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Using Selective Breeding of Plants for Terraforming Planets

Using Selective Breeding of Plants for Terraforming Planets
Using Selective Breeding of Plants for Terraforming Planets

First, let me start off by saying that, to date, I have no formal scientific training so really this blog post is just an idea I’ve had.

Over the past while, I’ve been reading up on the process of evolution through natural selection.  Mostly I’ve been reading about human evolution but other life, such as dogs, bananas, rice and other random forms of life which have seen significant impacts made to them through human intervention using selective breeding.

I’m of the opinion that in order for the human species to survive, we’ll eventually have to branch out beyond not only our own planet but beyond our own solar system.  Certainly not now, not this century and likely not even this millenium, but eventually.  So what are some of the things we’ll need to do to make that happen?  Well, a major component of that is location or using a planet that we can survive on.  Humans obviously have very strict requirements for living – water, oxygen and food being three examples.  There’s the possibility of finding another planet out there somewhere that not only sits in the Goldilocks Zone but also has the elements we need, but I don’t think that we should expect to find that.  And even if we do to also expect to get there.

That said, I was pondering the idea of terraforming a planet to suit our needs.  Some of the fancier ideas out there suggest it could be done in as little as 50 years once the process has begun.  This sounds pretty optimistic and fairly improbable to me.  Getting back to selective breeding, I’m amazed by the variation in dogs which have been bred by humans over the past 10,000 or so years.  And that was without an organized effort and no specific end result in mind.  I read a recent National Geographic issue where a team of scientists in Siberia bred foxes over a few generations with the specific intent of domesticating them.  Within just a few generations they had foxes that acted just like dogs.  That’s surprisingly fast!  I then got thinking about the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) which quite literally transformed the types of life we see on earth some 2.5 billion years ago.  It was a period in time when, primarily through plant life, the earth began to have huge amounts of oxygen, ultimately leading to the life forms we see now including homo sapiens.

So my idea and question here is: What if we were to use the process of evolution by selectively breeding plants for the purposes of terraforming another planet, forcing a similar situation to that of the GOE?  This is obviously not a quick process by any means.  For all I know it could take us a thousand, tens of thousands or many more years.  Even with a conserted ongoing effort with a specific final goal.  Certainly advances in science will help speed this process up.  Nonetheless, obviously with such a collosal long term effort, it would make sense to breed plants with as many varying end results as we can conceptualize, to increase our odds of developing different types of plant breeds for different planetary condition environment scenarios.

With the Kepler telescope significantly speeding up the discovery of extrasolar planets and new technologies being invented, sooner or later we’ll not only be able to know that neighbouring extrasolar planets are there but also be able to get an idea of their make-up.  Eventually we’ll be able to determine their atsmospheric composition.  Armed with those kinds of details, we could start breeding plants to live within those environments and produce the oxygen we need to survive.  It may take us a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand years, but I’m thinking long-term here.

Rogers High Speed 50Mbps Cable Internet Connections are FAST, But Misleading

Here in Toronto, Rogers is the dominant provider of high speed Internet, cable and digital cable services.  Rogers delivers a wide variety of residential Internet connections speeds.

I’m going to briefly go over a few of their packages and try to explain to the average person what exactly it is that they’re getting when they subscribe to a Rogers Lite 3Mbps, Rogers Express 10Mbps, Rogers Extreme 15Mbps, Rogers Extreme Plus 25Mbps and Rogers Ultimate 50Mbps.

Lets start with their fastest plan first, the Rogers Ultimate 50Mbps high speed Internet.

50Mbps is fast!  Really fast, but keep in mind that the plan offers “up to” 50Mbps so you’re certainly not guaranteed that speed.  I would guess you’ll receive somewhere between 5Mbps and 50Mbps at any given time.  That’s because in order to truly receive such high speeds, the website or file that you’re downloading on the other end of the Internet connection must also have enough speed to make it fast.  So for example if the website is on a 10Mbps and you’re using a 50Mbps connection, you cannot receive anything faster than the 10Mbps the website is supporing.  This is of course true for any Rogers high speed Internet plan you choose.

Ok, that said, here’s what you’re really getting with the 50Mbps.  You receive 175GB of monthly data transfer, after which you begin to pay on a per GB basis.  Here is a calculation so you can see what that really means.

On the Rogers website it claims that 175GB lets you “Download 88 HD Movies”, “537 hours of YouTube HD”, or “35840 songs”.  Lets analyse this claim.

1. Download 88 HD Movies: Well, sure, if they’re 45-60 minutes each.  Most HD movies are about 4GB so it would actually be closer to 43 HD movies per month.

2. 537 hours of YouTube HD: It’s difficult to truly estimate how much bandwidth HD YouTube videos use, but I could see 537 hours being about right

3. 3580 songs: Yup, they’re right on this one

Here’s what needs to be explained about the Rogers Ultimate 50Mbps high speed Internet though.  You’re subscribing to a 50Mbps service.  Here’s a calculation that shows how much transfer you can do on a 50Mbps Internet connection over a month: 50 (Mb per second) = 15.6744947 TB per month.  That’s equal to over 16,050 gigabytes.  WAIT A MINUTE.  Why does the Rogers Ultimate 50Mbps high speed Internet connection come with only 175GB of bandwidth per month when a 50Mbps connection can actually do over 16,000GB per month, or over 91 times as much?  Well, because they’re overselling by a HUGE margin.  A margin of 91:1 actually.  Except that 95% of customers won’t fully utilize their monthly allotment, so its more like overselling by 1820:1.

If you were to look at this in reverse and ignore the 50Mbps speed for now, you’re subscribing to a 175GB/month service.  Here’s the calculation: 175 (GB per month) = 0.545148156 Mb per second.  Yikes, that doesn’t sound nearly as good does it?  If you were to sustain 0.54Mbps for an entire month you’d already use up your 175GB allotment and have to start paying more after.

Now, imagine if you use your Rogers Ultimate 50Mbps high speed Internet connection at 50Mbps sustained for a month and downloaded over 16,000GB of data on your 175GB plan.  You will have to pay extra for the 15,825GB that you went over your bandwidth cap.  Most providers charge about $1 per GB for overage, but lets say Rogers were to charge just a penny ($0.01), which is NOT the case – it’s much more.  You would be stuck paying an extra $158.25 because you fully utilized the 50Mbps connection you’re subscribed to.  Something is certainly not right here.

What about Rogers Extreme Plus 25Mbps high speed Internet?  Here’s the same calculations: 25 (Mb per second) = 8,025 GB per month.  The plan is 125GB per month, so in speed that would be: 125 (GB per month) = 0.39 Mb per second if sustained over a month.

And for Rogers Extreme 15Mbps high speed Internet, the same calculations: 15 (Mb per second) = 4,815 GB per month.  In speed, the provided 80GB per month: 80 (GB per month) = 0.25 Mb per second if sustained over a month.

Rogers Express 10Mbps high speed Internet: 10 (Mb per second) = 3,210 GB per month.  You get 60GB monthly so in speed: 60 (GB per month) = 0.19 Mb per second sustained over a month

And again with the Rogers Lite high speed Internet: 3 (Mb per second) = 963 GB per month.  You get 15GB per month so if we again reverse this for speed: 15 (GB per month) = 0.047 megabits per second if sustained for a month.  That’s slower than dialup.

So what does this tell us?  Well, Rogers is way overselling the high speed Internet plans they offer because the monthly bandwidth allotments they’re providing are waaaaay under the amount of monthly transfer that can be done on their high speed Internet connections.  Just to be clear, Rogers is certainly not the only provider doing this.  They all do it.  So what’s the point of this article then?  Just to inform those consumers that don’t fully understand what it is they’re buying.

Question, comments?  Submit a comment below.

Dlink DGS-1005D and DGS-1008D Powered Off On it’s Own

So this week I ran into a situation where I had a bunch of the D-Link DGS-1005D 1GB switches all mysteriously turned off on me at the exact same time.  So I looked into it a little bit further and discovered that if the electricity supply surges downwards at all, the DGS-1005D (and DGS-1008D too apparently) basically turns off.  You may still see the power light on but likely the link lights will all be off.  Simply pull the power, put it back in and you should be good to go.

This happened to me earlier this week.  I do also have a DGS-1008D but it remained on, however apparently this unit is also susceptible to the same power fluctuation problem.

At this time I am unaware of any firmware upgrade to the fix the problem but I have a sneaking suspicion that the problem is in the power supply itself and not the switch component.