This weekend, I watched the movie 'Arrival'. It starts off with the now common scenario of several floating ships appearing in the skies around the world. But unlike most movies in this mold, it focuses on humanity's efforts to communicate with the aliens and understand why they've come. The protagonist is an expert in linguistics. I … Continue reading Arrival, the shape of aliens, and bridging the communication barrier
One of the things I've pondered a few times on this blog is our ability to recognize another intelligence, such as an extraterrestrial intelligence. On the face of it, this seems straightforward. Do they form societies, use technology, manipulate their environment, and overall show signs of intelligence? Except an alien intelligence may be so different from … Continue reading The power of symbolic thought
The Fermi Paradox is the question that, if the conditions for life in the galaxy are as ubiquitous as they appear to be, so that there should be hundreds, if not thousands of alien civilizations out there, then where is everyone? Why have we found no evidence for any for those civilizations? And why aren't they here? … Continue reading Snowden’s answer to the Fermi Paradox and its assumptions
For those interested in the post about finding advanced civilizations in other galaxies by their heat emissions, Paul Gilster at Centauri Dreams has a write up about the study, including links to additional material as well as the actual paper. I found that this part clarified the seeming contradiction in the Science Daily article. The currently reported work … Continue reading G-HAT (Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies)
At first, this article seems like a bit of a downer: Search for advanced civilizations beyond Earth finds nothing obvious in 100,000 galaxies -- ScienceDaily. After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced life, a team of scientists has found no evidence of advanced civilizations there. The idea behind the research is that, if … Continue reading Searching for advanced civilizations in other galaxies: 50 possible candidates found?
It's interesting how these related stores seem to come in batches: Alien search won't doom planet Earth, say scientists who want to contact ET | Science | The Guardian. Fears that a major program to contact alien life could spell disaster for planet Earth were dismissed as “paranoid” on Thursday by scientists who hope to beam … Continue reading Alien search won’t doom planet Earth, say scientists who want to contact ET
Tom Hartsfield has a post up at Real Clear Science criticizing both the Drake equation and SETI: If you like science fiction, you're probably familiar with the Drake equation. This famous one-line formula solves for the number of intelligent alien civilizations within our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Supporters of the … Continue reading Three conditions are necessary for SETI to succeed
At least, according to a couple of astrophysicists: Complex life may be possible in only 10% of all galaxies | Science/AAAS | News. The universe may be a lonelier place than previously thought. Of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, only one in 10 can support complex life like that on Earth, a … Continue reading Complex life in the universe may be much rarer than previously thought
Gabriel Popkin as an article at Inside Science about a study that looks at the possibility of intercepting communications between other alien civilizations. The idea is that communicating across interstellar distances is best done with lasers. So far, the optical search for extraterrestrial intelligence has focused mainly on the hope of receiving—and recognizing—an intentional, laser-encoded … Continue reading Eavesdropping on E.T. and the possibility of interstellar travel
Seth Shostak has a post up at HuffPost asking what we should say if we ever find ourselves in conversation with aliens. Apparently this was the topic of a recent conference at the SETI institute. Before commenting on Shostak's main thesis, I think he makes an assertion that deserves scrutiny. A decade of research by … Continue reading How should we communicate with aliens? Should we communicate?