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#1 2003-09-24 23:14:12

Free Spirit
Banned
Registered: 2003-06-12
Posts: 167

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid12]What if Lowell had been right about the Martian canals, that they were signs of a dying civilization desperately extracting every last drop of water?  Would it be ethical for Earth to assist them in anyway it could to save them from extinction or it would it be more wise to follow some kind of "prime directive" and not help prevent their demise?  I'm hypothetically assuming that since we can get to Mars but they can't get to our planet, Earthlings would have a technological superiority that could aid Mars (maybe we could send giant tankers full of water, recycling/reclamation equipment, or whatever.) 

One danger I can think of is that sending them more advanced technology may enable them to eventually mount a hostile act toward Earth.  They might threaten to send an armada of tankers filled with regolith into NYC if we don't send them X,Y,Z.  Technology transfer sometimes has unintended consequences.  But I'd give the benefit of the doubt and send the help.  Prime Directive be damned.   big_smile[/color:post_uid12]


My people don't call themselves Sioux or Dakota.  We call ourselves Ikce Wicasa, the natural humans, the free, wild, common people.  I am pleased to call myself that.  -Lame Deer

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#2 2003-09-25 08:13:27

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#810541:post_uid7]*Hey Free Spirit, what a cool post!  smile

FS:  "What if Lowell had been right about the Martian canals, that they were signs of a dying civilization desperately extracting every last drop of water?"

*I can only imagine the firestorm of speculation Lowell's theory provoked...wow.  To think there was an intelligent race of beings alive on Mars, in a desperate situation.  And though (understatement) I'm glad to be in the "here and now" with all the probe data, etc., what we know and see is a barren planet which is not home to humanoid beings.


FS:  "Would it be ethical for Earth to assist them in anyway it could to save them from extinction or it would it be more wise to follow some kind of "prime directive" and not help prevent their demise?"

*That's a Million-Dollar Question.  I'll give my answer below.

FS:  "One danger I can think of is that sending them more advanced technology may enable them to eventually mount a hostile act toward Earth.  They might threaten to send an armada of tankers filled with regolith into NYC if we don't send them X,Y,Z.  Technology transfer sometimes has unintended consequences."

*Yeah.  Unfortunately for us they might turn out to be A LOT like us humans and our seeming tendency towards having little gratitude.

FS:  "But I'd give the benefit of the doubt and send the help.  Prime Directive be damned."

*Me too.  I couldn't tolerate the notion that they were dying and we weren't helping.  I'd feel like an accomplice to murder or something.  yikes

--Cindy

::EDIT::  Found this good article from the MOLA site, including a reproduction of Lowell's drawings of the "Marsian canals":

http://ltpwww.gsfc.nasa.gov/tharsis/canals.html[/color:post_uid7]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#3 2003-09-25 08:58:30

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

What if Lowell had been right about the Martian canals, that they were signs of a dying civilization desperately extracting every last drop of water?  Would it be ethical for Earth to assist them in anyway it could to save them from extinction or it would it be more wise to follow some kind of "prime directive" and not help prevent their demise?  I'm hypothetically assuming that since we can get to Mars but they can't get to our planet, Earthlings would have a technological superiority that could aid Mars (maybe we could send giant tankers full of water, recycling/reclamation equipment, or whatever.) 

One danger I can think of is that sending them more advanced technology may enable them to eventually mount a hostile act toward Earth.  They might threaten to send an armada of tankers filled with regolith into NYC if we don't send them X,Y,Z.  Technology transfer sometimes has unintended consequences.  But I'd give the benefit of the doubt and send the help.  Prime Directive be damned.   big_smile[/quote:post_uid0]
I second that notion as well...if there really had been a "Lowellian" race on Mars, struggling to survive, I think we would have made it to Mars by 1975, helping them out anyway we could...to me, that's no different than helping a country in Africa in the throes of famime.

B[/color:post_uid0]

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#4 2003-09-25 09:02:31

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#810541:post_uid2]"Mars" by Percival Lowell, 1895

*The whole shebang.  Looks like I've got the rest of my day cut out for me!  Includes illustrations, of course.

--Cindy  smile[/color:post_uid2]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#5 2003-09-26 22:01:54

Free Spirit
Banned
Registered: 2003-06-12
Posts: 167

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Cindy said:

*Hey Free Spirit, what a cool post! 
[/quote:post_uid0]

Thank you  smile

*I can only imagine the firestorm of speculation Lowell's theory provoked...wow.  To think there was an intelligent race of beings alive on Mars, in a desperate situation.  And though (understatement) I'm glad to be in the "here and now" with all the probe data, etc., what we know and see is a barren planet which is not home to humanoid beings.
[/quote:post_uid0]

I wonder how Lowell would have felt if he lived long enough to see that Mars didn't have any busy Martians digging canals to quench their thirsty planet.  Would he have lived it down or maybe just found Mars suddenly a lot less interesting?  Or maybe he'd be cooking up conspiracy theories about NASA ala Hoagland.   big_smile

Byron said:

I second that notion as well...if there really had been a "Lowellian" race on Mars, struggling to survive, I think we would have made it to Mars by 1975, helping them out anyway we could...to me, that's no different than helping a country in Africa in the throes of famime.

B[/quote:post_uid0]

Interesting point.  I bet a lot of people would oppose sending aid to Mars on the grounds that we haven't helped everyone down here on Earth yet.  But I agree with you that it probably wouldn't have to be an either/or situation.[/color:post_uid0]


My people don't call themselves Sioux or Dakota.  We call ourselves Ikce Wicasa, the natural humans, the free, wild, common people.  I am pleased to call myself that.  -Lame Deer

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#6 2003-09-27 08:40:59

~Eternal~
Member
Registered: 2003-09-25
Posts: 211

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]It would hard to assist an alien people who probably do not exist anymore.
If intelligent life was created on Mars they wouldn't have the technology to survive, even if they did they probably evacuated they're planet than trying to save it.[/color:post_uid0]


The MiniTruth passed its first act #001, comname: PATRIOT ACT on  October 26, 2001.

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#7 2003-09-27 09:31:51

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#810541:post_uid5]

I wonder how Lowell would have felt if he lived long enough to see that Mars didn't have any busy Martians digging canals to quench their thirsty planet.  Would he have lived it down or maybe just found Mars suddenly a lot less interesting?  Or maybe he'd be cooking up conspiracy theories about NASA ala Hoagland.   big_smile[/quote:post_uid5]
*If my current knowledge of human behavior is any indication, I'd bet on the latter...he'd go with a conspiracy theory.   :laugh:

Lowell was fairly "safe" in his theories, wasn't he?  Satellites didn't even exist in his time, let alone probes.  He knew the closest view of Mars would be the world's largest telescope of the time...which couldn't decide the matter either.

--Cindy[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#8 2003-09-27 20:05:10

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Given what has historically happened when one culture makes contact with another of lesser technology, I would say woe to the people of Mars. And they thought they had problems before...

Of course we likely wouldn't be able to reach Mars until the mid to late sixties , by which time the whole "Western civilization has left a wake of destruction behind it and we feel so guilty we need to fix it right now" mentality was just starting to take hold. This would seem like a golden opportunity to atone for past crimes.

But it wouldn't last, particularly if Mars were habitable by our standards. The mining would start, colonization would get underway, the natives would increasingly become an irritation. If they were much like us they would begin to resist, after all we'd be stealing their planet from them. Of course they would be hopelessly outmatched and forced to resort to terrorism. The colonial government(s) would crack down, tightening the reigns. More of the Martian natives would begin to sympathize with the extremists, angry over discrimination and the hassles of Martian profiling. 

Eventually some settlement could be reached, likely with native Martians living on reservations graciously set aside for them, away from anything of value.  Perhaps a Martian state, sovereign except for a few "guidelines" could be established. Life would go on for generations, then descendants of the human colonists would begin to feel sorry for the poor, exploited Martians. This would make the Martians realize that "yes, we [i:post_uid0]are[/i:post_uid0] pissed off dammit!" A Martian civil rights movement (Martian Luther King?) gets underway, most humans support it at least in spirit. The Martians are free at last. But they've been exploited and need help. They end up dependent on the Martian government, which gives them whatever they may need, using words like "compassion" to cover up their low opinion of the natives. "Poor, stupid Martians" they think, "they'll never accomplish anything without our help." Meanwhile a Martian aqueduct is bulldozed to make room for the new Wal-Mars.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#9 2003-09-29 01:03:57

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid5]"Martian Luther King".
    "Wal-Mars".

    Ha ha !!   :laugh:

    You know CC, for a right-wing, gun-loving, militaristic, baby-killer ... you have a delightful sense of humour!
    But ease up on the graphic descriptions of western-style imperialism, or you'll have all the New Mars members who ostensibly operate on a higher plane of morality than we do, giving us sermons about how the U.S., in general, and the Republican Party in particular, are in league with the devil!
                                     tongue

    Keep up the good work.[/color:post_uid5]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#10 2003-09-29 03:56:30

alokmohan
Member
From: india
Registered: 2003-09-14
Posts: 169

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]If Lowell lived now he wouldnot have spoken of martians.Poor chap with no technology.[/color:post_uid0]

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#11 2003-09-29 18:18:55

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Boy, if any of you had read "Human Pets of Mars" back in the '30's, like I did, you wouldn't feel so kindly towards 'em![/color:post_uid0]

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#12 2003-09-29 19:13:45

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid5]Boy, if any of you had read "Human Pets of Mars" back in the '30's, like I did, you wouldn't feel so kindly towards 'em![/color:post_uid5][/quote:post_uid5]
[color=#810541:post_uid5]*Lol!  That's funny, dicktice.  I'll have to try and find that on Google tomorrow.  Reminds me of the "Twilight Zone" episode where this guy believes the folks of the planet he landed on are being super nice and accommodating -- even to the point of reading his mind and providing a "modern" (for the time) American/Western style home for him.  First he notices something's awry when the doors which should lead outdoors won't open or budge.  Then the drapes over the huge picture window pull back and he's...behind bars!  He's a zoo exhibition.  Whoa....

--Cindy  :laugh:

BTW, Cobra Commander, past behavior may be indicative of future behavior...but hopefully we humans will learn from our history.[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#13 2003-09-30 11:00:16

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]wait till they die. move into empty martian cities.

But I always loved Bradbury more.[/color:post_uid0]

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#14 2003-09-30 12:37:44

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I'd send help. I see no benefits from allowing them to go extinct. They obviously don't have any high level technologies (otherwise they would be able to avert disastor), so they offer nothing more than archeology from a scientific (curiosity) standpoint.

They already have infrastructure, so we can help them rig up our terraforming equipment rather than having to start from scratch (so cost obviously is less of an issue). The fact that they would be in a fight for their very survival would suggest that there would be quite a few of them wanting to work in that vein, so there would be no surplus of non-workers.

Personally, I thought the Prime Directive was bollocks.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#15 2003-10-01 08:42:45

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]We wouldn't be able to survive at our present level of knowledge and/or technology, to (1) reverse the planetary trends (2) develop the means of escape (3) cooperate to save ourselves even if we had an entire generation to do it. But it's a good thought experiment to imagine we're Martians and think up various scenarios for going about doing just that.[/color:post_uid0]

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#16 2003-10-01 15:37:13

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]dicktice, I think that if war can motivate people to work together (ie, WWII), mass extinction could more so. So if it was happening to us, we would put up one hell of a fight. We'd even maybe get along!

I think the whole idea of helping another sentient species, though, could be almost as compelling. But I dunno.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#17 2003-10-03 19:47:31

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[/quote:post_uid0]
[color=#000000:post_uid0]

BTW, Cobra Commander, past behavior may be indicative of future behavior...but hopefully we humans will learn from our history.[/quote:post_uid0]

We can hope, but the lessons we learn from our history seem stacked toward engaging in the same behavior more efficiently.

Not that I'm condemning militant imperialism or anything of that sort. big_smile[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#18 2003-10-03 22:02:31

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

We can hope, but the lessons we learn from our history seem stacked toward engaging in the same behavior more efficiently.[/quote:post_uid0]

I'd love to see how you came to that conclusion. smile[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#19 2003-10-03 22:33:33

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

[/quote:post_uid0]

We can hope, but the lessons we learn from our history seem stacked toward engaging in the same behavior more efficiently.[/quote:post_uid0]

I'd love to see how you came to that conclusion. smile[/quote:post_uid0]

The vast majority of our technological progress is the direct result of the search for more efficient methods of killing one another and much of our social development is the result of fear of those new, more efficient methods. As a species we haven't changed, we're just more careful now.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#20 2003-10-04 05:05:42

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Yes, yes, that's all well and good, but that hardly suggests why we are "stacked toward engaging in the same behavior more efficiently" in the future. smile

The fact that we're "more careful," by your very own words (actually, it's more like we have more to lose, but I digress) sort of suggests the converse, wouldn't you agree?

No doubt we're becoming more civilized. Perhaps I misinterpreted what you meant by "engaging in the same behavior more efficiently." smile[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#21 2003-10-04 06:45:52

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#810541:post_uid9]

Not that I'm condemning militant imperialism or anything of that sort. big_smile[/quote:post_uid9]
*Why are you in favor of militant imperialism?  If you don't condemn it, you must be for it. 

Just curious.  Not looking for a debate, btw.

--Cindy

::EDIT::  You also said:  "The vast majority of our technological progress is the direct result of the search for more efficient methods of killing one another and much of our social development is the result of fear of those new, more efficient methods"

*Is this true?  Or would rephrasing this as "some of our technological progress is the direct result of the search for more efficient methods of protecting one's group" be more correct?[/color:post_uid9]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#22 2003-10-05 09:16:52

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

Is this true?  Or would rephrasing this as "some of our technological progress is the direct result of the search for more efficient methods of protecting one's group" be more correct?[/quote:post_uid0]

Excellent point Cindy. :;):

Efficient killing technology has historically become benign [i:post_uid0]anyway[/i:post_uid0], almost universially proving that killing is not the nature of said technologies.

If anything, it's the nature of politicians (or those in power); fear is the greatest motivator, keeping their populaces afraid is a good thing (just look at how Democrats scare old people about prescription drugs, Republicans scare rich people about taxes, and Libertarians scare everyone about guns, etc).[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#23 2003-10-06 03:01:58

alokmohan
Member
From: india
Registered: 2003-09-14
Posts: 169

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Mars has lot of gold I suppose.Let not kill native.Engage for processing gold.Can you tell me where is Lowell?[/color:post_uid0]

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#24 2003-10-08 15:51:24

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

The fact that we're "more careful," by your very own words (actually, it's more like we have more to lose, but I digress) sort of suggests the converse, wouldn't you agree?
[/quote:post_uid0]

Yes, we are more careful due to having more to lose, but our newfound restraint is the result of fear, not that we are becoming a more peaceful and rational species. It may be the first step toward that, but I've never been one for unfounded optimism.

*Why are you in favor of militant imperialism?  If you don't condemn it, you must be for it. 

Just curious.  Not looking for a debate, btw.
[/quote:post_uid0]

Sometimes it's the best way to make progress. Is the United States of America overall a good development, I would say yes. Would it exist without militant imperialism? Not likely. Advancement isn't always clean and tidy. Not that it is always justified, but sometimes the ends do justify the means.

::EDIT::  You also said:  "The vast majority of our technological progress is the direct result of the search for more efficient methods of killing one another and much of our social development is the result of fear of those new, more efficient methods"

*Is this true?  Or would rephrasing this as "some of our technological progress is the direct result of the search for more efficient methods of protecting one's group" be more correct?[/quote:post_uid0]

As for protecting one's group, that's probably true in more than half of the cases. Sometimes it's just about killing people you don't want around.  I stand by my statement regarding the majority of our technological progress coming from methods of inflicting death, though not all are direct. The internet by which we are having this discussion can be traced back directly to a DoD project and so was driven by military needs or desires, which have at their core the need to kill more efficiently. So in this sense Josh is right, the technology becomes more benign, but the roots remain. Mars will be conquered (perhaps not the best word) with technologies originally meant for war. Again, progress has a price, but overall it's worth it.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#25 2003-10-16 03:06:13

alokmohan
Member
From: india
Registered: 2003-09-14
Posts: 169

Re: If Perceival Lowell Had Been Right - Whether to help dying Mars civilization

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Imagine LOWELL IN MARS AND WRITE HUNDRED LIMES.yOU MAY SET MARS EASILY.[/color:post_uid0]

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