View previous topic | View next topic

Drake's equation

Page 5 of 9
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Next

dr.bob
50150.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:48 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
There are moves afoot to build vast telescopes, possibly arrayed in space, to look at these planets directly - probably the constituent gases of their atmospheres in order to find signs of life. Things like 'too much' oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapour, or methane.

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_what_is.cfm


Thieving bastards!

"a large-baseline interferometer operating in the infrared."

That's a blatant copy of the predating ESA Darwin project:

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=28

Which is, coincidentally, the project I based my PhD on :)

Darwin is designed to detect the presence of Oxygen indirectly by looking for the spectral characteristics of Ozone, which can only exist in an atmosphere of abundant oxygen. More details here:

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=32531

 
Gray
50168.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:08 am Reply with quote

Heh - fairly typical, I'd imagine. "Hey, look at what those Yurrpeens thought up - let's make our own version!"

Which bit of the science/technology were you studying in your thesis?

 
dr.bob
50300.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:30 pm Reply with quote

Passive cooling of the telescopes. Since they're infra-red, they need to be really cold to operate properly. The normal way is to carry a huge tank of liquid helium on board, but that's no good once it's all boiled away.

The big advantage of Edison (the precursor to Darwin) was that it was passively cooled, in other words all the heat was radiated away from its surfaces with no need for extra coolant. That would allow it to stay up there as long as you like :)

 
bobofel
50635.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:49 pm Reply with quote

Can't you just carry up a fridge and leave the door open?

 
Flash
50684.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:48 am Reply with quote

The effect of leaving a fridge door open is to warm up the room it's in, oddly enough.

 
djgordy
50686.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:03 am Reply with quote

Even if you leave the door closed a fridge heats up the room. The heat exchanger takes heat from inside the fridge and dumps it in the room, plus the appliance has a motor to make the coolant circulate and this generates heat.

So, in fact global warming is caused by fridges and freezers. If everybody opened ther fridges and freezers all the warmth from the over heating world would rush in to the underheated appliances and global equilibrium would be restored (possibly).

 
Celebaelin
50692.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:14 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
Even if you leave the door closed a fridge heats up the room. The heat exchanger takes heat from inside the fridge and dumps it in the room, plus the appliance has a motor to make the coolant circulate and this generates heat.

So, in fact global warming is caused by fridges and freezers. If everybody opened ther fridges and freezers all the warmth from the over heating world would rush in to the underheated appliances and global equilibrium would be restored (possibly).

If you leave the door open the room gets even warmer as more work is being done (and heat exchanged) trying to keep the 'inside' cool.

 
QI Individual
50734.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:24 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Well, 'need' doesn't really come into it. If an intelligent lifeform arises on a planet, then communication will be central to its function, simply because individuals interact with each other and their society through communication. Any technology that helps them communicate more effectively will eventually be discovered, exploited and refined by them, with the most obvious ones first: grunting, language, drums, marking, writing, flags, radio...

Convergence, as it applies to evolutionary adaptations (e.g. eyes) and science and technology (e.g. the development of the electric telegraph) will apply all the way across the universe at one point or other. Natural selection is a universal process, and has no special identity with humans.



Although it would be perfectly possibe that this would occur I can see other options too.

What if dolphins evolved to the same level of intelligence as humans (provided they haven't already done so and their communication is just so different that we haven't been able to understand it (yet?)). Then they might have the intellectual capacity to develop a civilisation similar to ours but few people would disagree that the fact we have these rather useful appendages called 'hands' made it possible for us to develop along the way we did. Fortunately the hand with it's possibility to be used in the way we do was evolutionary 'developed' before the intelligence required to make the most use of it. There are many animals that have quite dexterous little hands but lack the brainpower to do the things we have done with them. It's the combination of these two evolutionary developments in that order that allowed us to create the technological society we now live in.

However.... If our level of intelligence develops before the hand (or something similarly dextrous) would develop it would be pretty tough to develop a technology the same as we have. Apart from the question whether these dolphins would have a great need for such a technology. After all....they have done quite well without it (until we began trawling the oceans of course - imagine the sudden emergence of a hostile group of dolphins trying to wipe out humans because we have become a threat to their survival and therefore they developed a need for a means to drive us out of their habitat making it clear they have been intelligent creatures all the time without us noticing it - nice idea for an SF/Fantasy-movie/story).

But back to the 'real' world.... If dolphins would become intelligent they would have to 'wait' for evolution to 'develop' something like hands to allow them to develop a human-parallel technology. There could be even more problems involved.

1. The fact of such human-equivalent intelligence living in a water based environment inside the body of a dolphin might give rise to a completely different psychology that would not develop a human-parallel technology even if they did develop 'hands'.

2. Genes can have more than one function and if the gene that would be required for the dolphin to be intelligent would also be involved in the development of it's fins and the change in the gene required to develop it's fin into a hand (back into sort of - their ancestors were land living creatures but this would not necessarily be applicable in an alien creature) would result in the loss of it's intelligence than that would mean it would be locked in an evolutionary dead end as far a hand development is concerned. A completely separate evolutionary pathway would have to be developed by which it could acquire 'hands'.

These factors could well prohibit the parallel development of a technological society with radio waves etc. These could only be a few of many reasons why intelligent life would not produce signals (or would be looking for such signals) that can be detected by us humans.

 
QI Individual
50736.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:36 am Reply with quote

QI Individual wrote:
imagine the sudden emergence of a hostile group of dolphins trying to wipe out humans because we have become a threat to their survival and therefore they developed a need for a means to drive us out of their habitat making it clear they have been intelligent creatures all the time without us noticing it - nice idea for an SF/Fantasy-movie/story

Come to think of it.... they might already be at it.....

Maybe this whole global warming stuff is being caused by dolphins doing something to the oceans to destroy our habitat?

*ominous background music*

We have to start keeping an eye on these sneaky, pointy nosed, pretending to be oh so friendly laughing all the time.....




Ahem..... Sorry...... I'll take my medicine......

 
Quaintly Ignorant
50738.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:51 am Reply with quote

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

 
Gray
50755.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:20 pm Reply with quote

Dolphins can't possibly evolve intelligence like ours because their environment is totally different - it would be impossible to measure it 'on our terms' (or ours on their terms). They would only evolve more intelligence than they have if it would be an advantage to them. Hands would serve no purpose because hands are primarily for holding, and there's essentially no gravity in the water.

Our particular type of intelligence is driven firstly by our environment, secondly by the type of society in which we develop as individuals, and thirdly by the tools we created for ourselves.

We are one of the only species that can completely change our own environment (indeed, our 'natural' environment is now artificial). It could be argued that ant colonies can do this as well.

 
Tas
50817.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:15 am Reply with quote

Quote:
We are one of the only species that can completely change our own environment (indeed, our 'natural' environment is now artificial). It could be argued that ant colonies can do this as well.


And Termites? They add features to the landscape (termite mounds) and so on.

:-)

Tas

 
Jenny
50886.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:08 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Dolphins can't possibly evolve intelligence like ours


They have obviously evolved intelligence considerably superior to ours.

Do they need to worry about clothing? Do they need to worry about shelter? Do they need to do anything other than swim about in the sea catching fish and mating? No to all of these.

And we think we're the smart ones!

 
dr.bob
50908.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:32 am Reply with quote

Everyone says how smart dolphins are, but when was the last time you saw one at a University?!

I mean, they can't even figure out how to avoid getting tangled up in tuna nets. How stupid is that?!

 
Celebaelin
50911.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:36 am Reply with quote

If dolphins are so smart why do they swim near Japan?

 

Page 5 of 9
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group