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(Space.com)   What if everyone is listening and no one is transmitting? Ideas presented by a bunch of guys searching for little green men   (space.com) divider line 109
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11840 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Apr 2005 at 1:39 PM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-04-22 01:51:13 AM  
Thank you, submitter! Fascinating article which opened my mind.
 
2005-04-22 06:01:58 AM  
Statistically, it is extremely unlikely that our fist contact with an ETI civilization will also be its first contact with an ETI civilization.

If we're letting typos like that slip into our outgoing messages, no freaking wonder they aren't answering. What if the SETI thugs were your neighbors, and had their stereo up loud, blasting all the time "Come here and meet our fist!!"?

You'd ignore the punks until one night when you'd had a supremely crappy day at work and were good and drunk, and finally fed up with their ceaseless veiled threats, then you'd go next door with a tire iron and a really bad attitude.

Being advanced aliens, perhaps they're more patient than us, but I'd expect their vast, cool and unsympathetic intellects will nonetheless run out of patience sometime around Dec. 21, 2012. Hopefully my anti-alien shelter will be dug deep enough by then.

 
2005-04-22 08:49:09 AM  
"If it happens at all, there always has to be a first contact between two technological civilizations. Statistically, it is extremely unlikely that our fi[r]st contact with an ETI civilization will also be its first contact with an ETI civilization. Thus the advanced technology we detect will have experienced this type of encounter many times before. It already may have established a galactic protocol for information interchange, to which ab initio transmissions by Earth will have no chance of adhering. Thus we justify our asymmetrical listen only strategy by recognizing our asymmetrical position amongst galactic civilizations. We are among the very youngest!"

Congratulations, Ms. Tarter. You've read David Brin.

That said, this is a weak argument. We don't know their version of TCP/IP? That's your reason? Surely there are better justifications.
 
2005-04-22 11:22:07 AM  
Mars Needs Women
AND Mars Needs Foghat.
 
2005-04-22 01:45:55 PM  

First thing that came to mind.

Good Article!
 
2005-04-22 01:45:57 PM  
That said, this is a weak argument. We don't know their version of TCP/IP? That's your reason? Surely there are better justifications.

Though I didn't RTFA, I thought about this for a bit.

If two humans were to meet thousands of years ago, not knowing the others language(and no 3rd party to translate for the two), it's friggin hard to communicate. Naturally, given enough time, the two could(also assuming they didn't beat each other to death).

With alien life though, those notions are go out the window. Humans can at least communicate through various signs, gestures and perhaps pointing at stuff-with aliens, we'd have no idea how to get the same idea across.

/dons flame-retardant suit
 
2005-04-22 01:46:39 PM  
nice 2012 reference fatlilbug....

cosmic surfers unite.....

/we are not alone (obviously)
 
2005-04-22 01:47:04 PM  
Do, dee dee da do....repeat ad nausium.
 
2005-04-22 01:49:11 PM  
You won't think transmitting is such a great idea after you're forced into sexual slavery by the five-cocked Gorgoths of Rigel 7.
 
2005-04-22 01:50:14 PM  
It's cause all the aliens are yelling, "twhat? I con't hear you. I have an ear infunction!"
 
2005-04-22 01:54:22 PM  
ah yes, Dec 21st, 2012.
Now, there are many interpretations of this, but what might seem most realistic to me are secondary effects that would result in havoc down here on earth. They say on that date the earth will be spatially arranged in the universe in a fashion unlike before. I could speculate that this arrangement could be near heavy gravitational fields, inducing changes here on earth like eruptions and earthquakes. Also, magnetic fields could cause huge blackouts and that would really screw things up down here. Perhaps thats one way Dec 21st, 2012 hold significance to life here on earth.

/then again, what do I know?
 
2005-04-22 01:57:05 PM  
Good article.

So long term plans over 500 years are being made by religions... Bush has a 500 year plan?

/we're farked

//yeah, it's a political flame in a non-political thread, blow me if you don't like it.

//or even if you do. somebody please blow me?
 
2005-04-22 01:58:48 PM  
Maybe all the other civilizations look at Earth like suburbanites look at the inner city....you know about it, but you don't go there on purpose. You get there and you have your doors locked and you make sure to get your ass out of there as soon as possible.

\Doesn't belive in aliens
\\Just enjoys theorizing
\\\Likes slashes too
 
2005-04-22 02:02:25 PM  
My only question is:

Why are we always considered to be the schlubs of the universe?
Why can't the lizard men still be beating stuff with clubs and stuffing berries up their noses?

/thinks NASA > Military in importance
//believes
///not really, but I want to
 
2005-04-22 02:07:23 PM  
The creation of life was such a fluke to begin with, it seems highly likely that any life we meet will be VERY different than what we know, unless it evolved on a similar planet. Once life begins, it's pretty damn hard to suppress
 
2005-04-22 02:07:53 PM  
What if no one was reading...? *yawn*
 
2005-04-22 02:08:30 PM  
DsRsF

Why are we always considered to be the schlubs of the universe?
Why can't the lizard men still be beating stuff with clubs and stuffing berries up their noses?


Because this is the search for ETIntelligence

Although there are probably lizard men who eat fruit through their nose, they won't be transmitting signals we could detect. Any form of intellingence we detect, would almost have to be more advanced than ours.
 
2005-04-22 02:09:58 PM  
> everyone is listening and no one is transmitting

We don't have a word for this, but we do for its opposite: blogging.
 
2005-04-22 02:12:35 PM  
NOT transmitting?!

What about the re-runs of Gilligan's Island that we've been sending out for the last 40 years?

/those poor people...
 
2005-04-22 02:12:57 PM  
Well put G12. One day SETI is going to get comments from a freaky anonymous lurker who wants to know why Ally McBeal was cancelled....
 
2005-04-22 02:13:14 PM  
It's just a bunch of asshat clowns with PhDs that waste their time and peoples money looking for something that would have found us already if they were out there. In an infinate univers or even with the scope of ours temoporaly there is no reason to think that we are either young or old.

This becomes especially troublesome when we figure our technological advances have come upon us over an amazingly short span of time compared to the age of the universe, or even our planet. An alien civilization but ony 200 years along would have leaps and bounds beyond our simple technology.

If you factor into the equastion our advances in physics and our understanding of the universe and time and etc. another civilization in space could have already harnessed the theoretical power of wormholes and other space phenomina.

One arguement I find troubling is this idea of a standard communication protocol... or even this nieve vision of a benevolent super race of aliens or a united nations type of body. From our own experience we have seen that natural creatures are largely flawed socially... at least in an advanced social way.

There is nothing normal about peace. Our world is constantly in a state of flux for power, resources and etc. When we do develop peace on earth it is between only a few countries and the peace is usually strained by politics which are also quite flawed.

So there is no reason to believe that in this universe there is a "Federation" alliance like you see in star trek. It's more likely that were there other alien civilizations they would be at war with one another... which is also limited because as we've brought up technology would be significantly different over the span of even 100 years of development.

Given the sheer size of the universe, possible places for life, time to develop and other unmentioned things I can not believe that there is anyone out there listening, let alone anyone who would want to respond save to strip our resources and enslave our people.

While that last statement may turn some heads (I'm not citing that horrible movie with Travolta as a reference here) in the natural order of things might makes right. The strongest civilizations or the ones willing to do what it takes to make their society better than another one will acumulate power. When you have more power you can usurp more things from other people.

That being said... if anyone was listening... I would not want to be transmitting.
 
2005-04-22 02:14:45 PM  
We're in the "in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy."

That's why we haven't been contacted.

(RIP Douglas Adams)
 
2005-04-22 02:19:06 PM  
 
2005-04-22 02:20:56 PM  
There's been speculation as well about if humans could even recognize life from another planet. They could be here right in front of us and we'd never know.
 
2005-04-22 02:24:28 PM  
I think the alien's first transmission to us will be a book called "To Serve Man."
 
2005-04-22 02:26:09 PM  
If everyone is just listening, it is because they are waiting for the UNIVERSAL message that indicates that the sender is done talking



OVER


AND OUT
 
2005-04-22 02:27:59 PM  
2005-04-22 02:12:35 PM borist

/those poor people...

I hate trekkies, which makes that movie an absolutely hilarious parody. Great reference.
 
2005-04-22 02:28:42 PM  
Artmageddon

With alien life though, those notions are go out the window. Humans can at least communicate through various signs, gestures and perhaps pointing at stuff-with aliens, we'd have no idea how to get the same idea across.

The thing is, there are absolute standards of communication, which would be understood by any sufficiently intelligent species: math, and chemistry. Math and the structure and behavior of atomic elements are uniform under all normal circumstances, so an intelligent race seeking to communicate with other intelligent races would realize that utilizing this universal language (math & sci) would be the best way to establish communication with other worlds.
 
2005-04-22 02:29:15 PM  
Maybe all other life was told to advoid Earth. I forget the name of the book, but it the plot goes something like; humans are not native to this planet. Our ansestors were dumped here with nothing because they were criminals, i.e. Earth was/is a prison colony.
 
2005-04-22 02:29:59 PM  
LewDux: We are made out of meat



Sentient meat! Thanks for the link, it was fun.
 
YOB
2005-04-22 02:30:04 PM  
SETI is a huge waste of money and time. It is a prime example of what happens when you put a bunch of eggheads in a room, who as a group have absolutely no common sense. We have been blasting our existance out to the universe for about 100 years in radio (FM,AM,SHORTWAVE,TV,MICROWAVE) but with the full genius of the tards at SETI, they want to look at the radio frequency of hydrogen and in the quietest spectrum in the universe, for aliens to be broadcasting in duhhh. Would not logic dictate that an alien culture would follow the same path as we did so that radio(AM,FM,SHORTWAVE,TELEVISION,MICROWAVE) might be the place to look. hmmm makes you wonder what kinda hair brained scheme you can cook up to get the govt to throw millions at,and shows how ignorant our govt is
 
2005-04-22 02:32:30 PM  
szyska --
"Maybe all other life was told to advoid Earth. I forget the name of the book, but it the plot goes something like; humans are not native to this planet. Our ansestors were dumped here with nothing because they were criminals, i.e. Earth was/is a prison colony."


As far as prisons go, it's a damn nice one. Theoretically within reach of 8 other planets dozens of moons full of resources.
 
2005-04-22 02:40:51 PM  
Ya know what would be a great photoshop? Different tin foil hat styles / creations. I'm a bit of a n00b, so maybe this has already been done. Maybe a Tf'er will give 'er.
 
2005-04-22 02:42:42 PM  
Artmageddon:

From: Wider Than The Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness
By Gerald M. Edelman.

According to Edelman, animals with primary consciousness experience qualia but are not conscious of being conscious. Only humans and, to some minimal degree, higher primates would have a higher-order consciousness that permits them to have a social concept of the self and concepts of the past and the future. Higher consciousness in its most developed form, Edelman thinks, requires the acquisition of language.
 
2005-04-22 02:42:46 PM  
From LewDux's link:

They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat.

Sounds a lot like fark...
 
2005-04-22 02:44:23 PM  
the meat link is a must read.
 
2005-04-22 02:46:54 PM  
JRDOBBS

that's hilarious.
you COULD compare it to fark.
for so long...i was a lurker, and just got entertained by the stories and reading comments. then one day, i came out.

maybe that alien civilization hasn't quite decided to sign up for an account yet? ;)
 
2005-04-22 02:48:21 PM  
2005-04-22 02:42:46 PM hoohoodilly


Sounds a lot like fark...

Except that air isn't the only thing Farkers squirt through their meat...
 
2005-04-22 02:49:28 PM  
I believe we are a young and immature civilization. (Check out the Muslim/Christian flame thread.) We are probably considered not ready for contact for being too violent and too closed minded.
 
2005-04-22 02:56:12 PM  
YOB: Would not logic dictate that an alien culture would follow the same path as we did...

No, logic does not dictate that. We don't know why we evolved the way we did (in terms of brainpower), and the direction of the evolution of our technology seems to me to be only a little more predictable.

I do agree that SETI is a waste of time & money, the same way that buying lottery tickets are. Sure, we may hit the jackpot, but I would rather spend money going out into space.
 
2005-04-22 02:56:24 PM  
Spanish Inquisition
the meat link is a must read.
from the meat link:
"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

*snicker*

/right you are, ken!
 
2005-04-22 03:03:57 PM  
Earth: Mostly Harmless
 
2005-04-22 03:10:45 PM  
Earth Report:
Resources: Dwindling
Environment: Toxic
Resident Sentients: Humanoid, Pugilists
Contact Status: Delayed indefinitely.
 
2005-04-22 03:12:07 PM  
Maybe the reason SETI hasn't heard anything is because nobody out there wants anyone else to hear them...especially the big, bad-ass aliens that tend to hunt down, destroy and enslave cultures they come in contact with.

That would also imply that somewhere in the universe there's a bookie taking bets on how long that "Earth" place can keep broadcasting all that chatter before "they" find them.
 
2005-04-22 03:12:41 PM  
I was under the impression we were always "transmitting," that is to say, all our TV and radio signals head out into space (sort of like as illustrated in the beginning of Contact).
 
2005-04-22 03:15:03 PM  
> everyone is listening and no one is transmitting

We don't have a word for this, but we do for its opposite: blogging.




"Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah! Stupid bloggers, I'm not listening!"

Bet he wished he'd listened a little more carefully before flushing his legacy in the toilet.
 
2005-04-22 03:16:59 PM  
Can we can SETI yet and use all the dishes to search for NEOs? SETI is quite possibly the greatest waste of time, money, and effort ever in the history of the human race. Consider: say you're an interstellar civilization that has mastered the stars and therefore can have meaningful contact outside of your own system. Do you really think you're going to use straight EM transmissions for communication? How would you like to wait a decade just to recieve a reply to the equivalent of a telegraph? It simply isn't a feasible means of communication. But what does SETI listen for? That's right, EM transmissions.

Morons.
 
2005-04-22 03:17:11 PM  
you bunch of gay farkers.

some queer says the last day is going to be the day after

12 20, 20 12 and everyone gets their panties in a bind.

I imagine everyone had a hard on
on
1212, 1212 also
 
2005-04-22 03:19:07 PM  
I'm a linguist, and at a recent conference about language evolution, the topic came up of how many other ways it would have been possible to communicate. Human (spoken) language isn't necessarily the ideal form...it involves pulmination (which means you can't talk and breathe or eat at the same time), it relies on a number of different organs to succeed (meaning the failure of one can bring the whole system down) and there are differing articulatory/perceptual systems (meaning two organs are trained for similar puposes, thus making the system unproductively redundant). The best we could come up with would be some advanced form of echolocation (like chatty bats) in that it's a singular system (same organ sends and receives), has other (valuable) uses, and could be broken into discrete segments to encode meaning.

Okay, if you made it through all that, here's the thing. It took a roomful of linguists ages to come up with the POSSIBILITY of doing it, based on hundreds of years of linguistic theory. Then, the technology to transmit and receive in the correct form would have to be devised. Then, the structure of the language would have to be broken down (and there's no particular reason their language should resemble human language at all...there's nothing magic about nouns and verbs). Given the time span of all that, and the time span of transmission, we're already at least into the thousands of years. And here's the real killer...our first several guesses about their language are likely to be wrong.

It'll never happen. Unless there are all sorts of magical coincidences, it'll never happen.
 
2005-04-22 03:24:27 PM  
Jux Tapose

Don't engage YOB in his trolling attempt.
 
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