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Interesting UFO discussion


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#1 of 85 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted July 21 2008 - 07:29 AM

Hi Gang!

I am one who is on the fence in terms of believing in UFO's, but this article on CNN was rather interesting.

I thought I would share it and get your feedback.

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com
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#2 of 85 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted July 21 2008 - 07:32 AM

What kind of fence? Posted Image Barbed wire?
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#3 of 85 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted July 21 2008 - 07:37 AM

Typical banality from UFO nuts. Typical insipidness from Larry King.

#4 of 85 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted July 21 2008 - 07:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
What kind of fence? Posted Image Barbed wire?

Ouch...Barbed wire! No, just the metaphorical type of fence. I think the idea of UFO's are interesting, but I have yet to see the evidence to convince me.

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#5 of 85 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

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Posted July 21 2008 - 08:01 AM

When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I have to think there is other intelligent life. When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I think it is highly unlikely we have been visited by other intelligent life.
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#6 of 85 OFFLINE   CRyan

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Posted July 21 2008 - 08:40 AM

Kind of looked like lightening to me.

#7 of 85 OFFLINE   KevinGress

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Posted July 21 2008 - 08:42 AM

When I was younger, I used to devour anything I could read/watch about UFOs - even purchasing the infamous "Alien Autopsy". As I've gotten older and more in tune with what I was searching for, I've become a very skeptical about claims of visitations, abductions, etc. I believe for the vast majority of sightings, there's a very logical, terrestrial, answer.

And given that our society is very much into getting their 15 minutes of fame, I have no doubt a large # of people are willing to be deceptive to get it.

#8 of 85 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted July 21 2008 - 06:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angell
When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I have to think there is other intelligent life. When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I think it is highly unlikely we have been visited by other intelligent life.

Nicely put. Also, given the sheer amount of time that has passed, and for how short a period human civilization (as we know it) has existed, it also wouldn't surprise me if intelligent life once lived elsewhere in some other corner of the universe, but has since died out (e.g. nova/supernova of its sun, or just plain decline) long before mammals, never mind humans, walked this earth.

#9 of 85 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted July 21 2008 - 06:58 PM

My opinion? Chances are that life seeks out other life. We see that in ourselves, and, it may be a natural instinct. Even if there are a billion other intelligent species out there, the vast size of the universe makes it inevitable that life will want to go beyond its own local neighborhood and check out the other life. Just as we have documented nearly all the life forms on Earth, and continue to hope to find more on the nearby planets. It is more than an idle curiosity. It seems like a compulsion, born out of the way our minds seek more reference points by which to compare and contrast ourselves. Sure, we play with dolphins, but it is more than play -- we also seem to like to experience their different frame of mind.

There is another matter of course, which is that even if life has an innate instinct to seek out other life, as I suggest it does, it needs a way to do so.

All it takes is one species at any point in history to have discovered how to travel from one world to another. If they make that discovery, then they can populate any habitable planet in the universe. Some of those planets may live, some may die, but the knowledge would continue on the ones that live, and spread, and spread, and continue to spread until you've pretty much got stability of that knowledge. And if some of them visit populated planets, maybe they'd pass on the knowledge to that other species. Or maybe they'd feel it would be more responsible of them not to. Or maybe they'd feel that it would be more responsible if they mingled for awhile and maybe kept track of how the culture was going for awhile.
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#10 of 85 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted July 21 2008 - 11:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angell
When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I have to think there is other intelligent life. When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I think it is highly unlikely we have been visited by other intelligent life.
I also agree with this statement.
I order to travel through space you would have to over come, not just traveling faster than the speed of light, but time also. Isn't the next nearest star about 4 light years away? A round trip at the speed of light would take over 8 years. If a race went through all the trouble to invent this type of travel, why not say "Hi" once they got here? What would be the benefit, from their point of view, of visiting us and keeping it a secrete?

A picket fence would not be very comfortable either.

#11 of 85 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted July 22 2008 - 12:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angell
When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I have to think there is other intelligent life. When I think of the vastness of the solar system and beyond, I think it is highly unlikely we have been visited by other intelligent life.
This is my thought as well. I'm easing a little on it since so many new planets are being discovered outside our little group. Unless someone has one of those things from CONTACT....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRyan
Kind of looked like lightening to me.
Very possible. Also, shiny objects can do strange things to camera lenses and film. It looks like a relection to me. I get similar all the time. In fact, all you have to do is watch a night launch of the space shuttle... Heh heh! I wonder if any of those dudes on Larry have ever watched one of those!

The simpliest explanation is usually the correct one. Same can be applied to ghosts. People want to believe in all this stuff and don't want to take the time to look for other more grounded explanations. UFO simply means "unidentified flying object", not necessarily "alien crafts". The men being interviewed by Larry King need to take a close look at these things and realize other possilities. Perhaps the UFO moving over the CROP CIRCLE *muffled giggle* is a bird that got its fill of corn! *all out laugh* Seriously, this lost all credibility with me when they showed the crow circle footage. Come on! Several of those UFOs looked like balloons. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they are discussing all this simply because they want what is known about them, aliens or balloons, to be released to the public so the issue can be closed about these cases they were talking about. At the same time they want it to be all about objects from some other world.

Great points on this thread....like the probability that intelligent live has existed and since died out in numerous areas of the universe. I'm still holding out that we'll find evidence of this in our own solar system somewhere. On Mars...a moon of Jupiter/Saturn...a particularly large asteroid? Hell, even Venus...perhaps it was a paradise before all the clouds f-ked it up.

Now, about aliens visiting here and trying to stay quiet....the human race has proven to be somewhat unstable. Consider that you're a totally alien being, alien to what it's like to be human, coming upon this world full of strange life like none you've seen before...life that often kills its own without questioning it. It would be like jumping in a lion's den to land your craft. Posted Image You'd want to spend a lot of time studying but trying to stay hidden. Sometimes you'd get too close....
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#12 of 85 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted July 22 2008 - 12:49 AM

I think UFOs and aliens are two separate things. I think UFOs are an interesting phenomenon of perception. They tell us a lot about humans but nothing about aliens. Life on planets other than Earth likely exists (or has existed) in some form but it doesn't mean they ride around in flying saucers.

One thing is for certain though: if anyone does come here, they'd be looking for resources, and we'd be in serious trouble of extinction. I'm not saying we should shoot first and ask questions later, but benevolence is a rare trait in nature. Just ask the Native Americans what happens when "benevolvent" strangers suddenly show up. Think about it: why would we be interested in exploring other worlds?
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#13 of 85 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted July 22 2008 - 03:58 AM

By definition, "unidentified flying objects" aren't something that needs to be believed in — it's a catchall category for anything that's observed but (you guessed it) not properly identified. Whether any of them are due to extraterrestrial intelligences… I hold with Arthur Clarke, who said that the real explanation was probably much stranger than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob McLaughlin
One thing is for certain though: if anyone does come here, they'd be looking for resources, and we'd be in serious trouble of extinction.
This isn't a very credible argument. The Earth isn't a great place to look for resources. If you have the kind of technology and control of energy that it would take to travel between the stars, you certainly have the ability to move around & mine asteroids, extract water from icy moons, perhaps even transmute the atmospheres of gas-giant planets into useful heavy elements or use hydrogen directly in its metallic form. You wouldn't be very interested in mining a rocky planet.

About the only scenarios in which it makes sense for aliens to be hostile and rapacious (as opposed to simple genocidal xenophobia) are (a) if they are refugees fleeing the wreck of their civilization, who have lost a lot of their tech base, or (b) if for some psychological reason they want slaves.

#14 of 85 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted July 22 2008 - 04:17 AM

Good points, Christopher. I guess I was looking at it from the perspective of them "passing through" and using our planet, like interstellar nomads. Not coming here specifically just for Earth, but just using it as another thing to be expended. Everything runs out eventually and they would have to move on to the next available planet or asteroid. Actually for any species to live for eons they would have to be able to move continuously to outlive their planet's window of liveability. Eventually extinction events occur on all planets.

Of course if they could use up stuff on that scale that fast, they probably wouldn't be bothered with our measly little planet. The resources of Jupiter alone would keep them occupied for a long time! But if they really needed nice simple liquid water in a hurry, we'd be a good one-stop shop.
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#15 of 85 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted July 22 2008 - 04:29 AM

> Think about it: why would we be interested in exploring other worlds?

To see what's there. That's what exploring is. Did we go to the moon to drill for oil or mine coal, or to see what was there?

#16 of 85 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted July 22 2008 - 04:29 AM

I agree with Bob McLaughlin's first post. If we are visited by aliens we can hope for the best but we should do our best to prevent the destruction of our species.

I disagree with Christopher that the only reasons that the aliens would be hostile are:
Quote:
(a) if they are refugees fleeing the wreck of their civilization, who have lost a lot of their tech base, or (b) if for some psychological reason they want slaves.

Sure they could get minerals, water and energy from asteroids and lifeless planets. But look at our own planet with its beautiful tropical islands, rain forests & majestic mountains. As we continue to overpopulate our planet and turn remote exotic islands into overpopulated cities if we ever develop the ability to travel to other star systems we'll be looking for more than minerals. We'll be looking for beautiful planets to populate. Beautiful planets with oceans are likely to be teaming with life. If there happens to be ape like creatures inhabiting those distant planets are we going to cancel the plan & head back home?
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#17 of 85 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted July 22 2008 - 04:46 AM

Read Colonies in Space by T.A. Heppenheimer, or Islands in the Sky by Gerard O'Neill, or one of a number of similar books (The World, the Flesh, and the Devil by Bernal if you can find a copy). Simply put, in the long term, a planetary surface isn't the best place for a civilization. With the engineering capabilities we humans have now, we could be building space habitats, with customized environments. Not trying to do the best we can to live on any planet we come across, but creating beautiful, comfortable living space out of raw materials.

We could be doing our manufacturing & power generation in space, avoiding pollution problems. We could be getting our raw materials in handy chunks from the asteroids — nickel-iron asteroids approximate the composition of the Earth's core, with all the heavy metals (platinum and uranium, anyone?) readily available, instead of locked up thousands of miles below our feet. The carbonaceous asteroids, in composition resembling oil shale, can supply all the organic materials we need, while the stony asteroids (and, at least in the early stages, the Moon) furnish aluminum, glass, & the like. Simply put, long before we could possibly develop the technology for large-scale interstellar travel, we could be creating our own forests, beaches, pleasure gardens, all tailor-made in space habitats, instead of trying to force an uncooperative foreign biology to serve our requirements, not to mention easing the burdens on the terrestrial ecosystem.

Planets will be parks more likely than population centers, when we can build hundreds of times the Earth's surface area in O'Neill colonies from a few barren asteroids and moons. Their great value will be as unmanaged environments, reservoirs and sources of biodiversity. (In that context, alien abduction makes as much sense as anything ; they could want life-forms to improve their ecologies.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Taylor
I agree with Bob McLaughlin's first post. If we are visited by aliens we can hope for the best but we should do our best to prevent the destruction of our species.

Sure they could get minerals, water and energy from asteroids and lifeless planets. But look at our own planet with its beautiful tropical islands, rain forests & majestic mountains. As we continue to overpopulate our planet and turn remote exotic islands into overpopulated cities if we ever develop the ability to travel to other star systems we'll be looking for more than minerals. We'll be looking for beautiful planets to populate. Beautiful planets with oceans are likely to be teaming with life. If there happens to be ape like creatures inhabiting those distant planets are we going to cancel the plan & head back home?


#18 of 85 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted July 22 2008 - 04:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood
> Think about it: why would we be interested in exploring other worlds?

To see what's there. That's what exploring is. Did we go to the moon to drill for oil or mine coal, or to see what was there?
They "discovered" America to see whats there. They found that there are many riches here and took over the land. We went to the moon and sent robots to Mars to see whats there. At the present time, it is not economically feasible to to use any of the "riches" found there.

I still think with the tens of thousands of airplane flights and all the radars, telescopes & cameras there are world wide, it would be impossible to visit Earth and not get photographed. Heck I get photographed at least 10 times a day going to and from work. And I live in a rural area. Maybe 50+ years ago I might believe the conspiracy theory, but not in this day and age.

#19 of 85 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted July 22 2008 - 05:22 AM

A simple numerical example should help show what I mean.

If we wanted to send a probe to Alpha Centauri, at one tenth of the speed of light (without slowing down at the other end!), it would take 43 years to get there, & another 4+ years for its transmissions to reach use. The absolute minimum of energy required to do that is given by the formula K= ½mv² (in reality much more would be required). If the probe has a mass of one tonne, since the speed of light is 299 800 kilometers per second, the result is 449 400 200 gigajoules (equal to the output of a normal-sized nuclear power plant for over 14 years).

That same amount of energy could lift, from the surface of the Earth to escape velocity (11.2 km/s), a mass of 3.6 million tonnes. Assuming that the shell of a space colony has an area density of 10 t/m², equivalent to 2 meters thickness of steel, this comes out to 360 000 m² of colony shell (equivalent to a sphere 168 m across). It wouldn't build a complete Stanford Torus, but it would make a good down-payment, and we have even now capabilities which would, in principle, suffice to accomplish it — whereas we have no technology which could accelerate an object of greater than atomic scale to so much as a hundredth of lightspeed. (In practice, of course, we will lift a much smaller mass of pilot plants &c. and get our working materials from the moons and asteroids.)

#20 of 85 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted July 22 2008 - 06:46 AM

Quote:
Assuming that the shell of a space colony has an area density of 10 t/m², equivalent to 2 meters thickness of steel, this comes out to 360 000 m² of colony shell (equivalent to a sphere 168 m across).
I'm not clear if you mean meters or miles, Christopher.


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