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Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 4:41 PM

I have been pondering this question for along time but a thread from Andrew Westman brought it up again. Are we alone in the universe??? Your thoughts about it and why you believe what you do. And by alone, I mean any extraterrestrial life, not just intelligent.. There are no right or wrong answers here, until they land on your doorstep.

I personally believe we are not alone. If you think about the amount of galaxies in the universe, the amount of stars in each galaxy, and a tiny fraction of those stars that could have planets containing liquid water, and the tiny fraction of those that could have gone through same processes as earth to create life, the number is staggering. I think it is extremely egotistical to think it could have only happened here.

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#1

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 4:58 PM

I have no idea, but these thoughts have occupied my mind when recently reading some of Carl Sagan's later books and learning about the Fermi paradox.

One of the things that's always fascinated me about the portrayal of aliens in fiction is that they're almost always either humanoid (grey aliens, etc.) or fashioned after some grotesque version of a common animal. Descartes claimed that we can't imagine anything that's not some combination of known things, so if he's to be believed these portrayals make sense. Humans are anthropocentric: we know our own planet and culture 99.999% better than any other. I believe that if or when we stumble onto intelligent life we may not realize it, because it's so radically different from what we know on Earth. Even the concept of "life" is anthropocentric: it's our human-defined earthly version of life, and there may be infinite variations of what we consider life throughout the universe that are completely incomprehensible to our minds and senses.

Again, I have no idea.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:05 PM

You are right, other life could be silicon based instead of carbon. Maybe it needs liquid methane instead of water. Quite possible we wouldn't recognize it if it was standing in front of us.

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#10
In reply to #3

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:38 PM

Oh, really? Can you imagine exhaling silicon dioxide?

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:42 PM

No, because I am carbon based. Who says life can only exist in a carbon, water environment?

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#24
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 6:47 PM

I disagree - carbon is the only element in the periodic table that catenates to any great degree, giving rise to an infinite number of stable compounds. Silicon is a very poor second. The structures of the compounds of life are extremely complicated and need to be to perform all the tasks required, such as self-replication. Even the lowest forms of life are very complex. I am strongly of the opinion that life can only be carbon-based.

That doesn't mean to say that all sorts of weird & wonderful life forms that we wouldn't recognize, cannot exist, but I'm 99.99% certain they will be carbon-based.

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#26
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 6:51 PM

How do you know that large equals infinite?

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#28
In reply to #24

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 6:52 PM

Great answer, maybe it is all carbon based. G.A. from me.

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#31
In reply to #24

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 7:07 PM

Maybe there could be silicon-based life, originating from creations of carbon-based bipedal creatures who learned to create autonomous vehicles.

I welcome our robot overlords!

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#53
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 9:28 PM

I for one think that any first contact would be alien robots rather than actual native alien lifeforms, as they are likely to face the same limiting lifetime and biological frailties that we do....and any space travel is likely to take hundreds if not thousands of years....this will require renewal and upgrading on the journey....of course they could make a traveling space city, still one-on-one contact would be biologically reckless...Then again it's not such a stretch to imagine a completely evolved humanoid robot, that is, in fact, alive.....

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 9:44 PM

Makes sense. Our first emissaries to the Moon and Mars and to the rest of the Solar System and beyond were/are robot probes. Interstellar probes won't be able to phone home and so will have to be completely autonomous and even self-repairing. Unless there's some amazing breakthrough in propulsion technology those missions will span thousands of years. No Maytag Man to call on when something breaks - and it will. They're gonna need some badass AI.

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#323
In reply to #53

Re: Are We Alone?

02/09/2017 8:49 PM

I for one think that any first contact would be alien robots rather than actual native alien lifeforms...

Their robots would likely be so sophisticated that we would be unable to distinguish them from life forms. There's no reason to expect their robots to be based on metal and silicon. They could well be bioengineered.

Here's an interesting seed for a science fiction story...making contact with an alien "lifeform", and the twist at the end is that what we thought were the aliens were merely their robots.

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#324
In reply to #323

Re: Are We Alone?

02/09/2017 8:52 PM

IIRC, the well-endowed Gaian woman in Asimov's Foundation's Edge turned out to be a robot. Possibly all of her people were, but it has been many years since I read it.

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#71
In reply to #24

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 6:09 AM

The idea that life necessarily needs a discrete body is also anthopogenic.

Life might be organized of high pressure high temperature replicating structures inside gas giants or stars. These might function on timescales many orders of magnitude different from our own such that a lifetime of memories of theirs might not be as long the time we consider to be the present moment...or vise versa.

Our idea of life and consciousness will always be biased towards what we have experienced so far. That isn't such a bad thing. What are you going to do with something you find that shares almost nothing with your reality? Better we look for those things similar enough that empathy is not unrealistic.

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#83
In reply to #71

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 9:36 AM

Wasn't that a Star trek episode?

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#99
In reply to #83

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 10:58 AM

Those polarised magnetic variations are a bitch.

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#103
In reply to #99

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 12:36 PM

Graviton particle field, useless!, what manner of beast is this?

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#104
In reply to #103

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 12:43 PM

Who wrote that tripe, anyway? Man, you can be sure the screenwriters for that sorry-arse series weren't D.C. Fontana and Gene L. Coon.

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#121
In reply to #103

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 2:22 PM

After lunch, and after reading that last link, I must now lay my head down on the desk for a nap.

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#112
In reply to #83

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 1:34 PM

70,000 light years away? Why would that be concerning? I thought they were out patrolling various galaxies. 70k light years isn't even the width of the Milkyway, which isn't a very big galaxy. The distances between galaxies is typically much greater.

DidStarTrek never make it out of the Milkyway?

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#115
In reply to #112

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 1:43 PM

They did not, at least as far as I know. See map below:

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#122
In reply to #115

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 2:25 PM

How convenient that alien life would allow the galaxy to be partitioned off in such an anthropocentric way...

Far as I am concerned, Borg need to stay on their side of the street, or even out of our neighborhood.

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#125
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 2:54 PM

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#127
In reply to #125

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 3:05 PM

Thank you for not making me want to spank a Borg today.

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#126
In reply to #122

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 3:00 PM

You hear that, James? If you don't behave, they're gonna install one of these in your noggin ...

... and you'll never do it without shorts again.

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#128
In reply to #126

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 3:08 PM

That makes me want to reach my highest (sparkgap) potential.

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#129
In reply to #128

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 3:38 PM

I was gonna make some snarky remark about your doing it vicariously but suddenly realised that the cognate of the Latin vicarius is vicar; loosely, 'pastor.'

For bog's sake don't tell Bayes.

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#116
In reply to #112

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 1:45 PM

In TOS episode 'By Any Other Name' the Enterprise passed through some sort of 'energy barrier' at the edge of the Milky Way en route to Andromeda where the Kelvan hijackers were from. They didn't go far but did leave the galaxy. In that episode the Kelvans reduced most of the crew to soccer-ball-sized polyhedral thingos in order to conserve resources during the trip. They were later reconstituted using the same device when Kirk et al wrested back control of the Enterprise.

Also TOS episode 'Where No Man Has Gone Before.' In this episode, passing through the barrier gave certain crew members extreme psionic abilities bordering on godlike powers (which of course were abused).

Also later series episodes.

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#132
In reply to #112

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 4:16 PM

Am I the only Trekkie here? TNG left the galaxy in the episode "Where no one has gone before" The Traveler took them to the edge of the known universe. They traveled 2,700,000 light years and were in the M33 galaxy.

I did have to look up details on memory-alpha.wikia.com/ but remember the traveler took out of the Milky Way.

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#142
In reply to #132

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 5:32 PM

You guys are technically right. I was speaking generally. In a canon of hundreds of episodes of Star Trek and its subsequent spin off / reboot series, only a handful had them exit the Milky Way. Generally the action was taking place in the Milky Way.

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#148
In reply to #142

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 6:48 PM

Not much to do between galaxies. For example, had they gone all the way to Andromeda, Episode 50 would've lasted six weeks even with the Kelvans' amazing mods to the warp drive.

To wit:

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#153
In reply to #148

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 8:53 PM

That's why they needed a Stargate! Anyway, long trip or no, it's probably better they were headed for Andromeda rather than the Pegasus galaxy, I mean, with all the wraith culling and all.

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#162
In reply to #153

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 10:20 PM

I have never watched a Stargate episode. Not a one. Sounds interesting!

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#164
In reply to #162

Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 2:24 AM

I think Red dwarf was a much more interesting story....

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#203
In reply to #162

Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 5:18 PM

Andrew, if you like Star Trek, watch Star Gate. It's different but I think it's very good. Start with the Star Gate movie, then go to the series.

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#204
In reply to #203

Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 5:41 PM

I shall. Thanks!

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#205
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 6:50 PM

Also, I've been watching The Expanse the last few years and its really good. It's different than Stargate and Star Trek (both of which I love) but really good!

https://www.wired.com/2017/01/geeks-guide-the-expanse-season-2/

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#206
In reply to #71

Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 8:32 PM

Robert Forward (one of my favorite SF authors) wrote a novel about an alien race that lived on a neutron star, and they advanced from primitive to superior technology in a matter of months or years. It's about life much different than ours, evolved in a much different environment. It's a good read.

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#207
In reply to #206

Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 9:17 PM

Man, he couldn't have picked a more inhospitable environment in which to raise a species. Should prove to be a very interesting read. Thanks for the tip!

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#294
In reply to #206

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 12:16 PM

I remember reading that one! Fascinating! Thank you - I couldn't remember the title or the author.

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#325
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/09/2017 10:32 PM

Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many - perhaps most - of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven - or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however, are asking: "Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?"

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stranger.

-----

Chapter 43 - Inferno

Now there was only the red sun, filling the sky from side to side. He was so close that its surface was no longer frozen into immobility by sheer scale. There were luminous nodules moving to and fro, cyclones of ascending and descending gas, prominences slowly rocketing toward the heavens. Slowly? They must be rising at a million miles an hour for their movement to be visible to his eye.

He did not even attempt to grasp the scale of the inferno toward which he was descending. The immensities of Saturn and Jupiter bad defeated him, during Discovery's fly-by in that solar system now unknown gigamiles away. But everything he saw here was a hundred times larger still; he could do nothing but accept the images that were flooding into his mind, without attempting to interpret them.

As that sea of fire expanded beneath him, Bowman should have known fear - but, curiously enough, he now felt only a mild apprehension. It was not that his mind was benumbed with wonders; logic told him that he must surely be under the protection of some controlling and almost omnipotent intelligence. He was now so close to the red sun that he would have been burned up in a moment if its radiation had not been held at bay by some invisible screen. And during his voyage he had been subjected to accelerations that should have crushed him instantly - yet he had felt nothing. If so much trouble had been taken to preserve him, there was still cause for hope.

The space pod was now moving along a shallow arc almost parallel to the surface of the star, but slowly descending toward it. And now, for the first time, Bowman became aware of sounds. There was a faint, continuous roar, broken from time to time by crackles like tearing paper, or distant lightning. This could be only the feeblest echo of an unimaginable cacophony; the atmosphere surrounding him must be racked by concussions that could tear any material object to atoms. Yet he was protected from this shattering tumult as effectively as from the heat.

Though ridges of flame thousands of miles high were rising and slowly collapsing around him, he was completely insulated from all this violence. The energies of the star raved past him, as if they were in another universe; the pod moved sedately through their midst, un-buffeted and unscorched.

Bowman's eyes, no longer hopelessly confused by the strangeness and grandeur of the scene, began to pick out details which must have been there before, but which he had not yet perceived. The surface of this star was no formless chaos; there was pattern here, as in everything that nature created.

He noticed first the little whirlpools of gas - probably no larger than Asia or Africa - that wandered over the surface of the star. Sometimes he could look directly down into one of them, to see darker, cooler regions far below. Curiously enough, there appeared to be no sunspots; perhaps they were a disease peculiar to the star that shone on Earth.

And there were occasional clouds, like wisps of smoke blown before a gale. Perhaps they were indeed smoke, for this sun was so cold that real fire could exist here. Chemical compounds could be born and could live for a few seconds before they were again ripped apart by the fiercer nuclear violence that surrounded them.

The horizon was growing brighter, its color changing from gloomy red to yellow to blue to blistering violet.

The White Dwarf was coming up over the horizon, dragging its tidal wave of star-stuff behind it.

Bowman shielded his eyes from the intolerable glare of the little sun, and focused on the troubled starscape which its gravitational field was sucking skyward. Once he had seen a waterspout moving across the face of the Caribbean; this tower of flame had almost the same shape. Only the scale was slightly different, for at its base, the column was probably wider than the planet Earth.

And then, immediately beneath him, Bowman noticed something which was surely new, since he could hardly have overlooked it if it had been there before. Moving across the ocean of glowing gas were myriads of bright beads; they shone with a pearly light which waxed and waned in a period of a few seconds. And they were all travelling in the same direction, like salmon moving upstream; sometimes they weaved back and forth so that their paths intertwined, but they never touched. There were thousands of them, and the longer Bowman stared, the more convinced he became that their motion was purposeful. They were too far away for him to make out any details of their structure; that be could see them at all in this colossal panorama meant that they must be scores - perhaps hundreds - of miles across. If they were organized entities, they were leviathans indeed, built to match the scale of the world they inhabited.

Perhaps they were only clouds of plasma, given temporary stability by some odd combination of natural forces - like the short-lived spheres of ball-lightning that still puzzled terrestrial scientists. That was an easy, and perhaps soothing, explanation; but as Bowman looked down upon that starwide streaming, he could not really believe it. Those glittering nodes of light knew where they were going; they were deliberately converging upon the pillar of fire raised by the White Dwarf as it orbited overhead.

Bowman stared once more at that ascending column, now marching along the horizon beneath the tiny, massive star that ruled it. Could it be pure imagination - or were there patches of brighter luminosity creeping up that great geyser of gas, as if myriads of shining sparks had combined into whole continents of phosphorescence?

The idea was almost beyond fantasy, but perhaps he was watching nothing less than a migration from star to star, across a bridge of fire. Whether it was a movement of mindless, cosmic beasts driven across space by some lemming-like urge, or a vast concourse of intelligent entities, he would probably never know.

He was moving through a new order of creation, of which few men had ever dreamed. Beyond the realms of sea and land and air and space lay the realms of fire, which he alone had been privileged to glimpse. It was too much to expect that he would also understand.

-Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey

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#326
In reply to #325

Re: Are We Alone?

02/10/2017 1:46 AM

"Why have such meetings not occurred already..."

Maybe they have. Maybe that's why there are doppelgangers.

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#120
In reply to #24

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 2:17 PM

It is only within the last five years I have been privileged to read about German research on the higher silanes. These are liquid compounds that are stable in air, much as diesel, but lower silicon number than the corresponding carbon number compound.

Does this mean that there could also be nitrogen analogs (silamines?), and oxygenates as alcohols, aldehydes and ketones that are totally silicon based? I do not know, but I know of no particular thermodynamic reason why not.

I will say that hydrocarbons (and all other organic compounds are rather easier to make (for us) than the silicon analogues.

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#118
In reply to #11

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 2:13 PM

How do you know salient life (or just life) has to be matter based? I will say it has to be based on matter, since how else could you make the batter for little aliens?

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:46 PM

If it would sandblast my asthma out, I could get with that....

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:53 PM

I can sandblast your asthma out, 54 grit or 120 grit... But it's aluminum oxide. Why do you post anonymously?

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#13
In reply to #3

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:53 PM

This is an interesting read re: silicon-based life.

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#30
In reply to #13

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 7:03 PM

Great read.. G.A.

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#108
In reply to #3

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 1:20 PM

There are a lot of silicon based non-living beings out there. And some man is quite amused. In its back there written "made in Japan"

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:07 PM

By the way, I love reading about Carl Sagan. I loved Cosmos when I was younger. And I have read about the Fermi Paradox and the Drake equation. Mind candy for sure.

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#2

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:01 PM

A) The natives are friendly.
B) The natives are unfriendly.
Your guess is as good as mine.

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#5

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:16 PM

Population of the Universe: Zero
It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:24 PM

Interesting!, I get your logic, but because you are a figment of my deranged imagination, I reject your reality, and substitute my own!

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:37 PM

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#7

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:26 PM

I say that we are more than likely alone.

In fact, for all practical purposes I say we are, indeed, alone.

We have found no evidence otherwise, try as we might. Not even an "On The Beach" type faint glimmer of another civilization.

The odds are, shall we say, astronomical that another civilization would be close enough and have similar make-up and technology to communicate with us in any event.

Then, there's the time aspect to consider. We have not been around for very long in astronomical, or even geological terms. Maybe those giant squid swimming in oceans of liquid Helium came and went 40 million years ago, when their planet was struck by a massive asteroid, just like the one that will strike the Earth in another 100 years.

You have to go with what you know. Nope, we're all alone.

Klaatu barada nikto.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 5:33 PM

That is what I was looking for, your opinion and why you believe it, what about This?

Nice "The day the earth stood still" quote though.....

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#19
In reply to #8

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 6:32 PM

There's alone meaning no one is around, in the immediate solar system/galaxy that can communicate with you, and there's alone meaning no life forms anywhere, no matter how primitive or long extinct they may be.

(Puts on flaming liberal hat)

If we spend a billion on a program that thinks it may have found some million year old germ in a rock, how has that benefited mankind? The rock in question was delivered to us, I realize.

Did that feed a kid in Chicago who has a crackhead mother and a father he has, and will never, see? I'm getting more and more concerned with the misguided fools who insist that children be born, at all costs, and then abandon them as soon as they pass through the birth canal to be neglected and abused by the crackhead mother and her next one night stand.

(Removes hat)

Let's say we intercept a radio signal from 250 light years away, and it says, "Hello Earthlings. How about a nice game of chess?" Then what's our next move, realizing that if we make a move it will be 500 years before Klaatu can make his move known to us.

I'd rather ponder how I'm going to put two or three boys through college myself. Now that's a question worth an answer.

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#23
In reply to #19

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 6:44 PM

P-KR4, mate in 23.

I resign.

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#25
In reply to #19

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 6:49 PM

I was just looking for opinions.. If you believe life only exists on earth, that is fine, not debating whether we should spend billions exploring that. You are looking for ways to send your kids to college as am I, I have a 14 year old daughter, and a 15 year old son.

Certainly not looking for political opinions on this, it's not a liberal or conservative question, just a "what do you believe" question. As I said in O.P. ,no right or wrong answers.

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#33
In reply to #25

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 7:08 PM

I believe that we don't know if alien life exists, or ever has or ever will.

That was my point and that there are more pressing matters right here on Earth.

More a social comment than political, even though I did put a label on it.

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#37
In reply to #33

Re: Are We Alone?

02/01/2017 7:16 PM

You are absolutely right, there are more pressing matters here, right now. Not my question though, looking for your opinion on whether you think life exists outside of this miniscule planet or not. I take that as a no, which is fine.

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#107
In reply to #33

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 1:18 PM

My professor says topics like this, makes big man settle their head on a pot for a while.

But, like you, I have the same sense of argument.

To think life is not a mere fluke. You are about a thousand critical factors permutated as you. Now, would you think there is similar attributes like you as a person? Me? I don't think there is another me in another universe.

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#110
In reply to #107

Re: Are We Alone?

02/02/2017 1:25 PM

Ever seen your doppelganger? I have. It's a creepy feeling.

I'd just got off the train and was walking away when I suddenly turned around (for reasons I still do not understand) and looked at the train as it started to leave. There, seated at one of the windows and dressed just like me (down to the tweed hat) was me, looking at me with the same look of shock as I'm sure I was showing. It was the weirdest thing.

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#179
In reply to #110

Re: Are We Alone?

02/03/2017 11:37 AM

I walked in a place once and the guy was acting like he knew me and was calling me by another name....I insisted that wasn't me, but as I was trying to convince him I wasn't joking around, a couple more people walked in and started the same greetings and how was I doing, and how was my folks, and finally they managed to locate a picture of a guy that looked just like me, it was a very strange feeling.....I don't think they believed me in the end....not 100% anyway....good plot for a movie, although it's been done...

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#208
In reply to #110

Re: Are We Alone?

02/04/2017 12:10 AM

No, its not you. Some person(spirit) just imitated you. Sometimes they have no faces. It's not clear image, but sometimes just a silhouette.

Sometimes they imitate voices and image of dead people.

I've seen once, no may be 4 times. And, heard couple of times.

I've bump once when I was still a child (11 y.o). It looks like my neighbor playmate, but later on, terrified to found out when he said we never bump on the head at that time.

Weird but I am convinced there are spirits around us.

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#209
In reply to #208

Re: Are We Alone?

02/04/2017 12:41 AM

Or distilled spirits within.

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#210
In reply to #208

Re: Are We Alone?

02/04/2017 1:25 AM

I am just a collection of pixels on your screen, nothing more. Electrons in your device. Shifting patterns of charge in its memory. For all you know, I may not even have a material existence or, at least, an existence in any sense that you would comprehend and yet, up 'til now, you have never questioned my form as being substantially any different than your own.

Now, if you cannot say with any certainty what or who I am, how then can you possibly know whether the 'apparition' I saw was not in fact just an ordinary, flesh & blood human being, and that I am that apparition, dwelling in your communications device as we speak. That there is, in fact, nothing at the other end of this connection.

Hello.

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#212
In reply to #210

Re: Are We Alone?

02/04/2017 2:18 AM

That reminds me of a cartoon my wife once did, called "Picasso's Halibut": just a normal fish with one eye on each side of its head.

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#213
In reply to #212

Re: Are We Alone?

02/04/2017 9:09 AM

Lol! That's clever! One wonders sometimes if Picasso wasn't a flounder in real life. Sounds fishy, I know.

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#248
In reply to #213

Re: Are We Alone?

02/06/2017 8:57 AM

That makes Picasso one of the flounding fathers of modern art?

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#222
In reply to #210

Re: Are We Alone?

02/05/2017 10:08 AM

Oh, there are many of them, at least 33% of the population of the former pure and uncorrupted beings until they were defiled by their leader.

Some of them are in some of you. You haven't just noticed it.

Anyway, where did you get that picture? Is it legitimate?

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#227
In reply to #222

Re: Are We Alone?

02/05/2017 10:36 AM

Yes, that is a legitimate picture of The Galaxy Being.

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#228
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/05/2017 11:19 AM

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#239
In reply to #227

Re: Are We Alone?

02/06/2017 5:28 AM

Oh, so classical. I haven't been born yet that year.

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#271
In reply to #239

Re: Are We Alone?

02/06/2017 4:37 PM

I know, which is why I'd posted it in your future.

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#229
In reply to #222

Re: Are We Alone?

02/05/2017 12:28 PM

'... You haven't just noticed it...'

Sticking to first person claims about what has or hasn't been noticed (and when) would lend a little credence. If you must make claims about what others have noticed, providing some indication of how you arrived at that conclusion is probably warranted.

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#231
In reply to #210

Re: Are We Alone?

02/05/2017 5:19 PM

That highlights fairly well the weakness of hydrocarbonpogenic-centric search criteria for 'other life'.

It isn't the flesh and blood that we want to interact with. It is the intellect. If we were presented with an opportunity for an introduction to a nonEarth intellect there could be many understandable reasons to decline, however, the lack of flesh and blood isn't one.

If we concentrate most of our effort on looking for aliens significantly like ourselves, we may be greatly diminishing the chances for success.

Considering that the kingdoms of life on Earth are likely descendants of Archaea or an Archaea like ancestor, likely a thermophile and an autochemotroph, that starting point needs several critical steps to be mimicked to bring it close to work anything like mammals. Aboigenesis is rare enough, the idea that we might expect evolution to take a similar path after that point seems like a super long shot.

Life was around for more than a billion years likely exclusively as obligate anerobes. There wasn't a significant buildup of O2 in the atmosphere until a considerable time after that. It might be a better idea to look outside the goldilocks zone for habitats anerobic thermophiles might inhabit.

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#238
In reply to #231

Re: Are We Alone?

02/05/2017 10:47 PM

You have an intriguing point that brings up a moot point. Presently we have no way to reach any present or even future goldilocks locations outside of our solar system.

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#241
In reply to #238

Re: Are We Alone?

02/06/2017 6:58 AM

'... Presently we have no way to reach any present or even future goldilocks locations outside of our solar system...'

That is only true if you can't let go of the 'flesh and blood' -centric paradigm. We have ways to reach those zones with signals, albeit the lag is incredibly long, and reducing one way and round trip signals may not come about anytime soon. Until them we could adapt by sending information that might be useful over generations instead of that which prompts an immediate reply.

The idea that humans need to physically personally visit the far (or even the near) reaches of space is an obstacle to more rapid exploratuon.

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#242
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/06/2017 7:31 AM

So now you're saying we should look for extra-solar anaerobic life capable of photon modulation in the form of radio transmissions.

I never said that people had to reach the stars. However I do say that to detect the existence of life and not just the possibility of life requires a probe from Earth to reach that life. Voyager 1 achieved the maximum velocity of 17.05 kilometers per second but if it was heading towards Alpha Centaui it would take 70,000 years to get there. Obviously if life can communicate at the speed of light we might be able to "hear" them. (I'm all for SETI and have contributed.) If they can do anything faster than light then they will probably not care at all about us.

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#274
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 1:43 AM

I recall reading that all of our radio and similar electronic signals will travel throughout the Universe.

Imagine the glee of someone (thing?) millions of light-years away discovering the signal. Imagine further that he(it?) has the means to traverse the distance in a hundred light years.

When whatever arrives, they may only find the remains of what we call civilization.

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#277
In reply to #274

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 2:55 AM

There is a lot 'stuff' between the stars - gas, dust, what-have-you - that absorbs radio signals. Worse, Earth's transmissions obey the Inverse Square Law: double the distance and the signal strength decreases by a factor of four. Triple the distance; by a factor of 9. At some distance the signal becomes indistinguishable from the background noise that permeates the Universe

Moreover, most of Earth's transmissions are not even beamed into space deliberately. A TV transmitting antenna's radiation pattern is designed to give the station the greatest surface coverage and so the signal is radiated in a circular pattern tangent to the Earth's surface with very little beamed vertically - wasted power also costs money and so they don't intentionally radiate in that direction. The signals make it into space after passing horizontally through the atmosphere of course, but by this time they are already quite weak.

Earth has been transmitting man-made radio signals for about a 100 years, but put a suitable receiver out there, 100 light years away, and it is highly doubtful it will pick up anything but background noise. 20 light years is probably the limit at which we could detect ourselves with any reliability, depending on the frequency, the signal strength, and the level of background noise at that frequency.

Between 18 cm (1666 MHz) and 21 cm wavelength (1428 MHz) the Universe is exceptionally quiet. These two wavelengths bracket a region called the 'Water Hole,' so named because the strongest hydroxyl radical spectral line radiates at 18 centimetres, and hydrogen at 21 centimetres. These two molecules, which combined form water, are widespread in interstellar gas, and their presence radiates radio noise at these frequencies. Between them the Universe is especially quiet and so signals beamed from Earth in this range might be detected at greater distances.

But travelling millions of light years (and taking millions of years to do so)? The bulk of it will have long since been absorbed by the interstellar/intergalactic medium and what's left buried in noise. Think about it: seeing our Sun at that distance would well nigh be impossible without enormous telescopes on 'their' part, and our Sun's power output is around 3.846×1026 watts - about the power of 9.192×1010 megatons of TNT detonated per second. If that much power is scarcely detectable from a million light years you can bet Earth would have long since gone completely unnoticed.

Meanwhile in the 100 years Earth has been transmitting, this is how far our radio signals have gone (regardless of whether they're actually detectable or not). Click on image for full resolution.

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#278
In reply to #277

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 3:23 AM

I can't even detect the image I am supposed to click....

...oh, clever.

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#280
In reply to #278

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 3:32 AM

I can't see on my mobile, but I can see it on my computer. Very strange.

It is too late to edit the comment. Maybe the mods can fix it when they come in tomorrow.

Let me try to re-post it here.

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#283
In reply to #280

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 3:38 AM

We should ask whoever took that picture. Maybe they've seen some aliens.

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#281
In reply to #278

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 3:36 AM

Now I can see on my phone and my computer. Glitch?

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#289
In reply to #277

Re: Are We Alone?

02/07/2017 9:18 AM

Yes but it's kind of fun to imagine that some terrestrial signals do some how sneak through some kind of worm hole, and arrive intact at some alien planet. Imagine their disappointment when they realise they have a coherent signal, and, spend billions of quatloos decoding it only find that they have an episode of "Here's Lucy" or "the Simpsons" or "Sponge Bob Square pants".

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#299
In reply to #289

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 8:38 AM

Then we get a message back: "We greet you in peace. Please send us the recipe for Vitameatavegamin."

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#307
In reply to #299

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 3:25 PM

That would be from the good folks on GJ 536b, a 'super-Earth' orbiting a red dwarf about 32.5 light years distant. They saw Lucy's advert in Sept 1984 and and were so enthusiastic they immediately replied with the request. Tell them it's:

1 small peeled cucumber, 8 oz, coarsely chopped

1 red bell pepper

1 cup tomato juice

3 drops tabasco sauce

4 drops worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. prepared horseradish

2 tsp. rose’s lime juice

3/4 cup vodka (Karlsson's or Heavy Water, undeuterated)

Hold pepper over medium high flame to blacken skin, then peel under running water.

In food processor, mix cucumber and red pepper by pulsing til a puree is obtained. Mix puree with remaining ingredients. Pour into a tall chilled glass filled with ice. Makes 4 drinks.

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#308
In reply to #307

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 3:34 PM

After they drank that, they were banned by the Galactic Agency from space travel for their fugitive emissions.

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#309
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 3:43 PM

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#310
In reply to #307

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 4:44 PM

That actually sounds like it might be good.

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#311
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 7:08 PM

Quite good. If you like Bloody Marys you'd probably like this too.

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#312
In reply to #311

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 7:22 PM

I do like spicy Bloody Marys.

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#313
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 7:30 PM

Wow! I could have had a V-8!

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#314
In reply to #313

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 7:31 PM

Sounds like it, doesn't it?

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#315
In reply to #313

Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 7:51 PM

I drink a V-8 every morning at work for breakfast. My day is not right without one.

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#316
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 7:53 PM

V-8's are so good, I wonder if we could entice alien life to visit us for one. If not, I bet Andrews drink could work....

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#317
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 8:38 PM

It would certainly explain the Mose Eisley weirdness.

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#318
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Re: Are We Alone?

02/08/2017 8:44 PM

Mos Eisley? That's CR4's Break Room.

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#331
In reply to #318

Re: Are We Alone?

02/10/2017 12:17 PM

"Mos Eisley? That's CR4's Break Room."

It can't be.

It looks too clean to be our break room.

(You knew a line like that was inbound.)

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