Life on Venus? Ehhh….

My skepticism is because of the highlighted sentence below.

Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus, astronomers announced Monday — providing a tantalizing clue about the possibility of life. Phosphine molecules found on Earth are primarily a result of human industry or the actions of microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.

…if there’s a place in the solar system where planetary conditions are going to resemble the more dangerous insides of a Terran industrial facility, it’d be Venus. Damnable solar wind: why couldn’t Venus have been swapped out with Mars? We’d probably have colonies there by now if it had been.

Al Gore: ALIENS! ALIENS causing global WARMING! They’re stealin’ our carbon!

OK, some quick science (explained well here at this site).  The atmosphere of Venus is utterly inhospitable for life as we know it: too hot, too much carbon dioxide, and almost completely lacking in water vapor.  And all three characteristics are due to a combination of two factors: the lack of a magnetic field on Venus, and the solar wind (which is also considerably stronger, that much closer in).  Because there is no magnetosphere, the solar wind interacts with the Venusian atmosphere much more strongly than it would otherwise; this has the effect of stripping out hydrogen from the atmosphere.  No hydrogen = no water vapor.  No water vapor = no hydrosphere, pretty much no opportunities to turn carbon dioxide into something else.

You’re probably remembering this situation as the ‘runaway greenhouse effect:’ an argument that we used to hear a lot more of in the context of global warming before it became clear that we were unlikely to replicate Venusian conditions* unless we first figured out how to turn off Earth’s magnetic field**. At any rate, that’s why Venus is so danged hot.

It is not because of aliens, Mister Gore. Continue reading Al Gore: ALIENS! ALIENS causing global WARMING! They’re stealin’ our carbon!

‘Grotesque’ is a bit much.

You see worse on the Internet every day.

German ‘Venus’ may be oldest yet

A remarkable ivory carving is arguably the oldest sculpture of a human figure yet found, scientists say.

The distorted object, which portrays a woman with huge breasts, big buttocks and exaggerated genitals, is thought to be at least 35,000 years old.

No, wait: they’ve changed the wording from ‘grotesque’ to ‘remarkable’ since Gateway Pundit found the story. Somebody from Oxford must have stopped by and delivered a stern talking-to to the BBC. Probably in Attic Greek*.

Moe Lane

PS: Give me a break. This was my first real primary source for English university life, so a certain attitude towards it has persisted despite further, more sensible, instruction.

Besides, it could be worse. To this day whenever I hear the name ‘Caltech’ I immediately think of this.

*No, not “the kind of Greek you speak while putting stuff in storage.” See, this is why other countries laugh at us for our linguistic skills. Here.