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View Diary: Who can own the future? (262 comments)

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  •  an OT view on this: (18+ / 0-)
    OK, the STAR TREK galaxy of people evolving on every freakin planet in the galaxy who look just like us except they have funny ears or noses or their skin is a different color is a 5 yr olds fantasy.
    The real reason for the "rubber forehead" aliens in virtually all sci-fi TV shows is, of course, economic-----their usually limited budgets don't allow for more elaborate costumes, so they get just enough to look different and make us accept the premise "OK, this is an alien".

    But it is interesting to note that even in today's big-budget movies, when CGI has the ability to make a space alien look literally any way we can imagine, we still have essentially humanoids, with arms, legs, eyes, a head--essentially we still make movie aliens out of humans with rubber foreheads, though we use CGI instead of actual rubber now (consider the space aliens in District 9, for example). That is done because if the aliens are too "alien", human movie-watchers can no longer relate to them. Humans are biologically programmed to respond emotionally to things that are like us, that have eyes and heads and legs. We have no emotional involvement at all with things that are too different from us. Monkeys and apes evoke emotional relationships from us; slugs and slime molds do not. That is why virtually all movie aliens are essentially humans. In movie-land, aliens that are really "alien", don't work. They don't produce the emotional involvement from the audience that is needed to carry a movie.

    (There is an exception to this---when it is INTENDED that the audience have a negative reaction to an alien. A good example of that is the "facehugger" in the Alien franchise, which is intended to look like some sort of spiderlike crab thing which gives a visceral negative emotional response in the audience.)

    •  Ive wondered if radial or bilateral symmetry is (6+ / 0-)

      more 'popular' 'out there'.
      After all, some octopi species are highly intelligent, probably as smart as your pet parrot, and have binocular vision to boot.

    •  Actually Star Trek had MANY aliens that did NOT (14+ / 0-)

      look humanoid. The rock like Horta from the TOS episode The Devil in the Dark. The creatures from the TOS episode The Savage Curtain. The "Prophets" in DS9. Species 8472 in Voyager. The space jellyfish creature in the TNG pilot Encounter at Farpoint. The large whale like space creatures in TNG episodes Tin Man and Galaxy's Child. Those are just to name a few. Of course some of these aliens disguised themselves to LOOK like us (as did many others not mentioned here) so they could interact with us (The Organians from TOS' Errand of Mercy & the Q Continuum from TNG, DS9, and Voyager).

      I agree that the reason why producers depicted aliens that look like us was for budget reasons and "empathy" (for lack of a better word). The "Star Trek" reason is because our galaxy (and most of the action in ST takes place in the Milky Way Galaxy) was seeded by an ancient humanoid race called "the Preservers" IIRC (see TNG episode The Chase).

      Just saying, since I'm a huge Star Trek fan.

      Other than that, I really like this diary & its ensuing discussion. Interesting stuff,

      A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

      by METAL TREK on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:10:43 AM PDT

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    •  Actually I think humans would find aliens who (6+ / 0-)

      are radically different to be monstrous rather then entertaining. Hell we can't even get past differences in skin color or eye shapes much less getting into tentacles or slime except in horror movies. We are stuck in the animal we started from in many of our responses or even in our ability to get beyond all the built in stuff.

      Maybe the reason they aren't dropping by is that it would be seriously expensive and what would all the effort gain us as a species. You can bankrupt countries and civilizations in efforts that do nothing to feed or house people except in the work they provide. But those efforts also eat up resources which leads to enviro problems.

      I don't like to get into primate poo fights but I think that nuclear has too bad a rep because like many scientific discoveries, quickly are moved into production to make profits... We are our own lab very often and maybe a lot of other planets, if they develop life capable of interstellar travel had lab experiments blow up or kill everyone with some chemical spill.

      I have read about small compact nuclear and it sounds good. We seriously can not rely just on solar to maintain systems... especially our agricultural system at the very least without a huge die back. Farmers in the US have power because they sell a lot of what they grow to others helping our balance of trade and feeding them at the same time. Populations grow when food is plentiful.

      I want to go to Europe for a few years and maybe Asia but the cost and the hassle to do it dragging oxygen (life support) is a barrier. I think it would be the same thing for any other planets considering space travel. I do think we should get out in our own system at the very least... the old "don't put all your eggs in one basket" idea. But the cost may be too big and actually harm us more.

      I like sci fi because it helps to step out of ones own framework defined by biology to see some truths.

      Fear is the Mind Killer...

      by boophus on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:29:24 AM PDT

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    •  And if you want a superb counterexample... (4+ / 0-)

      ...read Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge.

      The aliens in this particular book are giant spiders, which have a very odd vision system in that they can see across almost the entire spectrum of light - not just visible, but infared, ultraviolet, and even beyond.  They develop on an accelerated technological curve because they have one Thomas Edison style genius, and for other reasons it would spoil the book to reveal.

      The humans in the book study them by replacing their visage with computer-generated extrapolations, including replacing the spiders themselves with human avatars, and the entire book is written on that narrative.  Only very late in the book do you get to see the spider world as it REALLY is, and it's quite an eye-opener.

    •  The reason so many Aliens on ST looked human... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subterranean

      ...is Gene Roddenberry demanded it.

      Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

      by Alumbrados on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:32:32 AM PDT

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    •  Actually there are some qualities like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      neoteny that tend to make any creature more attractive to humans (see puppies and kittens, not to mention ET and Yoda). A non-humanoid alien could be visualized with those features and then created with CGI. Maybe it's just lack of imagination or the force of habit that keeps our 'aliens' looking human?

      OTOH, wolves are more attractive to people than they were historically, and have you seen all those YouTube videos of octopuses acting far smarter than people have thought of them?  Maybe eventually films will catch up.

      Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

      by ohiolibrarian on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 07:35:21 AM PDT

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