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Thread: can we cut earth into two pieces?

  1. #1 can we cut earth into two pieces? 
    Forum Senior precious's Avatar
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    do we have such technology?


    earth quake of 12 ritcher scal e has such power)


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  3. #2  
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    Just dig up a spade full of earth and you have two bits.

    For two equally sized bits, we don't have the technology. We can't drill deep enough to deposit nuclear devices (of which you'd need an obscene number AFAIK) very close to the centre either, don't have powerful enough lasers or anything like that.


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    Build new planet from scratch might be easier, that way gravitation would work to our advantage. Tremendous amounts of energy would have to be expended to separate halves even if we were to perform hypothetical division.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    First no. and second no.

    Just think about the gravitational pull of two half earths! mostly composed of fluid molten lava. Even if you had alien cosmic technology to slice it, the liquid center would flow out of each half towards the center and the two halves would merge.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by precious View Post
    do we have such technology?
    Why don't you try a really big saw?
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    First no. and second no.

    Just think about the gravitational pull of two half earths! mostly composed of fluid molten lava. Even if you had alien cosmic technology to slice it, the liquid center would flow out of each half towards the center and the two halves would merge.
    The bulk of the Earth is solid, or were you supposing with a release of pressure the mantle would liquefy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    First no. and second no.

    Just think about the gravitational pull of two half earths! mostly composed of fluid molten lava. Even if you had alien cosmic technology to slice it, the liquid center would flow out of each half towards the center and the two halves would merge.
    The bulk of the Earth is solid, or were you supposing with a release of pressure the mantle would liquefy?
    Enough is liquid to be making a very big mess indeed. One may assume also that waste heat from separation process may have liquefied additional volumes, and as you point out, relief of pressure may play most significant role. Interesting proposition which Prince does not endorse putting into practice at the moment.

    In remote future our descendants may be persuaded to move or dismantle this planet due to stellar evolutionary process of Sun, or may abandon altogether for more promising star. We literally cannot imagine all technologies which might be at their disposal.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  9. #8  
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    We blow up the crust twice a day in the quest for commodities.

    That's solid. The upper mantle behaves as a plastic.
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    The answer is NO.

    precious.. please stop asking inane questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Enough is liquid to be making a very big mess indeed..
    The outer core and a few percent of a handful of portions of the uppermost mantle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The answer is NO.

    precious.. please stop asking inane questions.
    Prince finds precious curiosity refreshing. Questions are stimulating. Precious is never less than civil. Others are far more deserving of censure, perhaps even Prince himself. Thank you for services to forum, esteemed moderator.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo View Post
    We blow up the crust twice a day in the quest for commodities.

    That's solid. The upper mantle behaves as a plastic.
    Which plastic, HDPE or maybe Bakelite?

    Prince makes joke.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    you could interpret the question of this thread in 2 ways :

    can WE cut the earth in 2 pieces ? to which the answer is "no", at least not for the time being

    or

    is it at all possible to cut the earth in 2 pieces ? to which the answer is "we don't know, but not with our current level of knowledge"
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  15. #14  
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    Under what circumstances would such a project be desirable?
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    beats me - maybe if you wanted to mine the iron-nickle core
    one thing's for certain though : the earth wouldn't be inhabitable if you did
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    you could interpret the question of this thread in 2 ways :

    can WE cut the earth in 2 pieces ? to which the answer is "no", at least not for the time being

    or

    is it at all possible to cut the earth in 2 pieces ? to which the answer is "we don't know, but not with our current level of knowledge"
    I would never have guessed!
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    I would never have guessed!
    of course not - this is science, not guesswork
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  19. #18  
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    Perhaps to start small, with asteroids, then be working our way along scale until planets can be manipulated. As for the earthquakes, precious, these involve only the crust of Earth planet, a tiny fraction of total mass. Still, compared to current abilities of human technology manipulating crust plates would require more power than can be mustered, to say nothing of knowledge required.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    you could interpret the question of this thread in 2 ways :

    can WE cut the earth in 2 pieces ? to which the answer is "no", at least not for the time being

    or

    is it at all possible to cut the earth in 2 pieces ? to which the answer is "we don't know, but not with our current level of knowledge"
    If I post asking, for example, whether nuclear fusion can be used to provide energy this does not necessarily mean I want a detailed (I doubt if I would be able to understand it anyway) technical answer. I would hope to get a fairly simple basic answer from someone who was knowledgeable. This individual might also point out that it is not possible at the moment, but could well become a reality, given technological developments, in the future.
    Perhaps I am being too fussy, but it annoys me slightly that marnixR gave that sort of answer in the above post. The response makes no attempt to judge, or comment on, the quality of the original question. I think it is important, for a forum Moderator especially, to distinguish between reasonable questions and the type contained in the OP. This latter question was fairly idiotic.
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  21. #20  
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    can we cut earth into two pieces?
    No you can not. Well, maybe after you have eaten your vegetables and finished all your homework. But you must promise to put it back together again afterwards. Properly. Just look what a mess you made of Saturn, with all those left over bits lying around....
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    I repeat what I have said in a couple of other posts relating to Curious's questions: without knowing Curious's age, educational background and language skills it is precipitate to characterise the question as fairly idiotic.

    Would you consider the following question idiotic?

    I am aware that in the early history of the solar system, during planetary accretion, some massive collisions occured. The moon Mimas, one of Saturn's, experienced an impact that, had it been any larger, would have split the moon in two. Now we know the Earth can - apparently - withstand the impact of a Mars sized object, but what would it take to split the planet in two (or more) pieces? A Mars sized object travelling faster? How much faster? A larger impactor? How much larger? And if we had the ability to place nuclear devices anywhere in the planet would we be capable, technologically, of achieving the same end?

    Now is that question fairly idiotic? Invoking as it does a reasonable understanding of planetary formation, Newtonian mechanics and nuclear weapon design, I don't think fairly idiotic would be a reasonable characterisation. It is a question that invites looking at data in fresh way, from a new perspective with a view to deepening ones understanding of conventional thinking. I would argue that that constitutes one of the major functions and benefits of a forum such as this. And the primary difference between my question and that of Curious is that Curious cut out all the hand waving, self indlugent crap.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Perhaps I am being too fussy, but it annoys me slightly that marnixR gave that sort of answer in the above post. The response makes no attempt to judge, or comment on, the quality of the original question. I think it is important, for a forum Moderator especially, to distinguish between reasonable questions and the type contained in the OP. This latter question was fairly idiotic.
    i was trying not to be too judgemental about the OP, but instead saw the potential to turn this thread into a proper discussion, independent of the quality of intent of the OP
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I repeat what I have said in a couple of other posts relating to Curious's questions: without knowing Curious's age, educational background and language skills it is precipitate to characterise the question as fairly idiotic.

    Would you consider the following question idiotic?

    I am aware that in the early history of the solar system, during planetary accretion, some massive collisions occured. The moon Mimas, one of Saturn's, experienced an impact that, had it been any larger, would have split the moon in two. Now we know the Earth can - apparently - withstand the impact of a Mars sized object, but what would it take to split the planet in two (or more) pieces? A Mars sized object travelling faster? How much faster? A larger impactor? How much larger? And if we had the ability to place nuclear devices anywhere in the planet would we be capable, technologically, of achieving the same end?

    Now is that question fairly idiotic? Invoking as it does a reasonable understanding of planetary formation, Newtonian mechanics and nuclear weapon design, I don't think fairly idiotic would be a reasonable characterisation. It is a question that invites looking at data in fresh way, from a new perspective with a view to deepening ones understanding of conventional thinking. I would argue that that constitutes one of the major functions and benefits of a forum such as this. And the primary difference between my question and that of Curious is that Curious cut out all the hand waving, self indlugent crap.
    I think it is an idiotic question!
    The question was "can we cut earth into two pieces" with present technology.
    I would have thought it is obvious that we cannot.
    On the other hand I would have thought it is equally obvious that if, in the future, it became possible to arrange a collision between the Earth and a large enough object, within the Solar System, our planet might well break apart.
    Also if we were able and willing to initiate a process of manufacturing ever more powerful nuclear devices, and work out where to place them, then it seems clear that, at some point, given enough explosive power the Earth would be split.
    It is true that a chance collision between our planet and a relatively small near- Earth object is a matter of concern and would cause major problems, but it would not smash the Earth into bits and that was the original question.
    Lastly, we all make superficial judgements about each other often with little evidence. You appear to "see" the opening poster as some kind of naive, uneducated, innocent keen to learn from those with scientific knowledge. It is possible to offer another interpretation of his/her posts.
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  25. #24  
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    Actually, may have already happened, such an event, and missing bit of Earth would be Moon according to some theorists. Is this too, "idiotic"? Prince thinks not. Seems to be flourishing thread, as are many originated by precious.

    Goodwill to all.
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  26. #25  
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    however, that doesn't amount to "cutting", more like smash-and-grab
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    i was trying not to be too judgemental about the OP, but instead saw the potential to turn this thread into a proper discussion, independent of the quality of intent of the OP
    Fair enough, but I remain unimpressed by the OP and still have doubts about the motives of that individual.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I repeat what I have said in a couple of other posts relating to Curious's questions: without knowing Curious's age, educational background and language skills it is precipitate to characterise the question as fairly idiotic.

    Would you consider the following question idiotic?

    I am aware that in the early history of the solar system, during planetary accretion, some massive collisions occured. The moon Mimas, one of Saturn's, experienced an impact that, had it been any larger, would have split the moon in two. Now we know the Earth can - apparently - withstand the impact of a Mars sized object, but what would it take to split the planet in two (or more) pieces? A Mars sized object travelling faster? How much faster? A larger impactor? How much larger? And if we had the ability to place nuclear devices anywhere in the planet would we be capable, technologically, of achieving the same end?

    Now is that question fairly idiotic? Invoking as it does a reasonable understanding of planetary formation, Newtonian mechanics and nuclear weapon design, I don't think fairly idiotic would be a reasonable characterisation. It is a question that invites looking at data in fresh way, from a new perspective with a view to deepening ones understanding of conventional thinking. I would argue that that constitutes one of the major functions and benefits of a forum such as this. And the primary difference between my question and that of Curious is that Curious cut out all the hand waving, self indlugent crap.
    That's a fine inquisitive question, no one would be bothered about that. In fact, we'd all be glad to help the poster, and examine our own understanding. Makes us all think.

    That has NOTHING to do with the questions of precious.
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  29. #28  
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    As technical problem it is interesting. No simple slicing process would do it since the two parts would immediately come back together under the influence of gravity. But...If we could manipulate gravity we could pull it apart. The Earth does not have much tensile strength.
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  30. #29  
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    Halliday,
    your responses are based on the notion that Precious is a troll. This is entirely possible. But, as you suggest, I think possible that Precious is a naive, uneducated, innocent keen to learn from those with scientific knowledge. There are two possibilities here:

    We can assume he is a troll and berate him for dumb questions. If he is a troll, he gives up since he is not involing the desired responses. All well and good. If he is not a troll then we have just damaged the psyche of a naive, uneducated innocent and quite probably turned them off science for life.

    If, on the other hand, we assume Precious is genuine and we respond in kind we help him develop a better understanding of science. What if he is a troll? There is no great loss. If he needs to play mind games on science forums to get an adequate orgasm then we can see our replies as a form of social work.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    We can assume he is a troll and berate him for dumb questions. If he is a troll, he gives up since he is not involing the desired responses.
    Getting people angry is exactly the sort of reaction a troll would enjoy and would encourage them to carry on. The fact that precious now seems to have left suggests (to me) that he was not trolling.
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  32. #31  
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    I'm not sure what the exact definition of a "troll" is.
    Is it:-
    a) someone who posts in order to advertise, or draw attention to, some product/website?
    b) someone who believes his/her, at best average, posts are coming from a real genius?
    c) someone who posts in order to get an emotional reaction from others with the primary aim to make the others look foolish?
    d) someone who posts mostly nonsense with no clear motive, or explanation, other than lack of knowledge?
    Some or all of the above?
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  33. #32  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    I would say c and possibly d. I would call a just a spammer. b seems to cover a high proportion of people who post on forums. And, for anyone not familiar with their work, I must mention Dunning and Kuger.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I would say c and possibly d. I would call a just a spammer. b seems to cover a high proportion of people who post on forums. And, for anyone not familiar with their work, I must mention Dunning and Kuger.
    I agree with most of your post altho' I am reluctant to believe that (b) "seems to cover a high proportion of people who post on forums".
    I was not, however, making a clear distinction, between trolls and spammers, in my earlier post.
    Last edited by Halliday; November 29th, 2011 at 10:43 AM.
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    I say "seems" because, although I'm quite sure they are not present in particularly high numbers, their awesome confidence in their own ignorance is quite memorable!
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I say "seems" because, although I'm quite sure they are not present in particularly high numbers, their awesome confidence in their own ignorance is quite memorable!
    Dotcomrade Kalopin seems to be better example of Dunning-Kruger phenomenon than is precious and both are welcome to post to heart's content, as far as Prince is concerned. This is opinion only, naturally. In any case, we digress.

    Part of problem of dividing any spherical object such as planet into equal portions(assumed intention of question) is that necessarily division must take place along plane equidistant from poles, greatest possible area to separate. Prince says "poles" with reason, as magnetic poles provide at present best "handles" to separate halves, since is known quite well that opposite magnetic poles attract. Using freaky big mirror to melt Earth and titanic electromagnets to draw polar regions apart, this COULD be done, but engineering challenges would be staggering.

    Even Earth-shattering...
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    however, that doesn't amount to "cutting", more like smash-and-grab
    Is true, but on the scale contemplated, more elastic interpretation of "cutting" seems indicated. Obviously there exists no knife, ax, or saw sufficient for the task, nor is there ever likely to, agreed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    I'm not sure what the exact definition of a "troll" is. Is it:- a) someone who posts in order to advertise, or draw attention to, some product/website? b) someone who believes his/her, at best average, posts are coming from a real genius? c) someone who posts in order to get an emotional reaction from others with the primary aim to make the others look foolish? d) someone who posts mostly nonsense with no clear motive, or explanation, other than lack of knowledge? Some or all of the above?
    A) spammer b) ouch! that may be me. c+d) dwellers beneath bridges.
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    When I made my first post, on Nov.29, asking about those Internet users who could be called trolls I intended, but forgot, to include another group. This lot are called cyberstalkers.
    I am sure they qualify as trolls.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I say "seems" because, although I'm quite sure they are not present in particularly high numbers, their awesome confidence in their own ignorance is quite memorable!
    Dotcomrade Kalopin seems to be better example of Dunning-Kruger phenomenon than is precious and both are welcome to post to heart's content, as far as Prince is concerned. This is opinion only, naturally. In any case, we digress.

    Part of problem of dividing any spherical object such as planet into equal portions(assumed intention of question) is that necessarily division must take place along plane equidistant from poles, greatest possible area to separate. Prince says "poles" with reason, as magnetic poles provide at present best "handles" to separate halves, since is known quite well that opposite magnetic poles attract. Using freaky big mirror to melt Earth and titanic electromagnets to draw polar regions apart, this COULD be done, but engineering challenges would be staggering.

    Even Earth-shattering...
    Thinking further it occurs to Prince that rotating such magnets in opposite directions might generate shear forces along desired division boundary. Any thoughts on this proposition?
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Thinking further it occurs to Prince that rotating such magnets in opposite directions might generate shear forces along desired division boundary. Any thoughts on this proposition?
    Maybe just dip the whole thing in a (very) large beaker of liquid nitrogen. And then give it a sharp tap. Somewhere on that dotted line labelled "Equator".
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    Droll fellow!

    All the same, Prince's notion to melt Earth planet seems more plausible, given that core is already molten.

    Referring to above comment in similar vein, Prince has seen button: "No more violent misogynistic video games until you clean up your room, mister!"
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  43. #42  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    I'm not sure what the exact definition of a "troll" is.
    Is it:-
    a) someone who posts in order to advertise, or draw attention to, some product/website?
    b) someone who believes his/her, at best average, posts are coming from a real genius?
    c) someone who posts in order to get an emotional reaction from others with the primary aim to make the others look foolish?
    d) someone who posts mostly nonsense with no clear motive, or explanation, other than lack of knowledge?
    Some or all of the above?
    b and d fits on me. thanx Halliday you made me realize my weak point. I shall try to improve on it.
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  44. #43  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    This would seem to have all the answers: How to destroy the Earth @ Things Of Interest
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Some more research on the subject reported here: Could a ‘Death Star’ Really Destroy a Planet?
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    "Destroy" or disassemble? Got to build our Dyson spheres out of something, don't you know...
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