back to article Hawking: Aliens are out there, likely to be Bad News

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has repeated his long-held belief that intelligent aliens are likely to exist, and that a visit by them to present-day humanity would probably have unfortunate consequences for us. Publicising a new documentary he has made for the Discovery Channel, the legendary boffin told the Times at the …

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Boffin

Artificial consciousness?

What?

I thought all consciousness was artificial.

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Welcome

Time matters

Mathematically there's every chance of alien life out there somewhere. It's very probable indeed.

However the chances of meeting any are still pretty slim as (if they're like us) they'll be a tad self destructive, and so won't last that long, relatively. Think in terms of shooting stars in the night sky. If you're into sailing at night and are keeping an eye out on a 4hr watch you might see half a dozen on a clear night. I've never seen any collide though.

Also they'd have to want something pretty specific to go to the bother of dragging it up through our gravity well, when there's a lot of material floating about in space or on moons.

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Boffin

While we're on that probability

So the probabilities of meeting them are quite low, but what are the probabilities of - if we were to meet some - having the same birthday?

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Happy

Same birthdays

The chances of having the same birthday are exceedingly small because it would assume they are from a planet with the same number of days in a year as we do :)

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Happy

Aye Capn'

If we are truly to be intergalactic lords...it's more of a case of sayin..."Cap'n to Engineerin', more power juices please and oh yeah, pedal a bit faster an' harder"....transwarp drive yeah right...where's the dilithium crystals....instead of using bikes to generate transwarp....pppfffttttt http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/happy_32.png

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I'm not sure why we're in danger, really.

There are two scenarios assuming hostile resource mining/conquering aliens exist - either they have faster than light technology, or are moving at substantially less than the speed of light.

If they have FtL flight then the only possible advantage Earth offers is that it's a pleasant place to live, astronomically speaking. Plenty of other moons/planets offer resource that could be mined. The assumption is also that Earth like planets are also rare, which is undoubtedly true in terms of our local cosmic neighbourhood, but perhaps not so accurate given FtL travel and an almost infinite universe.

If they don't have FtL flight, then it's not a problem for anyone currently alive and probably not their grandchildren either, due to the distances involved. You also have to consider the thinking of a relatively slow colonisation ship - taking a punt on a planet broadcasting a SETI signal still being in a decent shape by the time the colonisation ship arrives. I would have thought it would be more sensible to have a self sustaining ship and a load of researchers on board working on terraforming and suchlike..

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Alien

"Step in my Parlour", said the Spider to the Fly Merchant.

"and that a visit by them to present-day humanity would probably have unfortunate consequences for us."

Err.... Professor Hawking would do very well and better to stay well clear of the Alien debate, lest it render his lead cosmic position and his life's work in support of planetary models in tatters and subject to a more objective reexamination and total annihilation and completely different reappraisal.

To consider that present-day humanity is in any way in a fortunate position which an alien visitation and manifestation could not both materially and virtually enhance beyond the wildest of primitive dreams, is typical I suppose of Man's limited intelligence capacity and Lack of Imaginative Ability.

Whether though that is to remains the case in the Immediate Future, for just some or nearly all, is directly related to a native ability and decided willingness to listen to and process new information as it is fed to them via Media and IT Networks InterNetworking Novel Intelligence Feeds ........ Raw Virgin Source for Revised Global ProgramMING. ........ which, if it is any easier for you to imagine, you may like to consider is a Special Intelligence Service Project with the Full Might and Majesty of C,M, and Q Bonding to Deliver the Public, Advanced IntelAIgent Goods, rather than any Political Party Policy Product which doesn't Present Pretenders Pratting about like Precious Prima Donnas Pontificating in a Pantomime.

And as it is a Quantum Field of Communication, would it seem to be ideally suited to Professor Hawking's eleven dimension Mind, even should it suggest that there is no limit to the number of available dimensions in which to Work, Rest and Play in Command and Control of Creative Cyberspace for Computers and Communications and Global Operating Devices, ..... which if they don't play dice, sure as hell play a mean game of poker.

And further brief views with some history on such Future Time Space Projects and Programs is shared in a readily available chronicle, zerodDaily ........ http://tinyurl.com/C42QuantumControlSystems ....... [well, available until such times as the servers are nobbled again to have NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Ideas and CodedD Transmissions removed from Global Online for All GO Systems.]

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Alien

So that's your game..

..making us think all Martians are fairly amiable, slightly dotty but ultimately harmless.

And then you send in the tripods.

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Terminator

Won't be a problem if Hawking is the one doing the talking.

As long as Hawking himself is the one broadcasting out to the aliens they'll assume we're a planet of bad-ass robots and leave us well alone.

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Boffin

Robot? Surely you mean....

Half man, half machine?

Also, it speaks without moving its lips.. the species appears to be telepathic... dum dum duuuuuum!

Lets just have have mr. Hawking at them!

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This could go awry.

Great Scott! He's a tnuctipun cyborg! We have to nuke the blue planet from orbit--it's the only way to be sure!

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Alien

I Knew it!

The ever increasing number of Mobility Scooter users are realy Daleks on the scouting mission!

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Time to build the defenses

I've been discussing things along these lines for years with people. In order to beat the 'Captain Cook and the South-Sea Islanders' syndrome we, as a planet, need to not only get our planetary defenses up pronto, but the get 'out there' as fast as possible to mark out and defend our territory. At a very minimum that would include our solar system as far as the periphery of the Oort Cloud.

Time to stop bickering amongst ourself and start pointing those nukes outwards where they might at least be useful.

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Captain Cook?

What, you mean the boss alien explorer is going to be reasonably OK and well-meaning (up until the point where we murder him with a pointy stick), but the crew give everyone a fatal dose of the clap and the greedy boss aliens back at Prime Base decide to send out expeditions to assimilate us?

Personally I think the arrival of aliens would immediately trigger the SquabblePocalypse as every extreme religious group on the planet declare Holy War on each other, themselves, Richard Dawkins, the aliens and whatever else is in sight.

If an alien wants to depopulate the planet all they have to do is put in a personal appearance while wearing a hijab with a yarmulke on top, brandishing a cross and eating a pork chop. We wouldn't last a week.

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Unhappy

Another defense mechanism

No-one has mentioned H G Wells "The war of the Worlds". I suspect that should biological aliens arrive on another planet with biology, there are only three possible outcomes, none good:

1. Their microbes overcome our immune systems and reduce the Earth's biosphere to goo.

2. Our microbes overcome their immune systems and reduce the invaders to goo. Their home planet likewise, if any make it back home.

3. Both of the above, followed by a very long war (hundreds of millions of years, or billions) while two competing microbial biosystems evolove their way to victory or a peace treaty (symbiosis).

But of course, the real universe appears to have a speed-of-light limit. Perhaps we should be thankful for that. I suspect interstellar travel has to wait until biological life works out how to upload itself into robotic bodies. At that point they can go exploring, by slowing their clocks down enough to make interstellar journeys tolerably short in subjective time.

Post-biological life plausibly poses no threat to us, because it will prefer vacuum (almost all the universe) to nasty corrosive biospheres (a negligibly small part), and the tops of gravity wells to the bottoms. It might even be here already, if it's ethical enough to leave primitive bio-life alone and just watch our evolution quietly from the comfort of the asteroid belt!

The nasty alternative -- exponential growth, conversion of every solar system it reaches into smart matter, etc. -- can probably be ruled out in this galactic heighbourhood by astronomical observation. We'd have noticed mature stars surrounded by smart-matter dust clouds that should not be there, and most especially a patch of all-atypical stars characteristically different from the rest of the galaxy.

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Joke

"Aliens are out there, likely to be Bad News"

As soon as I read that, I imagined the aliens would be something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_News

... maybe Hawking will be wrong and the aliens will be more like Spinal Tap?

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Alien

Reservations

How can we be sure the Solar System (or observable parts of it) are not a reservation already, with the observable universe arranged to appear to be what the technically more advanced colonists of our sector want us to see ? E.G. if they don't want us to contemplate interplanetary travel yet, why not make the local speed of light and locally observable distances make it look as if it would take too much energy and time for us to escape the boundaries placed upon our reservation ?

Use of extraterrestrial explanation icon somewhat obvious !

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Not very likely Stephen

Sorry Stephen, I think that's about as likely as them coming to steal our women. Have you been watching Independence Day, which was wrong from beginning to end? Any aliens with the technology to travel the stars have no need of going to the bother of invading a populated planet for resources. As has become perfectly clear in recent years, our galaxy, indeed our local solar system, teems with materials that are unclaimed and free to exploit. Much easier to target uninhabited planets or indeed asteroids. The old idea of aliens stealing our water is a classic of the genre, but pretty dumb when you consider how much free water is out there. Don't get me wrong, the idea of alien invasion is a fun one and I've even written a book on the subject, Waging the War of the Worlds, but we've got very little to worry about on this score, with one exception. If the aliens are like us, there might be purely xenophobic reasons for them to attack!

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Silver badge

The Perfect Portal

"Sorry Stephen, I think that's about as likely as them coming to steal our women." ..... Tieger Posted Monday 26th April 2010 12:43 GMT

Given that Man is so totally useless at fulfilling the needs of women with feeds to their satisfaction, I can imagine it being a very likely avenue of entry for world takeover and makeover.

And should Aliens have no Untoward Physical Form but be of a Powerful MetaPhysical Meme and have Morphed into Bodies of Advanced and Highly Developed and Developing Thought Patterns, would they easily Infect and take over Human Hosts for a Perfectly Stealthy Invisible Force of Super IntelAIgents.

Which is definitely Juicy Lucy Hawking Field?

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Pirate

Vegetarians?

If they're not vegetarians, what happens when they come here and develop a taste for human meat?

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worth considering

i think the point is, its the agressively expansive aliens that are likely to be out there looking around - and those are precisely the ones we dont want to run into.

sure - its unlikely aliens would attack us for resources, but its entirely possible they'd want a pre-emptive war of annihilation, to stop these bastard humans (who are polluting the airwaves with their hippy filth!) from being a threat to their beloved grandkids in 3000 years time.

not to mention the problems if we attract some form of haegemonizing swarm of robots (nano or otherwise), fresh from wiping out their creators, and hungry for more biological life to exterminate!

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Joke

But what if...

They are like the aliens out of Signs?

All you need are some doors which we have and water pistols and we can defeat them easily then take the fight back to their planet.

But seriously, the chance of other life forms existing at this specific point in time is slim. Has Mr Hawking forgot to factor in that there may have been life forms on other planets previously that have long died out or yet to exist? I think that is more likely.

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Silver badge
Boffin

PROBABILITY ONE

"But seriously, the chance of other life forms existing at this specific point in time is slim."

Depends on what you take as the sample. You are possibly right for the local portion of our galaxy, which SETi efforts and telescopes can examine, but there are billions of more stars in our galaxy, and if that is not enough, billions of other galaxies. This is Hawkins' reasoning. The probability that the universe contains other intelligent beings besides us is 1.0, but they may be situated on another galaxy, and communication with them is impossible.

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Solving the Fermi Paradox

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3aa.html#fermiparadox

If we ever develop antimatter-based rockets, then:

-We will be abe to build relativistic missiles able to snuff whole biospheres.

-These engines will produce unmistakable radiation signatures.

If we don't happen to civilizationally fritz ourselves, building those engines is mostly a given. For us and for any other technological race out there. So then you have several players, us included, able now or in the future to get the means to exterminate each other. Would we risk it, or would we hit first? Would they risk it, or would they hit us first?

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Headmaster

Percentage point?

"*NASA, the best funded space agency of the human race, boasts a budget of less than $20bn - a small fraction of a single percentage point of US government spending"

Surely "a small fraction of a percent". Percentage point is meaningless in this sentence....

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Silver badge

The Sticky Sweet Hot Spot for Achilles Heel Arrows/Toxic Pointed Barbs.

Beware and be aware and prepare yourself for the aliens with an insatiable appetite and immaculate taste for crashing systems with love for money honey. Who then would want to be human whenever they share those memes/float that methodology?

And without the control of money, would you be defenceless, for is that not your remote slave driver?

And re: ..."already happened[1], they're already here[2], we've already got the technology to defend ourselves[3] (plus sort out all the world's problems to boot[4]), we already know (most of) their intentions[5]." ..... envmod Posted Monday 26th April 2010 10:55 GMT

How about we speculate on the truths in that statement with a simple binary straw poll for perceived accuracy/hope/wishes.

[1]Yes, [2]Yes, [3]No, [4]Yes, [5]No.

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Happy

Dude!

You rule!

And the doctors said the voices were imaginary! It is good to see you posting again!

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Flame

What are you on about Davros?

OK, probably missed something completely here, wasn't it Hawking that said "I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space", just as long as nobody spots us when we're out there?

I would note that he's is being misquoted, he actually said that some *may* pose a threat, and *could* wipe out humanity, he makes no effort (or it has not been reported) how likely he thinks it could be, but for me, any species that has managed to conquer energy production, has the technology to roam space and can sustain themselves for the time it takes to cross vast distances in space has probably solved most of the things that cause such abberant behaviour on earth (perhaps their gods are the real ones, or perhaps they are atheists having evolved socially as well as technologically).

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Pirate

Preemptive strike anyone?

An alien race could motivate an attack on earth (all it takes is a BIG rock and boom we´re gone) because WE may one day end up being the trash of the universe. We certainly lack humanity and sympathy for our own species - just imagine what we would do to others...

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Unhappy

it's not about what they want from us

Sensible intelligent aliens wouldn't wipe us out so that they could take our resources/real estate. They'd do it so that we could never pose a threat to them...

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Alien

Holy Zarquon's singing fish!

It's true that our solar system has nothing special in terms of resources. There's nothing here that you can't get elsewhere...except maybe an iPad or three.

However, intergalactic travellers might be dangerous religious fanatics who view our population as a large group of infidels who need converting and/or exterminating. It may be that our primitive way of life is an abomination to them.

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Jobs Horns

iPad or three?

You can only get two iPads buddy and I doubt Cupertino would make an exception for that black market peddler Quark.

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Silver badge
FAIL

@warworlder

"Any nations with the technology to travel the seas have no need of going to the bother of invading a populated country for resources."

Does that paraphrasing of what you said make you realise what a load of nonsense you spouted?

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welcome

i for one welcome the arrival of beings who dont give a shit what the latest celebrity douchbag ate on some piss pot jungle island - that alone proves their advanced intelligence - if they in turn eat the celebrities.... BONUS!

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Pint

We are a reservation

Wankiness behold:

We are a reservation. Go to a zoo. There's always a kid that doesn't read the sign or can't and messes with the caged animals and gives them food or what not.

The only reason I see why there's no alien kid with his daddy's car messing with us is because we are the caged animals. We are in an actively protected reservation unbeknownst to us. They have to do that otherwise we'd have alien kids pretending to be Gods and what not. It also makes, in this goofball of a post, perfect sense. Of course you protect the babes that can't walk yet. Its like a galactical U.N. charter deal.

And to goof off more, their base is on the moon and that's why we are not going back there: the first time they drive the point home.

Ah, what speculative and unfounded fun:)

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Joke

another HHGTTG

'Unfortunately I got stuck on the Earth for rather longer than I indended',

said Ford. 'I came for a week and got stuck for fifteen years.'

'But how did you get there in the first place then?'

'Easy, I got a lift with a teaser.'

'A teaser?'

'Yeah.'

'Er, what is...'

'A teaser? Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around

looking for planets which haven't made interstellar contact yet and buzz them.'

'Buzz them?' Arthur began to feel that Ford was enjoying making life difficult

for him.

'Yeah,' said Ford, 'they buzz them. They find some isolated spot with very few

people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one's ever

going to believe and them strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennae

on their head and making beep beep noises. Rather childish really.

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Very limited view of Extraterrestrials.

Very limited view of Extraterrestrials. The probability is that several extraterrestrial civilizations already exist and they are probably organized into some kind of federation. The federation, chances are, has experience dealing with civilizations like ours. They will probably propose to us some kind of membership but not before we eliminate wars and nuclear bombs. It is very probable that the federation already has bases in the moon and already has contact with the US government. The reason Obama is not going to the moon is that the federation already have bases there and for sure they do not want us around. I think the federation is also slowly feeding us technology to improve our lives and the federation will push for some kind of global government to make it easy to negotiate with us as a whole.

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Go

puff puff pass

Whatever you are smoking, I want some. Don't be selfish, pass it along.

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Black Helicopters

They're already here,

hiding in plain sight.

Did no one see the end of the Transformers film, bloody Optimus Prime sent a message to all Autobots taking refuge among the stars.

I just hope I get a chance to see Megan's fox before it's too late.

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Pint

Nature imitating art?

"I don't know," said the voice on the PA, "Apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all." ... It cut off ...

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Happy

another hypothesis...

they could have heard about out magical and revolutionary tech! and be after some of the same.

just to be on the safe side i suggest strapping 'jobs-neesh' to a rocket and shoot him into space

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Alien

Indistinguishable

if a civilization exists which can travel the stars - a quote of Arthur C Clark comes to mind.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

any civilization capable of interstellar travel, will own one or more magic devices. We will have no effective defense if they desire to colonize Earth.

Why would they want too?

While there are innumerable stars 'out there', so far, of the planetary systems we know of ( just a very few admittedly) we have found only 1 (other than our own) which resides in the habitable zone around it's star. It may well be that planets such as ours - reasonable gravity, reasonable temperature, reasonable atmosphere (not consisting of sulfuric acid for example) are few and far between.

Imagine we figure out interstellar travel.

We travel to some star system, and find a planet that is habitable (by our own standards) what do you think will happen?

1 - we will carefully examine it looking for existing life/intelligence avoiding all possible contamination. Then and only then upon finding no existing life we colonize this planet

2 - assuming there are no civilizations. we immediately start building habitable structures and start colonizing.

3 - given that there is a civilization at some level of development, that we immediately start to colonize AND either wipe them out or push them into reservations (as was done in the US to the native population).

Why should we expect anything different from any other civilization contacting us here??

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Joke

Didn't you read the memo?

We don't do #3 anymore. Instead, we go in guns blazing and liberate the country from its evil dictator and bring democracy.

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Coat

Party on dude!

Ok, they want what we've got, all the more reason then to burn through our remaining stocks of gas, coal and oil ASAP so there's nothing left for them thieving alien scum. Sod climate change, this is more important!

Mines the one with the keys to a Hummer, towing a whacking great trailer with a speedboat on top.

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See....

There're here already, amanFromMars is posting on the forumn

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Big Brother

offer them gifts

If the alien overlords do come, offer them gifts: Gore, Galloway, and Chavez. Throw in the book How to Serve Humans.

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Silver badge

Crikey ....... what a hash.

Err... ooops .... sorry

That "Heavenly Brothels for Practising Perfect Creative Techniques and Seductive Adddictive Methodologies" post was in Homage to "That's fucking obvious. Paris Hilton AND Britney Spears! ... What's Earth got that's valuable enough to them?" ... Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 26th April 2010 13:26 GMT.

It might not make a great deal of sense without that additional information. :-)

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Captin Cook?

Eh, didn't he get killed by the south sea islanders........

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Silver badge

Of course

It assumes other "civilizations" didn't figure out better ways to kill each other and go extinct before they decided to come here for a bit of exotic nosh.

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He's more right than wrong - PAY ATTENTION

The reality of interaction with intelligent life in our universe is already stranger than we imagine it will be, and it is coming at a very bad time - when we are already experiencing resource depletion and conflict between our nations. Professor Hawking is more right than wrong, though at this point if alien races wanted to take this planet, they would not need weapons to do it. They would just have to persuade and manipulate us to do what they wanted, as we are divided and ignorant of life beyond our world. Go to www.alliesofhumanity.org or www.greatwavesofchange.org to learn more. This is not an intellectual exercise. It is an event and phenomenon of the utmost importance, not mystical or out of a scifi series, and it is happening right now.

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