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Subject: UFOs and life out there... rss

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Jeff
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When I was younger, I really enjoyed watching programs about UFO's - Project Blue Book was the one I remember most, but I think there were a few others. I don't know if this helped spur my interest in aviation, or if it was a by-product of that interest...

...but now, I find, when I try to watch any of the UFO shows (ancient aliens, mysteryquest's episode on alien coverups, etc) they just end up annoying me greatly. Listening to the narration trying to build 'facts' that support their ideas is frustrating to me - for example, I remember one show that talked about the signs around area 51 saying 'The use of deadly force is authorized' in reference to the base's perimeter fence, and claimed that that was proof that super secret stuff happened there (spoiler alert - that's a standard sign found on every air force base everywhere...). Or this show - talking about how the fact that the Air Force was trying not to let them set up a camera to look at Area 51 with a huge zoom lens was proof that they had aliens there - well, gee, the bad men won't let you photograph or spy on an air force base - and one that's admittedly a research facility for new programs, too. Hmm. Yeah, tough to imagine any other explanation NOT involving aliens... :sigh: I usually end up yelling at the TV at some point, or get annoyed enough by the 'logic' chain that I turn the channel.

I wondered, though - there seems to be more of a shift from 'aliens are visiting us now' vibe back when I was growing up to 'aliens were here and have altered history/helped us develop'. I wondered if this was a lack of evidence for the folks that want to believe - heck, these days there must be a pretty respectable percentage of the earth (at least, in developed areas) that routinely carry a device capable of taking pictures or video, but it seems like the numbers of UFO sightings haven't increased. You'd think if there were still saucers buzzing the globe, we'd eventually get someone carrying their iPad in range and they'd get a shot. (note that I haven't googled this - for all I know, there have been an overall increase in UFO sightings. Still, if this was the case, I'd think the media-crazy US news agencies would be all over it...)

So, it seems to me that the 'ancient aliens' kick is more of a refuge for folks that really WANT to believe that ET has been here, but finds the current lack of evidence disturbing.

(Oh, and don't get me wrong - if you ARE one of those folks, I'm not slamming on you. I've come to the conclusion (for me) that there isn't any convincing evidence out there - but that doesn't make my conclusion correct, or the only possible answer. For the record, as a sci-fi geek, I like the idea that we aren't alone in the 'verse - and I think mathematically there probably IS someone else out there - I just kinda doubt that they've been visiting us for postcards...)

So, as a weekend discussion topic... thoughts on UFOs? Aliens? Whadyathink?

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Richard Dowdy
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Oh sure, someone from the Air Force comes on here to imply there is some explanation for what is going on other than space aliens. This disinformation is all part of a government cover-up of the UFO conspiracy.

P.S. Can you sneak me in to watch an alien autopsy?
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Jeff
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Nope, sorry, sold all my spare tickets on eBay, along with my 'authentic alien autopsy pix!!!11!'.

I'll let you know when the next one comes up, though!
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Jeff
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Ancient Aliens just came on, with my favorite meme guy, and he agrees with you - that we descend from aliens, that is...



For some reason, this guy goes beyond annoyance for me and just cracks me up. For example, he's making an argument right now about how clearly the ancient world was linked by flying devices crewed by aliens. He just pointed out how the Mayans make reference to flying serpents, and said "Now, did flying serpents exist? Of course not!"

What, you'll buy ancient aliens as obvious, but you'll mock the idea of flying serpents actually existing? Why no love for flying serpents - that'd actually be pretty cool....
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Richard Dowdy
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It's really no surprise ancient aliens are more popular. Aliens back then helped people found advanced civilizations and build great wonders. Nowadays all they do is make crop circles, mutilate cattle, and give abductees the anal probe.
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Quinn Munnerlyn
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Drew1365 wrote:
There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the Universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians or the Toltecs or the Mayans; that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria, or Atlantis.

Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive — somewhere beyond the heavens!


Yes, these people are called: "The ones that liked how Battlestar Galactica ended.".
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Which is more terrifying/awe-inspiring/unbelievable: That we are the only planet in the universe with intelligent life, or that we aren't?
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CHAPEL
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I believe that we are not alone in the universe, and there are other intelligent beings somewhere out there. Have they visited us? Unlikely but possible.
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Carl Nyberg
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I think we're the only intelligent life in the universe, but just give us a couple of hundred years and there will be plenty of extraterrestrials (humans living on other planets).
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Xander Fulton
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MWChapel wrote:
I believe that we are not alone in the universe, and there are other intelligent beings somewhere out there. Have they visited us? Unlikely but possible.


Most probably, the universe abounds with intelligent life, but either:

A) The age of the universe is fairly overwhelmingly vast for most people to comprehend. There have been plenty of amusing infographics to try to show the idea, but the simplest illustration might be to point out that the Stegosaurus (everyone remembers him, right?) lived and died out farther apart in time from the Tyrannosaurus's era...than the Tyrannosauruses lived from today. The period of time alien life stays in an evolutionary point we'd recognize it as "intelligent life" might be such an insignificant blip (either from then evolving on to something else, or potentially wiping themselves out via some disaster) in even local galactic history that we will simply never overlap them at any useful point.

B) Distances are vast, and information travels slowly. We can't tell if there is/isn't simple/bacterial life on other planets in our OWN solar system (Luna - ruled out; Mars - probably ruled out, but not an absolute definite yet; other planets or moons - who the hell knows?). Odds are poor of us developing the tools necessary to detect alien civilizations on a smaller scale than 'galaxy-spanning'. And THAT level of civilization may be simply impossible to ever achieve, given information delays due to speed-of-light...Empires were difficult to establish and defend on Earth when the speed of wind in sails led to sometimes month-long delays. How much harder to manage an empire when your distant outposts have a century-long-delay in communication?
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Michael Hopcroft
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The problem is that the laws of physics are the same for everybody. Leaving a solar system and trying to reach another one is a task for dozens of generations. Few would have a compelling reason to do it.

Let me give you an example. Imagine that a hundred years from now Earth faced a massive environmental crisis. Someone becomes so thoroughly convinced that the planet is doom that he announces plans to sent a "lifeboat" of sorts to another system. To build such a lifeboat would take years, if not decades. during that interval, it is more likely for the crisis to overtake the efforts before substantial progress can be made. And if someone else were to make a plan for actually dealing with the crisis, and saving the Earth for Humanity, that plan would get the lion's share of funding/manpower/public support.

Whether there is other life out there is irrelevant, simply because we will never meet it.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Michael Hopcroft wrote:
The problem is that the laws of physics are the same for everybody. Leaving a solar system and trying to reach another one is a task for dozens of generations. Few would have a compelling reason to do it.

It's a good thing that we know all we are ever going to know within the realm of physics.

It wasn't that long ago that the fastest travel possible was accomplished by jumping off a cliff. Physics will be just as low tech in decades to come.


Indeed. Watching the Universe series a few years ago, I recall several different times when an astronomer or astrophysicist said, in essence, "We have a totally different understanding about (how some space/physics thing works) than we did 15-20 years ago." And they'll probably say the same thing 15-20 years from now.

I definitely believe there are other intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, and it's possible that some UFO sightings are evidence of them (some UFO footage certainly fits the "unidentified" part, though I suspect that most of those things are secret military projects). But I don't see the distance of space as a hindrance... Considering that we first flew a crude plane 100 yards in 1903 and then a mere 66 years later landed on the moon, a civilization that is perhaps thousands of years ahead of ours, technologically speaking, could have methods of interstellar travel that would seem impossible to us but are routine to them.
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William Boykin
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IF FTL is possible, then it will probably require energy seen only on a planetary scale- if not more. Heck, going to another star system 'the hard way' requires immense amounts of energy expenditures.

Lets assume that we solve the engineering problems of going at speeds up to .9c. Then imagine what would happen if we dropped a Buick Regal going that fast. Remember that just as time slows down at high speeds, mass increases- exponentially. Throw a Buick at close to the speed of light at a planet, and you have a certifiable Extinction Event which will virtually ensure the destruction of that ecosystem due to the immense release of kinetic energy involved.

Interstellar travel involves energy expenditures at such levels that the ability to travel between stars means the ability to transport that energy between stars- and then control it. Thus, interstellar travel means that a species gains the ability to destroy entire planets as a requirement of being able to go to distant stars.

So short of some ability to travel between stars with MUCH less energy being required, I'm not so sure that I would WANT anyone else to come by; and I'm sure that they wouldn't want us to visit either.

Darilian
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Human beings use robots and machinery to explore the cosmos.
Given the enormous distances and abundant difficulties for biological life in outer space I see little reason to expect that extra terrestrial life of suitable intellect would not do the same.
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frumpish wrote:
Human beings use robots and machinery to explore the cosmos.
Given the enormous distances and abundant difficulties for biological life in outer space I see little reason to expect that extra terrestrial life of suitable intellect would not do the same.


I, for one, welcome our new robot-alien masters.
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Jeff
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Darilian wrote:
Throw a Buick at close to the speed of light at a planet, and you have a certifiable Extinction Event which will virtually ensure the destruction of that ecosystem due to the immense release of kinetic energy involved.


This is actually what scares me - though a large part of me wishes for an FTL drive, I shudder when I think about what we as humans tend to do with the more destructive aspects of the tech we figure out.

Maybe this is the true event that finishes off civilizations out there - we've always thought it was surviving the development of nukes, but maybe everyone does that. Maybe it's surviving the discovery/weaponization of an FTL type drive that is the big hurdle.
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Frank
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The possibilities are so limitless that our primitive animal brains can't comprehend what can be out there.
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Jeff
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Actually, thinking about this reminds me of a quote - I believe it was a sci-fi author, but can't remember who:

Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.

edit: ah, it was Arthur C. Clark. Google is a wonderful thing....

edit2: I guess AnakinOU kinda already said that earlier in the thread... Ah, well...
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Jennifer Derrick
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I think the shift of thought to aliens being part of our part is because technology has made it so we pretty much know everything that's going on now. Yeah, if they were buzzing Earth you'd have Tweets and photos being posted constantly. But we don't.

Yet there are still a lot of things about our past we don't understand. How did people with no machinery build the pyramids or Stonehenge? What's the real deal with Atlantis? Loch Ness monster (dinosaur or alien)? What was Stonehenge for? And on and on. I think it's easier to attribute that sort of thing to aliens since there's no real other explanation. And, if nothing else, it's fun to speculate and wonder about it.

I guess, having grown up in the pre-internet, cable news era, that that's one thing I sort of miss. The fact that we didn't know everything that was happening every minute around the world and there was still some room for mystery. Now, the only mysteries are in the past.
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Jeff
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Oh, I am so there!

thanks, didn't know that one was out there
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Y'all want the real story, rent and watch the movie Paul!
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