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Thread: "The Martian" by Andy Weir [Spoilers]

  1. #451
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    It would have been a more interesting idea if instead of potatoes he had available there was only the cactus garden one of the people had left. I would like Matt Damon to "science" the hell out of that for food.
    Just because you're a genius doesn't make you a smart guy

  2. #452
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukePaul View Post
    It would have been a more interesting idea if instead of potatoes he had available there was only the cactus garden one of the people had left. I would like Matt Damon to "science" the hell out of that for food.
    He'd be dead long before there was a sustainable crop.

    It can take 10 years for a saguaro cactus to reach 1 inch in height. By 70 years of age, a saguaro cactus can reach 6 and a half feet tall, and will finally start to produce their first flowers. By 95-100 years in age, a saguaro cactus can reach a height of 15-16 feet, and could start to produce its first arm.
    Saguaro Cactus - Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (U.S. Park Service)
    https://www.nps.gov/orpi/learn/natur...aro-cactus.htm

  3. #453
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukePaul View Post
    It would have been a more interesting idea if instead of potatoes he had available there was only the cactus garden one of the people had left. I would like Matt Damon to "science" the hell out of that for food.
    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    He'd be dead long before there was a sustainable crop.
    Sounds like a premise for a sequel!

    "Mark Watney III sets foot on Mars 100 years to the month after his grandfather's fateful mission. Exploring the old habitat, he finds a second lab set up in case the potatoes failed. It has been running all this time. He barely has time to see this when he gets a call that a huge sand storm is brewing and they have to abandon Mars..."

  4. #454
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why don't desert cactuses grow in the jungle? It's more hospitable.
    True, but Earth pressure and atmosphere are part of the environment in which potatoes normally grow (citation: the last ones I ate) while jungle conditions are not part of the environment in which cacti normally grow.

  5. #455
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why don't desert cactuses grow in the jungle? It's more hospitable.
    A host of reasons:

    1] Seeds from cacti are not as likely to be found in jungles. which means - whether or not they can grow - it will be a rare event.
    2] Cacti are not adapted for wet areas. I'm guessing, but they might suffer from such maladies as rot, that jungle flora may have defenses from.
    3] Cacti are probably not adapted to fend off jungle encroachment. They have evolved needles, which are a defense to megafauna such as lizards and herbivores, but they're probably defenseless against more pernicious attacks, such as ants, fungi and bacteria.
    4] The slow growth rate of cacti suggests they would be literally overrun by the fast-growing flora of a jungle.

    There are all unfounded, educated guesses, with varying degrees of validity. The point is that, for any flora to do well in a specialized environment (such as hot and arid), it almost certainly has to give up adaptations that could have suited it to other environments (such as hot and humid).

    There's probably a hundred ways cacti are suited to arid living, many of which would actually be a liability in a high-humidity environment.
    Likewise, there's probably a hundred ways a high-humidity environment could kill a plant that is not specially adapted to it.

  6. #456
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    Yes, one sure way to kill a cactus is to keep it well watered.

    Grant Hutchison

  7. #457
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, one sure way to kill a cactus is to keep it well watered.

    Grant Hutchison
    Right. Of course. No need to be hypothetical when we have real-world examples to examine.

    "If you are overly generous, they fill up their water storage tissues, become bloated and can actually split open. Soil kept too wet prevents air from reaching the roots, and they die, leading to soft rot."
    http://homeguides.sfgate.com/overwat...nts-70742.html

  8. #458
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, one sure way to kill a cactus is to keep it well watered.

    Grant Hutchison
    Or own a cat.

  9. #459
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why don't desert cactuses grow in the jungle? It's more hospitable.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    1] Seeds from cacti are not as likely to be found in jungles. which means - whether or not they can grow - it will be a rare event.
    2] Cacti are not adapted for wet areas. I'm guessing, but they might suffer from such maladies as rot, that jungle flora may have defenses from.
    3] Cacti are probably not adapted to fend off jungle encroachment. They have evolved needles, which are a defense to megafauna such as lizards and herbivores, but they're probably defenseless against more pernicious attacks, such as ants, fungi and bacteria.
    4] The slow growth rate of cacti suggests they would be literally overrun by the fast-growing flora of a jungle.
    5] Low shade-tolerance

    Different species' different levels of shade tolerance are a driving force in temperate forest dynamics. In a forest that has burned recently, or in a patch where a big tree has recently died or recently fallen, shade tolerance isn't a big deal because there's direct sunlight at ground level, and the species that are best at exploiting that don't need shade tolerance to do it. But most of the time, throughout most of the forest, especially in one that's moist and goes long periods without burning, you need shade tolerance to survive at ground level under the tree canopy.

  10. #460
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    True, but Earth pressure and atmosphere are part of the environment in which potatoes normally grow (citation: the last ones I ate) while jungle conditions are not part of the environment in which cacti normally grow.
    But my point is that they introduced too many variables to the Mars experiment, so it's hard to say which variable did what. Atmosphere, soil, water, it's all having an effect and those effects are not entirely separable or clear.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  11. #461
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    Inspired by the resurrection of this thread, I've just ordered the Blu-Ray from Amazon. I may re-read it on my phone before watching.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  12. #462
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Inspired by the resurrection of this thread, I've just ordered the Blu-Ray from Amazon. I may re-read it on my phone before watching.
    I hope you ordered the extended version. It makes the ending make more sense.

  13. #463
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But my point is that they introduced too many variables to the Mars experiment, so it's hard to say which variable did what. Atmosphere, soil, water, it's all having an effect and those effects are not entirely separable or clear.
    Ah, I understand.

  14. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    I hope you ordered the extended version. It makes the ending make more sense.
    The ending made less sense?

  15. #465
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    The ending made less sense?
    The ending was him teaching survival skills at NASA. The extended version tells you more about how he got there.

  16. #466
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    The ending was him teaching survival skills at NASA. The extended version tells you more about how he got there.
    The original left out the survival?

  17. #467
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    Quote Originally Posted by grapes View Post
    The original left out the survival?
    Not at all. He exposits earlier on that one could teach the things he's doing.

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