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(The Atlantic)   US government official says he "absolutely" believes there is life on other planets   (theatlantic.com) divider line 298
    More: Interesting, NASA, Mars Rover Spirit, Charles Elachi, planets  
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12523 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Nov 2012 at 2:17 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-02 03:02:32 PM
So it's a 50-50 chance, right?

If I stand in against a major league pitcher, there are only two possible outcomes: I will hit the ball or I won't. Definitely not 50-50.
 
2012-11-02 03:02:39 PM

Great Janitor: The dumbest argument for not believing in aliens was a girl who said "The bible doesn't mention aliens so they aren't real." I responded with "Penguins."


Her reaction?

You could have pointed out god admitted there are other gods, and why couldnt they be aliens?

/Worship no other gods for I am a jealous god..
 
2012-11-02 03:02:50 PM
The one factor that is consistently undermentioned in the topic of extraterrestrial life is elemental diversity. Everyone talks about water and the temperate Goldilocks zone. Personally, I think elemental diversity is even more important. I'd sooner bet on life arising on some planet with oceans made of liquid ammonia if there are sufficient amounts of carbon, oxygen, silicon, germanium, nitrogen, calcium, etc., then a temperate, water-soaked chunk of iron. In order to have complexity, you need to have a rich library of potential chemical reactions to form infinite permutations of compounds with.
 
2012-11-02 03:03:39 PM
My only hope is that they evolved on a really tiny planet with a higher gravity so when they get here they can't move and we can smoosh 'em with our shoes as they pointlessly fire tiny little laser beams at us.

muahahahahahaha
 
2012-11-02 03:03:43 PM

BigNumber12: You're telling me that a Director at NASA is delivering a message consistent with the justification for NASA's very existence and continued funding?!? Someone, please catch me before I faint from shock.


Come now. No need for conspiracy theories. Simpler explanation is that "space cadet" types like to work for NASA.
 
2012-11-02 03:03:46 PM
If nothing is truly impossible, just highly improbable, but time is infinite, then wouldn't everything possible have already happened infinite times before?
 
2012-11-02 03:03:53 PM

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: The lack of contact from intelligent beings suggests that 300,000 km/sec is a harsh mistress, that there are no shortcuts around the speed of light.



Maybe we're an uncontacted tribe, and they're just respecting our (rather retarded) rate of development.

i187.photobucket.com
 
2012-11-02 03:04:34 PM
I would find it depressing to think there's no life out there that's at least as intelligent as a clerk at the DMV.
 
2012-11-02 03:04:40 PM
Not only do we have to find another highly intelligent species... we have to find them at an almost impossibly coincidental TIME.

We think of the past few thousand years as "world history" but of course it's really just a tiny, tiny, almost insignificant blip in our Earth's timeline (although increasingly the most technologically amazing of course).

Will humans keep evolving, eventually leave Earth (millions of years from now) or will we kill ourselves off via pollution, war, disease and greed?

Remember the end game is preserving our ever-evolving species. The Sun will eventually die, the Earth's natural resources will eventually run out. Can we live in space? Can we pull-off a pilgrimage to another, younger planet eventually. How much can our species accomplish, how intelligent can we become?


Whew - glad this isn't my problem... back to the interwebs. "Ah.. is that a puppy? It's too small to be a puppy...."
 
2012-11-02 03:05:03 PM

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: Having a large, close moon to create tides may be one of the things that tilts a planet in favor of intelligent life. Our moon is one of the few things that makes the earth pretty unique among planets, not sure how often a planet of the right size in the "sweet spot" captures a smaller partner early in its life cycle.


We didnt capture the moon. Earth gave birth to it via a falcon punch.

Google luna impact origin
 
2012-11-02 03:05:05 PM

Ambitwistor: [www.eskimo.com image 360x270]


You make things go?
 
2012-11-02 03:05:44 PM

Magnanimous_J: If nothing is truly impossible, just highly improbable, but time is infinite, then wouldn't everything possible have already happened infinite times before?


mindlessones.com
 
2012-11-02 03:05:49 PM

Magnanimous_J: If nothing is truly impossible, just highly improbable, but time is infinite, then wouldn't everything possible have already happened infinite times before?


Don't you farking tlak like that when I've been drinking.
 
2012-11-02 03:06:50 PM

keiverarrow: Statistically, it's ridiculous to argue otherwise. However, it should be noted that we've never even been able to communicate effectively with the domestic house cat, among the other creatures our planet has to offer. Let's hope they're more like dogs if we ever meet any.


Bacteria is far more likely.

But I agree with you 100%. To suggest we're the only planet that supports life would be an argument so stupid that only a creationist or someone with severe brain damage could make it.
 
2012-11-02 03:07:04 PM

Sybarite: I tend to believe the Rare Earth hypothesis that while simple, unicellular life is probably fairly common, highly complex life is likely to be quite rare.


Really? It seems to me that the astronomically improbable event is the random falling together of the first self-replicating molecule. Once you have that, if there are sufficient survival gradients, evolution becomes a runaway train. Going from single cell to colony to an organism like a hydra will always represent an advantage in a solely unicellular environment.
 
2012-11-02 03:07:29 PM

Yanks_RSJ: YO!

[1.bp.blogspot.com image 400x301]


Yay, a Gordon Shumway reference!
 
2012-11-02 03:08:12 PM

Counter_Intelligent: Harv72b: I tend to think that if we ever come into contact with another "intelligent" life form, it will be far more complex than we are.

I'm of the opinion that if we do ever meet extraterrestrial intelligence, it'll be just as retarded as we are.


lol... We'll give nukes to the Krogans and get ourselves killed.
 
2012-11-02 03:09:32 PM

Purdue_Pete:

Whew - glad this isn't my problem... back to the interwebs. "Ah.. is that a puppy? It's too small to be a puppy...."


At 2:09pm CST, I lawled out loud at my desk.
 
2012-11-02 03:10:18 PM

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: The lack of contact from intelligent beings suggests that 300,000 km/sec is a harsh mistress, that there are no shortcuts around the speed of light.


Or it's just really hard. We're the only creature we know of to figure out how to break the sound barrier.
 
2012-11-02 03:10:36 PM
Or I want them to have evolved on a crazy huge planet with a ridiculous amount of resources so when they dock their ship on our planet it destroys a continent and when they step out thousands get crushed as we pointlessly fire bullets at them.
 
2012-11-02 03:10:41 PM
The question is how you define "life". We've already observed pockets of gas in deep space that behave like amoebas. We've seen self-replicating bits of information occur organically on computer networks.

If we extend this definition, then as, as Stephen Hawking said, we should be looking not for the most Earth-like conditions, but for the highest densities of information we can find. Examine the surface of the Sun, not the oceans of Europa, and you're more likely to find the "viruses" in the source code of the universe.
 
2012-11-02 03:11:19 PM
Why are they presenting this as some sort of shocking statement? I would be shocked if he had said otherwise.
 
2012-11-02 03:11:21 PM

DORMAMU: Great Janitor: The dumbest argument for not believing in aliens was a girl who said "The bible doesn't mention aliens so they aren't real." I responded with "Penguins."

Her reaction?

You could have pointed out god admitted there are other gods, and why couldnt they be aliens?

/Worship no other gods for I am a jealous god..


She was just stunned when I said that, she asked me to clarify, so I pointed out that there are penguins, but they are not mentioned in the bible. Then the look on her face became that of confusion before telling me to go to church and that she'd pray for my soul.

Now I was a teenager when this happened, so I didn't have my now instantly ready supply of facts to attack fundie logic.
 
2012-11-02 03:11:37 PM

honk: In fact, I think that some of the random static we get from the skies might be communication that's too cryptic or something for us to be able to even recognize as communication.


Too cryptic, or just plain too low-powered.

If there were a civilization doing exactly what we are in terms of radio-wave-transmission, at this moment, at the nearest stars? In theory, there are transmissions we could hear. We could hear the handful of "active SETI" type transmissions. We'd catch some high-power radar blips. And, if we tied together a half-dozen radio telescopes and listened intensely for a while (for noise analysis, etc), we might be able to decode a few high-power shortwave transmissions.

The fact is, though, we're not listening that closely to *anything* out there. We have scattershot short listening projects of stars even further away (whose possible transmissions are even more infinitesimally-powered). There really could be an early-21st-century-human-level civilization within 15 light years of us. Several even. And we just wouldn't know with our current level of attentiveness.
 
2012-11-02 03:13:21 PM
I guess what I am saying is picturing them in my imagination being six feet tall is super boring to me.

but if one does show up and he/she/it is 6 tall that would be exciting.


Want to me my dealer?
 
2012-11-02 03:13:38 PM

busy chillin': Magnanimous_J: If nothing is truly impossible, just highly improbable, but time is infinite, then wouldn't everything possible have already happened infinite times before?

[mindlessones.com image 850x283]


Time isn't infinite, since outside of our universal "bubble", there isn't any. Probably. Maybe. Prior to the Big Bang, or Really Fast Expansion, there was no way for time to exist, since there were no relative bodies of mass and there was no motion.

However, the little ball of everything existed, and it might have had some form of time. I'm a fair chunk out of date on the theory of that though.
 
2012-11-02 03:14:06 PM

exick: The likelihood of any other intelligent species being too far away to contact, the possibility of them not being advanced enough to have the ability to receive any sort of radio communication,


Considering the distance our radio signals have travelled in our galaxy is the equivalent of having take one step on a walking trip from New York to LA, I'd say it almost doesn't matter if they are advanced enough or not.
 
2012-11-02 03:14:49 PM
Fail. Highly probable != absolutely
 
2012-11-02 03:16:44 PM
25.media.tumblr.com
How much of my DNA do you need, and how soon do you need it?
 
2012-11-02 03:16:50 PM

FlashHarry: keiverarrow: Statistically, it's ridiculous to argue otherwise. However, it should be noted that we've never even been able to communicate effectively with the domestic house cat, among the other creatures our planet has to offer. Let's hope they're more like dogs if we ever meet any.

done in one.

the universe is almost infinitely big and 14 billion years old. to think we're the only planet to develop intelligence is just incredibly improbable. however, this vastness also means that it's incredibly improbable that we'll ever contact another intelligent species.


We in our lifetime or species meeting one another over the course of their collective lifetimes? I don't expect to ever see an alien. But I expect that people will be living on other planets within a few hundred years, and expanding from there. Once you break out of the pull of being stuck in a single solar system, the sky is pretty much the limit on stuff meeting other stuff. It is just a matter of time.

/we MAY manage to get ourselves replaced by robots before we meet alien life, depending on how well we pull of genetically modifying humanity to be awesome. That is a race I'd hope we wouldn't lose: mutant humans are cooler than robots.
 
2012-11-02 03:18:32 PM

Magnanimous_J: If nothing is truly impossible, just highly improbable, but time is infinite, then wouldn't everything possible have already happened infinite times before?


Yes, that would be true given those assumptions.

But we have no reason to believe that time is infinite.
 
2012-11-02 03:18:46 PM
Lawman, beating up the wrong guy?
 
2012-11-02 03:19:07 PM
Lucky LaRue:
I think that faith - whether in God or the existence of extraterrestrial life - is an expression of our own existential angst that is derived from the core question of our mortality: Are we, in the end, alone?

That was freakin awesome. 

+ a bazillion
 
2012-11-02 03:19:10 PM
It would be impossible to compose a list of all of the impossible things that humans have claimed to be impossible, that weren't.
 
2012-11-02 03:19:33 PM

busy chillin': Life on other planets = yes, almost 100% definitely

Intelligent life on other planets = that's a toughie, I'll go 25% chance

/not a scientist


Enjoy
 
2012-11-02 03:20:42 PM

WayneKerr: It would be impossible to compose a list of all of the impossible things that humans have claimed to be impossible, that weren't.


crawling on your knees to Saturn is impossible.


/waits 12,000,000,000,000 years
//dangit!
 
2012-11-02 03:20:58 PM

Smackledorfer:
/we MAY manage to get ourselves replaced by robots before we meet alien life, depending on how well we pull of genetically modifying humanity to be awesome. That is a race I'd hope we wouldn't lose: mutant humans are cooler than robots.


I like the idea of conjoined AI/Post Human hybrids. It seems to allow better flexibility in terms of the limits of organic structures (speed of information access and transmission, general fragility) and inorganic structures (inability to be creative, lack of drive to replicate).

Of course, they wouldn't be human any more, but then, that's inevitable anyways, eventually.
 
2012-11-02 03:21:21 PM

FloydA: Is there life on other planets? I'm pretty certain of that. It would be nearly impossible for that to not be the case.

Is there intelligent life on other planets? I have no idea. Maybe. If intelligence turns out to be a good thing for a species to have, it might evolve multiple times independently. But right now, we have a very small sample size (primates, and possibly cetaceans), and there's no guarantee that our intelligence won't end up killing us.

I'd bet everything I own that there are living things on other planets. I would not bet on intelligent organisms. It would be pretty neat though.


Actually, if you look at the sheer size of the universe, no matter how improbable you make the evolution of intelligent life on Earth, it's still a virtual statistical certainty that there is or has been other intelligent life out there somewhere. There are an estimated 80 billion galaxies in the visible universe. That's roughly 5 times more galaxies in existence than there have been years since the universe came into existence. Each of those galaxies contains several hundred billion stars. I don't care how low the odds of evolving intelligent life are, any meaningful non-zero odds means intelligent life has to be out there somewhere.

That said, it's entirely possible that said intelligent life is in another galaxy, or even in another galaxy cluster - not to mention that it might well have lived and died billions of years ago. The enormous distance in time and space renders any contact with that intelligent life essentially impossible barring a stroke of luck of literally cosmic proportions.

The issue isn't the existence of intelligent life. It's whether it will ever amount to anything more than a statistical conjecture.
 
2012-11-02 03:21:25 PM
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com



GO HOMEZ EARTH YOU ARE DRUNK!!
 
2012-11-02 03:22:40 PM
gotta have faith I guess
 
2012-11-02 03:23:09 PM

Ambivalence: Sybarite: I tend to believe the Rare Earth hypothesis that while simple, unicellular life is probably fairly common, highly complex life is likely to be quite rare.

But given the sheer number of habitable worlds in the entire universe, "quite rare" could produce hundreds if not thousands of examples of worlds with complex (if not intelligent) lifeforms.



Sure, but that's over an unimaginably huge galaxy. Plus species have a limited shelf life. I doubt we'll make the million year average for mammals, but even if we do that's a ludicrously small blip in galactic history. The odds of another intelligent species being extant with us within any sort of reasonable communication distance appears vanishingly small.
 
2012-11-02 03:24:02 PM
Just have to bring this up -
When someone says the universe is 14 Billion years old, they seem to be assuming that our 'big bang' was the starting point of the entire universe.

I have to think there is more stuff out there, we just haven't found it yet.
 
2012-11-02 03:24:29 PM
It would be simpler to invent time travel than it would be to invent deep-space travel
 
2012-11-02 03:24:34 PM

hairywoogit: Time isn't infinite, since outside of our universal "bubble", there isn't any. Probably. Maybe. Prior to the Big Bang, or Really Fast Expansion, there was no way for time to exist, since there were no relative bodies of mass and there was no motion.


This assumes that our universe is all that exists or ever has existed, and that the Big Bang/Really Fast Expansion/Creation was the beginning of everything, ever.
 
2012-11-02 03:25:46 PM

Great Janitor: DORMAMU: Great Janitor: The dumbest argument for not believing in aliens was a girl who said "The bible doesn't mention aliens so they aren't real." I responded with "Penguins."

Her reaction?

You could have pointed out god admitted there are other gods, and why couldnt they be aliens?

/Worship no other gods for I am a jealous god..

She was just stunned when I said that, she asked me to clarify, so I pointed out that there are penguins, but they are not mentioned in the bible. Then the look on her face became that of confusion before telling me to go to church and that she'd pray for my soul.

Now I was a teenager when this happened, so I didn't have my now instantly ready supply of facts to attack fundie logic.


I have used "other gods" before. They stated it was a mistake. I the pointed out the bible was the word of god, and if that bit was a mistake, the word of god was a mistake. Therefore god is fallible, like man.

One uber preach nut told me to go to hell...

My philosophy proph loved that argument and was a strict catholic.

/csb
 
2012-11-02 03:26:05 PM

Smackledorfer: But I expect that people will be living on other planets within a few hundred years, and expanding from there. Once you break out of the pull of being stuck in a single solar system.


Other planets/moons/planetsimals/Sun-orbiting-stations within our solar system? Sure, though I'd put it more in the 1000-year range.

Getting out of our solar system? Voyager I is 1/20th of 1% of the closest distance to the nearest anything at all. There's orders-of-magnitude, then there's orders-of-magnitude...
 
2012-11-02 03:26:46 PM

austin_millbarge: busy chillin': Life on other planets = yes, almost 100% definitely

Intelligent life on other planets = that's a toughie, I'll go 25% chance

/not a scientist

Enjoy


whoa...

I still hope they can't see the color orange from some evolution mistake that got replicated a million times

/I have no idea what I am talking about
//just fun to think about the madness of it all
 
2012-11-02 03:27:37 PM

machoprogrammer: Intelligent life? It probably exists. See: WOW Signal

Cheron: I find it mind blowing to look at the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field and think that one tiny patch of sky has 5,500 galaxies in it. To think that we are it is hubris

I thought there was 100,000 galaxies in that image?

There are something like a trillion galaxies in the observable universe, and around 250 billion stars per galaxies. To think we are alone is just idiotic.


There are but a small handful of galaxies with a dearth of life in a universe that is a house of mirrors. All those galaxies you think you see are reflections from the past, present and future of the loneliest of existences.

We are truly alone.



/Really, really hope not.
 
2012-11-02 03:28:11 PM

Magnanimous_J: If nothing is truly impossible, just highly improbable, but time is infinite, then wouldn't everything possible have already happened infinite times before?


There's where you went wrong with that one.
 
2012-11-02 03:28:36 PM

DORMAMU: I have used "other gods" before. They stated it was a mistake. I the pointed out the bible was the word of god, and if that bit was a mistake, the word of god was a mistake. Therefore god is fallible, like man.


I'm completely the opposite of religious, but even I could point that my telling someone not to worship the Loch Ness Monster does not mean that it exists, nor that I believe it does.
 
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