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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:08 pm 
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How about a simple navigational error brings them here? "I knew I should have made a left at Alpha Centauri!"

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Or they're the alien equivalent of SJWs, here to wave protest signals and get in the way of the Govon Constructor Fleet, arriving to demolish the Earth to prepare for a hyperspace bypass.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:36 pm 
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ByronC wrote:
I'll grant you an FTL drive where 'blown off course' makes sense, but you're still making some really implausible assumptions about both the relevant biochemistry and everyone's knowledge of it. Not only do they have to know that they can eat our plants and animals and that they won't all be felled by a disease that human science hasn't paid any attention to because it only infects mosquitoes on Earth, but we have to be satisfied that their equivalent of the common cold isn't going to kill us all. Planetary protection is a serious thing, even if it's often something people laugh at. Merchant ships do not carry research xenobiology teams, either. So no.


It seems to me that if they have a drive where being 'blown off course' make sense, then the ship's owners/insurers/regulators might well require it to have some kind of 'xenobiology-in-a-box' gadget, and a crewmember trained in it's use, even if at only a basic level.

If you know you're going to get lost from time to time, then you take precautions.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:52 pm 
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David Newton wrote:
Also silicon-based lifeforms don't appear to work. Silicon simply doesn't have the required diversity of chemistries for it actually to occur. It can't concatenate in long chains because if that happens the results spontaneously explode.

What about the ammonia-instead-of-water theory?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:52 pm 
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Theodore wrote:
How about a simple navigational error brings them here? "I knew I should have made a left at Alpha Centauri!"


Image

If I remember correctly, Andy's Gas & Go is located on I-84 just north of Caldwell, Idaho.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:13 pm 
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"Griblark, dammit, I TOLD you you came out of lightspeed to close to the system!...."
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:37 pm 
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Pure silane-based chemistry is unstable in water/oxygen environment, but siloxanes, which have carbon-based groups on silicon / oxygen backbone do well. In fact, the stuff makes great glue, gaskets etc.

Silica "is found in single cell organisms (e.g. radiolarian, diatoms, dinoflagellates and algae) through molluscs (e.g. limpets) to higher plants and primitive animals such as sponges. It is formed from an environment that is undersaturated with respect to Si and under conditions of around neutral pH and low temperature, c. 4–40°C. The mineral can be formed both intra‐ or extracellularly and specific biochemicals involved with mineral deposition include lipids, proteins (including heavily posttranslationally modified proteins), long‐change polyamines and carbohydrates."

There's many weird extremophiles with bizarre chemistry, common metals replaced by uncommon. Also, 'legacy beasties' such as the arachnoid 'Horseshoe Crab' have blue, copper-based blood. How such came to be is a head-scratcher...

FTL ? Tricky. If 'Einstein' is an adequate approximation, then the 'Alcubierre warp drive' seems the only practicable option. "It's not the best way to travel FTL, it's the only way..." How such would handle spacial upsets like interstellar mascons or the shock-waves from CMEs, novae etc is arguable. Um, like several ships in the Pacific that ran into a raft of floating pumice which fouled their intakes, some-times you must find a harbour, strip and flush the systems...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:49 pm 
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ByronC wrote:
The Bushranger wrote:
Or they might simply be biologically different enough that 'cross-contamination' isn't an issue. Using 'alternative building blocks' (silicon, ammonia, etc.), things like that.

Totally true. But it also means that they won't be stopping by to pick up food.

No, but they may still need to deal with bulkhead fever.

ByronC wrote:
Johnnie Lyle wrote:
Byron is quite right, that most responsible spacefaring races would not cavalierly contact us on a lark. If their militaries or researchers do in an official, open setting, it'll be closely managed before we become the galaxy's Olongapo. On the other hand, I don't consider an intergalactic Harry Mudd or Cyrano Jones to be implausible. If there's money to be made in touching Earth, some damn fool will do it.

This, I'm not so sure about. We have some idea how effective SETI should be, and how detectable we are. If we assume that responsibility has some tenuous links with technological advancement (I'm not saying that everyone in society is responsible or that "responsible" is the same as "liberal values", just that building orbital rockets in Somalia seems pretty difficult), then it's hard to see how the officials will ignore or miss us until some criminal/shady operator shows up. If nothing else, I'd expect that the University of Gliese 528's Xenoanthropology department will want to have a word with us. Who knows? Maybe they're hiding all the Dyson spheres from us as part of an experiment. (Yes, I know there are problems with that.)

If we're interesting enough to study, we're interesting enough to exploit. Especially if our interstellar visitors view us the way we view animals.

Arguably, the existence of an interstellar Prime Directive tilts the balance toward less scrupulous types being our first contact with interstellar life. If we're ringfenced as primatives not to be disturbed (or somebody sufficiently dangerous to not be messed with), or under cloaked observation, then it's quite likely they don't want us messed with until we're thought ready. That will keep most of the scrupulous peoples out. However, we have ample examples in human history of people who don't care about disturbing less developed civilizations, or who have no problems doing things like smuggling exotic animals for pets. I see no reason why an alien civilization would not have a similar diversity of opinion, unless it was a hive mind sort.

As such, that might be the only method for contact to happen until "we're thought ready."

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:55 pm 
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Johnnie Lyle wrote:
ByronC wrote:
The Bushranger wrote:
Or they might simply be biologically different enough that 'cross-contamination' isn't an issue. Using 'alternative building blocks' (silicon, ammonia, etc.), things like that.

Totally true. But it also means that they won't be stopping by to pick up food.

No, but they may still need to deal with bulkhead fever.

ByronC wrote:
Johnnie Lyle wrote:
Byron is quite right, that most responsible spacefaring races would not cavalierly contact us on a lark. If their militaries or researchers do in an official, open setting, it'll be closely managed before we become the galaxy's Olongapo. On the other hand, I don't consider an intergalactic Harry Mudd or Cyrano Jones to be implausible. If there's money to be made in touching Earth, some damn fool will do it.

This, I'm not so sure about. We have some idea how effective SETI should be, and how detectable we are. If we assume that responsibility has some tenuous links with technological advancement (I'm not saying that everyone in society is responsible or that "responsible" is the same as "liberal values", just that building orbital rockets in Somalia seems pretty difficult), then it's hard to see how the officials will ignore or miss us until some criminal/shady operator shows up. If nothing else, I'd expect that the University of Gliese 528's Xenoanthropology department will want to have a word with us. Who knows? Maybe they're hiding all the Dyson spheres from us as part of an experiment. (Yes, I know there are problems with that.)

If we're interesting enough to study, we're interesting enough to exploit. Especially if our interstellar visitors view us the way we view animals.

Arguably, the existence of an interstellar Prime Directive tilts the balance toward less scrupulous types being our first contact with interstellar life. If we're ringfenced as primatives not to be disturbed (or somebody sufficiently dangerous to not be messed with), or under cloaked observation, then it's quite likely they don't want us messed with until we're thought ready. That will keep most of the scrupulous peoples out. However, we have ample examples in human history of people who don't care about disturbing less developed civilizations, or who have no problems doing things like smuggling exotic animals for pets. I see no reason why an alien civilization would not have a similar diversity of opinion, unless it was a hive mind sort.

As such, that might be the only method for contact to happen until "we're thought ready."


Annnnd... just to throw some gas on the blaze , a map of UFO sightings!! :mrgreen:

https://www.indy100.com/article/ufo-ali ... sa-8051731

The numbers as crunched by Kaggle, also show that the majority of sightings take place on a Saturday, and the most common time of day is 9-11pm.

It also shows that July-January is UFO spotting season in the United States.

The data also reveals that more and more have been reported since 2009 - perhaps suggesting a new interstellar bypass has been built that brings alien aircraft closer to Earth.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:22 am 
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On the accidental/unofficial contact issue:
I don't think this is likely, but it's also not completely implausible. But at the same time, I don't expect either type to occur to a planet entirely outside their area of knowledge. Space travel is hard, and I expect either the government or maybe some sort of quasialtruistic group to be the ones doing the initial survey work. Yes, I know about people going exploring hoping to find gold. Space resources make that unlikely, unless maybe they're looking for habitable planets.
So if we're in the sort of place regular groups are likely to end up lost, the big question is why they don't know about us already. I'd presume they'd at least look for planets that might turn into threats down the road. Maybe Earth was miscategorized due to a paperwork error a couple millennia ago or something. Or maybe their FTL is just really topologically weird. (Insert handwaving.)
If they know about us and are hiding from us for some reason, then we start to get to the really interesting bit. I'm not sure that the study/exploit principle holds that well, mostly because interstellar travel is likely to be really expensive. But who knows what some rich collector wants, and is willing to pay an artifact retrieval specialist for. And if something goes wrong there...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:59 am 
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Saturday night ? More likely 'In Ale' than 'Alien'...
;)
Except, of course for some witnesses who seemed 'responsible' and sufficiently sober...

FWIW, I've a book some-where on my shelves titled 'Electric UFOs' where the author, Albert Budden, convincingly matches most 'encounter' and 'abduction' reports to electromagnetic effects causing 'time-outs' and vivid hallucinations. Think 'Road Hypnosis' with pop-corn...

As for strange shapes in the sky...
IIRC, the 'Area 5X' watchers estimate there are 2~3 'Probable' stealthy projects, a quorum of 'Possibles' and some 'Truly Deep Blacks' that may only be known from hindsight...

Um, found that book, also Budden's companion volume, 'Psychic Close Encounters', with similar hypothesis. Given what medics can do with 'Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation', and allowing for usual wide range of response sensitivities, the notion isn't as outlandish as first appeared....

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:18 am 
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"Maybe Earth was miscategorized due to a paperwork error a couple millennia ago or something."

We've gone from pointy sticks to Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2, the 'New Horizons' Pluto-flyby, basic quantum computers and, yes, a lot of nukes...

To quote 'Hitchhikers', Ford Prefect was going to revise Earth's status from 'Harmless' to 'Mostly Harmless'...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:22 am 
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Nik_SpeakerToCats wrote:
"Maybe Earth was miscategorized due to a paperwork error a couple millennia ago or something."

We've gone from pointy sticks to Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2, the 'New Horizons' Pluto-flyby, basic quantum computers and, yes, a lot of nukes...

To quote 'Hitchhikers', Ford Prefect was going to revise Earth's status from 'Harmless' to 'Mostly Harmless'...



Point of order - Ford Prefect had written a quite extensive article on earth, but the editors cut it down. The revision ended up going from "Harmless" to "Mostly harmless".

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:11 am 
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Nik_SpeakerToCats wrote:
"Maybe Earth was miscategorized due to a paperwork error a couple millennia ago or something."

We've gone from pointy sticks to Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2, the 'New Horizons' Pluto-flyby, basic quantum computers and, yes, a lot of nukes...

To quote 'Hitchhikers', Ford Prefect was going to revise Earth's status from 'Harmless' to 'Mostly Harmless'...

That's not quite what I meant. Unless our technology developed anomalously quickly, they'd start watching anywhere that has signs of intelligence to make sure they were on top of it and could take appropriate action. This is possible, granted, but I'm trying to give them more credit.
Say there was a filing error, and Earth got classified as 'no intelligent life, biosphere type XQW-17', which means that nobody's going to bother visiting. After all, there's no intelligence and the biosphere is pretty uninteresting. Until one day when an eager PhD student shows up, and gets a rather rude surprise...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Nik_SpeakerToCats wrote:
"Maybe Earth was miscategorized due to a paperwork error a couple millennia ago or something."

We've gone from pointy sticks to Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2, the 'New Horizons' Pluto-flyby, basic quantum computers and, yes, a lot of nukes...

To quote 'Hitchhikers', Ford Prefect was going to revise Earth's status from 'Harmless' to 'Mostly Harmless'...



That's what Londo said, more or less... :P


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:22 pm 
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Another possible 'oops', perhaps the 'elephant in the room', is Earth's large Moon.

Based on findings else-where, there'd be a super-Earth or gas-giant in our orbit with a tidally-stirred, habitable mega-moon. Easy to spot by its Optical Doppler recoil on the Sun. So, no such recoil, no chance of a habitable moon there-in. You'd only come here if you were really, really desperate for a lay-over...

Surprise !!
We're the other way around, with the Moon stirring the Earth...

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