Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Visual.ly)   How many alien civilizations exist?   (visual.ly ) divider line
    More: Interesting  
•       •       •

4481 clicks; posted to Geek » on 23 Aug 2012 at 1:49 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



120 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-08-23 01:34:59 PM  
All of them.
 
2012-08-23 01:35:03 PM  
I think the given average of potentially habitable planets per system of 0.02 might be a little high, considering there are 3 planets in the sun's habitable zone and only one is known to have life, and of the ~800 extrasolar planets discovered, only 4 are in their star's habitable zone.

And the chances of intelligence evolving are WAY too high. Life does not evolve toward complexity, life evolves toward survival. 50% seems much too generous.
 
2012-08-23 01:52:01 PM  
Smoke dmt and you can make contact w/ them in other dimensions.

/seriously.
 
2012-08-23 01:53:23 PM  
At least three but no more than 228.
 
2012-08-23 01:53:27 PM  
42
 
2012-08-23 01:54:28 PM  
Two, the Caretakers and Usurpers.
 
2012-08-23 01:55:47 PM  
Just yesterday I found myself in a presentation done by local UFO aficionados. And the same question came up there. If I remember correctly, they said that the US Government is currently in touch with at least 4, but that there were at least 17 known ones...

But the best part of it was that apparently by 2017 they will make general contact. I was going to put that as a calendar reminder on my Outlook. December 31st 2017, 23:59, Reminder: "Aliens yet?"
 
2012-08-23 01:56:32 PM  
I'm still waiting for signs of intelligent life here on this planet.
 
2012-08-23 01:56:56 PM  
How many Jesuses have there been?

QED
 
2012-08-23 01:57:04 PM  
16. No more, no less.
 
2012-08-23 01:57:30 PM  
The only correct answer is that we have absolutely no idea.
 
2012-08-23 01:57:51 PM  
Billions
 
2012-08-23 01:58:29 PM  
Are you counting Little Italy?
 
2012-08-23 02:00:26 PM  

Jubeebee: I think the given average of potentially habitable planets per system of 0.02 might be a little high, considering there are 3 planets in the sun's habitable zone and only one is known to have life, and of the ~800 extrasolar planets discovered, only 4 are in their star's habitable zone.

And the chances of intelligence evolving are WAY too high. Life does not evolve toward complexity, life evolves toward survival. 50% seems much too generous.


DRTFA, but that discounts life-possible moons outside of the goldilocks zone that may be heated by core friction, a la Europa and Titan.
 
2012-08-23 02:03:01 PM  

Calmamity: All of them.


Damn it so much I was coming to say this exact same thing.

Sir i admire the cut of your jib and would aspire to be like you.
 
2012-08-23 02:04:29 PM  
I see Fark has become a link aggregator-aggregator.
 
2012-08-23 02:04:37 PM  
Can we pre-empitvely ban frepnog and quantum apostrophe from participating in this thread? kthxbye.
 
2012-08-23 02:05:16 PM  
It would be interesting to take into account a spacial distribution and figure out roughly on average how distant one of these intelligent civilizations might be. That becomes difficult, do you assume uniform distribution or do you account for more mass being clustered near the center.
 
2012-08-23 02:06:03 PM  

Jubeebee: I think the given average of potentially habitable planets per system of 0.02 might be a little high, considering there are 3 planets in the sun's habitable zone and only one is known to have life, and of the ~800 extrasolar planets discovered, only 4 are in their star's habitable zone.


Given our current understanding of how planetary systems are formed, it seems inadvisable to base your argument on our limited ability to detect exoplanets, since the planets most likely to form within the habitable zone would be largely undetectable.
 
2012-08-23 02:06:10 PM  

Jubeebee: And the chances of intelligence evolving are WAY too high. Life does not evolve toward complexity, life evolves toward survival. 50% seems much too generous.


Also, while I won't argue the numbers, it's important to note that intelligence is indeed a survival strategy. Perhaps the single most advantageous one- it permits the broadest environmental adaptation. In the case of humans, the combination of intelligence and tool use (opposable thumbs) seems to be the magic elixir.
 
2012-08-23 02:07:40 PM  
8
 
2012-08-23 02:09:41 PM  
Well lets count
www.infinitydish.com
1
upload.wikimedia.org
2

t3.gstatic.com
3......
 
2012-08-23 02:10:41 PM  
I was JUST talking about this earlier today on a science forum. Here is what I had to say about it:

Recent studies suggest that 10% of all solar systems have planets. Estimates also suggest there are 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the known universe...

...which means there are 30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars with planets around them, all with the potential for life.

If you assume that a solar system with planets only has one planet (generous, ours has 8-9 plus moons), and that there is a one in a billion chance of each planet having the proper conditions to support life, the universe is so huge that it would still leave 300 trillion candidates for life supporting planets.

It is extremely likely that planets capable of sustaining life are much more common than one in a billion.

Its fairly impossible to look at these numbers and assume that earth is the only place with life in the universe.
 
2012-08-23 02:11:37 PM  
I put these parameters:

10 stars born a year
50% of stars have planets
0.1 average of those planets are in the habitable zone
50% chance a habitable planet forms life
10% chance that life becomes intelligent
10% chance intelligent life can communicate across space
1000 years of signal sending

There are 3 civilizations in the Milky Way right now communicating (and 375 billion civilizations in the Universe).

I think the chances of plents' being in the habitable zone is probably higher than 0.1 - the fact that we've detected so few so far is that our techniques of detecting exoplanets tend to only be able to detect very large planets, which (I think) tend to have orbits farther out from their stars (though I am not an astrophysicist).

I do think 10% chance of developing intelligent life might be too high, though - of the millions of species on our planet, only a handful are self-aware and only one (us) is capable of doing anything involving symbolic communication.

1000 years of signal sending is...I don't know. We've been able to send signals off this planet for about a hundred years.

Still, I think all in all, there are at most 10 communicating civilizations right now, which makes me sad. I want a galaxy teeming with intelligent, talking life.

An interesting note, though, is that it only takes one civilization's developing a Von Neumann probe and the whole galaxy becomes inhabited in short order.
 
2012-08-23 02:13:07 PM  
How many does not matter, that we suffer not the Xenos to live does.
 
2012-08-23 02:14:33 PM  
Played with the calculator thingy there in on visual.ly and came up this.

0 communicating civilizations in the galaxy
56bn communicating civilizations in the universe .. woah.

I was pessimistic in my selections.
- 1 habitable planet per solar system
- 1% chance of planet developing life
- 1% chance that life is inteligent
- that civilization only sends signals for 5000 years before dieing out
 
2012-08-23 02:16:44 PM  
All these worlds are yours, except Europa.
 
2012-08-23 02:16:49 PM  
2,812,500,000 billion
 
2012-08-23 02:17:00 PM  

Lord Dimwit: I want a galaxy teeming with intelligent, talking life.


It would be neat, but I'd have to think that unless we or someone else finds a way around C as the ultimate speed limit, we probably are effectively alone if not truly alone.

There could well be intelligent life on the other side of the galaxy, but they're so far away that they might as well not exist as far as we're concerned (and vice versa). By the time we ever discover anything about them, it's out of date. If they aren't extinct, the knowledge we have is likely going to be thousands or millions of years old. We won't be able to communicate at these distances. Even if they're on a relatively close star, you're still looking at decades to hold any kind of conversation.

And this assumes there's intelligent life with whom we could theoretically communicate. It's entirely possible that intelligent life could be so incomprehensible to us (or us to them) that no communication is even possible.

So many possibilities. But so much distance, it's likely to remain just a thought exercise.
 
2012-08-23 02:17:59 PM  
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2012-08-23 02:20:23 PM  

Jubeebee: And the chances of intelligence evolving are WAY too high. Life does not evolve toward complexity, life evolves toward survival.


Actually... intelligence is the ultimate survival tool. It pretty much trumps all other physical attributes. Its like a video game, once you hit that milestone, it takes over. If there is something about your environment that is causing you some headaches.... don't evolve, change the environment!

Intelligence is evolution's end game. Once our ancestors began to develop ADVANCED intelligence, the evolutionary process switched gears and devoted all it's resources into developing our brains, often at the expense of traits that would seemingly be defeatist (such as difficult birth, extended youth, etc). Evolution lead to that because our brains are the single most powerful evolutionary advantage on the planet.
 
2012-08-23 02:21:29 PM  

Lord Dimwit: I want a galaxy teeming with intelligent, talking life.


This.

Bag of Hammers: suffer not the Xenos to live


Also this.
 
2012-08-23 02:21:32 PM  
How many Farkers can dance on the head of a pin?

/or on a pinhead, as the case may be
 
2012-08-23 02:25:03 PM  

NutznGum: 42


I think that's the answer. Infinite universe/finite civilised worlds= near enough to 0 as not to matter.

Good day, figment of my deranged imagination;D
 
2012-08-23 02:28:35 PM  
In an infinite universe, there is an infinite number of everything.

There is a planet out there where all the women look like Halle Berry and I end up here.
 
2012-08-23 02:29:06 PM  

akula: Lord Dimwit: I want a galaxy teeming with intelligent, talking life.

It would be neat, but I'd have to think that unless we or someone else finds a way around C as the ultimate speed limit, we probably are effectively alone if not truly alone.

There could well be intelligent life on the other side of the galaxy, but they're so far away that they might as well not exist as far as we're concerned (and vice versa). By the time we ever discover anything about them, it's out of date. If they aren't extinct, the knowledge we have is likely going to be thousands or millions of years old. We won't be able to communicate at these distances. Even if they're on a relatively close star, you're still looking at decades to hold any kind of conversation.

And this assumes there's intelligent life with whom we could theoretically communicate. It's entirely possible that intelligent life could be so incomprehensible to us (or us to them) that no communication is even possible.

So many possibilities. But so much distance, it's likely to remain just a thought exercise.


That's my fear. The flipside of all these big numbers is that, while it's almost certain that there is intelligent life elsewhere, the chances of it being close to us are tiny (and "close" in this case is still really, really far away and therefore long ago).

I like the idea of starseeds - bundle up a strong AI that knows as much as possible about your civilization and fire it at a known-to-be or likely-to-be inhabited star system, and hope it can communicate when it gets there. Depending on how hard advanced AI is, that really might not be a huge expenditure in resources to send (if it could fit in the mass of, say, a Voyager probe and we don't care that our civilization will be long dead when it gets to its destination).
 
2012-08-23 02:29:31 PM  

Grither: Can we pre-empitvely ban frepnog and quantum apostrophe from participating in this thread? kthxbye.


Why? Are you so dense you can't understand the difference between thinking there is life on other planets and thinking you'll get to meet them?
 
2012-08-23 02:31:04 PM  
69, dude!
 
2012-08-23 02:31:24 PM  
Extrapolating from one data point is FUN!
 
2012-08-23 02:33:13 PM  
For me, debating the existence of "alien civilizations" is akin to debating the existence of god: while it would be nice and/or reassuring to be able to say for certain that he (or they) exist, until hard evidence is presented, gathered and reviewed, I have to assume that both do NOT exist and think accordingly.
 
2012-08-23 02:34:44 PM  

crozzo: In an infinite universe, there is an infinite number of everything.

There is a planet out there where all the women look like Halle Berry and I end up here.


We don't know if the Universe is infinite (of course, the visible Universe is finite). We have pretty good evidence that the Universe is finite (the CMB, etc), but it could be a good deal larger than we can see.

There is a maximum upper limit to how big the Universe can be before there has to be a duplicate Earth with a duplicate you on it, and that limit isn't so big that we haven't calculated it.

So, yeah, there is a size that isn't so big that everything that could happen on Earth will. :)
 
2012-08-23 02:38:08 PM  

Lord Dimwit: crozzo: In an infinite universe, there is an infinite number of everything.

There is a planet out there where all the women look like Halle Berry and I end up here.

We don't know if the Universe is infinite (of course, the visible Universe is finite). We have pretty good evidence that the Universe is finite (the CMB, etc), but it could be a good deal larger than we can see.

There is a maximum upper limit to how big the Universe can be before there has to be a duplicate Earth with a duplicate you on it, and that limit isn't so big that we haven't calculated it.

So, yeah, there is a size that isn't so big that everything that could happen on Earth will. :)


Bah!

Turtles, all the way down.
 
2012-08-23 02:40:42 PM  

MassD: Jubeebee: And the chances of intelligence evolving are WAY too high. Life does not evolve toward complexity, life evolves toward survival.

Actually... intelligence is the ultimate survival tool. It pretty much trumps all other physical attributes. Its like a video game, once you hit that milestone, it takes over. If there is something about your environment that is causing you some headaches.... don't evolve, change the environment!


True, but when it comes to survival traits, there are local maxima that are much easier to reach than advanced intelligence--a brain like ours requires considerable energy to run, which subsequently isn't available to increase e.g. running speed or bite strength. Which might explain why in billions of years of life on Earth, advanced intelligence only made any recognizable appearance (or at least left evidence of its existence) within the last few hundred thousand years.
 
2012-08-23 02:44:00 PM  
For the record, modern physicists no longer think the universe is infinite. It ends up being a paradox though because it is impossible to prove one way or another. Also, if there is "nothing" beyond the edge of the universe in the infinite sense, then by merely flying past the edge, you would be expanding the galaxy.

Theoretical physics is a crazy biatch. The latest theories though suggest that the universe is some type of odd shape that folds in on itself, sort of like the earth being round... if you go far enough, you end up back on the other side.
 
2012-08-23 02:44:58 PM  

Alonjar: For the record, modern physicists no longer think the universe is infinite. It ends up being a paradox though because it is impossible to prove one way or another. Also, if there is "nothing" beyond the edge of the universe in the infinite sense, then by merely flying past the edge, you would be expanding the galaxy.

Theoretical physics is a crazy biatch. The latest theories though suggest that the universe is some type of odd shape that folds in on itself, sort of like the earth being round... if you go far enough, you end up back on the other side.


Think torus... Bounded but no edges...
 
2012-08-23 02:46:24 PM  

anfrind: True, but when it comes to survival traits, there are local maxima that are much easier to reach than advanced intelligence--a brain like ours requires considerable energy to run, which subsequently isn't available to increase e.g. running speed or bite strength. Which might explain why in billions of years of life on Earth, advanced intelligence only made any recognizable appearance (or at least left evidence of its existence) within the last few hundred thousand years.


[Citation Needed]

Not trying to nitpick, but when you look at the amount of energy that exists... well everywhere, the amount used by the human brain is so small that it would be incalculable in a universal sense.
 
2012-08-23 02:46:54 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: Why? Are you so dense you can't understand the difference between thinking there is life on other planets and thinking you'll get to meet them?


Damnit!
 
2012-08-23 02:50:07 PM  

MassD: Jubeebee: And the chances of intelligence evolving are WAY too high. Life does not evolve toward complexity, life evolves toward survival.

Actually... intelligence is the ultimate survival tool. It pretty much trumps all other physical attributes. Its like a video game, once you hit that milestone, it takes over. If there is something about your environment that is causing you some headaches.... don't evolve, change the environment!

Intelligence is evolution's end game. Once our ancestors began to develop ADVANCED intelligence, the evolutionary process switched gears and devoted all it's resources into developing our brains, often at the expense of traits that would seemingly be defeatist (such as difficult birth, extended youth, etc). Evolution lead to that because our brains are the single most powerful evolutionary advantage on the planet.


Intelligence may also prove to be self-destructive, rendering it unviable in the long term. The Homo genus is a relatively young branch, so it's hard to say. There are more ants than humans on the planet, and they at least have shown the ability to persist through multiple mass extinctions.

While intelligence may be the most externally influential evolutionary trait, it's possible that older, simpler organisms may outlast us by virtue of being able to survive on fewer resources for longer because they don't have to fuel large bodies and disproportionate brains.
 
2012-08-23 02:51:01 PM  

Lord Dimwit: There is a maximum upper limit to how big the Universe can be before there has to be a duplicate Earth with a duplicate you on it, and that limit isn't so big that we haven't calculated it.


Although as the number of inhabited planets increases toward infinity the statistical chance of encountering a duplicate Earth approaches 100%, that does not necessarily guarantee that it would ever happen, even given an infinite sample. Given all of the factors as set forth in the Drake equation, accepting the output as accurate for the sake of argument, a sample size would need to be tremendously, absurdly, outlandishly huge to bring the chance of an exact copy of yourself, much less Earth in its entirety, within even the realm of relevancy.

Point being, "because infinity" is simply not a stand-alone proof to back up such wild claims.
 
2012-08-23 02:53:16 PM  

Lord Dimwit: I put these parameters:

10 stars born a year
50% of stars have planets
0.1 average of those planets are in the habitable zone
50% chance a habitable planet forms life
10% chance that life becomes intelligent
10% chance intelligent life can communicate across space
1000 years of signal sending

There are 3 civilizations in the Milky Way right now communicating (and 375 billion civilizations in the Universe).


When it says 3 civilizations are communicating, does that mean actively talking with each other, or shooting out radio waves (or whatever) trying to communicate with anyone who can hear it?
 
Displayed 50 of 120 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report