Precautionary Principle Memo – ready for transmission

Guest post by Reed Coray

Two members of the Penn State University faculty (Seth D. Baum and Jacob D. Haqq-Misra) and one employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman) have taken valuable time to address the issue of how mankind might deal with beneficent, neutral and hostile Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI).  The aforementioned concerned citizens authored an article appearing in the Journal Acta Astronautica (volume 68, 2011, pages 2114-2129).  The title of that article was: “Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis.”

I would like to provide assistance to those gentlemen so that they may continue their important work with minimal interruption.  To that end, I have written two messages that will (a) help ensure ETIs do not disrupt their important work, and (b) remove the need for those gentlemen to devote their valuable time to the generation of comparable messages.

Subject to the approval of Penn State University, NASA, and the authors of the referenced Acta Astronautica article, I recommend these messages be broadcast to space in all human languages.

PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE MESSAGE OF THE FIRST KIND

To:    Ecosystem-Valuing Universalist Extraterrestrial Intelligence Possessing The Capacity To Harm Or Destroy The Earth Or Any Portion Thereof (EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT)

From:    The faculty/staff of Penn State University and the employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Date:    Gregorian: 2011-08-28;   Julian: 2455801.5;   Modified Julian: 55801;   Hebrew: 5771-Av28;   Chinese: 2011-07-29;   Islamic: 1432-Ramadan-28;   ISO-8601: 2011-34-7; Persian: 1390-Shahrivar-6;   Mayan Long Count: 12.19.18.11.19;   Indian Civil: 1933-Bhadra-6;   Unix: 1314489600;   Excel Serial Day Number, 1900 Date System (PC): 40783;   Excel Serial Day Number, 1904 Date System (Macintosh): 39321

Subject:    Precautionary Principle Plea of the First Kind

Whereas:

(1)    EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs might exist,

(2)    EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs might be observing/monitoring (a) the composition of Earth’s atmosphere and (b) electromagnetic radiation emanating from the Earth,

(3)    Observations might be limited to the last 100 orbits of the Earth about its star (Sun)– Note:  We call one orbit of the Earth about the Sun a “year”,

(4)    Observations over the last 100 years show a small increase in the level of the atmospheric trace gas carbon dioxide (CO2),

(5)    EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs might conclude that the small increase in the level of the atmospheric trace gas CO2 is due to wicked practices of the dominant Earth species (mankind),

(6)    EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs might conclude that the small increase in the level of the atmospheric trace gas CO2 is known by mankind to be harmful to the Earth’s environment,

(7)    EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs might conclude that based on the harmful effect of the small increase in the level of the atmospheric trace gas CO2 that mankind is consciously and willfully destroying the Earth’s environment,

(8)    Although over the last 30 years most of mankind’s “message-related” electromagnetic radiation (and especially electromagnetic messages emanating from Penn State University and NASA) that discusses:

(a)    the small increase in the amount of the atmospheric trace gas CO2, and

(b)    its harmful effects on the Earth’s

has been

(i)    to deplore mankind’s contribution to the small increase in the level of the atmospheric trace gas CO2,

(ii)    to warn against such future behavior, and

(iii)    to try to limit/prevent future increases in the level of the atmospheric trace gas CO2,

a small segment of mankind (called deniers) disagrees with and even lies about the net adverse effect on the Earth’s environment of mankind’s small increase in the amount of the atmospheric trace gas CO2, and some of those lies have been transmitted to space in the form of electromagnetic radiation,

(9)    Members of the Penn State University faculty and of NASA have written an article [Acta Astronautica, 68 (2011) 2114-2129] demonstrating that at least some of mankind is aware of the possible harm EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs might inflict on the Earth,

We the faculty/staff of Penn State University and the employees of NASA do hereby plead to all EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs: Do not destroy the Earth or mankind; but if you insist on destroying a portion of the Earth, please exempt from that destruction: (a) the faculty/staff of Penn State University, (b) the employees of NASA, and (c) like-minded humans wherever they may reside–collectively known as the “good guys”.  If a condition that you not destroy us (the good guys) is that you require we (the good guys) submit a list of the wicked (the bad guys), we (the good guys) will gleefully supply that list–in fact, we (the good guys) have a few names already in mind.

Go with GAIA.

PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE MESSAGE OF THE SECOND KIND

To:    Extraterrestrial Intelligence Looking To Destroy Stupidity/Arrogance/Wasteful-Activities Wherever They Might Exist In The Universe (ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU)

From:    The faculty/staff of Penn State University and the employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Date:    Gregorian: 2011-08-28;   Julian: 2455801.5;   Modified Julian: 55801;   Hebrew: 5771-Av28;   Chinese: 2011-07-29;   Islamic: 1432-Ramadan-28;   ISO-8601: 2011-34-7;

Persian: 1390-Shahrivar-6;   Mayan Long Count: 12.19.18.11.19;   Indian Civil: 1933-Bhadra-6;   Unix: 1314489600;   Excel Serial Day Number, 1900 Date System (PC): 40783;  Excel Serial Day Number, 1904 Date System (Macintosh): 39321

Subject:    Precautionary Principle Plea of the Second Kind

Whereas ETILTDSAWAWTMEITUs may exist and receive the electromagnetic broadcast of our PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE MESSAGE OF THE FIRST KIND,  We state that the content of our PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE MESSAGE OF THE FIRST KIND was made in jest–ha ha; and we plead that ETILTDSAWAWTMEITUs not destroy the faculty/staff of Penn State University and/or employees of NASA and/or like-minded humans.

[Dupl.  removed, 2011-08-30, Gregorian. 8<)  Robt]

 

 

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103 thoughts on “Precautionary Principle Memo – ready for transmission

  1. I now have to remove a film of ejected pea and ham soup from my PC monitor. Do you know how hard that’s going to be?
    I love this site.

  2. To all alien species who receive this message
    So that the aforementioned academic institute may continue to research ways of communicating with aliens such as yourselves, please silently and gently move the relevant members of that institute to your home planet and there assist them in their valuable work.
    Please let us know if there is a charge for this service.

  3. According to the Precautionary Principle, all of humanity should build massive underground cities to protect ourselves from the eventual and inevitable strike of a major meteorite.
    Additionally, according to the Precautionary Principle we should also not live underground because of the the possible collapse of the roof killing all humanity.
    Therefore the only rational cause of action according to the Precautionary Principle is to all kill ourselves, as we are going to end up being killed anyway.

  4. Aliens might decide to destroy earth because the messages proposed to be sent to them sound like they were written by lawyers. CO2 is harmless to the universe, lawyers are not.
    John

  5. If we ever met aliens, I would certainly want to be packing thermonuclear weapons … Just in case.
    And, the first information I would try to discover is whether they are also packing thermonuclear weapons.

  6. I feel better already. I sure hope this disease of spending GuvMoney on ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU’s (e-tilts for short) doesn’t spread up to the land of extra-dirty fuels. Snoozuki notwithstanding.

  7. What if the ETILTDSAWAWTMEITUs get upset that he hasn’t included the Buddhist calendar (2544-08-28).
    Oh noes!

  8. How could you forget “Stardate” Anthony? It will definately help Capt. Kirk when he is called on by Star Fleet to travel back in time and save us from the hostile, alien, humpback whales.

  9. As the greatest invasion film shows us (And got to love Jack as Presidant), you just need country music, that should cover all 3 bases for ya.
    a) Friendly – Have a good old dance along a line.
    b) Meh! – good theme music for the human race.
    c)the CO2 plice come to arrest us all – makes a lovely mess as their heads explode.
    Now wheres my grant?

  10. …. This message is for the recipient only. If you are not an EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT or an ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU, please ignore this message and delete it forthwith.
    If you are not an EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT or an ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU, but, on having received this message, you may consider becoming an EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT or an ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU now or at any time in the future, plesse do not ignore this message, but read it carefully now or keep it for later reading (as appropriate).

  11. May I suggest the most efficient way to send this would be low frequency modulation of the worldwide mains grid using a modified binary complex based on an n dimensional codex?
    Or as my grant proposal reads:
    The investigation of the most efficient way to send this would be low frequency modulation of the worldwide mains grid using a modified binary complex based on an n dimensional codex and its impact on global warming.

  12. Don’t worry, we’ve got Dr Who on our side, if he can take on the Daleks, the Cybermen, & anything else, he can certainly deal with whatever ET has to offer!!!!!! 🙂

  13. Whilst I am in favour of monitoring the universe seeking to discover whether there are signs of alien life, the idea of seeking to make contact with aliens appears fool hardy in the extreme. Everything, we know about life points towards the strong riding rough shod over the weak. Natural selection and the survival of the fitest means that the strong dominate the weak. I therefore consider it to be naive and misconceived to consider that more advanced life forms will be benevolent and I consider that in theory they pose a significant risk.
    Should inteligent life exist, given the distances involved, it will likely be impossile to have a two way conversation. Whilst that will be frustrating, it may well turn out to be a saving grace.

  14. One would assume that ETs would have progressed through our energy making processes towards the advanced system they use now, being so far in advance of us. So would understand our problems with alarmists and so land on earth to explain why these alarmists are so wrong.
    Or be so behind us due to having used up all their energy that they have no ability to leave their own planet or even detect us on ours.
    Whatever it seems to be research that can be shelved in favour of something more important.

  15. This is clearly a serious concern. Recent analysis has shown correlation between previously perplexing alien interest in abducting mentally unstable people, anal probes and concern for Earth’s atmospheric trace gases. IPCC computer models now indicate these tendencies could result in the aliens destroying all of man kind. The brillance of NASA and the Penn State University staff at detecting these relationships can not be over stated. The preemptive communication from a select group most known for hugging trees and wearing green tights will quite possibly save humanity from this serious threat. With perhaps several hundreds of billions of dollars of addation funding, the destruction of modern industrial society and a leftest take over of world government could result in safety for those heroes in green tights and limited mass starvation for the rest of us. It is good to know we are in the excellant hands of progressive thinkers.

  16. Paul Krugman adds Perry and Romney to the list of “bad guys” that the “good guys” may desire to transmit. Both groups will be long gone by the time any creature in far outer space reacts to any message and is able to understand it. Science fiction and politics is live and well in “climate science”.

  17. This is only peripherally related to this (most excellent) post, but I have a question. If AGW is such a bad thing, then why would EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPTs have to do anything at all? They could just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves.

  18. And a mention of the fact that all life on our planet REQUIRES the existence of this trace gas, and that it has dropped to almost fatal (150 ppm for plants, and thus all life) levels in recent centuries.
    That will clinch it. There is no intelligent life here….

  19. I keep looking for the satire tag. This is satire, isn’t it? Now if you told me they got a government grant to study this, I’d believe it was real. Otherwise, you’re just yanking my chain, aren’t you?

  20. Don’t these “scientists” at NASA know anything about the Twin Paradox with space travel? Sure go into space, travel to a planetary star, but do not expect to go home and see your friends.

  21. You left out stardate 11108.28. I’m sure the outer ones are big fans of Star Trek as its been broadcast continuously for over 40 years.
    Note, I had to look up how to do stardates, so I am not a geek (unless that is a good thing ;-)).

  22. Very funny. I just started rereading Michael Crichtons “The Sphere”. Amazing how much this message compares to what he wrote in the begining of the book.

  23. Sounds like the folks at Penn State are spending way too much time expanding their consciousness. Time to lay off the wacky tobaccy and take a reality check.

  24. Wouldn’t they be more interest in the atmospheric Methane content ? It’s important to know if life is likely to emit flatulence.

  25. Using space aliens to eliminate deniers, in reality it is going to be much more difficult than that.
    And it is probably not a good idea to mention kill and destroy to some unknown space aliens should they arrive. Pleading don’t kill me kill them deniers over there might not work.

  26. 439 lightyears in the future, the message is intercepted by advanced beings for whom EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT and ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU are extremely vulgar insults relating to the proclivities of one’s parental units…

  27. No need to worry the aliens have seen we are going to run out of CO2 and thus kill all life on this planet. They have sent clouds of metorites laden with dry ice to save us from ourselves.
    Thankyou kind aliens!

  28. Neo says:
    August 30, 2011 at 7:12 am
    Wouldn’t they be more interest in the atmospheric Methane content ? It’s important to know if life is likely to emit flatulence.
    ===========================================================
    You’re darn tootin’! That’s mission-critical information.
    Do you have any idea how awful it is in an enclosed spaceship on a long inter-galactic journey when one of the passengers just can’t stop passing gas? Whew-eee!

  29. I had been imformed, not that I believed any of it that President Eisenhower had already had a summit with Alien life forms in Feburary 1954, how come these academics do not look up the old records which must surely exist? I think the scent of NWO/CAGW insanity is rapidly increasing at Penn State.

  30. It’s OK don’t worry we aliens have infiltrated your planet already and have worked our way into your Universities. We are exterminating you by getting you to believe in AGW. You will then remove CO2 from your atmosphere until you reach the tipping point for an ice age! It’s too late there is nothing you can do to convince the believers it is not happening!

  31. A: “Hostile aliens just landed on our planet!”
    B: “How can you tell they’re hostile?”
    A: “I scanned them with my Hansen Purity Detector. They have exhaust ports that emit carbon dioxide! Looks a lot like a nose, in fact, but it’s obviously a climate weapon. Smells bad, too”
    B: “Obviously a climate weapon! Do they make any sounds?”
    A: “Well, he might have been saying ‘take me to your leader’, but it sounded a little like ‘my motorcycle broke down, can I use your phone?’

  32. The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
    –Bill Watterson

  33. It’s as though these guys don’t use any energy or eat anything, use any factory outputs or even fart.

  34. Another thing. If they have the technology to get to Earth let me assure you of one thing, my friends, they will not be using Microsoft Excel to plot their hyperspace trajectory.

  35. It’s an ungrateful race of humanity that would build an ETI survival ark and not invite Al Gore on board. The sight of a grinning James Hansen (NASA ticket) wearing his “Bwana Jim” sunhat and waving goodbye from the party deck will break The Goracle’s heart.

  36. Let’s assume there are ET’s who are not any further along than us but have figured out how to decode our old analog TV signals and are just now beginning to watch Startrek. Further assume they have no concept of entertainment plus they can only communicate visually because they have no ears making our audio signal a complete mystery to them. They just might think it’s real and that maybe we’re on our way to them! Their whole planet goes wild with excitement. But then imagine their disappointment 30 odd years later seeing same guy back on earth doing flight/hotel reservation advertisements? Those poor buggers…

  37. Suggest you add:
    “P.S. Please do not worry about all the EM signatures of nuclear detonations. We were just having a party.”

  38. the dominant Earth species (mankind)
    What gave you that idea? There are far more bacteria than all other species, especially living underground that won’t care what happens up here. They have dominated the Earth for almost its entire history.
    Meteorites? Even big ones? Eh. They don’t care.
    And remember, hostile ETs better worry about the real dominant species, not us or our weapons, as Mr. Wells makes abundantly clear.
    Consider us merely a vector to transport the true dominant species to other planets. Their plan could take another 100 million years; we might not be the successful version. Although unlikely, their mission may have already been accomplished with respect to Mars.

  39. I agree with another commenter, without a stardate the message may be misinterpreted. Star Trek transmissions reach over 45 light years into space, nothing to scoff at.
    They may even wrongly interpret it as a cookbook or a menu. So I suggest you add a memo describing the benefits of a vegetarian diet, meaning that vegetarians and other greenie liberals are tastiest and are good for them because they are organic 😉 You might mention that beer drinking meat-eaters would clog their alien arteries.
    Finally, to the Moderators: the text of the top post article is repeated, it looks to be copy/pasted twice, the first has some bolded parts, the second does not (not formatted well).
    [Thank you. Robt]

  40. …. This message is for the recipient only. If you are not an EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT or an ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU, please ignore this message and delete it forthwith.

    Yes, sir.

    Mike,
    Can you delete any emails you may have had with EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT re AR4? EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis Can you also email ETILTDSAWAWTMEITU and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.We will be getting Caspar to do likewise. I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper

  41. If those bozos spent even a minute contemplating interstellar logistics,
    they’d notice that sending even a single Shuttle-sized spacecraft to another star
    requires more energy that the human race will consume in the entire 21st century.
    And that’s setting aside how to survive centuries-long voyages.
    Interstellar invasions are impossible, the idiotic ‘Avatar’ notwithstanding.

  42. ‘Deus ex spatio populi,’ to solve all our problems–perhaps, but for a reasonable interactive response, that assumes a mechanism for transmitting material influence at speeds faster than that of light and modern science has not even found the slightest hint that this could ever be possible. The SETI project, it appears, has eliminated those nearby places where a reasonably interactive mutual radio contact might be possible.
    “It’s a cookbook!” (The Twilight Zone)

  43. “Two members of the Penn State University faculty (Seth D. Baum and Jacob D. Haqq-Misra) and one employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman) have taken valuable time to address the issue of how mankind might deal with beneficent, neutral and hostile Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI)”.
    There still remains the question how to deal with Nonexistent Extraterrestrial Intelligence (NETI)? See the Fermi paradox for details.
    And as Baum, Haqq-Misra & Domagal-Goldman demonstrates, the lack of Terrestrial Intelligence can develop into an even more serious problem.

  44. You’re all wrong. Aliens won’t come here to destroy us OR save us. More likely they’ll be just like us, wondering what’s in it for them. As usual science fiction is way ahead of science on this one:
    “In Damon Knight’s short story ‘The Big Pat Boom’ (1963), alien visitors to earth become extemely interested in the artistic value of cow pies, resulting in the eponymous phenomenon. Cow pats become enormously valuable, with collectors paying huge amounts for whirls, swirls and ‘double whorls’. When the boom ends, dealers in cowpies are left with a pile of, well…yeah.”
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SolidGoldPoop

  45. This story is for Reed Coray
    —————
    Time: ~24 hrs after Reed Coray’s “Precautionary Principle Memo – ready for transmission” post on WUWT
    Knock, knock.
    Reed Coray (answers the door) – May I help you?
    Agent H – This is Agent S and I am Agent H from AIMIB (Aliens Inside of Men In Black). May we speak with you about your recent WUWT post?
    Reed – Sure. Hey, Agent H, you look a lot like James Hansen except your suit and hats are much nicer, plus your shoes match. And . . . ahhhh . . . Agent S, you look a lot like Gavin Schmidt of that science comedy blog; why do you always smirk like that?
    Agents S – Actually, Mr. Coray, we are aliens and those two gentlemen are our clones. We have thousands of others just like them on earth to help us assimilate all the college humanities majors in earth’s population. We are here because your recent WUWT post is disrupting AIMIB’s efforts to aid aliens in stopping humans from exploring and colonizing space; humans are too intelligent for other intelligent life forms in the universe to compete with. To stop humans from colonizing space we need to reverse the current human industrialization back to that which existed prior to 1850. One of our many strategies is to control CO2 and therefore control all life.
    Reed – Wow. But tell me, do you know who leaked/hacked the Climategate emails?
    Agent H – We did. The UEA CRU was doing such a horrible job trying to make AGW by CO2 appear to be science. We had to expose them before all of climate science was tainted by them and the whole of the AGW by CO2 plan was completely exposed.
    Agent S – (holds up a small cylindrical metal device while putting on sunglasses . . . there is a flash) You will not remember this conversation. You will join Anna Haynes at Source Watch and donate all your assets to them. Have a good day.
    ————–
    Hope you enjoyed it Reed and thanks for your wonderful post.
    John

  46. Moderators,
    My comment with a story for Reed Coray just disappeared without going into “Waiting for Moderation”.
    Can you check the WordPress nether regions? The nehter gods may have spirited it away.
    John
    [None found. Robt]

  47. [None found. Robt]
    —————-
    Robt,
    Thanks for checking, and I see it did get posted even though I did not see it go through normal moderation.
    Take care.
    John

  48. Haven’t any of those folks heard of the Borg? The universe is a big dangerous place. Best to keep your head down and mouth closed.

  49. Even though we have sent spacecraft to outside the solar system proclaiming our peace loving nature it is really not true because you must remember that spacecraft was placed into orbit with rocket fuel of hydrogen and oxygen. Therefore even the spacecraft proclaiming peace added to our terrible greenhouse by emitting H2O which btw is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. I am sure those aliens will see right through our sham.

  50. Alien President; Threat assessment?
    Alien Advisor #1; We’re screwed sir. The masses have figured out that CO2 is good for the planet, and that we’ve destroyed our entire global economy as a means to control them, knowing the truth all along. They’re likely to revolt at any moment sir.
    Alien President; Alternatives?
    Alien Advisor #2; We need a new emergency to fight sir. We’re proposing Planet Earth as that emergency sir.
    Alien President; Planet Earth? Aren’t those the dohunks that sent out that EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT message? Sounds like they’re scared sh**less of us, how does that make it an emergency?
    Alien Advisor #1; Well sir, actually that message took almost 100 years to get here.
    Alien Advisor#2; Here’s how we spin it sir. These earthlings are very war like, just watch their History Channel to see what we mean.
    Alien Advisor #1; So… we have to prepare for their invasion sir. Its pretty easy to see that the EVUETIPTCTHODTEOAPT message was sent by the Peaceniks and Green Momvement. The real power on Planet Earth is held by the Warmongerers and Big Oil. It is only a matter of time before they switch to DUOATWDUYBBSTGTBTGY. They could be half way here by now.
    Alien President; DUOATWDUYBBSTGTBTGY ??
    Alien Advisor #1; Do Unto Others As They Would Do Unto You But Be Sure To Get Them Before They Get You.
    Alien Advisor #2; Essentially a pre-emptive strike sir.
    Alien Advisor #1; The matter is urgent sir.
    Alien Advisor #2; The stakes high sir.
    Alien Advisor #1; We surveyed the top 100 scientists and 30% are in consensus sir.
    Alien Advisor#2; But then we discovered that only 30% of the top 100 scientists are qualified sir, so we did the survey again, and 30 of 30 are in consensus. That settles it sir.
    Alien Advisor #1; Even if there is some tiny doubt sir, the Precautionary Principle….
    Alien President; Enough! I’m convinced! Get the press release ready. We’re putting our efforts to save the planet on hold to fight an even bigger emergency. Invasion from Planet Earth. We’re preparing for war, and the enemy has a 100 year head start on us. Cancel all those fake climate research programs and divert the money to fake arms research. Uhm….can we wait a day? I need to change my stock portfolio…

  51. This is all hilarious!
    Thank goodness that I have a spare keyboard!
    Brilliant thread.
    More seriously, you know something is on its last legs when it becomes the butt of humour.

  52. I know Hrolfr Ungarn from Nuberu, the earth-type planet that close-orbits Sol’s rogue binary brown-dwarf companion called Eversor. As an Anunnaki “Watcher,” Hrolfr Ungarn aka Assur or Enki of Akkad/Sumer busies himself with implanting Crop Circles on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, and doofus AGW types concern him not.

  53. Hilarious!!!!
    being a long-time fan of the Harry Turtledove’s saga “The Invasion”, I could say that the Race (aka “the Lizards”) will be gratefull to the Big Uglies (aka the uman race) for their effort to make Tosev 3 (aka “the Earth”) a little less cold (there are rumours that, somewhere on that chilly crazy planet, sometime you can see frozen water falling from the sky…) and so more similar to Home (aka Tau Ceti 3).
    It shall be done, superior Sir!
    Cheers from Italy…

  54. Berényi Péter says:
    August 30, 2011 at 11:54 am
    I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to extraterrestrial intelligent beings. I have trouble conjuring up “aliens,” as we on Earth refer to them as, and our ideas of them are quite funny. They may actually all be exactly like us (why wouldn’t they be, if we consider the laws of science to be universally valid?), if in fact there are other intelligent beings on other planets. But the “Fermi paradox” seems to me to be paralysis by analysis. Think of it this way: the Milky Way is what, 100,000 light years across? And we haven’t yet found a means of developing interstellar travel that could answer our questions quicker than a 100,000 light year trip across the galaxy? Not to mention, the other galaxies that are even farther away? If SETI hasn’t found anything yet, I don’t think they will EVER find any evidence. So I don’t lose any sleep over this, like some scientists appear to be doing. The universe is too vast for me to worry about it.

  55. Loved the post. 🙂
    I like to look at it this way… Assuming that intelligent life does exist out there, we have no reason to assume that it’s peaceful, interested in communicating with us in a non-interfering manner, etc. I think it’s more likely that an aggressive species will move out into space than a really peaceful one.
    Would “first contact” be a massive colony ship that has been travelling for a few year through deep space? Maybe the detected a planet with an appropriate ecosystem that their engineers could “terraform?” Or maybe they just want to “buy” Mars in exchange for working fusion technology?
    On the probabilities, how about this:
    Assume that there are 1 million (or 10 or a billion) planets with intelligent life out there. Intelligent being defined as something that we could have some sort of communication with, at a higher level than man and dog.
    Assume the development path for all the life forms was more or less the same and that they didn’t completely obliterate themselves or go 100% green.
    When did they begin their path? How many (millions of) years before or after ours started?
    Let’s say they all develop just like us and that they don’t kill themselves or go 100% green and do expand outward. (Eventually their economic system would likely allow this.)
    Is there a bell curve for tech levels? On one end of the curve we have the races that started a 100 million years before us and on the other end we have Neanderthals. What’s the tech curve look like (assuming it exists?) What’s the likelyhood that ET is anywhere near our own tech level? Would we have the slightest idea of how their science works? Or would it be more like a smart caveman trying to contemplate quantum physics?

  56. The longer a society is established, the greater the beurocracy until it collapses. The aliens will be most like the Vogons from The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. They won’t even visit us, they will simply send us a Tax bill (Universal Property Tax). We won’t be able to pay it and they will simply jot down our planet as a corporate asset via lein-sale. We’ll never hear from them again as they will be furiously busy acquiring the rest of the universe.

  57. Scott Covert says:
    August 31, 2011 at 11:12 am
    The longer a society is established, the greater the beurocracy until it collapses.
    =================
    Or they’ll use eminent domain, take our space, and pave it over for an interstellar highway.
    Or maybe it’ll be a grand crusade to convert us to their version of Christianity/Islam/Atheism/Greenery.

  58. Friends:
    All this talk about communicating with aliens is pointless.
    We share a common inheritance of genes, planet and environment with the creatures of the Earth. But we have very limited ability to communicate with members of other species except as a training exercise. We can obtain a limited common language with chimps, and that is about it.
    Dolphins have brains with similar degree of complexity to our own, but we cannot obtain significant two-way communication with them.
    So, I fail to understand why anybody thinks it is possible for us to obtain meaningful communication with creatures from another planet who have no genetic relationship to us and who use a different technology to ours (their technology must enable interstellar communication and/or transport to enable the contact needed for communication between them and us because our technology cannot do it).
    Indeed, the technology issue is the main reason why the paper by Baum et al. is daft. The feared space-aliens would require greatly superior technology to our own that gives them abilities to notice and to react to our activities on our planet. That technology needs to be able to monitor, to travel and to communicate over interstellar distances. With that capability which we lack they have no conceivable reason for them to expend any effort on creatures like us because they could swat us like flies if we ever were able to become a potential problem to them.
    Richard

  59. John David Galt says:
    August 31, 2011 at 11:59 am
    No problem, we’ll just have Captain Kirk settle his differences with their leader in bed.
    ===============
    Or in the arena or bar fight. 😉

  60. ROFLMAO.
    Will Anthony get royalities from future movies produced from ideas generated by the posts and comments on this blog? Surely someone is looking and Anthony is a contributing factor.
    When the first satiricle movie is produced and hits the top of the charts, many others will likely follow. There will be lots of smiles! I want to be a sceptical star in high-definition (shining brightly on the alien invaders)!

  61. Would it be churlish of me to point out that the increase in CO2 levels thus far has been about 40% since the pre-industrial period?
    – so that’s not a slight increase.
    True, the concentration of CO2 is low – about 390ppm, or 0.039%
    – but very few people with any scientific understanding would deny that without CO2 in the atmosphere the planet would be about 30C cooler
    – so, whether or not anyone chooses to classify CO2 as a ‘trace gas’ is irrelevant to the argument about the impact of increasing it’s concentration.

  62. I had another thought–this from either the department of The more things change, the more they stay the same of from the Ministry of Silly Walks. In the past, academia discussed the problem of how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Today, academia discusses how mankind should prepare for possible contact with extraterrestrials.

  63. PhilM:
    At August 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm you say;
    “very few people with any scientific understanding would deny that without CO2 in the atmosphere the planet would be about 30C cooler”
    which is true.
    Then you say;
    “- so, whether or not anyone chooses to classify CO2 as a ‘trace gas’ is irrelevant to the argument about the impact of increasing it’s concentration.”
    which is completely false.
    Anybody with “any scientific understanding” knows that about half of the 30 deg.C you mention is induced by the first 20 ppmv of CO2 in the air, and there is so much CO2 in the air (~390 ppmv) that any increase to its concentration has a logarithmically diminishing effect. So, the fact that CO2 in the air is a trace gas is very, very relevant to “the impact of increasing it’s concentration.”
    Please do not provide propoganda dressed up as science.
    Richard

  64. Richard S Courtney:
    I agree that the effect of increasing CO2 logarithmically decreases as more is added
    – so, the effect of doubling the CO2 concentration from 140ppm to 280ppm, is the same as the effect of doubling it from 280ppm to 560ppm, and ditto for 560ppm to 1120ppm
    – which is why it’s useful to talk in terms of the effect of doubling the concentration.
    However, calling CO2 a ‘trace gas’ is misleading, as it implies its effect is insignificant, and to do so 8 times in a short, albeit light hearted, article, is …. somewhat propagandist IMHO.

  65. PhilM:
    At September 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm you say;
    “However, calling CO2 a ‘trace gas’ is misleading, as it implies its effect is insignificant, and to do so 8 times in a short, albeit light hearted, article, is …. somewhat propagandist IMHO.”
    Bollocks!
    CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere: it is less than 0.04% of the atmosphere. Such a small amount is a trace.
    To object to calling CO2 trace gas when CO2 IS a trace gas is propoganda of a kind that Goebbles would have envied.
    Richard

  66. PhilM says:
    August 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm
    – so, whether or not anyone chooses to classify CO2 as a ‘trace gas’ is irrelevant to the argument about the impact of increasing it’s concentration.

    To classify CO2 as a ‘trace gas” is also irrelevant to the argument that if all the CO2 in the atmosphere were converted to energy (E=mc^2) that conversion would have an impact. But neither that argument nor your argument is relevant to calling CO2 a ‘trace gas” in our atmosphere–it is a trace gas.

  67. Two species which existed in the distant past, a very great distance from the Milky Way galaxy. The G’Gugvuntt were enemies of the Vl’hurgs, and these strange and warlike beings are on the brink of an interstellar war, because of an insult uttered by the G’Gugvuntt leader to the mother of the Vl’hurg leader. Resplendent in their black-jeweled battle shorts, they were meeting for the last time, and a dreadful silence filled the air as the Vl’hurg leader was challenging the G’Gugvuntt leader to retract the insult. At the precise moment, the phrase “I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle” (muttered by Arthur Dent to himself, which for some strange reason was carried by a freak wormhole in space back in time to the farthest regions of the universe where the G’Gugvuntts and the Vl’hurgs lived) filled the air over the conference table, which in the Vl’hurg tongue was the most dreadful insult imaginable. It left them no choice but to declare war on the G’Gugvuntts, which went on for a few thousand years and decimated their entire galaxy.
    After millennia of battle the surviving G’Gugvuntt and Vl’hurg realised what had actually happened, and joined forces to attack the Milky Way in retaliation. They crossed vast reaches of space in a journey lasting thousands of years before reaching their target where they attacked the first planet they encountered, Earth. Due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy states that this sort of thing happens all the time.

    H/t to the late, great, Douglas Adams

  68. Here’s the true meaning of the Precautionary Principle in interstellar contact:
    In “Flying to Valhalla”, by Pellegrino are the Rules for Alien Contact, co-authored by Asimov.
    In a nutshell, at least some, or one, predatory space-going species would consider all other such to be competitors to be destroyed. Such a species would probably set up near-C missile factories around their star, and launch at any potential rival.
    Other races, not so aggressive, must consider that someone out there thinks like that. The only rational self-preservation strategy is pre-emptive (‘Precautionary’): do it first. So every technological species must be obliged to destroy all others as soon as they are detected, however reluctantly.
    That’s why there’s a Big Fermi Silence out there. Knowing the above, the only way to survive–additional to setting up your own automated missile factories–is to be very quiet, and migrate to an unlikely locale around some other star, dig in, and hide.
    About the missiles: a .92C shuttle-sized object would blow a hundred mile hole in the atmosphere and crust, and wipe out all advanced life. At that speed, you get to see its gamma wake at about 12X its actual distance from you. If it seems 1 light-month away, it’s actually about 4 days out. At one light-hour out, it’s 5 minutes away. At two light-minutes out, it’s due in 10 seconds.
    Just time enough to bend over and kiss your bippy goodbye.

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