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Lamiaceae
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: But... but... Reply with quote

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427304.100-to-spot-an-alien-follow-the-pollution-trail.html


New Scientist article that suggests that maybe if we want to find alien life, we should be looking for tell tale signs such as pollution to help us pinpoint other civilisations that did not start here.

As I was reading the article I kept being reminded of this XKCD



I could come up with all manner of reasons why looking for pollution to find intelligent life is perhaps a bad idea, but as people who are perhaps more knowledgeable on this topic than myself, is there something i'm missing here?
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area51newmexico
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When surveying the 'local' planets of the solar system, I have heard that they search for traces of methane gas as an indicator to life. Because, apparently, all life farts.

minty wrote:
I could come up with all manner of reasons why looking for pollution to find intelligent life is perhaps a bad idea, but as people who are perhaps more knowledgeable on this topic than myself, is there something i'm missing here?


Perhaps they are so advanced they have invented technologies which do not populate? After all, we cannot assume aliens will be anything like us or have evolved both physically and technologically like us. The article mentions about looking for light population - something that earth has a lot where humans gather in large numbers. Maybe they can see in the dark? Maybe it's an underwater civilisation?
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

area51newmexico wrote:

When surveying the 'local' planets of the solar system, I have heard that they search for traces of methane gas as an indicator to life. Because, apparently, all life farts.


I was going to try to look clever by pointing out that trees and plants don't, but then realised that a compost heap does pretty much the same thing.

Spicy Hot Deli wrote:

Perhaps they are so advanced they have invented technologies which do not populate? After all, we cannot assume aliens will be anything like us or have evolved both physically and technologically like us. The article mentions about looking for light population - something that earth has a lot where humans gather in large numbers. Maybe they can see in the dark? Maybe it's an underwater civilisation?


My point precisely.
Ok, look by all means ( that sounds quite dodgy actually Shocked )

And you should look for as many things as possible to try to maximise your chance of success ( which the XKCD article also says ) because just sticking to specific things isn't going to really help.

But as you point out what if on another planet they had never evolved past the 'sea' stage? what if they never got as far as the amphibian stage.

Dolphins are considered intelligent, but we may never be able to contact a planet comprised mainly of dolphins.
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area51newmexico
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But as you point out what if on another planet they had never evolved past the 'sea' stage? what if they never got as far as the amphibian stage.


Think of damn dirty naga.

Nothing to stop them being space-faring sea-creatures. On earth, they is more ocean than land, possibly far more resources and opportunities down there. Perhaps there is a planet out there which is all water?

I've often wondered about technological evolution. What if aliens visited earth 1000 (or even 100) years ago, they might have buggered off home because they thought us primitive without space flight. Of course, we were still intelligent beings, just not that advanced yet.

I've also often wondered about how the sheer distances in space would effect discovery. If we were able to 'view' another planet light years away, we would probably be looking back into their distant past! It would not show what the creatures are like now. A bit like them looking at us a assuming we look like dinosaurs.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

area51newmexico wrote:

Nothing to stop them being space-faring sea-creatures. On earth, they is more ocean than land, possibly far more resources and opportunities down there. Perhaps there is a planet out there which is all water?


The film The Abyss they had aliens living in water, and their craft iirc were flooded with water because, well that's what they breathed.


Hells Bells wrote:

I've often wondered about technological evolution. What if aliens visited earth 1000 (or even 100) years ago, they might have buggered off home because they thought us primitive without space flight. Of course, we were still intelligent beings, just not that advanced yet.


Star Trek's Prime Directive for example
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Directive

If they visited with the intention of finding spaceflight and being disappointed at there not being any, who has made the bigger mistake?
Us, for not discovering it sooner, or them ?

I know this wasn't the point you were making, i've just gone off on a tangent after agreeing with what you did say Smile

Helly wrote:

I've also often wondered about how the sheer distances in space would effect discovery. If we were able to 'view' another planet light years away, we would probably be looking back into their distant past! It would not show what the creatures are like now. A bit like them looking at us a assuming we look like dinosaurs.


I would agree also with this

But dinosaurs are life nonetheless. The search for life at the moment, is that... life. Finding plant life would be a monumental find. Finding 'intelligent' life afterwards would only be the next natural step to take.
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