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Extra-terrestrial life

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162841.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:00 am Reply with quote

The Anthropic Principle is rubbish. 'Self-selecting evidence' is the logical flaw, as bob points out. It's a bit like saying that the entire universe come into existence to produce me (sorry, not you guys...) because if it didn't, then I wouldn't be here to reflect that it did.

And anyway, it would never make sense to have only one of those constants changing, because the others would change as well. And even then, some other kind of life that we can't conceive of might well arise and evolve.

We can't run proper simulations of the constants of nature, so I'd like to know how they know that it would never work with other values. After all, nobody has yet managed to start a computer simulation off with our present constants and leave it running, and eventually come up with our current slice of life, or anything even approaching chemistry.

163201.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:47 am Reply with quote


163208.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:57 am Reply with quote


163210.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:59 am Reply with quote

For a 4D space, the inverse square law becomes inverse cube

This isn't quite how the maths works. It's really so much more complicated than that. The point is that while we certainly wouldn't get a universe that looks or behaves like ours (or produces us), we might still get 'something' in which some kind of self-aware life forms. The problem is that we can't conceive of anything different to our views of matter and chemistry, so we just can't tell.

This is why Einstein was so original - he managed to break away from our 'normal view' of the universe to get a far more useful one, but one that makes no sense to our apple-centric experience of the universe.

So yes, if things were different, we'd probably not be here, but it's too simple to say that there would be 'nothing'.

163216.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:08 am Reply with quote


163230.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:21 am Reply with quote

Oh no doubt.

Rees has all sorts of wacky theories up his sleeve, which really helps to sell his books. Nothing more dull than saying 'well, we don't really know what the alternatives might look like'.

163231.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:23 am Reply with quote

I still can't see anything that screams 'tree' at me in that picture. This one's a bit more exciting:

163242.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:36 am Reply with quote


163292.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:42 am Reply with quote

Don't forget the google earth picture of the flying car in Australia

163329.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:29 am Reply with quote

Has anybody mentioned the the French CNES releasing all their UFO records yet?

Or the Spanish?

163381.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:08 pm Reply with quote


163968.  Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:35 am Reply with quote

Further to Garrick's attempts to contact our alien overlords.


In 1924, American astronomer David Todd suggested to the US Army and Navy that they stage a radio silence, so that he would be able to detect radio signals from Mars. The military granted him his wish, and allowed him to use their receiving equipment, but no signals were detected.

s: The Science of Aliens: Jack Challoner

164539.  Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:05 pm Reply with quote


164694.  Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:52 am Reply with quote

Question: What do aliens look like?

Answer: According to a specially commissioned group of scientists, something like this:

or this:

PICTURE RESEARCHERS: these images belong to "Big Wave Productions Ltd".

Early literature about extraterrestrials referred to selenites, which was the name given to inhabitants of the moon. The earliest known writings referring to aliens dates to the 2nd century; the greek satirist Lucian. It was called Vera Historia and told of a storm which lifted up lucian’s ship and carried it to the moon where he met a cultured but war-mongering race. Voltaire’s Mocromégas (1752) was the first story to include aliens which visited earth. The aliens from Saturn and Sirius came to Earth to mock humans for their stupidity.

Robert Adams Locke formed an elaborate hoax in the New York Sun in 1835 claiming that life had been observed on the moon. He claimed that the selenite creatures included a one-horned goat a spherical amphibian and flying homonids. (Banvards??) In 1895, Percival Lowell wrote a book, Mars, which drew on theories by Italian Astronomer Giovanni Shiaparelli that canali – or channels – were on the surface of the planet. Lowell theorised that the canali were actual canals built by intelligent creatures.

The idea of flying saucers comes from a 1947 sighting from Kenneth Arnold. The objects were no saucer-shaped, rather they moved “like saucers skimming on water”. Barney and Betty Hill were the first to have claimed to have been abducted by aliens, their description of large-eyed grey-skinned kidnappers are now seen as the archetypal shape of an alien.

Before UFOs, there were sightings of air-ships in the 1890s. They were often thought to have been from Mars, but descriptions were similar to the most advanced technology of the time, in the same way that late 20th century UFOs mirrored the space-race technology.

British company “Big Wave” commissioned 10 scientists (experts in evolutionary biology, biomechanics and planetary science) to create two imagined worlds outside the solar system. The two planets were Aurelia (a planet close to a red dwarf star which had one hemisphere always facing the star which regularly shot out solar flares) and Blue Moon (a moon of a gas giant around a binary star system) the following were what aliens they came up with; due to convergent evolution which says that many creatures evolve similar features such as eyes, flying systems or stings, there was nothing too outlandish:

Stinger fans: planimals which look like trees, but have hearts which pump water and energy around their circulatory system. They have large fans which are angled to make most out of the sunlight as well as jointed bases like animals’ limbs. They also have poison releasing cells.

Mudpods: six-legged amphibians which incorporate the stingers’ venom which make them immune to the plant. They eat the stingers as well as using them to dam rivers to form ponds to keep their skin moist. They have eyes on stalks which can retract into their body when they’re bulldozing mud, they have brightly coloured fins for attracting mates.

Gulphogs are half a tonne in mass, have two legs and look something like a flightless bird on earth. They have camera-like eyes and use their teeth to pick up vibrations. They can dislocate their jaws like a snake and have a third eye which can pick up ultraviolet.

Hysteria are tiny organisms, less than a millimetre in diameter, which have spinning talks which they use for propulsion. Normally solitary, like slime mould, they are able to join together into a single organism when there is a lack of food. It has a toxin which can paralyse large prey before it oozes into the body digesting it from inside out.

Blue Moon:
Pagoda Tree is an enormous tree which has large baisins in their canopies which collect rain-water. Beneath the canopy, the trees are interconnected to protect them against the strong winds of the moon.

A kite has a large flat body which is up to 10 meters across. Is tentacles which fish in the pagoda’s canopy baisins.

A helibug has three-fold symmetry, three eyes, three legs and three wings.

The skywhale is a blind, flying whale which is 10 times heavier than any flying animal that has ever lived on earth. It flies with opened mouth, trawling the air for plankton-style organisms.

The stalkers live in colonies of several hundred individuals inside pagoda trees, they have a queen, scouts who find the skywhales and workers which swarm and kill the whales.

Balloon plants take advantage of forest fires and hydrogen produced by bacteria, ghost traps are plant-like organisms which catch prey with a sticky veil before lifting their meal into a vat of corrosive digestive juices.

s: The Science of Aliens: J Challinor

164732.  Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:57 am Reply with quote

Barney and Betty Hill were the first to have claimed to have been abducted by aliens

Weren't the Flintstones neighbours called Barney and Betty? Maybe that's something we could tap into.

Maybe it actually means something, come to that.


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