Re: Counter to a simple SWI Fermi argument

From: Wei Dai <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 13:52:27 -0500

This post seems to be off topic for the list. Can we please drop it,
unless there is some connection to ensemble theories of everything that
I'm missing?

On Tue, Jan 14, 2003 at 09:52:23AM -0800, Eric Hawthorne wrote:
> On the likelihood of detecting alien intelligences:
> (single-world case)
> 1. It is an enormously stupid conceit of us to assume that
> aliens would be broadcasting, or tightbeaming something like
> analog radio signals, for communication.
> We ourselves have only being doing that for 100 years,
> and will be ceasing to do it before the next 100 are up,
> having switched to a combination of closed fibre-optic and
> massively spread-spectrum (i.e. noise-like) digital radio.
> 2. We have not built dyson spheres, nor are we likely
> to. There were a number of crazy megaproject engineering
> fantasies that we had for the first few short years after
> we discovered how to build with reinforced concrete, and
> Dyson spheres were one of them. (As were those incredibly
> ugly but functional 60s and 70s concrete skyscrapers. The
> first crude phalluses erected using a new but not completely
> mastered building technique.
> I'd like to think that we have a slightly more refined
> sense of megaproject risk analysis now that will prevent
> us doing quixotic projects like Dyson spheres.
> 3. We can barely detect planets the the size of Jupiter around
> nearby stars today. Why would we be able to detect non-radiating
> dyson spheres? Wouldn't we mistake them for black holes at the
> least?
> 4. The life span of a higher mammal species (clad, actually i.e.
> tree of derived species i.e. branch of evolution)
> like ours is estimated in biology to be 5 to 10 million years,
> and we're a significant way through our tenure, so we'd
> better hurry up sending out those self-replicating V-ger
> robot probes all over the place for them to be detected a
> million years hence. We'll probably be gone (as a species
> and clad) by the time the reply arrives.
Received on Tue Jan 14 2003 - 13:53:34 PST

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