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Does Active SETI Put Earth in Danger?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the omg-greys dept.

Sci-Fi 647

Ponca City, We Love You writes "There is an interesting story in Seed Magazine on active SETI — sending out signals to try to contact other civilizations in nearby star systems. Alexander Zaitsev, Chief Scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics, has access to one of the most powerful radio transmitters on Earth and has already sent several messages to nearby, sun-like stars. But some scientists think that Zaitsev is not only acting out of turn by independently speaking for everyone on the entire planet but believe there are possible dangers we may unleash by announcing ourselves to the unknown darkness. This ground has been explored before in countless works of science fiction most notably "The Killing Star," a 1995 novel that paints a frightening picture of interstellar civilizations exterminating their neighbors with relativistic bombardments, not from malice, but simply because it is the most logical action."

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647 comments

The Enemy is Us (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688052)

Yes it does.

We should conquer and colonize another planet first, then send active SETI signals from there instead.

Brace yourselves: where's the kaboom? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688304)

Actually, it is very dangerous. The signals have been causing a certain alien's garage door to open and close relentlessly ever since they started, making him very angry and he's up to Illudium Q-35 now.

Maybe it does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688062)

Let's stop txing!

How is this different from Radio, TV Signals? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688088)

Has this man figured out a way to send signals faster than radio frequency or light? Surely, evidence of our noisy bickering between each other will be interpreted long before his signals anyways. And what about the satellites we have cruising away from our solar system?

I don't think what Active SETI does is really going to matter at this point in time.

Re:How is this different from Radio, TV Signals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688184)

I don't think what Active SETI does is really going to matter at this point in time.

Only because you don't understand the inverse square law.

Re:How is this different from Radio, TV Signals? (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688204)

It doesn't matter how many radio or TV or any other kind of signals we pollute space with. Everybody knows that we aren't going to be contacted by any alien races until we build a warp drive so they can detect the warp signature.

Re:How is this different from Radio, TV Signals? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688560)

Everybody knows that we aren't going to be contacted by any alien races until we build a warp drive so they can detect the warp signature.
Seeing as a "warp signature" is apparently just a big white flare in space, we should be able to detect their warp signatures first.

Re:How is this different from Radio, TV Signals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688398)

Ditto with the "It's a bit late now viewpoint"... And if there's any ET's out there, they probably got a nice set of blips to our whereabouts (if they were paying any attention) thanks to above ground nuclear testing. Not to mention stuff like Starfish-Prime experiment EMP event which probably caused the magnetosphere/ionosphere to ring a bit (and perhaps more loudly than broadcast radio or RADAR.)

Re:How is this different from Radio, TV Signals? (1)

gwait (179005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688514)

Exactly, the signature from a nuke is far more powerful, and sends a troublesome kind of message...

You can't protect yourself against the nonexistent (0)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688094)

There is not one iota of evidence that there exists one other intelligent form of life in the universe. Go google for Fermi's paradox, I won't even give you the obligatory wikipedia link.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688124)

Watching TV for an hour is enough prove for me already.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (2, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688138)

The problem is, we don't want to have one iota of a chance that the aforementioned evidence arrives to us in the form of an interstellar bombardment.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688436)

So are you proposing that we should confiscate all private radio transmitters? This whole argument is kind of like the worries that particle accelerators will destroy the Earth, when high-energy cosmic rays bombard the Earth daily.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688494)

It's the difference between you and your teenage friends being willing to go into abandoned warehouses if you need to run an errand, but not going into abandoned warehouses just to see if there's somebody in there.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688156)

There is not one iota of evidence that there exists one other intelligent form of life in the universe.

As sublimely demonstrated by the parents' post, there's certainly little evidence of intelligence on this world, why should we expect to find any elsewhere?

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688178)

Thats what you think... I put up my e-mail address in a web page I set up, thinking along the same line as you did and boy, was I sorry! I'm sure there are other planets like the spammers, waiting to get hold of one to spam at!

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

vtscott (1089271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688410)

If intelligent life out there was listening and could decode our tv signals, they'd probably say the same about us with the ad driven broadcasts that we're sending out into space. V1@gra ads are on tv too.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688230)

There is also no proof we are alone in the universe either.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (2, Funny)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688242)


There is not one iota of evidence that there exists one other intelligent form of life in the universe. Go google for Fermi's paradox, I won't even give you the obligatory wikipedia link.


Fermi's paradox relies on too many assumptions to even be considered a valid argument. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you but let's at least use more quantifiable arguments than Fermi's tired assumption...

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688486)

As far as I'm aware it only relies on the conflict between two assumptions: first, that intelligent life is common in the universe; and second, that intelligent life would be interested in exploration and communication, as we are. Neither of these assumptions is controversial.

Also, I would suggest that if we found an alien species that wasn't interested in exploration or communication, we might have trouble recognizing them as intelligent, and furthermore, what's the point of contacting them?

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (3, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688314)

Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. I agree with you that we have no evidence of other intelligent life and that anything we say about other intelligence in the universe is pure speculation. What you haven't done is demonstrate "nonexistence" which the reference to Fermi's paradox doesn't do.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688554)

As far as we know, aliens have not visited the Earth or any other solar system body in its 4.6 billion year existence: archaeology and solar system exploration have turned up nothing. Further, we have absolutely no contacts with any other civilization after millennia of recorded history, and after several decades of active searching. For practical purposes, extraterrestrial intelligence is nonexistent. I'm wondering what would make you agree?

Dont kill the baby just cause it doesn't dance yet (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688318)

Astronomers first directly discovered an exosolar planet in 1995. Sure we've been listening for ET via radio for decades, but really do you you think just over a few decades we'd happen upon the right channel frequency at the right star system?

If we ever find ET directly, it would probably be in a few hundred years. Our radio technology is antiquated probably to whatever ET has used. They may not even use radio to communicate long distance. They may use laser pulses, or god knows. My point is, our technology is in its infancy. Come back 400 years from now and if we haven't found at least some form life, then spew. But judging out ability to discover ET based on a few mere decades of tech is just plain ignant.

Re:Dont kill the baby just cause it doesn't dance (2, Interesting)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688544)

Why do you make the assumption that we are behind other possible lifeforms technologically? What's to say that we aren't the most advanced in the universe? Maybe we're the ones expected to bombard other worlds with our technologies to teach them how to proceed. I know, ridiculously scary thought considering we can't even get our own shit straight, but why does everyone assume all the ETs are more advanced than we are?

Re:Dont kill the baby just cause it doesn't dance (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688562)

I don't know about that, I can't imagine that in 400 years we won't be using radio waves to study the universe. It's not like radio waves are some sort of "tech" that can become outdated; it's a fundamental particle of the universe at an extremely useful energy range. Why wouldn't an alien civilization use it? It's not the whole universe is going to red-shift and radio will become somehow obsolete. I can't see civilization becoming so advanced that they just... stop looking at radio-frequency radiation when it's so obviously suited for for cosmic observation. I would understand if a civilization was more advanced than us and culturally just didn't care about intergalactic communication. It's my understanding that we bombard a large area (whole star systems?) with these radio waves, would they even have to be looking at us to detect them? I would imagine that if one of the nearby star systems did the same to us, you'd be able to catch the signal at any well-equipped lab. I may be way off base with that last part, but in any case, I wouldn't count on radio waves going out of style in the interstellar community anytime soon.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (5, Funny)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688344)

There is not one iota of evidence that there exists one other intelligent form of life in the universe.

"Other?"

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688550)

There is not one iota of evidence that there exists one other intelligent form of life in the universe.
"Other?"

Yeah. We've got the dolphins, the mice, and so far nothing else.

Re:You can't protect yourself against the nonexist (1)

lordperditor (648289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688578)

Percolation Theory is one of many theories that make sound arguments against Fermi's paradox. (Which basically amounts to I haven't seen anything so obviously there is nothing out there lol)

It's too late (5, Insightful)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688108)

If you read the second link

...the television broadcasts we have so rashly been transmitting to the stars for the last 50 years..


Stopping people from deliberately sending signals is not going to make us invisible. We've been sending signals for decades.

Re:It's too late (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688290)

Stopping people from deliberately sending signals is not going to make us invisible. We've been sending signals for decades.

It might be worth it, in that case, to try send out some signal explaining that the really powerful signals they get are just television. I'd rather the Vulcan survey ship not see American Idol, but if we've got no choice about it, we might as well try to assert with a different broadcast that, despite all the other evidence, we are in fact 'intelligent' beings.

Or maybe I speak too soon.

Re:It's too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688428)

"People of earth! We demand you bring us the one called 'The Fonz' for our strategic leaders have determined that he who controls 'The Fonz' controls the world!"

Re:It's too late (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688576)

I'm pretty sure that Lerr, ruler of Omicron Percei 8, was demanding to see the end of "Single Female Lawyer".

Jeez, don't they teach American History anymore?

Re:It's too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688596)

"People of earth! We demand you bring us the one called 'The Fonz' for our strategic leaders have determined that he who controls 'The Fonz' controls the world!"

So Pinky and Leather control the world?

Re:It's too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688380)

True, but a lot of people don't realize that TV doesn't carry nearly the same intensity/strength as a directed signal...

From TFA:

A sphere of omnidirectional broadband signals has been spreading out from Earth at the speed of light since the advent of radio over a century ago. So isn't it too late? That depends on the sensitivity of alien radio detectors, if they exist at all. Our television signals are diffuse and not targeted at any star system. It would take a truly huge antenna--larger than anything we've built or plan to build--to notice them.

Re:It's too late (5, Funny)

had3l (814482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688432)

Yeah, and we all know that we shouldn't send mixed signals to our enemies. That's why I propose we nuke the moon to prove we mean business.

Re:It's too late (5, Funny)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688468)

Not too late...

If these alien civilizations support the MS Outlook protocol we can simply send out a retract message and clean it all up before they notice.

Re:It's too late (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688472)

If you read the second link..."the television broadcasts we have so rashly been transmitting to the stars for the last 50 years"...Stopping people from deliberately sending signals is not going to make us invisible. We've been sending signals for decades.

All of which have probably had the same effect as putting up a big sign that says, "WACKO PLANET -- STAY THE HELL AWAY!"

UFOs of the 20th century (1, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688128)

The UFO theorists (I try to keep an open mind, but I find the existence of UFOs less than probable due to lack of evidence) say that UFOs started visiting (or started visiting heavily) in the middle of the 20th century in response to the nuclear bombs going off. Perhaps someone more versed in science could tell us whether that or Hitler's speech at the 1936 Olympics is easier to detect from space.

Re:UFOs of the 20th century (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688440)

That's pretty silly. First, on a cosmic scale, nuclear bombs are *tiny*. I don't see why they would be noticeable. At this point, we can't even figure out how to detect a planet as small as Earth orbiting even the closest star, and nuclear explosions are tiny compared to the size of the Earth.

Second, even if you detected them, it doesn't seem like there'd be anything particular to flag them as a sign of intelligent life. They aren't a continuing pattern or signal-- they're just explosions. Explosions happen throughout the universe all the time, so a handful of explosions set off randomly over the past 50 years wouldn't be worth investigating even if someone had equipment sensitive enough to detect them.

Finally, the universe is a very large place, and I don't see any reason to believe that, even if there were aliens advanced enough to detect something so small and curious enough to spend their time looking for nuclear explosions, that they would be within a few light-years already. I know a light-year is a very long distance, but not compared to how big space is. So if the aliens were only a hundred light-years away, they still wouldn't be seeing a signal of broadcasts or nuclear explosions for a while. And that's not even an issue of having technology advanced enough to see that far-- if Einstein is correct, then there's simply no possibility of having sensors that can see beyond their light cone [wikipedia.org] .

obvious (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688130)

Inter-stellar communication would almost certainly be perceived as representing the entire planet. No attempt at doing so should be made until some sort of world government has the authority to represent the entire planet.

Re:obvious (5, Funny)

planckscale (579258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688210)

Yeah I mean if I was going to send a message to outer space it would be of a sexual nature like: "We are looking for the ultimate orgasm." or "Send us your women with the big jugs." Forget this "we come in peace" crap.

Re:obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688328)

Yeah I mean if I was going to send a message to outer space it would be of a sexual nature like: "We are looking for the ultimate orgasm." or "Send us your women with the big jugs." Forget this "we come in peace" crap.
Maybe you're looking for that, but I don't think you have the right to "represent" everyone. I'm looking for a giant rock hard cock that spews fluffy white rivers of man goo like a fucking volcano.

Re:obvious (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688216)

There already is such a government. It's called the US government.

Re:obvious (1)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688498)

Inter-stellar communication would almost certainly be perceived as representing the entire planet.


What possible reason could anyone have for believing that? There's no data to make any sort of conclusion about alien attitudes towards government, or even if a comparable concept exists among the giant, mono-cellular vacuum-dwelling beings of Dog Doo 12 who eat UV radiation and poop gamma rays. Even assuming (for no particular reason except playing nice with 50 years of sci-fi) that aliens are human-like, if they are capable of receiving and decoding interstellar transmissions, they're at least as smart and sophisticated as we are- which means that they would already be aware that you don't need a world government to build a big radio transmitter.

Obligatory Stargate reference (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688144)

It will be known as the alpha site and when the GOA'ULD send all their JAFFA to destroy it we will make Beta site

I'll leave the Star Trek references to others

Re:Obligatory Stargate reference (1)

doktr thunder (591704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688414)

they'll head straight for sector 001, Sol III. But they won't be trying to contact us, instead they'll accidentally wreak havok upon our species by trying to contact Megaptera novaeangliae [wikipedia.org] .

Luckily some of the population is aware and hopefully will have invented time travel by then.

Forget the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688150)

How many of you have considered the possibility of Crypto-terrestrials? We keep looking amongst the stars for other intelligent life while ignoring the evidence that it has been here on earth all along.

Consider this - what if the intelligence behind UFO events, both modern and pre-1940's UFO events like Fatima or Lourdes - is the same intelligence that appears in stories of Fey folk (elves, dwarves, sylphs, succubi, etc)?

What if we've been looking to the stars when in fact they've been here all along, just as bound to the Earth as we are?

Re:Forget the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688260)

> What if we've been looking to the stars when in fact they've been here all along, just as bound to the Earth as we are?

What if no proof or evidence of their existence whatsoever comes to light? What if they are never detected, ever?

Re:Forget the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688396)

Does this mean I have to apologise to all the otherkin I've trolled?

Re:Forget the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis (5, Funny)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688460)

Oh well in that case our magic will work against them so we're fine. Magic doesn't work against extraterrestrials, that's the issue here. When dealing with aliens you can't just wave a wand or plant some beans or pull some sword out of a rock, no sir. You need to either use a gigantor gun with like twelve barrels and a 200-lb magazine that doesn't ever run out of ammo, or cybernetic implants in your body that give you superhuman strength and agility. And while we're not quite far enough on cybernetic implants and gigantor guns that non-Shaq people can even lift, magic's been around for years [lasvegas-nv.com] .

LOLZ what are you? (1, Offtopic)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688152)

Chickened of aliens? Bwak Bwak Bwak!!!

Re:LOLZ what are you? (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688374)

I second that

All attempts to send signals to aliens should involve exclusively pictures of LOLCats

Chicken Aliens? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688520)

Chicken aliens? CHICKEN aliens? We've been slaughtering chickens for eons. They are NOT going to be happy. They'll stick us in cages and harvest our embryos! "Bwak Bwak Bwak!!!" probably means, "Pass the drumstick" in chickenese.

SETI is a waste of time (1)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688158)

I think that SETI is a waste of time. It's freakin' miracle that there is life on earth, let alone intelligent life. What are the chances of finding another intelligent species?

Re:SETI is a waste of time (2, Insightful)

Free_Meson (706323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688264)

What are the chances of finding another intelligent species?
Given enough time, approximately 100%.
The impending heat death of the universe may prevent us from having enough time, however.

Re:SETI is a waste of time (1)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688356)

I think that SETI is a waste of time. It's freakin' miracle that there is life on earth, let alone intelligent life. What are the chances of finding another intelligent species?
Pretty close to zero, if you make no attempt to look.

Most notably? (2, Informative)

blincoln (592401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688168)

Saberhagen's Berserker series? Bear's The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars? What is this The Killing Star that you speak of?

No danger - (4, Funny)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688174)

by the time the signals sent out will arrive anywhere of significance, the disease "humans" will have been defeated by the planet's own immune system.

I've seen this before... (1)

had3l (814482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688198)

Does that mean that Overlord Goorg W. Moohsh from planet UrSA911c is about to announce that we have secret weapons of mass destruction?

In a related story (1)

twifosp (532320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688200)

In a related story in Caveman Weekly, Torg, The Cheif Smartguy, for clan *Grunt* asks: OOGA BOOGA Should we go outside the cave or stay inside? OOGA OOGA!

Why would aliens care? (5, Interesting)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688202)

Even if aliens are out there listening, would they really care? I mean, we've all seen Independence Day and Signs and all the other movies where they do. But, when it comes right down to it, we probably aren't special enough to matter.

Aliens powerful enough to matter would probably think of us like harmless bugs or small animals: sure, they take up some space, but they aren't worth the effort.

On the other hand, if the aliens want a hyperspace bypass and Earth is in the way, we might all be screwed. :)

Re:Why would aliens care? (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688320)

I'm not sure it would really be a good thing if the aliens looked at us that way. After all, look what *we* do to harmless insects and small animals.

Re:Why would aliens care? (2, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688442)

Or the Vogons [wikipedia.org] might care if our radio blasts are screwing up their satellite reception of the latest Pay Per View special of some poetry reading.

It all depends... (1)

JKSN17 (956518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688206)

It all depends on what are are sending in our transmissions. Starting out with a image of an bomb being detonated on a earth city (ie: WWII) , probably isn't going to be the proper, intergalatic "Hello" we are looking for. Another thought is to maybe send an explaination of all the radio and television signals that have been traveling through space all these years. Some of that has got to send the wrong message.

Paranoia? (1)

Forcepath (851955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688208)

Isn't this just the height of paranoia? Let him broadcast if he wants. It won't do any good anyways, the "aliens" still have the Prime Directive to think of.

Speaking for everyone? (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688218)

But some scientists think that Zaitsev is not only acting out of turn by independently speaking for everyone on the entire planet but believe there are possible dangers we may unleash by announcing ourselves to the unknown darkness.
"Speaking for everyone"? He has a radio, and he's using it. This is speaking for everyone? When I toss a message in a bottle of the deck of a fraighter in the middle of the Pacific and it washes up on some tropical shore, I'm speaking for "everyone"?

This idea is a stretch. Zaitsev is more or less free to "speak" to anyone he chooses.

Add it to the list (5, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688224)

Oh my god! I'll have to add it to my list, let's see...

1. Fatal accident while driving
2. Caught in fire at night while sleeping
3. Heart attack
4. Aliens attacking earth after sending out signals
5. Cancer

I had to bump "Terrorists attack Starbucks #528" off the list to make room

Hilarious (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688234)

So there are billions spend in both manhours and cold hard cash to find extraterrestrial life, unsuccessfully. Now suddendly there's a guy who thinks "hey, why passively listen. Lets actively send out some signals straight to some specific starsystems!"
And suddenly the scientific community is freaking; "OMG! Lets not do that! What if they exterminate us!"

What do those "some scientists" know more then we do?

Re:Hilarious (1)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688526)

The funny thing is that, on this subject, they *don't* know any more than we do. However, they're very good at saying "I don't know" with more words [wikipedia.org] . :)

The interesting thing about the Drake Equation is that, while most of these values are arguably observable (we have the technological knowhow to create a telescope that can see earth-sized planets), the last two would require a statistical sampling of known intelligent civilizations, which isn't something that we can get any statistical significance on until *after* other intelligent life is discovered.

Would they even look for radio (1)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688244)

IANAP (physicist) but would any species capable of crossing interstellar space actually be looking for radio waves? Isn't that like using an SR-71 to look for smoke signals and war drums?

Re:Would they even look for radio (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688408)

Are you saying that if you were walking through the wilds, you wouldn't notice smoke signals or hear war drums?

Moot, moot, moot. (1)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688256)

Whatever that particular guy says is going to be prefaced with five decades of mediocre broadcast television, and then before that a bunch of radio shows about cowboys and indians. We should worry more about what kind of impression Jack Benny will make on the aliens. I.e. is he going to convince them all to take up smoking? Mmmm mmm, Lucky Strikes, nothing breathes smoother.

hypocrisy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688258)

So we're constantly listening to the sky for others to do this to us - but we're unwilling to do it ourselves. But it's the aliens that want to conquer the universe, right?

Limited disclosure (2, Interesting)

Empiric (675968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688292)

I think we're okay as long as it's just sending scientific data that doesn't reveal much about our cultural predispositions.

"You couldn't possibly have had anything to do with Designing us" should work.

Re:Limited disclosure (1)

_Hellfire_ (170113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688530)

Here's a serious question I just thought of as a result of your post. I'd like to know from the Christians out there - should we ultimately find intelligent life somewhere out in space or visiting us; and they are decidedly *not* human but intelligent in a "Greetings Terrans..." kind of way - would this affect your belief in god? Would it make you less inclined to believe or more? If you would still believe in god, would you believe that god made our new alien visitors too? Or is god's creation limited to humans?

Answers from all sides of the spectrum welcome (fundamentalists to moderates).

of course it does (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688296)

They will come and discover that we develop lots of technology and then disable half of it ourselves with something called DRM. We would be looked at as about the level of a dog chasing its tail...

On the other hand, hopefully they would figure we are too stupid to get near them and we are in a ghetto system anyways :(

"Sorry we are unable to verify the license on your hyperdrive's software...please try again later or follow this link to purchase a new license"

Sounds just like Cheney's 1% doctrine to me... (0, Flamebait)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688308)

Taking the Bush administration's stance to it's logical conclusion, the aliens would be stupid NOT to bombard us back to the stone age. I mean, as Cheney paints it, if there's a 1% chance that we MIGHT attack them, they should pre-emptively destroy us for their own safety! We've certainly given them enough information to reach that conclusion, their intelligence on us is certainly a "slam-dunk".... Furthermore we continue to resist demands from their United Federation of Planets to disarm and to be open ourselves to ongoing weapons inspections.

Any resistance to their attacks and/or bombardment, would of course, be carried out only by the "dead-enders" and they would ofcourse be appropriately labeled "insurgents."

I for one welcome our invading/bombarding forces. Perhaps we could make a deal and install myself as "Puppet Dictator" or earth!

damage already done? (4, Funny)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688334)

We've already violated the prime directive by sending porn and rock music into space with the Voyager [wikipedia.org] and Pioneer [wikipedia.org] messages respectively. Should an advanced alien civilization find and decode the Pioneer golden record, their biggest worry would be to be sued by the RIAA for illegally downloading Johnny B. Goode.

Lem made works of art about it (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688346)

Definitive novels dealing with intergalactic contact are Stanislaw Lem's Fiasco [abebooks.com] and Eden. [abebooks.com] I cannot recommend these books highly enough as explorations of human psychology and what-could-possibly-go-wrong!

Why? (0, Troll)

BritneySP2 (870776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688360)

Right... I have been puzzled over this for some time. Why, when the Russians are coming out every kitchen sink and every toilet trying to conquer America, why would we suddenly want to announce the presence of our defenseless souls at a particular point in the spacetime to whoever is willing to listen? What if they, too, are just as evil?

What's good for the goose.... (1)

chrism238 (657741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688402)

Are other civilizations, on other planets around other stars, in any danger from us? Do their transmissions, when we eventually find them, make us wish to rise up and destroy them?

I think we can all agree... (5, Interesting)

deft (253558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688416)

I think we can all agree... that if the american indians had sent out regular "message in a bottle" type items across the ocean, describing their society, level of technology, etc, the Europeans would have been much friendlier when they arrived.

Or the europeans would have showed up alot quicker and did exactly what they did. I imagine they would have brought more guns though on that first trip.

Self fulfilled prophecy (2, Interesting)

TrixX (187353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688446)

From TOA: Brin included a more disturbing possibility: Nobody is on the air because something seeks and destroys everyone who broadcasts.

I have another alternative theory to explain why we have not received any signal: Every planet inhabited by intelligent life has considered the same possibility of the previous paragraph, so they are avoiding any kind of transmission just in case, to avoid potential detection.

Yeah, aliens want us... (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688474)

Whether there are aliens of not, the notion that somehow we are just so unique and special that they all want us and our land is silly. If 1% of UFO sightings were true alien spacecraft for example, it would be the equivalent of us sending a manned mission to mars every week. Wasteful useless and highly unlikely just from a resource standpoint. If they are out there, they could no doubt learn all they want to know about us from orbit, in fact from moon orbit. As for all the junk found that supposedly falls off spacecraft, I somehow doubt a species would build a ship capable of interplanetary flight, have it come here, and then have the bumper fall off.

Whether SETI ever gives us reals results or not, I just don't see it as being the gateway to invasion.

wasn't this covered in the movie "contact"? (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688492)

or rather, in carl sagan's "contact"?

the first visual broadcast transmissions we've sent to the stars was bloody farking hitler himself, addressing the 1936 berlin games

THAT's our announcement to the galaxy

could we have possibly done worse as a species?

we stood up, we cleared our throat, and the first utterance out of our technological mouths and we go and godwin the whole of human civilization

fark us

Fearmongering at it's best! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21688500)

There is 0 evidence that there is anything out there to fear.
There is 0 evidence that there is anything out there that cares.
There is 0 evidence that there is anything out there that could do anything about it eve if it cared.

But that isn't a reason why we can't be afraid.

And all of you who want to say "yeah but you can't PROVE that it is safe" kindly prove that the aliens we contact won't save us from a mother asteroid or some other extinction event.

You may all return to fearing each other now.

No. (4, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688582)

Space is very big and it takes lots and lots of energy and resources to build a craft--even just a weapons delivery system--to cross the vast distances between stars. It would have to actually be worth it to attack us. Our planet and Solar System contain no resources that aren't readily available and easier to obtain much closer to just about any other star system.

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