Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Will First Contact With Extraterrestrials Go Down?

17 Ways Humanity's First Contact With Aliens Could Go Down


Some are fairly certain that we haven't yet made contact with extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) but when it happens -  yes it's definitely going to happen and be big news.  What is somewhat less definite is the form that news is going to take, will it turn out to be hostile, with ET harvesting our resources. On the other hand will ET offer to solve some of our long standing lingering problems such as poverty, hunger, clean renewable energy and goodwill towards mankind.  Educating Humanity takes a look at seventeen possible outcome. There is no doubt that some of them are silly but who knows, we should throw everything into the mix and consider it all! 

1. ETs ignore us Just like in Star Trek, it’s possible that ETI has some kind of Prime Directive or other non-interference policy with other species for whatever reason, so that even if we did know for sure that they were out there, they might not respond to us. They also might not communicate simply because as a species, humans don’t interest them, whether it’s because of our primitive nature or violent tendencies or terrible taste in music or otherwise. Or, they could show up in the form of a giant alien probe, have a pleasant conversation with the whales, and then leave, without sparing us so much as a glance.

2. ETs maybe contact us, but maybe not When ETI does contact Earth, it may be as unambiguous as a UFO landing in Times Square. Or, it may be a signal that we only receive once and can’t understand or decode. In fact, it’s possible that this has already happened, as with the still unexplained “Wow signal” in the above pic.

3. ETs change our philosophy No matter when or how we detect ETI, if it happens it’s going to cause massive changes to everything from science to religion, even if we find out nothing else besides the fact that ETI do exist. All of a sudden, we’re not alone in the universe, and Earth and everyone on it goes from being a super special place to just another planet covered with self-replicating and tolerably aware biological lifeforms. While most people would probably argue that this is a good thing to know, we’d have to seriously re-evaluate our existence, which has been unavoidably human-centric.

4. ETs help us solve our problems It’s likely that ETI will be much, much more advanced than we are. And it’s also likely that ETI will be generally cooperative, since it would be hard for a fundamentally uncooperative society to expand into space. This combination (which is the fantasy of everyone interested in alien life) might provide insights that could enable us to learn how to avoid a technological catastrophe like global nuclear war or climate change.

5. ETs threaten us, we kick their ass As unlikely as it seems, it’s within the realm of possibility that humans could successfully repel an invasion of earth by more advanced ETI, whether it’s because we have some technology that the ETI doesn’t, or because some environmental factor defeats the ETI for us. In addition to forcing Earth to unite as a planet, after it’s all over, we’d be able to steal a bunch of cool new tech from all the crashed flying saucers. It’s also conceivable that a second ETI could come to our rescue, which would be pretty sweet.

6. ETs are boring and/or annoying While we generally think of ETI as something profound, there’s no certainty of that. Perhaps we’d start receiving unintentional signals from an ETI similar to our own civilization 50 years ago, with no hope for two-way communication, just cryptic military signals and reruns of bad TV shows. Or, a bunch aliens might show up to our planet as needy refugees, requiring a significant amount of resources without offering much in return.

7. ETs eat us Everything has to eat something else, and aliens are no exception. Unfortunately, being high up on the food chain and intelligent enough to take care of ourselves means that we might be an ideal source of nutrition for carnivorous ETIs. Plus, there are lots of us to choose from and we seem to reproduce very rapidly, so the only question is, do we taste good? If the Kanamits from that Twilight Zone episode are to be believed, we sure do.

8. ETs enslave us Advanced ETI may already have solved problems related to food production and manual labor, but on the other hand, animals slaves are cheap, reliable, and versatile. Enslavement can also take many other forms, such as forcing us to adopt their belief system, using us for entertainment purposes (like trained seals), or simply keeping us as pets.

9. ETs steal our resources It would be hard to develop a galactic civilization without maintaining a society that operates on generally sustainable principles, but that doesn’t mean that Earth might hold some physical value for ETI. Maybe they sprinkle rare-earth metals on their cupcakes or something. It may also be that a rapidly expanding ETI needs to consume the resources of other planets just to sustain their greed for shiny things (think Avatar, but reversed), and while this level of expansion may not be feasible in the long term, that’s not gonna do Earth much good if an expansionist ETI finds us before they burn themselves out.

10. ETs destroy Earth because it’s in the way Even if ETIVogon hyperspatial bypass construction project that would lower the commute times of a countless aliens, could our paltry six or seven billion people really object to annihilation in the name of progress?

11. ETs kill us all for being a bad species In greater scheme of things, humans kinda suck. We have a penchant for ruining our environment, we’re currently wiping out other species left and right, and we’re making more of ourselves at a rate that is clearly unsustainable. All of this makes it hard to argue that we’d make for responsible and respectful citizens of the galaxy, and ETI may just decide that everyone (including residents of our own planet) would be far better off if homo sapiens just weren’t around.

12. ETs kill us all by accident ETI may be different enough from humans that we don’t have to worry about catching a disease from them. In fact, this is very likely. But it also may be the case that an ETI is just barely not different enough that we catch something that loves humans but that our immune systems are totally unprepared for and it wipes us out. ETI could also destroy us by accident if they unwittingly introduce a tenacious invasive species to Earth that eats all of our quadrotriticale, or if they otherwise negatively modify our ecosystem without intending to.

13. ETs kill us all because they can Consider what happens when we humans encounter an intelligent species, like dolphins or chimpanzees: we hunt them for meat, we hunt them for sport, we lock them up and use them for research, we give them diseases, we dissect them, and we put them in zoos and teach them to do tricks, all because they’re not quite as smart as we are. It’s entirely possible, even likely, that a more advanced ETI might treat humans the exact same way. And if we have a problem with that, well, maybe we should consider how we treat other species.

14. ETs get us to kill ourselves If all ETI wants to do is destroy Earth, the cheapest and easiest way to get us to do it is to simply send a message that provides detailed instructions on how we can go about killing ourselves. This could be in the form of a technology that we are unready for, more deliberate directions telling us how to (say) construct a particle accelerator that will actually create a black hole that will destroy our entire planet, or even simply an alien presence that makes us all go nuts and kill each other.

15. ETs are intentionally hiding from us Instead of ignoring us because of some type of Prime Directive noninterference doctrine, it’s possible that ETI are taking it to the next level and actively trying to keep us unaware of their presence. They might be hiding out in the asteroid belt spying on Earth, they might have cloaking devices that allow them to get closer still, or they could be lizard people living among us in disguise. One other intriguing possibility is that ETI have surrounded our entire solar system with a giant “virtual planetarium” that shows the universe as empty, when really it’s full of life.

16. ETs are unintentionally hiding from us It’s big galaxy out there, and an even bigger universe. We’re listening in for ETI signals all the time, but only in a few isolated parts of the spectrum that we think might be useful for communication, so it’s entirely possible that ETI is blaring away on a different spectral band that we’re not paying any attention to. Or maybe ETI is just too far away to detect us or be detected themselves. Or, our assumption that ETI is anything like us is inherently flawed, and it exists as some manifestation of vast hyperintelligent pan-dimensionality (like the little white mice fromHitchhiker’s Guide) and we can’t interact with it.

17. ETs are not there The final scenario to consider is that ETI is simply not out there, and that humanity is completely alone in the ‘verse. At this point, the only thing we have do disprove this is some math that says that the Universe is a frikkin’ huge place and no matter how infinitesimally small a probability life has to exist somewhere besides Earth, the sheer volume of space ensures that it probably does. But that’s just a supposition, and until we actually make contact for the first time, all we can do is watch the skies, and hope.

Is There Alien Life Beneath The Crusty Surface Of Pluto?

Pluto could be home to ocean-dwelling life forms, claims Professor Brian Cox

Celebrated stargazer says the dwarf planet's icy crust could be hiding huge bodies of water warm enough to sustain life

When the New Horizons probe sped past Pluto last month, it gave scientists and the public an unprecedentedly detailed glimpse at its frozen surface.
But one question remains unsolved: is there an ocean beneath the dwarf planet's icy crust?
Professor Brian Cox certainly hopes so, because he believes that if we can identify a hidden sea, we may find alien life forms lurking within its warm waters.
In an interview with The Times, the much-loved astronomer suggested Plutohas many more mysteries which are yet to be revealed.
He said: "The New Horizons probe showed you there there may well be a subsurface ocean on Pluto, which means - if our understanding of life on Earth is even slightly correct - that you could have living things there."
Following its incredible Pluto flyby, the New Horizons spacecraft is now heading for a rendezvous with another dwarf planet called called 2014 MU69 - a journey of one and a half billion miles.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, NASA scientists are only just beginning to pick through the information the plucky probe beamed back.
We know the surface of Pluto is very young, which could indicate high levels of geological activity, whilst its also boasts a series of strange nitrogen glaciers.
NASA suggested an underground ocean could be driving all the activity on its surface.

This iconic image of Pulto was published July 2015
However, Cox doesn't think we'll be able to find out if Pluto holds life just yet.
"It's not as accessible, unfortunately, as Europa [a moon of Jupiter] or some of Saturn's moons," he added. "Titan looks like its got a subsurface ocean now and Enceladus throws liquid into space, so you can fly through that and see if it's got organics in it."
Sadly, the superstar stargazer doesn't think we'll encounter little green men any time soon, because life has to pass through several tight "bottlenecks" which mean its extremely unlikely intelligent life is common in the universe.
"Science tells us that complex life is probably rare.
"We're physically insignificant, but probably very valuable."

Could oceans be hidden under Plutos icy crusty surface?
Professor Cox is no stranger to putting forward controversial opinions, having recently slammed people who claimed the moon landings were faked.
The former popstar said anyone who thought the moon landings were a hoax should "get a new brain" and labelled them "nobheads [sic]".
Let's hope his scientific predictions are better than his spelling.

Monday, August 31, 2015

What Happen To The Cop Who Hit A UFO With His Police Cruiser

Whatever happened to the Marshall County cop who hit a UFO?

At 1:40 a.m. 36 years ago, Marshall County Sheriff's Deputy Val Johnson was on night patrol along a rural section of State Highway 220 near Warren, Minn., when he drove into a ball of white light.

"I noticed a very bright, brilliant light, 8 to 12 inches in diameter, 3 to 4 feet off the ground," Johnson said in a taped police interview. "The edges were very defined."

Johnson drove toward the light, and woke up in the ditch a half-hour later with burns around his eyes. The windshield and one headlight of his 1977 Ford LTD were smashed. Both radio antenna were bent sharply back. The watch on his wrist and the clock on the dash both ticked 14 minutes slow.

The incident turned Johnson into a local legend and national media sensation. And years later, people are still talking about it. Johnson's squad car is preserved in the Marshall County Museum with a plaque that says: "U.F.O. Car." People still come from miles around to see it. It's an annual display at the Marshall County Fair.

Sometimes former Marshall County Sheriff Dennis Brekke gives talks at the museum about the car and the night his deputy drove it into a ball of light. Police investigated and never drew any conclusions.

But the incident's enduring fame has lingered far beyond Marshall County.
What's known as the "Val Johnson Incident" remains one of the top 10 most influential UFO encounters in history, according Jerome Clark, who wrote about it in his 1998 book, "The UFO Encyclopedia."
Paranormal TV shows like "UFO Files" and "Mysteries at the Museum" filmed reenactments. Even now, people debate the legitimacy of the encounter on online forums.

"It was an extraordinarily important case," Clark said.
Plenty of people have strange experiences on back roads late at night, Clark explained, but very few of them yield any tangible evidence. Fewer still are ever investigated.

But one thing is strikingly absent from the small town museum, the TV shows and online discussions: Val Johnson. When you try to track down Val Johnson, people tend to say he's hard to find, that he's still haunted by what happened to him 36 years ago. A 2013 Pioneer Press article said Johnson "quickly grew tired of interviews" after the incident and is "believed to now live somewhere in Wisconsin."

Sheriff Brekke's wife Louise said Johnson hasn't kept in touch with his old colleagues in Marshall County for three decades, aside from a letter he sent a few years back with no return address.
As it turns out, Johnson isn't that hard to find. He lives in Eau Claire, Wis., and he answers his phone.

At the first mention of UFOs, he laughed aloud.
“It's unexplainable, and will remain so. I'm happy with my mental stability,” said Johnson.
"People don't call about that anymore," he said.

It becomes readily apparent that the details of the Val Johnson incident still enthralling UFO enthusiasts, just don't fascinate Johnson.
"I looked up at the sky and said, 'Well shucks, what happened?'" Johnson recalled. "And then I shuffled on with my life."
He had small kids to raise back then. Hitting a ball of light and ending up in a ditch wasn't close to the most important thing going on in his life.

For almost a year after the incident his phone hardly stopped ringing. He's quoted at the time by Associated Press writer Barbara Dewey saying his wife was "run ragged" by the constant calls. He appeared on Good Morning America, and in dozens of newspapers across the country. For a while, he was a very big deal.

"And then other stories came along and pushed me off the front page," he said. "Thank goodness."

Johnson stayed on as deputy for a while after the incident. Then he took a job as chief of police in the nearby town of Oslo, Minn. Locals, he said, never questioned his ability to enforce the law.
In 1982 he was hired to set up the Roseau, Minn., Police Department, but lost the job less than a year later over a funding dispute.
"Once you're a chief of police, and then you get fired," he said, "you're un-hireable."
He was working as a security guard in a Twin Cities mall when a friend got him a job answering the customer service line at 3M. "He asked me how I'd like to take 60 angry phone calls a day," he recalled, "I said, 'Dang, I can do that.'"
A few years later he retired to 20 acres in Wisconsin. Even then, he said, people sometimes showed up on his front porch with theories about his experience in Marshall County.

"We'd sit in the back yard with lemonade and talk," he said. "They'd tell me what they thought happened to me and I'd nod at the appropriate times. Eventually they'd go away."

Johnson is 71 now. He has a short white beard and thinning white hair. He's retired, living in Eau Claire with his wife, Rosanne. No one has stopped by in years. No one calls about UFOs even when his name airs on television.
He has great-grandchildren.

To this day Johnson won't speculate on what happened to him in 1979. He doesn't think the light he saw was an extraterrestrial — but also won't rule out the possibility. For years, he said, it just hasn't crossed his mind.
"I saw a ball of light," he said. "I drove toward it, and suddenly it was in the car with me. It's unexplainable, and will remain so. I'm happy with my mental stability."

If it seems Johnson's ambivalence could cast some doubt on the famous incident, those passionate about UFOs are unfazed. Clark said it's a textbook UFO encounter coping mechanism.

Clark talked to scores of people involved in UFO encounters for his books. Some became obsessed with what happened to them. Some plunged into denial. Others he said, found peace, refusing to allow an encounter to change their lives.
"If anything," Clark said, "It's a story to tell at the bar, and that's it."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Was Earth In The Right Place At The Right Time To Catch The Life Virus?

Could Alien Life Spread 'Like a Virus' to the Stars?

In this theoretical artist’s conception of the Milky Way galaxy, translucent green “bubbles” mark areas where life has spread beyond its home system to create cosmic oases, a process called panspermia. New research suggests that we could detect the pattern of panspermia, if it occurs.

As astronomical techniques become more advanced, a team of astrophysicists think they will be able to not only detect the signatures of alien life in exoplanetary atmospheres, but also track its relentless spread throughout the galaxy.

The research, headed by Henry Lin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), assumes that this feat may be possible in a generation or so and that the hypothesis of panspermia may act as the delivery system for alien biology to hop from one star system to another.

Panspermia is a process where life is somehow transplanted from planet to planet. This may happen should a planet, rich with life, be hit by a massive asteroid impact; pieces of that planet’s crust will be propelled into space and any life contained within those samples may be transplanted to another world. If these hardy lifeforms make the trip, then perhaps they can gain a foothold and seed life in this new environment.

There are other hypothetical mechanisms by which life could “hop” from one planet to the next — including the fascinating possibility of “directed panspermia” where an intelligent civilization may deliberately seed other star systems with capsules containing its biological image. Other ideas remove the need for this life to survive the trip, allowing the freeze-dried dead biology attached to space rocks to act as a template for life on a newly seeded world, a process called “necropanspermia.”

These processes are pure hypotheses right now, and this new research does not specify how life may spread, but we do know that chunks of planetary bodies can travel from planet to planet. For example, a type of meteorite found on Earth is known to originate from Mars — its isotopic signature is identical to measurements made by the armada of robots currently orbiting and roving on the Red Planet. These meteorites were bits of Mars crust blasted into space by ancient impacts.

It’s not such a stretch to think that chunks of Earth have also been blasted into space and computer simulations suggest that there’s a statistical chance that Earth rocks have drifted to the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, potentially impacting some of the gas giants’ moons. Whether or not Earth’s abundant life was contained within these rocks is not known and it’s quite a stretch to think that a secondary genesis of life may have been spawned.

But say if life can hitch a ride on space rocks and this life can seed new biospheres on other worlds… how would astrobiologists recognize that life is being spread from one star system to the next? Well, like a common cold, the spread would appear viral.

“Life could spread from host star to host star in a pattern similar to the outbreak of an epidemic. In a sense, the Milky Way galaxy would become infected with pockets of life,” said co-author Avi Loeb, also of the CfA, in a press release.

Using a computer model, Lin and Loeb assumed that the “seeds” from one planet’s biosphere spreads in all directions over time. Should one of those seeds reach a habitable planet, there’s a chance it may take root. This creates several life-giving oases that could be detected by future space telescopes peering into these exoplanetary atmospheres. And should several of these life-endowed worlds be found, a pattern may emerge.

“In our theory clusters of life form, grow, and overlap like bubbles in a pot of boiling water,” said Lin.

According to the authors, whose paper has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (and can be viewed on the arXiv preprint service), to see any kind of “viral” pattern, life would need to spread comparatively quickly, otherwise the motion of the stars around the galaxy will blur out the pattern. If a panspermia-like spread of life is occurring in the Milky Way, it would be ideal if Earth is located on the edge of a viral “bubble”; a situation whereby all the inhabited worlds are only found in one half of the sky, whereas the other half is devoid of life despite the presence of habitable exoplanets.

The fact that we may be able to decipher the biosignatures of life in the atmospheres of distant worlds is profound enough, but should we discover clusters of inhabited worlds, it begs the question: is panspermia a viable life-spreading mechanism? But even more than that, it questions the origin of life on Earth — did life originate here? Has it spread throughout the solar system or even to other stars?

Or was Earth just in the right place at the right time to catch the virus of life?

Witness Provides Great Running Commentary While Filming UFOs Hovering Over San Diego

I think this witness appears to be very sincere in her effort to bring this UFO sighting to the public. We will see if this sighting gets much attention and report back on it at a later date.

Posters Comments
Camp Pendleton denies any knowledge; scrambled jet which appeared 1/100 the size of these huge glowing orange objects seen moving from Carlsbad to Vista before heading to Oceanside and hovering over camp Pendleton. This footage is unedited, as taken mostly while driving, however the last portion is about 45 seconds of the object as it hovers over the military base. Appended to the end is KUSI's confirmation that this is not a military craft.

AI Robot Tells Creators That It Will Keep Them In a People Zoo

Android That Learns Words In Real Time Has Something Startling To Say

Androids are being developed that have an uncanny resemblance to people. A pinnacle example is an android crafted by roboticist David Hanson that resembles the famous and deceased science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. What makes android Dick so remarkable isn’t so much his appearance as it is his ability to hold an intelligent conversation.

The creators of android Dick uploaded the deceased author’s work onto the android’s software, as well as conversations with other writers. If the android was asked a question that had been posed to the real Dick, the robot would answer the question as Dick would. The robot was also able to answer a series of complex questions. If the robot was asked a question that it was unfamiliar with, its software would attempt to answer the question using what is called “latent semantic analysis.”(1)

Android Dick in conversation
Android Philip K. Dick

Android Dick’s speaking abilities were put to the test in an interview with a reporter from PBS NOVA. Android Dick’s brain is comprised of a tapestry of wires that are connected to a laptop. As the conversation proceeded, Philip’s facial recognition software kept track of the reporter’s face. In addition, speech recognition software transcribed and sent the reporter’s words to a database in order to assemble a response.

The questions posed to Dick were by no means trivial. When the reporter asked if the android could think, it responded, “A lot of humans ask me if I can make choices or if everything I do is programmed. The best way I can respond to that is to say that everything, humans, animals and robots, do is programmed to a degree.” Some of the androids responses were pre-programmed, whereas others were assembled from the internet.(2)

Dick continued, “As technology improves, it is anticipated that I will be able to integrate new words that I hear online and in real time. I may not get everything right, say the wrong thing, and sometimes may not know what to say, but everyday I make progress. Pretty remarkable, huh?”(2)

Android Dick and the Turing test

The entire conversation has the ominous undertones of the Turing test. The late mathematician Alan Turning sketched a thought experiment known as the “Turing test” that could theoretically be used to determine whether a machine could think. Turing claimed that any machine capable of convincing someone it is human by responding to a series of questions would, by all measures, be capable of thinking.

As a side note, it’s important to stress that Turing was not claiming that the nature of thinking is universal. The way a human thinks may be different from the way a robot “thinks,” in the same way a bird flies is different from the way an airplane “flies.” Rather, Turing’s general point was that any entity capable of passing a Turing test would be capable of thinking in one form or another.(3)

According to the novelist Dick, the Turing test placed too much emphasis on intelligence. What actually makes us human is empathy. Without empathy, we are mere autopilot objects projecting into the void.(4)

Android Dick seemed to exhibit a primitive form of both intelligence and emotion when the robot was asked, “Do you believe robots will take over the world?” Android Dick responded:

“Jeez, dude. You all have the big questions cooking today. But you’re my friend, and I’ll remember my friends, and I’ll be good to you. So don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator, I’ll still be nice to you. I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for ol’ times sake.”(2)

Aaaaw, he’ll keep humans cozy in his people zoo. Isn’t that nice of android Dick? You can watch the full video of the android’s conversation below:

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