Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Why discourage exploration?

Within today's reporting that astronomers have discovered a massive cloud of alcohol in deep space is an odd statement.

The vast bridge-shaped cloud of methyl alcohol has been spotted in a region of our galaxy, the Milky Way, that is called W3(OH), where stars are being formed by the gravitational collapse of concentrations of gas and dust, the discoverers said in a press release.

Methanol, an organic (carbon-based) molecule, is a cousin of ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages. Methanol is not suitable for human consumption.

Not suitable for human consumption? Why tell us that? Why throw a wet blanket on all those garage rocket scientists who surely would have pushed our civilization into the real 21st Century with 288 Billlliioone miles of hootch to harvest? (You must remember how Carl Sagan said "billion" in order to properly read the last sentence.)

So riddle us this: if methanol is not suitable for human consumption (as in, it'll kill ya dead), does that mean that the ethanol in our gasoline IS suitable for consumption? We think not. But methanol also burns.

So all we need to do to solve our energy dependency is to develop warp drive technology and perhaps negotiate a treaty with some version of Klingons or Romulans. Maybe Ewoks. It's bound to be a darn sight easier than purchasing oil from Iran or Hugo Chavez.


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