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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up (229 comments)

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  •  Intelligence in the Universe (5+ / 0-)

    It's been such a short time that we've been able to detect planets that might be Earth-like, and it's not as though we expend a vast amount of energy looking for broadcasts.

    Even then, we tend to look for intentional signals rather than what Earth might show--incidental leakage, and radio output higher than one would expect from our star in certain bands.

    I don't think we can make assumptions just yet.  We aren't really looking--and they may be completely fiber-optic and, to us, invisible.

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:16:18 PM PDT

    •  Or entanglement-based... (2+ / 0-)

      ...or a bunch of technologies that we can only dimly perceive.  As I said above, the time to ask "Where is everyone?" hasn't arrived and won't arrive for at least the next thousand years.

      SF writers have featured biological constructs, living ships, orbital trees rooting in cometary nuclei, so maybe their technology is completely organic.  Perhaps they are transcendent beings, completely virtual.

      My favorite explanation for this "missing civilizations" puzzle is contained in the following story.  It's called  "They're Made out of Meat" by Terry Bisson:

      http://www.eastoftheweb.com/...

      Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:13:21 AM PDT

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      •  or their version of the GOP (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, dewtx, Calamity Jean

        took control over their science, research,  and education budgets.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:16:42 AM PDT

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        •  ...shudder... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dewtx

          Yet, there was even a science fiction story a few years ago about just this sort of thing.  I've forgotten the title and the author, but basically, we come into radio contact with another civilization - it's a theocratic state.  Their only interest in communicating with us is to share their holy book.

          We receive it through the radio link, we respond with just a few questions...and their civilization collapses.

          It's a great story, read it twenty years ago.  The plot stuck with me ever since.

          Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

          by rbird on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:37:33 AM PDT

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      •  I've read that! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, Calamity Jean

        Yeah, maybe we just disgust them.  :-)

        Possible, I suppose, but unlikely.  We're disgusted by some of our own species, it's highly probable that any aliens (including us) will be used to that idea when we meet others.  Even if they are meat.

        I find the alternate technology idea more likely, or the fact that we encode many of our data streams to the point that we'd have trouble picking them out.

        Plus the fact that even our radio telescopes would only see Earth's transmissions as intelligible for less than half a light year.

        Fermi's Paradox is an interesting idea, but at this point it isn't much of a paradox.  We don't have enough data yet.

        (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

        by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:21:57 AM PDT

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      •  Agreed. We just have not yet built the receiver .. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        agnostic

        ...for whatever they are using to broadcast.  Once we build an 'entanglement-receiver', or whatever it will be, and turn it on then we will likely hear the chatter of a thousand civilizations.

        Either way, it appears that we are at the detection-limit of our current technological powers.  Until we dig up that Stargate.

        Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

        by Terrapin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:16:51 AM PDT

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        •  sigh. not again. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terrapin, rbird

          It is NOT a gate, dammit.

          It is a  Rhodium-Boron-Lithium alloy clad, semi-conductive, hollow hexadecagon frame, which rotates in three dimensions simultaneously, while having a direct current of electricity applied, growing at a (x + 1) Squared  rate.

          Jeez. How many (mumble mumble) times do I (mumble) have to (mumble) repeat this? (grumble).

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:05:37 PM PDT

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          •  Relax, Rodney! (0+ / 0-)

            I don't know if that is the appropriate reference but it seems to fit.  Wasn't there supposed to be an SG-A movie or something?

            Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

            by Terrapin on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:14:16 PM PDT

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            •  dunno. (0+ / 0-)

              Never really watched SG-A. Heard nothing about a celluloid version. would not be surprised, tho. Given how many poor movies and poor movie ideas are out there, banking on a product with some base, almost makes sense.

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:56:38 AM PDT

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