Silence in the sky—but why?

Aug 26, 2013
Silence in the sky – but why?
Hubble Deep Field image showing myriad galaxies dating back to the beginning of time. Image by Robert Williams and the Hubble Deep Field Team (STScI) and NASA.

(Phys.org) —Scientists as eminent as Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan have long believed that humans will one day colonise the universe. But how easy would it be, why would we want to, and why haven't we seen any evidence of other life forms making their own bids for universal domination?

A new paper by Dr Stuart Armstrong and Dr Anders Sandberg from Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) attempts to answer these questions. To be published in the August/September edition of the journal Acta Astronautica, the paper takes as its starting point the Fermi paradox – the discrepancy between the likelihood of existing and the absence of observational evidence for such an existence.

Dr Armstrong says: 'There are two ways of looking at our paper. The first is as a study of our future – humanity could at some point colonise the universe. The second relates to potential – by showing the relative ease of crossing between galaxies, it makes the lack of evidence for other even more puzzling. This worsens the Fermi paradox.'

The paradox, named after the physicist Enrico Fermi, is something of particular interest to the academics at the FHI – a multidisciplinary research unit that enables leading intellects to bring the tools of mathematics, philosophy and science to bear on big-picture questions about humanity and its prospects.

Dr Sandberg explains: 'Why would the FHI care about the Fermi paradox? Well, the silence in the sky is telling us something about the kind of intelligence in the universe. Space isn't full of little green men, and that could tell us a number of things about other intelligent life – it could be very rare, it could be hiding, or it could die out relatively easily. Of course it could also mean it doesn't exist. If humanity is alone in the universe then we have an enormous . As the only intelligence, or perhaps the only conscious minds, we could decide the fate of the entire universe.'

According to Dr Armstrong, one possible explanation for the Fermi paradox is that life destroys itself before it can spread. 'That would mean we are at a higher risk than we might have thought,' he says. 'That's a concern for the future of humanity.'

Dr Sandberg adds: 'Almost any answer to the Fermi paradox gives rise to something uncomfortable. There is also the theory that a lot of planets are at roughly at the same stage – what we call synchronised – in terms of their ability to explore the universe, but personally I don't think that's likely.'

As Dr Armstrong points out, there are Earth-like planets much older than the Earth – in fact most of them are, in many cases by billions of years.

Dr Sandberg says: 'In the early 1990s we thought that perhaps there weren't many planets out there, but now we know that the universe is teeming with planets. We have more planets than we would ever have expected.'

The Acta Astronautica paper looks at just how far and wide a civilisation like humanity could theoretically spread across the universe. Past studies of the Fermi paradox have mainly looked at spreading inside the Milky Way. However, this paper looks at more ambitious expansion.

Dr Sandberg says: 'If we wanted to go to a really remote galaxy to colonise one of these planets, under normal circumstances we would have to send rockets able to decelerate on arrival. But with the universe constantly expanding, the galaxies are moving further and further away, which makes the calculations rather tricky. What we did in the paper was combine a number of mathematical and physical tools to address this issue.'

Dr Armstrong and Dr Sandberg show in the paper that, given certain technological assumptions (such as advanced automation or basic artificial intelligence, capable of self-replication), it would be feasible to construct a Dyson sphere, which would capture the energy of the sun and power a wave of intergalactic colonisation. The process could be initiated on a surprisingly short timescale.

But why would a civilisation want to expand its horizons to other galaxies? Dr Armstrong says: 'One reason for expansion could be that a sub-group wants to do it because it is being oppressed or it is ideologically committed to expansion. In that case you have the problem of the central civilisation, which may want to prevent this type of expansion. The best way of doing that get there first. Pre-emption is perhaps the best reason for expansion.'

Dr Sandberg adds: 'Say a race of slimy space aliens wants to turn the universe into parking lots or advertising space – other species might want to stop that. There could be lots of good reasons for any species to want to expand, even if they don't actually care about colonising or owning the universe.'

He concludes: 'Our key point is that if any civilisation anywhere in the past had wanted to expand, they would have been able to reach an enormous portion of the . That makes the Fermi question tougher – by a factor of billions. If intelligent life is rare, it needs to be much rarer than just one civilisation per galaxy. If advanced civilisations all refrain from colonising, this trend must be so strong that not a single one across billions of galaxies and billions of years chose to do it. And so on.

'We still don't know what the answer is, but we know it's more radical than previously expected.'

Explore further: Image: Hubble stirs up galactic soup

More information: Acta Astronautica paper: www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S0094576513001148

Related Stories

New explanation postulated for Fermi paradox

Apr 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Enrico Fermi, the famous Italian physicist, once asked the question; if intelligent life has come to exist many times in our galaxy, why is there no sign of it? It’s a clearly valid point, when you consider ...

Recommended for you

Evidence for supernovas near Earth

25 minutes ago

Once every 50 years, more or less, a massive star explodes somewhere in the Milky Way. The resulting blast is terrifyingly powerful, pumping out more energy in a split second than the sun emits in a million ...

What lit up the universe?

7 hours ago

New research from UCL shows we will soon uncover the origin of the ultraviolet light that bathes the cosmos, helping scientists understand how galaxies were built.

Eta Carinae: Our Neighboring Superstars

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The Eta Carinae star system does not lack for superlatives. Not only does it contain one of the biggest and brightest stars in our galaxy, weighing at least 90 times the mass of the Sun, it ...

Best view yet of merging galaxies in distant universe

19 hours ago

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and other telescopes, an international team of astronomers has obtained the best view yet of a collision that took place between two galaxies when the ...

Image: Hubble stirs up galactic soup

Aug 25, 2014

(Phys.org) —This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a whole host of colorful and differently shaped galaxies; some bright and nearby, some fuzzy, and some so far from us they appear as small ...

Spectacular supernova's mysteries revealed

Aug 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —New research by a team of UK and European-based astronomers is helping to solve the mystery of what caused a spectacular supernova in a galaxy 11 million light years away, seen earlier this ...

User comments : 213

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
2.9 / 5 (14) Aug 26, 2013
and why haven't we seen any evidence of other life forms making their own bids for universal domination?

There's a number of reasons why this seems plausible to me. But the most compelling is the interplay between immortality and risk aversion.

1) At some point a species achieves virtual immortality (i.e. barring accidents an individual - or the species-as-a-connected-whole is immortal).
2) If you are immoprtal but can still be killed by an accident then risk aversion behavior changes (Example: A human would think nothing of living in a house that might collapse - due to earthquake - once every 1000 years and kill him. A being that may live millions of years would not choose such an abode as it would radically reduce its life expectation)

From this follows the deduction: Living on planets is too dangerous for an advanced/immortal species - that's why they don't do it.

Also an immortal individual does not feel the need to procreate.
Birger
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2013
Interstellar travel required extreme long-term planning. It might be argued that most civilizations do not provide the stability or the foresight to invest in such a long-term project.
("strong" AI and self-replicating automata may be a way out of this cul-de-sac)
Egleton
1 / 5 (19) Aug 26, 2013
Arrg.
The only time a planet develops a mobile intelligent life is when it can no longer maintain homeostasis due to the fact that It's sun has inevitably got hotter and pushed the Goldilocks zone beyond the orbit of the planet.
Until that moment it has no need of a mobile intelligence.
The purpose of developing a very destructive half-baked inteligence is a last ditch attempt to escape the Rock and Gravity Well in which it finds itself trapped.
This pseudo-inteligence (Thats us, the Ape-Pig hybrid) then thinks it is somehow superior to the organism that spawned it. It is not. It is as much a part of the planet as is a white blood cell is of me.
Unfortunately the Ape-Pig is a work in progress. It needs a lot more genetic polish before it can fulfill its role.
The only planets that have succeeded have long since got rid of their mobile intelligent organism. It is redundant to their purpose.
One should no more expect a phone-call from a civilization than to expect one from another plan
ajameshard
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2013
you failed to mention drakes equation, one of the key variables in finding intelligent life, especially now that they are finding more and more planets and around stars once thought not possible to have planet systems, like red dwarf systems and brown dwarf systems. + or - X # of star formation/year in OUR galaxy, of those, X fraction of them that have planet systems, of those, + or - X# planets that can support life per star/planet system, of THOSE an X fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point, and out of all those, theres the X fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations)(us!). then of those theres the X the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space(aliens as we know them) and finally the last factor, an L or the lengh of time it takes for a civilization to reach that point. the eqaution is for ANY GIVEN MOMENT.
Egleton
1 / 5 (17) Aug 26, 2013
Super-organisms (Ecologies) that do not escape their Rock nor make it out of their gravity wells, Die and become silent.
Any ecology that has survived would go to great lengths to prevent cross-contamination from another ecology, for reasons that are too obvious to regale.

And so that is where we find ourselves. With Super-organisms spreading through the void all maintaining radio silence.
And there is a lot more Void than there is useful matter.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (17) Aug 26, 2013
immortal individual does not feel the need to procreate
?? Why not? The most basic trait of biology is to survive to reproduce. We can assume that a biological being existing perpetually in optimal form would be compelled to procreate perpetually, unless this was consciously designed out of it's physiology.

But realistically, immortality will only be acheived by replacing all biology with machine components, including brains. Post-life machine intelligence will reduce itself to a singularity and maintain itself using peripherals.

These entities would have no need to expand beyond what they would require for perpetuity. And they would only desire to communicate with other such singularities spotted throughout the neighborhood in order to share info regarding survival.

And they would be very conservative in expending resources to do so. This may be why things are so quiet out there. The 'wow' signal may just have been our chance crossing of a communications beam.
Kedas
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 26, 2013
or just some other options:
- They are there but know how dangerous it is out there, and the smartest most powerful races master cloaking technology.

- or they are already here on earth and make sure to keep us in the dark.
xX_GT_Xx
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 26, 2013
Apply Olbers' paradox: The sky could literally be awash in signals from other civilizations, and we simply don't see them. The signals are obstructed, or too far away, or too weak to be detected among background noise.

We can barely detect entire planets against the background noise of its star. What kind of resolution would a radio telescope need to detect a (relatively) tiny transmitter on a planet, even if it's sending a tremendous signal directly at us?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (15) Aug 26, 2013
"relative ease of crossing between galaxies" "go to a really remote galaxy to colonize one of these planets"

-Is this guy confusing galaxies and solar systems? I've seen this before but only with ignorant newscasters and the like-
Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (24) Aug 26, 2013
tools of mathematics, philosophy and science to bear on big-picture questions about humanity and its prospects


Ya can tell when the philosophers are getting involved,,,, they are compelled to include such gobbledygook as this,,,,

If humanity is alone in the universe then we have an enormous moral responsibility. As the only intelligence, or perhaps the only conscious minds, we could decide the fate of the entire universe.'


Pssst, mister, doctor Philosopher, just how do ya think that little ol' us could decide "the fate of the entire universe"? That's even more absurd than the notion that there is god deciding the fate of any one of us.
Aaron1980
1.8 / 5 (19) Aug 26, 2013
only one answer is possible ... the universe is full of super intelligent life and they do not want us to know about them as yet. Humanity is just an ignorant arrogant baby that can't see the forest for the trees at this point.

maybe in a few hundred or thousand years we will be invited to join interstellar societies and they will let us out of our caged environment.

we are much too primitive and arrogant an animal still. It would be like opening the monkey cages of all the zoos on the planet and we would just run around shitting and throwing feces at the other beings because we could not understand them.

Why is no one looking to see that we may be in a cage or an incubator waiting to evolve?
Q-Star
3.3 / 5 (20) Aug 26, 2013
-Is this guy confusing galaxies and solar systems? I've seen this before but only with ignorant newscasters and the like-


Naaa, not a newscaster,,,, this is what happens when ya get philosophers involved with science.
ajameshard
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2013
and not for the total accumulated time of the universe, people get mixed up about that, de-crediting Drake. the equation will only fill in the x values through time and technology.with my estimates for the x values i place the number of civilizations at any given moment in our milky way is 720
ajameshard
2.7 / 5 (14) Aug 26, 2013
also you failed to mention zoo hypothesis (like humans, ET's would "preserve" Earth to avoid unintended consequences and or cross contamination or to ensure we dont destroy ourselves with hand me down tech. what do we do when we observe animals? we make sure they dont know we are there so they continue to behave normally when under observation. they could be operating under the same principles and the jungle hypothesis which says simply, say Earth was an ant hill in the middle of the congo. given the vastness of the congo, what are the odds of ANYbody coming across this anthill? slim to none, so the theory says that the universe is simply soo vast we may have not been discovered by other intell races YET!
Sigh
4.8 / 5 (5) Aug 26, 2013
The only time a planet develops a mobile intelligent life is when it can no longer maintain homeostasis due to the fact that It's sun has inevitably got hotter and pushed the Goldilocks zone beyond the orbit of the planet.
Until that moment it has no need of a mobile intelligence.

Sounds like you assume that evolution is directed, and perhaps that a planetary ecology has a mind that is capable of both understanding and directing evolution.

Any ecology that has survived would go to great lengths to prevent cross-contamination from another ecology, for reasons that are too obvious to regale.

Not obvious to me. This sounds again like you assume an ecology has a mind. Alternatively, perhaps you assume that you can treat ecologies as units of selection and that ecologies that mix die out. Why would they? Perhaps hybrids are more resilient?
antialias_physorg
3.1 / 5 (9) Aug 26, 2013
you failed to mention drakes equation

Drake's equation was made up as a (humorous) agenda for a conference. Don't bring it up in a discussion on SETI, please.

immortal individual does not feel the need to procreate


?? Why not?

Procreation is our (and the gene's) bid for immortality in the face of a limited/dying body. If you have immortality that need is gone. You may procreate for the sake of creating new life. But there's really little point to it as soon as immortality is reached. There's no rush to advance anymore as you have all the time in the universe to do so. One may opt for replacement of those killed by accidents. But the attrition game a species is in against the universe is essentially over.

Think about this: Why WOULD you procreate if you're immortal (and if so: at what rate)
Q-Star
3.4 / 5 (18) Aug 26, 2013
Why is no one looking to see that we may be in a cage or an incubator waiting to evolve?


We are looking at everything with every available tool at our disposal. We always have. Why would ya think that we aren't?

By the By: That Drake equation thingy,,,, that is not science in any sort or regard. It was a tongue in cheek game that some scientists took up in jest, and the lay public latched onto as a profound insightful tool for posing big questions. As a practical tool for inferring or directing science it is exactly useless.
cantdrive85
2.6 / 5 (22) Aug 26, 2013
"If humanity is alone in the universe then we have an enormous moral responsibility. As the only intelligence, or perhaps the only conscious minds, we could decide the fate of the entire universe."

Does he mean existentially? What do these metaphysical mind games have to do with science? Why does this "scientist" suffer from delusions of godlike grandeur?
Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (18) Aug 26, 2013
"If humanity is alone in the universe then we have an enormous moral responsibility. As the only intelligence, or perhaps the only conscious minds, we could decide the fate of the entire universe."

Does he mean existentially? What do these metaphysical mind games have to do with science? Why does this "scientist" suffer from delusions of godlike grandeur?


Holy cow, I agree with every word of cantdrive's post. It's the end of the world as we know it.
tadchem
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 26, 2013
Maybe, just maybe, we are the first race in the history of the universe to develop interplanetary travel. After all, *somebody* has to be first, and there aren't yet any signs that anybody else beat us to it.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (17) Aug 26, 2013
Perhaps the key is technology. Intelligence does not automatically lead to invention. There are several species on Earth who appear to be not too far behind humans, but none of them have been motivated to invention and technology. Look how many species the Earth had on it before we came along.

I favor the theory that life might be common, and maybe even intelligence, but advanced technology might be unbelievably rare.

Imagine if nobody had ever thought of written language, or geometry, or optics, or chemistry. Maybe the Universe is dominated by vast hordes of planet-bound hunter gatherers. Isolated tribes here on Earth certainly did not spontaneously develope technology. It seems like social tendency to interact with others was key in technology spreading as it did for us.

Maybe most planets don't even make this kind of advancement likely. For example, what if we only had 10% of the land mass that we have? Of if our gravity was stronger, would we ever have invented flight?
antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (16) Aug 26, 2013
Maybe its just that intelligence isn't as common as we may think. It doesn't look like it's an 'inevatibale' path in evolution in any case.

Look at the dinosaurs (or bacteria). Millions (billions) of years and no intelligence in sight - yet they were (are) incerdibly successfull at the pass-on-the-gene game. And THAT is the game life is playing. Not the game of "let's-make-something-intelligent". Intelligence is A survival trait. Not THE survival trait. Without dinosaur extinction intelligence might never, ever, have developed.

And it may be that a very quirky (read: rare) set of events gave intelligence the time to develop (say a very finely balanced mass extinction of all effective predators that left the one species that used this trait alive).

We don't know. We only have one data point to base any speculation on. You can't base a trend on one datat point.
rug
1.9 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
This is the second time for me. I know, it's just odd. Don't worry, he will say something soon to ruin it all.
nowhere
5 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
immortal individual does not feel the need to procreate
?? Why not? The most basic trait of biology is to survive to reproduce. We can assume that a biological being existing perpetually in optimal form would be compelled to procreate perpetually, unless this was consciously designed out.

1. Since reproduction is no longer necessary for survival, the trait of reproduction is obsolete.
2. Since a perpetual biological being still needs resources, it could be reasoned that perpetually procreating is a sure way to end up in a life threatening war with ones very own offspring.
3. Evolution most certainly will not bestow us with immortality. We will need to engineer it ourselves. In this case procreation will most likely not be part of the design.
nowhere
3 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2013
These entities would have no need to expand beyond what they would require for perpetuity. And they would only desire to communicate with other such singularities spotted throughout the neighborhood in order to share info regarding survival.

They would expand. Until a TOE is understood, the mind would increasingly augment its intelligence, conduct massive experiments, develop weapons, probe as far as possible, and assimilate or destroy all other minds.
GSwift7
2.9 / 5 (18) Aug 26, 2013
I also like the idea that they are intentionally leaving us alone, but that could be for a number of reasons.

Contamination is a big one. Look at the outbreaks of disease and spread of pests and parasites that resulted from human exploration. That could be much more dangerous with expoplanets.

Also, interference makes sense to avoid. For example, it is now very unlikely that any other species on Earth will evolve culture. We limit them all by helping them and keeping them safe (ironically perhaps taking away the need for them to evolve).

Perhaps THEY want to see what we will come up with on our own before they interfere. Maybe each intelligent species thinks of things the others didn't think of. For example, computers seem like a rather clever thing to build. Here on Earth, isolated tribes lose their own identity once first outside contact is made, forever changing them.

Maybe we're being left alone, and not by chance.
NeptuneAD
5 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
only one answer is possible ... the universe is full of super intelligent life and they do not want us to know about them as yet. Humanity is just an ignorant arrogant baby that can't see the forest for the trees at this point.


We look at the universe and see no signs of life but the human species is very young, maybe there is a Prime Directive like in Star Trek.

However this makes me nervous, are we really that elementary as a species that we are unable to see the signs of a universe that is teeming with life or is it being hidden from us until we are mature enough as a species to accept that we aren't alone.

If it is being hidden from us, is being done from within the world or from beyond our solar system, how would we go about answering these questions.
rug
2.5 / 5 (15) Aug 26, 2013
@ GSwift - So it's a Star Trek prime directive kind of thing. That would be cool, but I kinda doubt it. I mean we are basically in the boonies here.

The frequencies we are looking for might even be completely wrong. Maybe they are using some other means of communication that has never crossed our minds. Kinda like the difference between Digital TV and Analog. With the Analog TV you are not going to pick up the DTV signal. I could be way off but it's just a thought.

There is also the fact that in essence we have listened in to only a small part of the sky. There is still a lot to cover. I don't think we have confirmed or denied one way or the other.

The WOW signal - I really wish it would have been seen again. It may have been something or nothing. Wont know until it's found again.
rug
2.8 / 5 (16) Aug 26, 2013
@NeptuneAD - If it's really being hidden from us I don't think there really is a way to go about it. I would assume if they are wanting to hide from us because of some prime directive thing they would have to be pretty far advanced. We would have no idea until
A) We reach a point where they reveal themselves.
B) They make a mistake.
Until one of them are met there is really nothing we can do except continue on like they aren't there, because they might not be.
QuixoteJ
3.6 / 5 (17) Aug 26, 2013
One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes comics ends with Calvin saying, "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
krundoloss
1.8 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
This article seems to make assumptions, such as:
1. "Evidence" of Intelligent life is what exactly? Wouldn't they leave us alone for our own good? Or they could make secret meetings if they really had something to say? Neither of which would qualify as evidence.
2. We are talking about a very small time period that we have even had the ability to detect this "evidence". And I'm sure there are technologies that go far beyond radio waves, such as subspace point-to-point communication, or basically anything that does not reach our planet.
3. It seems obvious that there are more than enough resources for any advanced species to do anything it wanted. Why seek to conquer or colonize on a massive scale?
4. Given the speed of advancement that we have had in the past 100 years, wouldn't it seem that the motivations of a rapidly advancing species may not even make sense to us, at our current state of progress? How can we even speculate as to their motivations?
kochevnik
1.9 / 5 (14) Aug 26, 2013
The article overlooks the fact that crazy apes tend to push systems, both natural and artificial, to their limits. Hence their civilizations are extremely fragile and brittle. Humans congregate in dense areas with only a three days supply of food, rather than living a self-sustaining and self-reliant livelihood with overlapping redundancy when disasters strike

Crazy apes flare out and are an aberration in the biosphere. They advance but the complexity grows exponentially with their advancements. First there was perhaps one way to destroy all civilization. At the present time there are perhaps a hundred ways to reduce civilization to a few hundred hunter-gathering individuals. As knowledge to create advances the knowledge to destroy grows exponentially
GSwift7
3.5 / 5 (11) Aug 26, 2013
@ GSwift - So it's a Star Trek prime directive kind of thing. That would be cool, but I kinda doubt it. I mean we are basically in the boonies here


That only applies if we are actually known by some other intelligence, which may or may not be a reasonable assumption. Until we find at least one other technological species, there's not much reason to assume there are any nearby right now.

If you are willing to assume that at least one intelligence is nearby right now, then the fact that we are out in the boonies doesn't matter. We might be like the 'undiscovered' tribes in the Amazon. A novelty for others to gawp at? There could be samples of Earth biology sitting in classrooms on some other planet. If they stopped by more than a few thousand years ago, we would never know it. Any hints that that is the case are too circumstantial and open to interpretation now.

Taking travel time into account, how frequent would visits be?
rug
1.8 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
As knowledge to create advances the knowledge to destroy grows exponentially

That is a very good point. However, I think you are missing something. Once a race of beings can colonize the galaxy or at least multiple solar systems they have already figure that out and lived through it. Otherwise, they would not have made it that far.

I've always thought that if an alien race came as far as visiting other solar systems then they have already have been through the worst possible chances of killing themselves off. I doubt there would be war or violence within their culture as they had to all come together to reach the point to start moving to other places. Not to mention no more resource problems. With the whole political issues thing it would be live and let live. Don't like how one planet is run move to another. The whole solar system is out of balance with your ideas, move to another.

I just can't really imagine an alien coming all the way here and blowing us up for nothing.
rug
2 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
Taking travel time into account, how frequent would visits be?

Depends on how they get around. If they have figured out a warp drive type of thing....maybe rather often.
GSwift7
3.8 / 5 (13) Aug 26, 2013
I've pointed this out before in other threads, but if a simple robotic probe like voyager were to pass through our solar system, we would be unlikely to notice it. This would be especially true if the probe were moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light as it passed by. Such a high velocity probe could be broadcasting in common FM radio frequency, in English, and we wouldn't pick it up. The signal would be doppler shifted up and back down in frequency so much as it passed that nothing we have would be able to recognize the signal as anything other than noise. None of the automated telescopes we use would trigger detection of such an object either. The object would appear in one frame (if you're lucky enough to be pointed at it when you take a picture) and then it would be so far displaced by the time you take the next frame, that the automated detection systems would discard it as a noise anomaly.

In other words, we aren't looking for them.
rug
2 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
In other words, we aren't looking for them.

We are looking for life out there, but as you just pointed out we are not looking for everything. I think at this point the only thing we can really say is, I don't know.

Although, I would find it very difficult to believe we are the only life out there.
hemitite
2 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2013
I tend to think that the main reasons that we don't hear from any noisy neighbors are:

1. They are smart enough to keep quiet as there's no telling just who or what is out there listening,

2. Those why where cranking out radio signals have since come to their senses or have been "quieted" in some perhaps unpleasant manner.

and or 3. Why do we suppose that an advanced race might not have long ago switched from the snail mail of the electromagnetic spectrum to something much faster that we cannot yet detect.

BTW, the only anthropology that has humanity influencing the fate of the universe it the orthodox Christian one.
Osiris1
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
Forget 'prime directive'! Think FOOD! Maybe that certain resources are scarce, like living space on a planet with good climates over large parts of its surface......and low levels of pollution. Maybe smart folks did not last because they could not solve a few problems because they were individually smart but collectively moronic.............which probably inevitably leads most so called civilizations to drown in their own feces. Look at our voices today. You cannot sling a dead cat in a crowd and not hit some religious quack whose world view if adopted guarantees species failure. Too few voices are for exploration and resource mining off planet in our own system. We NEED to do this NOW at a time when resource depletion is not yet critical here. Systemwide we have all we need for many generations. Space access cheap and safe is key. Maybe carbyne gives us the space elevator.........
Anorion
3.3 / 5 (7) Aug 26, 2013
or maybe we are the very first civilization ever in the universe, someone has to be first ..

or maybe its simply impossible to travel faster than light no matter what is your knowledge and technology, maybe the laws of this universe prevent that so we will never meet closest civilization to us cause its millions of light years away

or maybe its just bad luck, cause we live in some kind of empty corner of the universe far away from communication roads and advanced civilizations and no one stumbled upon us yet.

...can be so many things ...
rug
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 26, 2013
@Osiris1 - I would hate to think that we would be killed off for our planet, the has to be billions of them out there like ours. Could be the case though. As sad as it is to admit, I agree with everything else you've said. Space elevator, that would be cool. A little later then Clark thought but still works.

@Anorion - It would be a sad state of affairs if we are the first. No faster than light would suck but it's a possibility
Osiris1
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 26, 2013
No one seems to want to address this, but suppose we have alien convos all around us....on mediums we do not use or have not the ability ..yet..to use! Too, there may be public silence from a possibly dominant entity in this area who maybe already has arrangements with us; and knows us only too well-- enough to skip casual contact with loudmouthed nonenities and talk only with those in real control. The idea of 'competition' in space arises. Suppose our silent neighbor is truly large; suppose they had their own first ventures in space many thousands or even millions of years ago...or more; suppose we are so deep in their territory that we are in a sphere of influence of theirs, considered even their 'property' such that any competing voice would be seen as provocation for interstellar war. Turf wars between spacefaring cultures would be quite similar to turf wars here. We are children in space as we were on the sea centuries ago, and our parents are awaiting our adulthood.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
Another argument why we don't see them is efficiency. A (I think reasonable) assumption is that space faring intelligences are reasonably efficient.
Which means a number of things:
- directional broadcasting instead of omnidirectional broadcasting.
- little to no waste radiation from any kind of 'structures'.
- miniaturization to a certain degree (i.e. why build megastructures?)
- if bodies can be engineered then that may mean: no structures at all (what do you need a building if the elements - or even the depths of space - present no hardship to you?)

We are already in the process of 'incorporating' functionality into our personal belongings that used to require buildings/infrastructure (think of your phone).
I don't think it's such a stretch of the imagination to add energy production/harvesting, transportation capability or manufacturing capability to our personal arsenal without dedicated external buildings/machines
rug
1 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2013
No one seems to want to address this, but suppose we have alien convos all around us....on mediums we do not use or have not the ability ..yet..to use!

I think I did state that could be the case.

The rest of it seems to be getting into a galactic conspiracy theory. Not really something I think is completely logical. Maybe to a point, but not like MIB kind.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (13) Aug 26, 2013
Procreation is our (and the gene's) bid for immortality in the face of a limited/dying body. If you have immortality that need is gone
You make it sound like its a decision rather than an intrinsic function of our biology. For a very small minority it is a decision. For the vast majority it is what gives life meaning.

Science has 2 goals - to extend our lives and to give us unlimited room in which to live them. Pioneers on new planets will want to fill up this new niche as quickly as possible. Its what life does.

The only reason we ever seek to restrict our growth is when we perceive that a niche has been filled, and traditionally by then it is already too late to prevent overgrowth and conflict.

The only way past this is to become less biology and more machinery.
Why WOULD you procreate if you're immortal
Why wouldnt you? How else would most people spend their time? Lazarus long did little else but pioneer and procreate.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (13) Aug 26, 2013
Perhaps the key is technology. Intelligence does not automatically lead to invention. There are several species on Earth who appear to be not too far behind humans, but none of them have been motivated to invention and technology. Look how many species the Earth had on it before we came along
Humans have a unique physiology that enables us to lift and carry heavy objects such as stones, and to shape and fashion materials in exquisite detail and with considerable force. We can hold an antler with one hand and work it with the other, or wield a hammer and chisel.

Additionally we are able to turn screws. It is hard to imagine a sentient species developing an industrial society without the ability to assemble and disassemble complex machinery using screws.

No other animal has the ability to do these things. An octopus can unscrew a jar. Big deal. It could never remove a lug nut no matter how smart it was.

Lazarus Long
http://en.wikiped...rus_Long
GSwift7
3 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2013
Here's another take:

If you're already aware that there's life everywhere, and plenty of space for everyone to get along, then what's your motivation for going out of your way to look for yet another planet with life, and why bother contacting another one if you're already in contact with more than you can handle?

This is very similar to the idea proposed earlier in the thread regarding yet another anthill in the Amazon basin. You classify the different types, and post warnings for intrepid campers that they should keep away from the red ones, or the ones with stripes, then you get back to your business.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 26, 2013
If you're already aware that there's life everywhere, and plenty of space for everyone to get along, then what's your motivation for going out of your way to look for yet another planet with life, and why bother contacting another one if you're already in contact with more than you can handle?
This notion didnt work very well in the Balkans did it? Or anywhere else for that matter-

Humans are uniquely suited to overpopulate and to fight about it.
GSwift7
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2013
This notion didnt work very well in the Balkans did it? Or anywhere else for that matter-

Humans are uniquely suited to overpopulate and to fight about it


Yeah, exactly. But you're contemplating competition between basically equal factions. In WW2, the Alies fought against the Japanese amongst the islands of the Pacific. Many of those islands had primitive residents. Nobody stopped to search for them or land ships to talk to them. Except for the rare cases where they might act as guides, they were nothing to our forces. Heaven help them if they got in the way, but our ships sailed past their islands without stopping most of the time.

Even after the war, all the nuclear powers cleared those islands at a whim, just so we could test Hydrogen bombs. Somehow I don't think aliens would bother clearing us off the Earth first, should our little island proove convenient for testing something.
GSwift7
2.8 / 5 (9) Aug 26, 2013
Damn, all this talk makes me want to go home and play some XCom: Enemy Unknown, so I can shoot some intelligent life in the face with big ass guns. Maybe I'll even finally break down and buy the new one, The Bureau: XCom Declassified, though I've heard mixed opinions on that one.

You know, humans tend to think of ourselves as militaristic and overtly violent as a species, as many of the above comments indicate. I would like to point out that the majority of species on Earth really make us look peaceful and easy to get along with. Even some of the herbivores are nasty little critters. As Jeff Goldbloom put it in "The Fly":

Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects... don't have politics. They're very... brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first... insect politician. Y'see, I'd like to, but... I'm afraid, uh...


Heaven help us if insect morality is dominant in the Universe.
GSwift7
2.7 / 5 (7) Aug 26, 2013
Damn, I know, nice wall-o-text. Sorry. One last point.

Humans are uniquely suited to overpopulate and to fight about it


Good thing insects don't have guns. The make us look like amatures when it comes to overpopulation and fighting. Ants started slavery and war long before homosapiens came around, and they're so good at it. You know, there's only a few bits of land on the Earth where ants have not reached the point of population capacity limit. (or some close relative of ants, like termites)
rug
2 / 5 (12) Aug 26, 2013
Wow that got rather grim. I much prefer the idea of peaceful aliens.
iffzy
1 / 5 (11) Aug 26, 2013
Patience newcomers, maybe some day we will lift the curtain you call "pioneer anomaly" and let you into our club.
no fate
3 / 5 (6) Aug 26, 2013
Assume we developed space fairing tech and found a living planet similar to earth with a breathable atmosphere and a water cycle. We wouldn't just land and walk out of the ship. We would spend as long as it took to analyze every inhabitant of the biome, we would test everything for toxicity or invasiveness, and keep hidden from the inhabitants while we did this. Why? Safety.

I can't fathom any intelligent race behaving differently. Now examine the dominant inhabitants on our planet - In the above circumstance would you as a visiting race want us to know you were or are here? I wouldn't feel safe if I landed on our planet.
Mayday
5 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
I'd like to raise the possibility that the universe might be a much more naturally violent place on average than our neck of the woods has been over the last few thousands of years. We may have been extraordinarily lucky to come of age as an intelligent species on a planet that has been fairly quiet geologically, and out of the bull's eyes of any passing extinction-event asteroids, comets, rogue planets, or nearby massive radiation events.

I can imagine that countless other planets may evolve all sorts of life forms, but that geological and celestial events beyond their control keep them from gaining a foothold on technological advancement. Earth has been remarkable peaceful and hospitable for some time. It has been a great and perhaps rare run of luck.
beleg
1 / 5 (9) Aug 26, 2013
If 'intelligence' is information, then 'intelligence' is everywhere.
The capacity for information is unlimited and if limits are set, they are set by human evolution.

We have evolved to measure and even record. There's more to come. :)

Protoplasmix
2.3 / 5 (15) Aug 26, 2013
We can barely detect entire planets against the background noise of its star. What kind of resolution would a radio telescope need to detect a (relatively) tiny transmitter on a planet, even if it's sending a tremendous signal directly at us?

It's said that the Square Kilometer Array will be sensitive enough to detect an airport radar on a planet 50 light years away:
http://www.skatel...figures/
Probably quite a few planets in that range. Of course the number of planets in that range with active runways is YTBD :)
kelman66
1 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2013
Entropy
space music
1.2 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
sure, we can travel in space.....our best engines to date, would get us to our closest star(proxima centaur...4 light years)...in about 50 generations.....our bone mass would be long gone.....and whatever is left of us, would be radioactive....we would run out of fuel and food in no time.....never, ever gonna happen............just saying
adave
2.4 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
Recently, we read a report about organic chemistry taking place at cryogenic temperatures via tunneling. That implies that thinking life could occur in the dark sunless volumes of space. That volume is huge compared to hot sun based life. Why communicate? What are you going to say when you will live beyond the sparks in the long night. Warm life like us could expand through galaxies just by seeding a planet with eukaryotic cells. Eventually we would rise and repeat history. We would deduce our origens after another 1,000 years of GMO human design. Cold life should dominate over warm life, as life on the earth is only about 3 feet or less thick. The volume of life in the ocean is the same, as most of it is based on the energy from sunlight. The sun is 660 times larger than the combined weight of the planets. There isn't much of us here as life. It will be so, on the other galactic planets. Planetary technological life for now is lost among the stars.
rug
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
If 'intelligence' is information, then 'intelligence' is everywhere.
The capacity for information is unlimited and if limits are set, they are set by human evolution.

We have evolved to measure and even record. There's more to come. :)


I hate to say it, I try to understand everyone. But this made no sense to me what so ever.
rug
1.8 / 5 (11) Aug 27, 2013
sure, we can travel in space.....our best engines to date, would get us to our closest star(proxima centaur...4 light years)...in about 50 generations.....our bone mass would be long gone.....and whatever is left of us, would be radioactive....we would run out of fuel and food in no time.....never, ever gonna happen............just saying


Way to be positive! Sheesh
New technology could possibly give us much faster speeds. If we could figure out a way to manipulate gravity then our bone mass would be fine, we could travel at light speed, and we can grow crops on the ship. What else you got?
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2013
There's really little point to go to other planets as a biological entity. The number of factors that must be just so are enormous:
- radiation level
- atmospheric composition (which is a product of billions of years of biological activity on this planet - not something found by natural processes)
- atmospheric pressure (slightly too high or slightly too low and you can't breathe an atmosphere like ours)
- temperature range
- gravity range
- availability of water
- ABSENCE of any one of a plethora of toxic substances (in the air or water)
- ...
The combination needed for a biosphere in which you can survive without a massive suit is so utterly unlikely within our vicinity that it borders on the impossible.
runrig
1 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2013
The second relates to potential alien species – by showing the relative ease of crossing between galaxies, it makes the lack of evidence for other intelligent life even more puzzling. This worsens the Fermi paradox.'


But the flaw in that argument is what evidence are you/we considering?
Given ET's would have had to have traveled many light years then their technology would be way in advance of ours. So would they be even visible to us in the atmosphere?
You may or may not believe credible (some) witness reports of UFO's but they would fit with advanced technology and with the imperative to not interfere with a primitive society.
As someone once said (Sagan?), "incredible claims require incredible evidence", and so those claims would never be believed - but is absence of "incredible" evidence, evidence of the absence of the incredible?
ShotmanMaslo
1.3 / 5 (12) Aug 27, 2013
It is a genuine paradox. Universe is so old that if there is just one civilisation per many galaxies, they could spread everywhere just diffusing a lot slower than light. This is made even more significant now that we know there are many planets out there. The fact that we dont see anyone implies something deep about the universe.

Maybe intelligent life is extremely rare, like one civilisation in observable universe. Maybe they dont want to reveal themselves. Maybe there is some unsolvable technological barrier or danger that prevents civilisations from developing interstellar journeys. Either way, the implications are huge.
hcnap
1 / 5 (6) Aug 27, 2013
May be the advanced civilization is not made of matter but present around us all the time, such as Dark Energy
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
It is a genuine paradox. Universe is so old that if there is just one civilisation per many galaxies, they could spread everywhere just diffusing a lot slower than light.

The problem may not be such a problem. We do not know what the natural transition of a civilization is. Currently we assume (wrongly IMO) that an advanced civilization will always look like our current civilization: individuals, biology based, largeish, just with more tech.
I find that an untenable (and pretty naive) position.

Alterations of the body are already on the horizon. Transferring to a different substrate (be it biological or technology based - or something entirely different) isn't so far fetched.
Once that is done civilizations could live anyhwere - not just on the surface of planets (e.g. embedded throughout the whole substanc of a planet. Or just in deep space)

Then there's the idea of an 'internet of the mind'. Which would make the distinction individual/civilization moot.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
insects...population capacity limit
Insects live within their means. Humans routinely exceed it. Insects exist at the mercy of all the natural attritive elements which keep their numbers in check. Humans have methodically eliminated most all of theirs using technology.

Our single remaining enemy is the next tribe over. Insects have evolved repro rates in harmony with their environment. The human tropical repro rate has not had time to adjust.

Worker ants have shed their desire to pass on their genes, for the good of the colony. Humans may have developed homosexuality and reduced sperm counts, but until our reproduction becomes temperate or until we are superseded, we remain in deep shit.
no reason to colonize other planets
The reason that we WILL be colonizing other planets is survival. We NEED to disperse ourselves. We are too vulnerable to extinction while we all sit in one spot.

This will be true of our machine replacements as well.
Protoplasmix
1 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2013
As someone once said (Sagan?), "incredible claims require incredible evidence"

"The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." - Laplace
"A wise man … proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume
"An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof." - Marcello Truzzi
"An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan
_______________________________
"Listen, I'm so skeptical I make Diogenes look credulous." - Charles Krauthammer
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
internet of the mind
This is yet one more thing that machines wil be much better than us at. Once human brains and machine brains begin to interact, which do you think will prevail?

You know the most compelling reason why we detect no evidence of communication is because advanced intelligence will have gotten extremely good at it. They won't be spilling radiation about hapazardly.

They will be trading info in tightbeam/burstmode fashion. They wil be lobbing dense wads of coherent photons at each other, with no hope of our ever intercepting them.

The only thing we might be able to detect is the signature of their waste heat, which NASA is already planning to look for.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2013
Pssst, mister, doctor Philosopher, just how do ya think that little ol' us could decide "the fate of the entire universe"? That's even more absurd than the notion that there is god deciding the fate of any one of us.


Wow that's incredibly ignorant and short sighted. Intelligence is the most powerful force in the universe. If we don't do something to extinguish ourselves we most CERTAINLY will have something to do with the fate of the universe.

A hundred thousand years ago we could make fires and spears...now we are involved in the fate of an entire planet. What's needed here is about an ounce of insight and extrapolation...

And all of THAT does point to the fact that if "they" were out there and they're anything like us we'd be seeing evidence of them by now on a grand scale...period.

The only possibilities that exist is that we evolved at about the same time, or that we're mistaking the isotropy we see everywhere as "natural" phenomena when it's actually engineering.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2013
Alterations of the body are already on the horizon. Transferring to a different substrate (be it biological or technology based - or something entirely different) isn't so far fetched.
Once that is done civilizations could live anyhwere - not just on the surface of planets (e.g. embedded throughout the whole substanc of a planet. Or just in deep space)


Sure, but that does not solve the paradox. Quite the opposite, such advanced technology would make it a lot easier to travel in the universe.

Maybe they are out there, have the technology, but for some reason choose to stick to their area of space, that is too an option.
antialias_physorg
2.4 / 5 (5) Aug 27, 2013
Intelligence is the most powerful force in the universe.

How do you support that argument? her may be more ways than intelligence to lead to mastery of the cosmos.
Intelligence is just a trait that uses abstraction to try and predict future outcomes. There may well be other (better? more adaptable?) ways of doing this without resorting to intelligence.
If all else fails there may be a 'brute force' approach to the universe (much like bacteria use a brute force approach towards adapatability) which intelligence may be unable to rival.

Surely intelligence is an intrigueing trait - but I wouldn't go so far as to proclaim it "future king of the universe" just yet.
Q-Star
2.6 / 5 (17) Aug 27, 2013
Wow that's incredibly ignorant and short sighted. Intelligence is the most powerful force in the universe. If we don't do something to extinguish ourselves we most CERTAINLY will have something to do with the fate of the universe.


After ya learn some physics, paying particular attention to time scales, distance scales, matter abundances, and physical processes,,, get back to me with your CERTAINTY that we will have something to do with the fate of universe.

Let me guess,,, ya fashion yourself a "philosopher" and "profound" thinker? I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, I apologize. But philosophers have a dismal track record in regards to modern science. (See, they are mostly ignorant and short sighted when it comes to dealing with physics, reality and the universe.)

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (11) Aug 27, 2013
After ya learn some physics, paying particular attention to time scales, distance scales, matter abundances, and physical processes,,,


Time scales that we know physics can manipulate? Distance scales that we know can be manipulated too? Physical processes which we are VERY good an manipulating? Which universe are you living in?

Let me guess...you are a "physicist" which means you think you're God and you know everything there is to know about the history and future of physics. Sorry to burst your bubble and hurt your feelings but you are most CERTAINLY wrong :)

In fact I see no reason to continue the conversation because you're so convinced you're right I might as well be trying to have a discussion with a religiously dogmatic zealot about the 9th prophecy of the 5th book of whoziwhatsitz....

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
Q-Star
2.6 / 5 (15) Aug 27, 2013
After ya learn some physics, paying particular attention to time scales, distance scales, matter abundances, and physical processes,,,


Time scales that we know physics can manipulate? Distance scales that we know can be manipulated too? Physical processes which we are VERY good an manipulating? Which universe are you living in?

Let me guess...you are a "physicist" which means you think you're God and you know everything there is to know about the history and future of physics. Sorry to burst your bubble and hurt your feelings but you are most CERTAINLY wrong :)


I am a physicist. I am also an atheist. And I don't know everything. But I do know somethings.

Blah, blah, blah

gobbledygook

Blah,,,,


Have ya ever heard of the Raelians? If not ya should check them out,,, I'm sure ya would find much more rewarding conversation with them. And if ya have the money to spare, they would be glad to fast-track promote ya to the "Guide" level.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
See you were never interested in having a discussion, just attempting to railroad it in your little corner of knowledge so you can feel safe and secure...no scary stuff to challenge your worldview.

Go stick your head back in the sand and be safe :) It's OK really...the adults will continue to actually discuss things and learn from each others perspectives.
Q-Star
2.7 / 5 (19) Aug 27, 2013
See you were never interested in having a discussion, just attempting to railroad it in your little corner of knowledge so you can feel safe and secure...no scary stuff to challenge your worldview.

Go stick your head back in the sand and be safe :) It's OK really...the adults will continue to actually discuss things and learn from each others perspectives.


If ya don't like the way I discuss things, ya shouldn't start the conversation with,,,

"Wow that's incredibly ignorant and short sighted."


Because if ya didn't like the original comment you were commenting on, I can guarantee ya really won't like my reply. That isn't rocket surgery, brain science or even profound philosophical gobbledygook. That is just the most rudimentary common sense.

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
Oh and you may think you're an atheist, but your not. The one thing religious people have correct is that you can have "many gods". Yours happens to be a funny little story humans tell themselves called science. Science is a fiction, it isn't a THING. It exists totally in the minds of human beings.

As such you can be sure of one thing...YOU don't have the corner on the truth, you have a story you're telling yourself to make it seem like your on some kind of solid ground when the truth is that the ground is always in motion and always shifting. Just like science, art, philosophy, religion, nations, and every other man made form of culture and set of concepts we use to try to put reality in a box....
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
If you wanted to have a discussion then perhaps you shouldn't proceed like this...

Pssst, mister, doctor Philosopher, just how do ya think that little ol' us could decide "the fate of the entire universe"? That's even more absurd than the notion that there is god deciding the fate of any one of us.


I already KNEW where you were coming from. I've seen it a hundred times before. I'm just not letting you pretend you're doing anything other than stamping your feet and yelling "I'M RIGHT YOU'RE WRONG! I'M RIGHT YOU'RE WRONG!!!!" When you do that.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (19) Aug 27, 2013
If you wanted to have a discussion then perhaps you shouldn't proceed like this...

Pssst, mister, doctor Philosopher, just how do ya think that little ol' us could decide "the fate of the entire universe"? That's even more absurd than the notion that there is god deciding the fate of any one of us.


I already KNEW where you were coming from. I've seen it a hundred times before. I'm just not letting you pretend you're doing anything other than stamping your feet and yelling "I'M RIGHT YOU'RE WRONG! I'M RIGHT YOU'RE WRONG!!!!" When you do that.


Hey Katherine, come on down here,,,, there's other one of those mentally ill people with delusions of being a great thinker, and he's becoming unhinged because we won't accept that all of reality exists only in his mind, and there is nothing else,,, ya know, like the ones who think his philosophizing will lead to an ultimate truth and scientists are just wasting their time. Katie dear, hurry before ya miss it.
Modernmystic
1.3 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2013
How do you support that argument? There may be more ways than intelligence to lead to mastery of the cosmos.


Good point. I'll amend...

Intelligence is the most powerful force in the universe that human beings know of.
Modernmystic
1.3 / 5 (14) Aug 27, 2013
Hey Katherine, come on down here,,,, there's other one of those mentally ill people with delusions of being a great thinker, and he's becoming unhinged because we won't accept that all of reality exists only in his mind, and there is nothing else,,, ya know, like the ones who thinks his philosophizing will lead to an ultimate true and scientists are just wasting their time. Katie dear, hurry before ya miss it.


The "adult" equivalent of "My Dad can beat up your Dad"...

Amazing that all that education doesn't bestow an ounce of maturity or wisdom...and unfortunate...
Q-Star
2.6 / 5 (15) Aug 27, 2013
Amazing that all that education doesn't bestow an ounce of maturity or wisdom...and unfortunate...


Okay, I'll play. I apologize for offending ya.

I don't believe we can or ever will be able to influence the ultimate fate of the universe. Or even a lesser fate of the universe.

Ya said that was woefully ignorant and short sighted. Why?

How would ya go about influencing the fate of the universe? What method, what process would ya employ? And what aspect of the fate of the universe could I, ya, or any other of our species affect, collectively or individually?

If I am wrong, then ya know about some force or science that I am unaware of,,, please describe it for me/us.
DeadCorpse
1 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
Another thing to consider, are we talking on cell phones while the rest of the space-faring Universe is using some completely different technology to talk to each other?

Or to give another comparison... We're on the low end of AM radio while the rest of them are on fiber-optic networks... We look out with our limited tech and see nothing, so we assume there is no "there" there. They look at us and seeing nothing interesting yet...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
Ya said that was woefully ignorant and short sighted. Why?


Because given enough time human beings will be able to do anything that is physically possible. Moreover they might even be able to bend the "laws" of physics we hold on to so tightly, but for the sake of argument we'll say we'll never be able to do that.

Given that nature can expand the universe (dark energy), or "contract" it (matter/gravity/dark matter), and given that we've demonstrated an ability to do anything nature can do, and do it better...why is it so difficult to believe in a billion years we couldn't manipulate these forces to effect the postulated outcome of an ever expanding universe?

In fact we'll have a LOT longer than that to figure it out. Can you really say that given those time scales and intelligence/knowledge we can't even comprehend at the moment that it's so implausible?

If so, I respect your opinion and we can agree do disagree. I'd like to hear your take.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2013
Another thing to consider, are we talking on cell phones while the rest of the space-faring Universe is using some completely different technology to talk to each other?

Or to give another comparison... We're on the low end of AM radio while the rest of them are on fiber-optic networks... We look out with our limited tech and see nothing, so we assume there is no "there" there. They look at us and seeing nothing interesting yet...


It's the difference between smoke signals and radio. We might be able to pick up and understand the smoke signals, but aboriginal people can't possibly understand a radio signal without a receiver...

The problem is deeper than this though. It's highly likely that at least one (out of the postulated millions) of advanced civilizations will have started to alter their environment on a cosmic scale. We don't see this. We see isotropy everywhere we look.

Unless there is some overriding reason that this NEVER happens with other intelligences.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (9) Aug 27, 2013
(cont).

IOW aboriginal people might not be able to understand radio without a receiver, but they could look at a modern city and understand that it's not "natural".

We're not seeing the cities....
Q-Star
2.4 / 5 (14) Aug 27, 2013
If so, I respect your opinion and we can agree do disagree. I'd like to hear your take.


That is positing a future based on what we don't know but MIGHT someday know? I wasn't basing my opinion on "possibilities" my opinion is based on the observations and evidence we have to shape our opinions. We will always learn new things, and discover that some things we are getting wrong,,,, that is joy of science, not to prove what we know, but to discover what we don't know, and correct the thinking of what we thought we know.

But pondering ANY possible outcome is poor science, in acquiring science and using it to describe reality, Science is most productive when it is founded on phenomena that ya experience, not any possible phenomena that ya might imagine.

Science is based on empirical evidence. We may someday be able to influence the fate of the universe, but there is no thing I can think of that would indicate that could possibly happen. My opinion is based on our reality.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (9) Aug 27, 2013
My opinion is based on our reality.


I'd disagree. I'd say part of science is abstraction and imagination. Otherwise there is no innovation is there.

We're quibbling over degrees here. IOW if someone said to you we'll have nuclear rockets or nuclear propelled spacecraft that can take us to the edge of the solar system and to the nearest stars you'd probably agree. I might be wrong but I think you would.

I'm simply extending the principle much further, but neither of us is doing something "out of bounds" or not based on a principle the other is already using.

I'm using the OBSERVATION that technology advances, that it's advancing rapidly (to say the least), and that people who were born 70 years ago who were scientists would scoff at someone saying we'd reach the moon in 1969...
Q-Star
2.8 / 5 (17) Aug 27, 2013
We're quibbling over degrees here. IOW if someone said to you we'll have nuclear rockets or nuclear propelled spacecraft that can take us to the edge of the solar system and to the nearest stars you'd probably agree. I might be wrong but I think you would.


The edge of the solar system? We've already done that. The nearest stars? I disagree. Why would we even try if the thing won't get there for generations? To what purpose, hubris?

I'm simply extending the principle much further, but neither of us is doing something "out of bounds" or not based on a principle the other is already using.


I'm still waiting for this "principle" ya are using to predict that we could decide the fate of the universe? Ya claim it is the basis of your projections, what is it? (And history is not a scientific principle.) Where are the physics in this thing? How do ya tie this ability to influence the fate of the universe to any reality of the universe we know and observe.
drhoo
3 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2013
We wouldn't likely recognize them. Remember the line from 'mothman'

"Have you ever tried to explain yourself to a cockroach"

Birds see us but they know nothing at all about us. To them we just another unexplained moving pattern of light.

Why should we consider ourselves to be at the top of the life form pyramid ??

My water bottle might be an intelligent being...

GSwift7
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
We have evolved to measure and even record. There's more to come. :)

I hate to say it, I try to understand everyone. But this made no sense to me what so ever


He is just a bit more evolved than us.

Someone above mentioned that the Earth has been lucky because it has been so hospitable for life. I would like to point out that the Earth hasn't been all that lucky in that regard. Based on our current theory, there wasn't any free oxygen when life got started here. Of course, those organisms exhaled oxygen, which was a poison to them. If things had continued that way, how long would life have survived? Luckily, other life formed which used oxygen and exhaled co2, and those two types of life formed a balance that still exists. I wonder how common that is?

Maybe the majority of life gets stuck in the co2 breathing cycle and their own oxygen pollution prevents them from ever evolving very far?
Q-Star
2.7 / 5 (12) Aug 27, 2013
My opinion is based on our reality.


I'd disagree. I'd say part of science is abstraction and imagination. Otherwise there is no innovation is there.


Part of science is abstraction and imagination. But unless it constrained by disipline, order and method it will seldom progress.

There is risk in both of the following, who is more like to be wealthy.

1) One guy who goes to the store and buys a power-ball ticket because of a "feeling" he has for a certain number? He invests 10,000 dollars.

2) Another guy who spends his money at the stock market after studying and practicing statistics and probabilities, world economies, commodities and social trends. He invests 10,000 dollars.

Which one do ya think is most likely to achieve his ends? Which one is most likely to produce that thing he is after?

Abstraction and imagination are good things in science, with order and reason. But those same two qualities in a schizophrenic might not produce good results.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2013
The edge of the solar system? We've already done that. The nearest stars? I disagree. Why would we even try if the thing won't get there for generations? To what purpose, hubris?


There's certainly no point in sending anything to another star at our present level of technological advancement or knowledge regarding those stars.

I think you would need to make a convincing argument that there's something worth going to see first. Whether it is logical or worthwhile doesn't make any sense unless you have something you want to do first.

When you look at the time and resources it would take to make a reasonable attempt at sending even a robotic probe to another star, it only makes sense to do so after you have exhausted all reasonable avenues of remote observation. We are far from the point where we will reach theoretical limits on remote observation of other stars and planets. You would never send a person without a robot going first either.
no fate
3 / 5 (4) Aug 27, 2013

Why should we consider ourselves to be at the top of the life form pyramid ??


Because we are the most intelligent being that we have found that is capable of manipulating it's environment. Until we discover or are shown otherwise we are at the top of that pyramid. It is more a reflection of how much we have yet to learn than what we already know.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (11) Aug 27, 2013
The edge of the solar system? We've already done that. The nearest stars? I disagree. Why would we even try if the thing won't get there for generations? To what purpose, hubris?


There's certainly no point in sending anything to another star at our present level of technological advancement or knowledge regarding those stars.

I think you would need to make a convincing argument that there's something worth going to see first. Whether it is logical or worthwhile doesn't make any sense unless you have something you want to do first.

When you look at the time and resources it would take to make a reasonable attempt at sending even a robotic probe to another star, it only makes sense to do so after you have exhausted all reasonable avenues of remote observation. We are far from the point where we will reach theoretical limits on remote observation of other stars and planets. You would never send a person without a robot going first either.


Well said Sir, Well said.
Rutzs
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
I'd like to think that there is some obvious technology that we haven't developed yet in which other civilizations are using. Perhaps radio is laughably primitive to most civilizations and don't even consider it as a possibility when communicating across a galaxy.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
I'd like to think that there is some obvious technology that we haven't developed yet in which other civilizations are using


It doesn't need to be anything particularly advanced in that case. If you were looking at raw data from an internet feed, without the compression/decompression codec, it would look like noise.

Think about how a song is transmitted now. First the analog music is recorded in digital format (usually in mpeg format these days). Most of them have both a left and right stereo channel, and some have surround as well. If you don't know that, you're already in trouble when trying to decode it. Then you might compress it into an mp3, which further obsfucates the original tune. Then you might email it to a friend, which probably gives it a 128 bit security encryption. Then the internet trunk lines might break that into multiple packets, mixed in with everyone else's packets. Oh, and don't forget that there's metadata attached at each level of coding and encryption.
drhoo
5 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2013
I'd like to think that there is some obvious technology that we haven't developed yet in which other civilizations are using


Which is one of the problems for SETI. Advanced communications will be efficient and appear as just more white noise.

Again they could well be around us now.............
Trust the doctor..
GSwift7
2.8 / 5 (9) Aug 27, 2013
Or, maybe electronic, digital computing isn't even common. What would a signal from an organic computer look like? Would we recognize brain waves? Alien brain waves? No matter what bandwidth they used, I can't imagine we would recognize that as a signal.

You know, that may not matter though. There are some frequency ranges that are impractical to use for physical reason, such as inability to penetrate various mediums. So that leaves only the useful portion of the spectrum to search for. You may not need to look at any specific range, since a sufficiently advanced species might be using the entire spectrum. We here on Earth are already using up most of the useful bandwidth ranges. So maybe you don't need to recognize a signal or know a frequency band. Just look for a point source that's saturated accross the entire useful bandwidth range.
no fate
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
I agree with the doctor. If an alien species has traversed space and reached other planets or communicates with others light years from their own, their scanning tech would have to be along the lines of Star Treks subspace signals. If you're travelling at C or beyond, you need to know quicker than photons can tell you if there is something in your way.
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (6) Aug 27, 2013
I think you would need to make a convincing argument that there's something worth going to see first.

From a scientific point of view there would certainly be something to see. But I agree: there's no point in currently trying to send anything that would get there, collect a bit of data and get back.
Main reason being: we're getting better at making drives at a rate that would suggest that any craft we launch in 100 years will easily overtake any craft we'll send out today before it reaches the nearest star.

What would a signal from an organic computer look like?

At least in that respect we're in luck as the principles of information are mathematical in nature. So an analysis of a signal should be possible.
However, I also suspect that if they're sending signals then EM isn't how they're sent. If FTL is possible some way then physical data-probes would be much more efficient...and we'd never know if the universe was currently teeming with them.
beleg
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
@rug
Sara Walker and I strive for a definition of life that does not come up empty and avoids all the disadvantages other branches of science harbor.
http://phys.org/n...ife.html

We know evolution from our perspective. A time consuming process. 'Life' processes information according to a scenario we are most familiar with - earth. Is the pace of evolution the same everywhere in the universe? Is this question really akin to the assertion
that the physics of the universe is the same everywhere?

Sorry for the misunderstanding. Does this comment make sense?
rug
1 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
A little more yes, thanks.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2013
Kind of testy today arent we mm?
Time scales that we know physics can manipulate? Distance scales that we know can be manipulated too? Physical processes which we are VERY good an manipulating? Which universe are you living in?
-And it is kind of hard to think your way out of heat death. But we will have lots of time to think wont we?
Because given enough time human beings will be able to do anything that is physically possible. Moreover they might even be able to bend the "laws" of physics we hold on to so tightly
Ah. This is the point in 'Contact' were jody foster discovers the messages built into the number pi. Right? Freemasons refer to this as 'the great architect of the universe'.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 27, 2013
Perhaps radio is laughably primitive
Machines will have no need of laughter.

"A significant problem is that unfriendly artificial intelligence is likely to be much easier to create than friendly AI. While both require large advances in recursive optimisation process design, friendly AI also requires the ability to make goal structures invariant under self-improvement (or the AI could transform itself into something unfriendly) and a goal structure that aligns with human values and does not automatically destroy the human race. An unfriendly AI, on the other hand, can optimize for an arbitrary goal structure, which does not need to be invariant under self-modification."

"Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make."
http://en.wikiped...gularity

-Thats pretty funny dont you think?
http://intelligen...ysummit/
Howhot
3 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2013
Let me throw my two cents in. I think the reason we don't "hear" as in SETI, is that we are extremely rare. On earth, we are the product of evolution over billions of years, and to find another exactly like us, with DNA has to be dismally rare.

That is not to say there is not intelligent life, you can look at Whales, or Dolphins and see there is intelligent life. An alien dolphin or whale will never leave the bounds of gravity until they can construct from materials. It takes a special breed of life to construct an ultraintelligent machine that can search the universe. It may be so rare that we are the first.
Neurodisiac
3 / 5 (2) Aug 28, 2013
It is probably a confluence of reasons, but more than likely the major two being just how incomprehensibly big the universe is and that intelligent life, while perhaps not rare, is proportionately scarce in relation to those distances.

There is also the problem of disparate technologies. The odds of similarly intelligent life being close enough to us for the parties involved to be bouncing radio signals off each other seems laughable, but admittedly not impossible. Even a few centuries of technological development between two separate civilizations seems like it would be enough to prevent overlap or incidental contact, and on the scale of planetary evolution we're probably talking more like millennia.

At this point if there is an intelligent civilization nestled close enough in our neck of the Milky Way to enjoy communications with us it is probably so far advanced beyond us that we serve only as trivial curiosity. We're still using fossil fuels and warring over religion and money.
Benni
1 / 5 (13) Aug 28, 2013
Oh and you may think you're an atheist, but your not. The one thing religious people have correct is that you can have "many gods". Yours happens to be a funny little story humans tell themselves called science. Science is a fiction, it isn't a THING. It exists totally in the minds of human beings.


Of course Q-Star is a religious guy, he just won't admit it. The reason you know he is not an atheist is the fact that he has stated in many of his past postings that the universe is "infinite" in size. Any credible physicist knows universal ENTROPY according to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics cannot be established outside a "closed energy system".

It requires a lot of "faith" to believe we can live in an open universe in which ENTROPY can exist. Belief in the concept of an infinite Universe in which ENTROPY exists is an admission they believe in miracles & that requires a "god". As for me, I'll hang my beliefs on the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, always works, faith not required.
Q-Star
2.4 / 5 (14) Aug 28, 2013
Of course Q-Star is a religious guy, he just won't admit it. The reason you know he is not an atheist is the fact that he has stated in many of his past postings that the universe is "infinite" in size. Any credible physicist knows universal ENTROPY according to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics cannot be established outside a "closed energy system".


Aaah, Benni,,,,

How did ya ever become a nuclear engineer if ya can't read,,,,,,

I never once posited the idea that the universe is infinite. My view is quite the opposite. All have said there is that ya are really deficient in reading skills, since ya claim ya read I said said it many times.

Ya would hate miss an opportunity to display how utterly unskilled ya are. But it's fun to play nuclear engineer isn't it. (Pssst, engineers can read, so ya might be more careful.)
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (8) Aug 28, 2013
The edge of the solar system? We've already done that.


We have sent a manned nuclear rocket powered ship to the edge of the solar system?

You weren't suggesting Voyager has nuclear rockets were you?

The nearest stars? I disagree. Why would we even try if the thing won't get there for generations? To what purpose, hubris?


Nuclear powered rockets could do it in 60 to 70 years, but my POINT wasn't WHY, but that we COULD do it.

I'm still waiting for this "principle" ya are using to predict that we could decide the fate of the universe?


Are you familiar with Moore's law? Exponential growth? Logarithims? The simple fact that technology advances? The principle is that we used stone knives and bear skins 50,000 years ago, now we don't. What part of this are you having trouble understanding?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (8) Aug 28, 2013
Benni stay off my side, you totally missed my point...but then again so did Q-Star judging by his strawman response to that post...
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (16) Aug 28, 2013
The edge of the solar system? We've already done that.


We have sent a manned nuclear rocket powered ship to the edge of the solar system?

You weren't suggesting Voyager has nuclear rockets were you?


We have sent a proxy (robot probe) to the edge of the solar system. What does nuclear have to do it? Is there some magical property conferred by the word "nuclear:" ?

The nearest stars? I disagree. Why would we even try if the thing won't get there for generations? To what purpose, hubris?


Nuclear powered rockets could do it in 60 to 70 years, but my POINT wasn't WHY, but that we COULD do it.


There is that "nuclear" again. No, it could not be done in 60 or 70 years. Sending a "nuclear" rocket to a nearby star is not "influencing the fate of the universe". Do ya realize how big the universe is? How much stuff is in it? How insignificant we are in it?

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (9) Aug 28, 2013
When you look at the time and resources it would take to make a reasonable attempt at sending even a robotic probe to another star, it only makes sense to do so after you have exhausted all reasonable avenues of remote observation. We are far from the point where we will reach theoretical limits on remote observation of other stars and planets. You would never send a person without a robot going first either.


Again the point wasn't why, it was can we, and could we have 50,000 years ago. Besides if we sent robots there is in effect little difference. We still would be taking steps forward in technology which was my entire point. So yes, well said, but the strawman on the ground doesn't help move the discussion forward....
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (11) Aug 28, 2013
Now I think you're being intentionally obtuse Q-Star, you're just digging in your heels. I used nuclear rockets as an example of technology we don't have yet but COULD have. It's called technological advancement something you're either being intentionally dishonest about or completely lacking in the mental faculties to comprehend such a simple concept.

Since I'm pretty sure you have the mental capacity to understand what's being said, and furthermore HAVE understood it, but are intentionally trying to be intellectually dishonest in the debate I don't really see a reason to continue...do you?

And yes, nuclear rockets could do it in 60 to 70 years and make trips around the solar system in months instead of years...look it up.
Q-Star
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 28, 2013
Are you familiar with Moore's law? Exponential growth? Logarithims? The simple fact that technology advances? The principle is that we used stone knives and bear skins 50,000 years ago, now we don't. What part of this are you having trouble understanding?


Moore's law is not science. It's a rhetorical device meant to express a brief period of progress, yes, 40 years is a brief period. It has more failures than correct outcomes if applied honestly..

Since I teach calculus I am very handy with exponential and logarithmic functions... Unless ya have hard data sets to formulate the functions or they can not produce anything of worth. Ya can't just guess what parametrics ya might put in, because I am sure ya would only put in the data that would give your own forecasts and conclusions.

Ya are mixing and matching your science and philosophy in an ad hoc way, it is the area of the "futurists" and "new age" guys,,,, it is not good science. Have ya ever heard of the Raelians?
Q-Star
2.4 / 5 (14) Aug 28, 2013
Now I think you're being intentionally obtuse Q-Star, you're just digging in your heels.


I am not being obtuse. I am defending science against philosophical gobbledygook. Words are not science. Good science is founded on First Principles. Not on "visions" of what "may be". First Principles,,,, ya can't leap to the end of the story and assume the outcome,,,, ya must show the intermediate steps to get there. That is how science works.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (9) Aug 28, 2013
Ya are mixing and matching your science and philosophy in an ad hoc way.


Do you think computers will be faster in 50 years than they are now all things being equal?
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (13) Aug 28, 2013
Ya are mixing and matching your science and philosophy in an ad hoc way.


Do you think computers will be faster in 50 years than they are now all things being equal?


See there, that is what I'm talking about. If "all things be" equal,,, no equal means the same. What a silly question. Of course computers will be faster,,,, but how much faster? All things being equal, meaning using any technology we now have or have in the pipe line probably not as fast as YA would forecast using something like Moore's law.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (9) Aug 28, 2013
Of course computers will be faster,,,, but how much faster?


How much faster is irrelevant.

Now how did you come to the conclusion that "of course they'll be faster"?

Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (13) Aug 28, 2013
So I'll re-iterate and make it simple again.

It's not difficult. All things being equal do you think computers will be faster 50 years from now?

I didn't say how much faster, I didn't ask for any qualifiers or editorializing. Just will they be faster...


I do suspect they will. So what is your point? How will computers of any speed change the scale of the universe? How will a computer change the scale of time? How can a computer speed your nuclear (or any other kind) rocket) beyond "c"? By what means will ya dispense with spacetime so ya can go out and influence the fate of the universe?

In other words, show me the physics, show me the science, visions are not science, dreams are not science, they very seldom work out. Ya want to have me dispense with the science and share your "vision".

I'm sorry, I'm not being obtuse,,,, my priority and obsessions are mine, and your priories and obsessions are yours. Ya can't force or even talk me into your frame of mind.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (11) Aug 28, 2013
I can't show you the physics or the science that we'll use to do such stupendous things, otherwise I'd be a trillionaire selling my gravity manipulation and spatial engineering machines and patents. You're setting up the conditions in which you think my position might be valid and making them impossible to reach. You will have to open your mind a little, but you already have if you concede that computers will be faster in 50 years because you're doing what you accused me of doing...

Ya are mixing and matching your science and philosophy in an ad hoc way...


You just may not be aware that you're doing it.

A cave man couldn't give you the physics, or the science for making a CD player, he couldn't even form the CONCEPTS that such a device is built on...that doesn't change the fact that they are a reality today. So too with my position. I can't give you the physics or the science (perhaps manipulation of the Higgs field??), but that doesn't change history or the trending future.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (13) Aug 28, 2013
@ Modernmystic,

If I require that ya entertain, consider, and fund my search for the last pink unicorn and the only justification I present is: Ya can't prove there isn't one. I'm not asking ya to fund a rational zoological project, I'm asking to pay attention to a thing that has no basis in reality other than it is something I pondered in my mind.

See, science works like this. Ya posit an idea. It is not for ya to force me to disprove it. Onus is on ya to offer substance as why ya think what ya think. That is the difference between science and philosophy. Saying "it could be" is not enough,,,, now that is okay with philosophy because philosophy deals endless debating, the answer is not the objective. The future of science is not projected using history, history is subjective and not scientific.

Now, if ya want me to entertain the idea that we can decide the fate of the universe (pink unicorn) ya have to give me something to base my thinking on. "Just because" is no good.
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (13) Aug 28, 2013
I can't show you the physics or the science that we'll use to do such stupendous things,


So why I am the villain because I don't share your idea? If ya want me to believe what ya believe, ya must get past the "I can't show you",,, because I can't show ya is not any part of modern science in any shape, form, fashion, or manner.

I think the disconnect is that ya believe visions and philosophy are at some level the EXACT same thing as science. My world view is much more restricted. I'm not concerned with what MAY be. I'm not concern with ANY possibility. I'm concerned with an orderly and systematic process to learn things we don't know, more about things we do know, and correct the things we mis-know. The key there is order and systematic, for me.

I wish ya well with your endeavors, I hope ya wish me well in mine.
rug
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 28, 2013
@Q-Star and Modernmystic,

I have read all of this discussion and I think there is a point that has been left out. I think the idea we could manipulate the universe at this point is just conjecture or philosophy as Q-star put it. However, it's been shown that a lot of the time science catches up with philosophy. Look as H.G.Wells. The science fiction he wrote didn't become anything like real science until much later. Star Trek has done the same thing about many things. All of them are just conjecture until there is a scientific way to do such a thing. I believe both have a place but should not be confused for one another. I've made lots of conjecture on what science might be able to do in the future. However, I've never said it will happen or how. Only that it may. Sometimes there is even an if. Like if we could figure out how to control gravity we could do this or that. Sure it's based on current science but it's really just science fiction.
Simone654
5 / 5 (2) Aug 28, 2013
If I may interject a different idea: The visible universe is full of life and making itself obvious in a hundred different ways, but we do not yet recognize it as such. Take the earth for example:

Viewed from a few AUs distance with current telescopes, the earth is remarkable only for having so so much oxygen in it's atmosphere (ignoring for these purposes our incontinent leaks across the radio spectrum). So our earth's most visible sign of life is the presence of a condition that would seem physically and chemically impossible given the makeup of our planet.

With this metric, the universe is FULL OF LIFE!!! At the largest scales, the galaxy rotation problem could just be sign of life using gravity assist to move within a galaxy (accelerating around the inner regions, thus slowing them, and vice versa for the outer regions). If microbes can change the geology of a whole world to an 'unnatural' state, why shouldn't life work on galactic scales as well?
Benni
1.3 / 5 (15) Aug 28, 2013
Benni stay off my side, you totally missed my point...but then again so did Q-Star judging by his strawman response to that post...


Not on your side mister, on the side of Science......you flatter yourself too much when you suggest I'm being partisan to you or anybody else posting on this site. You two have posted so much drivel all of it has become pointless, I've only had time to read some of it because I'm on vacation this month.
beleg
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 28, 2013
In their time off, scientists don't accept gutter balls when bowling.
Fate is a gutter ball.
Kieseyhow
1 / 5 (7) Aug 28, 2013
Maybe, just maybe, we are the first race in the history of the universe to develop interplanetary travel. After all, *somebody* has to be first, and there aren't yet any signs that anybody else beat us to it.


This is like the starfish in a tide pool on a rocky beach, assuming they are the first to think of crawling out, because they have not seen anyone else do it. *grins*
Kieseyhow
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 28, 2013
@Osiris1 - I would hate to think that we would be killed off for our planet, the has to be billions of them out there like ours. Could be the case though. As sad as it is to admit, I agree with everything else you've said.


There are might be the sociopathic type of species where killing off a planet is just fun not really necessary, but it provides entertainment for them.

There are really just too many feasible possibilities to answer these questions. We can spend hours in debate, and lot of time hashing out ideas, but really the simple fact remains we just have so little information to go on that is is mostly a complete waste of time. It is entertainment and a battle of emotional dreams and ideas. Nothing really of practical value to debate this topic.
Kieseyhow
1 / 5 (7) Aug 28, 2013
This would be a much more efficient and fun debate if Phys.org had an efficient commenting system like Disqus. I think that until it does, it is mostly pointless expending too much energy on really getting into the comments. When I reply to someone and the page scrolls to some random location it takes me a long time to locate where I was. Also, the replies are far removed from the original comments and there is no clear indication of what comment it directed to whom and no way to read the previous comments in that thread efficiently.

It is too bad, as there are many articles that would be fun to participate in, but I have better things to do with my time than spend it scrolling up and down and conjuring creative methods of killing the webmasters as revenge for this frustration.
Ober
1 / 5 (8) Aug 29, 2013
Ok here's the truth of the matter. Aliens are everywhere.
We are merely inside Sim Universe 1.0 running on an alien quantum computer. We are just game characters, and don't really exist. Once the owner of the computer buys the newest expansion pack, "aliens from the star next door", we will encounter aliens.
I wish the owner would install more RAM, as some of the processes that have posted in this forum look like they have Null point exceptioned.
Anyone notice any LAG in reality today or was it just me?
Benni
1 / 5 (13) Aug 29, 2013
Wherever the aliens are in the Universe, they will never be able to reach planet Earth, the reason being that the composition of their mode of transportation would be exactly the same thing from which we would construct our spaceships.

Accelerate a titanium hulled craft to half the speed of light & it won't survive the first micron sized dust particle that strikes it. The kinetic energy of that dust particle striking the hull will tear right through the craft in a head-on impact wreaking tremendous damage inside & out.

There are a few dozen micron sized dust particles in each cubic kilometer of interstellar space, it'll be impossible to avoid hitting one even less than a light years distance from any habitable planet, a distance much less than that to the nearest star 4 light years distance from earth. For Trekkies out there thinking a "dust catcher" is the answer, guess again, it'll require a mass for which we can never generate mass/energy conversion to accelerate the craft.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Aug 29, 2013
I love pessimists. They grow old and die just like optimists but at least optimists die smiling.

If we ever need to go that fast we will figure out how to do it.
Benni
1 / 5 (14) Aug 29, 2013
If we ever need to go that fast we will figure out how to do it.


We already know how to go that fast........you've missed the point, the point being the kinetic energy generated when things collide at the speed we need to make interstellar travel practical. Not talking about interplanetary travel within the solar system.

When you calculate the kinetic energy generated when only a micron sized particle of interstellar dust strikes head-on into something traveling at 1/2 the speed of light, the damage to an object at that speed will be such that you would need a spacecraft hull hundreds of feet thick to withstand the impact of just one particle.

The only way to offset the damage from such a collision is travel slower, a lot slower, not much more than about 100,000 mph, we can build those rockets now. So how long do you calculate the time to get to the nearest star 4 light yrs away?

Now you understand why we're never going there & they are never coming here.

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
Now you understand why we're never going there & they are never coming here.


Yeah you're right. It's why we'll never have cars that go faster than 50 mph...bugs hitting you head on in the face get to be a problem...never mind trains that go at 300 mph.

Oh wait...windshields....
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
If I may interject a different idea: The visible universe is full of life and making itself obvious in a hundred different ways, but we do not yet recognize it as such.


This is actually a very good point.. We look at the universe with biased eyes. We assume every phenomena we see (ie. the rotation "problem" in galaxies) has a "naturalistic" answer.

We may be seeing skyscrapers everywhere we look, but so do ants. They just take them as part of the environment, we may be doing the same...
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 29, 2013
Yeah. Windshields.

Like an umbrella would protect you at ground zero in a nuclear strike.
Q-Star
2.6 / 5 (15) Aug 29, 2013
Now you understand why we're never going there & they are never coming here.


Yeah you're right. It's why we'll never have cars that go faster than 50 mph...bugs hitting you head on in the face get to be a problem...never mind trains that go at 300 mph.

Oh wait...windshields....


Unless ya can find some new physics, not technology mind ya, new physics,,, he is correct.

Your analogy is not transferable to the situation. The physics of bugs we know. The physics of relativistic matter we know. That's why we know how the first works. And that's how we know we don't have a clue as to how to deal with the second.
Q-Star
2.4 / 5 (14) Aug 29, 2013
If I may interject a different idea: The visible universe is full of life and making itself obvious in a hundred different ways, but we do not yet recognize it as such.


This is actually a very good point.. We look at the universe with biased eyes. We assume every phenomena we see (ie. the rotation "problem" in galaxies) has a "naturalistic" answer.

We may be seeing skyscrapers everywhere we look, but so do ants. They just take them as part of the environment, we may be doing the same...


And we may in the none to distant future be overrun by pink unicorns, who can prove we won't? Shouldn't we spend a lot of time working on it since we can't prove they aren't there? It's not impossible so we should all consider it. Don't ya think the zoologists are being remiss in their obligations to the rest of us?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (11) Aug 29, 2013
Is there a way to put someone on ignore on this forum?

Sometimes it gets old trying to explain that the sky is blue.

Q-Star why bother to try to do ANYTHING new if it doesn't exist in the box you've made of your world? If it doesn't fit in your neat little box you've built to make yourself feel all safe and cozy it LITERALLY doesn't exist to you, it's a "pink unicorn". If it were up to people like you we would never have progressed beyond making fire...

Please quit answering my posts, you and your minds set have NOTHING to offer me at all, I out grew all religious frameworks years ago. When you move along I'll be happy to engage you again.
antialias_physorg
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 29, 2013
Is there a way to put someone on ignore on this forum?

For the trolls it's rather easy: Use the filter in the "Display Settings" (found in your "Activity" tab). Set it to 2.5 or thereabouts and you'll have little problem.

If you have an issue with a quality poster that will not work. In that case you'll just have to learn to ignore his/her posts.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (11) Aug 29, 2013


If you have an issue with a quality poster that will not work. In that case you'll just have to learn to ignore his/her posts.


Well I suppose that's easy enough, and good practice for life to boot...
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 29, 2013
Is there a way to put someone on ignore on this forum?

For the trolls it's rather easy: Use the filter in the "Display Settings" (found in your "Activity" tab). Set it to 2.5 or thereabouts and you'll have little problem.

If you have an issue with a quality poster that will not work. In that case you'll just have to learn to ignore his/her posts.


There is always that other option, you know. Self control and your own volition. Plus the actual human capacity to ignore things.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (13) Aug 29, 2013
Is there a way to put someone on ignore on this forum?

For the trolls it's rather easy: Use the filter in the "Display Settings" (found in your "Activity" tab). Set it to 2.5 or thereabouts and you'll have little problem.

If you have an issue with a quality poster that will not work. In that case you'll just have to learn to ignore his/her posts.


There is always that other option, you know. Self control and your own volition. Plus the actual human capacity to ignore things.


I encourage you to practice that capacity too...
Q-Star
2.7 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
Is there a way to put someone on ignore on this forum?


Yes, it's called your eye lids, ya have total control, but ya must also have the emotional control to make it work.

Q-Star why bother to try to do ANYTHING new if it doesn't exist in the box you've made of your world? If it doesn't fit in your neat little box you've built to make yourself feel all safe and cozy it LITERALLY doesn't exist to you, it's a "pink unicorn".


Some people like to "dream up" ANYTHING new, & then expect others to get it done whether it is practical or not.

Please quit answering my posts, you and your minds set have NOTHING to offer me at all, I out grew all religious frameworks years ago. When you move along I'll be happy to engage you again.


This is a physics forum, though physics is something ya neglect in every post. If ya don't want read posts concerning physics I will again suggest ya try the Raelians. But I WILL comment on physics here, PHYSorg, even if ya can't/won't.
Q-Star
3.1 / 5 (15) Aug 29, 2013
@ Modernmystic,

It's gosh, childish and just plain bad forum etiquette to down vote people ya are exchanging comments with. All it does is say "ya hurt my feelings". Even though I think ya are a moron, ya will notice I didn't down vote your stupid remarks.

Maybe ya didn't realize it. I wear my down and up votes as a badge of honor, I'm proud that certain people might give me an up, and relieved that some others give me a down.

My point? Ya are doing no more than what I would have ya do if if ya asked me what I would prefer. (To be fair to ya, I thought I would point this out, now ya are on your own with your voting.)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 29, 2013
When you calculate the kinetic energy generated when only a micron sized particle of interstellar dust strikes head-on into something traveling at 1/2 the speed of light, the damage to an object at that speed will be such that you would need a spacecraft hull hundreds of feet thick to withstand the impact of just one particle
Yah you said this already.
The only way to offset the damage from such a collision is travel slower
-or to come up with something else which allows you to travel at that speed without being affected by the dust. What makes you think this is insurmountable? Let me repeat - what makes YOU think this is insurmountable?
Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf
1.3 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
For the trolls it's rather easy: Use the filter in the "Display Settings" (found in your "Activity" tab). Set it to 2.5 or thereabouts and you'll have little problem.
Yes but what do we do about pompous assholes who think that chronic uprating by fellow buttsniffers gives them permission to post unsubstantiated but politically correct bullcrap?

Shouldnt physorg include some kind of 'explode' button for removing posts of posturers and pretenders? The scientific community at large would benefit I think.

AI will soon make it impossible to post that sort of crap, but I for one cant wait.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 29, 2013
Yes but what do we do about pompous assholes who think that chronic uprating by fellow buttsniffers gives them permission to post unsubstantiated but politically correct bullcrap?
Obviously the same thing you always do Otto. Make a bunch of sockpuppets and go on a rage-voting-spree.

I guess some people never grow up and get a hold of their hormones. But be my guest: See if I care:)

People will (or won't) read my posts just the same. Because -for some strange reason that I can't explain to you- it's content that matters...not votes.

The scientific community at large would benefit I think.

Problem is Otto: You never were (and never will be) "the scientific community" - or part of it. You don't have the mind (or attitude) for it. So I guess you lose at life.

If rage-voting makes you feel better about your inadequacy: go ahead. Let's call it a civil service.
Benni
1 / 5 (13) Aug 29, 2013
-or to come up with something else which allows you to travel at that speed without being affected by the dust.


OK, so at what speed do you want to travel? That will partially determine the mass of the hull you'll need in accordance with KE= 1/2mv*2.

What makes you think this is insurmountable? Let me repeat - what makes YOU think this is insurmountable?


It becomes insurmountable at a speed where a rocket engine cannot be built with enough mass/energy conversion to accelerate a hull of suitable mass to protect ts occupants. This limitation will occur long before 99.9% of light speed is reached. You need to consider from the equation I gave you that for each doubling of speed there is a quadrupling of KE, for 3 times it is 9, etc.

If you thinking, like the Trekkies do, that science will one day in the future come up with a magical foil wrap to ward off "dust", just remember the above equation. It's all about necessary mass needed to absorb kinetic energy.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Aug 29, 2013
Obviously the same thing you always do Otto. Make a bunch of sockpuppets and go on a rage-voting-spree
You misread my demeanor. Did you not see the buttsniffing doggie? I thought it was funny that your post about 2.5 is now (4:20 est) at 2. Hukhuk.
You never were (and never will be) "the scientific community" - or part of it. You don't have the mind (or attitude) for it
This from the person who does not know about slow neutrons but still thinks he knows what radiation is and how it acts?? What else have you gotten wrong that was easy to expose with a single google search? Help me out here.
People will (or won't) read my posts just the same. Because -for some strange reason that I can't explain to you- it's content that matters
-And that is precisely WHY you need to research before you post. I will continue to remind you whenever you forget.
So I guess you lose at life
Perhaps but I will lose with a clear conscience and a smile on my face.
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 29, 2013
Nuclear powered rockets could do it in 60 to 70 years, but my POINT wasn't WHY, but that we COULD do it


I skipped some posts, so sorry if this is a repeat of a comment already made.

I'm not so sure you are correct there. Such a spacecraft would have great difficulty with waste heat. I don't think our current technology can solve the waste heat problem efficiently enough to manage alpha cenauri in that short a time. You could run a nuclear rocket for a while, but heat would build up and destroy your spacecraft too quickly.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Aug 29, 2013
"In the case of a moving magnetic-sail, the atoms of the Interstellar Medium (about 90%-50% of the ISM) are actually ionized by its rapidly changing magnetic-field strength, in a process akin to that used to ionize gas in a Pulsed Inductive Thruster. If you imagine an atom drifting through space at typically 15 km/s, to then encounter a magnetic field approaching at 60,000 km/s is to experience a change in field sufficiently quick enough to ionize the atom. In effect the ship is creating a shock-wave in the ISM which is producing a lot of extra charge as atoms are ionized. All those suddenly energetic electrons could be sufficient to increase the charge on the ISM dust, thus increasing the deflector effect. The question needing investigation is whether this is sufficient to provide protection against all the ISM dust, or whether some additional defences will be needed...The original "Daedalus" study proposed an artificial dust cloud moving 200 kilometres ahead of the main vehicle..."
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 29, 2013
My last post was meant in answer to:
It becomes insurmountable at a speed where a rocket engine cannot be built with enough mass/energy conversion to accelerate a hull of suitable mass to protect ts occupants
-to show that bennis objections are certainly not original nor do real scientists consider them insurmountable.

People thought that trains could not travel faster than 60 mph because people could not survive it. But then they built one which went that fast and lo! the drivers did not die. People thought that mach 1 was an insurmountable barrier until basic supersonic flow theory and the fundamental understanding of shock waves was achieved.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 29, 2013
Such a spacecraft would have great difficulty with waste heat. I don't think our current technology can solve the waste heat problem
Wrong again.

"Propulsion systems like nuclear thermal rockets do not need heat radiators because the waste heat is carried away by the exhaust plume. In effect, the exhaust is their radiator (the technical term is "Open-Cycle Cooling"). Electrical powered drives like ion drives will require radiators on their power plants. Fusion drives may or may not require radiators, depending upon whether the design can dump the waste heat into the exhaust or not."

-This is like shooting fische in a barrel.
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (4) Aug 29, 2013
I thought it was funny that your post about 2.5

Because 2.5 is the standard setting? Ever thought of that? Too complicated for you?
This from the person who does not know about slow neutrons but still thinks he knows what radiation is and how it acts?

Since we had 2 semesters of radiation studies at university (it's part of the EE curriculum) - yeah. I actually do know what I'm talking about. Fancy that.
Perhaps but I will lose with a clear conscience and a smile on my face.

Good for you then. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Aug 29, 2013
Since we had 2 semesters of radiation studies at university (it's part of the EE curriculum) - yeah. I actually do know what I'm talking about. Fancy that
Ah. I suppose slow neutrons was covered in the trimester program then.

OOp looks like you missed the filter again. Leider-
Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf
1.3 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
What a looser eh otto?
Benni
1 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
The original "Daedalus" study proposed an artificial dust cloud moving 200 kilometres ahead of the main vehicle.


The propulsion mechanism for this "artificial dust cloud" will be what? It's got to keep up with the speed of the main vehicle If it will be "200 Km ahead", that is about 115 miles. Maybe a magnetic coupling from the main craft to the to the artificial dust cloud? Now we're talking about an even bigger main vehicle propulsion system to sustain a rocket & it's cloud at let's say half the speed of light. What cloud density would we need to assure there will be no collisions with ISM traveling AT 15 Km/sec to protect the hull of the craft? It had better be quite dense.

An additional issue here is that not all the dust will strike the hull head on. Other particles will strike the hull at an angle, the greater the angle, the less the impact of course.This artificial cloud will need to be a deep umbrella shaped cloud just short of total enclosure at the rear.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 29, 2013
The propulsion mechanism for this "artificial dust cloud" will be what? It's got to keep up with the speed of the main vehicle If it will be "200 Km ahead", that is about 115 miles
I dunno ask the scientists who conceived it.
An additional issue here is that not all the dust will strike the hull head on. Other particles will strike the hull at an angle, the greater the angle, the less the impact of course.This artificial cloud will need to be a deep umbrella shaped cloud just short of total enclosure at the rear.
I suppose the scientists who actually worked on the idea would have thought of these things. Why dont you do a little research and find out?
Benni
1 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
I suppose the scientists who actually worked on the idea would have thought of these things. Why dont you do a little research and find out?


Your post was the first time I ever heard of this. Where did you pick this up? I'm starting the research with you to get my first lead.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Aug 29, 2013
What a looser eh otto?

Already talking to yourself?
Interesting, but not entirely unexpected. Didn't I diagnose you with schizophrenia before you were banned last time? Seems to have finally kicked in.

But never fear. Zeph has done that, too, in the past. You're in good company.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (12) Aug 30, 2013
Food for thought.

A galaxy 10 billion light years away we are currently obvserving it like it was 10 billion years ago today, as it takes that long for light and certain waves to reach us. So it is an early galaxy - it probably has no intelligent life until much later into the galaxies life.

Have no explanation for closer galaxies and our own galaxy, other than we can't observe everywhere all the time. We get occasional snapshots of "random" star systems and that's about it.

Even if intelligent life does exist, it may now be able to hide it's radio signals and stay hidden. Hell we're already thinking about maybe doing that as currently we're broadcasting our position to the universe. Then again the closest star won't have recieved it yet so not too much to worry about.

I genuinely just think the universe is so large any life can easily slip by unnoticed. You can kill hundreds of things in your garden without every seeing or realising it is there and its crawling with life.
antialias_physorg
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 30, 2013
it probably has no intelligent life until much later into the galaxies life.

I wouldn't bet on that. Just yesterday I was watching a youtube video of Neil deGrasse Tyson in which he makes a compelling case that life evolved very quickly on Earth.

From memory (numbers may be off a tiny bit):
Earth came into being about 4.5 billion years back. But the crust was still molten for another 600 milion years (age of heavy bombardment). So that leaves us at 3.9Ga to where Earth could sustain a stable, biological chemistry.
The earliest signs of life we've found are from 3.5 billion years ago. So it took life only 400 million years from when it could, conceivably develop to actually develop.

Depending on the source you look at the heavy bombardement could have lasted as long as 3.8Ga and the first signs of life may date back to 3.7Ga which would mean life appeared almost 'instantly' (in cosmological timeframes)
triplehelix
1 / 5 (12) Aug 30, 2013
antialias, you assume that those galaxies are in similar universal conditions. Back then the universe and galaxies where more hot. Earlier galaxies may not be able to support life.

Also, the issue again, is we have 1 planet. It is not good science to predict something based on one data point. It did that on Earth, but we have no direct data stating whether Earth is actually much quicker than other planets to develop life.

Earlier galaxies literally 13 billion light years away would be mostly stars, and not many planets anyway (well they will now, but image and data we see will be 13 billion years old).

Also, we're talking about intelligent life here antialias. Yes life began 400mil years into Earths formation, but it took 4.2 billion years thereafter before our very primitive species came about. The skies will be silent if the life around is isn't intelligent.
Aaron1980
1 / 5 (11) Aug 30, 2013
there is no evidence to suggest that life developed on earth from scratch. there is evidence that life can travel between planets and between stars.

it is simpler to see life coming to earth from space than for life to be created from inanimate material.

recent discoveries suggest there are life forms than live for millions of years and reproduce in 10000 year cycles on earth
Benni
1 / 5 (12) Aug 30, 2013
@Open: Finally, ol' crickey mate, you got out of bed......Toot, your twin, has yet to to find his way to the stars, probably still looking for his glasses. I started off this morning in N. America by splitting half a chord of firewood, gotta get this stuff done before the end of my vacation, can't retire for a moment even when on vacation.............
Q-Star
2.8 / 5 (9) Aug 30, 2013
there is evidence that life can travel between planets and between stars.


Could ya link to that? I'm interested, the evidence part.

recent discoveries suggest there are life forms than live for millions of years and reproduce in 10000 year cycles on earth


That's interesting also,,, could ya link something on that too?
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 30, 2013
recent discoveries suggest there are life forms than live for millions of years and reproduce in 10000 year cycles on earth
That's interesting also,,, could ya link something on that too?

That part he seems to have right.
http://phys.org/n...ria.html

But that life can travel between planets...? Evidence to that effect would be news to me, too. (I guess there are a number of simulations that say it could be possible. But evidence is a bit more than that in my book)
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 30, 2013
antialias, you assume that those galaxies are in similar universal conditions. Back then the universe and galaxies where more hot. Earlier galaxies may not be able to support life.
That makes little sense to me. Move a planet further out from its sun and it's cooler out there (and since it's molten on the inside there is always a region between that and the outside that has just the right temperature).

When looking at galaxies 10bn years ago we're not talking about a blistering hot universe. The cooling of the CMB is via an exponential function. If you take the current CMB temperature and plug that into the math youll find that 10 bn years ago the CMB was roughly double in temp what it is today (6K instead of 3K). That's only a minimal difference - and certainly not one that affects life.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Aug 30, 2013

Earlier galaxies literally 13 billion light years away would be mostly stars, and not many planets anyway

More gas giants, as were still dealing with early generation stars (i.e. the heavier elements for making rocky planets are still scarce).
But I don't think one can argue that there are less planets in proportion to stars back then quite as easily. If anything, since stuff was closer together, there should have been more localities that had suffcient densities to clump into planets - not less.


we have 1 planet. It is not good science to predict something

Agreed. The point was that life started quickly - not that the chances of life starting are necessarily high. (You can win the lottery on the first try despite low odds)

The skies will be silent if the life around is isn't intelligent.

Sure. As I said before: Intelligence is A trait that enables survival. Not THE trait. Certainly it isn't the 'target' trait of evolution. There is no target trait.
Q-Star
2.8 / 5 (9) Aug 30, 2013
recent discoveries suggest there are life forms than live for millions of years and reproduce in 10000 year cycles on earth
That's interesting also,,, could ya link something on that too?

That part he seems to have right.
http://phys.org/n...ria.html


Living for millions of years, is not the same as lying dormant for millions of years, but that is a semantic distinction and I concede that living millions of years is a valid way of viewing it in this context..

But that life can travel between planets...? Evidence to that effect would be news to me, too. (I guess there are a number of simulations that say it could be possible. But evidence is a bit more than that in my book)


Here I must dig me heels in. He said evidence that "it has", not "it can". Models may permit it, but a model that represents a phenomena you can not observe tells ya nothing more than what may be allowed, and little about what "is".

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Aug 30, 2013
Didn't I diagnose you with schizophrenia before you were banned last time?
Arf? Sorry I havent been banned in years.

And didnt I already diagnose you with a complete and total lack of a sense of humor? How sad for you. Posting a smileyface doesnt necessarily mean you are smiling now does it?
But never fear. Zeph has done that, too, in the past. You're in good company
I think we can also diagnose you with a tendency to give more weight to where a fact comes from, how a fact is presented, and who is presenting it, rather than to the merits of the fact itself. I think this is rather common among pseudo-intellectuals and engineers lacking a requisite number of semesters.

Zephyr may be a little cracked but he has consistently exhibited a knowledge of physics far in excess of most of the people here, including you. Further he is willing to reference what he says which many here, including youreslf, tend not to do.

I think these are admirable qualities you know?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 30, 2013
there is evidence that life can travel between planets and between stars.


Could ya link to that? I'm interested, the evidence part.
I think he meant to say that there is absolutely no evidence that life can travel between planets, and that life is impossible on stars. I think it was a typo.
Q-Star
3.2 / 5 (11) Aug 30, 2013
there is evidence that life can travel between planets and between stars.


Could ya link to that? I'm interested, the evidence part.
I think he meant to say that there is absolutely no evidence that life can travel between planets, and that life is impossible on stars. I think it was a typo.


Oh, if that was a typo, then my request is moot. Thanks.

@Aaron, if that was a typo, sorry to trouble. AA provided a link to the other,,, so that one is understood too.
Benni
1.3 / 5 (16) Aug 30, 2013
@Open: I know it's been a busy day for you what with all the posts you've been making today, but I'm really concerned about your twin Toot over there in Europe. He's not out of bed yet to make his one star ratings? I do notice for whom the two of you never click a star rating, you do that thinking that completely throws off suspicion from yourself by never voting for yourself if you never vote for yourself, it in fact almost identifies you.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (10) Aug 30, 2013
@Open: I know it's been a busy day for you what with all the posts you've been making today, but I'm really concerned about your twin Toot over there in Europe. He's not out of bed yet to make his one star ratings? I do notice for whom the two of you never click a star rating, you do that thinking that completely throws off suspicion from yourself by never voting for yourself if you never vote for yourself, it in fact almost identifies you.
I think open/toot/lite is some poor paraplegic who can only type with his tongue which would explain his limited participation here.
Aaron1980
1.3 / 5 (12) Aug 30, 2013
Voyager just left the solar system and is now in interstellar space on the way to another star system and it did not take that long. There are certainly dormant microbes in and on it. Mars meteorites are found all the time on earth. I am sure and without any doubt that some past asteroid hit on earth knocked some rocks with dormant life in and on them to the other planets in our solar system.... Ever heard of a Tardigrade?
Benni
1 / 5 (14) Aug 30, 2013
@Open: I know it's been a busy day for you what with all the posts you've been making today, but I'm really concerned about your twin Toot over there in Europe. He's not out of bed yet to make his one star ratings?


I think open/toot/lite is some poor paraplegic who can only type with his tongue which would explain his limited participation here.


I know who Open is. He has several posts within this topic of discussion. It's a careful process of deduction. You look for those who never submit a star rating under their posting name, like Open. They do this to insulate themselves from criticism under their posting name to give a false impression to other posters that they are non-partisans who just want to sort of get along as a voice of reason.

Their ultimate goal is to keep post ratings so low for people they disagree with that their posts won't be read if they can keep those ratings below the threshold of what the filter is set at. Now you know the strategy.
beleg
3.3 / 5 (10) Aug 31, 2013
The majority of Physorg thread commentary gives the reason as to why the silence in the sky.
Wolf358
3 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2013
I'm buying-in to the "They know we're here, and are waiting for us to burn the planet (and ourselves) to a crisp before coming anywhere near the place." theory. We are a dangerous and self-destructive type of life; who could blame them for not wanting us to spread? Look at how we treat our own planet and each other; can you imagine how badly we'd trash the rest of the galaxy?
DrJim
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 31, 2013
This is to elaborate on a point ignored by all but a few. In 100 years our own wireless communications technology has made several technological jumps making it inaccessible to a previous generation. I'm guessing that spread spectrum signals sound like a kind of hiss in the receivers of 25 years ago.

Also, it's likely that interstellar communication is very 'tight beam' for energy saving (thus easy to miss), and it could well use signal aspects we are oblivious to [relative phase or polarization of different signals.... or quantum entanglement..]. What further wrinkles will we see as 'normal' in 100, 1000, or 10000 years of development?

I believe Shannon stated that a signal transmitting maximal information is indistinguishable from noise. So... do we intercept any radiation that seems like noise?
rug
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2013
Lots, if you remember why back to the turn dial tv's all that snow was intercepted radiation. Same as static on the AM dial of radio. A portion of it is believed to be the cosmic microwave background while some of it is radiation from the sun and interstellar radiation.
DrJim
2 / 5 (5) Aug 31, 2013
Forgot to say this: Our current well-meaning SETI initiatives strike me as an expensive and likely-unproductive search for the equivalent of 'smoke signals' or spark-gap Morse. Advanced civilizations no longer use these...(maybe they are on to gravity waves or neutrinos)

And any real communications would probably be 'narrowcast' not broadcast.

Seems to me our main hope for interception of a signal could only lie in a civilization's wish to broadcast a beacon recognizable to randomly placed baby technologies like ours, or ours in a few more millenia. What could make sense? Do something to discernably modulate a powerful natural beacon e.g. a pulsar. For example a ring of orientable mirrors (or more likely smart self-distorting graphene sheets) that can cut the signal by just 0.1% in a deterministic way.

If a civilization is not TRYING LIKE CRAZY to be detectable, I doubt we will detect it.
Benni
1 / 5 (15) Aug 31, 2013
@Toot: Holy smokes cricky mate old boy, so late to the ratings party. Must be the time difference in the European time zones between the UK & Germany. Never realized the dark side of the planet was so big. "Open" hasn't posted here yet today, maybe it's his turn to sleep in? You'd better get a PM over to him to keep him on his retirement career.
DrJim
2 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2013
http://phys.org/n...ser.html Maybe in 50 years we will be smart enough to see how cosmic rays could be modulated for beacon purposes? Or in 500 years, the same for some more-subtle propagating phenomenon? It is the height of arrogance to expect others to use our 100-yr old primitive signaling systems.
beleg
1 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2013
"Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct."
http://en.wikiped...tinction

And..."A typical species becomes extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance."
You and your offspring are given a chance to learn about evolution.
You have the potential to joint 'life' (whatever that means to you) that went beyond the 10 million years we believe is typical.

DrJim
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 31, 2013

Advanced communications will be efficient and appear as just more white noise.


Both you and GSwift7 said what I did, but earlier and more eloquently -- thanks. (If I had been able to force myself to wade through the drivel and flaming to see these, I might not have posted.)
x2791258
not rated yet Aug 31, 2013
edited. delete this please.
Tessellatedtessellations
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2013
Maybe aliens have uploaded our minds into a computer simulation so what we think is the universe is really a technologically induced hallucination of reality. Sandboxing us in an artificial reality would be a way to keep us from colonizing the universe and gobbling up real resources, without doing something inhumane like exterminating us. They may have even taken over Earth and we are running on a server on some alien's desk.
GoodElf
1 / 5 (10) Aug 31, 2013
Contact with advanced aliens is by one of two possible ways... physical contact or technical contact. Physical contact depends on the ultimate possibility of rapid travel between the stars. Science would say this is a "Yes" or "No" type answer. If "No" then even if there are Aliens there will never be Aliens or us ever meeting "in the flesh". If "Yes" then 100,000 years is a blink in the eye of the geological record so they are here already... so don't look "out there" look "down here".

On the other hand if you just want technical contact (communication) our technology cannot communicate "faster than light" yet. There may be ways to do this. If the answer is "Yes" - aliens will not want to use "jungle drums" for communication but the fastest form of communication... that rules our propagated radio and light. Quantum Entanglement is another question altogether, Alternatively if physical contact is easier/faster than technical contact they will use that method... and only that method.
komone
2 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2013
What would it be like, were we the first?
GoodElf
1 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2013
What would it be like, were we the first?
It would be extremely arrogant to assume that POV. Assuming Aliens are already here then you would need to question our Governments to see why they are not keeping us adequately informed. Our Governments would be the arbiters of information on our World... not them. The stupid stories about aliens conquering us... and all that... assumes some "need" to do so on their behalf. If they can travel anywhere in the Universe to all those uninhabited places with their natural material "wealth" and to regions in which they can access all the energy they may need... why attack us? You would have to assume some "Predator" type motive. We have little to offer other than being a separate culture to study. Our "value" to them is only in those things we hold "uniquely" - perhaps only our "culture" - our technical and social abilities are not the reasons why they may be here. Culture may be studied clandestinely (single end) or interactively (double end)
indio007
1.2 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2013
Whatever is out there, if it's sentient, is not using EM propagating waves to communicate with other beings.
Even we know that would be pointless.
Are we sending signals to other beings to alert them to our presence?
Nope.

How strong would the signal be by the time it reaches the nearest star with extraterrestrial beings?
I don't think it would be detectable at the power we broadcast at.
Humpty
1.6 / 5 (15) Aug 31, 2013
Space is a big place.

Unless there is a valid reason for doing so - why bother?

You DO need way faster than light drives, LONG life spans, and radiation PROOF shielding - because most of the universe, especially in the star rich areas, is a sizzling microwave of ultra nastyness.
GoodElf
1 / 5 (10) Sep 01, 2013
I don't "buy" the current "rocket" paradigms for interstellar travel. They are "dumb" in that they require vast payloads of fuel, with times of transit long relative to the lifespans of biological life and result in significant time dilation leaving the traveler disconnected in time from his society and it's "former" culture... not to mention exposing the "client" to massive irradiation.
Unless there is a valid reason for doing so - why bother? etc.

Quite true if this "rocket" framework within which we are restricted is all there is. Advanced Alien species must have "solved" those problem by removing the necessity for actually traversing the vast intervening space at extreme velocity. A shorter path in time and space with no exposure to radiation is absolutely necessary.

If this is not possible there will never be "living" Advanced Aliens or their machines actually visiting us even if they use Von Neumann Machines. Technological communication is all that could be possible.
GoodElf
1 / 5 (10) Sep 01, 2013
Whatever is out there, if it's sentient, is not using EM propagating waves to communicate with other beings.
Even we know that would be pointless.
Are we sending signals to other beings to alert them to our presence?
Nope.

How strong would the signal be by the time it reaches the nearest star with extraterrestrial beings?
I don't think it would be detectable at the power we broadcast at.

You are right. "Classical signals" are prone to "fading" with distance... quantum signals are not prone to this "fading". Individual Photon Signals get "buried" in classical noise but individual Photons make the journey without "loss" (we know this because we "see" stars clearly). Our eyes cannot detect/analyze single photons we need instruments that can do that. Picking the quantum signal from the background "classical" noise is possible with special instruments and a quantum computer and a "program" to detect "intelligence". Classical attempts to do this would fail... big time.
beleg
1 / 5 (2) Sep 01, 2013
You are asking how a universe works (interacts or communicates) beyond the (EM) fields familiar to us.
My short sighted imagination and generation can not see beyond those fields.
There are 'glimpses' (correlations) of 'instantaneous communication' where no exchange of information (as we understand information) takes place.
Aaron1980
1 / 5 (10) Sep 01, 2013
Voyager just left the solar system and is now in interstellar space on the way to another star system and it did not take that long. There are certainly dormant microbes in and on it. Mars meteorites are found all the time on earth. I am sure and without any doubt that some past asteroid hit on earth knocked some rocks with dormant life in and on them to the other planets in our solar system.... Ever heard of a Tardigrade?


hate to say I told you so...
Urgelt
not rated yet Sep 02, 2013
What's missing from the analysis described by the article?

Biology.

To get a space-capable civilization, a species has to achieve dominance over competing species.

But competition is built-in to biology; so the dominant species starts competing against itself.

Result: biological organisms are never free from competition for very long. Competition means instability: winners and losers, life and death.

Civilizations are fragile, vulnerable, and temporary. Coalitions within civilizations will form and compete; periodically they'll crash the whole thing. If the species survives a crash, a new civilization might follow, but with the same fragility, vulnerability, and temporary nature.

If this is a true hypothesis, it may be that biological creatures will never be capable of the sustained, cooperative effort required to colonize galaxies. Spasms of violence will invariably get in the way.

We might hold out more hope for machine intelligences, but we don't have those yet.
GoodElf
1 / 5 (9) Sep 02, 2013
... There are 'glimpses' (correlations) of 'instantaneous communication' where no exchange of information (as we understand information) takes place.
There is more than "hope" to be glimpsed. Suggest having a look at some recent papers in the Cornell Repository.
"Deterministic entanglement of superconducting qubits by parity measurement and feedback"
- arXiv:1306.4002v1 [cond-mat.mes-hall] 17 Jun 2013 which is the same preprint of the experimental paper "Deterministic quantum teleportation with feed-forward in a solid state system." published in Nature. Or read it in PhysOrg article "Teleported by electronic circuit: Physicists 'beam' information". 10,000 qubits can be teleported " virtually instantaneously" (see "feed forward") per second. If entangled information cannot be exchanged "globally" it would rule out practical Quantum Computers. There are obviously other papers mainly by Zeillinger and Gisin. Maldacena and Susskind say Entanglement = "Wormholes".
GoodElf
1 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2013
... hate to say I told you so...
Voyager has not really left the Solar System it has only reached the Heliopause. Check out "Kuiper belt" in Wikipedia. Voyager has hundreds of years to go to reach even the closest star (one way) if happened to be going in that direction. What I mean is it is impractical in the extreme for humans or living creatures to travel interstellar distances because no Government would ever fund a space program to visit another Solar System with the political limits of 4 year terms of office. The tax payers would "scream" bl**dy murder!! The best any Government can hope for would be two or three terms of office. When these ships arrive hundreds of years later at solar systems, by then the US will probably be governed by the Chinese. The US learned it's "lesson" with the Apollo Moon Program... the Democrats started the program and the Republicans got all the glory... and that was just a single decade or so. "Sleeper ships" do not solve the politics either.
GoodElf
1 / 5 (9) Sep 02, 2013
Civilizations are fragile, vulnerable, and temporary. Coalitions within civilizations will form and compete; periodically they'll crash the whole thing. If the species survives a crash, a new civilization might follow, but with the same fragility, vulnerability, and temporary nature.
You are right. Some civilizations will not make it for "structural reasons" just like why most species do not make it in nature. I was speaking of "Advanced Aliens"... you have to be a long lived civilization to become "advanced". I don't automatically expect humans to be able to "make it". There will be many "Advanced Civilizations" but I have no idea the ratio of "hopefuls" to "successes" (small fraction?). In nature destructive species must be self terminating, They inevitably destroy their own habitat. "Smart" species are self limiting and live within their habitat... they are the species that have survival value on earth. Machine Intelligences may "conquer" but if "we" are not there why bother
triplehelix
1 / 5 (12) Sep 03, 2013
antialias physorg.

You have stated earlier galaxies would be fine to support life

"All chemical elements heavier than hydrogen, helium, and lithium had to be created by stars. As a result those heavy elements, which astronomers collectively call 'metals,' took time to accumulate. Life could not have existed in the early Universe because the elements of life, including carbon and oxygen, did not exist."

http://www.sci-ne...292.html

I am not saying it has no life NOW. What I am saying is, the galaxies that are 10+ billion light years away are so young the chances of life are pretty much nil, as most required chemistry for life hadn't occurred. We only see it as it was 10bil years ago - including it's potential radio waves or any waves showing sentient life -

I am almost certain this is why far away galaxies don't show us evidence of life. Closer galaxies are tougher to answer...
Q-Star
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 03, 2013
All chemical elements heavier than hydrogen, helium, and lithium had to be created by stars. As a result those heavy elements, which astronomers collectively call 'metals,' took time to accumulate. Life could not have existed in the early Universe because the elements of life, including carbon and oxygen, did not exist."


Population III stars are the rarest of objects. The earliest stars would have been massive, short lived (less than 10 million years), with plenty of neucleosynthesis taking place, even before the first galaxies being fully formed. Well under your 3 billion year mark.

I am almost certain this is why far away galaxies don't show us evidence of life. Closer galaxies are tougher to answer...


How could a far away galaxy show signs of life? What is there that ya think we could "see" that would indict evidence of life or lack of? Ya put a misplaced ability in our current techniques of observing.
triplehelix
1 / 5 (12) Sep 03, 2013
Population III stars are the rarest of objects. The earliest stars would have been massive, short lived (less than 10 million years), with plenty of neucleosynthesis taking place, even before the first galaxies being fully formed. Well under your 3 billion year mark.


This proves my point doesn't it? My point is early stars (and galaxies) can not support life, which is why faraway galaxies are silent, because what we observe is 10 billion years old, not how it is today.

How could a far away galaxy show signs of life? What is there that ya think we could "see" that would indict evidence of life or lack of? Ya put a misplaced ability in our current techniques of observing.


...Are you sure you read my comments? You're agreeing with me!

I am saying faraway galaxies will be silent even if they do have life for a myriad of reasons. My original one being the ones that are 10+ billion years old could not sustain life as we currently see them.
Q-Star
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 03, 2013
Population III stars are the rarest of objects. The earliest stars would have been massive, short lived (less than 10 million years), with plenty of neucleosynthesis taking place, even before the first galaxies being fully formed. Well under your 3 billion year mark.


This proves my point doesn't it?


Do ya know what a Pop III star is? They are the primordial metal-less stars, this means they are rare, we can't find them,,, most stars in the galaxies at 2 billion years are Pop II & I, ARE metal rich.

...Are you sure you read my comments? You're agreeing with me!

I am saying faraway galaxies will be silent even if they do have life for a myriad of reasons. My original one being the ones that are 10+ billion years old could not sustain life as we currently see them.


I'm disagreeing with ya. The stars at 10 even at 11 + billion years are metal rich. But that's all we can say as far as being life sustaining,, we see metal rich galaxies at 11.5
Captain Stumpy
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 03, 2013
Q-Star :
a Pop III star is? They are the primordial metal-less stars, this means they are rare, we can't find them,,,
Population III stars are the rarest of objects. The earliest stars would have been massive, short lived (less than 10 million years), with plenty of neucleosynthesis taking place, even before the first galaxies being fully formed

@Q-Star; I have a question about that: would the rarity of these stars and heavier elements pretty much also exclude the possibility of intelligent life? or even life, as the heavier elements are not there to be manipulated by the usual means, during these earlier times?

or am I missing something? please educate me... and thanks in advance
DarkHorse66
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 04, 2013
pop III stars; low metallicity or not?
I did a little googling and found that you both have points and can now see where the confusion is coming from. Here is an article that shows that it is hypothesised that pop III's may well produce metals at some point:
http://astronomy....tion+III
Something from Wiki about metallicity in general:
http://en.wikiped...allicity
For those who are game to work their way through something more comprehensive on pop III's:
http://www2.astro...dman.pdf
Or even a whole subject of stellar astronomy (appears to be open access):
http://www2.astro...534.html
Those last two may look 'graduate', but even an undergrad should be able to get the gist of it. Have some fun, guys.
Cheers, DH66

beleg
2 / 5 (4) Sep 09, 2013
Well how many dwarfs need to come together as an alternative to classic star formation?
Are these signatures indistinguishable from classical formation?
Thks DH.
Please these are layman questions. Do not flame.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2013
My point is early stars (and galaxies) can not support life, which is why faraway galaxies are silent, because what we observe is 10 billion years old, not how it is today.


That's true in principle but the timescale over which metals were produced was fairly short, hundreds of millions of years, not billions. Our current telescopes cannot see that far back though the JWST may just start to reach the end of that era.

How could a far away galaxy show signs of life? What is there that ya think we could "see" that would indict evidence of life or lack of? Ya put a misplaced ability in our current techniques of observing.


...Are you sure you read my comments? You're agreeing with me!


No, you're missing his point, searches like SETI have a range of tens to hundreds of light years, only a fraction of the distance to the core of our own galaxy. There is no possibility of detecting any indication of life from any other galaxy even if it exists.