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Are you prepared?


Spddin Ignis
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Well, let's see. It's pretty much a given that any aliens that invaded would be far superior to us when it comes to technology. They'd have to have some sort of powerful energy gathering/generation technology, along with efficient engines capable of sending a ship on a several-light-year journey (or some sort of Warp Drive/Hyperdrive). It's not much of a stretch to posit that their weapons, sensor, and defensive technology would be up to a similar par.

 

In short, if aliens did decide to invade, we'd likely be screwed. As such, taking a diplomatic route would probably be the best choice for the planet as a whole.

 

I think, in the invent of a hostile invasion, what I'd do would be to go underground with some weapons, supplies, a Mac computer, some bacteria, and a supersoaker. Then, steal what I can from our new alien overlords.

 

If it's the extraterrestrial equivalent of a Beetles invasion, however, then there is absolutely no hope for us. On the plus side, maybe Elvis will do a new tour on Earth.

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Depends what type of aliens. Would definitely not follow the District 9 path >.<

 

I have to agree with Nioca on the diplomatic note. Providing we can get them to understand us - because, true, unless we are extremely lucky, any aliens who attempt to invade us will definitely have a higher tech level than us.

 

Tell you what, I'll bring my imac underground too and we can rig up a network!

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Get a load of this:

 

When the aliens finally invade Earth, you may wish you had listened to Travis Taylor and Bob Boan.

 

And if the invasion follows the plot of a typical Hollywood blockbuster, they might also be the guys called in at the last minute to save the day.

 

After all, they have written "An Introduction to Planetary Defense", a primer on how humanity can defend itself if little green men wielding death rays show up at our cosmic doorstep.

 

And yes, they're serious.

 

"The probability really is there that aliens exist and are old enough to have technology to enable them to come here," Taylor said in an interview.

 

Taylor and Boan are hardly basement-dwelling paranoids obsessed with tinfoil hats and Area 51. Taylor holds advanced degrees in astronomy and physics, and is an associate at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He and Boan have done consulting work for the Defense Department and the U.S. space agency NASA.

 

But their views have won few audiences outside of science fiction conventions, and their book is published by BrownWalker Press, which specializes in fringe topics and books with titles like "The Science and Lore of the Plant Cell Wall" and "ESP and Psychokinesis".

 

Taylor acknowledged alien invasion is hardly a mainstream concern but said it is naive to assume -- as scientists like the late Carl Sagan did -- that any beings advanced enough to master star travel will have evolved beyond war.

 

"It's a wonderful idea that has no basis in reality," Taylor said.

 

Artie out.

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
some weapons, [...] a Mac computer, some bacteria, and a supersoaker.


So why the bacteria, supersoaker and other weapons?

(Ha ha ha.)

...

Anyway, an alien invasion is not just unlikely, it is unlikely. Even presuming aliens exist, and presuming they have the capacity for interstellar FTL travel, they have nothing to gain from Earth that they could not have cheaper from elsewhere.

I'm going with the "space is big, energy is cheap, metal is expensive" idea. Traveling far for new living space is no big deal; building up and destroying space fleets is wasted resources.

The only way that interstellar war can make any sense is if we assume the participants to be guided by religion and irrationality. However, in order to develop advanced technology, the aliens have to be rational.
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Originally Posted By: Arancaytrus

Anyway, an alien invasion is not just unlikely, it is unlikely. Even presuming aliens exist, and presuming they have the capacity for interstellar FTL travel, they have nothing to gain from Earth that they could not have cheaper from elsewhere.

I'm going with the "space is big, energy is cheap, metal is expensive" idea. Traveling far for new living space is no big deal; building up and destroying space fleets is wasted resources.

This. I'm going to place my trust in the Drake equation and not worry about it, even though there's no way to prove that the Drake equation is remotely accurate.
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Originally Posted By: Arancaytrus
The only way that interstellar war can make any sense is if we assume the participants to be guided by religion and irrationality. However, in order to develop advanced technology, the aliens have to be rational.

I don't know. We have developed some pretty impressive technology without becoming especially rational as a species.

—Alorael, who thinks the most likely results of alien contact are instant annihilation of humanity or fumbling attempts at communication that go nowhere. Aliens are likely to be very alien, and conversation would be hard. Given that, humans aren't an especially helpful resource for them. Whatever they want, they're more likely to get it through genocide.
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Quote:
—Alorael, who thinks the most likely results of alien contact are instant annihilation of humanity or fumbling attempts at communication that go nowhere. Aliens are likely to be very alien, and conversation would be hard. Given that, humans aren't an especially helpful resource for them. Whatever they want, they're more likely to get it through genocide.
If you haven't already, read the Conqueror's Trilogy by Timothy Zahn (the Wikipedia pages are short but spoiler-free). All the conflicts that spring up in the books are due to humans and aliens misunderstanding each other.

But even those books have the usual sci-fi style aliens - virtually human except for one attribute added or removed. Assuming that real aliens exists, and we have different origins, the differences will far outweigh the similarities. I mean, this isn't TOS - there's more to being an alien than having a different hair style.

EDIT:
Originally Posted By: Arancaytar
The only way that interstellar war can make any sense is if we assume the participants to be guided by religion and irrationality. However, in order to develop advanced technology, the aliens have to be rational.
Can't believe I missed this. Good sir, I do not like what you are insinuating.

Besides, just look at Dune for a counterexample. ;-)
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With aliens, anything is possible. They might be a civilization that doesn't know the meaning of war and violence (like intelligent mobile plants), but then when they go to use their psychic powers to enter peace negotiations with us (while at the same time imparting all the secrets of the universe just because in their culture they think it's expected of them), all our brains simultaneously explode. frown

 

Conclusion: It is silly to prepare.

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
I think, in the invent of a hostile invasion, what I'd do would be to go underground with some weapons, supplies, a Mac computer, some bacteria, and a supersoaker. Then, steal what I can from our new alien overlords.
Actually, all you'd need is a bad cold and some supplies. When the aliens invade, walk up to one of them and sneeze. Then you wait for the inevitable pandemic to kill the aliens, and take their stuff afterwards.

Originally Posted By: Arancaytrus
The only way that interstellar war can make any sense is if we assume the participants to be guided by religion and irrationality.
We already have that now, even without the "interstellar" part.
Originally Posted By: Arancaytrus
However, in order to develop advanced technology, the aliens have to be rational.
I think Alorael already summed it up nicely above.
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Originally Posted By: Angel Spddin
hmmm...i've actually recently become interested in scientology.I have no idea beleifs they have and i will soon figure out...just for knowledge.
What Dantius said.

Or, if you're interested in what the Internet has to say:
Click to reveal..
http://xenu.net/

http://www.whyaretheydead.info/

http://w2.eff.org/legal/cases/Scientology_cases/

Anonymous isn't the most ideal focal point for protest, but you must admit they have some well designed websites:

http://youfoundthecard.com/

http://www.whyweprotest.net/
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Originally Posted By: The Mystic
Actually, all you'd need is a bad cold and some supplies. When the aliens invade, walk up to one of them and sneeze. Then you wait for the inevitable pandemic to kill the aliens, and take their stuff afterwards.

Of course, spreading disease is something they could do to us as easily as we could to them...

Dikiyoba.
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Has anyone here read the original War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells?

Originally Posted By: Naughty Salmon
Why would you think that their biology is susceptible to the same invasives as our own?
Put simply, the aliens' biology wouldn't have encountered Earth bacteria and viruses before, so they'd have a much harder time coping. Humans, on the other hand, play host to--and are under attack by--a fair number of microorganisms every day of their lives, and can fend them off better.
Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Of course, spreading disease is something they could do to us as easily as we could to them...
True, but Earth microbes can strike the aliens in a variety of ways, and in greater numbers. Then again, if they don't leave their spacecraft until ALL life native to this planet has been eradicated, then we'd have a problem.
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Originally Posted By: The Mystic
Has anyone here read the original War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells?
Originally Posted By: Naughty Salmon
Why would you think that their biology is susceptible to the same invasives as our own?
Put simply, the aliens' biology wouldn't have encountered Earth bacteria and viruses before, so they'd have a much harder time coping. Humans, on the other hand, play host to--and are under attack by--a fair number of microorganisms every day of their lives, and can fend them off better.
Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Of course, spreading disease is something they could do to us as easily as we could to them...
True, but Earth microbes can strike the aliens in a variety of ways, and in greater numbers. Then again, if they don't leave their spacecraft until ALL life native to this planet has been eradicated, then we'd have a problem.

Disease transmission is a funny thing. It wasn't the colonists who were wiped out by all the unfamiliar diseases in the New World. It was Old World diseases brought by a relative handful of colonists that devastated millions of humans who had been happily fending off local diseases for millenia.

But why assume there could be any transmission at all? Many diseases are species-specific, or at least specific to some subset of life. Aliens would be alien. Their biology would be too different to support most Earth parasites and their parasites would likely find no good home on Earth.

—Alorael, who must go on to reject carbon chauvinism (c.f. Dinti's meat story). The aliens might be so chemically different that water triggered invariably fatal degenerative diseases and actual diseases meant nothing.
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Yeah, aliens would be much more likely to have to worry about biochemical incompatibilities than about bacteria feasting on their innards. An alien species that evolved in a planet with a reducing atmosphere might need ammonia and cyanide to survive, while oxygen would be a poison to them.

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Aliens will probably be smart enough to know that the environment of our planet might be hostile to them (they did travel through space, after all, they're no dummies). So they would probably wear environment suits that kept a sterile, airtight, and pleasant atmosphere for them inside, like we do when we travel through space (or they might even grow such suits, like on the new Day the Earth Stood Still movie).

 

I still think our biggest worry would be them accidentally killing us simply trying to communicate. Tragic biological incompatibilities, like Thuryl said. Maybe they'd communicate with pheromones, and the pheromones would make us hallucinate violently and go insane.

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Pheromonal communication through an airtight suit would be hard. Actually, any kind of communication not using sight, sound, or a similar sense poses problems. Leaving aside the difficulties of complex and abstract conversation using only a set of chemicals, how can the range of communication be expanded? Converting a signal into something else and reproducing it as light and sound elsewhere isn't too hard, but tastes and smells are still beyond us. That would be a real stumbling block for would-be galactic travelers.

 

—Alorael, who thinks the problem would be best solved by turning written language into the primary form of language. The writing might then be converted into sound as well. What are the odds of originally pheromonal aliens making contact with humans in an equivalent of Solresol?

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A virus needs a familiar type of DNA; a virus without a DNA-controlled cell is just like a computer virus without a computer. The first computer viruses cannot have appeared too many years after we figured out (roughly) how biological viruses work, but that's why we call them computer viruses, because the analogy is very close.

 

('Virus' is Latin for 'poison', and biological viruses were first named 'filtrable viruses' because they were just some unknown bad stuff that was too small to be strained out of liquid even by filters fine enough to catch bacteria. After a while people stopped saying 'filtrable'.)

 

So even aliens with very similar biology to ours would be immune to Earth's viruses the way Macs are immune to PC viruses. There wouldn't be any alien-attacking viruses on Earth, because until the invasion the market share of alien biology on Earth would have been zero.

 

Bacteria, though, are another story. As far as they're concerned, a human stomach is just another environment in which to try to survive — a particularly rich and acidic swamp, say. So they'd have no problems going after aliens that were at least based on similar chemical compoounds to ours. Their digestive enzymes and waste products might not have the same effects on alien bodies as on terran organisms, but they'd probably do something bad.

 

Aliens with radically different chemistry, though, are more like the first story, with the viruses. Bacteria have no mouths and no organs. They eat by exuding enzymes to break things down small enough for them to absorb the bits by osmosis. Now, enzymes are biological catalysts, not strong acids or anything like that. Catalysts work smarter rather than working harder: their molecular shape and electronic structure are matched to a specific chemical reaction, and they make reactions happen the way you can make Lego cars happen by throwing Lego Tools for Little Hands into a roomful of small kids struggling to stick the wheels onto the bases. So bacteria trying to eat a very different kind of alien innards would be like clumsy little kids with their specially shaped Lego Tools in a roomful of Tinker Toy or Meccano. They'd starve. (The bacteria would starve. The little kids would just get bored, but that's bad too.)

 

I really like that 'They're made of meat!' piece. The message seems true to me. I expect that the universe teems with intelligence, though the universe is so big that 'teeming' could still range from intelligent life forming in every other star system, to civilizations being spread so thin that hardly any of them ever encounter each other. But it seems absurdly unlikely that our particular form of intelligent life is the default.

 

A somewhat similar take on the diversity of life can be found in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, which is one of the greatest sci-fi novels. With a couple of notable exceptions most of the life forms who actually figure in the plot seem to be in the standard Mos Eisley Cantina range, but that's not co-incidence — they seek each other out. The book has a sort of Greek chorus, though, of galactic message-board posts by various entities that can afford 'transceivers that mass as much as a planet'. These galactic board posters are cryptically indicated to be very diverse indeed.

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also you assume that intergalactic visitor has the same senses (or provided they do could interpret things very differently) For example some scientist believe that reason that our eyes use the frequency of light they do is because that it was the one that could penetrate the earth atmosphere the easiest. Now perhaps an alien visitor sees in a frequency of light that can't penetrate our atmosphere. Earth would appear in a lot of ways like Venus and might not be able to tell whats on earth.

 

Also radio signals emitted from earth completely disintegrate into static by the time they reach out about a light year away. An alien finding earth even one with incredibly advance technology would be an incredible feat and like finding trying to find a needle in a giant hay stack, thats on fire, while blind folded.

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The electromagnetic frequencies we call visible light coincide with a pronounced gap in the absorption spectrum of water vapor and carbon dioxide. It's not just a co-incidence: because protons and neutrons are about 2000 times heavier than electrons, there's a sort of a natural gap between absorption by electrons hopping energy levels within each atom, which is typically UV or higher, and absorption by molecular vibrations and rotations, which are typically IR or lower. Most gases have a decent transparency window around the range we call visible light. So there's a fairly decent chance of aliens using roughly the same spectrum we do.

 

How they use it could still be very different. Everything we know about color, for instance, is human visual neurobiology, and not physics. Imagine what music would be like if our brains represented every sound as the same three-note chord, only ever varying the loudnesses of the three components. That's more primitive than SID chip sound, but it's the best our brains can do with light. Some birds use four channels, so presumably they recognize a fourth primary color. (And it's a great philosophical question to ask, What could that be?) Where our vision greatly exceeds our hearing, of course, is in spatial resolution. We can pinpoint where light is coming from to within a small fraction of a degree, but only Daredevil can recognize a person's face by hearing echoes off it.

 

Instruments can record light signals with even more precision in frequency than our ears give us for sound. The basic instrument is just the prism, which spreads frequencies across a screen so that our good spatial resolution lets us resolve millions of frequencies instead of just three. With this 'spectroscopy' technique we can learn to recognize light emitted by hydrogen, helium, and tons of other stuff, the way our ears can recognize the tone of a trumpet or a harpsichord. That's how we know as much as we do about astronomy. There's enormously more information in starlight than we can see with our RGB eyes.

 

Our radio signals don't disintegrate; they just get weaker, their intensity fading with the inverse square of distance, until they presumably get lost in whatever background radio noise is out there in space. Though I guess there's a point at which the intensity drops below one photon per bit, or something, and then quantum noise will start to drown your signal even if there's no other source of radio involved. Maybe that's the 'disintegration'. Is that where the one light year figure comes from?

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SoT: I thought Osmosis was only diffusion of water molecules. Bateria abosrb things via diffusion although I'm not sure the correct term is osmosis but I may not have lernt that far in my Biology class yet.

 

I agree with safey. Their senses could be totaly differnt and may see colours we can't. Try dare you to try and Imagine a colour you have never seen. So comunication in all forms would be difficult.

 

The only sure thing I could thing off would be the death of one person of a race at the hands of the other, would mean hostility.

 

EDIT: Sniped, question answered before its asked.

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It been a while since I read the article (or maybe I heard it from a physics professor). I'll try to get a source sometime tomorrow but my understanding is that radio signals lose their information and become indistinguishable from static about a light year away.

 

I hear a laser could be used to could be used to send a signal over such long distances but the people on the other end would both have to be looking for it and now how to receive it.

 

Essentially the two main problems with finding alien life is one of logistics and one of point of view. How do you make contact with beings hundreds of light years away? How do you know you have made contact?

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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
because protons and neutrons are about 2000 times heavier than electrons, there's a sort of a natural gap between absorption by electrons hopping energy levels within each atom, which is typically UV or higher, and absorption by molecular vibrations and rotations, which are typically IR or lower.


Does this mean, in theory, that if a universe existed in which protons and neutron weighed about the same as electrons (yes, totally inconceivable, but for the sake of the question), light as we know it would not exist, and ultraviolet and infrared spectrums would be adjacent?



Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity

but only Daredevil can recognize a person's face by hearing echoes off it.


Ouch. I tortured myself with that film yesterday. It's what drove me to start posting here again, after several years of lurking.
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Yeah, that was a silly film. The shortest wavelength of sound that a human could reasonably hear is maybe a half-inch or so, and reconstruction of a wave source from signal is an absurd inverse scattering problem unless the wavelength is at least several times smaller than the feature size. (Or unless you already know the shape of the source, and are just trying to locate it — this is why echolocation works for bats; what they know about small flying insects as echo sources is that they are effectively points.) So you're talking several-inch-size pixels in anything any brain could possibly reconstruct from the available data.

 

If electrons weighed about the same as protons, a whole lot of stuff would be different. Assuming that the possibility is not completely absurd for some as-yet-unknown particle physics reason, chemistry would be a whole lot harder to understand, because it's the big mass ratio between nuclei and electrons that lets us think of a molecule as an assembly of bonded atoms, instead of just having to take all the nuclei and all the electrons and see how many ways they might all be put together.

 

But assuming that molecular gases still existed, then yes, there would be no strong difference between their electronic and vibrational spectra, and there might well be no big transparency windows in gas absorption spectra, and so vision through air would be unavoidably foggy. Maybe we would have ended up with vision more like hearing, with better frequency resolution and less spatial.

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Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
It been a while since I read the article (or maybe I heard it from a physics professor). I'll try to get a source sometime tomorrow but my understanding is that radio signals lose their information and become indistinguishable from static about a light year away.

Radio waves are just light. Photons will happily travel forever. You start losing the signal when distance has spread photons out so much that most of them aren't picked up by detectors, or so many other radio photons of the same wavelength have gotten mixed in that the intentional signal is lost to the background noise.

Originally Posted By: Hypnotic
SoT: I thought Osmosis was only diffusion of water molecules. Bateria abosrb things via diffusion although I'm not sure the correct term is osmosis but I may not have lernt that far in my Biology class yet..

Yes, osmosis refers only to the diffusion of water. I'd imagine that bacteria have something slightly more complicated than passive diffusion for selectively taking in nutrients, but I'm actually not all that familiar with prokaryote biology.

—Alorael, who doesn't think bacteria would do terribly well in aliens either. Looking at the flora living in and on animals shows more intense specialization than chance infection. Something would certainly evolve quickly (in evolutionary terms) to live happily in aliens, but it's not likely that there would be any serious infections on arrival.
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Originally Posted By: Ordinances Regarding Ordinance
Yes, osmosis refers only to the diffusion of water.


Technically, it refers to the diffusion of any solvent across a membrane permeable to the solvent but not the solute. In biology, though, a solvent pretty much always means water.

Quote:
I'd imagine that bacteria have something slightly more complicated than passive diffusion for selectively taking in nutrients, but I'm actually not all that familiar with prokaryote biology.


Yup: bacteria have specialised proteins in their cell membranes to allow specific nutrients through, just like eukaryotes do. They actively transport amino acids and sugars, among other things, into their cells.
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I noticed that alorael mentioned solresol which was indeed made to be a universal and easily communicated language but it was never completed to my limited knowledge and even then it has to be established beforehand

 

but if you want to try an artificial, universal language wannabe then try sarus which was built off of the same idea as solresol link below for those interested

 

http://www.biteycastle.com/525/01_intro.html

 

one of the boons of a language like this is that in can be made very pleasing to the eye or ear

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