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Avi Loeb and the quest for ETs


DDE
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So here I was checking up on what mud the infowarriors at RT are raking today when a headline caught my eye. The article within proved so infuriating that I've decided to create a thread.

The arrogant mentality that saw Galileo derided still exists today, claims Harvard professor who wants to prove aliens exist

OK, right out of the gate we're getting a Galileo Gambit. A literal Galileo Gambit.

Spoiler

screenshot_20190711-205503_gallery-jpg.2

Funny thing is, I also knew right then and there who the "Harvard Professor" is going to be, and I was right.

Avi Loeb does have a controversial area to his career as an astrophysics superstar. Anyone remember Project Starshot? That affordable interstellar probe program, if only we had huge laser cannons in space? He seems to have been involved in it.

At the very least, this explains why, when he saw the puzzling data about ʻOumuamua, he became dead-set that it's a discarded alien lightsail. Since then he seems to have been on a PR blitzkrieg related to SETI. I first heard of him from r/space, who were very irked: about a week prior he had a Reddit AMA where his justification for excluding every other explanation of ʻOumuamua's anomalous behavior amounted to "I'm a Harvard professor", and where a few of the more persistent doubters were banned. Apparently this radical damage control caused a brouhaha among the mods of r/AskScience.

This guy seems to have massive clout, and he's now out there selling what smells like snake oil. This is continuing the pattern of alien/UAP hype of the last few years. I'm not sure what the heck is going on, but it does not seem good.

So, let's discuss.

Link to article proper: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/531251-avi-loeb-ufo-galileo/

Full text below.

Quote

A new initiative aims to finally find out if we really are alone by investigating UFO sightings. Some think it’s a waste of time but what if the mainstream dismissal of aliens has blocked astronomers from pursuing their theories?
 Galileo Galilei was locked up after the Roman Inquisition found him guilty of heresy. That was 1633, but Professor Avi Loeb of Harvard University is going through his own tribulations. The eminent scholar is viewed by some as controversial, which sparked an outpouring against his new initiative to finally answer the question, ‘are we alone?’ It is called the Galileo Project, and aims to provide data and evidence about what is flying above us. No more fighter jet cockpit cameras, vague eyewitness testimony, or reports from a hacker who infiltrated the CIA’s network. 

The idea is simple: obtain good quality images and study them, but many of Loeb’s peers have already shot him down in flames. He admitted: “The reason I am doing what I’m doing is not because I enjoy the pain of the wounds inflicted on me on Twitter, that’s not a very pleasant experience.

“The only reason I’m willing to go through it is because I think it’s an extremely important question for the future of humanity. That’s probably the most important scientific question you can ask. It’s not about me, we should be open, rather than assume we know the answer in advance, that’s what Galileo taught us.” 

Even though the Galileo Project was only launched last week, it has already attracted the attention of amateur astronomers, as thousands have landed emails in Loeb’s inbox. The venture was partly in response to the US government’s June 2020 Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) report, which offered more questions than answers.

“You expect the scientific community to be blue sky, open minded, but the government seems to be more open minded in declaring that and the scientific community ridicules it out of a habit. There is this tendency of staying conservative and not dealing with it, which I think is inappropriate,” Loeb said.  

Oddly, Loeb didn’t plan to start the Galileo Project, the interest stemmed from his book, ‘Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth’, about the unexplained object glimpsed from a Hawaiian observatory in 2017. Arriving at his office recently, he was informed a new research fund had been created in his name. Loeb said: “Soon after I had a multi-billionaire on the porch of my home with questions about my book.” 

The next morning, the fund had $1.75 million from two mystery donors. Loeb added, “That never happens in academia, you have to understand that. A lot of people seek funding and work very hard to get funding and most often don’t get funded, but here I didn’t engage in any fundraising.” The cash allowed him to follow his instinct and recruit a team of 50 scientists. 

It will also enable him to buy telescopes, cameras and computer systems. 

The Galileo Project is going after two types of targets, and the first is UAPs. Loeb explained: “Astronomers usually look at distant objects so if a bird flies above the telescope, it’s ignored. We will pay attention to that bird and make sure it’s a bird, and not something else. We’ll be looking at the sky but not focusing on the usual suspects that astronomers are looking at far away, we’re looking at nearby objects. It’s a fishing expedition, you throw the hook and you don’t know what kind of fish you will find, and then you get as much data as possible.” 

The other is interstellar objects from outside our solar system. Loeb continued: “I’m not after recruiting thousands of people with their cell phones looking at the sky, we want a large telescope more than 10cm in size or up to a metre, that’s 1,000 times the aperture of a cell phone. We want to read off the label if it’s Made in Country X versus Made on Planet Y.” 

The US government report confirmed to Loeb the gaping lacuna in the status quo. The wrong people are investigating matters, he believes. “That report was an admission of failure of these intelligence agencies as that is their job, they are paid to figure out what flies in the sky,” he said. “I realised that this subject should not be limited to the talking points of politicians or military personnel, it should be in the realm of science because you would never ask a plumber to bake you a cake.”

That’s not to say that The White House doesn’t have some fascinating information, but it doesn’t share it with academics because of the well-worn reason of national security.

Loeb said: “The data the government has was gathered by classified sensors, they are sensors monitoring the sky and the US government prefers its adversaries not to know what sensors it is using. It cannot release the data for that reason, not because all of the data is classified. 

“Frankly, I’m not interested in that data, I want to collect my own data. I behave like that kid that is told by adults this is the truth, often they don’t pay attention, the kids want to find it by himself or herself by checking it out. Science is an extension of our childhood curiosity and about reproducible evidence.” 

The Galileo Project should swing into action in 12 months. What members of the public may be surprised to discover is that Loeb is not actually expecting to see aliens, he is looking for their equipment. That for him will be enough to prove there is a more advanced species than us in the universe. 

Loeb said: “We live in the 21st century, not in the Dark Ages, and we know that if we have the instruments that can collect the evidence we need, we should just go ahead and do it, rather than argue forever philosophically whether it makes sense or not, or ridicule it. The right approach is this is an intriguing question because it could indicate there is a smarter kid on the block, we should consider that possibility.” 

There is a valid reason why Loeb anticipates only seeing machinery. “Biological creatures were not selected by Darwinian evolution to survive in space, it takes light which travels at the fastest speed, four years to reach us from the nearest star,” he said.  

“If you imagine chemical rockets that we use to cross the galaxy, it would take them 100 million years. No biological creature can survive that long even if you have multiple generations because of the impact of cosmic rays, but there is no need to send them, you can send artificial intelligent systems.” 

And expanding on his theory, it truly does become hard to visualise. Loeb said: “If there was a civilisation, more advanced than we are, that sent self-replicating AI systems, that are connected to 3D printers that can make more of the same as they get to other places, you could easily full up the Milky Way galaxy with such probes within a billion years, and most of the stars in the universe formed billions of years before the Sun. If you just imagine another star that predated us, that’s enough to fill up the galaxy with probes.” 

Once the cameras and computers are calibrated, Loeb will place them in different parts of the world. Mountaintops are a likely spot but if he can reach $10 million in funding, then he will have over 100 sets of equipment to deploy in a variety of locations. He said: “Then we will have a high likelihood of resolving this question of what UAPs are all about. If it turns out to be some atmospheric phenomena that we’ve never anticipated, so be it. We will just report back and clear up the fog.” 

Underlining how tough it may be is the fact that NASA has already snubbed Loeb. But with his status as a professor at the world’s most prestigious university, he is hoping to inspire others to push the boundaries. He said: “Around the same time (of the US government report) the head of NASA Bill Nelson said scientists should look into that, I was very happy to hear that so I approached people under him and said ‘here I am, to serve and make your boss happy’. Nobody got back to me. 

“This subject appeals to the public, it’s an opportunity if it were to be brought to the mainstream of science to attract more funding to science, and to attract talent into science, young people that will become scientists because it’s exciting.” 

The example of Galileo is inescapable. Loeb is staking a lot on his theory and generations to come could look back at him as we now do at the famed Italian astronomer. Who else is leading an educated surge to countenance that we may not be the shot callers that we think we are? 

Loeb said: “I don’t think we’re special or unique and the reason I say that is whenever we’ve pretended we’re really special, it ended up being wrong. We thought we were the centre of the universe, that’s wrong and that’s what Galileo showed by looking through his telescope. 

“The philosophers at the time said, ‘we know the Sun moves around the Earth and you’re claiming the Earth moves around the Sun, therefore, we will not look through our telescope because we know the truth’. 

“They put him in house arrest, today he would have been cancelled on social media. Reality doesn’t care what we say, we can pretend there are no neighbours and there is no smarter kid on the block by not looking through our windows and closing the curtains, that won’t get rid of that smarter kid.  

“The point is not to repeat again the mistakes made during the days of Galileo.” 

 

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IIRC, Avi Loeb is the guy who said "we are probably not the sharpest cookies in the jar" in regards to human intelligence in comparison to the rest of the universe.

Sharpening cookies... furthermore, he has repeated this metaphor multiple times.

Nuff' said?

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So - really smart people are not immune to losing it. 

The problem with being a Harvard Professor and losing your mind is that you have a platform. 

Does not mean he's correct in his assertion - but he can sure as heck muddy the waters 

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9 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

IIRC, Avi Loeb is the guy who said "we are probably not the sharpest cookies in the jar" in regards to human intelligence in comparison to the rest of the universe.

Sharpening cookies... furthermore, he has repeated this metaphor multiple times.

Nuff' said?

That's a pretty standard, deliberate, humorous mixing of metaphors.

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12 hours ago, DDE said:

when he saw the puzzling data about ʻOumuamua, he became dead-set that it's a discarded alien lightsail.

How could it be a lightsail, when it's a twin of the spear-like probe from Aniara which they were catching to scratch out the fuel?

Spoiler

8Qqmn.png101019_mt_borisov_feat-1028x579.jpg

They probably loose such things from time to time, and they are passing through the Solar System at hyperbolic speed.

 

Quote

You expect the scientific community to be blue sky, open minded,

The Pratchett's Unseen University is a documentary.

Edited by kerbiloid
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1 hour ago, tomf said:

That's a pretty standard, deliberate, humorous mixing of metaphors.

Out of curiosity, is such humor generally common in serious scientific papers/research, particularly ones that challenge old beliefs or present bold new ideas?

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56 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Out of curiosity, is such humor generally common in serious scientific papers/research, particularly ones that challenge old beliefs or present bold new ideas?

To be fair, the text under discussion is a popsci author writing for RT.

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"An administrative assistant informed Loeb, a professor of science at Harvard, that he was getting some new research money. And shortly after, a billionaire paid Loeb a visit on the front porch of his home to ask him about aliens"

(NBC) https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/top-harvard-astronomer-studying-ufos-thanks-part-pentagon-report-n1276218

"... the relatively modest $1.755 million he’s starting with comes from private sources," 

 

 

... So - perhaps not good science, but certainly well reasoned self interest and good 'public relations' (in the form of pandering to your donor and the uninformed) 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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It's a shame to say, but still can't get, what that all is about briefly?

Some professor, fond of ET, wants to establish a volunteer sky guard with low-end professional telescopes to watch if some interstellar objects (afaik, we know just one or two to the moment) are actually derelict craft or invasion fleet to seed another life by using our (or delivered) 3d printers, and some secret billionaire send him money?
What's criminal if he got money?

What's the intrigue?

P.S.
The idiom of "sharp cookie" I understood, they are as smart as the  browser.

Edited by kerbiloid
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21 hours ago, DDE said:

To be fair, the text under discussion is a popsci author writing for RT.

I recognize the subject of this particular discussion is quite untrustworthy and not to be taken seriously. I should have clarified, I was wondering if this behavior is seen elsewhere at all in the big wide world of science, whether at the serious and trustworthy end or the kooky and unreliable end.

I ask because tomf's post stated that such a mixed-metaphor (sharp cookies) is actually normal in English, but I was curious whether it was common among in the world of science or not, as even if such mixing of metaphors is acceptable in "casual" English, it does not seem like something a serious/sane scientist would use when releasing a paper or report. Use of such ridiculous language invites unnecessary ridicule, which is something one who wants to be taken seriously and not be "treated like Galileo" should avoid.

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12 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

I ask because tomf's post stated that such a mixed-metaphor (sharp cookies) is actually normal in English,

My understanding is that (for complicated linguistic reasons) English is uniquely well-suited to wordplay. Also, almost every native English-speaker is required to study Shakespeare as "serious literature", and he engages in almost constant wordplay. So, I think there are structural and cultural reasons why it's considered valid (even encouraged) for intellectuals to engage in it.

Short Answer: Blame Shakespeare for being a cunning linguist with a mastery of his tongue.

12 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

it does not seem like something a serious/sane scientist would use when releasing a paper or report.

https://www.curioustaxonomy.net/puns/puns.html

---

Back to the original topic: Even if the primary aim might not be taken very seriously, with proper data collection, we might get some great secondary science out of this initiative. It could be a fantastic opportunity.

I just started listening to an interview with Avi Loeb and he doesn't sound particularly crazy. The same channel has interviewed Stephen Wolfram multiple times regarding the "Wolfram Physics Project", and he sounds flarping bonkers. I get the impression his research assistants are using his project (and $) as an excuse to play with interesting ideas in computer science.

Interview here (fantastic channel--John always asks some very sharp and insightful questions):

Spoiler

 

As to Loeb's money sources? Fleecing wealthy crackpots has been a tradition probably since before recorded history. I just like to think of it as "alternative taxation."

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2 hours ago, FleshJeb said:

engages in almost constant wordplay. So, I think there are structural and cultural reasons why it's considered valid (even encouraged) for intellectuals to engage in it.

And @SunlitZelkova-after reading your exchange, I discovered that researching the particularity of language is really difficult on the internet (so much chaff and failure of the search engine to understand what you are looking for)... I started out trying to discover if English really is peculiar in the wordplay compared to other languages - and I'm not certain that it is.  However, being that it is a polyglot of different source tongues and their rules and uses, there is certainly plenty of opportunity to do so.

Along the way I discovered this article which you may enjoy!  https://www.google.com/amp/s/aeon.co/amp/essays/why-is-english-so-weirdly-different-from-other-languages

 

Edit also thjs:  What may be side-splitting in one culture can be far from funny or even offensive in another. For example, in China making fun of oneself is not considered to be funny at all

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.unitedlanguagegroup.com/blog/lostintranslation/why-humor-does-not-translate%3fhs_amp=true

So... What is funny in Chinese, I wonder - like what is Chinese Stand Up? 

Non-sequitur ended. 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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Apologies for wall of text, I've been bottling this up for too long...

On 8/8/2021 at 4:46 PM, DDE said:

Avi Loeb does have a controversial area to his career as an astrophysics superstar. Anyone remember Project Starshot? That affordable interstellar probe program, if only we had huge laser cannons in space? He seems to have been involved in it.

I go back and forth on Dr. Loeb. When he started his ʻOumuamua speculation tour, it was somewhat refreshing to hear aliens discussed by someone who knows how hard it would be to travel interstellar distances, and that what we're most likely to see is a broken down ultra-ancient relic rather than saucers full of little green men. I found him a nice counterbalance to the UFOlogers who pounce on every rumor to support their pet theories. I thought he might redirect some of that energy and enthusiasm into actual science rather than an anti-scientific cult.

Now suddenly he's talking seriously about looking for aliens in Earth's atmosphere! Which, before that cool $1.75 mil donation came in, he seemed to understand was populated with birds, planes, and clouds. Rather than injecting some credible sense into the topic, it seems like he's switched sides to defending baseless speculation.

On 8/8/2021 at 4:46 PM, DDE said:

So, let's discuss.

We have military and other organizations running a huge number of cameras all over the Earth all the time, collecting images which then go through various sorts of analysis and categorization.

This effort has not yielded: Some pictures of nothing, some pictures of planes, some clear crisp pictures of alien craft, and some ambiguous blurry blobs somewhere in between.
What we have instead is: Some pictures of nothing, some pictures of planes, and some ambiguous blurry blobs.

It's clear that the images that so enthrall UAP enthusiasts are the outliers; any widely used sensing system is going to produce a distribution of low- to high-quality images, most of which are quickly and easily identified. The worst ones get sent to the UAP study group (whatever it was called), which then attempts to investigate them and has to issue a formal report stating that, yup, we can't prove what this is (because it's a picture of a blurry blob, and there's no way to go back in time and get more information about that specific encounter).

Which brings us back to the illustrious Dr. L. I'll try to trim the rhetorical distractions.

Quote

A new initiative aims to finally find out if we really are alone by investigating UFO sightings. It is called the Galileo Project, and aims to provide data and evidence about what is flying above us. No more fighter jet cockpit cameras, vague eyewitness testimony, or reports from a hacker who infiltrated the CIA’s network. 

The idea is simple: obtain good quality images and study them

So he aims to create a brand new sensing system to watch the sky. Fine. But when his team (or more likely, their AI) starts combing through their petabytes of images and classifying them according to what's in them, there will still be outliers! It is inevitable that at least a few of the Galileo Project's images will be blurry, some will be hard to make out, etc. And it will still be just as impossible as it is now to travel back in time to get more data. You can't just declare you will "obtain good quality images" and pretend that every image you capture will be good quality! How would you ensure you never produce poor quality images (keeping in mind that the military, which has an astronomically larger budget and would definitely like to know what it's looking at, can't do that to 100% consistency)? If your project does produce some poor quality images, how will you identify what's in them?

Quote

The venture was partly in response to the US government’s June 2020 Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) report, which offered more questions than answers.

The Galileo Project is going after two types of targets, and the first is UAPs. Loeb explained: “Astronomers usually look at distant objects so if a bird flies above the telescope, it’s ignored. We will pay attention to that bird and make sure it’s a bird, and not something else. We’ll be looking at the sky but not focusing on the usual suspects that astronomers are looking at far away, we’re looking at nearby objects. It’s a fishing expedition, you throw the hook and you don’t know what kind of fish you will find, and then you get as much data as possible.” 

The US government report confirmed to Loeb the gaping lacuna in the status quo. The wrong people are investigating matters, he believes. “That report was an admission of failure of these intelligence agencies as that is their job, they are paid to figure out what flies in the sky,” he said.

Loeb said: “The data the government has was gathered by classified sensors, they are sensors monitoring the sky and the US government prefers its adversaries not to know what sensors it is using. It cannot release the data for that reason, not because all of the data is classified. 

“Frankly, I’m not interested in that data, I want to collect my own data.

Apparently we just have to take his word for it that his data will be better than their data. Somehow.

This is not a minor point. The core question that he's claiming to want to answer is what some well-known ambiguous images tell us about the world. And the obvious question, "How will your efforts be any different?" isn't even asked.

Quote

“Then we will have a high likelihood of resolving this question of what UAPs are all about. If it turns out to be some atmospheric phenomena that we’ve never anticipated, so be it. We will just report back and clear up the fog.” 

No, such a declaration will not make any already-existing blurry blob images any less blurry or blobby. Each of them will continue to remain "unidentified", because the poor image quality makes it impossible to identify them with certainty. Someone will tell a UFOloger, "Well, Dr. Loeb's team said these are probably <atmospheric phenomena X>," and the response will be, "But Dr. Loeb's team never examined these images! These are completely different!" And so on and on.

I somewhat expect that the main outcome of the Galileo Project will be Dr. Loeb giving interviews on Youtube, podcasts, radio, and TV about the Galileo Project's latest collection blurry blob images and speculating about what they might be. At that point his transformation will be complete.

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1 hour ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

I started out trying to discover if English really is peculiar in the wordplay compared to other languages

I took a look into it, and I rescind my earlier assertion--It's just something I've heard a couple of times, but it may very well be the product of unconscious bias or chauvinism.

1 hour ago, HebaruSan said:

Now suddenly he's talking seriously about looking for aliens in Earth's atmosphere!

Yeah, that's not going to be a productive avenue of inquiry.

Their bit on looking in LEO is also bunk. IIRC we have every object down to about 1cm^2 fairly-well cataloged out to HEO.

Techno-signatures farther out in the solar system may be worth looking for, but even that's going to be moot within a couple hundred years as our descendants expand and explore more with increasingly sophisticated tools. That's just inevitable and doesn't require some "hurry up" initiative.

I checked out the Galileo Project project website, and this is almost certainly a grift.

(If there's one enduring epiphany I had from reading Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, it's that the best salespeople CAN'T believe in what they're selling, no matter how good it is--The "meta" of sales requires a certain cynicism [Edit: and the ability to understand the structure of something from the outside] that is mutually exclusive with being a True Believer. Edit: In the book, the protagonist was selling Buddhism to further his own ends.)

My experience with meeting some of the "alternative health" crowd is that the people at the top may have a certain amount of belief, but they're very, VERY conscious of where there's money to be made.

Edited by FleshJeb
forgot some things
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1 hour ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

And @SunlitZelkova-after reading your exchange, I discovered that researching the particularity of language is really difficult on the internet (so much chaff and failure of the search engine to understand what you are looking for)... I started out trying to discover if English really is peculiar in the wordplay compared to other languages - and I'm not certain that it is.  However, being that it is a polyglot of different source tongues and their rules and uses, there is certainly plenty of opportunity to do so.

Along the way I discovered this article which you may enjoy!  https://www.google.com/amp/s/aeon.co/amp/essays/why-is-english-so-weirdly-different-from-other-languages

 

Edit also thjs:  What may be side-splitting in one culture can be far from funny or even offensive in another. For example, in China making fun of oneself is not considered to be funny at all

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.unitedlanguagegroup.com/blog/lostintranslation/why-humor-does-not-translate%3fhs_amp=true

So... What is funny in Chinese, I wonder - like what is Chinese Stand Up? 

Non-sequitur ended. 

Not to drag this out too long, but I can confirm that humor does not translate as someone who understands two languages and thus can "recognize" both "humors" (that said, while I recognize the reasons English-language humor "is funny", I simply personally don't find it very funny myself and prefer Japanese comedy).

A real life example of this can be found in the James May in Japan series on Amazon. He goes to a comedy club in Japan and does some pretty basic English-language jokes with a translator and the room was silent (during the preceding Japanese act, the audience was obviously a riot). Afterwards he explained his belief that comedy doesn't translate by telling the viewers a joke in Japanese with an English subtitle below. Now I found it funny- it was a pun- but for someone who does not know Japanese, just reading the translation it makes no sense, and I was able to understand how the English translation was "not funny" within the context of English-language comedy, as I understand English too.

2 hours ago, FleshJeb said:

My understanding is that (for complicated linguistic reasons) English is uniquely well-suited to wordplay. Also, almost every native English-speaker is required to study Shakespeare as "serious literature", and he engages in almost constant wordplay. So, I think there are structural and cultural reasons why it's considered valid (even encouraged) for intellectuals to engage in it.

I have not read any Japanese language science papers but I cannot imagine someone using humorous metaphors or puns in a research paper. They just would not be taken seriously and it would in fact be an embarrassment for them. I may be wrong so if someone is aware this is incorrect, please correct me.

That might actually be ok for "standard" science, but if one is going to do something like claim that an interstellar object is a remnant of an extraterrestrial spacecraft, one must be serious about it, and should not be casual in any way. Otherwise the supposed "Galileo treatment" will likely be brought upon one's self, and not because of the subject of their research.

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The sky is good, but what if they are already here?

In addition to the sky guard they should have a city patrol with face recognition system, searching for minor anatomic mismatches.

Spoiler

qWigLxdUzjXa6hmKdQGGuY.jpg

and especially in the night clubs

Spoiler

giphy.gif?resize=480,270&ssl=1

 

Also the home guard.

Spoiler

paranormal-activity-fan-2.gifparanormal-activity-4-animated.gif?resiz

 

All smartphones and notebooks should be connected into the Earth Guard Network by a special application.

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8 hours ago, FleshJeb said:

The same channel has interviewed Stephen Wolfram multiple times regarding the "Wolfram Physics Project", and he sounds flarping bonkers. I get the impression his research assistants are using his project (and $) as an excuse to play with interesting ideas in computer science.

Amusingly, it has relevance to the linguisric branch-off in this thread. The project does sound a bit mad, but, to an external observer, probably so does all of maths.

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I feel at this point I have to throw in my opinion.

 

When it comes to aliens and UAP/UFO, I have always been 'apprehensive'. Let me try to quickly explain. The math clearly supports the existence of aliens, less so that they are here now. But a couple of things on the subject bother me. One thing is why whenever the subject is broached, is it almost always led by someone who appears to be flat out looney? This always tends towards a sense of not taking it seriously due to the fact that every little anamoly becomes "the aliens did it". Why can't more be open minded and less jumping to conclusions? The Breakthrough Listen Project, to my knowledge, started out very sanely and methodically, as an example.

 

And the other thing, if found, why would we ever want to attract their attention? From our own limited search of the cosmos what is the one thing that is not abundant? Biological matter, and that is something we have all over this planet. Why would we want to paint a target over ourselves to any otherworldly intelligent species out there when we could never guess just what their initial intentions are? If we use are own history of life, everytime one lifeform that has an advantage over another is introduced into an area, the one with the advantage wins hands down. It's Darwinism. From Neanderthals to Columbus, from algal blooms to the European starling, the results have historically never been good for the natives.

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1 hour ago, Dientus said:

One thing is why whenever the subject is broached, is it almost always led by someone who appears to be flat out looney? This always tends towards a sense of not taking it seriously due to the fact that every little anamoly becomes "the aliens did it".

This has led to the theory that the entire domain is some kind of psyop, with the looniest types being elevated and cultivated, perhaos even by feeding them scraps of truth.

A more general strain of thought is the annoyance that flying saucers and claims of nefarious plotting by politicians are both lumped together as "conspiracy theories". It's a confirmed fact this is done to discredit both (see CIA circular on countering criticism of the Warren Commission report).

1 hour ago, Dientus said:

From our own limited search of the cosmos what is the one thing that is not abundant? Biological matter, and that is something we have all over this planet.

Biological matter doesn't have that many unique qualities, and those it has are peculiar to our environment. The aliens aren't coming to serve man.

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1 hour ago, DDE said:

Biological matter doesn't have that many unique qualities, and those it has are peculiar to our environment. The aliens aren't coming to serve man.

Whether you mean to serve man as in to help or be subservient or you mean to serve as a main course with Chardonnay, the fact is we would have no clue as to why come here because their thought process will be, pardon the pun, alien to us.

 

And we don't know how common or uncommon life is in the universe as a whole, we only have our observable space to gauge. So far, this little blue marble is the only thing that would have biological resources. Everything else is abundant by comparison. I tend to follow and agree with the teachings of Steven Hawkins where most things are concerned, if that helps clarify my position. You just don't walk into a deep jungle and begin screaming.

 

As far as Avi Loeb, I tend towards  @FleshJeb line of thinking. If the data will be kept clean and properly collected, something good could possibly come out of the project.

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2 hours ago, Dientus said:

You just don't walk into a deep jungle and begin screaming

Yes you do. 

Makes the things that like to lurk and stalk nervous.  Also lets the big things know you are coming so they can get out of the way or won't be startled. 

I think the fact that we are still breathing or not toiling away in an unobtanium mine is pretty solid evidence for showing that 'they' are not here. 

 

(but to your point - yeah, you don't advertise the location of your den and the tasty babies inside... That you kinda want to protect) 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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