 2009 at 04:59 am

Have you ever seen a strategic aircraft carrier submarine at work? In fact I hope no one will ever have to.


alex212
Posted 30 March 2009 at 10:37 am

Here's a story: December 2nd 1946. US Admiral Richard Bird leads an "expedition" to the Antarctic. A queer expedition: an aircraft carrier, 12 battleships, a submarine, more than 20 planes and choppers, about 5000 of personnel. The whole business has a secret name "High Jump".
Then, after two months something happens. The expedition planned to last six months rolls up in a hurry and leaves the coasts of Antarctic. One destroyer is lost, half of the aircraft is lost, multiple injuries and deaths among the crew members.
To the investigation commitee of the Congress Admiral Bird declares: "Should a new war begin, America can be attacked by an enemy that is capable of flying from South Pole to North Pole with an enormous speed."
Here's what John Syerson, a pilot and member of the crew reported: "They jumped right out of the water and flew between masts with such speed that antennas got torn by air vortexes. I was on board the Casablanca. Two of our planes took off only to sink in a few seconds. Suddenly destroyer Murdoch began to burn and sink. There was no sound. The objects flew like mad among our ships and spit fire. The asylum lasted 20 minutes. When the objects disappeared suddenly in the waves we began to count our losses. The losses were terrible..."


Mirage_GSM
Posted 30 March 2009 at 03:26 pm

Nice story. Only it's not based in fact.
Here is the actual account of Operation "High Jump":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Highjump
About the only thing that matches your account is the year and the name of the expedition leader. (Except for him being only a rear admiral and the name being spelled "Byrd".
The "terrible losses" amounted to one aquaplane and four casualties - three died when the plane went down during a blizzard and one died during a "ship unloading accident".
Of the two destroyers who took part in the expedition none were lost. USS Brownson was decomissioned in 1976 and USS Henderson continued to serve in Korea and Vietnam before being sold to Pakistan in 1980 and finally decomissioned in 2001. (They sure built those ships to last!)
All of this information was available in under 5 minutes of search on the internet, so please check some moderately reliable sources before posting such outrageous stories.


alex212
Posted 02 April 2009 at 06:09 am

Mirage, you say:Nice story. Only it's not based in fact
Allow me to disagree with you there.
1) Wikipedia can't stand any such facts as mine, because it is under pressure like most of the world's media agencies: Reuters et c. You know well who makes them lie to people.
2) I saw with my own eyes an old Soviet declassified intelligence report including video materials on what Exactly happened to the "High Jump" squadron. And what was told to the Congress. You see, we were watching each other pretty scrutinizingly in those years.
3) UFO studies were a top program of NASA and USAF and nobody declassified it by now. Now, I do not get data just out of my imagination, Mirage, I'm too old for that.
By the way, Byrd had a mental disorder after the incident.


alex212
Posted 02 April 2009 at 06:28 am

To Thumper235
Oh yes, experiments on humans are an integral part of your Civil Rights and worldwide "Democracy" system. I have seen what you have done in Iraq. When in Fallujah I saw traces or rather numerable undeniable evidence of the use of white phosphorus on women and children. Wanna know how they look, here it is: THE CLOTHES ARE LEFT INTACT, ONLY THERE ARE NO FACES, NO FLESH ON BONES, NOTHING LEFT OF THEM. YOU WOULD HARDLY IDENTIFY THEM.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 02 April 2009 at 08:21 am

This is getting tedious. Since it is futile to have a meaningful discussion with alex, I will just add a few points for other readers:
- Wikipedia is not a "media agengy". I agree it is not an absolute source, but so far alex has provided no source whatsoever, and until he does, I will deem Wikipedia adequate.
- Neither the Casablanca nor a ship named "Murdoch" were a part of Operation High Jump. In fact there has never been a US ship named "Murdoch" And USS Casablanca was decomissioned about six months before the alleged events in the antarctic.
- Richard Byrd continued to be on active duty until his death in 1957. I doubt he would have been if he'd had a mental disorder.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 03 April 2009 at 12:32 am

Still, explain one simple fact, and maybe all will clarify: Why does an Antarctic expedition involve a whole battle squadron? What for? Who is it supposed to fight?

Since this coule, with a bit of goodwill be construed as a reasonable question, I'm going to answer. Though, if you had followed the links I provided earlier, you would know the answer yourself. Again:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_High_Jump
The stated claims of the operation were as follows:

to train personnel and test material in the frigid zones

to consolidate and extend American sovereignty over the largest practical area of the Antarctic continent

to determine the feasibility of establishing and maintaining bases in the Antarctic and to investigate possible base sites

to develop techniques for establishing and maintaining air bases on the ice, with particular attention to the later applicability of such techniques to operations in interior Greenland. (where, it was then believed, physical and climatic conditions resembled those in Antarctica)

to amplify existing knowledge of hydrographic, geographic, geological, meteorological and electromagnetic conditions in the area.


This is a mission profile completely consistent with what I would expect for an army - or navy in this case - in peacetimes.


erikmartin
Posted 11 September 2009 at 01:14 pm

"Another pristine environment unknown to man. for once we haven’t rushed in and destroyed it, so for once let’s protect it. ... I agree with onbelay1, like the moon, research into this ‘virgin’ lake is going to be a waste of time."

By "protect" it you mean never explore it at all? Protect it for what purpose. If we're going to pretend it doesn't exist it might as well not exist.

Calling exploration of this lake a waste of time reflects of profound ignorance of the state of earth science. That very Vostok core gives is absolutely invaluable data about the contents of the atmosphere over the last 400 million years. But that's where it stops. There are no deeper ice cores. Yet just before the beginning of that 400 million years there were two GLOBAL glaciations -- glaciations which no human would survive if they were repeated. That lake preserves the conditions -- biological and atmospheric of the environment at the time of those glaciations. Despite anything you might have heard from Al Gore the science of the earth's climate is filled with mystery and speculation. This science can only progress by finding new ways to extract information from the earth itself. And the answers that that science will eventually give may be crucial to the future of mankind.


erikmartin
Posted 11 September 2009 at 01:24 pm

"Dumping 60 tons of kerosene and Freon into the environment seems like shear stupidity given the already obvious benefits we may receive from this lake."

It seems much worse than that. The extreme pressure in the lake would likely blow the freon and kerosene out, but the sudden drop of pressure could kill every organism in the lake, cause a rapid outgassing of the lake water's stored gases, and then contaminate whatever gas content is left in it by exposure to the gases of our present atmosphere. Regardless of whether or not there is anything down there that would be killed, it would be a major catastrophe for science. Hence the self-sealing frozen ice phallus, which I think is an ingenious idea.


erikmartin
Posted 11 September 2009 at 01:39 pm

"We don’t live in a human vacuum, it’s not us or animals (or microbes), it’s all of us working together in lots of invisible ways. I could kill a few termites if they ate my house, but getting rid of all of the termites in the world would be disastrous."

It WOULD or it MIGHT? Personally, I'd be willing to take that chance on mosquitoes. Aside from making people generally miserable they kill and maim millions of us by passing on bacteria, viruses, and parasites to us. Sure, maybe wiping them off the planet will bring down the ecosystem as bats have nothing to eat, and bat-dung bacteria die out and... oh hell I don't know. But that is a risk I for one am willing to take.

Maybe instead stead when genetic science is improved by a couple orders of magnitude we can genetically engineer a mosquito that can out-compete existing mosquitoes and is repelled by the chemical signature of humans, so they just feed off the rodents and livestock.


BubbleHead
Posted 29 January 2011 at 07:30 pm

Sediment normally consists of decayed biomass. Antioxidants may be present that can reverse/stop aging of human tissues. It may also have properties that could alter human tissue into something 'else' entirely.....


adrixmerkado
Posted 16 January 2012 at 07:29 pm

just as how I imagine for us humans to discover much better ideas from the past. Using the best core bit drilling tools, I've seen it like in discovery channel how they drill from ocean top down to the deep rocks beneath it though I hope it's not like of the movie " The day after tomorrow" where they core bit http://www.gilatools.com/diamond-core-bits.html drill on the ice cap in the north pole and with a mistakes, it suddenly changes everything on the sphere.


djsteiniii
Posted 06 February 2012 at 11:27 am

djsteiniii
Posted 30 November 2012 at 06:27 am

Also, American researches have taken multiple samples from a similar Antartic lake - Lake Vida. See the Scientific American article at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antarctic-bacteria-a-clue-to-differ

There, they found multiple types of bacteria.


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