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Old 20 November 2017, 07:54 PM
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Shifty Eyes We just beamed a signal at space aliens. Was that a bad idea?

In a valley eight miles southeast of the Norwegian city of Tromsø, a radar antenna has just transmitted a short bit of radio programming to potential alien listeners: some specially composed electronic music and a tutorial about geometry and the use of binary numbers.

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science...dea-ncna822446
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Old 20 November 2017, 07:58 PM
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Suppose Luytenians do exist, and they’re unfriendly.
More likely, suppose Luyantians do exist, and they discover we're unfriendly?

~Psihala
(*Illegal aliens indeed!)
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  #3  
Old 20 November 2017, 08:51 PM
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Suppose aliens exist, and the fact that the distance between stars is so incomprehensibly big it means that they'll never come to Earth.
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Old 20 November 2017, 09:01 PM
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I just chuckle to myself. Some time in the distant future, an alien is going to have a printout in hand, and on it will be scratched "WOW".

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Old 20 November 2017, 09:27 PM
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Haven't we been sending out signals ever since we invented radio?

If somebody out there's going to read them, I expect we're in considerable trouble already. [ETA: aside, of course, from the issue that 'able to read' is not the same thing as 'able and willing to come over here and do something about it'.]



-- a point more or less also made in the article itself, I notice.
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Old 20 November 2017, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Haven't we been sending out signals ever since we invented radio?
Yes and no. We've been making radio waves, but their power is pretty limited. As the xkcd writer points out, there's no reason to pay for the extra power needed to send a signal out that far.
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Old 20 November 2017, 11:54 PM
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The fact that we haven't seen any indications of interstellar messages yet, a restatement of the Fermi paradox, can only mean one thing and it's not good. It means 1) There is a way to destroy a universe and 2) That method is easy enough to discover that usually one of the first civilizations to reach the technological level of space colonization, or even just eon-term survival, actually does it. We are in a young universe because we (or one of the other brand new civilizations) is about to destroy it. The chances that we just happen to be one of the first civilizations or that our galaxy (and with a slight extension of a few million years for inter-galaxy communication, our universe) just happens to be so uninhabited are infinitesimally small. So it doesn't really matter how much we try to communicate or in what way. What we should be concentrating on is not being the ones who end ourselves or end it all. Nothing else matters if we really care about this issue.
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Old 21 November 2017, 01:02 AM
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You're just full of happy news. Aren't you?
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Old 21 November 2017, 01:54 AM
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It's not my fault; I was born during the Cold War.

Alternatively, perhaps we should think about the few (if any) cases of universes that survive to the age of communication and exploration and what allows that to happen. Maybe SETI.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 21 November 2017 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 21 November 2017, 02:31 AM
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ganz, I think all that assumes that other intelligent life would necessarily behave the way we do. We emit radio waves -- surely everybody else would do the same! (and never mind that even most human societies haven't done any such thing.) We explore everywhere we can get to, we pack up and move entire societies -- surely everybody else would do the same! (and never mind that even some humans don't want to so much as move across the street.)

But, if there are others out there, they're exactly that: others. Aliens. Genuinely different. Maybe they like staying home. Maybe they communicate in ways we haven't thought of, or don't recognize, or that don't transmit long distances from home. Maybe they found us a long time ago, and decided, for reasons comprehensible or incomprehensible to us, to leave us and this entire chunk of galaxy alone. Maybe they're all over the place, and we don't know it.

Or maybe we just are early. Somebody'd have to be, after all. Every bridge hand ever dealt is just as unlikely as a hand with a complete run of one suit. That doesn't stop there being bridge hands.

I think it's even more unlikely that there's nobody out there than that there is. Whether we'll ever have communication with them is another question. Maybe in the meantime we ought to practice communicating with the other species right here on the same planet with us. They're not truly other, they're our relatives; but it's a start.
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Old 21 November 2017, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
The fact that we haven't seen any indications of interstellar messages yet, a restatement of the Fermi paradox, can only mean one thing and it's not good. It means 1) There is a way to destroy a universe
Not necessarily the whole universe, just itself. We are a flash in the pan on a universal time scale and there is still plenty of time for us to either wipe ourselves out or go radio silent by other means.

It is foolish to expect to be able to communicate effectively across light years, though. Danger-foolish to the point where we maybe shouldn't even try.
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Old 21 November 2017, 03:31 AM
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Humans only evolved around 300 to 200 thousand years ago. They only invented means of sending and receiving transmissions on the EM scale about a century ago.

Meanwhile, life has existed on the planet for about 3.5 billion years. Based on all available evidence, the developments of radio transmission and space flight are exceedingly rare phenomenon.

But we really know that the universe is going to end when someone figures out the Ultimate Question to life, the universe, and everything while simultaneously knowing the Answer.
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Old 21 November 2017, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Not necessarily the whole universe, just itself.
Maybe only that but I think we would have seen the radio remains of their sitcoms by now.
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Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Based on all available evidence, the developments of radio transmission and space flight are exceedingly rare phenomenon.
Well, OK but the number of planetary systems out there (even in a few galaxies) and the age of the known universe blow that small number up quickly. So they must not survive long is all.
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  #14  
Old 21 November 2017, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
ganz, I think all that assumes that other intelligent life would necessarily behave the way we do.
Yeah. We don't have much to go on so there are a few assumptions. I think they are relatively reasonable. Who knows, though. Maybe everyone else in the universe has cable.
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Old 21 November 2017, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Well, OK but the number of planetary systems out there (even in a few galaxies) and the age of the known universe blow that small number up quickly. So they must not survive long is all.
I never said otherwise.
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  #16  
Old 21 November 2017, 06:50 AM
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Well I never said you said...! See, this is how the demise of humankind starts.
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  #17  
Old 21 November 2017, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Well I never said you said...! See, this is how the demise of humankind starts.
It starts with DT insulting KJU on Twitter...

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  #18  
Old 21 November 2017, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Yes and no. We've been making radio waves, but their power is pretty limited. As the xkcd writer points out, there's no reason to pay for the extra power needed to send a signal out that far.
Standard commercial radio and TV are pretty wimpy but we've been blasting pretty high powered focused radio signals at space ships for several decades. Seems much more likely that those signals could be detected in another galaxy. For example, Arecibol uses a one megawatt transmitter compared to a typical TV station's 100KW transmitter. Plus Arecibo is focused in one direction by the dish.



Actually no. No matter how much power you pump into a radio signal it isn't going to be detectable in another galaxy.
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  #19  
Old 22 November 2017, 07:02 AM
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I don't understand what you mean to say, Jimmy. What do you mean by "high powered focused radio signals at space ships for several decades"? What space ships? (ETA - Now I think I see. I guess you mean radar transmissions at objects in space. Not messages, which are typically sent with power lower than the one you mentioned for TV...)

Last edited by ganzfeld; 22 November 2017 at 07:10 AM.
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  #20  
Old 29 November 2017, 04:51 PM
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The deep space communication network has been sending pretty high powered radio signals (commands) at spaceships for several decades. Voyager for example was still getting commands from earth by radio in the early 2010's, after being launched in the late 70's. I'm pretty sure a typical TV station's signal is completely undetectable by a low power receiver millions of miles form earth. But the high powered signals from the deep space transmitters on earth was still receivable even with a receiver that is only somewhat more advanced than a high-end transistor radio (receiver) from the 70's.

If aliens anywhere are going to pick up a signal it'll be those signals purposely transmitted at high power in a particular direction. Commercial TV and radio signals are much weaker.
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