Extraterrestrials?

Okay, I read Wendy Davis' recent post, and I had a diary-length extended comment.

It's amusing to see the US government take UFOs seriously, that is, if Jeremy Corbell is to be taken seriously. Since I cannot say for sure if any UFO speculations are true or false, let me suggest some preliminary background through which the idea of an "extraterrestrial civilization" visiting us need to be digested.

1) We can guess that there are a certain number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the universe, and we can guess this from the extremely large number of stars in the universe. Our galaxy is estimated to have 100 billion stars, and there are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe, so here's the math on that one. Now, of course, to be like our Sun, a star with an Earth-like planet would have to be a certain distance from the center of its galaxy, so that limits the matter a bit. It would also have to be a certain size and lifetime as a star. And to harbor intelligent life like, well, us, such an Earth-like planet would have to have the right conditions -- gravity, length of day, appropriate axial tilt, appropriate atmospheric composition, oceans with water in them, appropriate strengh of tides, and so on. Much of that discussion is covered in an old book by Stephen Dole: "Habitable Planets for Man." I read it when I was a kid.

2) The stars are too far away. It takes light 4.3 years to travel from Alpha Centauri to those who can see it in the Southern Hemisphere; for the next pleasantly Sun-like star, Epsilon Eridani, we see it as it was 11.1 years ago. Neither of those stars is going to have planets with extraterrestrial civilizations. So we must look further out, and imagine that any such civilization wishing to travel here must find some way of getting here that accounts for a journey time of decades (even given Einsteinian time dilation) and the significant probability that something could go wrong in between their planet and ours. The likelihood, then, is that the extraterrestrial aliens are just too far away to visit us.

3) Even given the likelihood of life elsewhere in the Milky Way, it's highly unlikely that such life would evolve anywhere into beings like us. Let's take a look at some of the prerequisites for our existence:

a) Earth -- we've been over much of the problem of the existence of Earths in the universe
b) life in bacterial form
c) cyanobacteria, reshaping Earth's atmosphere so that it was defined by the presence of oxygen and carbon dioxide
d) the aforementioned forms of life surviving extinction events, both of "icecube Earth" and of the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect.
e) the proliferation of multicellular life in the Cambrian era, 541 million years ago
f) the extinction events after the Cambrian era themselves, which indirectly created the conditions wherein human life could have a niche
g) the various evolutionary events which produced people -- animals with opposable thumbs, bipedal gait, nutritional needs, sophisticated linguistic abilities, and brains capable of lifelong epigenesis, neural plasticity, and behavioral versatility

Take away any of those phenomena, and the Solar System wouldn't have people. The fact that we exist at all is due to the likelihood that very, very, very improbable things will happen in a really vast universe.

(We haven't even gotten around to discussing, here, the rather improbable events -- the inventions of philosophy, science, and technology -- that have allowed us to dream of extraterrestrial intelligence in the first instance. We might also discuss the rather low probability that advanced civilizations will survive over geological time -- the speculation that they haven't survived over geological time being part of the speculation for why we haven't found them.)

Of course, the vastness also serves as a drawback -- it might mean that others like us exist out there and that "we are not alone," given that there are so many billions of stars and planets, but it also means that those others are prohibited by virtue of immense distance from ever visiting us. No wonder SETI hasn't discovered anything yet.

So I really doubt it. Here's a novel thought: let's try to figure out a way of cutting out the distractions, and focus upon what to do about climate change. The password to open the PDF is: AddletonAP2009 . After all, life is not Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, and the aliens are not going to save us.

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Not sure if this quote is from his work, Flying Saucers : A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, but it should be:

"... psychologists who are conscious of their responsibilities should not be dissuaded from critically examining a mass phenomenon like Ufos, since the apparent impossibility of the Ufo reports suggests to common sense that the most likely explanation lies in a psychic disturbance."

The latest releases haven't changed my mind. No matter how much I might want, or fear, a visit from another star system, I don't expect it to ever happen.

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QMS's picture

Viewing it as a distraction to delay getting our own house in order
seems much more feasible. What with billionaires blasting off the
planet for a quick joy ride, it's just another excuse to do nothing for
the space colony we inhabit. Even birds don't shit in their nests.

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zed2's picture

I'm sure many who feel as if today's logistical and moral problems are too daunting for them to handle their responsibilities are counted among the evangelical types who feel that the specious (highly unlikely) "possibility" of a religious mass extinction event absolves them of all their Earthly responsibilities. Such attitudes are very common in the very religious. Challenged by economic realities, they use religion as a get out of jail card. Surely God decdes who lives and who dies so why bring a child to a doctor... given that they dont have the money. This is really the most tragic situation because children cannot decide their parents.

The rate of under insurance and uninsurance among children has just jumped up the largest such jump in over a decade.
Children’s Uninsured Rate Rises by Largest Annual Jump in More Than a Decade
So children are penalized for something that is completely out of their control The more expensive the service is, the more likely this problem will occur.

, such as the education and medical costs associated with having a family, especially children who are totally dependent on them, many religious parents just decide that the normal rules do not apply to them and behave accordingly, totally shirking their responsibilities to their children.

When CHIP was being set up extensive surveys were made of the medical needs and resource of the chldren of the very poor in the Southwest and they found that so many families were so very poor that they were literally counting every penny and for that reason were unlikely to take children to doctors even in emergencies if there was any chance of unpayable sudden bills. They knew they might get drive-bydoctoring (sudden bills)

(This is indeed the main reason many poor people avoid going to doctors even if they are dying, which is really a form of genocide of the poor. )

If say a cancer is not investigated in time, often the insurer can reject a claim until its able to reject treatment and instead argue that only hspice or palliative care is appropriate.

They do this systematically. Its their normal way of doing business.

The insurers delay claims clearly hoping the poor people die before they pay. they just wear people down, its totally out of control. They would literally prefer that poor people died.

Do we have to put up with this? We nheed to at least try to get this changed. Because they wont fix it otherwise. Instead they are covering up this trade agreement they signed, GATS. which locks in a broken system. They have us banging our heads on a stone wall.

In 1998 The US signed an Understanding defining a "ceiling" for financial services of February 26, 1998, its signing date. Basically insurance companies now possess a right to revert to the very profitable status quo on the standstill date and apply those regulations to attract foreign providers to the US.Basically giving free money to insurers to stay there and insulate the political class from the moral hazards of healthcare regulatory responsibility in what has been known for the last three decades as an impossible situation. In other words, we kne that solving the healthcare mess was impossible (but wouldn't admit it because the government has agreed to not do ANYTHING that lowers banks or insurance companies profits in any way, at any level.

For the ugly truth about the"standstill" in the Understanding please
See Nicholas Skala's incredibly informative 2009 paper.

So on February 26, 1998- the only date that matters. they had a right to "rescission" at that time.

Retroactive cancellation of the relationship of risky patients, as if it was never there. Leading to hospitals and other service provides literally having all the money they were paid by insurer paid electronically debited from their accounts.; So then they turn around and charge the patients credit card. After all, they agreed to it. But it could be an astronomical sum. Because the patient being uninsured at that point, pays the uninsured rate.
If the governments eliminates cash which they and the rich really wants us all to do, you'll just be charged the uninsured price. Up to your credit limit.

his is similar to Australia's so called "Robodebt" system, which was recently sued, and lost.. It lost its case but it seems they have not learned their lesson and may be planning to revive it in some way.. Some people on income assistance lives fell apart because of thee clawbacks.. Some even killed themselves when hit with huge made up fake debts.

Like the pilot program in India's demonetization, one day you'll wake up and larger bills or maybe all cash, cash will be worthlesss.Instead, any debts, including student debt, may just be debited from your account. At the same time, our leaders debts to foreign countries in our jobs may be paid off. Paying off their debts In peoples jobs. Yes, we owe jobs to the lowest bidding countries. Its cheaper and more profitable paying them less. Also no Social Security for you,if they win the Trade facilitation agreement on services that they want?

That could pull the rug out from under Social Security.

irregardless of what the effect would be it would defund the fund, because much less money would be flowing in with mostly foreign workers.

.And people would have nothing, no way to svae any money if they were buried deeply into a hole of debt.

Imagine if you could not save some money in cash in case a solar storm knocks out the power grid for months or even years. pay any bills in bills in cash. )

Also, concentration of wealth is growing so fast (exponentially) its squeezing out all but a tiny percentage of us, the ultra rich.

But a triple crisis, the elimination of cash , massive job loss due to outsourcing/'offshoring and the rescissions TOGETHER could be such a huge financial disaster for so many it might devastate the entire world economy. Rescission in particular is an literally infamous practice because people with serious, often terminal diseases are left without healthcare. And huge unpayable debts. And
hospitals then rebill patients at the uninsured rate which may be much higher than the bills they previously saw. Here is another video on rescission

It may be returning, despite recent laws which claimed to eliminate the practice. But what about the Understanding and its standstill, locking the profits in? It sure looks like we're being fed phony promises. It seems as if the US Trade Policy Review WTO document verifies my suspicions. The kind of exemption they describe is only supposed to last a finite period of time, because its protectionism. Holding back the promised outsourcing/offshoring of eligible jobs. And massively privatizing most once public services.

Which is supposed to be proceeding towards a global shift, with lower wages and higher profits.. A payback to the developing countries for having such undervalued labor?

a redistribution of huge profits upward to the richest companies in the poorest, most unequal countries.

although its almost unimaginably bad outcome for the world's middle class, I dont see the government getting out of GATS so we can avoid this. Quite the opposite. They are going to force a huge cashless system on everybody. Which will put people at their mercy. And the system will record all the info and information you submit can be used to allow them to reject your claims.

All the financial services companies are counting their money. They will get a cut of every transaction.

Health Insurers, as in the past, will get to leave the relationship if the patient gets sick and an exhaustive examination of everything they have associated with their policy turns something up Maybe they failed t disclose some factv that disqualifies them fro healthcare, like a pre-existing condition. Insuring the sick just isnt profitable. And creation of any new public services, public services ais barred by GATS. Nless we buy our freedom, Soon. But the powers that be instead are investing in a cover up campaign where proxies pretend GATS doesnt exist and the media assists them in hiding it. Its their worst failure ever.

if a person is sick and likely cant afford a lawyer to fight their case, they will try to dump them. They even pay insurers examiners bonuses if they can figure out new or better ways to dump sick patients.

Temporarily, the ACA seems to have stopped that, for now. But will it come back.
But it is very expensive to insurers as it takes away several of theior most beloved tricks. and we can expect that the WTO Agreements Standstill will be used at the earliest opportunity to revert to the pre 2010 conditions or regulation. The date of the actual standstill is Feb 26, 1998. So the status quo of insurance regulation that existed on that date is what they are entitled to return to, if we are challenged in the WTO. That situation was absolutely criminally impossible and led to very large numbers of Americans deaths because of the affordability of adequate US health care to anybody. Additionally even if government is still paying them, doctors shut out patients who have not paid their bills. The ACA was written by a staffer for an insurance firm, and it was set up to allow insurance to collect taxpayers money even during periods when they could not access services. This is in effect using tax money to subsidize healthcare for the rich.. not the poor.

Chapters on doctors policies for patients who carry large balances. Often they cannot access care until they catch up on debts- which can overnight become huge because of a rescission of policies. which often may be impossible.

The US healthcare system should have had a "Do Not Resuscitate" order slapped on it, (which repquires leaving our GATS commitments ) rather than had its life extended ten more years with he ACA. (How many years? the maximum allowed under a GATS Article II exemption in an emergency such as the 2010 financial crisis - also caused by GATS deregulation )Article II:2 exemptions should 'in principle' not exceed a period of ten years; ... GATS is a trap, we're being fed lies and a cover up to keep us ignorant.

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We might also discuss the rather low probability that advanced civilizations will survive over geological time -- the speculation that they haven't survived over geological time being part of the speculation for why we haven't found them.

In geological time, humans (our conception of "intelligent life") haven't been around very long. From first evolution to extinction was 160 million years for dinosaurs. Modern humans 0.13 million years and at the rate we're destroying the planet not looking good for us to make it to 0.2 million years.

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Know we've already overcome the biggest hurdle - exotic matter. No longer necessary to obtain Unobtainium.

So ftl is now possible, we just lack the tech. We are getting there.

So throw the distance argument out the window.

Then there's a lot of traction that the universe is a torus, not flat. Meaning no need to limit travel in a straight line.

Suddenly, distance becomes meaningless.

So I believe the thousands of military and civilian pilots are not crackpots and the thousands of combined (radar, visual, infrared) contacts are not hoaxes.

Science is based on observation. The theory that it is too far to travel is not backed up by observable fact.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain

Those following the development of Alcubierre Drives Know we've

..... never built one, and likely never will. This remains established -- along with all the other objections based on the limitation imposed by the light-speed limit -- unless and until after someone/something is demonstrated to have transported information from one point to another in pre-existing spacetime at a rate faster than c.

No such phenomenon has ever been observed.

And as you correctly point out, science is based on observation. It even outranks theory and mathematics -- the only places Alcubierre Drives exist now. And, in my humble opinion at least, where they will forever remain. It's Alcubierre versus Einstein; and all 50 cents of my betting money's on Einstein.

Just because some mathe-magician can imagine it and express it mathematically doesn't make it so. Even Einstein's mathe-magic had to be (and has been) backed up by direct observation. Now, if someone can show me a clear observation of information moving at a net trans-light speed, we can talk about how it happened.

But thus far, Einstein's cosmic speed limit is still ironclad from an observational standpoint.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

snoopydawg's picture

Imagine seeing this live or people from long ago who didn’t understand what they were seeing. Imagine if there were no wars for profit and we spent those trillions exploring space…I do.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

@snoopydawg
It jinked then BOOM. In Virginia near Dulles. During a meteor shower. I forget which. August I think.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.