First, we hear something sensible: Paul Davies: Search for alien microbial life on Earth: (= He advocates a search for evidence where there is a good chance it may be found, instead of the usual faint hope feeding frenzy and unmoored speculation.)
Now, just to prove silly season is here, we also learn the latest hot weather story abut intelligent aliens from New Statesman:
Be careful what you say to aliens
Seeking alien contact could be the thing that triggers our own implosion.
But even the benign scenarios about alien signals could be disruptive, in Davies’s view. Knowledge from an advanced civilisation would “change the economic and technological balance of the planet”, he says. And that’s what makes the latest development in alien-hunting so interesting. The Russian billionaire Yuri Milner has pledged $100bn to buy the SETI Institute astronomers search time on some of the most powerful radio telescopes in the United States. Thanks to his largesse, the search for alien signals will be able to take as much data in a day as they currently take in a year.
The Chinese may consider that a reason to accelerate their own programme. China is close to finishing construction of the world’s largest radio telescope, which is due to start operating in 2016, and has SETI as one of its goals.
If the Chinese astronomers see an alien signal, what will happen? No one knows. There is little reason to believe that they and their government funders will follow SETI Institute protocols. After all, the post-detection task group is hardly representative of humanity: it’s a self-appointed, all-white, all-western group of elite writers, philosophers and scientists. More.
We hear a giant sucking sound—of funds better used for serious science.
See also: Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!
But surely we can’t conjure an entire advanced civilization?
How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?
Actually, we don’t grapple with it. There is no way of showing that ET doesn’t exist. But a rule of thumb could be, if the years drag on, and the explanations for why the intelligent aliens have not been discovered, become more and more far-fetched…
On the other hand, consider the Luminarians …
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