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Old December 20 2013, 11:04 AM   #106
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

I know a shortcut for linking to the profile: I select the name (the one above the poster's image), copy and paste.

And I'm afraid I don't know of matrix man aka tmm7k. I am not him/her.
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Old December 21 2013, 08:34 AM   #107
Death of Rats
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

*bangs head on keyboard* Argh! What an ingeniousely simple solution! Oh dear, I really need that vacation!
I think you'd have liked matrix He was an interesting poster, sometimes a bit controversial but always up to a good discussion. Very nice kid, though at times a bit hotheaded (but hey, so am I and I'm ancient).

So, returning to the point where we initially disagreed: destruction of the planet.
That was perhaps phrased a bit too general on my side. But can we agree that humans are doing a great deal of harm to the ecosystem?

I'm admittedly very partial because in my job I am confronted with these things every day: people in our (somewhat poor) neighbouring country heat with cheap brown coal which contains a horrible lot of sulphur. When you burn it, it forms sulphur dioxide which evaporates with the smoke. It then connects to the moisture in the air and you get sulphuric acid rain. In consequence our forrests die slowly but surely.
Apart from the reduced oxigen production and Carbondioxide uptake, there are other consequences: the forrests are like a sponge and store water. The groundwater level has fallen dramatically in my area over the last decades (while the water use has actually gotten less - we save wherever we can. Example: average German uses less than 10 gallons per day; average US citizen uses more than 30 gallons per day; industrial use not included in these figures).
When the forrests die, the soil doesn't get held in place by roots anymore: our mountains turn to deserts.
This makes the rain (and avalanches!) come down a good deal faster on the villages and towns. Floods come quicker and much higher than they used to.
The microclimate is affected as well since the forrests kept the wind off. We get worse storms than we used to.
And those are merely the consequences of using the wrong fuel for heating in my area (not even globally). And only the consequences for humans. The native flora and fauna is affected much worse than we are.

The problem is that this is no isolated phenomenon. On a planet everything is connected. We are dealing with equations with zillions of unknown factors. This way we can hardly predict the consequences of what we are doing. But I think the example shows that the consequences can unexpectedly get terribly huge.

When I go out with school classes, we play a game: everyone gets a card with an animal or a plant. We use a ball of wool and everyone holds the thread and throws the ball to a person who has a plant or animal that interacts with their own one. After a few rounds you have a huge spiderweb Now we extinct one animal or plant. The kid with that card drops his threads. And the whole web breaks down.
I love that game because it visualizes the connections so well. A kid that once played it will always have an understanding for the connections in an ecosystem.
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Old December 23 2013, 07:23 PM   #108
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Suffice it to say that warming would be good to thaw Mars out--it needs super-greehouse gases--we don't.

A lot of climate change deniers are bullish on terraforming...go figure.
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Old December 26 2013, 12:07 PM   #109
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Spirit of Christmas Present wrote: View Post
*bangs head on keyboard* Argh! What an ingeniousely simple solution! Oh dear, I really need that vacation!
I think you'd have liked matrix He was an interesting poster, sometimes a bit controversial but always up to a good discussion. Very nice kid, though at times a bit hotheaded (but hey, so am I and I'm ancient).


So, returning to the point where we initially disagreed: destruction of the planet.
That was perhaps phrased a bit too general on my side. But can we agree that humans are doing a great deal of harm to the ecosystem?

I'm admittedly very partial because in my job I am confronted with these things every day: people in our (somewhat poor) neighbouring country heat with cheap brown coal which contains a horrible lot of sulphur. When you burn it, it forms sulphur dioxide which evaporates with the smoke. It then connects to the moisture in the air and you get sulphuric acid rain. In consequence our forrests die slowly but surely.
Apart from the reduced oxigen production and Carbondioxide uptake, there are other consequences: the forrests are like a sponge and store water. The groundwater level has fallen dramatically in my area over the last decades (while the water use has actually gotten less - we save wherever we can. Example: average German uses less than 10 gallons per day; average US citizen uses more than 30 gallons per day; industrial use not included in these figures).
When the forrests die, the soil doesn't get held in place by roots anymore: our mountains turn to deserts.
This makes the rain (and avalanches!) come down a good deal faster on the villages and towns. Floods come quicker and much higher than they used to.
The microclimate is affected as well since the forrests kept the wind off. We get worse storms than we used to.
And those are merely the consequences of using the wrong fuel for heating in my area (not even globally). And only the consequences for humans. The native flora and fauna is affected much worse than we are.
A, yes - acid rain destroying the forests - the environmental scare of the 1980s:
"Forests are beginning to die at a catastrophic rate. One year ago, West Germany estimated that 8% of its trees were in trouble. Now 34% are...that forests are in trouble is now indisputable. Experts told all Germany's conifers would be gone by 1990 and the Federal Ministry of the Interior predicted all forests would be gone by 2002"

Bunk. Acid rain (though a real phenomenon) at past and current levels, did not - and does not - kill forests. NOT EVEN CLOSE. It doesn't even damage them. Scientists eventually admitted that forests thrived in Germany, Scandinavia and North America during the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, despite acid rain.

The lengths - and attempted fraud - that acid rain alarmists in the EPA went to to prevent the result of the NAPAP study reaching Congress before crucial votes in the early 1990s is well documented:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...g=2503,7765551
Of course, this is far from the single example of such fraud from environmental alarmists.

The problem is that this is no isolated phenomenon. On a planet everything is connected. We are dealing with equations with zillions of unknown factors. This way we can hardly predict the consequences of what we are doing. But I think the example shows that the consequences can unexpectedly get terribly huge.

When I go out with school classes, we play a game: everyone gets a card with an animal or a plant. We use a ball of wool and everyone holds the thread and throws the ball to a person who has a plant or animal that interacts with their own one. After a few rounds you have a huge spiderweb Now we extinct one animal or plant. The kid with that card drops his threads. And the whole web breaks down.
I love that game because it visualizes the connections so well. A kid that once played it will always have an understanding for the connections in an ecosystem.
So - have no facts to base your alarmism on and, as such, you resort to a detail-free black box you label interconnectedness. Why? In order to pretend actions that have been shown to either have no effect or have minimal effect are, in fact, 'ruining the planet'?
Lol. Again, color me unimpressed.

Unsurprisingly, you're hugely underestimating the adaptability and robustness of the ecosystem. If it was as frail as you pretend, it would never have survived past extinction events - large and small.
The small percentage of species that went extinct in the 'Holocene extinction' (I gave the numbers and the percentages in a previous post on this very thread) again prove you wrong.
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Old December 28 2013, 04:54 PM   #110
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

actually, there is proof (we measure the acidity of the rain and the damage of the forrests). The latter don't recover. it's just that we substituted the damaged conifers by different species that are more resistent to acidity.
As for the consequences: I tried to describe them in my previous post and I think the list is rather impressive. I can assure you that none is imagined but we're talking about actual damage here. I live in the affected area and see the damage every day. (I did mention that I've been working for the Ministery for Man and the Environment these 20 years, or did I forget?)

The catastrophical flood we had half a year ago was an immediate consequence of deforrestation. The pictures were in the news all over the world, so I think I needn't link to them. I happen to live in the town affected worst.

If you live in a country or area that is not (yet) affected you can only be envied. I hope you are aware of how lucky you are.
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Old December 29 2013, 10:30 PM   #111
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

The plow is worse than the drill head--but you can't outlaw agriculture. Modern farming methods need less land, but folks hate GMO and love organics--but due to pests, they need more land--and so it goes.

I do think we have to be careful of the dea that anything artificial is bad. The long run-out landslide/flank eruption of St. Helens and the Henderson Mountain Tornado of the mid 1990s in GA dwarfed weeks of Weyerhausers cutting practices. La Brea was never capped like Deepwater horizon, and most of the worlds oil has already leaked to the surface before engines were made: http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jul...know-about-oil


There is this anti-oil footage I saw with an evil looking metal pipe vomiting slurry in the tar sands I think it was.

And yet, there was some recent footage (NOVA I think) showing different flood control practices that looked similar. The face of progressive New Deal liberalism that made the Ninth Ward possible was "chop this down, dig that up, dredge this river, drain this swamp." New practices need both soft and hard flood control, so a pipe, large and ugly looking, was vomiting all this sludge to fill in some of the lost wetland.

Both looked unsightly, but one was deemed "green" and the other wasn't. A refinery with biodiesel or corn ethanol still looks as ugly as any other refinery--and all are hydrocarbons still.

But the hard flood controls allowed New Orleans to be a major player in WWII, which was not a green act. Not only did we lose a lot of oil and other chemicals to u-boats in torpedo junction, but drilling for oil in Louisiana also caused subsidence, and a loss of wetlands for those reasons. In many respects, the green act would be to allow the axis powers to win, for you know they would have greatly depopulated the planet if those villains had their way.

But we fought on, because the human cost would be too high. We flooded the UK with lend lease for we knew that, without oil, Britain dies. We bombed Ploesti oil fields and made quite a mess of them, with a lot of spillage, second only to Saddam dynamiting well heads in Kuwait. But we had to do it. The Germans were actually making more planes at the end of the war than there were at the beginning--even after the pants were wrecked by the 8th Air Force. Many low shops like furniture stores that didn't stand out in the Norden bombsight were missed. But all was naught, for there was no avgas to fuel them. And aviation fuel--to this day--is still leaded.

I remember Rachel Maddow lamenting how America doesn't do great things anymore, standing near Hoover Dam, that many greens would love to destroy--hating dams and flood control even though beavers made an even larger dam--and they did no environmental impact study to see if some cave microclimate was affected.
http://atheistforums.org/thread-3640.html

President Bush was (rightfully) bashed about letting our infrastructure go to pot. Recently an oil pipeline burst in Arkansas, and Greens were (rightfull)y angry about pipes being let go.

But what goes into asphault in our roads? Tar. So Republicans were demonized for putting too much tar onto the surface--and yet at the same time, not enough. Not that we haven't seen this in nature anyway: http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/O483_Asphalt_105724.pdf

Even if we had fusion tomorrow, we still need chemical foodstocks. helium comes from natural gas wells--exploration for which allowed us to find the Chixulub crater in the Yucatan. The dinos being wiped out because they didn't have industry, or a space program.

This may be controversial, but technodiversity must be more important than biodiversity. Wipe out a triceratops, nature fill the niche with a rhino--essentially the same animal. When the last satellite falls, it cannot re-evolve, for it really is a case of intel design, and without spaceflight, all life is doomed to extinction.

What separates us from other animals is not tools or language--it is this. Rather than being pssively shaped by our surroundings, we reshape them. So the very thing Greens hate is actually what defines us as an emerging member of Homo Techicus. But that IS our niche. We are not destroying the environment--we ARE the environment.

We are a stressor no different than erosion.

Can we do things smarter and less destructive? Certainly. But are we a virus destroying the planet? No. We condemn Leni Riefenstahl for films about this or that group being a virus upon the volk (i.e. planet), and yet in many nature documentaries, I see a chilling parallel. They tell us all about a piping plover, and reduce all of human endeavour to a picture of a smokestack and a dump.

But if I were to film any other animal only eating and defecating, I could probably make it look pretty wasteful too. At least folks on the religous right only want to takes us back to the Dark Age and libertarians, the age of powdered wigs--not the stone age.

I don't always agree with Libertarian thought, but here are a few pro-future books that folks need to read:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaman
http://www.abebooks.com/978067174948...067174948X/plp
http://www.amazon.com/Afraid-Human-C.../dp/0847687821
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Future_and_Its_Enemies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_Superstition

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Old December 30 2013, 11:19 AM   #112
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Spirit of Christmas Present

I'm not familiar with the situation in your home region and its causes, but globally, acid rain had minimal effects even before legislation was introduced to curtail emissions.

In the US, a 10-year government-sponsored study involving some 700 scientists and costing about $500 million reported in 1990 that “there is no evidence of a general or unusual decline of forests in the United States and Canada due to acid rain” and “there is no case of forest decline in which acidic deposition is known to be a predominant cause.”
In Germany, Heinrich Spiecker, director of the Institute for Forest Growth, was commissioned by a Finnish forestry organization to assess the health of European forests. He concluded that they were growing faster and healthier than ever and had been improving throughout the 1980s. “Since we began measuring the forest more than 100 years ago, there’s never been a higher volume of wood … than there is now,” Spiecker said. (Apparently, one of the chief ingredients of acid rain—nitrogen oxide—breaks down naturally to become nitrate, a fertilizer for trees.)

As for lakes, it turned out that their rising acidity was likely caused more by reforestation than by acid rain; one study suggested that the correlation between acidity in rainwater and the pH in the lakes was very low.

The story of acid rain is not of catastrophe averted but of a minor environmental nuisance somewhat abated.
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Old January 4 2014, 01:23 PM   #113
Death of Rats
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

I am not familiar enough with the situation in the North American continent to be able to comment on it.
As for the status of the European forrests in general and the German ones in particular, Spiecker was correct in his observations that there is more new growth than used to be. However, that is due to the fact that the more sensitive coniferes have gradually died over the last 40 years and the gaps they left are being filled with what I believe is called Hardwood in English (trees and shrubs with soft, wide leaves instead of needle-like ones: Dicotylendones).
That the deforrestation through acid rain has stopped is also correct. Simply for the reason, though, that all damaged trees have died by now and there are only such species left that are less sensitive to a low pH. Also, there has been a massive reforrestatiuon effort in the last decades, unparallelled in (German) history (2000 years after all). Last but not least the acid rain itself has become less (thank heavens! - pardon the pun).

This is a wonderful example how one can draw dangerousely inacurate conclusions from facts if one only looks at the results without questioning what lead to them.


rubliusr, thank you for this excellent analysis. Could you please explain to me the role New Orleans played in WW2? Apart from it being a town mostly inhabited by people of French and African origin, having been a major Mississippi-harbour and cotton market in the 1800s and having excellent cuisine and music I've never heard anything of that town until that flood they suffered about a decade ago. It might be wiser, though, to take that to PM as it'd lead the thread very far off-topic.
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Old January 5 2014, 03:25 PM   #114
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I am not familiar enough with the situation in the North American continent to be able to comment on it.
As for the status of the European forrests in general and the German ones in particular, Spiecker was correct in his observations that there is more new growth than used to be. However, that is due to the fact that the more sensitive coniferes have gradually died over the last 40 years and the gaps they left are being filled with what I believe is called Hardwood in English (trees and shrubs with soft, wide leaves instead of needle-like ones: Dicotylendones).
That the deforrestation through acid rain has stopped is also correct. Simply for the reason, though, that all damaged trees have died by now and there are only such species left that are less sensitive to a low pH. Also, there has been a massive reforrestatiuon effort in the last decades, unparallelled in (German) history (2000 years after all). Last but not least the acid rain itself has become less (thank heavens! - pardon the pun).

This is a wonderful example how one can draw dangerousely inacurate conclusions from facts if one only looks at the results without questioning what lead to them.
'dangerousely inacurate conclusions'?
Hardly; my conclusion stands: The story of acid rain is not of catastrophe averted but of a minor environmental nuisance somewhat abated.

As you yourself recognized, for Europe there is more new forest growth than before, etc.
Your only point is that some of the more sensitive trees gave their place to better adapted species (do you have a source for the claim?). If so, this is darwinian evolution in action; as it has been throughout the evolution of life on earth.

All this is not even close to your alarmistic ~'we ruined the planet'.
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Old January 6 2014, 01:40 PM   #115
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

We're moving in circles here. Everything you ask has already been answered in previous posts. If I can admit that I lack the information to judge on the situation in North America, why can't you simply admit that you lack the information to judge on the situation over here? Instead, you insist that your opinion is the only right one because it's your opinion. That's unscientific and - pardon my frankness - quite tiresome .


Ok, explanation for XYZ :
(everyone else, particularly those who remember my previous posts, please feel free to skip forward to the *** line where you will find 2 links that will allow you to form your own impressions)

my source is myself and my 20 years of work for the Ministry For Man And The Environment (recently renamed to Ministry for Environment And Health: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bavaria...t_and_politics) which make me more of an expert on these matters than most people (certainly more than any poster here) It's my job to analyze and attempt to buffer the ecological consequences on a daily base.
As I pointed out 3 posts ago (post #107 in this thread) these effects are far from being a mere nuissance but have caused the highest flood on record in Bavaria (and these records include archeological proof as far back as the early Pleistocene http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weichsel-Kaltzeit sorry, this wikipedia entry is not yet available in English, there is a French version, though ).
In addition, the species shift you consider so irrelevant means the complete extinction of not only the immediately concerned tree species but of the whole ecosystem based on them. We are talking about several hundred species here.
If you reread the thread, you will see that I pointed this connection out as well. (confer description of the wool-thread-game)

Also, the consequences of acid rain in my region is - as I pointed out - only one single example. There are others galore. I deliberately picked that one since it's a comperatively local phenomenon and hence the connections (how one thing leads to another) are more obvious than is the case with global effects of larger ecological damage. This makes it a good example to use on laypersons.
One can't explain rocket science to a charwoman, but you can reasonably assume she understands it if you let go of an air-filled but untied balloon and explain to her that both apply the jet force principle. (Iguana, do you agree with this example? This is your field of expertize, I believe)

The problem with you laypersons (no offense meant, only stating a fact) is that you have an unfortunate tendency to focus on just one tiny facette of the things and completely overlook all the others, including the consequences, particularly the indirect ones. I'd say you don't see the forrest for the trees but in this context (i.e. forrest dieback) it would be a bad metaphor.

******************

Maybe you'll trust your own eyes? Have a look at these satellite pics:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=48.98...num=1&t=h&z=18
The grey stuff is fallen dead trees, the dark vertical lines are still standing dead treetrunks. I zoomed in on 5 living ones. Feel free to zoom back and look how far the dead zone goes. You will notice that it stretches towards the east. This is - as I elaborated in post #107) the preferred wind direction in that region.
The area is Europe's biggest national park: no felling of trees nor reforrestation are allowed. About 25% of the roads may be used by hikers, leaving the paths is strictly forbidden, the central zone into which I zoomed is even off limits for park rangers, so that there is zero anthropogene influence on the trees apart from immisions through the air.

If you believe the pictures might be outdated: here's a webcam that updates every 30 minutes. The needle-less trees are no deciduous trees but dead fir trees as you will see if you follow this link in summer.
http://www.nationalpark-bayerischer-...am/i_frame.htm

And if after all this proof you, XYZ, still claim there's no dying forrest I'll draw my own conclusions from the facts you offer and deduct that a) you still believe in Santa Clause and b) you need stronger glasses.
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Old January 6 2014, 03:56 PM   #116
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
my source is myself and my 20 years of work for the Ministry For Man And The Environment (recently renamed to Ministry for Environment And Health: ...
Well no wonder they renamed it!

Q: "What ministry do you work for?"
A: "The Ministry for Man and The Environment."
Q: "What are your responsibilities?"
A: "Um, man and the environment."
Q: "Can you be more specific?"
A: "All of humanity and its environment, encompassing everyone and the entire universe."
Q: "Don't you think that's a bit of overreach?"
A: "Not really. We're pretty much the Ministry of Everyone and Everything."
Q: "So why have any other ministries?"
A: "Oh, mostly to handle specialized nonsense that's too trivial for us to handle. We're focused on the big picture, global population trends, intergalactic cosmic radiation standards, and such."
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Old January 7 2014, 07:26 PM   #117
Death of Rats
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

This is supposed to be a scientific discussion. Instead of being polemic, you should rather learn German first and then check the ministry's website for our precise responsibilities and competences. You find them listed here: http://www.stmuv.bayern.de/ministeri...aben/index.htm

Our responsibilities are indeed versatile. As I am a compassionate person I hesitate to leave you at the mercy of some translation software (they tend to infallibly pick the wrong one if a word has several meanings). But I will only translate the single cathegories, not the whole site!

The ministry is responsible for:

* information and communication
* consumer protection
* environmental management and landscape conservation
* water economy and flood protection
* soil conservation and toxic deposits
* air pollution control
* climate protection
* waste management
* noise protection (i.e. protection *from* noise, not *of* noise!)
* biotechnology and genetic engineering
* electromagnetic pollution and mobile communications
* nuclear energy, radiation protection, laying in of nuclear power plants (had to look that up in a dictionary. Hope it's the right expression. We're abolishing NPPs and gradually tearing them down)
* food safety
* animal health and protection
* Agenda 21 (ok that needs to be explained. It's a national programme to improve economy without a negative ecologic impact)
* environment and economy (for economy see also Agenda 21)
* EU and international cooperation

We also used to have health and care (both health care and old age care) departments, but they were recently split off as a ministry of its own.
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Old January 11 2014, 08:46 PM   #118
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

gturner wrote: View Post
Well no wonder they renamed it!
They still have a smaller portfolio than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that takes care of all of Earth's avian and marine citizens, and manages a big majority of habitable real estate on the planet. Or the Central Intelligence Agency that takes care of all the humans, dolphins, dogs, chimpanzees, orangutangs, crows, parrots and octopuses in the entire galaxy (even the Mars One astronauts).

I am still more fascinated by the United States Ice Patrol that guards against all attacks of icemen coming from Canada and outer space.
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Old January 11 2014, 08:56 PM   #119
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Well, the Ice Patrol also protects us from the white walkers that live North of the Wall.
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Old January 13 2014, 12:03 PM   #120
Death of Rats
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

how about Bigfoot? I read the other day that some American hunter claims to have killed one (IIRC he was from Kentucky, though, so that Whiskey might have played a part in this hunt...)
And if we talk about watching over all life on the planet we mustn't forget the NSA. An institution that takes an interest in their fellows, so lively that not even Orwell anticipated it
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