1377: "Fish"

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1377: "Fish"

Postby Envelope Generator » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:12 am UTC

Image

Alt-text: [Astronomer peers into telescope] [Jaws theme begins playing]

http://xkcd.com/1377/

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby AlbertR713 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:40 am UTC

I really like this one because it made me think as I followed up the last few panels.

Interesting to think about some of these analogies. I heard one from I think Neil DeGrasse-Tyson that goes(Paraphrasing):
What do you think when you see a bug on the ground? You pass it by because it means nothing to you. Maybe that is what extraterrestrials see when they pass by Earth.
And this one, maybe there are predators searching for us, and part of natural selection is planets disguising themselves. Obviously different than biological evolution.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby StClair » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:48 am UTC

ah yes, the Great Filter, and/or the Berserker Hypothesis.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:01 am UTC

Beware the much feared Great Black.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby niky » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:14 am UTC

StClair wrote:ah yes, the Great Filter, and/or the Berserker Hypothesis.


That's one of the first things that came to mind when I saw this comic.

Somehow every other first contact in science fiction starts with the "nice" aliens screaming at us to shut up (turn off all those broadcast emissions) before the big bads come...

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:56 am UTC

niky wrote:Somehow every other first contact in science fiction starts with the "nice" aliens screaming at us to shut up (turn off all those broadcast emissions) before the big bads come...

Well, maybe we should (not that I know of us purposefully sending out beacons anywhere), and keep a towel handy, just in case...

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:02 am UTC

My favorite solution to the Fermi paradox is that any life out there is communicating amongst themselves in a far more energy-efficient fashion than just broadcasting everything they say every which way. Planet-to-planet radio lasers for a start. We wouldn't hear them unless they were trying to talk to us. Maybe to them we're the loud whiny toddler who hasn't learned his indoor voice yet.
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby BlueNight » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:07 am UTC

My favorite Fermi fixes:
1. "Hey, look at those kids playing with fire and light. I remember when we were like that, before the Big Upgrade."
2. "They're dumb animals; their brains are just [alien equivalent of Turing machines] made out of meat, with only one point of attention."
3. Life on Earth: 3.6 gigayears of life, 2.5 megayears of Homo, 200 years of radio, 50 years of SETI, and no neighbors within shouting distance at the moment.
4. God wouldn't allow other sapient beings to exist in a universe He knew we were going to wreck and condemn to entropic loss.
5. The best digital compression is statistically identical to random noise; we just don't have the right CODECs installed.
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:29 am UTC

BlueNight wrote:5. The best digital compression is statistically identical to random noise; we just don't have the right CODECs installed.

I think we'd still notice unusual amounts of radio noise coming from unexplained sources, though.

(In fact, we have noticed them: "the 'space roar' sounds six times louder than what is predicted from [radio galaxies]. Scientists have yet to explain its source. NASA scientists have currently ruled out primordial stars and all other known radio sources.")
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby The Moomin » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:34 am UTC

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:28 am UTC

There's also the possibility that civilization is a relatively rare feature of life and that most civilizations do not attempt to communicate across space. It isn't clear that there is any purpose to it that any other civilization would see as relevant. It isn't even clear how any alien life would think at all. Or if they did communicate, they might not use radio.

We cannot see very much of space unless we suppose aliens are using massively high energy communicators. Even at that, we have only searched a tiny portion of the sky, and only in a very narrow band of frequencies. It seems to me naive to expect that we would have found anything yet.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Titanium Dragon » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:37 am UTC

We already guessed that planets were pretty common a long time ago; now we've merely had confirmation of it. The fact that our solar system has eight major planets and several pretty big moons already suggested it, but, well...

Anyway, so we know the star formation rate and how many planets there are, and while we dont' have a good estimate for how common earthlike planets are, it is pretty likely that they aren't -that- rare.

That leaves us with the last portions of the equation: odds of life coming to be, odds of intelligent life from said life, odds that said intelligent life produces detectable signals, lifespan of civilization broadcasting said signals.

These are all basically impossible to determine, and probably are overlooking several important steps (for instance, from life to intelligent life, there's a "develop complex life" step in there which is probably missing, and which may well be a major factor; though obviously it is calculated into the odds of intelligent life, it seems reasonable as its own thing).

Abiogenesis is probably the one we have the best grasp on; it appears to have happened quite quickly on Earth, which suggests (but does not prove) it is probably pretty likely in an environment condusive to it. If we discover independent life on another body in the solar system (probably Mars), extinct or not, then the odds of abiogenesis would go way up.

Of course, on the other hand, if Mars DID develop life, it almost certainly never developed what we would call complex life, so it would drive down the odds of that part of the equation.

The odds of intelligent life, the odds that said life will develop a civilization, and the lifespan of civilizations are utterly unknowable, though if we ever DO stop leaking a lot of radio into space (something I find unlikely - it is too easy to just broadcast a big "we're over here" signal without anyone being able to do anything about it) we would at least have some ideas on the odds of the last part of the equation.

The real problem is that the Fermi paradox relies on the idea that interstellar travel will happen, which may not be the case; while it is doubtless possible, it is also almost certainly extremely expensive - sure, nuclear pulse propulsion can allow us to colonize other solar systems, but the question is, why would we bother? The only reason to do it is to do it; said colonies are very unlikely to give us any tangible benefits. The only things which can be really traded between solar systems is information, realistically speaking, and unless we got very lucky and found a very nearby garden world, chances are good that colonizing Mars would be much more profitable, and therefore much more likely to get done. Given that our population is likely to top out and stop expanding, the pressure to spread out into new spaces goes way down.

So what's the point, really? That's the real issue.

Sure, sending out unmanned, self-replicating probes is a possibility, but that would be hideously expensive. Then again, if life was common enough, it is likely at least one civilization would have done so, and that's all you REALLY need, assuming they did it long enough ago to peek at the whole galaxy.

Of course, it may well be that we ARE lucky - either we arose very quickly, the conditions for our solar system haven't existed for quite as long as we thought (though IIRC there is evidence that there are 8 billion year old stars which resemble ours, so that is a bit unlikely), intelligent life capable of building a civilization is very rare (plausible; dolphins or parrots would have a difficult time building a technological civilization if they were of human intelligence, and it may well be that developing runaway intelligence to end up as smart as humans is very unlikely - it has only happened once on Earth, after all, though it is hard to say how long it has even been possible for intelligent life TO exist for - the smartest non-avian dinosaurs were not very bright by the standards of mammals and birds), or it could be even developing complexity is rare (to be fair, life on earth spent something on the order of 3 billion years not producing anything very fancy or complicated). Or it could be that civilizations destroy themselves before they spread out into space.

Most likely, the paradox will only be answered when we start colonizing space, destroy ourselves, detect another civilization, or fail to find truly Earthlike worlds (i.e. oxygenated atmospheres) after thorough amounts of searching.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:39 am UTC

AlbertR713 wrote:maybe there are predators searching for us, and part of natural selection is planets disguising themselves. Obviously different than biological evolution.

Maybe not so obvious. The fish that looks like sand survives (mostly) because the predator has trouble seeing it. But the fish doesn't just "decide" that looking like sand would be a good idea, it just works out that way.

Likewise, we're not consciously "hiding" from whatever predators are out there. But maybe they have trouble seeing us just the same.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby nfb » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:47 am UTC

StClair wrote:ah yes, the Great Filter, and/or the Berserker Hypothesis.

Thanks, I'd forgotten the name.

Personally, I think the Great Filter lies at the step from 'life' to 'intelligent life'. We have on our own planet over 500 million years of complex life evolving. In that period we have seen literally countless species evolve, of all manners of shapes and sizes. But we have seen only one species evolve to be able to read, write, and do all the other things necessary to form civilizations and discover science.

If I had to bet, I'd say life itself is very abundant, and lots of the rocky exoplanets we're discovering will be teeming with life. But that life evolving our level of intelligence (or anything smarter than Dolphins or big Apes), is so rare that there won't be another 'intelligent' species in our entire Local Group, perhaps even our Local Supercluster.

Though, based on the current information, I'd give that bet only 60-40 odds, 70-30 if I'm feeling particularly confident. It'll be very exciting to see what we'll be able to discover in the future to change those odds.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby peregrine_crow » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:59 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:There's also the possibility that civilization is a relatively rare feature of life and that most civilizations do not attempt to communicate across space. It isn't clear that there is any purpose to it that any other civilization would see as relevant. It isn't even clear how any alien life would think at all. Or if they did communicate, they might not use radio.


<pet peeve pedantry>
Whatever alien life looks like, it will probably have adapted to solve the same basic set of problems that we did (eg. aquiring information on their environment, cooperating on finding resources, passing on information to the next generation, creative expanding on existing knowledge etc). On a cognitive level, these problems don't have very many effective solutions so alien life will probably think in roughly the same ways as we do. The chessboard of life isn't that big.

Similarly, there just aren't that many ways to effectively move information across long distances so transmitting an electromagnetic signal with specific frequencies that can be interpreted on the receiving side is a fairly straightforward solution.

Think about this, how many obvious inventions have we missed in the past? Which ways of working could we have adopted in medieval times with the levels of technology as they were back then, but didn't?

I'm sure there are a lot of niche improvements that we could have made, but I very much doubt we missed something as basic as radio.
</pet peeve pedantry>

The rest of your post was a very good point though, it is really optimistic to assume that we would find advanced alien civilizations in the first tiny corner of the universe that we looked at.
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:25 am UTC

peregrine_crow wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:There's also the possibility that civilization is a relatively rare feature of life and that most civilizations do not attempt to communicate across space. It isn't clear that there is any purpose to it that any other civilization would see as relevant. It isn't even clear how any alien life would think at all. Or if they did communicate, they might not use radio.


<pet peeve pedantry>
Whatever alien life looks like, it will probably have adapted to solve the same basic set of problems that we did (eg. aquiring information on their environment, cooperating on finding resources, passing on information to the next generation, creative expanding on existing knowledge etc). On a cognitive level, these problems don't have very many effective solutions so alien life will probably think in roughly the same ways as we do. The chessboard of life isn't that big.

What possible justification could you have for saying that? There may be a very large number of ways to solve problems. We don't have much experience on Earth with this kind of diversity, because all nerves are basically homologous, but on other planets it could be very different. Even the machines that we build, despite their obvious anthropomorphic bias, think radically differently from us.

But the species doesn't have to be completely different to not want to communicate with other planets. There are plenty of people who don't want to do that.

Similarly, there just aren't that many ways to effectively move information across long distances so transmitting an electromagnetic signal with specific frequencies that can be interpreted on the receiving side is a fairly straightforward solution.

Depending on the atmosphere of the planet, there are lots of other frequencies that will work just as well.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Dogun » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:22 am UTC

So I like this comic today especially, because I often feel like humans are entirely too willing to imagine carbon copies of themselves out in space, and also imagine them to be friendlier than we are likely to be. Sharks should be in our hypothesis space.

So, I ran across Three Worlds Collide for the first time earlier this year, a fun little sci-fi novella about a first contact situation that gets a little complicated when it turns out the aliens are only MOSTLY like us...

I guess I suck at forums, because I can't figure out how to drop a link to it. Just google it, it's free.

I don't think it's displaced my favorite sci-fi story of all-time, but it's definitely on my top 10.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:39 am UTC

peregrine_crow wrote:Whatever alien life looks like, it will probably have adapted to solve the same basic set of problems that we did (eg. aquiring information on their environment, cooperating on finding resources, passing on information to the next generation, creative expanding on existing knowledge etc). On a cognitive level, these problems don't have very many effective solutions so alien life will probably think in roughly the same ways as we do. The chessboard of life isn't that big.

Why? And why would this result in similar species? It's not like we're all that effective (compared to Escherichia coli) nor is our technology necessary to serve any needs. We need it, but orca's have mostly similar lives without it.
Eebster the Great wrote:
Similarly, there just aren't that many ways to effectively move information across long distances so transmitting an electromagnetic signal with specific frequencies that can be interpreted on the receiving side is a fairly straightforward solution.

Depending on the atmosphere of the planet, there are lots of other frequencies that will work just as well.

Besides, low latency connections are nice for entertainment, but rarely needed. For most information exchange purposes a large cargo ship with micro-SD cards would do.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Crosshair » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:59 am UTC

Titanium Dragon wrote:Abiogenesis is probably the one we have the best grasp on; it appears to have happened quite quickly on Earth, which suggests (but does not prove) it is probably pretty likely in an environment condusive to it. If we discover independent life on another body in the solar system (probably Mars), extinct or not, then the odds of abiogenesis would go way up.

I would disagree. We probably have the least understanding of Abiogenesis, with our understanding being practically NO understanding. The last 50 years of biology being one dead theory after another for how you get life from non life from unguided natural means.

If you just look at the probability mathematics of the information contained in DNA and the simplest life we can find or conceive of, 500,000 base pairs last I checked; about 125kb worth of computer code, you quickly realize that life could not have arisen by natural means, the math just doesn't work. There simply isn't enough time or enough matter in the universe to go through all the possibilities. It gets even worse when you look at the cellular machinery needed to process that DNA, then the rest of the machinery contained within the cell. You get a nasty chicken and egg problem that I see no solution to.

It's a serious problem that I have yet to find a good explanation for.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:19 pm UTC

I feel that latency would become a big problem for most data if it is in the order of a couple of millenia. A spaceship filled with micro SD cards would not be my first choice, unless it can travel FTL so it is faster than a laser (and the method of FTL does not allow simple communication).
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Tub » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:21 pm UTC

Titanium Dragon wrote:If we discover independent life on another body in the solar system (probably Mars), extinct or not, then the odds of abiogenesis would go way up.

Weren't there theories about life migrating from earth to mars, either by microorganisms carried by solar winds, or possibly hitchhiking on probes sent from earth? Were those proven false, or are there other means to verify independent development?

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:50 pm UTC

Space is big. Inverse square laws are a thing. Classic storylines nonwithstanding, it'd actually be pretty danged hard to pick of broadcasts of I Love Lucy across light years. Certain military radars might be another story, but still. In the long run, spectroscopy may provide more interesting results.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby odoniano » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:04 pm UTC

StClair wrote:ah yes, the Great Filter, and/or the Berserker Hypothesis.


And the Dark Forest theory, from Liu Cixin's Three Body Trilogy (I'm reading the third and final book at the moment and it is one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read)

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:42 pm UTC

After reading the second panel, my hypothesis, at odds with Cueball's, was that the scuba diver scared the fish away by being too noisy and flailing about everywhere. The fish might eventually approach us if we are quiet and sit still...
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby neoliminal » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:42 pm UTC

What if we tested our theory about these habitable planets by creating a payload of DNA and a good assortments of early building blocks to shoot over to those planets and see if they take seed. Shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 Billion years to see some results....

...wait a minute.
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby zenten » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:Space is big. Inverse square laws are a thing. Classic storylines nonwithstanding, it'd actually be pretty danged hard to pick of broadcasts of I Love Lucy across light years. Certain military radars might be another story, but still. In the long run, spectroscopy may provide more interesting results.


Exactly. We're basically undetectable with our own technology from all but a handful of other solar systems, and we're actually becoming harder to detect over time because our broadcasts are getting more efficient. The fact that most intelligent life isn't spending large resources sending out very very "loud" beacons all the time (which would interfere with their own communications even) isn't very surprising.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby ancientt » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:10 pm UTC

I like the dark forest theory. I also wonder if dark matter is related. If intelligent life is extremely widespread and taking advantage of a huge portion of the universe's resources but hiding as/in dark matter and using dark energy it would explain two unanswered questions at the same time. (Feel free to educate me about why dark matter can't be hiding alien activity, but use small words please.)

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Whizbang » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:17 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:What if we tested our theory about these habitable planets by creating a payload of DNA and a good assortments of early building blocks to shoot over to those planets and see if they take seed. Shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 Billion years to see some results....

...wait a minute.


I think this should be done regardless of our scientific drive for knowledge. As the only known intelligent life in the universe capable of space travel, is it not our responsibility to at least attempt to spread life to other star systems? I feel that we should at least attempt to send seed packages to all nearby stars where we have at least a semi-reasonable chance of being able to calculate a trajectory to hit a planet (correct me if we are unable to do this). Even if all of those seed packages fail, we just keep sending them on the hopes of one of them sticking and producing life, even if it is billions of years before anything more complex than a bacteria emerges.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby unexistance » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:24 pm UTC

Crosshair wrote:
Titanium Dragon wrote:...
If you just look at the probability mathematics of the information contained in DNA and the simplest life we can find or conceive of, 500,000 base pairs last I checked; about 125kb worth of computer code, you quickly realize that life could not have arisen by natural means, the math just doesn't work. There simply isn't enough time or enough matter in the universe to go through all the possibilities. It gets even worse when you look at the cellular machinery needed to process that DNA, then the rest of the machinery contained within the cell. You get a nasty chicken and egg problem that I see no solution to.

...


well that is interesting, do you have some more info on this? Wiki page, papers, Coway game of life ...

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby wolfticket » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:49 pm UTC

I think the thing is that not only is the universe is big, also time is long.

Any civilization can exist almost anywhere within either.

It's like a game of hide and seek that takes place in a huge area, that starts at a random point and only lasts a very short period of time. Even if there are a lot of players it's still very unlikely they will find each other unless they are in the same place already.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Whizbang » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:55 pm UTC

wolfticket wrote:It's like a game of hide and seek that takes place in a huge area, that starts at a random point and only lasts a very short period of time.


In the dark, and you're not sure if anyone else is playing, and you have to hold still and listen very carefully for any sounds that sound like other players.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:03 pm UTC

AlbertR713 wrote:I heard one from I think Neil DeGrasse-Tyson that goes(Paraphrasing):
What do you think when you see a bug on the ground? You pass it by because it means nothing to you. Maybe that is what extraterrestrials see when they pass by Earth.
And this one, maybe there are predators searching for us, and part of natural selection is planets disguising themselves. Obviously different than biological evolution.


Go home NDeGT. You're drunk with your own fame. I doubt there's a bug on the planet that hasn't been studied at some point by some one. Assuming that aliens are such stuck-up assholes that they don't even take the time to fart on us or steal our incredibly rare resources is insane.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Zassounotsukushi » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:07 pm UTC

AlbertR713 wrote:I really like this one because it made me think as I followed up the last few panels.

Interesting to think about some of these analogies. I heard one from I think Neil DeGrasse-Tyson that goes(Paraphrasing):
What do you think when you see a bug on the ground? You pass it by because it means nothing to you. Maybe that is what extraterrestrials see when they pass by Earth.
And this one, maybe there are predators searching for us, and part of natural selection is planets disguising themselves. Obviously different than biological evolution.


I have a really hard time believing that an advanced civilization would find us important enough to silence their EM communications in our vicinity. Heck, in a very large vicinity around us. Otherwise, Earth astronomers would detect some significantly anomalous stuff. One could claim that such signals are still hiding in the gaps, but honestly our universe looks pretty well explained. We also have a pretty good grasp on the ideal wavelengths to use to for interstellar communication.

A common objection is that they would use a non-E&M communication method. But the laws of physics are pretty finite, and we're not exactly nailing down the possibilities so far. I just have a really hard time seeing how photons might be useless for communication, no matter how advanced a civilization is.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:51 pm UTC

Or maybe the other civilization "nearby" is on a completely different timescale from us. So, they're (metaphorically) sitting on the sofa, watching their shows, and thinking to themselves, "Huh, a new species just moved in the flat next door. Let's give them a bit to settle in, and we'll pop over with a tray of biscuits in a few hundred million years or so, no rush."
Spoiler:
(Because they talk like that in my imagination.)
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:15 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Or maybe the other civilization "nearby" is on a completely different timescale from us. So, they're (metaphorically) sitting on the sofa, watching their shows, and thinking to themselves, "Huh, a new species just moved in the flat next door. Let's give them a bit to settle in, and we'll pop over with a tray of biscuits in a few hundred million years or so, no rush."
Spoiler:
(Because they talk like that in my imagination.)



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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Coyoty » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:27 pm UTC

There might not be any signals for us to detect. We can now use quantum entanglement to communicate instantly over distances with no apparent signal between sender and recipient. (Dutch researchers recently managed to teleport information about 3 meters.) If ETs are using ansibles then we won't know about it unless they give us one or we find one. Or we discover a "subspace" medium that quantum information travels through and find a way to listen to it.

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iChef
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby iChef » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:32 pm UTC

You go into space ship.... space ship goes into space. Space Shark is in space. Our Space Shark.... We're gonna need a bigger rocket.
Those whom God loves, he must make beautiful, and a beautiful character must, in some way, suffer.
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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:54 pm UTC

Coyoty wrote:There might not be any signals for us to detect. We can now use quantum entanglement to communicate instantly over distances with no apparent signal between sender and recipient. (Dutch researchers recently managed to teleport information about 3 meters.) If ETs are using ansibles then we won't know about it unless they give us one or we find one. Or we discover a "subspace" medium that quantum information travels through and find a way to listen to it.

Not to burst your spacetime bubble, but quantum entanglement doesn't allow instant communication. It allows states to be transferred instantly, but the information necessary to extract the end result must still be transferred at or below lightspeed.

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:25 pm UTC

Crosshair wrote:If you just look at the probability mathematics of the information contained in DNA and the simplest life we can find or conceive of, 500,000 base pairs last I checked; about 125kb worth of computer code, you quickly realize that life could not have arisen by natural means, the math just doesn't work. There simply isn't enough time or enough matter in the universe to go through all the possibilities. It gets even worse when you look at the cellular machinery needed to process that DNA, then the rest of the machinery contained within the cell. You get a nasty chicken and egg problem that I see no solution to.

Look up the "RNA world" hypothesis for one way to get around the necessity of DNA synthase and other enzymes. But more importantly, understand that it is certainly not necessary to have 500,000 specific bp to get a living cell. Even if it were true that it needed to be that long, which it almost certainly is not, it would not have to be any given sequence. There are trillions of trillions of possible DNA sequences that would have essentially the same effect as the one you are thinking of (whatever that might be).

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Re: 1377: "Fish"

Postby Asnoka » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:48 pm UTC

Titanium Dragon wrote:The real problem is that the Fermi paradox relies on the idea that interstellar travel will happen, which may not be the case; while it is doubtless possible, it is also almost certainly extremely expensive - sure, nuclear pulse propulsion can allow us to colonize other solar systems, but the question is, why would we bother? [...]

So what's the point, really? That's the real issue.


Are we still talking about the species that climbs the highest mountains "because they are there" and goes around the whole planet in tiny one man Sailingboats "because they can"?

I am pretty confident that, if there is a way, somebody will try there best to take it, most likely just to proof a point to someone else...


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