Saturday, August 20, 2011

Al Gore has gone too far this time

An article this week in The Guardian begins, “It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.”

Let me say that again, this time adding emphasis where it truly belongs: “It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.”

Let us suppress our looks of astonishment and forge ahead.

Here’s the entire article, but in case you don’t want to read the whole thing, let me summarize.

A man named Shawn Domagal-Goldman of NASA’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University have compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter with Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI), to help humanity “prepare for actual contact”.

In a report entitled “Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis”, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.

Let’s skip over the beneficial and neutral scenarios and get right to the good scary stuff. Here is an excerpt from the Guardian article:

........While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us,
........the report adds that people might also suffer from being
........physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by
........the visitors. In especially unfortunate incidents,
........humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced
........civilisation accidentally unleashes an unfriendly
........artificial intelligence, or performs a catastrophic
........physics experiment that renders a portion of the galaxy
........uninhabitable.

........To bolster humanity’s chances of survival, the researchers
........call for caution in sending signals into space, and in
........particular warn against broadcasting information
........about our biological make-up, which could be used to
........manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead,
........any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical
........discourse “until we have a better idea of the type of ETI
........we are dealing with.”

........The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of
........civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may
........be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as
........humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth.
........In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to
........destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.

........“A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in
........ the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation
........may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it
........continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering
........the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion
........could be detected by an ETI because our expansion
........is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere,
........via greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states.

........“Green” aliens might object to the environmental
........damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to
........save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to
........limit our growth and reduce our impact on global
........ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to
........limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric
........composition can be observed from other planets,”
........the authors write.

[end of excerpt]

Yes, you read that correctly. It is particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greehouse gases because atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets.

So we are probably doomed. At best, we must live with a certain fearful looking for the invasion to begin. This is what happens when an entire generation of scientists grows up watching Star Trek on television.

Sharp-eyed readers will note that throughout this post I have retained the British spellings and punctuations from the original article. Personally, I think the conclusions drawn are the logical result of putting periods and commas outside quotation marks and spelling civilization with an s instead of a z. And Al Gore, of course.

If Klingons come, can Romulans be far behind?

(Sorry, folks, this is not a photograph of an actual alien. It is a scene from a movie called Mars Attacks.)

14 comments:

Putz said...

i have seen a green alien<><><>once in 1950, 1967, and 2000, and i must say al gore rings true to me<><>green was a very pretty color and to quote my next door neighbor who is a farmer""green is the most beautiful color in the world<><><.i hate browns, blacks, reds and mauve's'' <><> I HATE MAUVE also

rhymeswithplague said...

Putz, actually Al Gore had nothing to do with my post except to provide a nose to tweak in the title for his views on global warming. I have no idea what his views are on alien invasions.

What did mauve ever do to you?

Shooting Parrots said...

I spell 'civilisation' with an 's' rather than a 'z' because I'm British. But I concede that the American affection for the letter zed is truer to the original Middle English which hopefully the aliens will not understand, especially if they are further confused by incorrect punctuation.

Scientists are very good at 'thinking outside the box'. Silicon based life-forms, creatures that breathe methane, super-intelligent light clouds, intergalactic whales etc. But have you noticed how they assign them very human motivations? That there might be Green green aliens for example?

If they believe that then they need to come up with a method for muting satellite television. After all, 78% of neighbour disputes* start with: "Turn the noise down! I'm trying to sleep!"

* Made up statistic.

Putz said...

have you ever tried to wear a mauve shirt to sunday school?????????????????

rhymeswithplague said...

Shooting Parrots, the only aliens who understand Middle English will have made the trip to Earth in their Flying Chaucers....

Putz, if the Sunday School crowd made impolite remarks or looked at you askance just because you had on a mauve shirt, it surely says a great deal more about the Sunday School crowd than about you. If those ugly ducklings didn't recognize a swan when they saw one, it was their loss.

Brackers said...

A great article, hopfully this will help me get my kids to turn off the lighst in the house!
If we are voting I will go with "S's" rather than "Z's"
Regards
B...

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It's not aliens we should be anxious about but the growth of Islam. Fifty years from now, the developed world will have a very different appearance from today simply because of Muslim fertility rates. Fortunately, Robert, you and I will not be around to see this.

rhymeswithplague said...

Brackers, good point about getting the kids to turn off the lights! You vote for S instead of Z because you live in Canada.

Y.P., how quaint! You use the term "fertility rate" to mean "the result of their total irresponsibility and lack of self-control when it comes to family planning." People can be fertile but still know how and when to abstain, use condoms, the rhythm method, whatever.

Reamus said...

Just one more ride on the dirt bikes will do wonders for the aliens I am sure...

rhymeswithplague said...

Reamus! Good to hear from you again. It's been awhile.

Reamus said...

I am always lurking, RWP, just not commenting much...

Rosezilla said...

Just when you think you've heard it all... wow, I'm so glad those scientists are looking out for us, now that they've thrown God out.

I must take exception with the idea that having babies is somehow irresponsible, as long as one is married, at least. I would have loved to have had at least a dozen kids, if my body had been willing, and I know many responsible families with lots of self-control that have 10 or 12 lovely, well-behaved children.

rhymeswithplague said...

Rosezilla, I know exactly two families with lots of children (one has 8 and one has 10) and yes, both groups are lovely and well-behaved. I chalk this up to one thing: the conservative Christian lifestyle of the parents. Alas, all large families are not so blessed in the parent department. Somehow "10 or 12 children" and "lots of self-control" in the same sentence do not compute in my feeble mind. Maybe you've been watching too much "Nineteen Kids and Counting" again. Not that I tend to be judgmental or anything.

P.S. There is a great gulf between wanting many children and being able to feed, clothe, and educate many children.

Rosezilla said...

I don't have cable and rarely watch t.v., but I do know quite a few families with 10 or 12 children, mostly among homeschooling and/or missionary families. They do not have a lot of money, but they do have a lot of faith in the God that said to be fruitful and multiply, and He provides.