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(The Atlantic)   US government official says he "absolutely" believes there is life on other planets   (theatlantic.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, NASA, Mars Rover Spirit, Charles Elachi, planets  
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12553 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Nov 2012 at 2:17 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2012-11-02 10:45:43 AM  
10 votes:
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.
2012-11-02 11:29:25 AM  
6 votes:
imgs.xkcd.com
2012-11-02 02:21:54 PM  
4 votes:
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
2012-11-02 11:26:47 AM  
4 votes:
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.
2012-11-02 11:02:21 AM  
4 votes:

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.
2012-11-02 02:39:42 PM  
3 votes:

indarwinsshadow: Our journey has been so unique, what're the odds of anything going through the same process to get where we are.


Astronomical.
2012-11-02 01:36:27 PM  
3 votes:
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.
2012-11-02 02:44:15 PM  
2 votes:

T.rex: If i had a trillion grains of multi-colored sand, and tossed them up in the air, and measured how they landed, that doesn't mean that i could ever exactly replicate that ever again, even if i tried an infinite number of times


Actually, if you did it an infinite amount of times then you would not only exactly replicate it, you would exactly replicate it an infinite amount of times.

/This is the crap I think about at night when I should be sleeping.
2012-11-02 02:38:20 PM  
2 votes:
4.bp.blogspot.com
2012-11-02 02:22:58 PM  
2 votes:

FloydA: 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.


This. You know how I know life is pretty likely to exist on other planets? Look at how soon life began after the formation of Earth.
2012-11-02 01:13:08 PM  
2 votes:

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.


And we're done.
2012-11-02 11:11:23 AM  
2 votes:

FlashHarry: 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.


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, let alone of the interplanetary variety, and of having no way of interpreting each other's communications anyway makes me sad.
2012-11-02 05:43:58 PM  
1 vote:

T.rex: Why? break it down... infinite... infinite possibilities. There are infinite things that will happen once, infinite things that will happen twice, three times up to infinity times.... Why wouldn't there be? If you're not putting a cap on any scenario, then the scenario of something happening a single time is just as valid as it happening an infinity times.


First, let me apologize for being contrite above.

Any time you bring an infinite number of trials into the argument, there can be no finite results. Literally, every single possible outcome will occur an infinite number of times. In the case of the trillion grains of sand argument which you presented earlier, this would mean that they would fall in every possible distribution an infinite number of times; they could not fall in the exact same manner once for an infinite number of times, because "once" is finite. Either you tried your experiment a finite amount of times, or you achieved the same result infinitely.

Understand that I'm not arguing that it's impossible that this is, in fact, the only body of matter in this universe which harbors life. The probability of that is extremely small, but is not absolute zero at this (or any) particular instant in our timeline. My point was that your sand statement was flawed if you allow for an infinite number of tries. And regardless of whether or not Earth harbored 100% of all life in the universe when I typed that sentence, that does not mean that it does now, nor that it did before I typed that sentence; in fact, given an infinite timeline with an infinite number of possibilities, we both blinked out of existence an infinite number of times since I started typing this thought, and we both remain existent an infinite number of times as well.

That's the glory and wonder of infinity, and what makes it so difficult to grasp. Of course, if we are indeed part of infinite universe/multiverse/whatever and/or on an infinite timeline, then there's also an infinite possibility that I'm grasping the concept entirely incorrectly. And correctly.
2012-11-02 03:57:52 PM  
1 vote:
FTFA: He also believes a trip to Jupiter's moon Europa is possible in the next decade. Europa contains an ocean larger than the Earth's under its icy surface. Perhaps there, beneath the ice, NASA could find the smoking gun of life beyond Earth.

Lady Beryl Ersatz-Wendigo: Hold up there, Sparky- I thought we weren't supposed to go to Europa.


content.forum.canucks.com
2012-11-02 03:40:23 PM  
1 vote:
FTFA: He also believes a trip to Jupiter's moon Europa is possible in the next decade. Europa contains an ocean larger than the Earth's under its icy surface. Perhaps there, beneath the ice, NASA could find the smoking gun of life beyond Earth.

Hold up there, Sparky- I thought we weren't supposed to go to Europa.
2012-11-02 03:29:31 PM  
1 vote:

Lawnchair: 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...


I think that Atari was really hot when Voyager was launched.
2012-11-02 03:22:40 PM  
1 vote:
gotta have faith I guess
2012-11-02 03:11:21 PM  
1 vote:

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 03:05:44 PM  
1 vote:

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 03:01:25 PM  
1 vote:

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."


That is going to be my rebuttal for every argument from now on.
2012-11-02 02:59:23 PM  
1 vote:

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."


Sorry, bud, penguins don't mention aliens either.
2012-11-02 02:58:31 PM  
1 vote:
I think there is intelligent life on other planets. I don't think it's coming here to turn cows inside out and give people anal probes.

I think there will be some similaries at the molecular level because of the distribution of elements. Hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen are by far the most common elements (with helium which doesn't count) and they tend to make the same standard compunds, water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, methane. You could imagine a yttrium-based life form but there's not enough yttrium to make that likely. Once you get into complex structures anything goes although they will have the same needs to move, reproduce, take in nutrients, observe their environment and act on it.
2012-11-02 02:56:48 PM  
1 vote:
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."
2012-11-02 02:53:22 PM  
1 vote:

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.


If an advanced civilization could travel faster than light, would they want to visit us barbarians?
2012-11-02 02:52:03 PM  
1 vote:

Harv72b: T.rex: If i had a trillion grains of multi-colored sand, and tossed them up in the air, and measured how they landed, that doesn't mean that i could ever exactly replicate that ever again, even if i tried an infinite number of times

Actually, if you did it an infinite amount of times then you would not only exactly replicate it, you would exactly replicate it an infinite amount of times.

/This is the crap I think about at night when I should be sleeping.


Bah! You beat me to it. Someone is wrong on the internet!

Now, on the other hand, if you had an infinite number of grains of sand...
2012-11-02 02:49:18 PM  
1 vote:
I imagine intelligent life has occurred several times in the universe and possibly within the Milky Way we simply haven't been contacted because the technology to distance ratio isn't right, the species has killed itself off, or they are simply ignoring us as we aren't really that interesting and have nothing to offer them.
2012-11-02 02:41:33 PM  
1 vote:

dababler: Dolphins. Why? Dolphins are the frat boys of the sea, but smarter than average actual human frat boys.


I've always considered dolphins the golden retrievers of the sea, much smarter than frat boys.
2012-11-02 02:41:21 PM  
1 vote:
Wake me up when we find an abundance of intelligent life in the US government.
2012-11-02 02:41:18 PM  
1 vote:
I have no life and I feel so alone.

Anyone want to be anal probed?
2012-11-02 02:40:22 PM  
1 vote:

Harv72b: reklamfox: I doubt very much that we will ever come into contact with anything that is an complex as we are

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 tend to think that the first "intelligent" life form we come into contact with will probably be a clone of one of our evolutionary predecessors: H. habilis, perhaps. The technology is so close at this point that sooner or later, legally or otherwise, somebody's going to make one. Probably sooner, and probably otherwise.

This is not to say that we'll never encounter aliens in the future; we might. But I think before that happens, we'll already have at least some experience dealing with another sentient species than our own.
2012-11-02 02:38:41 PM  
1 vote:

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


Math says otherwise.

There are an infinte number of starsystems based upon observations.

Also based on observations, a finite number has intelligent life.

Finite divided by infinity is zero.

I think we can agree there is no intelligent life in the universe.

/better damn not be obscure
2012-11-02 02:38:04 PM  
1 vote:

Cythraul: [imgs.xkcd.com image 413x336]


Nice. It sums up my feelings about life on other planets. It could be something so inconcievable that we have yet to imagine what it would be. I smh at pictures of aliens who walk erect and have similar facial features as humans.
2012-11-02 02:36:17 PM  
1 vote:
I cannot deny the possibility. But for there to be any nonzero number of sentient species in the universe, one of those species must the first, and I cannot deny the possibility that we are the first. It's a somewhat more optimistic outlook than the typical "alone in the universe" rhetoric, anyway.
2012-11-02 02:34:39 PM  
1 vote:
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.
2012-11-02 02:33:46 PM  
1 vote:

cwolf20: Or cats have never been able to find intelligent humans to communicate effectively with.


Flawed:

animal.discovery.com

2012-11-02 02:33:00 PM  
1 vote:
I imagine a conversation with alien intelligence going something like this...

"Morning sir, or madam, or neuter," the thing said. "This your planet, is it?"
"Well, er. I suppose so," Newt said.
"Had it long, have we sir?"
"Not personally. I mean, as a species, about half a million years. I think."
The alien exchanged glances with its colleague.
"Been letting the old acid rain build up, haven't we sir," it said. "Been letting ourselves go a bit with the old hydrocarbons, perhaps?"
"I'm sorry?"
"Well, I'm sorry to have to tell you, sir, but your polar ice caps are below regulation size for a planet of this category, sir."
"Oh, dear," said Newt.
"We'll overlook it on this occasion, sir."
The smaller alien walked past the car. "CO2 level up nought point five percent," it rasped, giving him a meaningful look. "You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don't you?"


― Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Good Omens)
2012-11-02 02:26:20 PM  
1 vote:
unless that life has big ol' green space titties and needs a solid earth-dicking, I don't really care.
2012-11-02 02:25:16 PM  
1 vote:

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.


I think when most people hear "intelligent life" they immediately assume one is talking of an organism that is as complex as a human being which is extremely unlikely. I agree with you, bacteria and other such small creatures are probably fairly common in the universe but I doubt very much that we will ever come into contact with anything that is an complex as we are. It will be a big, big day for science if we are ever able to bring interstellar cultures back to earth for study.

/note: complex does NOT mean "the same as"
2012-11-02 02:23:41 PM  
1 vote:
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
2012-11-02 02:21:59 PM  
1 vote:

exick: FlashHarry: 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.

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, let alone of the interplanetary variety, and of having no way of interpreting each other's communications anyway makes me sad.


Also, they could be religious fanatics who have shunned science, and only gaze upwards in fear to interpret signs of their impending doom.

But then I guess we really couldn't call them "intelligent", could we?
2012-11-02 11:14:15 AM  
1 vote:

keiverarrow: we've never even been able to communicate effectively with the domestic house cat


I think we have, but the cats can't be bothered to respond. One day, however, Fluffy is going to wake me up, look me in the eye and say "Look Steve, you gotta get your shiat together man. Seriously dude, the f*ck?" When I tell her my name's not "Steve", she'll turn around and take a dump on my bed.
 
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