Monday science boost
August 1st, 2011
11:16 AM ET

Monday science boost

Welcome to August, and to your weekly roundup of great reads in the science and space fields:

–If you like space photography, you may be familiar with planetary nebulae, which are large clouds of gas that are roughly spherical in shape. The one that's making headlines now is the newly identified Kronberger 61. Not only is it nice to look at, with its almost-soccer-ball quality, but it's also in the region of study of the Kepler probe, which may find insights into how such planetary nebulae form in the first place, Time reports.

–Fashionistas, prepared to be amazed by insects called treehoppers, which wear intricate "helmets" that mimic other natural phenomena and may help amplify sound. Some helmets resemble aggressive ants; others, caterpillar droppings or thorns. New Scientist has more on these tricky creatures.

–Humans' first contact with "alien life" might happen right here on Earth, in a laboratory. Scientists are working on engineering synthetic life, starting from the fundamental building blocks of DNA and RNA, which encode genetic information. The New York Times has the story.

–The sun's corona, a sort of plasma atmosphere visible to Earthly observers during a solar eclipse, is very hot. In fact, it's 20 times hotter than the surface of the sun. That's odd, since you'd think that temperatures would be cooler further away from the sun itself. A study in the journal Nature suggests that large magnetic waves might be the culprit. Discover has details.

–Here's a complex idea to wrap your brain around: The space of the universe is not flat, but curved. Scientific American explains this concept with a little math and historical context.

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soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Writing Jobs

    I appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.Writing Jobs

    January 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  2. freelfhon

    What words..

    September 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  3. Lady Physicist

    Curvature of space! How cool is that? The WMAP Observatory is amazing. It's so awesome what we can do with one little satellite out there. The solar corona article in Nature sounds really interesting, too. I have a friend who does space weather. I'm totally picking her brain about this later.

    Here's one for the funny bone:
    Man walks into a bar and orders a Corona.
    Suddenly the bar tender yells "Everybody out! That's it. Get out!"
    The man stands at the bar, confused, and asks, "So... what was that all about."
    The bartender replies, "Corona mass ejection!"

    August 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • KEEP IT CLEAN! This is Earth! NOT Uranus!

      The corona of the Sun being hotter than the surface is odd indeed! I have heard (no pun intended) that the sun's surface is extremely noisy! Like a million rock concerts going off all at once! Soundwaves create friction and that is what might be superheating the corona! Of all the tax dollars spent... next to education, I believe space exploration is the next best thing to spend on! Such amazing beauty and it really makes us think of how special we are.

      August 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
      • loupatriz67

        In any blast, heat buildup increases initially over time, space, or distance from its origin, in this case the sun- until all self perpetuating reactions are completed or the exsisting fuel is exhausted. Lucky for us too that it works this way, accounting for the earths magma which enables life here as much as the sun. Did u know we get more heat from the earths core than we get from the sun? Interesting, eh?

        August 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Sophmore

      Could you please ask your Space Weatherwoman friend to report on the local conditions of Uranus? An extended forecast with a Doppler radar video feed would be hot, errr, I mean.... perfect!

      August 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  4. Andrew

    For everyone who likes this picture, I beg of you, spread the word to save the James Webb Space Teslecope.

    It's the current set replacement for the Hubble and congress wants to scrap the project. We've already spent over 6 billion dollars in development, and now they just want to say "on second thought, who cares about science?" Let them cut NASA's budget, but don't let them tell NASA what they are and aren't allowed to spend the money on. Congressmen seldom can properly evaluate the importance of scientific ventures.

    Don't let this be like when we scraped the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), which set worldwide particle physics research behind by over a decade, and then passed the baton to Europe. When we scrap projects like this, science worldwide suffers.

    SAVE THE JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE! Spread the word!

    August 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Like-Minded

      Here, here! I second that!!

      Save the James Webb Space Telescope!

      You all on here like to "sound off"... Sound off to your congressmen and senators! Ask them to keep this wonderful telescope! Heck, ask them to invest in more of them–better ones, even! (While of course we keep the James Webb telescope online.)

      Can we say job creation? Job retention? Yes!

      Say YES! to Science!
      Say YES! to Job Creation!
      Say YES! to a brighter economy and a better understanding of our magnificent universe!

      Now, this is something I think we can ALL agree on. Are you with me?

      August 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
      • loupatriz67

        Right now I'd settle for getting our astronauts home from the space station. Can't believe we trusted American lives to the russians! I think we're gonna have 2 dust off the space shuttle for 1 more flight if we hope to ever see them again. P.S. The telescope's will continue, question is WHO will be footing the bill from now on. In case u've missed it, WE are BROKE. Let some other country who doesn't have 2 police the world take over for a while in space, or the private sector who benefit from the science.

        September 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ loupatriz67,

        Or better yet... end US involvement in the middle east... that ought to save a buck or two... let the war profiteers who benefitted from two wars pay their taxes and refill the mighty coffers of the US treasury...

        Also, you ignoramus, the current crew on the ISS is composed of 2 Americans, 1 Japanese and 3 Russians... I can't believe they're going to let their own countrymen be sacrificed due to their incompetence... (note to sarcasm). The russians are smarter than you, sir.

        September 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  5. sao

    IF GOD DOESN'T EXIST..SO IS OXYGEN AND GRAVITY AND ELECTRICAL CURRENT....DUH...
    The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good. PSALM 53:1

    August 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Andrew

      So is oxygen and electrical current? What? You use words, but I don't believe you know what they mean.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • loupatriz67

      As those of us who do believe in God believe He created all this! Our discovering it & how it works doesn't "threaten" the fact that He is real! Isn't any parent proud when their kids learn & figure things out? Religious folks who think they have to protect God don't think as highly of Him,..as I do. Stick to theology if science intimidates you.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  6. Whoa

    Take cover, The Universeis about to fart.

    August 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • outawork

      It did that 14.3 billion years ago and now look at the mess we're in.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  7. John

    How about we create God instead of the other way around?

    August 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Shawn Brown

      We did.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
      • spinker

        amen.

        August 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  8. KarKar

    This whole thread reminds me of what my Dad said: don't discuss religion nor politics with folks. To which I add, yes, don't do it: it's similar to arguing with an alcholic – it gets you nowhere.

    August 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • weederone

      Best suggestion yet. Your Dad is a very wise man.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • JimK

      One of my favorites regarding discussing religion and politics; It's like teaching a pig to sing. All you do is waste your time and really annoy the pig.

      August 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  9. Nineteen

    Everyone needs to take a deep breathe, and look at the picture one more time. But this time, clear your thoughts and allow yourself to be in awe of the reality that surrounds us. How amazing is this picture? Stop trying to ask "why", although arguments can be fun *teehee*, and just sigh at the beauty that is our universe! Some see God in this picture, some see Science. Either way, just be thankful that you have eyes to see this and a soul to appreciate it. The end.🙂

    August 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Andrew

      I see neither god, nor science... I see a planetary nebula.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
      • loupatriz67

        And if u don't know that's a label by the scientific community, I guess u really don;t know what ur seeing.

        September 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • the man

      You sound like Old Spice's, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

      August 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • loupatriz67

      I see a bubble like spit, or hydrogen peroxide reacting with atmospheric oxygen. The colors indicate light spectrum, but of course with our naked eyes in doesn't actually have these colors. I thank God for the people who ask why & how,without them we wouldn't have the picture to look at.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  10. fjksahdfhasfkdh

    In the beginning there was nothing, and God said let there be CNN, and then God said let there be idiots to comment on stories, and everything turned to crap.

    August 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  11. Kishore

    I suppose believing in unfalsifiable crap like Multiverse is more fashionable than believing in God. But wait, doesn't that "theory" sweep the problem of the First Cause outside our universe too?

    August 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • JJC

      The important difference is that science will drop ideas like the multiverse as soon as it is shown to not match what is observed. Religion never admits it is wrong, and by its very definition they all claim to be correct and the unerring word of god. Huge difference. I will always side with the side that can admit it does not know everything but is trying to find out and will admit their mistakes. Religions claim to be 100% correct.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
      • Kishore

        There is no unambiguous definition of God agreed upon by all religions. For all we know, it could be a Unified Force or it could be consciousness or it could be a giant computer. I am a science guy, I work on state-of-the-art technology but from what I have seen the non-believers never leave a chance to ridicule the believers even though when it comes to knowing the unknown, they are equally in the dark. Real scientists have to actually keep an open mind and never rule a theory out however ridiculous it is on paper. And everyone knows that God is unfalsifiable. The concept of God can neither be proven nor dis-proven. So why make fun of the Theists?

        August 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
      • loupatriz67

        As soon a any of u can prove one word Jesus said was wrong, u'll have something 2 complain about. They tried 2 trick Him, verbally continually while He was here & couldn't. Should we pay taxes? Stone this woman? Tithe? Was John from God? Questions that either yes or no would have backed Him in a corner. It never happened. & He had the last laf when He rose from the dead.When ur dead & He was ur only hope 2 avoid hell yet u blew it, there won't b any jokes out of u.

        September 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ loupatriz67, I accept your challenge: As soon a any of u can prove one word Jesus said was wrong, u'll have something 2 complain about.
        MATTHEW 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Jesus endorses the mass murder, rape, slavery, torture and incest written about in the Old Testament.
        MARK 7:10 Jesus taught that any child who cursed his parents should be killed according to Old Testament law.
        LUKE 12:47 Jesus warned that a servant of God who does not heed his master will be "beaten with many blows."

        So much for perfection...

        September 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Andrew

      Depends entirely on the model you're using. I remember casually reading about a model for a multiverse where splinter universes are created from high entropy universes thanks to ultra-dense pockets of dark energy which supposedly could create some time symmetric solutions. If you have a time symmetric universe, then you eliminate the need of a first cause by making it nonsensical. A universe which extends infinity in either direction with regard to time has no "first cause".

      But, the real issue is just that physicists are fully aware of the issues regarding why entropy seems to be not time symmetric, but saying "god dun it" is usually a poor explanation. It's entirely possible, yes, but with luck physicists can eventually find evidence for a more cohesive model.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
      • Kishore

        Andrew, dark matter and dark energy are least understood by us. If anyone claims that they know what dark energy is, they are lying. Heck, we don't even understand Gravity well enough, there is no carrier particle for Gravity. To actually base a "theory" (not even a valid hypothesis, if you ask me) banking on all these unknowns is preposterous. What is the motto here? As long as the word God is not used, anything else is fine and easily swallow-able?

        August 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
      • Andrew

        First off, I never mentioned a theory, I said a model, the two are radically different. A model does not necessarily have empirical support yet, it simply is a hypothesis. I was very careful not to call any speculative ideas a theory, hell, I dislike calling "string theory" a theory simply because it lacks empirical support.

        Also... not sure why you mentioned dark matter, I didn't mention it, nor is it really relevant. (And you make it seem like we know nothing about dark matter by lumping it in with dark energy, we have some decent understanding, the only problem is it doesn't interact with E&M)

        But we don't need to understand what dark energy is comprised of to be able to fit it into our models. It is the cosmological constant in the friedmann lemaitre robertson walker metric, and we don't need to be able to describe what dark energy is to generate the ΛCDM model. So talking about models where dark energy has the potential to cause splinter universes isn't out of the question.

        By very virtue of us being able to generate models before we fully understand each component, we're still able to create testable hypothesis for why the universe is the way it is. The reason "god" is so poor to use is simply because, as you said, it is unfalsifiable. It isn't testable, god can ALWAYS be used as an explanation, hence it explains nothing.

        If you want to stick to science, an untestable universal catch-all without a single bit of possible testable evidence is never a decent postulate. Just because we don't currently fully understand the nature of dark energy or yes even gravity doesn't mean "god" becomes a more tenable answer. "We don't currently know, we have some guesses out there, but cannot pretend to have supportable answer" is a far, FAR more honest approach than a "god" catch-all.

        It's not that anything else is easily believed, it's that anything else can at least be shown to be wrong. That, in my book, makes any idea which can be shown to be wrong a far better candidate to be mentioned in a real discussion than "god".

        What I mentioned was a possible idea to float around, and one that could be shown to be utter bunk. "God", by virtue of not being able to be shown to be utter bunk, ranks a lot lower on a "reasonable postulate" scale.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
      • Kishore

        I agree with most of what you said. I never use God as a catch-all either. I love science but don't love the non-believers. What they do is "rule out" possibilities. Unless disproved, they can't rule anything out. The whole of existence if built around probabilities. If the probability is there, it will exist! What is the probability that there is a God? That's for us to find out.

        August 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
      • Andrew

        I rule out possibilities which by very nature cannot be tested. I have as of yet never been given any way to test a god, and not sure how it would even be able to be possible to test a god. It's hardly ruling out a possibility when there is no falsifiable test for an idea. "The universe was created by an eather of magic good intentions" is just as coherent a postulate as "god created the universe", and is likewise untestable and unfalsifiable. If there is no reasonable means by which we can include a proposition, then it's not being very extreme to rule it out as irrelevant.

        Consider that there is the very distinct possibility of a teapot orbiting Jupiter. It was possibly placed there by aliens, possibly "god", possibly randomly popped into existence. This teapot, however, is too small to be detected by any instruments, and requires faith alone to believe. Further, there is a distinct possibility that this teapot keeps the orbits of the planets aligned, through some means only the teapot can know.

        The teapot idea could be said to explain the orbit of planets, then, but as it creates no predictions, is unfalsifiable, and is supposed to operate on grounds entirely foreign to anything understood, it lacks ANY real explanatory power. I fail to see how god is any different. Unless you can explain how god has some form of explanatory power, or could be used to create falsifiable predictions, then it is simply a universal catch-all which halts the possibility of further inquiry.

        I'm open to the possibility of a god as soon as people explain to me how we can show god to be false. Not even immediately, but give me a single fundamental constraint on god that would be testable. Otherwise, it's a useless proposition.

        August 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  12. mikal rutledge

    Who are we to judge one another first off. So called God loving people on here, judging everyone else for their faults. Finding jesus christ and god is a personal mission for each and everyone of us. That's what makes our relationship with god unique and amazing. God created every single aspect in this universe regardless if you believe it or not, so let's give our thanks and glorify this blessing called science. He could have made it where were not able to see or know any of these amazing things. And I do care if you all believe in God or not, because I love everyone and I hope that you all get a chance to live in his eternal life, but if you continue to contradict everything he believes in, then what right do you have to get a chance to live in his eternal life? He is simple" praise him, respect his son, love each other, and make wise choices. Science rules! and without him there wouldn't be such a thing!

    August 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Andrew

      Requiring sycophantic praise, I'm sorry to say, isn't a "simple" thing to ask of people, especially when he offers no empirical evidence for his existence. Do you believe in Lord Shiva? Probably not. Do you believe in Amaterasu? Probably not. So why should I believe in what your book says more than Shinto teachings or more than the Vedas?

      August 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  13. Tony

    God does exist.

    Human creates God for the ultimate imagination of super powers. It is very much similar to Hollywood writers creates their movie scripts.

    August 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  14. Kishore

    Atheists think that non-belief automatically puts them in the Scientists category. It doesn't!

    August 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • tommas

      But it does bring them closer

      August 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  15. Drew

    If Christians didn't insist on telling people how to live their lives then this whole science vs god mess wouldn't be taking place. If something so large is missing in your life that you feel you have to believe in the invisible magic man in the sky to have any self worth that's fine but don't tell me how to live my life.

    August 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Kishore

      Fallacious argument not to mention strawman. No one said God is a magic man. And no one said believing in God is essential to one's self-worth.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Mike

      Calm down.. Everything will be ok. None is telling you how to live your life. Someone earlier mentioned that God was a myth a farytell. I, just like you, don't want people telling me I am stupid for my beliefs. I happen to believe in God if you don't thats fine. Not trying to get you to go to church with me on Sunday. Just doing the same as ever other beleiver or non- believer on this site and that is expressing my opnion on a subject. I haven't been rude or disrespectful to anyone and have not told anyone that unless they change their beleifes they will go to hell and there life will be forever a mess. Its ok.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
      • JJC

        That is not true. You believers put your beliefs everywhere. Imagine how upset you would be if our money said "There is no god". Yet I have to deal with your assertion everywhere that there is a god. The religious want to tell people how to live. Non-believers just want to be left alone from your weird little fairy tales.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
      • Drew

        Mike, if people want to believe in God that's perfectly fine and I'm perfectly fine with it. My problem is when my government makes laws based on belief in that god. When those laws interfere with my life and the lives of people around me, that's where I draw the line. In going back to my original statement, if people weren't pushing their god on me then nothing would need to be said. I'm not going to stand back and just let some Christians legislate us back to the Dark Ages and I know you know those kind of crazy Christians are out there.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  16. Kishore

    The atheists are more obsessed about God than theists.

    August 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • JJC

      Maybe because the theists shove their god down our throat at every turn. Their make believe god was inserted into our money, our pledge of allegience was altered in the 50's to have god shoved into it, priests and pastors are included in public government meetings for a prayer. Their mention of god is equivelent to having barney the purple dinosaur plastered everyone, and demanding respect from others. Get over it theists, not everyone has to be deluded like you.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
      • Jesussaves

        Really someone shoved Jesus loves you and died to pay for your sin debt down your throat?

        August 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
      • Kishore

        You have the freewill to do what you want. If someone is succeeding in shoving something down your throat then that shows how weak willed you are. The value of a currency doesn't go down if it has the word God in it.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
      • JJC

        So you would be fine if our money claimed "There is no god" on it? I don't believe that. You would take that as a personal assault on your beliefs. You can't even take it when some people post comments that your beliefs are silly. How about if we put it everywhere you looked. And now you have resorted to calling me weak willed? Nice.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • MrHanson

      It's their hobby to start hurling insults. That is all their religion is good for.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  17. dirtystone

    This just in....many Christians believe that this may in fact be God....update at 6.

    August 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • MrHanson

      This just in, you're an idiot.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Landrover

      That was funny!!!!

      August 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  18. reality

    a brief history of dumb and dumber..

    August 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • phearis

      Which book? The Old Testament? The New Testament or Book of Revelations? Or is it all 3?

      August 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
      • reality

        Asked what her alien encounter taught her, Mrs. Hill's response is striking: "They've proven to me that God is universal."

        August 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  19. reality

    stephen hawking is a well educated moron,God belss his soul....

    August 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  20. TESLAvision

    How is it that every science article someone of religious faith just HAS to show up in the comments telling us about their own beliefs and fairytales that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC PRESENTED.... i just dont understand

    August 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • SCIENCE!

      Don't try to understand them. It just makes migraines.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • petercha

      Way to go, Tesla, you just insulted all people of faith by calling what they believe in, "fairytales". If you choose not to believe in one religion or another, you do have that right, but there is no need to be insulting to those who do believe.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • phearis

      I was wondering the same thing. This article has to do with the wonders of space and a few artards have to bring in their fantasy book of stolen stories. Ya wanna know most of the world hates the US and Christians in general? It's because you guys force your religious beliefs on others without consideration. Basically, you all don't know when to keep your damn mouths shut. Nobody wants to hear it, so shut the he!! up!

      August 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
      • Mike

        Not pushing it down your throat and if you don't have belief in God or Faith thats fine. I won't however shut the &(*^ up. Just as you have the right to tell me I am an idiot and that religion is a fairytell I also have the right to tell you I beileve in God. It doesn't work one way. If you want the right I get it also. Hmm to bad. You must be one of those guys who thinks the Government should give everybody free stuff but when they come to take the taxes from you to pay for it you say no not me. Everything should be the way you dictate and the world would be o such a better place. Thats kinda funny

        August 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
      • MrHanson

        Oh really? Don't you think that maybe, just maybe atheists seem to start it first? They always are the first ones to start hurling insults at any chance they can get even when unprovoked. Just because we don't except your religion of believing that we as humans, the people we love, and the people around us are nothing but a lucky cosmic accident. Forgive us for believing that we have more significance than that of a tapeworm.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
      • MrHanson

        By the way, P.Z. Myers is that you?

        August 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Mike

      I wasn't commenting on the Article. I was commenting on the comments of someone else who brought up religion. I agree with you the article has nothing to do with religion it has to do with pretty pictures and a bunch of people claiming they know exactly how it occured yet they will change their minds next week and tell us it was caused by something else. I actually enjoyed reading the article its interesting stuff. I just happen to beleive in God so I responded to the gentleman that said since you can't see God when you go into space in the Shuttle then he must not exist. Sorry if it offended but I do understand how it could be difficult to wrap a small mind around the fact that just maybe both can exist

      August 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
      • phearis

        Only Christians claim they know "exactly how it occurred". Perhaps you don't know or understand what the word "Theory" means. I highly suggest you look it up.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • Dave

        Sorry....you seem like a nice guy....just hopelessly mislead and naive. I feel for you. Hopefully someday you'll realize that religion – and God – are things created by MAN at the earlier stages of his collective consciousness to explain things about the world and life that didn't make sense to him. The fact that there are so many religions in the world with so many followers all claiming that their belief system is the "correct one" just proves the point. If ANY of it was really true it just doesn't stand to reason that this omnipotent being would have allowed so many diversions to exist.

        I also doubt that HE would allow so much suffering and death to have occurred in HIS name as HE apparently has. Oh but I forgot – that's just how HE works in "mysterious ways", isn't it?

        Wake up buddy. There ain't no "heaven" for you. It's oblivion. You're an animal. And you'll die just like a dog or cat or horse does...and it's just gonna go BLACK. There ain't nothing special about you that makes your atoms and cells any different after your heart stops beating.

        Again....sorry.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
      • StarHunter7

        At Dave: You stated: "There ain't no "heaven" for you. It's oblivion. You're an animal. And you'll die just like a dog or cat or horse does...and it's just gonna go BLACK. There ain't nothing special about you that makes your atoms and cells any different after your heart stops beating." If that is your belief, then if I kill you (you being nothing but an animal like a dog or a cat), I have nothing to worry or fear from legal transgressions, the law, a judge, jury or any sentence. At most I might be fined a few dollars and told to do a few hours of community service. But hey you won't care, you're just a dog, cat, pig, sloth, maggot. Yes, I think maggot fits your form more precisely. Have a nice day, maggot.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
      • Andrew

        StarHunter7, if the only thing keeping you from murdering another human being is fear of god, you're worse than a maggot.

        I believe as soon as I die, everything goes black. You just die, no thoughts, no soul, no heaven, no hell, nothing. But I also happen to like being alive, I like other human beings, and generally like being a good person. I like it for my own sake, not because of some fear of some god.

        You, however, apparently seem like only divine fear keeps you in line. You're a sociopath, and a bane to society. Pond scum should be regarded higher than an individual like you.

        August 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • petercha

      Way to go, phearis, you just insulted all people of faith by calling what they believe in a, "fantasy book of stolen stories". And you go even further by trying to deny them their first amendment rights and prevent them from freely exercising their religion (we are REQUIRED by our religion to preach "in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2). Please take your hatred elsewhere.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • conlawman

        @petercha: I hope you know your scripture better than you know the Constitution. An individual cannot "deny" anyone their First Amendment rights, since that Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law . . . " It prohibits the US government from establishing a religion or from preventing the exercise thereof, prohibits the US government from abridging the freedom of speech or the press, and prohibits the US government from restricting the right to peaceably assemble or petition the government for redress. If I tell you to STFU, I may be rude, but I am not infringing on your First Amendment rights.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • petercha

      Amen to both your posts, Mike.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Because atheists are the first to start hurling insults. Happens every time.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • s

      TESLAvision: Maybe the reason you don't understand is because your are always SCREAMING IN CAPS. If you calm down, be silent for a minute or two and listen, you might begin to understand. Now go to your room, no supper for you tonight.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • StarHunter7

      TESLAvision: Listen. Maybe the reason you don't understand is because your are always SCREAMING IN CAPS. If you calm down, be silent for a minute or two and listen, you might begin to understand. Now go to your room, no supper for you tonight.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  21. caw

    42

    August 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  22. The R.O.T.P.

    My diners are more interesting.....

    August 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  23. Mike

    God is Good God is Great. I see nothing wrong with believing in Science and God. I am a Christian and have complete faith in God and his Salvation. I also believe that Dinosaurs walked the Earth and that we have space ships out and about that have yet to see God floating in space somewhere. One doesn't change my thoughts about the other. In fact my belief in God helps me better understand the Science. Sorry to hear you think religion is a joke. Its a shame you can't experience both

    August 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jordan

      Thank you Mike, glad to see I'm not alone in this.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
      • SlimJim

        I agree. God is the most brilliant scientist ever....think about it.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Xerxes 2011

      Can a Scientiest go to heaven? Theories is not science, its just a round about way to admit that " 'I'm wrong' but we wont say that". Facts are only a range of varialbles that you control and have a chart to compare against, if nothing to compare against, how do you know that "white is not black". i like this quote though "I think, therefore I am'-Rene' Decartes.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • caw

      Being a person of science, I would be more than welcome to have a verifiable religion, but why won't God show a real miracle to prove his existence. All that people keep claiming to be miracles are only statistical anomalies. We have wars being fought over different unprovable beliefs so why doesn't god spend a single second proving what can't be proved so the deaths would end.

      With all the deaths and misery in the world, tortures and slavery either there is a god and he really doesn't care or there isn't. Either way I can't see myself wanting to worship such a being.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • AK

        Do u wake up every morning? Do you maintain your heartbeat, bloodflow, etc.? Does the sun rise and set everyday? Do you regulate your breathing, eyesight? Being matter in the universe; do you still stay grounded and not float away? I'll give you time to ponder those and then you can ask yourself is there a God.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Superdoubt

      You have complete "faith" in God and "His Salvation" ????

      Salvation from what? exactly?

      Are these your ideas? Or are they ideas that belong to someone else?

      That, of course is a rhetorical question for you to ponder, because I already know that they are not your ideas.

      "Salvation" from whatever, is an idea that was planted in your head as domesticated maize is planted in the fields of Kansas.

      The odds are very good that you didn't "choose" to believe this nonsense because "belief" and "faith" aren't presented as a choice. They are presented to child minds before the child mind has the necessary intellect to question the concept.

      There is but one concept in the bible that I agree with: "The Truth Shall Set You Free"

      August 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
      • Mike

        LOL nice. See Miracles do exist you know my thoughts before I even share them. Thank you for telling me what I beleive and assuming you know what I think or don't think. Will be praying for you

        August 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
      • Mike

        Just reread your post and had to respond one more time. These ideas were not planted in my mind as a child. My parents didn't go to church and therefore I didn't either. My Father and Mother are recovering Alcoholics and spent some time doing drugs. My Father just found Christ and the Church with me and my family at the age of 65 this last year. I am 43 years old and was baptized in 2001 when I was 33. I am educated through my Graduate level Degree and have taken plenty of Science courses. I believe what I read in the Science books the same as I believe what is written in the Bible. The Bible is a book of History. Science is even today proving some of what is in the Bible. Why is it that everything Science proves is fact unless it is something that proves Jesus walked the Earth. I believe the Bible is as true as any other Document that we have access to from two thousands years ago or a cave drawing from 2 million years ago.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • petercha

      Amen, Mike. Science and religion can exist comfortably and peacefully side-by-side for me.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • RichG

      Many christians believe that you have to believe everything the bible says or else you can't be saved. Pretty stupid I think.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Drew

      The existence of God as described in the Christian bible would violate entropy and could not exist in our universe.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  24. The Guy

    The fact that people still believe in a christian god is far more disturbing, Aubrie. Just like the religions of the world before it, our descendents will looks back thousands of years from now and be in awe that their ancestors believed in such ideas.

    August 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • thebreastwhisperer

      huh?

      August 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • The Guy

        eh, posted in the wrong section. see below...

        August 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • ghostmule

      I mean, seriously? You don't know if the Christian God is the real one or not. You just say stupid nonsense because you are afraid that it may be true and you live your life in total sin. It makes sense to reject God when you live your life like the devil. Im not a holy roller or a Bible thumper, but I can tell you this, God does exist and he resides in a real place somewhere in the universe. He created everything you see. Extreme incomprehensible intelligence.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • lol

        aww some religious fan went crazy the hate in what you write is the reason why most peope are turning away from religion, you are a bunch of hate mongering fools that those with common sense simply laugh at, you have no proof of god but science has proof of the universe and evolution and it is too much for you.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • Chris

        Science has proof of the universe? So? What does that have to do with anything? And last I checked evolution was still a THEORY. There may be "proof" but there was "proof" that the earth was the center of the universe at one time. And if science is all that because of "proof" then proove to me that there is no god. I'll anxiously await your answer.

        And not all Christians (or Muslims or any other religious people for that matter) are "hate mongering fools". To lump all of us under one banner shows a lack of understanding and close-mindedness on your part. The vast majority of religious people are non-violent, intelligent people that just happen to believe in a higher power.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
      • glennrobert

        Ah! Yes! There is a universe. No God was required to create it. "Stephen Hawking" We continuen to confuse religion with reality.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
      • Bernie

        @chris A THEORY is has MANY proofs but it's not proven to be irrefutable.... like the LAW of gravity. There is diff between LAW and THEORY. The Theory of Relativity is a THEORY but it has been proven many times. Where do you think all this technology comes from? If we didn't know based on the THEORY that time passes slower as you move farther away from the earth, then we would have no GPS systems that worked accurately.

        Also the "earth is the center of the universe" was never PROVEN. It was disproven. There was never a PURELY scientific proof that it was the center. Besides it was likie 1500s... it was the DISPROVING of that theory that propagated scientific works for the future. God you are a moron

        August 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
      • Chris

        @ Bernie
        No need for name calling. You have your beliefs and I have mine. I know the difference between a theory and a law. And I have no problem with science at all. I know where our technology comes from and I imagine I know more about scientific theory and law than the average person. There is absolutely no reason that science and religion can't coexist. But just because someone believes something that you don't doesn't mean that you should call them morons.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
      • Andrew

        Bernie, laws are very refutable. And it's rather evident you don't know what Einstein's THEORY of General Relativity states. If you did, you'd understand it entirely replaces Newton's LAW of Universal Gravitation.

        Theory-A general large scale explanatory model within science supported by copious amounts of evidence. Such as the "Theory" of General Relativity, or "Quantum Field Theory".

        Law- A simple statement applicable over a narrow range of circumstances that may or may not have real physical relevance. Ohm's LAW for example only works for certain materials, and breaks apart for superconductors. Ideal Gas LAW, for example, is never actually real as no real "ideal gas" exists. It is a decent approximation, however.

        Same with Newton's LAW of Universal Gravitation. It worked quite well for most objects we observed, but it failed entirely to explain the precession of Mercury's Orbit. It also could never explain something like gravitational lensing, it's simply not that powerful. It was then replace by Einstein's THEORY of General Relativity, which provided much stronger predictions and was substantially more accurate. It also explained to us the fundamentals of gravity in far more detail than "this is what I observe gravity is, no idea why".

        Theories explain laws, not the other way around.

        August 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • ProudJew613

      Uch enough with this already. Obviously space does not contradict an idea of G-d. It was not created on its own, nothing comes from nothing. Let's just enjoys the findings of science, though their scope is limited, it gives us a better appreciation for the infinate wisdom of the Creator.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
      • AGuywithABrain

        Oh.. the God vs No God debate... who will win?? No one. When you can't prove or disprove the existence of something does that make for good conversation. No. What is the point? The religious have beat this to death and continue to do so. I'll tell you what.. I'll live my life, you live your life, and when the lights go out you can tell me if you were right or wrong. What does it matter either way? You waste your time worshiping invisible sky people and I will study further. Ironically this all resembles Jesus and his scorn for people who worshiped Idols.. remember the "story" – yes, the bible is a collection of stories. Now some worship crosses, statues,, etc all stuff that Jesus scorned according to the story. I'll treat people decently, and help the poor as Jesus preached according to the stories – but sorry I am not Christian or Jewish. Sort of ironic how a non Christian can be more "Christian" than a Christian. 🙂

        August 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
      • Xasthur

        Aguywithabrain seems to understand the gospels better than Christians. But it's no secret that agnostics and atheist know more about religion than they do. The Gospels were radical pacifist documents about helping the poor. Christians and conservatives today find those ideas a threat ever since Emperor Constantine made Christianity a religion of the rich and powerful. A military force with crosses on their shields of Roman soldiers. Their was a Catholic movement that tried to go back to the teachings of the Gospels in central America in the 80's and they were promptly slaughtered by Reagan's secret wars. Nuns were raped, archbishop Romero assassinated after giving mass, Jesuit intellectuals murdered in cold blood, ect by US trained elite battalions.

        August 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • AuntBaker

      Honey, have your read Darwin's Autobiograpy. He said of some of his samples that he had that were distances of thousands of miles apart that they were constructed in such a way that they had to have been made by the same hand. In grade five I did a science fair project on the theory of evolution. I love science and I love God. The more I learn of one the more I am in awe of the other.

      Where ever we are what ever word for God we use we all need faith in something other then ourselves. Just like our ancient
      ancestors thousands and thousands of years ago. I am not laughing at them now or ever.

      Yehwah bless and keep all of you safe from harm.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  25. erich2112x

    It's an intelligent brain being spec'ed out and designed by one of the many gods living out there in the universe. Soon, the code will be engineered and packaged into an asteroid and set out like dice to hit a lucky seven.

    August 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • IronicHairyKnuckleDragger

      Well, then if god created the Universe, who or what created god? Then, who or what created the who or what that created god? etc., etc. This is known in philosophy as the infinite regress problem in epistemology. What is needed is a school of thought such as foundationalism to ground us as we address this question. The problem is that as of yet there is no agreed upon foundation from which to firmly and adequately address this question. But of course, continue to ask the question! By the way, if Einstein was any judge, he was very confident that "God does not play dice."😉

      August 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  26. Aaron

    CNN and science = poor journalism.
    Between last week's major fail at describing the New Horizons probe and this horrible little tid bit of outdated information which I knew about YEARS ago I believe the CNN science team needs a good thrashing

    August 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • logan

      I agree!!😀

      August 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • bobh

      What CNN science team? They got fired a couple of years ago. And you can see the difference, even in the general news reporting, which has dropped about 40 IQ points.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • ProudJew613

      Aaron I wish you greetings on the yarzeit of the man from whom your name came from Aaron Hagadol🙂

      August 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • SCIENCE!

      Agree too. Science section supplanted by "Tech". Ridiculous. Now instead of interesting articles about strange places, people, and things we get Ipod information ad nauseum. Boooo CNN, BOOOOOOO!

      August 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Jay Schexnyder

      There is, unfortunately, no "CNN science team." It was liquified a couple of years ago.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  27. jessicaber

    What does soccer have to do with it?

    August 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • thebreastwhisperer

      i smoked some hydro, and it really does look like a soccer ball... far--out...

      August 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Oobatz

      Most Nebulae are spherical-ish in shape, but all portions are not expanding at the same rate, making the shape even more random as it expands.

      Although it just resembles a soccer ball, the significance is that there are patterns to a soccer ball. They are implying that there appears to be slight emergence of a "pattern" to the nebulae as opposed to total randomness. It's like when you try to make shapes out of the clouds or like the "face" they found on Mars or when Jesus Christ is "Seen" on a piece of toast.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  28. palintwit

    Soon they will clone Sarah Palin. And then will come a million more of her.

    August 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Burbank

      I've already wrapped my head in tin foil for protection! You betcha!

      August 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  29. Aubrie

    Human arrogance at this level will not go unnoticed or unpunished... whether it be here on earth in the future at our own hand, or by a greater power.

    August 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • tommas

      There is no soul, all of consciousness lies in the brain, the only true punishment for the human species will be non existence. Which will come sooner than later if we do not further develop the scientific enterprise and leave this plant / solar system.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Mark

      Please, educate me on how this article displays arrogance.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  30. Myles

    The highly advanced war mongering alien civilization we are afraid of... is us.

    August 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • glennrobert

      You are so right! We have the seeds of our own destruction The only problem is which one to choose!.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • 0_o

      quick get me a glass of water to splash you with

      August 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  31. ganzai

    Science should do what it can to advance our civilization, our understanding of the universe and our lifespans. They should not be hindered by narrow minded dogmas, peoples opinions or anything of that sort. We would not have the world we have today if it were not for science and the people who practice it.

    August 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • UCFKnightman

      Correct...

      Science is simply math defined by nature.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Really??

        Or maybe its nature in a mathematical context?

        August 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  32. BJJSchecter

    Further evidence that Football is indeed the center of the universe.

    August 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Chad

      Really? I'm sorry, but that seems like a knee-jerk reaction out of ignorance. "Wrong on so many levels?" I think it's a fantastic, amazing advancement.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
      • Really??

        Maybe it was just a joke.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  33. Aubrie

    Scientists are engineering "synthetic" life??? I'm stunned... totally horrified that this was even allowed to happen.... this is wrong on so many levels..... One more reason to support mother nature if she should choose to "cleanse" the earth of humans.......

    August 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Chris

      For all intents and purposes, they've already done it. They created synthetic DNA by matching base pairs of nucleotides with a sequencer; took a dead cell with its DNA removed, inserted the synthetic DNA... and lo and behold, the cell started back up. With man-made DNA running the show. And it was buried as a little tiny side article in the tech section. Of course... CNN.

      August 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
      • Aubrie

        A little tiny side article..... I'm speechless... thank you for this information... this is very disturbing.

        August 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
      • Jonesman

        To this day I don't know why the synthetic DNA story didn't get more airtime with the press – come on being able to create your own genome is a pretty big deal.

        August 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
      • Chris

        Aubrie... why is it disturbing? The very fact that they can literally create a genome has massive implications for the medical industry. Genetic disorders, like Alzheimer's, MS, cystic fibrosis, etc., and even cancer, all could be eradicated in the near future, provided of course that the Christian theocrats don't outlaw it based on some 2,000 year old bedtime stories.

        August 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • tommas

      I have had dinner with Dr. Gibson (the lead investigator in the synthetic cell research). We created life the first day we cloned something, these new techniques have no greater philosophical implications. The true wonder is that it was a synthetic genome and that our power to CONTROL life (not create it) is advancing quite rapidly. IE biology/life is becoming a computer science.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
      • Chris

        I suggest reading Matt Ridley's book "Genome". It really illustrates how genetics really has been a computer science/language from the very beginning, and we're really only now figuring it all out. Genes are nothing more than the source code that runs our hardware, when you break it all down.

        August 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
      • tommas

        Chris, haha you are right we are just discovering that it is a computer science, it has always been. But, the more important underlying theme is that all of our universe is computational😀. were just still filling in the gaps of the code

        August 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
      • Really??

        Excellent point.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Phil

      Seriously? You're disturbed by this? This is how we advance as a species. Life was created here on this planet millions of years ago and evolved. We're simply taking it to the next level.

      It has been established as fact many years ago, that people who don't believe in other forms of life elsewhere in the universe, continue to believe in god, detest what science is doing, *are republicans, etc, are not very smart people.

      * I put republicans in that category myself actually. But it is absolutely true that they are dumb people.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
      • Really??

        I believe in God. I also believe in furthering science. What's your point? Religion is about becoming at peace with one's existence. Some people have just had it grilled into them so much that they missed the point.

        August 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Jess

      I am also speechless, but for the opposite reason as you I suspect. I am speechless that this amazing achievement has been made and I'm so happy about all the good that this advancement will provide for generations to come. All the diseases that could be vastly improved if not eradicated entirely. This means great and wonderful things and just because man created it, doesn't mean it has to be against your religion. Do you really think God is angry that humans, his greatest creation, has found a way to better themselves and improve quality of life? But then, perhaps you have a different God than I do.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • locreer

      Aubrie,
      Got nothing to do since doomsday has come and gone?

      August 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • god

      this is wrong on so many levels..... says you......

      August 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

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