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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Kobayashi]
      #5425468 - 09/17/12 01:37 PM

I am OK with your revision of my opening statement, Ken, and I agree with you, because of the n=1 thing we can't know which of the three is correct.

Would you be willing to share with us which of three you feel is most likely?

Otto


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: moynihan]
      #5425482 - 09/17/12 01:46 PM

Jay,

You wrote, "One i have wondered about. If we did not have an "easy" first target (the moon) circling us, how fast would be have done the little space stuff we have done to date? The moon has taught us alot in the last couple thousand years. "

I think your point is very well made. I have two comments about it.

I think it was in a discussion I had over lunch with the astronaut Story Musgrave. The statement was made that going into space, surviving in space, working in space is proving much more difficult than we first imagined.

It may be prohibitively more difficult.

The second thought. Somewhere, I heard that the primary feature on the unseen side of the moon is some huge multi-ring crater that looks like an eyeball. It has been suggested, if this had been the side presenting itself facing in our direction of view, this would have had tremendous ramifications for everything from our religions to mythology to inhibitions or inducements to scientific investigation.

Back to the original question; as I said to Marco, he is correct we can't know which explanation is correct, but at a gut level, would you be willing to say which of the explanations you feel is most correct in explaining the silence?

Otto


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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5425496 - 09/17/12 01:52 PM

Quote:

I heard that the primary feature on the unseen side of the moon is some huge multi-ring crater that looks like an eyeball. It has been suggested, if this had been the side presenting itself facing in our direction of view, this would have had tremendous ramifications for everything from our religions to mythology to inhibitions or inducements to scientific investigation.




Yes. I have also wondered about that.

Quote:

..at a gut level, would you be willing to say which of the explanations you feel is most correct in explaining the silence?




My gut says all i listed, taken together.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5425499 - 09/17/12 01:54 PM

Silence may mean only that some other bodies in the solar system and beyond harbor lifeforms which can't communicate beyond their immediate surroundings. For sure, anyone listening from a point 126 LY or more away from Earth would still be waiting to detect the first feeble wireless signals our species (one of millions on our planet) was able to propagate.

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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5425513 - 09/17/12 02:01 PM

Hi: Hank?

Yes, what do they call that boundary...the radio-pause?

But, what are your thoughts about why we aren't hearing anything generated by them, as part of their radio culture, and not in terms of a response to what they hear from us.

Same question...at a gut level...though all the answers are possible....which feels the most likely to you as the explanation for why we aren't hearing anything?

Otto


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InterStellarGuy
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 06/25/08

Loc: Overland Park, KS
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5425600 - 09/17/12 02:47 PM

Quote:

Marco,

What would it take?

What would it take in terms of political will (i.e. the willingness to direct a portion of the nation's/world's wealth)?

What would it take in terms of what type of financial investment?

And finally, what would it take in terms of redirecting scientist preparation, and research funding approvals?

I believe not long ago, most funding for SETI was cancelled. Therefore, practically speaking, I think this is a very relevant question.

Otto





The problem is currently the technology to detect radio leakage is beyond us. The problem is , is that radio transmissions of the type that constitute interstellar leakage are not narrow band. They spread out as distance goes on, making the amount of useful data detectable at interstellar distances very small.

Instead of going the SETI route, I think SETI effort should be refocused on optical SETI. With all the exo-planet discoveries, what we need is a space telescope that can block star liught and gather light from the subject planets to analyze their atmospheres looking for definitive signs of intelligence.

For example, if an alien civilization analyzed our atmosphere using such a method, they would detect CFCs and other synthetics: Ie: someone made them -> the planet has some form of intelligence.

As time goes on, bigger and better space telescopes could be built, using inferometry, so maybe one day we could directly view these planets with great detail.

Eitherway, trying to make definitive statements on what we know now makes no sense, especially since we are in our infancy as a civilization attempting to detect other civilizations.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5425617 - 09/17/12 02:56 PM

I'm no expert, but understand that SETI has sampled only a very small segment of sky and only a small number of frequencies thus far. It's also entirely possible that, given the time and distances involved, we may never intercept a signal, or that the signal we're seeking drifted past our little corner of the universe before the solar system formed, or sometime during the Ordovician Period or the late Cretaceous or during the last glacial or whenever. It's a human conceit to believe that everything is destined to happen during our short lifetimes or even during the history of our species. And it's perhaps human failing that we have such a hard time grasping the immensity of time and of the universe. It's much easier to say "light year" or "billion" or "trillion" than it is to comprehend what a vast distance and large numbers (relative to ordinary human experience) those terms represent.

Edited by ColoHank (09/17/12 03:00 PM)


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5425719 - 09/17/12 03:48 PM

You wrote, Hank, "It's a human conceit to believe that everything is destined to happen during our short lifetimes or even during the history of our species. And it's perhaps human failing that we have such a hard time grasping the immensity of time and of the universe. It's much easier to say "light year" or "billion" or "trillion" than it is to comprehend what a vast distance and large numbers (relative to ordinary human experience) those terms represent."

There was this display at the museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian which had a huge rock, and somehow they had etched on it the respective times when events had happened in the history of the earth. I don't remember how they did it, but I do remember the feeling I had that somehow it had captured the insanely large (meaning, thinking about it reduces one to insanity) passages of time before anything we were involved in happened.

The image I love to use with my students, which does capture their imagination more often than not, is to tell them the age of the earth is 4 billion years. Then I ask them to represent that age with a stack of printer paper from the floor to the ceiling of the room in which we are sittiing. At 500 sheets per inch, that's about 60,000 sheets. Then I invite them to figure out with their own pencils and paper or calculator, now many years of that 4 billion the thickness of each sheet of paper represents and it works out to about 67,000 years. I then point out that slightly less than the thickness of just the top sheet of paper represents the entire history of thinking thinking man (homo sapiens sapiens) compared to the history of the planet upon which we walk.

The difficulty many of us are having in teaching today is that the incessant inundation of media images to which children are exposing themselves has seriously lessened their ability to use their imagination.


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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5426546 - 09/18/12 12:17 AM

Otto,

Did you read Joseph Lazio's article "How Alien Astronomers Could Find Earth" in the January 2012 S&T? His arguments, more than anything, point out the validity of Marco's statements. We do not possess the technology to even attempt, very well, to contact another civilization. Lazio describes in detail what we'd need, and I'm afraid ColoHank is wrong, here, and Marco is right. We're not talking about the last 127 years of human radio 'non-silence', we're talking about the technology to be able to detect, even our own radio 'non-silence' from a distance no farther than Alpha Centauri. Heck, if theyd have loved Gilligans Island and wanted to buy the rights they couldn't, cause they wouldn't get the transmissions. Lucy! Lucy! Lucy! It's more complicated than you're making it, from our present understanding of Physics.

Will we 'get there' in the next few millennia without destroying ourselves or our planet? We can certainly hope so, but when I was young, people talked about 3.5 billion people on the planet. Today it's 7 billion. A trip to the polluted filth of any large south Asian city should give one pause. Will we make it the next 500 years? BTW, I believe China has done an incredible job of managing things given its enormity, but I'm glad I don't live there. Given our violent, racist, superstitious selves, hoping Superman in the sky shows up may be of little practical value.

Also, what if in the next 100 years we advance enough to easily detect earth-like planets with earth-like atmospheric signatures that imply life. What if, after directing enormous radiation beams (laser sounds the best given today's rather primitive state of things), we eventually get a reply (directly related to the distance we are from them in light years). If we don't possess the technology to reach them in, say, 300 years for this first ET conversation to happen and neither do they, would it have much practical application? If we can't transmit and trade significant technological advancements, how much better off are we? And if they turn out to be invaders fleeing a loathsome, misbehaving star, we could be in for much worse than ignorance, tho perhaps we might be able to direct them to some earth-like planet closer to them that we haven't rec'd any response from (in maybe a Neolithic, or Cenozoic state).

All this is great for novels, but the proof will be in the results. In the meantime, the northern polar ice cap is melting and huge glaciers are calving off Greenland and Antartica at a worrisome rate for anyone relatively near the ocean.

I'm not a pessimist. I'm glad we went to the moon, even if some of the reasons were rather lame (scientific wonder blended with nationalism and weapons advancement). My hope is the free, democratic nations of the world will be able to make it to Mars. And perhaps we'll do nothing more than begin to exploit the moon, using it as a nice space station, observatory, gold, copper, silver, rare-earth mine, with government and industrial beneficiaries. Even this, though less dramatic, may be the first logical step of doing the same thing to Mars and, who knows, if the technology gets good enough, terraforming Venus. We could just keep on exploiting out, tho, to Jupiter, Saturn, and perhaps Uranus and Neptune's moons.

But 7 billion hominids live on planet earth now, and half of them drive cars. Did I mention the polar ice cap?


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scopethis
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/30/08

Loc: Kingman, Ks
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5426738 - 09/18/12 05:52 AM

what polar ice cap???

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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5427126 - 09/18/12 11:07 AM

Hi Collin,

Why is it CollinOfAlabama since you live in Lubbock? Move?

I enjoyed your post.

I simply do not know enough science or politics to verify if (1) 7 billion is sustainable, (2) the trend rates for the 7 billion is going in what direction and predicted to end at what point, (3) what the melting of the polar cap indicates in terms of natural cycles, human influence, and most important, future climate trends.

Having qualified all those, I also do not know the science and math (i.e. radioactive dating techniques) to determine for myself if evolution is correct. Nonetheless, I have no problem accepting evolution and feel that it is the best explanation for the fossil record we seem to be unearthing.

I, too, have been impressed by China; both positively and negatively. I have no way to assess the quality and value of their political solutions. There are things I see that are impressive. There are things I read that are disturbing.

I do know I have read about in distant history and even seen in relatively recent history, some of these story-lines before.

I find it problematic the way news is presented today via the internet and the broadcast media. It is presented as entertainment, which means a great deal of time has to be filled. Quite often it is filled by persons who seem to have new ideas each hour. I doubt broadcast journalists, anchors, talk show hosts can generate that many good ideas so quickly. In general, I choose far more often than not to avoid news services where a guru articulates a steady stream of 'breaking news'. I tend to avoid any talk show where people cut each other off as this is almost a sure sign the sharing of information is rhetorical and not dialogical. Finally, I try to avoid any source of news in which news is presented as entertainment. Taking that stuff in confuses me intellectually and spiritually gets me to a place I'd rather not be.

I am a religious person and I work at being a spiritual person. I believe a loving God is in charge and I believe his will for me/us includes giving all and each of us our daily bread should I/we be attendant to His will; attendant in the sense that I/we do not need to follow his will to "deserve" that daily bread, but have to follow that will to have a good chance of being where the "daily bread" is.

The only reason I say this is because, though I really believe man made, man conditioned, man-ignored catastrophes are very possible and real, I believe all things work out for good for those who believe in God.

Once, I'm centered in that emotional and spiritual space, then I attempt to take in the information very informed people like many of those who write here are kind enough to share with me.

All the best to you and yours...and ours.

Otto

I enjoyed your post.


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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5427205 - 09/18/12 11:45 AM

Quote:


I simply do not know enough science or politics to verify if (1) 7 billion is sustainable, (2) the trend rates for the 7 billion is going in what direction and predicted to end at what point, (3) what the melting of the polar cap indicates in terms of natural cycles, human influence, and most important, future climate trends.





Otto,
There are a lot of scientifically sound accessible resources re the above available. Re the some of the things, sustainability or climate change, you may (in your spare time explore the links in the right frame at one of my blogs Adaptation Factory

I ran into a weird but useful way to get a gestalt of human impact on the planet about 20 years ago. I cannot find my reference, but anyway.
Some scientist figured out the following. If humans did not have advanced intelligence, being omnivores, what would the planetary carrying capacity be for us? Turns out the closest analogy for figuring that out is the North American Black Bear (sans hibernation of course, and as a primate). Using the stand methodology of the zoological and wildlife related sciences, the result is interesting. It was roughly the human population of the state of Illinois at the time the study was completed, That was about 10-11 million.

Edited by moynihan (09/18/12 12:13 PM)


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Rudra
super member


Reged: 07/02/10

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: moynihan]
      #5427294 - 09/18/12 12:29 PM

So some people are of the opinion that the reason we have not been able to detect any artificial signal of Alien origin, is because our technology is too primitive and the signals are beyond the reach of the instrument. It could be that galaxy and solar system is already "radio noisy" with Alien signals but our instruments cannot detect them. When we say our instruments cannot detect signals of Alien origin, do we mean that signals would be so weak or so high in frequency that they fall way off detecting field of our instruments? Perhaps Aliens should figure out the "right" frequency to send the signals across if they want to have higher "hit" rate.

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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: scopethis]
      #5427371 - 09/18/12 01:07 PM

Quote:

what polar ice cap???




the thing you gonna regret next summer....


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Rudra]
      #5427387 - 09/18/12 01:12 PM

The fact that we are relying on radio to receive the signals of a possible alien race shows how slow we are to change with changing technology. There are numerous problems with radio communications that can effectively prevent contact. Some are: signal spread, absorption by dust, being lost in the background noise and the other end having the correct receiving equipment to pick up the signal. We have been using radio since the late 1870s and we should move on to something that clearly shows an advanced civilization lives on this planet.
Laser! We have cataloged several hundred planets so far with spaced based satellites. The satellite looks for a dip in the light of a star when a planet passes in front of it. I propose that we place satellites with very sensitive laser receivers into deep orbit to pick up any laser signal that normally would be blocked by our atmosphere. A laser has the advantage of being a very tight beam, not naturally occurring and can transmit a lot of data. It would not take much to build a high power laser to signal all of the planets in our database with a simple code, something another civilization would pick up as being artificial. Selecting a universal laser frequency and a time period to send out the signal would all that needs to be done. The satellite would have receivers that could work on several laser frequencies. It could sample more stars than the star crossing planet hunt.


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: dickbill]
      #5427398 - 09/18/12 01:16 PM

"the thing you're going to regret next summer"

perhaps, this winter!


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scopethis
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/30/08

Loc: Kingman, Ks
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5427513 - 09/18/12 02:12 PM

how long ago did the first "real" thinking and reasoning humans appear; I mean humans that had a basic verbal language (beyond the grunts) to speak to one another?

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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: scopethis]
      #5427565 - 09/18/12 02:38 PM

Quote:

how long ago did the first "real" thinking and reasoning humans appear; I mean humans that had a basic verbal language (beyond the grunts) to speak to one another?




A very good question, which is a subject of hot debate in science. Stone tools with fine sculpting may pre-date Homo Sapiens.But for Homo Sapiens, bead work, decoration of corpses, and decoration on stone tools I think appear during a period, about 50-60,000 before now.
Those definitely infer complex symbolic thought.

No one has figured the language thing yet. Paleo-genetics is hard at work on that one. Very difficult. There are a couple chimp tribes in W. Africa that have a little syntax. So some type of "language" may be very old, and spread across extinct Homininae.

Edited by moynihan (09/18/12 02:43 PM)


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scopethis
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/30/08

Loc: Kingman, Ks
Re: The silence is deafening.... [Re: moynihan]
      #5427594 - 09/18/12 03:00 PM

That's the timeline I've always heard and read about, 50-60,000 years. Now it just baffles me that it has taken humans that long to say, put a man on the Moon.

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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: The silence is deafening.... [Re: scopethis]
      #5427645 - 09/18/12 03:32 PM

Quote:

That's the timeline I've always heard and read about, 50-60,000 years. Now it just baffles me that it has taken humans that long to say, put a man on the Moon.




Oh, i don't know about that. Considering the big picture, pretty cool to get even that far. I just read online that the "Earth" entry in the Hitchhiker's Guide states that Earthlings are so primitive, they think smartphones are cool.


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