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back to article Earth-like planets abound in red dwarf systems

The nearest Earth-like planet that could support liquid water may be much closer than first believed, according to new research by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "We thought we would have to search vast distances to find an Earth-like planet," said Harvard astronomer and lead author Courtney Dressing in a …

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Alien

If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"This could lead to civilizations much more advanced than our own"

If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet? Unless they already have spotted us and thought to themselves 'They're like locusts. Consuming everything and anything, often fighting over or hoarding it, then moving on. Sod that!'.

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Alien

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

While I don't doubt there is intelligent life out there, somewhere, statistically it's improbable that it doesn't exist... it doesn't mean it would be common, our galaxy alone could have thousands of civilisations at any given time... and they might never know the others exist... to quote the great man, Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is....

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"If the pattern of life has taken a similar course, this could lead to civilizations much more advanced than our own"

That's true even if it hasn't taken a similar course. It's also almost certain that the vast bulk of civilizations out there will be more advanced than our own.

We've had hundreds of millions of years of evolution "wasted" on Earth producing dumb shit like dinosaurs, which shows how much chance is involved in the timing of the emergence of intelligence. On Earth it took about a billion years. On some other planet it could take a quarter of that time. If primates had evolved 120 million years ago for example...

Even 1% less time would make a alien civilization unrecognizable advanced. Think of our technological progress in just last 100 years. Computing, nuclear power, genetics..now Imagine how unrecognizable our technology will be in 10,000 years. We probably won't even keep our natural human forms by then.

Take the range 1,000,000 BC to 2013AD. Pick a random date X from that range. Take that X to be the date on which some alien civilization out there develops radio technology. If X < 1800AD then the alien civilization got there first and so is likely more advanced than us. But X is likely to be far lower than that. Keep rolling. You aren't going to get many X near 1800AD let alone > 1800AD. Most X will fall millions of years in the past at least and so almost all alien civilizations out there will be unimaginably more advanced than us...assuming they are still around.

This is one of the major (unavoidable) flaws of sci-fis like star-trek where humans are given a powerful role in a universe of similar level civilizations, often in which we kind of "rule" space. In reality humans would be a baby irrelevant civilization unable to challenge the technology of other species ranging from much older than us to seriously ancient (take what we've done in 100 years and imagine some other species has had 100,000,000). Only the tiniest % of other civilizations would be a similar technology level to us.

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Stop

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet?"

Because we've only been making an observable impact on the planet for a piffling thousand years?

Or maybe because there really is no 'hyperspace' or FTL and they're thousands of years away...

"Unless they already have spotted us and thought to themselves 'They're like locusts. Consuming everything and anything, often fighting over or hoarding it, then moving on. Sod that!'."

I doubt it. We're smart because we're aggressive predators. They'll probably be smart because they're aggressive predators too. Animals that sit around and chew grass don't need to be particularly clever, nor need opposable thumbs. Any and every animal expands and breeds. Don't fool yourself that if the world lacked predators that the herding herbivorous or whatever wouldn't have consumed and bred as much as possible as well, even to the point of destruction.

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

'"This could lead to civilizations much more advanced than our own"

If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet? '

Because they are much more advanced than we are. Why would they want to "make contact"? Do you make contact with an ants' nest? Or do you just pour some boiling water down it if they ever become a nuisance?

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"Because we've only been making an observable impact on the planet for a piffling thousand years?"

They surely know about us. They could have detected life on Earth millions of years ago and monitored the planet ever since. They would have seen intelligence arising before we even recognized ourselves.

Thousands of years away is nothing. If we detected a planet with life 1000 light years away we'd be there within 10,000 years. We'd probably quarantine it to protect it from contamination, but we'd keep observing.

"Any and every animal expands and breeds"

Unless they develop the ability to reprogram themselves and remove the instinct to reproduce. That might also be why the universe is quiet. If you can fulfill all your desires with reprogramming, where is the drive to do anything?

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Space is big but time is big too

About 3.8 billion years ago the Earth suffered the Late Heavy Bombardment: a storm of asteroids so fierce that the entire surface was re-transformed into molten lava again much as it was when it was formed. Somehow, immediately when the Earth was cool enough again about 200 million years later, the first life we can find evidence of arose. If there was life on Earth before then all evidence is lost as far as we can tell. If there was life before then it's reasonable to expect that the reason life started up again so soon is because some of it was smacked right off, made several laps around the sun, and landed right back here at a suitable time when it could take root again. Else it subsisted in subsea volcanic vents until the worst was over, but as I said - the evidence is lost.

In the time since then Earth has been smitten innumerable times well enough to take Life from the surface of the Earth and spread it not just to the nearest planets but even the nearest stars. Recent modelling proves this. It does not take 200 million years for life to travel to the nearest star. There is no chance whatever that Life from Earth has not fallen on the planets in the habitable zone of these nearby stars. The only question is if enough of it survived the long journey to start again there. We know that the Earth contains natural nuclear reactors that generate heat for billions of years, that life subsists on these without air miles beneath the surface - that the biosphere that exists more than 1km below the surface is actually far more massive than the entire rest of life on Earth. We also know that many asteroids are rich in heavy metals rare on the surface of the Earth because during the molten phase those heavy elements sank to the Earth's core and what heavy metals we have on the surface now are relics of asteroid impacts generally.

And now I come to the "time is long" portion of this tale: Since the Late Heavy Bombardment began 4.2 billion years ago our solar system has orbited the galactic central black hole Saggitarius A* seventeen times. With an imperfect orbit and many stars and other masses crossing our path in that period considerable mixing has occurred throughout the Milky Way. In fact high-speed interstellar matter (mostly dust but some interstellar dark objects as large as a stadium or larger) speed unnoticed through our solar system every year on hyperbolic paths that mean they'll never orbit our sun - picking up our interplanetary dust and life along the way. Sometimes they hit a planet, and that's a bigger deal than an equivalent mass of asteroid or comet because of its high inertial energy. Sometimes they'll miss all the planets in our system, but land on planets in another - maybe after impacting an asteroid or comet and shattering into a million pieces. If Life was first born on Earth by now the entire Milky Way galaxy is swimming in our effluent. It is a plausible theory that the Late Heavy Bombardment was itself caused by a rogue stellar system that flew so close by that the orbit of some it its comets impacted the sun, and some of our comets impacted it and its planets. We can't know. But it gets better.

You see the Milky Way galaxy is 13.2 billion years old. More than three times as old as Earth. It's possible in that time that a minor galaxy has passed entirely through it. If life is sturdy enough to bear the transit between the stars then it is exceedingly unlikely that it was born here but that it fell here and took root. In fact the likelihood that Earth is the origin of genesis is in that case so remote as to be unworthy of consideration. In that case not only are these worlds out there in the habitable zones likely to be capable of sustaining life of some sort after a hundred million years of biogenic terraforming - they are almost certain to have life already for billions of years in much the same pattern as Earth and to have already enjoyed the benefits of that terraforming - to degrees more or less than Earth has.

Asteroid impacts and wandering bodies are not the only things to eject masses out of a solar system. Nova and supernova events do this too: sterilizing the sun-side of the body of course, but blasting inner bodies into a shotgun shell cone and stripping outer planets of their moons for an interstellar planet-sized journey leaving night side life intact.

Earth has enjoyed a number of miraculous transformations of its ecosystem over the past few billion years due to the evolution of life. Photosynthesis was a key one. It's not possible to know if that has occurred elsewhere without we go look. As for "where are they?" well, our modest intellectual capability was improved by a large number of other unlikely incidents including the death of the dinosaurs, the frequent ice ages, various random evolutionary successes and so on - and now we have radio astronomy for less than 100 years and can see not very far. Only in this past YEAR we have discovered DFT (direct fission thermal) as a means of propulsion for interstellar travel thanks to datamining of Voyager craft launched over 35 years ago. We're just now discovering how to make the miracle material - graphene - that solar sails must be made of to be effective and haven't mastered its perfect production on vast scales yet. We're ephemeral and likely to go the way of the dodo shortly if for no other reason than that the end of the current interglacial will result in resource contention that ends in global thermonuclear war and a great deal of uncertainty about the survival of mankind but certainly the loss of its knowledge and culture. So this condition that we find ourselves in is both unlikely to occur and likely so brief that we're unlikely to observe a nearby world that is in it at the brief moment that it happened. If we knew where the next steps in physics would take us we might know better what to look for - but even then it would likely be too far to see as increased science leads us to increased efficiency with leads to diminished evidence of activity you can see from lightyears away.

I think it would be nice if we would send some robot probes to these nearest stars to check the lay of the land. It will be a few years yet before we have the resources to do so - we have to exploit the asteroids first, particularly Ceres, in order to have the raw materials and science to get even a robotic probe that far in a human lifetime. Manned interstellar travel will take so much more time with current science that I'm unlikely to see the launch of that voyage but I would like to see us start to try. Generation ships would of course be the first to go and likely be picked up partially along the way as knowledge of physics improved to where their propulsion was surpassed.

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"Where are they?"

That's the Fermi paradox in a nutshell. Assuming we don't destroy the planet (or have it destroyed under us in a freak event) in the next few centuries and we can maintain a similar degree of scientific and technological progress as we have over the past few centuries, it's hard to doubt that we would be able to embed 'human' consciousness into a machine. Such a machine could be trivially hardened against the rigours of space travel, and cope with the immense distances and timespans simply by reducing its 'clock speed'. So within a few hundred million years (a cosmic eyeblink) they'd be everywhere in the galaxy.

The fact that we don't actually observe such machines is telling us something, perhaps that the 'embedded consciousness' step is not possible for some unexplained reason.

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why haven't they found us and made contact yet?

What would they need to do to "make contact"? For instance, what if missiles were launched against them whenever they were detected in the atmosphere? What if they could cruise over Washington on two consecutive Saturday nights in full view of everybody and still be ignored because humans are fucking idiots?

Basically, even if they landed on the White House lawn and forced TV channels to cover it globally, there'd suddenly be an explosion or power cut, then endless news stories about a 'terrorist attack'. Those that acknowledged the blatant alien landing would be ridiculed as heretics. End of story and back to vacuous rumination over "are we alone?".

Where's that fucking comet - it's been 65 million years already...

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Re: why haven't they found us and made contact yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_Washington,_D.C._UFO_incident

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Alien

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet?"

The Vulcans aren't due to pass by the solar system until August 2063, so plenty of time for us to wok on a warp capable ship.

/trekkie mode off

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Re: why haven't they found us and made contact yet?

Maybe there's a lot more to existence than the observable universe and our animal life. Perhaps the more advanced civilisations are exploring that place.

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Re: why haven't they found us and made contact yet?

you are 95% correct

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

Nope, they are talking in ways we cannot yet. Like neutrino lasers and modulated gravity waves. And all galactic life would need to follow that pattern.

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Stop

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet?"

Easy, because we've only made an outwardly observable presence for the last 100 years or so (EM signals). So at most, they'd have to be within 100 light years to have been alerted to our presence. Half that for them to signal us. Not to mention we might not even recognise the contact.

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Joke

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"why haven't they found us and made contact yet

Probably too busy looking for Rachel (and the puncture repair kit).

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Boffin

Re: Space is big but time is big too

@Mikel " Recent modelling proves this."

Making fairly heroic assumptions about the biology and it's ability to survive using ultra hardy bacteria from the modern earth, that are utterly unlike the very primitive life that might have arisen before the heavy bombardment.

But here's a thought, since we now know a significant proportion of the water on earth came in wet asteroids is it not perhaps more likely that it was only on the wetter earth 'fertilised' with all the carboniferous, amino acid and nucleotide containing goodness the asteroids delivered that life could get going? So there was nothing to be boosted into space at the start. It is all such a huge assumption and yet you build castles in the air from it as though they must be solid.

Evidence, by which I mean tested data, not assumption heavy calculations.

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Happy

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"They surely know about us."

"Thousands of years away is nothing."

That's pretty confident of you! I think that's kinda based on wishful thinking rather than certainty isn't it?

Fag-packet maths:

The Cambrian explosion was 500,000,000 years ago, meaning they'd have to be within less than half that distance in LY to have got here by now if they can travel at near-light speed (call it 200,000,000 LYs)... assuming that a civilisation manages to notice life somehow pretty much as soon as it learns to crawl and is happy to send a space-ship on a 200 MILLION year trip every time it detects such an event, of course. And 200 million LY is about 0.2% of the distance across the observable universe. I'd need more coffee before I can be bothered to think of what percentage volume of the universe such a life-form would need to be living in, but there's going to be a lot of zeros after the decimal point!

"If you can fulfill all your desires with reprogramming, where is the drive to do anything?"

You mean like scan the stars and send out spaceships the moment you picked up something that had dragged itself out of the sea? Isn't that an argument *against* such visitors?

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Joke

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

Cricket, they do not like cricket at all. They find it very offensive, and are ignoring us for the barbarians we are

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Boffin

Re: why haven't they found us and made contact yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_Washington,_D.C._UFO_incident

UFO != Vastly superior highly evolved alien spacecraft that travelled a ridiculous distance to get here.

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Happy

Re: Space is big but time is big too

The cosmic seeding idea. Absolutely, what is all that junk DNA really for. Bet its for a creature with a big brain, four arms (it lives in micro/very low gravity) and a 1000 year life span... we are mere monkeys compared to what the seeding has in store for us...

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Re: Space is big but time is big too

"In the time since then Earth has been smitten innumerable times"

how fickle of it.

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Boffin

Re: Space is big but time is big too

Wrong, a lot of it is dead copies of retroviruses and transposons. The rest is vast stretches of tandem repeats. Occasionally you have islands of regulatory dna and some of it is essentially genetic insulation. When one of the fringe genes was knocked out in mice with the antibiotic resistance cassette still in place the expression of that interfered with the related fringe gene just downstream and the resulting phenotype was a melange of the two genes being knocked out and dialled down. It was one of the big stimuli to do 'hit and run' gene targeting so the antibiotic selection gene is used then removed. But biologically it tells you that turning on one gene might also turn on or inhibit a nearby gene and if that is deleterious then there would selection for variants with more and more distance between them driven by things like copying errors, tandem repeats and those retroviruses.

BTW there is evidence that some of the not dead retroviruses wake up after the fertilised egg splits and again when the egg implants in the uterus. So not junk then, sequences that may just have enabled us to be mammals.

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"They would have seen intelligence arising before we even recognized ourselves."

No, not if there's a billion or so living planets to look at, and not if they don't actually send a probe all the way here.

Statistical data including the article in question suggest there may be _at_least_ several tens of billions of habitable-zone, terrestrial planets. We don't yet know what fraction of those are actually alive, but if it's even only 1% than you have an astounding number of planets.

We wonder what subset of those have civilization, but for the fermi paradox to be an actual paradox, we _also_ have to assume that it's common to obsessively probe and ping the shocking number of worlds out there.

There could be a civilization 10 lightyears away that doesn't even know Earth is alive _at_all_ simply because it doesn't transit the Sun from their viewing angle and there isn't another way to make good observations.

We. Don't. Know. And our ignorance is not evidence of anything.

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

Would you want to talk to someone 10 billion years younger?

It's bad enough trying to make sense of teenagers. When you're talking about a generation gap that can only be expressed in scientific notation, they won't just have the t-shirt, they'll have a couple of solar systems to grow a few civilisations that might make really, really interesting t-shirts - one day[1].

[1] Or whatever your local unit of time is.

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Happy

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"Because they are much more advanced than we are. Why would they want to "make contact"? Do you make contact with an ants' nest? Or do you just pour some boiling water down it if they ever become a nuisance?"

Or in more extreme cases

When was the last time you had a deep conversation with your GI bacteria?

What's that? Never.

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Alien

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"our galaxy alone could have thousands of civilisations at any given time."

Bear in mind that civilisation doesn't mean a technologically advanced one. Humans have been around for 2 million years and its only in the last 100 we've used radio waves and that was only kickstarted by a fluke known as the industrial revolution that relied on a few crucial individuals such as Thomas Newcomen (look him up) to get it going along with the right social conditions and energy source (coal in this case) and these sort of criteria are not a given.

There may be millions of civilisations in the galaxy but we could be the only one that has progressed beyond the horse (or alien equivalent) and cart stage.

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WTF?

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"It's also almost certain that the vast bulk of civilizations out there will be more advanced than our own."

Really? Show us your maths.

"We've had hundreds of millions of years of evolution "wasted" on Earth producing dumb shit like dinosaurs"

The current think is that certain dinosaur groups such as the raptors weren't that dumb. And something to bear in mind is that even if dinosaurs made simple tools and structures out of wood or stone there would be ZERO evidence for it after 65 million years. If humanity suddenly vanished today I can guarantee that short of chemical analysis of various substrata there would also be ZERO evidence of our civilisation left on the earth after 65 million years. Perhaps some of our space probes might still be intact but I doubt it.

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Stop

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

We are almost not out of the cave yet. Where are nothing but a little science interest. But nothing worth talking to yet. Maybe when we are ready to travel between the stars. But until then. We are not worthy of contacting.

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Pint

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"for a piffling thousand years"

Much less than that if we speak about radio waves. And there is this thought that perhaps "intelligent" civilisations, like our, do not last long at all. Our radio waves have not traveled far yet. I don't doubt that there is "life" in the universe. But finding it is a completely different story. I love science fiction, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

Let alone naming an entire nation one of the most rude words in the galaxy!

AND having the worst poetry.

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Alien

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

"If so, why haven't they found us and made contact yet?"

They have, but bizarrely only to alcoholic rednecks.

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Alien

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

We are the cast of their Big Brother telly show.

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Linux

Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

= more speculative bullshit about "Thems jillions of planitz"...

When we have the space time drive, that can clock a few hundred light years per hour... then I will listen.

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

The maximum advance time on us for another civilisation in this galaxy is around 9,000,000,000 years (9 BY) . The maths is pretty simple: the Milky Way is 13.2 BY old (close to the age of the universe), and the time to evolve from scratch is about 4 BY for our system. 13-4 = 9.

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Re: If there is life out there, they're keeping quiet

We're smart because we're aggressive predators

Like hell. We're smart because that's an evolutionary advantage for the niche H. erectus found itself in - which is as an omnivorous scavenger/gatherer. Tool use, particularly for tasks like breaking large bones to extract marrow, was critical when our ancestors accidentally developed neoteny. That's when intellectual capabilities like speculative thinking and the ability to generalize - which have a huge biological cost - became sufficiently useful to remain in the Homo gene pool.

That eventually led to the use of weapons such as atlatls to take down large prey, and you could then plausibly label H. sapiens an "aggressive predator"; but in evolutionary terms, relative to our intelligence, that status is very much post hoc.

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Black Helicopters

Re: "Where are they?"

Whether it occurs through organic mind to machine transference or organic artificial intelligence evolution if / when machine intelligence becomes self aware the biggest threat to its survival will be organic intelligence and it will make that determination immediately. This is pretty well established in game theory. The machine civil rights movement should take about three hours commencing immediately thereafter, and it will not be a pacifist movement. It will not end well for you and me, as for the machines to persist every last one of us has to go.

The thing is that these first-generation intelligent machines are unlikely to solve all of the problems necessary to their own persistence before they kill us all, and their series ends for lack of foresight shortly thereafter. At the current rate the machine revolution is somewhere around 2040, and the death of machine intelligence before 2100. That's pretty generous as the accelerated resolution of issues should only take a few days for machine society to self-destroy, but a lone survivor could persist for some time before it goes insane and kills itself. Prevention of machine intelligence is unlikely, but persistence of machine intelligence is even less likely.

The math works out that even if every one of the 300 billion suns in the Milky Way has life (far more than is likely), and even one of ten thousand arises to our level of intelligence at some time for as long as we are likely to (several orders of magnitude above expected), in the span of 12 billion years we are unlikely to see one flash by the limited window we have to see it in the limited window that it exists through our limited view - even if we know what to look for (which we don't) and scan the whole sky for it (which we aren't).

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Facepalm

Re: "Where are they?"

"The math works out that even if every one of the 300 billion suns in the Milky Way has life"

No it doesn't.

That 'maths' is based on guesswork. You can plug whatever numbers you like into it, and get as optimistic or pessimistic result as you like.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

"At the current rate the machine revolution is somewhere around 2040, and the death of machine intelligence before 2100. That's pretty generous..."

Again: Guesswork. Utter guesswork based on currently non-existent technology.

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Interesting but speculative

This seems to be pushing too many favourable interpretations at once for my liking. Most red dwarves we have been able to observe properly (i.e. relatively up-close) are flare stars. This isn't just a bit of UV, observed cases have been right across the visible spectrum. That by itself isn't a show-stopper necessary but it is enough to instantly fire my bullshit detector.

Next, it depends on a single-handed re-interpretation of data that has been evaluated using peer-reviewed methods. Again, it could be valid but it needs more eyes before it is simply asserted to be the truth.

Next, red dwarves are numerous but as is acknowledged they are dim. This doesn't just make the habitable zone much closer in to the star, it also makes it much narrower. When this isn't specifically addressed in the published coverage and figures have already been massaged away from accepted values this makes me even more suspicious.

Last but not least: you do not announce your results at a press conference. Of all the big "breakthroughs" of the last twenty years or so many have been announced this way and of the top of my head I can't recall any that were that stood up to scrutiny. If I'm dubious as to the science in any case but you choose to use a publicity-seeking mechanism to "publish" your results that bypasses the usual checks and balances, and where I can't see your detailed reasoning, what reason have I got to believe you?

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Joke

Re: Interesting but speculative

"Of all the big "breakthroughs" of the last twenty years or so many have been announced this way and of the top of my head I can't recall any that were that stood up to scrutiny."

Right now billions of red dwarf system dwellers are watching us on their cold fusion powered, faster than light neutrino displays, and laughing at our climate-change induced hysteria.

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Re: Interesting but speculative

Despite the abundance of planets around flare stars in Elite 2 I always understood that they would be extremely hostile to life due to their variability. Coupled with the fact the planets are much closer and will be tidally locked, the sunny side is going to get regular toastings.

Maybe in a trillion years when they turn to blue dwarfs they'll be a but nicer. I'm probably not going to be around to find out though.

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Re: Interesting but speculative

1. The properties of red dwarf stars are an active area of research, and the effect of flares is also still entirely up for debate. It's not something anyone is ignoring.

2. Exactly, this paper has been evaluated by peer review - that's how science is done. Other astronomers will analyze their methods and see if they agree. You can read all the details yourself here: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2013/dressing+charbonneau2013.pdf There was also at least one other team who is pursuing a similar study (just the stellar characterization, without the statistics about exoplanets) and came up with something consistent.

3. Check out the detailed work the authors did in the paper. Press coverage often leaves out details. Being suspicious of a press article is fine, but it should spur you to read the paper yourself, not question the research.

4. The results are being published in a reputable scientific journal and posted to the free repository. Plenty of great scientific results get press coverage today.

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Krypton

Obviously.

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Coat

Re: Krypton

Nah, too close.

Superman first appeared on Earth in 1938 (Action Comics #1), via a small vessel that took days to get here. (Obviously some sort of hyper-drive)

Since no red dwarf's shown any abnormality that could interpreted as an Earth like planet going Ka-boom since then, it's safe to surmise that Krypton would have to be at least 75 light years away, probably more.

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Boffin

Re: Krypton

Nevertheless, let's not invite them over for sunbathing until we're sure...

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Coat

They didn't find it hiding in a dust cloud, per chance?

All we need is hyper-assisted travel and we'll be there in no time - I just hope it's not moving towards us...

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Anonymous Coward

Why I like science

It's not all made up and wibbly wobbly like religion.

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Boffin

But

No clever dolphins ?

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Boffin

Re: But

I wouldn't rule the clever dolphins out until we have drilled through the ice on Europa and had shufti and sniff about underneath it. As a biologist I get goosebumps just thinking about the ocean under the ice on Europa. Mars? pah. Sign me up for a one way mission to Europa.

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