Good news for Reg correspondent aManfromMars - he'll no long be punning alone. WiReD magazine UK editor David Rowan reckons ET will have been discovered within 19 years. The magazine (re-)launches in Britain next week, with Conde Nast picking up 12 years after it last crashed and burned. Rowan's prediction is part of the pre- …
Speaking of WiReD covers...
...where's my damn t-shirt? I won the contest, and I still haven't seen a single thread in my mailbox! :(
the talking dog effect
It's not so much what it says, as that it can talk at all.
I suspect that if/when we discover ET (or ET discovers us) that there'll be headlines all over the world - expect maybe the Vatican. However once the hype dies down, the next question will be:
OK, we're not alone - so what?
In the same way that a dog might converse about bones, fleas, sniffing other dogs (cooo - doggie porn!) and the relative merits of various different dogfoods, what meaningful conversation could we have with blue rocks (or whatever ET turns out to be) orbiting a star 10,000 LY away. Likewise, why would they feel any affinity for us?
One of the disservices that Star Trek and it's ilk have done is to give the impression that aliens will be like us: i,e. about the size, shape and weight of an average Hollywood actor.
Personally, my money's on X-Files black oil, Hoyle's black cloud or possible whatever the hell the thing in 2001 was. Of course it would be far more interesting if our first experience of ET was to dig up a discarded artifact, like a used alien cigarette end.
If Wired UK does such a miserable job finding intelligent life here, how will it manage with at kilo-LY distance?
The Job of Futurologists
Why do people always make this mistake of thinking that the job of a futurologist is to predict the future? It's quite clear that the job description of a futurologist is to sell as many copies of a magazine/newspaper/report or to promote their particular institution of education by periodically making the most outlandish, controversial and unprovable claims possible while still trying to appear credible.
Mine's the with a copy of wired in the pocket sporting the headline: "by June 2012 hairdryers will be powered solely by blancmange".
That "punning alone" google search link is rather naughty, I can see how much time I've been wasting. AC from now on methinks.
RE: the talking dog effect
You may well be right, but OTOH, there are certain physical and chemical facts that do not change anywhere in the Universe.
1) Carbon-based life forms. Carbon is pretty unique in the periodic table in being able to form long complex, chain molecules. Non-organic compounds tend to be rather simple. A possibility exists for silicon to do something similar, but I think the reaction times are too long.
2) Square-cube laws. Volume (and hence mass) increases with the cube of the radius. A life form is most likely going to be approximately man-sized within an order of magnitude or so. Sure the possibility exists for planet-sized life forms (e.g. John Varley's Titan), but resources to support such a thing are going to be pretty scarce, unless it can subsist on raw sunlight. Something too much smaller than a human will probably not be complex enough to be intelligent.
3) Science & Mathematics. Prime numbers, pi, the speed of light in a vacuum, Plank's constant, Schwartzchild radius, etc. are all the same everywhere. We'll have plenty to discuss.
4) Doggie conversation could be useful. Scratching behind the ears or rubbing the belly? Fetch slippers or lick my face?
It's an ancient Game. ....... an Original Ponzi in some Cases and still Big Business?
"It's quite clear that the job description of a futurologist is to sell as many copies of a magazine/newspaper/report or to promote their particular institution of education by periodically making the most outlandish, controversial and unprovable claims possible while still trying to appear credible."
Do Popes and Archbishops wear funny hats?
What Are Numbers Above The Speed Of Light ?
@ Chris, Fri 27 Mar 1702 - "Prime numbers, pi, the speed of light in a vacuum, Plank's constant, Schwartzchild radius, etc. are all the same everywhere" -
A greatest pity that only neurons know IT.
two misleading cheese-related articles in one day!
First the announcement of an exhibit of "world of cheese-fuelled innovation" (no cheese-related innovations on display at all!), and now the equally fallacious assertion that "everything that you know about cheddar is wrong!"
I think I may have to look for a French equivalent of el Reg for some proper reporting..
So it's official...
... the first human-alien conversation will consist mainly of human and alien nerds showing off how many significant digits of Pi they can recite, while complaining that "BOFH" isn't what it used to be.
Official Correction.... under Pedants' Rules
"So it's official... the first human-alien conversation will consist mainly of human and alien nerds showing off how many significant digits of Pi they can recite, while complaining that "BOFH" isn't what it used to be." ... By Sean Baggaley Posted Saturday 28th March 2009 14:50 GMT
Sean, That would surely be just a sad human monologue for can you imagine it being of any interest to anyone else?
Site has launched too
Wonder if it's run by the same editorial team? www.wired.co.uk
Is that the future pluperfect?
" will have been discovered "
or is it past-future tense?
And why nineteen years? Surely they mean by 18.734 years!
Oh, and David, I won a comp here in about 2006 (spotting secret stuff on GooglEarth(tm)) I never saw a T-shirt.... maybe something to do with living in 'strayla