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  #21  
Old 12-03-2010, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Akula2ssn View Post
I agree with the ends, but even that which saves lives stems from that which was once mere curiosity. There's a reason why a basic knowledge of the core sciences is still greatly re-enforced before going on to studying things like medicine. As Sherlock Holmes said in the case of the Copper Beeches, "Data data data! I can't make bricks without clay."

A find like this opens up an entirely different area in biochemistry, something which is increasingly important in fields like medicine among others. You don't have to dump a whole lot into it. At this early stage, such research could probably benefit from a fraction of what goes into things like cancer research and what not.

Both can benefit us and save lives. The difference is that in an applied science I can say right off the bat that if the research is successful then it can be of practical benefit. In the more theoretical all you can say is we may or may not find something that will be of benefit. Both can benefit people it's just one is more clear cut in its potential. Both, however, will not benefit people at all if not pursued.

Now to be honest, I would be much much less impressed if they had found a new bug that had nothing more remarkable than being hot pink. But this, being an entirely new biochemistry carries greater potential weight with it.
We've been working on potential for the last 100 years.
Don't get me wrong we've done some good things medically but nothing like we were expecting to when we discovered DNA in the first place. Our expectations must have been too high from the Darwining era before we know about DNA. So many lofty claims were made once they found out about DNA and mutations...and none ...little of it has panned out.

The difference is now we know what's killing us...but we still can't do much to stop it. My grandmother is fighting cancer...There is just so many more important things to focus the money of the people that are dying and waiting for those cures and remedies that never really come...we're busy funding research is not going to help societies most pressing issues. I don't condone science being used in this way. If feels like we're putting alot into it and getting nothing in return.
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  #22  
Old 12-04-2010, 06:50 AM
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NASA needs to get off their collective butts and start working on things matter...like a rocket that doesn't shake it'self appart or Solar cells that don't cost a million dollars because to frank...understanding life on Earth isn't going save it from us.
Lets assume NASA would have spend three times its budget of the past two decades to develop a super-uber-duper-starship. Lets say, single stage to orbit with a payload of twenty people and equipment for one year in space. Lets assume all the physicists of the world and all their science institutes combined would have spend five times their budget of the past two decades for researching the very fabric of our universe itself, space and time, would have developed a unified field theory, that holds up to scientific standards, would not only have discovered the practical possibility of traversable wormholes, but how to create them. Lets assume all the major avionics corporations of the world would have spend all their privately and publicly funded budgets of the past five years to build the very first stargate.

Lets assume all the worlds space agencies would have come together to build the starship, the stargate, trained a crew and are ready to go - right now!

Where would you want to go?

To a planet that astronomers have catalogued as the one which has the highest probability of harbouring life. How would they have calculated the probability? Well, thats where the astrobiologists and their Californian Bacteria come into play.

Last edited by Botany Bay : 12-04-2010 at 06:54 AM.
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  #23  
Old 12-04-2010, 10:30 AM
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We've been working on potential for the last 100 years.
Don't get me wrong we've done some good things medically but nothing like we were expecting to when we discovered DNA in the first place. Our expectations must have been too high from the Darwining era before we know about DNA. So many lofty claims were made once they found out about DNA and mutations...and none ...little of it has panned out.

The difference is now we know what's killing us...but we still can't do much to stop it. My grandmother is fighting cancer...There is just so many more important things to focus the money of the people that are dying and waiting for those cures and remedies that never really come...we're busy funding research is not going to help societies most pressing issues. I don't condone science being used in this way. If feels like we're putting alot into it and getting nothing in return.
I know what you're saying but on the other hand when you consider how much we spend each year for decades and decades on research for diseases like cancer and it does seem like we still aren't getting much closer to a definitive cure, you almost have to take a moment and think that maybe this particular line that we've been following is a dead end. The history of the R&D that led to the polio vaccine is an example of this. There were numerous dead ends and tests that left children dead or crippled. A lot of what researchers thought they knew about the disease turned out to be wrong. In the end, it's the scientists that do the basic research that provide those that do the practical research the tools they need for their own work. If you've got the basics all wrong then trying to build on that is quite disastrous. The answer may not lie in the DNA but in new biomolecular processes. It may not even lie in the critter itself but new methods developed to further study those processes within that critter. This is why, even though I don't care much for being part of the academic community, it does serve its purpose. Through the academia such as research, journals, etc researchers can find out about not only new findings but new methods that they might be able to apply to their own work that can allow them to further their work. The main problem is that there's so much out there and a central data base still isn't complete where scientists of all fields can easily refer to for such information. That's something that's in the works but that's a lot of information to compile and organize not to mention to convert to digital format. There's still a lot of word of mouth, personal initiative, and chance that goes into how a scientist hears of another scientist's work, especially if you're not someone like Steven Hawking or haven't been published in a journal (one of the potential weaknesses I find in academia). When I did my undergrad thesis I contacted one expert in the location for that I was planning my project in for some advice and he didn't even know about one of the systems that I was going to be using and was interested in learning more about it for potential use in his own work. So I put him through to my professor and it just went from there.

The truth about science is that you don't really know what you're going to find and when you start out with the intent to find something, you really aren't even sure if you'll find it at all. Unfortunately we live in a world where nothing happens without cash so in order to just try to get things started, scientists and engineers have to try to double as salesmen which is why I have no intention of becoming a serious scientist in charge of a project and my dad decided he never wanted to be a lead engineer of a project again. The salesmanship part is most distasteful and brings with it all kinds of headaches. When you think about it, scientists are expert panhandlers.
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Last edited by Akula2ssn : 12-04-2010 at 11:03 AM.
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  #24  
Old 12-08-2010, 10:26 PM
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This is interesting....
http://www.yahoo.com/_ylt=AmienRJl1N...robe-discovery

"This paper should not have been published," University of Colorado molecular biology professor Shelley Copley told Slate's Zimmer.

"I suspect that NASA may be so desperate for a positive story that they didn't look for any serious advice from DNA or even microbiology people," UC-Davis biology professor John Roth told Zimmer.


I really hope this isn't true....
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  #25  
Old 12-09-2010, 12:05 PM
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This is interesting....
http://www.yahoo.com/_ylt=AmienRJl1N...robe-discovery

"This paper should not have been published," University of Colorado molecular biology professor Shelley Copley told Slate's Zimmer.

"I suspect that NASA may be so desperate for a positive story that they didn't look for any serious advice from DNA or even microbiology people," UC-Davis biology professor John Roth told Zimmer.




I really hope this isn't true....
It will be interesting to see how that plays out
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