Monthly Archives: March, 2009

Life From Ceres and a Real Good Rant!

Michael Gmirkin laments in an article for Thunderbolts.Info about the habit of “framing hypotheses” in science nowadays, especially concerning one about how life on Earth might’ve been carried from the planetoid Ceres in the asteroid belt in the early solar system:

It seems that, of late, science has reverted to the habit of “framing hypotheses.” In other words, hypotheses and thought experiments are being treated as though they are not in fact unproven.

That scientists seem comfortable with accepting such flights of fancy as worthy of serious consideration is worrisome. Should not theory proceed from observation, rather than the other way around? If we frame hypotheses and then go looking for confirmatory data, will science become overly susceptible to “confirmation bias” (wherein one interprets data as being in support of one’s preconceived ideas rather than allowing the data to speak for itself, even if it is disconfirmatory)?

Whether or not peroxide-based life is or isn’t found on Ceres is perhaps less important than taking away an attitude of rational skepticism about flights of theoretical fancy. It seems like now is a ripe time to revisit Newton and return to a more empirical and less “fantastical” form of science, where observations precede the theory and theories can be falsified based upon real-world data.

One would also be tempted to insist that Ockham’s Razor be applied and that scientists be extremely wary of positing new hypothetical entities (dark matter and dark energy are prime examples) before all existing theories and entities have had their chance at providing answers to existing anomalous data (such as the plasma cosmology explanation of galaxy formation and rotation curves, which does not require the invention of dark matter).

I’ve read the article in question and I found the hypothesis wanting too, although I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a cosmologist or an astrobiologist.

The mainstream seems to have no lack of people spouting “unfalsifiable” theories as fact, like the “tinfoil” community!

A Tale of Earth Life Seeded from Ceres…

Hat Tip

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I don’t partake of partisan politics much anymore, but I know a first class rant when I read one, this time about a person who worked at AIG and can’t understand the public’s righteous anger about bankster bail-outs:

“I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to AIG. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.” via Op-Ed Contributor — “Dear AIG, I Quit!” — NYTimes.com

Like a lot of people, I read Wednesday’s New York Times editorial by former AIG Financial Products employee Jake DeSantis, whose resignation letter basically asks us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit.

DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano’s toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn’t even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn’t, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.

I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.

You have to read the full post to get the impact. The writer is a lot more eloquent in his prose that I would be, which in fact would have more expletive descriptions that his did.

But hey, I don’t write for a living either! 😆

AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger…

Hat Tip________________________________

Hostile Aliens and METI

From the “maybe visiting extraterrestrial beings aren’t so friendly department”

 Is it possible to transport millions of biological beings over interstellar distances?

That is indeed easier than you may think at the moment. Already during the 1970s a NASA study group showed that this would be possible even with the technology of those times.

Many millions of individuals would be able to exist absolutely self-sufficiently for an unlimited period of time.
They worked out that each of the space arks would consist of a huge rotating cylinder with a length of 32 km and a diameter of 6.4 km, inside it would offer living space for 10 million individuals with 1g including larger lakes, forests, agriculture, etc. With this diame-ter the atmosphere would already create a blue sky with layers of clouds at an altitude of 1-2 km, so they would have earth-like weather and ozone as a protection against cosmic radia-tion.

Space arks with these dimensions are on the limit of what makes sense today from an ecological point of view, but they are still physically feasible.

It would be possible to use the materials available today to build space arks with a diameter of up to 19 kilometres and living space for up to 100 million people. Of course these arks would not accelerate to almost light speed. Under these circumstances with a high quality of life it would be suffi-cientto travel through space »at a leisurely pace« of »only« 60% light speed or even less, and reach the Earth after 350 or more years.

So, that would be the kind of extraterrestrial UFOs we might expects on the sky, far away from what has been sighted as UFOs. Instead of small and nimble saucers ETI UFOs are huge objects with an extension of umpteen kilometres, which because of their mass will only be able to move at a leisurely pace in space and especially near the Earth. In this respect Roland Emerich’s description of extraterrestrial spacecraft in the science fiction film “Inde-pendence Day” was quite correct.

But certainly not his suggestion that they would be hove-ring over the Earth at low altitudes. The required propulsions with their many millions of tons of thrust would leave a corridor of destruction of several square kilometres on the Earth’s surface . The space arks would rather circle the Earth on a safe orbit of some hundred kilometres, and use smaller payload vehicles to descend to the Earth.

Well, the original question whether these ETIs would come with peaceful intentions, is under these circumstances no longer relevant. The crucial issue for them would be to survive, to look for a new home planet. And humans would just be a nuisance on such an attractive planet as the Earth.

 Interstellar space arks as a concept has been around over 100 years, before the Wright Brothers got off the ground with powered flight even!

 

But there are those noisy negativists in the scientific community who decry it as impractical and economically unfeasible for any advanced society to undertake, even if it was threatened with extinction.

 

Despite the heavy anthropomorphic assumptions in the essay, I found it refreshing that at least someone in the mainstream scientific community has given the subject some thought.

Welcome On Planet Earth…?

Hat tip to Adam Crowl of Crowlspace
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On the other hand, according to Dr. Alexander L. Zaitsev of the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Radio Engineering and Chief Scientist of METI (Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence), we send out enough accidental signals from planetary exploring radar that any super-advanced ETIs could detect us anyway, so why not send out radio signals?

Recently, some scientists and SF writers have expressed their concern that sending messages to the stars in our galaxy, which may have a habitable life, jeopardizes existence of our own civilization because our signals helps ETs to pin down location of the Solar System in the Milky Way.

If the Aliens reached the level of a super-civilization, it might send a space fleet to the Earth to either destroy it or to convert us to slaves.

The goal of this letter is to estimate the probability of detection of the terrestrial radio signals by a presumable hostile super-civilization existing somewhere in our galaxy.

 
Dr. Zaitsev then refers to his chart that shows our incidental signal leakage is more than his METI messages, a 1000 times more!

I’m not too sure about that. His METI radio signals are concentrated and narrow, that’s true. But incidental radar is only pointed at targets here on Earth and in the Solar System and would diffuse greatly at interstellar distances.

Maybe if the aliens were close enough, say maybe out to Alpha Centauri distance (4.3 light-years), they might detect leakage, but even that’s a stretch.

I don’t know. I’m the type of person who wouldn’t wave a bunch of bananas to the 800 pound gorilla in the room unless I had a very, very, very, very good reason to do so.
 
Detection Probability of Terrestrial Radio Signals by a Hostile Super-civilization

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Alternative Science and China News

I’ve been meaning to post some stuff from the Electric Universe folks for a while now, so here’s a unique take on GRBs (Gamma Ray Bursts):

The estimated size of a gamma-ray burst depends on its distance, as previously stated. So, what does that mean for GRB measurements? The first few GRBs were found in galaxies with high redshift – some seeming to emanate from as far away as 12 billion light years. If the galaxies were actually that far away, the energies observed in such gamma-ray flashes would be beyond any supernova, so a hypothetical cosmic entity known as a hypernova was created, salvaging the redshift-indicates-distance theory.

As Electric Universe cosmologists conclude, however, another explanation for GRB intensity is that redshift is not actually an indicator of distance and GRBs are occurring in nearby galactic neighborhoods. As Mel Acheson proposed in his latest Picture of the Day, it is likely that some galaxy clusters are not so far away, are not so large and are probably not merging. In that same way, GRBs are not unimaginably powerful, not coming from the edge of a speculative expanding space/time continuum, and are not the birth pangs of a black hole.

If GRBs are located nearby they are less energetic and plasma discharges in the form of exploding double layers could impel the gamma-ray bursts in ways that can be explored though laboratory experiments. Rather than relying on mathematical phantoms like black holes, neutron stars and hypernovae, why not create real, testable hypotheses and work them up with real, physical models?

The Electric Universe folks content that the Cosmos is powered by, you name it, electricity. Not gravity and what they call the fantasy of dark matter/energy.

I don’t know. Any of you smart folks care to educate me on this?

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Wow, why are the Chinese getting slammed with UFO sightings lately?
Mainstream media outlets including the government controlled ‘Xinhua News Agency’ are reporting a stunning UFO sighting that occurred in the Northern Chinese city of Harbin and was witnessed by many local citizens.
At 9pm on March 20 of this year a group of teachers from a local sports institute were driving along the Jiangnan Highway over the Songhua River when they noticed the most unusual glowing disc-like object with a white tail travelling above them in the sky. One of the teachers, a Mr Yin, managed to get a photo (below) on his mobile phone camera.
At first the teachers thought it was a plane but it disappeared within minutes of being sighted. Luckily the UFO showed up on the mobile phone camera image. The teachers later learned that many in the city of Harbin had seen the object and called into radio stations and local UFO hotlines.
Strangely, shortly after seeing the object the teachers complained of dizziness and one of the group was rushed to hospital having almost fainted and suffering high blood pressure at the same time.
chineseufo
harbinufo2
One could pass this off as a meteor easily enough. But why has there been a rash of meteor sightings and sonic booms all over the world lately?
Hat tip Anomalist
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Speaking of China, how about this thing about the Dalai Lama visiting South Africa?

South Africa’s health minister, Barbara Hogan, has condemned her own government for denying the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, a visa to enter the country for a peace conference organised to boost the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

The public broadcaster, the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), on Wednesday aired an extract from a speech Hogan delivered on Tuesday, in which she said the denial reflected the behaviour of a government which was “dismissive of human rights”.
South African Nobel Peace Prize winners, former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, had invited the Dalai Lama to attend the conference. But after the government denied a visa, and De Klerk, Tutu and the Norwegian Nobel Committee pulled out of the conference, the soccer authorities cancelled it.
It is a little known secret that China is investing heavily and actually colonizing Africa, South Africa and Zimbabwe being the prime benefitors.
But has anyone heard anything about it from American corpo-media?
Can I get a resounding noooo….?

Hat tip Daily Grail

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Modern archetypes, or something different?

Battlestar Galactica as an Jungian archetype?

…are we a race of people that has roots are out there, somewhere beyond the milkyway on worlds unknown, of a time long forgotten, of a people long dead? Wouldn’t our children say the same if suddenly the earth were destroyed and only a few of us made it out there, only to settle on another world, to begin anew?

I’m not gullible and I don’t take science fiction shows and add them to my reality. But I do always and often wonder where all ideas and stories begin, and the ideology behind BSG is as old as humanity itself. So, why tell the same tale over and over again in different incarnations if not to serve a purpose? What purpose would that be? To help us to remember, perhaps?

The author makes a point; who, or what, are we?

In the first psychology class I took in college 25 years ago, the professor stressed that human beings are greater than the sum of their parts.

Are we digging up images from our past and just giving them modern clothes to wear?

All of this has happened before and will probably happen again…

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Cold fusion isn’t an archetype, I think.

But that doesn’t stop the ever present pursuit for it:

A U.S. Navy researcher announced today that her lab has produced “significant” new results that indicate cold fusion-like reactions.

If the work by analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss and her colleagues is confirmed, it could open the door to a cheap, near-limitless reservoir of energy.

That’s a big if, however.

Today’s announcement at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society comes in the same location – Salt Lake City – as one of science’s most infamous episodes, the announcement 20 years ago by chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann that they had produced cold fusion.

Unlike nuclear energy reactors and bombs, which split atoms, the atoms in stars such as the sun fuse together to produce spectacular amounts of energy, so much so that we are warmed by a stellar furnace 93 million miles away.

Devising a fusion-based source of energy on Earth has long been a “clean-energy” holy grail of physicists.

Present day research into fusion is high-tech intense and requires a lot of energy to maintain, often more goes in than it generates. That’s why we don’t have fusion reactors dotting the country-side and along sources of water yet; it’s too inefficient.

But, if a sustainable fusion reaction can be produced without all of the supermagnets required, less energy could be put in and more energy can be produced.

Time will tell I guess.

Navy scientist announces possible cold fusion reactions

Hat tip to The Anomalist

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More on Project Aurora, from Great Britain:

calvinescan

One of the key themes to emerge from these papers is the curious Aurora spyplane saga. This is linked with a little-known set of colour photographs, apparently taken in the Scottish highlands, which appear to show a large diamond-shaped UFO shadowed by military jets.

From the late 1980s the British press was buzzing with rumours about a stealthy, cutting-edge aircraft that some experts believed was an advanced US ‘black project’. Codenamed Aurora, the spy plane was said to be capable of hypersonic speed. Alleged sightings frequently made headlines in UFO magazines and in aviation weeklies such as Janes’ Defence. But the US Defence Department always denied such a project existed and two decades have passed without any real evidence that it ever did.

The Eurozone nations decided last year to start disclosing information on investigated UFO sightings from the late 1940s on through to the 1980s. This has produced a wealth of documents (largely redacted) and corresponding photographs.

Except the good ol’ US of A naturally, which still remains ominously silent on all things ‘UFO-ish.’

Project Aurora was a 1980s military effort obviously and if such a thing exists (existed?), the United States Pentagon/DARPA most certainly has something even better than that now-a-days and is keeping its cards close to the vest.

You wouldn’t want a potential rival  know what you have in your hand/arsenal, would you?

The Calvine Photos

Hat tip to The Daily Grail

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From the mainstream to the alternative

For this edition of the carnival, Centauri Dreams sends Prospects for Red Dwarf ‘Earths’. Paul Gilster analyzes a new paper by Greg Laughlin and Ryan Montgomery that looks at whether Earth-class planets might be found in the habitable zone around red dwarfs. These stars make up over 70 percent of the galactic population, so such a result would mean vast numbers of potentially habitable planets.

cos-95-sunrise-from-the-surface-of-gliese-581c-low

Even mainstream science can be cool at times. Check out the Orbital Hub for this past Friday’s Carnival of Space #95. Good stuff for space junkies.

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From the NWO/Police State Department:

 

street_chemicals_poster

street_chemicals_cctv

The London police have bested their own impressive record for insane and stupid anti-terrorism posters with a new range of signs advising Londoners to go through each others’ trash-bins looking for “suspicious” chemical bottles, and to report on one another for “studying CCTV cameras.”

It’s hard to imagine a worse, more socially corrosive campaign. Telling people to rummage in one another’s trash and report on anything they don’t understand is a recipe for flooding the police with bad reports from ignorant people who end up bringing down anti-terror cops on their neighbors who keep tropical fish, paint in oils, are amateur chemists, or who just do something outside of the narrow experience of the least adventurous person on their street. Essentially, this redefines “suspicious” as anything outside of the direct experience of the most frightened, ignorant and foolish people in any neighborhood.

Even worse, though, is the idea that you should report your neighbors to the police for looking at the creepy surveillance technology around them. This is the first step in making it illegal to debate whether the surveillance state is a good or bad thing. It’s the extension of the ridiculous airport rule that prohibits discussing the security measures (“Exactly how does 101 ml of liquid endanger a plane?”), conflating it with “making jokes about bombs.”

The British authorities are bent on driving fear into the hearts of Britons: fear of terrorists, immigrants, pedophiles, children, knives… And once people are afraid enough, they’ll write government a blank check to expand its authority without sense or limit.

What an embarrassment from the country whose level-headed response to the Blitz was “Keep Calm and Carry On” — how has that sensible motto been replaced with “When in trouble or in doubt/Run in circles scream and shout”?

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Great Britain is fast becoming Airstrip One.

Somewhere, Eric Blair is crying.

Hat tip to Boing Boing.

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On the “morality” of “uplifting” some animal species to human level “intelligence”:

Biological uplift describes the act of biologically enhancing nonhuman animals and integrating them into human and/or posthuman society. There is no reason to believe that we won’t some day be able to do so; the same technologies that will someday work to augment the human species could also be applied to other animals. The big questions now have to do with whether or not we should embark on such a project and how we could do so in an ethical and responsible manner.

Recently on his blog, David Brin wrote, “[See] Developmental and ethical considerations for biologically uplifting nonhuman animals,” by George Dvorsky… opining that we humans will soon attempt what I described 30 years ago, when I coined “uplift” in several novels that explored the concept from many angles. George’s fascinating paper, might have benefited from more on the sfnal history of the idea. Before me, HG Wells, Cordwainer Smith, and Pierre Boulle depicted humans endowing animals with powers of intelligence and speech – though always in a context of abuse and involuntary servitude. Indeed, those cautionary tales may have helped ensure that it will be done openly and accountably, hence qualifying the tales as “self-preventing prophecies.” Allowing me to be the first to ponder “what if we tried to do uplift ethically and well?”

David Brin, the author of many “Uplift” Series sci-fi novels is the guest blogger at George Dvorsky’s blog this week and has a lot to say on the subject of animal uplift.

But I noticed a few comments around the InnerTubes that have linked to this post asking why should we uplift animals to sapience in order to have “alien” companions? Many have said they wouldn’t be alien at all, only anthropocentric animal versions of ourselves. And some have suggested what the article stated, that we would use them as slaves, (read Cordwainer Smith’s classic, “The Dead Lady of Clown Town“).

Alternative history researchers Zecharia Sitchen and Lloyd Pye have suggested that humanity itself is a result of uplift from hominids by the Annunaki of Ancient Sumerian legends, however, they do have their detractors.

Could the urge to ‘uplift’ come naturally to us because we are a result of the process?

According to Brin’s fiction, that’s the case.

But is it inadvertantly the truth?

Will we “uplift” animals to sapiency?

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More Weird and Wonderful…

This past Sunday’s Paracast interview is with Mike Clelland, a high strangeness experiencer who shares some interesting sychronicities with David Biedny.

Excellent show!

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.blubrry.com/paranormal/www.theparacast.com/podcasts/paracast_090322.mp3

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Quantum DNA

Here’s an interesting take on quantum mechanics and human beings:

Quantum events that defy linear time take place within our cells continually. DNA’s intelligence operates simultaneously in the past, present, and future. From the past it takes the blueprint of life, applying to the present only the tiniest fraction of the information needed for cellular function (perhaps a billionth of its total data base), and reserving for the future the information that will be relevant years from now.

The double helix is the quantum storehouse of your future; here time is compressed and locked away until needed. At the instant you were conceived, your genes gained control of an entire lifetime of events that would unfold in precise sequence. At the quantum level, you live all these ages at once.

At this moment you are in two places at once. One is the visible, sensual world, where your body is subject to all the forces of nature “out there.” But you also occupy the quantum world, where all things change.

This is a personal synchronicity for me because right now I’m reading a book by sci-fi author Greg Bear titled “City at the End of Time.” The storyline is about the Last Descendants of Humanity in a bid to stave off the Final Entropy (Typhon/Chaos) is to create ur-humans who can exist simulateously in the past, present and future.

It’s been a better read than I anticipated and different from what Bear usually writes.

And thanks to my friend John of Opit’s Link Fest for the tip!

Your Life is Multidimensional

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More on Codex Alimentarius

Scott Tips, of the National Health Federation gave an interview on March 15th, 2009 at Red Ice Creations about the Codex Alimentarius and concerns about food/drug , international and trademark laws.

If you’re one who’s concerned about how the Codex interprets the distinction between food and drugs, this is a good one to listen to.

http://www.redicecreations.com/radio/2009/03mar/RICR-090315-stips.mp3

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Weird and wonderful…

Here’s some good stuff I didn’t get to yesterday…

Centauri Dreams

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From the ‘Disturbingly Beautiful” Department:

An incredible archive of US Army medical photos and illustrations is being made available free under a Creative Commons Attribution license on Flickr by the National Museum of Health and Medicine:

This previously unreported archive at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C., contains 500,000 scans of unique images so far, with another 225,000 set to be digitized this year.

Purty q-el, eh? Massive archive of US Army medical illustrations and photos free online

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Here’s one way the nation can get out of recession real fast!

How can the government raise funds in a recession? One way is to turn an illegitimate business into a legitimate one, and then tax it. Our largest state in the nation is considering doing just that, Time reports:

Ammiano introduced legislation last month that would legalize pot and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale — a move that could mean billions of dollars for the cash-strapped state. Pot is, after all, California’s biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion a year in sales, dwarfing the state’s second largest agricultural commodity — milk and cream — which brings in $7.3 billion a year, according to the most recent USDA statistics. The state’s tax collectors estimate the bill would bring in about $1.3 billion a year in much needed revenue, offsetting some of the billions of dollars in service cuts and spending reductions outlined in the recently approved state budget…

Remember, the rest of the country generally lags behind California 5-10 years.

But didn’t Oregon legalize medical marijuana a few years back and Big Pharma sicced the Feds on sick people?

Good luck to ’em!

California might legalize marijuana

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St. Paddy’s Day Interstellar Musings

Paul Gilster of Centauri Dreams believes that human beings (or our AI representatives) ought to be the interstellar creatures traversing the galaxy in “UFOs” puzzling other creatures instead of the other way around by posting this announcement about Kelvin Long who organized an interstellar session on the upcoming 2009 UK Space Conference:

Tau Zero practitioner Kelvin Long has organized an interstellar session at the forthcoming 2009 UK Space Conference, which will take place from April 1 to 4 at Charterhouse School, near Godalming Surrey. The overall conference looks to be an excellent one, with symposia on rocket technology, panels and presentations on astronomy and space science, much educational material for teachers and students, and the presentation of the Arthur Clarke Awards on the evening of the 4th.

uksc-vertical-banner

From our perspective, of course, it’s good to see the Tau Zero logo up on the site’s interstellar page, with links to all presentations. Long is a scientist in the plasma physics industry who will address inertial confinement fusion and antimatter-catalyzed fusion for space propulsion. You’ll recall that inertial confinement was the propulsion system of choice for the Project Daedalus starship design created by members of the British Interplanetary Society. Antimatter-catalyzed fusion interests me in light of recent work on harvesting antimatter in space, which suggests a way of augmenting our tiny stores of the stuff…

Project Daedalus was a 1970s thought experiment that used nuclear bombs to propel a probe to 10-20% light-speed to fly-by possible planets in Barnard’s Star solar system. Entirely technically feasible. But the mainstream nay-sayers, “chemical rocket only” and radio telescope advocates have been running research institutions for the past 40 years.

Hopefully that will end soon.

Interstellar Matters at UK Conference

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Speaking of  radio-telescope-only advocates, Greg of The Daily Grail has this little tidbit about Jill Tarter, SETI maven:

Each year the TED conference hands out three ‘TED Prizes’ – a $100,000 cash award to three individuals, and the “granting of ‘One Wish to Change the World’.” One of this year’s winners was SETI pioneer Jill Tarter. Her wish? To “empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company.”

I have no beef with SETI in of itself, there could be an off chance we can detect an ET civilization via radio communication (detection).

But the organization has blinders on and is controlled by interests that places limitations on how ET civilizations can be detected.

SETI and TED, Sitting in a Tree…

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Okay, if we happen to actually contact ETs (or in UFology, if they decide to talk to us), what do we say to them, if it’s even possible to communicate at all?

Well, according to a post on Nick Redfern’s blog The Redfern Files (UFO Mystic), it might not be too easy:

The forthcoming paperback edition of David McFarland’s Guilty Robots, Happy Dogs actually has nothing to do with literal ETs. But check out the blurb below from the publisher.

For those of us who have ever wondered how we might one day interact with real-life extraterrestrials of an infinitely different mindset, culture and thought-process, this could be essential and thought-provoking reading.

Here’s the background to the book:

When we interact with animals, we intuitively read thoughts and feelings into their expressions and actions – it is easy to suppose that they have minds like ours. And as technology grows more sophisticated, we might soon find ourselves interpreting the behaviour of robots too in human terms.

It is natural for us to humanize other beings in this way, but is it philosophically or scientifically justifiable? How different might the minds of animals or machines be to ours? As David McFarland asks here, could robots ever feel guilty, and is it correct to suppose your dog can truly be happy? Can we ever know what non-human minds might be like, or will the answer be forever out of our reach?

If the theory of planetary evolution is true, if we ever contact anything truly alien, it won’t resemble anything human at all.

It could look like a pack of feral male cats all tied up in knots pissing all over the place for all we know!

So there would be no common reference point to begin with!

Time will tell I guess.

Understanding the Alien

Tip o’ the tam to The Anomalist

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