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I saw that today just before posting this comment which clarifies a lot. You explained the issue better than I did. I realize it's sort of apples to oranges since Venus was exposed to the same elements Earth was at formation and other solar systems might be different because of what they were or were not exposed to. My understanding is that our solar system is in a less crowded area of the Milky Way, on a spiral arm. One would think that stars in more crowded regions were exposed to more. Maybe it's sort of like Earth in that there are deserts, savannahs, rainforests, etc. with different potentials.

That's where pure science meets commerce. The title of an article is intended to draw readers and unequivocal statements get more eyes than uncertainty.

I don't know how to forward it, but I saw another article posted by francopoli stating that life may be more rare than previously believed because phosphorus is not as plentiful as previously believed. It's interesting how we seem to get very different messages from science (and other sources) about the same topic.

One's imagination tends to run wild when uncertainties about the unknown are mentioned. When we say "life" in the context of this article, that means simple microbial organisms, not little green men. I wonder if it is as some say that there are pockets where conditions are right for life to form in many places and therefore life is quite plentiful in simple forms in many environments. Complex life like what we have on Earth seems likely to be rare. There were so many conditions that had to be right from a moon that exerts a gravitational pull to maintain a molten core that generates an electromagnetic field to Jupiter acting as a natural shield absorbing comets, meteors etc. that could de-stabilize life.

I have no background in astrophysics, biology (exo or otherwise) and so my opinion is not worth anything, I saw an article explaining how automobile manufacturing grew in Detroit to the exclusion of other places. Cars were not invented in Michigan and there were places better suited to establishing factories and manufacturing. I wonder if this model applies to the development of life in some way. By that I mean, life has to develop in basic forms for other more exotic forms to develop. So on Earth, without the development of basic dominant forms of life, other forms would not have developed. I realize I may be "favoring" one form of life over others as more essential or necessary but with no examples of life in other environments, any number of theories could be viable.

I can think of one reason via experience. I have a law degree and practiced law for 13 years before stopping when we had our second child. My wife is a physician and we could not both maintain our careers and fulfill our parental responsibilities. I taught at a small school for two years which fell apart in 2015. I then got a masters in US History. Since then I have been looking for work and have applied for dozens of jobs. I cannot even generally get an interview even for middle and high school positions. It is difficult to get substitute appointments. I was told for one long term sub position (January to May) there were over 100 applicants. I went to a job fair at the University of Virginia which was overflowing with history and English majors. I believe there were more applicants there than teaching positions in the entire state (a little exaggeration here, but not that much).

I keep hearing about the shortage of good teachers, which is true for math and the hard sciences. But in the humanities there is a glut. I can see why so many are depressed. Fortunately for me, I get a rare opportunity, the ability to spend a lot of time with my young children. My youngest is 5 now though and will be in school fulltime in the fall. I would like to get back to fulltime employment but that seems unlikely in the near future. I created a blog (some articles posted here) because history is such a fascinating subject to research and write about. It is discouraging to say the least that with a passion and significant educational background that I can't even get interviews.

That would be quite amazing if life actually exited in the overall hostile environment of Venus. If true, it would seem to make it likely there is life all over the solar system.

I like reading about this sort of thing but have no background in physics so I appreciate your explanation. Dark matter and dark energy are different, but related as I understand it. Does dark matter create dark energy or am I thinking about this incorrectly?

One wonders if the answers to dark matter questions will shed light on the "space" between Newtonian physics and quantum mechanics. Perhaps the answer as to what dark matter/dark energy will lead to a unified theory and help explain other mysteries such as how photons seem to act as a wave, particle, or both (the double slit experiment) or how electrons can appear to be in 2 places at once.

It reminds me of the old theory that space was made up of a medium called ether.

You're right, people generally know their information is being downloaded, they just don't realize what it can be used for and they don't have a choice. These big companies have almost monopoly power so you either agree to let them use your data or you can't use their product. And they all collude so there is nowhere to go for the consumer.

I'm normally not a big fan of government intervention but it seems like there needs to be an update on the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and other such trust busting laws.

I had read about the plan but never actually read the president's statement.

This was more than just a contingency though. There were a number of things that could have gone wrong. They thought the surface of the Moon was solid, but there were fears the lunar module might sink into the surface dust which might throw off the balance. They had landed other probes on the Moon so they had some idea, but the Lunar Module was heavier and if there were a soft spot, the lunar module might be out of position to re-launch. Same thing if the lunar module landed on a rock or hillside that could cause it to tip over.

The moon lander rocket could not use liquid propellant which needed a spark to launch off the Moon. Of course there is no air on the Moon, so creating a spark could not be done. So they used a solid propellant (chemical reaction) for the lander's rocket. The fuel used was so corrosive that it destroyed an engine on one firing so every ascent rocket in the Apollo program used an engine that had never been tested. I saw an interview where one NASA official was pretty nervous about whether the ascent rocket would work properly.

Then there is the garden variety malfunction (Apollo 13 was a good example), a lot could have gone wrong.

Eisenhower had a press release in case the D-Day landings failed as well.

I understand your point here. I would agree that there is no single consensus. I thought sum total of what I read led to the conclusion that the pandemic began in the US. I tried to indicate there were multiple theories as well. I could have spent paragraphs talking about where the pandemic began but it's not a central point to my article. You are using consensus in a scientific context--which is valid. I wasn't trying to be that definitive. I made a conclusory statement and I acknowledge my language could have been more precise.

For the record, as I mentioned in my last response to you, I think the meteor theory is interesting but I don't take it seriously as most experts in the field seem to have dismissed it. I am not an expert and cannot really assess the data independently. I would follow Carl Sagan's axiom: "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." If I had thought this was important I would have brought it up in the article.

Where the influenza pandemic began is not precisely known. If you note the fuller quote from my article, I said: "Some concluded it started in China or European trenches. However, the CDC and other authoritative sources report that the influenza epidemic actually began in the US spreading to Europe as US troops deployed and later to Asia."

There is a continuing debate on where this strain began. In the CDC report I cited and others, the first cases were reported in Kansas. The CDC article also mentions a rise in mortality rates in the US beginning in 1915 and 1916 which abated in 1917 which I took to imply that the flu was circulating in the US before 1918. The article could not conclude whether the 3 waves were a single strain or one of several, or one that mutated into an especially virulent form.

National Geographic reported in 2014, the conclusions of historian Mark Humphries who has advanced the theory that Chinese workers spread influenza first in North America and later Europe. As with other theories, this one has some factual backing. However, the lack of samples from each wave of the disease makes it impossible to be certain of the place of origin.

Here is another article I referenced but did not include as a source that has a good discussion of the origins of the influenza outbreak. I thought the arguments favoring the US as the first source were the most convincing:

I had other sources, most notably the book by John Barry who has written a recent and complete account: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. Barry wrote "In 1918, an influenza virus emerged-- probably in the United States-- that would spread around the world" on page 4 and he repeated that assertion later though it is not definitive. Barry wrote a summary of his book for based on his book which echoes US as a likely source of origin that you may be ale to access more easily:

If you look this subject up on the internet, you can find some reports that cite other possible origins. The origin is only a detail, not the focus of the article. One of my favorites, which I could not work in without having to add a lot of extra verbiage is a claim that the 1918 influenza came from space (not aliens, a meteor). It's an interesting theory but seems to have been rejected by most experts. Here's the main proponent, Chandra Wickramasinghe (who is a real scientist as far as I can tell) in his own words.

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I hope this was not too lengthy of a response but I did a fair amount of research and I had previously heard about the space theory.

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