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Geologists Claim Earth May Be Softer Around The Middle Than Previously Thought

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the creamy-nougat-center dept.

News 98

A new geological study is suggesting that what we know about the lower mantle of the Earth may have to be reevaluated. Since we are unable to actually sample the Earth at those depths, scientists rely on the use of seismic waves to study the lower reaches of the Earth. This new study suggests that material in the lower mantle has unusual characteristics that make sound move more slowly, suggesting a softer makeup than previously thought. "What's most important for seismology is the acoustic properties--the propagation of sound. We determined the elasticity of ferropericlase through the pressure-induced high-spin to low-spin transition. We did this by measuring the velocity of acoustic waves propagating in different directions in a single crystal of the material and found that over an extended pressure range (from about 395,000 to 590,000 atmospheres) the material became 'softer'--that is, the waves slowed down more than expected from previous work. Thus, at high temperature corresponding distributions will become very broad, which will result in a wide range of depth having subtly anomalous properties that perhaps extend through most of the lower mantle."

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Perhaps it should try (5, Funny)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210196)

Jenny Craig. It worked for Pluto.

Re:Perhaps it should try (1)

mtgarden (744770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210332)

More to the point, does this impact "global warming?"

Does this soft element transmit heat from the earth's core to the surface more easily than previously thought? Does that account for the change in temperatures? Is this a new phenomenon?

Re:Perhaps it should try (2, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210590)

BAH! and you call yourself Scientists! Global Warming only happens to keep the Earth Egg properly nurtured until it cracks open vomiting the spawn of the Old Ones into the chaos. Don't worry though; it will only happen when the middle of the Earth starts thinning measurably and... oh dear...

Re:Perhaps it should try (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22216080)

We all know nuclear winter will cancel out global warming.

I for one... (1)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225522)

Welcome our winged, writhing-tentacled green overlord.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah' nagl fhtagn...

Re:Perhaps it should try (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22213532)

So, scientists don't know as much about the Earth as they thought they did. What does this mean about global warming? Maybe we should think long and hard about making political decisions based on information that may be incomplete, not fully understood and possibly incorrect.

Re:Perhaps it should try (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211860)

I blame America, home of the Big Mac and Whopper.

Re:Perhaps it should try (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 6 years ago | (#22217044)

Mmmmmm - I just love it when the soft gooey center is just right. Dip it in a red giant, and just nibble it . . .

Pug

Creation +1, Evolution -1 (-1, Troll)

mevets (322601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210224)

From Genesis (the book, not the band): 'God creates light; the "firmament" separating "the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament;'.

'The waters which were under the firmament' are obviously what is now being discovered by these scientists and there instruments of Satan.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210294)

"Hail Satan!" -- Mike S.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1, Informative)

Conception (212279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210306)

Before you go trolling, at least get your there, their, and they're down. Basic grammar goes a lot way to helping your "argument".

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (3, Funny)

wximagery95 (993253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210424)

Before you go trolling, at least get your there, their, and they're down. Basic grammar goes a lot way to helping your "argument".

Ouch, that's embarrassing.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211672)

And it happens almost every time.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (2, Funny)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224434)

Isn't it like someone had intelligently designed grammar nazis so they embarrass themselves every time they make a correction?
:P

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (2, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210358)

I didn't know that creationists think that planet earth developed through evolution. This might explain some of their confusion, then.
As for the quote from Genesis: you might be better off reading a version that was not mangled by hundreds of years of wrong translations and political machinations.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211926)

at the risk of getting pounded over another joke.....

Wikipedia isn't penned by God?
I thought all biblical transcriptions were guided by Gods hand so no such mangling could occur?

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212798)

Hail Slashdot, where ideology always trumps evidence.

I always have the same response for this, every time: Stop with the rhetoric and show me the manuscripts. It's not like Hebrew is some obscure language that nobody understands. So, how would YOU translate the passage in question?

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

jftitan (736933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214018)

Well I would have worded it completely differently.

    "The earth, its round, and it took a billion imaginative years before humans *landed on it. Make peace, and realize this... Sharing is caring."

  At least thats what I would have translated it. And my version is SOOOOoo much friendlier.

  *landed = suddenly humans appeared. (based on the great book's example.)

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214896)

"6489 207435 890634 72 34893 41 98673 83576 60354847 935078 94370543 87 52403795 4309827 50943875 4092473 50947 320957 430".

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22218538)

There is no original Hebrew text of Genesis since it is a collection of writings by anonymous contributors, written a few hundred years B.C. Nobody was obviously present during the actual event anyway. Plus, I do not speak or read Hewbrew. But I do know that Hewbrew is so open to interpretation that the Kabbalah is able to add a "hidden" esoteric interpretation level to the Jewish holy texts, alont to the other three levels of "regular" Thora study, which already add heaps of interpretation. So it's not as if having an original Genesis text in Hewbrew meant that there was just one official "true" version.

My "translations and political machinations" comment was a bit misguided re Genesis, I had briefly forgotten that we are talking about the Old Testament, not the new. But let us look at a few existing translations:

King James Version
1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

American Standard Version
1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

Bible in Basic English
1:7 And God made the arch for a division between the waters which were under the arch and those which were over it: and it was so.

Darby's English Translation
1:7 And God made the expanse, and divided between the waters that are under the expanse and the waters that are above the expanse; and it was so.

Douay Rheims Bible
1:7 And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so.

Noah Webster Bible
1:7 And God made the firmament; and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

World English Bible
1:7 God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so.

Young's Literal Translation
1:7 And God maketh the expanse, and it separateth between the waters which are under the expanse, and the waters which are above the expanse: and it is so.

Elberfelder Translation, German (protestant, tries to be literal)
1:7 Und Gott machte die Ausdehnung und schied die Wasser, welche unterhalb der Ausdehnung, von den Wassern, die oberhalb der Ausdehnung sind. Und es ward also.

Katholische Eineitsübersetzung (Catholic Unified Translation), German
1:7 Gott machte also das Gewölbe und schied das Wasser unterhalb des Gewölbes vom Wasser oberhalb des Gewölbes. So geschah es.

Luther Bible 1545, German
1:7 Da machte Gott die Feste und schied das Wasser unter der Feste von dem Wasser über der Feste. Und es geschah also.

Jewish Publication Society
1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.

Ok, so God either created a "firmament", an "arch", an "expanse" ("Ausdehnung"), an arch or a vault ("Gewölbe"), a pillar or a stronghold ("Feste"). Forgive me if I'm not impressed by the precision there. In addition, all this dividing of the waters above from the waters below the arch/stronghold/firmament does not seem to make much sense in any of these translations, and the interpretations are all tortured. I don't think anyone can be sure to know what this actually is supposed to mean.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22218562)

I wrote "Hewbrew", thrice :( I blame it on the early morning hour in which I wrote this.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229382)

"I wrote "Hewbrew", thrice :( I blame it on the early morning hour in which I wrote this."
So, it's too early in the week for thee to be creating?

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222108)

Well, if you basically use the rule "anyone can make words mean anything they want them to", you can surely make Genesis say whatever you want. What the Kabbalists do is pretty much irrelevant to what the actual words of a manuscript are, and what those word mean (I am thoroughly acquainted with what they do to a biblical text, having read many of the old talmudic sources). The same thing is done with the Greek texts by the gematria-obsessed gnostic crowd. Don't even get me started on all the Bible-code garbage (show me one vetted statistician who believes that nonsense). Grammar is grammar and vocabulary is vocabulary. Words have meanings that can be proven by historic use and context. Pray tell, would you treat the text of, say, the epic of Gilgamesh the same way? The Code of Hammurabi? The works of Julius Caesar?

But as to your examples, the translations are either following the Septuagint or the Hebrew text. Expanse is the most accurate word. Firmament/vault/arch all follow the Greek (as did Jerome in the Vulgate). Since the Hebrew word raqiah basically means a thing that is stamped down, stretched out or stamped thin, context must determine what is meant. The context in this case is obvious. Go grab three or four different translations of the Brother's Karamazov and compare them. You will find the same problem.

As to your first contention, that "there is no Hebrew text of Genesis" I make the same response. Show me your manuscript evidence. Show me source fragments. Show me documented proof of a recession. If all you are going to do is repeat the unproven hypothesis (for lack of any evidence) of a small handful of 19th century German theologians, then at least admit it.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224084)

Uh, I never wrote "there is no Hebrew text of Genesis". What I did write is that "there is no original Hebrew text of Genesis since it is a collection of writings by anonymous contributors". There is a difference, you know.

Anyway, your "Brother's Karamazov" (sic) counter example is ridiculous. I will not find the same problem there, as the Brothers Karamazov does not expect me to take it as God's own words and to believe each and every word in it on faith.

My problem is not that there are translation and tradition problems with old texts. That's to be expected and ok. I have an issue with treating such works as holy scriptures that cannot be questioned. And if I'd do such a thing you can bet that it would make a difference to me whether I believe that God has created an expanse, or a stronghold.

And what about those people that trusted Luther in 1545 and held the wrong believe that God created a stronghold. Are they going to rot in hell?

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228398)

Your original post was about the grammar and the translation of same. Therefore it is not a ridiculous comparison, since your argument was not about the theology, but about the meaning of specific words.

As to your other questions, I never waste my time arguing theology on Slashdot. Fully prepared to do so. Stupid place to do it. It's like trying to play chess while there is an entire audience booing, throwing rotten vegetables, and spouting Monty Python quotations.

Actually, I think Luther would laugh at your question and shake his head. Then he'd offer to discuss it over beer and brats. I'd be willing to do the same if you're ever in Minneapolis. :)

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224532)

Just wanted to add 2 things:

1. As you correctly remarked, I am anything but an expert in these things. But that's not needed for this discussion, which I meant to be about whether it makes sense to have unquestioned believe in a translated text that you _know_ is not the same as the original.

2. You didn't address my point that neither translation makes any sense, what with the separating of water and water through whatever, be it an expanse, a stretched out thing, a vault or a stronghold.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210390)

I'll assume you were trying to be funny, but firmament means sky, not ground.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (4, Informative)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211286)

firmament
c.1250, from L. firmamentum "firmament," lit. "a support or strengthening," from firmus "firm" (see firm (adj.)), used in Vulgate to translate Gk. stereoma "firm or solid structure," which translated Heb. raqia, a word used of both the vault of the sky and the floor of the earth in the O.T., probably lit. "expanse," from raqa "to spread out," but in Syriac meaning "to make firm or solid," hence the erroneous translation.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

Teilo (91279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213258)

Correct. Jerome was influenced heavily by the Septuagint, who were in turn influenced by the prevailing cosmology of Alexandria, Egypt, which considered the sky as a vaulted ceiling with support structures.

As for the Hebrew understanding of the construction of the sky, other references hold the idea of something that is stretched or spread out. The idea of a vaulted support is not to be found in Hebrew cosmology.

Re:Creation +1, Evolution -1 (1)

wilder_card (774631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211112)

Yet Genesis the band said "not enough love to go 'round, tell me why this is the land of confusion". I submit, Sir, that this invalidates your argument.

It gets older - it gets fatter! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210226)

Makes sense - it gets older - it gets fatter - softer in the middle :-)

Re:It gets older - it gets fatter! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210350)

I keep telling women I have rock-hard abs- it's just that they happen to be the softer rocks of the earth's lower mantle.

Soft in the middle. (2, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210230)

And chewy too!

Re:Soft in the middle. (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211566)

Huh, what? I didn't do it.

Re:Soft in the middle. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22217804)

Oh that is just too awesome. Whodathunkit?

Here it comes (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210240)

Waiting patiently for all of the self proclaimed geologists on this site to start spouting BS. You're all experts on everything else... Don't let me down.

Re:Here it comes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210802)

Very true! Whenever I hear some cretin going off about the "junk science" of climate change, the conversation goes something like this:

"So, would you care to comment on the search for the Higgs boson?"

"Uhh...what?"

"Okay, what about quantum computing? How about those BQP problems, eh?"

"Um, I don't know what you're talking about."

"So you know you aren't qualified to comment on particle physics or computer science, yet you think you're somehow qualified to comment on climatology?"

[Silence]

I like doing this to creationists, too.

Re:Here it comes (3, Funny)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211142)

I like doing this to creationists, too.

Why do you like picking on the mentally challenged?

less clever than you think (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212828)

Well your test is unfair, not to mention arrogant. You're using specialized jargon vocabulary and concluding from the 'duh' reaction that the person tested wouldn't have a cogent opinion if you phrased it in terms he understood. That's illogical.

Your car mechanic could do the same trick to you by making use of jargon, slang acronyms and whatnot, so that you'd respond with a 'duh' when asked (in jargonspeak) whether you think your car would get better gas mileage under hard or gentle acceleration.

Stripped of its intellectual arrogance, however, you do have a point: it's difficult for someone without substantial background to critically evaluate climatology research on its own merits. This creates a dilemma: as far as the Higgs boson is concerned, it doesn't matter whether only specialists understand the science, because there's no decision needing to be taken about the Higgs boson that affects anyone other than the specialists. With climatology, this is not so. Decisions that must be taken affect everybody. Is it reasonable to leave them entirely in the hands of the few who thoroughly understand the science? Most people say no. They insist on their democratic right to participate in the decision, since it will affect them and their descendants. Not to mention the fact that putting decisions with society-wide consequences into the hands of a small number of people with zero public oversight does not have a very good track record (thalidomide, Chernobyl).

Part of the answer will have to be the elimination of snobbish counterproductive attitudes such as yours ("trust me, I'm a doctor!"), and urgent efforts by people who do understand the science to educate those who don't.

Re:less clever than you think (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22215188)

Democracies only work properly if the people making the decisions are well-informed. Someone who gets all his informations from publications like the National Enquirer (USA), the Sun (UK) or the BILD (Germany) is unlikely to make a useful decision.

But hey, that's what we elect people for: So they can inform themselves and make wise decisions. We elect them based on those decisions so they better get their knowledge up to snuff. Before election time. And that doesn't mean "listen to one lobbyist from Chevron and one from Greenpeace", that means "read current publications and try to figure out what the scientific community's most important current stances on the topic are". If you can't do it yourself due to lack of time, hire someone to do it for you and make the campaign a couple million dollars less lavish. Have one part of the party inform themselves and then educate the rest about the important points; that's still better than having nobody informed.

When I elect people to run the country for me I expect them to be smarter and/or at the very least better informed than I am. That's what I pay them for. I give them my money and I'm not content with substandard legislation. You can't have someone in a pro/contra nuclear power debate who doesn't know what the difference between an RBMK and an IFR is or what exactly lead to the disasters in Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Unless you want someone to make decisions on outdated and incorrect data, that is. The same applies to every other field, whether it be patent law, global warming or education.

Unfortunately, being knowledgeable about stuff is not nearly as profitable as just parroting what the media and/or lobbyists say, so it's pretty rare in politics.

Well duh! (3, Funny)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210248)

Well duh! As I get older I get softer around the middle too!

Re:Well duh! (1)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210698)

Nice one.

When I first glanced at the headline I thought it said

Geologists May Be Softer Around The Middle Than Previously Thought

I may have to harangue some of the boys down the hall on this one...

Re:Well duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211954)

Now if the Earth also has no girlfriend, then it has more in common with Slashdotters than previously thought.

Middleaged earth (5, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210252)

Softer around the middle, thinning ice sheets - sounds like somebody's getting older...

It's not an ozone hole (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211674)

It's not an ozone hole. It's a solar panel for a sex machine.

Earth! (2, Funny)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210256)

Earth!
Now with delicious soft filling and an irresistably crunchy core!

Re:Earth! (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210832)

Obviously you didn't RTFA, just the headline!

Geologists Claim Earth May Be Softer Around The Middle Than Previously Thought.

AP - Reports of nougat center, still unconfirmed. Scientists say, "More study and milk required."

Re:Earth! (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211846)

Now I understand what Galactus saw in eating earth. :)

Going a little bit soft in the middle now? (2, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210270)

So is that why our nights are so long?

More on topic, I wonder what difference this will make to the study of seismology? Don't different densities refract the pressure waves from seismic events? Perhaps this new model will improve the ability to measure the location of earthquakes?

Jawbreaker (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210290)

I said it before and I'll say it again, the Earth is a giant micro-waved jawbreaker [wikipedia.org] , and it's warming up! Y'all laughed at me, just wait until you get licked to death by the giant tongue from outer space, or burnt to death once it explodes.

Re:Jawbreaker (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210370)

...that would be Galactus, out for a nummy snack.

Re:Jawbreaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210536)

I said it before and I'll say it again, the Earth is a giant micro-waved jawbreaker, and it's warming up!

Actually, it's only the outermost surface that's warming up. Deep down inside, it's slowly cooling.

Life of an IT person... (0, Redundant)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210324)

I get softer in the middle the more I sit at my desk and surf /. at work.

Me too! (-1, Redundant)

RManning (544016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210326)

Softer around the middle? Funny, my wife has been saying the same thing about me. :)

Got a soft heart (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210356)

It has a softer heart after all
Having said that

I am with Bjarne on this one.
Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language, claims that C++ is experiencing a revival and
that there is a backlash against newer programming languages such as Java and C#. "C++ is bigger than ever.
There are more than three million C++ programmers. Everywhere I look there has been an uprising
- more and more projects are using C++. A lot of teaching was going to Java, but more are teaching C++ again.
There has been a backlash.", said Stroustrup.

Welcome (3, Funny)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210402)

To middle-age, Earth. Wait until things begin to get saggy and noisy all over.

Re:Welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211436)

To Middle-Earth you say?

Re:Welcome (1)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22219734)

Mr Frodo! would you care to explain why Middle Earth is getting softer?

Politically Correct (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210470)

Perhaps everything slows down because at its core the Earth is just stupid.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole (5, Interesting)

RipTides9x (804495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210490)

The Russians made 6.7km before giving up drilling not only because of the heat (180c), which could have been worked around, but mainly because any further drilling beyond that point the hole had a tendency to close up like molten soft plastic upon retraction of the drill bit.

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=567 [damninteresting.com]

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (2, Interesting)

RipTides9x (804495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210544)

Damn I stepped on my dick, they made 12Km before calling it quits, 6.7Km is the depth they were finding fossils where they didn't expect it.

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213450)

Damn I stepped on my dick, they made 12Km

You mean you replied to all the spam, and it worked?

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224516)

Damn I stepped on my dick...

Without pictures, it didn't happen.

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244060)

Damn I stepped on my dick, they made 12Km before calling it quits, 6.7Km is the depth they were finding fossils where they didn't expect it.

Could you point me at the original reports of them finding fossils at any depth in the Kola super-deep borehole/ ANY fossils. ANY depth. I'm not particularly bothered if the reports are in the original Russian, or translated into English (or French for that matter).

I'll give you a hint - I read some of the original reports myself when I was studying high-P metamorphism back in the '80s. Since then I've spent 20 years drilling holes in the ground.

The borehole location was selected for it's absence of sediments, because the original objective of the well was to study high-grade metamorphic rocks at great depth, and you don't do that by starting off drilling fossiliferous sediments.
Where in the borehole log (http://www.icdp-online.org/contenido/icdp/front_content.php?idart=1559) do you see any mention of (or even a possibility of) finding fossils?

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211540)

Cool article.

Just one question... I know that Libraries of Congress is a unit of information, and Volkswagons are units of mass. When did Abe Vigoda become a unit of age?

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213878)

Abe Vigoda's became Standard Age Units about the time he started on the stage. Around 1164 AD, IIRC...

Re:The Kola Superdeep Borehole (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214658)

Well, duh. Teconic Enginnering is a pretty advanced tech field so it's obvious that we don't have Core Waste Dumps and/or Deep Core Mining yet. Given the fact that neither do we have developed Artificial Planets nor do we have contact with any other intelligent species yet, there's no way for us to have access to that stuff. I mean, we don't even have a Nuclear Drive yet.

If/when the Antarans show up we're going to be so screwed...

Don't worry about the Antarans... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22218850)

Remember that the size of their fleet is based on the current level of technology in the galaxy. So even if we got attacked, it would just be by a single frigate - can't kill more than a few million & blow up a few factories.

Man is softening the earth's mantle... (0, Offtopic)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210570)

Efforts to restrict industrial pollution have lowered the average particulate size created by man. These tiny pollution particles work their way into the earth's mantle, causing it to become more plastic, like a jar of marbles. Left to continue, the earth will become a giant wobbly mush, and we will be flung into space as the earth shakes violently, like a pizza dough spinning and warping. The only thing we can do is begin polluting more immediately, burning as much coal as possible and ripping off all of these pollution control filters.

Re:Man is softening the earth's mantle... (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210814)

I have no idea if you're trying to be funny-haha or funny-cuckoo. That scares me.

Re:Man is softening the earth's mantle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211618)

Pantywaist.

Re:Man is softening the earth's mantle... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212056)

I have no idea if you're trying to be funny-haha or funny-cuckoo. That scares me.

- it was a joke - of course, if you say anything on slashdot that even begins to make fun of people's political sensibilities, left or right, you'll be immediately taken seriously and modded down as angry people go back to their web sites and give Obama or Romney another $20 to really, really, let them know how much they care about the issues.

Re:Man is softening the earth's mantle... (1)

BotnetZombie (1174935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214380)

Hmm, no funny mods yet. I'd give you informative though, if I had any mod points to give.

It's the American diet (0, Redundant)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210636)

We're all softer around the middle than we would like to think.

Nuclear Reactor at Core? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210766)

I wonder whether this observation gives any more credibility to the theory that the center of the Earth might have a nuclear reactor. The following article describes the theory:

http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/jan252002/126.pdf [ias.ac.in]

Go Aquabats! (2, Informative)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210878)

There is a chipmunk
At the center of the earth
And in his big oven
He bakes his own desserts
He warms the ocean
And from that, life springs forth
Little organisms building trash around the clock

Compost heaps
Or melting pots
For Farmer John's
Smoked Sausage stocks

Worms make the dirt
And the dirt makes the earth
And all of the roots have a place to sleep now
All the chanuks have squash to eat now
Worms make the dirt
And the dirt makes the earth
And people hold hands and feel terrific
Food comes from dirt
It's scientific

Re:Go Aquabats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212502)

Anybody who quotes Aquabats! should get modded up.

Re:Nuclear Reactor at Core? (1)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212178)

Interesting article, thanks. And it was nice of the paper to discuss the Oklo [wikipedia.org] phenomenon. As far as the area around the earth's core being a nuclear reactor in the sense of maintaining a critical mass and critical geometry, I think that, at best the criticality is transient and unstable, going from subcritical to supercritical and vice-versa, given the dynamic nature of the fluid.

Another fascinating observation from the paper is the dominance of the U235/U238 ratios, and how U235 (the fissile isotope) was at a higher (3%) abundance in the past, versus the 0.7% today. BTW, that 3% value is about the U235 enrichment level in commercial reactor fuel in the U.S (YMMV). Finally, at the other end of this rambling hypothesis is that the area has a high concentration of radioisotopes that emit all sorts of radiation (and hence, heat). Not as exciting, but still interesting nonetheless.

Hell is 3700 miles down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22214416)

This fellow [google.com] says Hell is 3700 miles down, speaking from a first hand account. Go 23:00 minutes into the video for the figure.

Does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22210784)

they'll have to remake "The Core"? I mean I like Hilary Swank and all, but not again!!!

Earth! Now with senior citizen discounts! (0, Redundant)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22210794)

Well, the Earth's primary intelligence (humans) is going soft in the head, so I guess it's just old age.

Hollow Earth Theory (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211090)

Everybody knows that the earth is really hollow and is filled with Reptilians who were banished there for being mean. Just wait til these goofy scientists find a way into it in 2012. Then we will all be doomed.

Until then, I will keep wearing my tinfoil hat with pride.

Update (1)

cart_man4524 (623980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211134)

There has been an error in the reporting
Apparently the Geologists recently upgraded (read downgraded) their computers to Windows Vista
Upon processing the results, the OS sensed they didnt not have a full license, and there for sent back only what they had paid for, leading to the premature conclusion of a softer core

This makes me glad... (1)

g0hare (565322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211202)

that I got out of Geology as a career. I mean talk about boring.......

Groan..... (1)

onion_joe (625886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212776)

nuff said...

Makes Sense (1, Redundant)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211708)

That makes sense, the Earth is only 6000 years old.. which is equivalent to 60 man years.
At age 7000 the Earth will start spewing noxious fumes and it will need a giant catheter to pipe all fluids to outer space.
At age 8000 it will become extremely wobbly, driving off from it's orbit.. some biblical historians also speculate it might smash into mars at this time..
At 9000 light will become extremely dim and the Earth will only see daylight for 2 hrs in a day, the rotation and revolution speeds will slow down to a crawl.. At certain periods of time, it might start hallucinating that it's still 20 .. people might see dinosaurs appear and disappear at intervals.
At 10,000, the Earth will stop moving.. it will need pipes from other planets in outer space to keep it moving, albeit very very slowly..

It's during the 10,000 - 11,000 age that the Earth will simply collapse and only leave behind a few remnants of it's internals.. these remnants will then be used by God to create the next earth..

Damn, Earth is late for the Early Bird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212612)

I wonder if there is a boynton beach for planets to retire to???

Intriguing (1)

LightWing (1131011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212888)

Clearly we do not understand the properties of our inner earth as well as we would like. Where or how does physics describe this acoustic 'softness' given the circumstances? What of earths gravity? Does gravity truly intensify the closer towards to the center you are? Are there any mathematics that accurately describes all this? Lastly, how does the movement of the earth's magnetic dynamo play into all this. I'm no expert in physics, but I certainly hope we see answers to these questions in time.

Re:Intriguing (1)

maraist (68387) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229670)

Gravity is zero at the center of any spheroid, either solid or hollow (because you have an equal amount of mass pulling you in every direction. The only difference between hollow and solid spheres, is that in a solid spheroid, you have the pressure of the density of the medium. In the case of earth, it would be like being really deep in the Ocean, but obviously much worse (you should have seen enough horror movies to figure out what happens there). If, instead you were able to somehow produce a tunnel through the center of the earth and keep it open, you could jump downwards, and just like a pendulum, get almost to the tip of the other end of the earth before you start falling back down again, until you eventually returned to your starting point, over and over.. Course even with the relieved pressure in this hollow tube, you'd cook like in a microwave oven as you passed on through.

Yay for NASA! (1)

PirateBlis (1208936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213184)

NASA scientists are pumped because now they can just use a large ground pounding machine to effectively stop the birth of a smaller, more annoying baby Earth.

I have always wondered about that... (1)

way2slo (151122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213288)

I can imagine that earth's "core" may be soft. My reasoning tells me that the "core" is not subject to much gravity. A micro-gravity environment, if you will, due to the relative equal mass in all directions pulling in all directions that balance. Once I think that, I have trouble wrapping my brain around the question: "How great is the pressure?"

If the answer is (relatively speaking) low pressure, then with the estimated high temperature I can imagine a liquid like center.

Re:I have always wondered about that... (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214452)

The "core" is not subject to much gravity - relative equal mass in all directions pulling in all directions that balance.

Damn, you beat me to it! That's exactly what I've been toying with for some time now, with an additional question: The densest materials fall to the bottom of the gravity well... and where exactly is that? Or put in another way - do the densest materials fall to a point of zero gravity?

Of course, if you shift the liquefied iron or lead to, say the right, there's gonna be more of the Earth to the left, pulling you in that direction, but there's also spin (centrifugal force) to account for, stronger as one goes outward.

I've looked for info on the subject on the internets - nothing. I asked a geologist friend of mine, and quickly sent his mind into tilt mode, all he could stutter was something about both halves of Earth applying equal pressure in the center. Geologists don't really study gravity, my friend had never really thought about the zero gravity environment at the Earth's center, it's not something they usually read about and discuss in college courses, it seems.

My guess would be that the most densely packed material in the Earth's interior (or any celestial body, for that matter) is a spherical layer at a good distance from the very center - it never had a chance to fall to the very center.

Like you said, way2slo, the more one thinks about it and factors in more variables, the more difficult a panorama it becomes to wrap one's head around.

Re:I have always wondered about that... (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22215644)

If all the mass is attracting all the other mass, then the center will have the highest pressure, even if the local gravity is balanced. Remember, in the center you have this big spherical mass all around that is self-attracting. So the mass at the "left" is attracting that on the "right" and the "top" and "bottom" are interacting with both. So the only thing that stops them from pulling together is your matter in the center which must exert an equal and opposite resistance to compression force.

Just because the force is equal in all directions does not make it non-zero. It's actually the sum of all the forces, and only directional vectors change, not the total magnitude experienced at the center.

At the center of the earth (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214240)

At the center of the earth is a singularity.

Hell, it'd explain the red-shift and why no one can travel faster than the speed of light. ;^)

--
Toro

Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22216488)

Damned Global Warming is causing the earth to melt!!

Those softy elves... (1)

focoma (865351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22218388)

I've been saying this for years! Those sissy elves made Middle-Earth too soft! Their overly-peaceful ways made Sauron's rise to power almost inevitable!

Oh, wait...

Curious (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22219162)

A softer than expected inner layer was the base of the crustal shifting theory of Charles Hapgood in his Path of the Pole [amazon.com] book.

The book and theories were prefaced/backed by Einstein, but it was rejected by geologists.

Maybe there was a seed of truth in Hapgood's work?

huh (1)

BigwayneO (1229884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22234872)

funny, what we don't know, there is a giant city of crazy rock people who live down there, they are related to rosie od'nal, and Carlos mencia
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