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Re: RE: starship-design: Infrastructure in space [was: FTLtravel...]




In a message dated 4/25/00 9:51:37 PM, lparker@cacaphony.net writes:

>>
>>  Is not oil made by compression of large amounts of
>> organic matter?
>
>Well, scientists used to believe so, but recently it has been discovered
>through spectroscopic analysis that chemical compounds remarkably similar
>to
>good old crude abound in space. While it may still be true that oil on
>Earth
>originated by compressing organic matter, there is now some speculation
>that
>perhaps some of it was simply trapped here during planetary formation or
>something.

I read something that they think that might explain why oil on earth always 
has a lot of helium in it.  Doesn't make any sence if it was generated from 
old swamps.  But if its from space based debries sweept up in earth formatin 
it does.  Another big issue is oil companies ae seeing old used oil fields 
start to refill as if the oil is being squeezed out from for deaper resivours.

Wait I have a artical someone mailed me!

Subj:   Endless oil
Date:   Monday, March 27, 2000 2:05:00 PM
From:   kgstarks@crnotes.collins.rockwell.com
To:     kellyst@aol.com






I remember this coming up in a conversation.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-11/01/102l-110199-idx.html


TOM GOLD, OIL MAN

                  A Scientific Heretic Says We'll Never Have to Worry About

                  Running Out of Gas


                  By Ken Ringle

                  Washington Post Staff Writer

                  Monday, November 1, 1999; Page C01


                  Computers used to cost millions. Now they're being given 
away.

 The

                  country was rapidly going broke. Now we've got a $115 
billion

budget

                  surplus. Butter was bad for us. Now we're not so sure. We're

being forced

                  to reexamine all our old assumptions on millennial eve, 
right?


                  So maybe we should finally pay attention to Thomas Gold. He

says the

                  world has an endless supply of oil and gas.


                  Gold, a Vienna-born physicist, cosmologist and general

scientific heavy lifter,

                  founded and for many years directed the Cornell Center for

Radiophysics

                  and Space Research. In his 79 years he's authored more than

280 scholarly

                  papers on subjects ranging from astronomy to zoology.


                  He's also a full-time heretic, periodically parachuting into

some new

                  scientific field and infuriating academic plodders there 
with

some

                  outlandishly bold new theory. More annoying, his theories

usually turn out to

                  be right. Worst of all, he thinks the orthodox have so 
gummed

up the gates

                  of knowledge that they were more open to breakthroughs 50

years ago.


                  Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould has labeled Gold "one of

America's

                  most iconoclastic scientists." Says Gold himself: "In 
choosing

 a hypothesis

                  there is no virtue in being timid . . . [but] I clearly 
would

have been burned at

                  the stake in another age."


                  In 1947, fresh from pioneering wartime work on the 
development

 of radar,

                  he used his research into high-frequency receptors to 
publish

an entire new

                  theory of mammalian hearing. Physiologists shrugged it off 
for

 30 years.

                  Until auditory technology evolved enough to prove him 
correct.


                  In 1959, when everybody thought the surface of the moon was

frozen lava,

                  Gold decided it was covered with dust from meteor impacts.

Footprints of

                  the Apollo astronauts will testify eternally that he was was

right about that,

                  too.


                  In 1967 astronomers trashed his suggestion that energy

pulsating in the

                  distant universe was the signature of collapsing stars. The

subsequent

                  observation of pulsars won two other scientists a Nobel 
Prize.

 And proved

                  Gold correct.


                  In 1992 he predicted that Martian meteorites might contain

fossilized

                  microbes. Four years later NASA announced the same thing.


                  Now in a new book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere," Gold says the

origin and

                  bulk of biological life is not on the surface of the Earth

where the birds and

                  bunnies are, but deep within it. Moreover, that microscopic

life force is

                  fueled by an inexhaustible supply of petroleum constantly

migrating outward

                  from our planet's volcanic core.


                  Eight years ago, when Gold was still developing his theory,

some geologists

                  were so incensed by it they petitioned to have the 
government

remove all

                  mention of it from the nation's libraries.


                  "It was an effort at book-burning, pure and simple," Gold

says, shuffling

                  around a computer-buzzing, paper-littered attic study as

energetically

                  unkempt as he is. Most petroleum geologists, he says, 
"simply

have no

                  concept of the laws of physics at work" beneath the Earth's

crust.


                  People need to understand, he says, that the long-held

assumption that oil

                  comes from the millennial composting of dinosaurs and 
ancient

swamps has

                  always been dubious, whatever school science books may say.

His theory of

                  a deep, hot biosphere doesn't just solve its contradictions,

it sorts out in the

                  process such minor matters as the origin of all earthly life

and its relationship

                  with the rest of the universe.


                  Is there any wonder it makes people nervous?


                  Way Outside the Box


                  What's unique about Thomas Gold, says astronomer Steve Maran

of the

                  American Astronomical Society, is that unlike most 
scientists

who are

                  content to "pursue the advancement of knowledge in small,

incremental

                  steps," Gold "comes up with new ideas by starting from the

original

                  principles" in some field where others have labored for 
years.


                  When that happens, he's often "treated like a curiosity that

can't be taken

                  seriously," Maran says. "But he always shakes things up in a

useful way,

                  often opens up entire new areas of thought. Some denounce 
him

even as

                  they profit from the push he's given their thinking."


                  "Gold's style is in turn charming, intriguing and

exasperating: short on details

                  (where the Devil lies) and long on fiats and suppositions,"

sighed eminent

                  geochemist Harmon Craig of Scripps Institution of

Oceanography, reviewing

                  Gold's book in Eos, the journal of the American Geophysical

Union.


                  But if Gold is right about subterranean microbes being the

seeds of all life,

                  and if they survive the Earth's next asteroid collision to

restart evolution, he

                  adds, "Let us hope that when new humans finally emerge and

invent science

                  they will have another Tom Gold to delight and exasperate 
them

 with his

                  theories."


                  On this particular day the heretic himself is stopping by 
the

local

                  techno-emporium to pick up a new computer. It's a Macintosh,

and with its

                  blue-and-white neon tones and "Star Trek" design it looks 
like

 something

                  morphed from one of his theories. It's unclear just why his

former computer

                  succumbed. It was only a year old, but he may have made it

think too much.


                  "Supposedly all my files have been transferred into this 
one,"

 he says

                  skeptically, accepting only a modicum of help lugging it

through the garage

                  and up to his study. "But of course, you never really know."


                  Gold says his curiosity has been getting him in trouble ever

since his father

                  gave him a watch when he was little and he took it apart. 
He's

 worked at

                  reassembling things ever since.


                  One of his boldest constructs was the steady-state theory of

the universe,

                  which is now regarded, says Craig, as "beautiful but 
untrue."

Still, as

                  cosmologist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced 
Study

at

                  Princeton says, if Gold hadn't put forward the steady-state

theory,

                  astronomers might not have been inspired enough to dream up

the Big Bang

                  theory, which replaced it.


                  We probably shouldn't be too hard on Gold for not quite

figuring out the

                  universe on his first try. After all, he rushed through

Cambridge in only two

                  years (there was a war on) and his degree was in 
engineering.


                  But his mind had impressed his friend Hermann Bundi, one of

Cambridge's

                  famous wartime coterie of mathematical geniuses, who 
suggested

 Gold

                  would be useful on a highly classified war project. There 
was

only one

                  problem: Gold was interned at the time as an enemy alien. He

and his

                  parents were Austrian citizens, and despite being refugees

from Hitler (his

                  father was Jewish), they had been technically classified as

Germans by the

                  British after war broke out in 1939.


                  "I was probably the first person to go right from internment

as an enemy to

                  work on an ultra-secret project like radar," he muses.


                  After the war he went back to Cambridge where, impressed 
with

his

                  brilliance, administrators presented him with a prized

four-year fellowship to

                  do anything he wanted.


                  "I told them I would like to teach advanced physics," Gold

remembers. "They

                  said that was fine. But since I had never studied any 
physics,

 I had to learn it

                  myself night by night, before each lecture."


                  In the process, he read widely on all sides of the subject 
and

 became

                  convinced all physics was related. From that he published 
his

steady-state

                  theory, which held that whatever had happened once in the

universe must be

                  occurring someplace in the universe today.


                  That made a big splash in scientific circles and, says Gold,

"I'm still not

                  entirely sure it's wrong." From there he moved on in 1953 to

become

                  assistant to Britain's astronomer royal, who heads the

Greenwich

                  Observatory and holds one of the country's most prestigious

intellectual

                  posts.


                  There he says he accidentally discovered the ultrasound

phenomenon now

                  used to check out unborn babies. But his boss decided it had

nothing to do

                  with astronomy and tore down his laboratory, so Gold left 
for

the United

                  States.


                  He landed in Harvard in 1955, "either the youngest or the

second youngest

                  full professor on the faculty. I forget which." But he 
refused

 to live in Boston

                  and detested commuting from the suburbs, so within four 
years

he had

                  migrated to a "much more livable" environment at Cornell.


                  He's been here causing trouble ever since.


                  Fueling Passion


                  Gold, who holds prestigious appointments to the National

Academy of

                  Sciences and the Royal Society of London, turned his 
attention

 to petroleum

                  during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. He has not been

universally

                  welcomed by industry geologists. Gold's hypothesis on the

origin of

                  petroleum amid deep hot life "is not very well defended,"

sniffed geoscientist

                  Alton Brown of Atlantic Richfield in a review of "The Deep 
Hot

 Biosphere"

                  in American Scientist last July. "We . . . know too much 
about

 the

                  subsurface and about petroleum geochemistry to seriously

consider these

                  ideas."


                  But Gold is used to being dissed. While scientists like 
Brown

have

                  traditionally sought to explain petroleum by looking in the

ground, Gold says,

                  he developed his theory by looking in the other direction.


                  Far from being an earthly substance, he says, petroleum and

its component

                  hydrocarbons are present throughout the universe. You find

them in

                  meteorites. You find them in captured interplanetary dust. 
You

 can detect

                  them quite abundantly on one of the moons of Saturn. About 
all

 this there is

                  no scientific argument.


                  As an astronomer and geophysicist, he says, "it always 
seemed

absurd to me

                  to see petroleum hydrocarbons on other planets, where there

was obviously

                  never any vegetation, even as we insist that on Earth they

must be biological

                  in origin."


                  Yet wherever earthly petroleum is found, even miles below

ground, oil

                  always contains biological material, such as the wreckage of

old, dead cells.

                  If "fossil fuel" wasn't formed from ancient plants and

animals, how did that

                  material get there?


                  Another puzzle bothered Gold, though he says it seems to

concern few

                  others: the gas helium. Helium is one of the essential

elements of the

                  universe, present in trace amounts everywhere in nature. As 
a

so-called

                  "noble" gas, it stays chemically aloof from other elements,

never combining

                  like, say, hydrogen and oxygen do to form a third substance

like water. Yet

                  the only place on Earth helium is ever found in abundance is

with pools of

                  petroleum underground.


                  What, Gold wondered, could explain that?


                  Then in 1977 a tiny research submarine probing deep beneath

the Pacific

                  Ocean near the Galapagos Islands discovered something that

revolutionized

                  our understanding of life.


                  More than 1 1/2 miles down on an ocean floor made otherwise

barren by

                  darkness and crushing pressure, the sub's floodlights 
revealed

 entirely new

                  ecosystems living amid the scalding 600-degree heat and

mineral-rich

                  eruptions of subsea volcanic vents. On subsequent 
expeditions,

 scientists

                  were astounded to find an entire food chain at the

vents--blood red giant

                  tube worms, albino crabs and other creatures--thriving on

previously

                  unknown forms of heat-loving microbes where no possibility 
of

life was

                  thought to exist.


                  That got Gold thinking.


                  Last year, in his book "Consilience," Harvard entomologist

E.O. Wilson, a

                  polymathic heretic like Gold, stirred the scientific pot by

arguing that all

                  forms of human knowledge are really branches of biology, and

serve an

                  evolutionary goal. But Gold goes further than that.


                  "Perhaps biology is just a branch of thermodynamics," he has

written, and

                  the history of life is just "a gradual systematic 
development

toward more

                  efficient ways of degrading energy. . . . The chemical 
energy

available

                  inside a planetary body is then more likely to have been the

first energy

                  source, and surface creatures--like elephants and . . .

people--which feed

                  indirectly on solar energy--are just a [much later] 
adaptation

 of that life to . .

                  . circumstances on the surface of our planet."


                  Endless Oil?


                  Working from that hypothesis, Gold's theory goes like this:

Oil and gas were

                  born out of the Big Bang and trapped in the Earth 4.5 
billion

years ago in

                  randomly dispersed molecular form. But the intense heat of 
the

 Earth's

                  volcanic core "sweats them out" of the rocks that contain

them, sending

                  them migrating outward through the porous deep Earth because

they are

                  more fluid and weigh less. In a region between 10 and 300

kilometers deep,

                  the hydrocarbons nourish vast colonies of microbes where all

of earthly life

                  began, and where today there's a vastly greater mass of 
living

 things than

                  exists on the surface of the planet. The migrating oil and 
gas

 "sweep up" the

                  biological wreckage of this life as they percolate upward,

together with

                  molecules of helium, all of which eventually get trapped and

concentrated for

                  periods in near-surface reservoirs where oil is usually 
found.


                  As far out as all this may sound, in the years since Gold

first noised the

                  outlines of his theory, researchers throughout the world 
have

documented

                  extensively the presence of active microbes in the deep 
Earth

under

                  conditions of heat and pressure once thought impossible to

sustain life.


                  Furthermore, some oil reservoirs long thought exhausted now

appear to be

                  mysteriously refilling. Gold considers the best proof of his

program the

                  extraction of 12 tons of crude oil in 1990 from a

6-kilometer-deep well drilled

                  in the long-presumed oil-free granite of central Sweden.


                  Chris Flavin of World Watch Institute says he's found many

elements of

                  Gold's theory "pretty persuasive" in the light of such

discoveries, and says

                  there's much to cheer environmentalists. If Gold is right, 
he

says, the

                  greatest abundance of accessible hydrocarbons will be found 
in

 the form of

                  natural gas. Gas is not only the cleanest-burning energy

source right now, it

                  promises "to be the bridge to the hydrogen economy in the

future" which will

                  be cleaner still, he says.


                  But skeptics remain.


                  "We know there's carbon deep within the Earth because that's

where we

                  find diamonds," says Nick Woodward, a geoscience program

manager with

                  the Energy Department. "And we know there's water, at least 
in

 small

                  amounts, which, since it's hydrogen and oxygen, gives us the

building blocks

                  for petroleum hydrocarbons. . . . "But whether that 
therefore

means the

                  source of all hydrocarbons is in the deep Earth, I think

that's highly

                  questionable."


                  Gold shrugs off such unbelievers. The scientific world,

allegedly searching

                  for truth, is really little more hospitable to it than when

Galileo fell afoul of

                  the Inquisition, he says.


                  "You know, I am very lucky that I received recognition and

honors early in

                  my career, so that by the time I started making real waves I

already had

                  stature," he says. "Even with my record I've had a terrible

time getting some

                  of these papers published. Without it nobody would touch 
me. .

 . .


                  "The problem is this system of peer review" wherein

established scholars in

                  a field pass judgment on new papers before publication, he

says. "That

                  rewards small steps but discourages bold ideas and the very

sort of

                  cross-discipline thinking that can provide the greatest

breakthroughs. I don't

                  think there's any question that we produced more great ideas

in the first half

                  of the 20th century than we have in the second"--when peer

review has

                  ruled.


                  Nevertheless, Gold soldiers on. He's presently writing his

memoirs of a

                  lifetime of heresy. Chosen title: "Getting the Back Off the

Watch."



                             Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company




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>I should think it would be relatively easy to prove through carbon dating,
>but I haven't seen anything on it recently.
>
>Lee

I read somthing