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  1. #451
    Registered User Honored Elder Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    An interesting hiccup in the search for ET:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35083220...science-space/

    The article mainly discusses the possibility of alien microbes here on Earth, but it raised an interesting point I had never considered before:

    ....The job of finding proof of alien life in outer space may be more difficult than previously thought.

    Frank Drake, who conducted the first organized search for alien radio signals in 1960, said that the Earth — which used to pump out a loud mess of radio waves, television signals and other radiation — has been steadily getting quieter as its communications technology improves.

    Drake cited the switch from analogue to digital television — which uses a far weaker signal — and the fact that much more communications traffic is now relayed by satellites and fiber optic cables, limiting its leakage into outer space.

    "Very soon we will become very undetectable," he said. If similar processes were taking place in other technologically advanced societies, then the search for them "will be much more difficult than we imagined."
    I hadn't considered that our planet's radio signature might be growing quieter, what with the explosion of cell phones and wifi, but I suppose we're doing it more and more efficiently. It's also (very) minorly unsettling - there's something oddly comforting in the knowledge that even if Earth is destroyed, the digital signature and imprint of our race will carry on for thousands of years. If that dies out due to increased digital conservation, some of our last known records will fade too.

    Though that does raise a wonderfully sneaky opportunity if aliens are monitoring our broadcasts. Some of our (relatively) last analogue transmissions were about nuclear disarmament and "peace dividends," and then transmissions go quiet. During the 200 years it takes the aliens to get here, they think we've gone all weak and soft without our nukes.... And walk right into the business end of an orbital defense cannon.
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  2. #452
    Registered User Exalted Member lunchmeat's Avatar
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    Hmmm, since cell phones have become rally common place a bit over 10 years ago, if their signals had been powerful enough to cross interstellar space, we might, based on the unavoidable insertion of folks cell phone conversations one is encumbered with everywhere, have caused the externination of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri by way of drivle.
    Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”

  3. #453
    Registered User Honored Elder Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunchmeat View Post
    Hmmm, since cell phones have become rally common place a bit over 10 years ago, if their signals had been powerful enough to cross interstellar space, we might, based on the unavoidable insertion of folks cell phone conversations one is encumbered with everywhere, have caused the externination of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri by way of drivle.
    Pandorans *stabbing themselves with arrows in agony*: Make it stop! Make it stop! We don't want to know in lurid detail how the dog walked in on you and your wife! We surrender!! We'll let you have all the unobtanium you want if those morons will just shut up!
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  4. #454
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lunchmeat View Post
    Hmmm, since cell phones have become rally common place a bit over 10 years ago, if their signals had been powerful enough to cross interstellar space, we might, based on the unavoidable insertion of folks cell phone conversations one is encumbered with everywhere, have caused the externination of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri by way of drivle.
    Pandorans *stabbing themselves with arrows in agony*: Make it stop! Make it stop! We don't want to know in lurid detail how the dog walked in on you and your wife! We surrender!! We'll let you have all the unobtanium you want if those morons will just shut up!

    In other words, we may have talked them to death without even knowing it, huh?:P
    BTW, lunchmeat, you misspelled the word "drivel."
    Just thought I'd point that out....

  5. #455
    Registered User Veteran Member NinjaNaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    Pandorans *stabbing themselves with arrows in agony*: Make it stop! Make it stop! We don't want to know in lurid detail how the dog walked in on you and your wife! We surrender!! We'll let you have all the unobtanium you want if those morons will just shut up!


    On a completely different note, today is the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of my favorite saints and basically the Wade of Catholic theology. (Hey, they're both rotund geniuses ... what can I say? :P )
    Oh, and if you're in the mood for some light reading , here's all of Thomas' works, translated into English.

  6. #456
    Registered User Honored Elder Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    Reading over St. Thomas's bio on Wikipedia, I'm really starting to like this guy. There's something.... epic about the yin-yang coexistence of deep religion and profound reason/science within the same mind.

    "....the intellect may be moved by God to its act. ...Human beings have the natural capacity to know many things without special divine revelation, even though such revelation occurs from time to time, especially in regard to [topics of] faith."

    Aquinas believed that truth is known through reason (natural revelation) and faith (supernatural revelation). Supernatural revelation has its origin in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit... Natural revelation is the truth available to all people through their human nature; certain truths all men can attain from correct human reasoning.

    ...He blended Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand truths pertaining to God. According to Aquinas, God reveals himself through nature, so to study nature is to study God.
    I have to wonder what Thomas would've thought of carbon nanotubes and the Hubble telescope...

    This also happens to parallel a concept from my favorite books from the "Literature and Ecology" class I took last semester, "The Universe is a Green Dragon" by physicist Brian Swimme (currently nestled alongside my Bible in my dorm room ): Humans are the vehicle through which the universe reflects upon itself. A nebula is just a gravitationally-induced clumping of billions of tons of dust and gas, shooting off plumes of material at thousands of miles an hour in accordance to the laws of physics and thermodynamics until a few stray photons from the event strike a light collector millions of years later and cause those of us on the ground to go



    It's this blend of blend of practical, observable nature with the soaring aspirations of potential/hope/faith that really get me ticking... It's one reason C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite theological authors, and why I really liked Leonardo Vetra from the Angels and Demons novel.

    I don't know why, but I get the same sense of awe from, say, Jon Stewart ripping into Pat Robertson after the Haiti disaster through the use of Bible quotes (starting at 1:27):

    "Have you even read this book? 'From the depths of the Earth you will again bring me up. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you....' Ah, I mean, Pat, that almost sounds like IT'S ABOUT F***IN' EARTHQUAKES!!"

    There just seems something awesome about snarky, sarcastic lefty Jon Stewart lugging up a big ol' Bible and passionately quoting from it.
    Carpe Navi: Because you never know when you'll get to go boating at government expense again.

  7. #457
    ^That's pretty much the same reason why I like C.S. Lewis and, for that matter, Thomas Aquinas. Having gone to a Catholic school (well, I still go there), we have to take theology classes every year. The lack of reason some of the teachers have when teaching the class annoys me. Only in freshmen year did a religion teacher bring up Lewis and Aquinas and allowed us to use reason and logic to come to our conclusions rather than just doing what the religion books said.

    And Thomas Aquinas makes a lot more sense than my religion teachers.
    "There's an old Earth saying, Captain. A phrase of great power and wisdom. A consolation to the soul, in times of need: ALLONS-Y!"~Doctor Who

  8. #458
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    I don't know why, but I get the same sense of awe from, say, Jon Stewart ripping into Pat Robertson after the Haiti disaster through the use of Bible quotes (starting at 1:27):

    "Have you even read this book? 'From the depths of the Earth you will again bring me up. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you....' Ah, I mean, Pat, that almost sounds like IT'S ABOUT F***IN' EARTHQUAKES!!"

    There just seems something awesome about snarky, sarcastic lefty Jon Stewart lugging up a big ol' Bible and passionately quoting from it.
    Pat Robertson, to me, is a lost soul. He spouts gibberish most of the time and as far as I can tell has no true understanding the Bible or God. I don't think he ever did. It would be more likely he would be the one who has made a deal with the Devil, if one chooses to think in such overly concrete terms like that. I think he might be suffering from dementia.
    "Say the Word"

  9. #459
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeriddian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    I don't know why, but I get the same sense of awe from, say, Jon Stewart ripping into Pat Robertson after the Haiti disaster through the use of Bible quotes (starting at 1:27):

    "Have you even read this book? 'From the depths of the Earth you will again bring me up. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you....' Ah, I mean, Pat, that almost sounds like IT'S ABOUT F***IN' EARTHQUAKES!!"

    There just seems something awesome about snarky, sarcastic lefty Jon Stewart lugging up a big ol' Bible and passionately quoting from it.
    Pat Robertson, to me, is a lost soul. He spouts gibberish most of the time and as far as I can tell has no true understanding the Bible or God. I don't think he ever did. It would be more likely he would be the one who has made a deal with the Devil, if one chooses to think in such overly concrete terms like that. I think he might be suffering from dementia.
    IIRC, the late Jerry Falwell appeared on Robertson's TV show a few days after Sept. 11, and made the outrageous claim that those attacks were God's punishment to America for embracing "liberal" causes like the women's movement of the 1970's, as well as others. Of course, Robertson, being a fundamentalist himself, agreed wholeheartedly with Falwell.
    Unfortunately, we've had fire-and-brimstone preachers like those two for as long as human civilization has existed. So we just have to learn to live with them, being careful not to let them get into power in this country the way the religious faction has over in Iran.
    BTW, jeriddian, your compassion shows in your assessment of Robertson's personality. Your description of the man is far more charitable than the way I would have phrased it.
    People like Robertson and Falwell just get me mad, the way they make their rabid, zealous pronouncements and claim they're doing it in the name of God. I really believe that God is looking down on folks like them from Heaven and saying, "No, they've got it all wrong. That's not what I meant..."

  10. #460
    Registered User Honored Elder Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeriddian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    I don't know why, but I get the same sense of awe from, say, Jon Stewart ripping into Pat Robertson after the Haiti disaster through the use of Bible quotes (starting at 1:27):

    "Have you even read this book? 'From the depths of the Earth you will again bring me up. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you....' Ah, I mean, Pat, that almost sounds like IT'S ABOUT F***IN' EARTHQUAKES!!"

    There just seems something awesome about snarky, sarcastic lefty Jon Stewart lugging up a big ol' Bible and passionately quoting from it.
    Pat Robertson, to me, is a lost soul. He spouts gibberish most of the time and as far as I can tell has no true understanding the Bible or God. I don't think he ever did. It would be more likely he would be the one who has made a deal with the Devil, if one chooses to think in such overly concrete terms like that. I think he might be suffering from dementia.
    "LOOK HOW BIG YOUR BOOK IS!!!"

    Personally, I'm interested in what was going through the head of the young lady sitting beside him as he began his little.... conjecture. Was it "W...T...F...?" or "Uh-huh, sure, Pat," or "Oh, yes, yes, you know, you DO have a point...."
    Carpe Navi: Because you never know when you'll get to go boating at government expense again.

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