Skip to main content

why they aren't here

just visitingThe Fermi Paradox asks, essentially, if the Universe is as vast as it is, and has been in existence for as long as it appears to have been, with all chances for life to appear then statistically speaking why haven't we crossed paths with at least one alien culture?

Where are they?

That question, asked by Enrico Fermi while at lunch with his friends Emil Konopinski, Edward Teller and Herbert York at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the early 1950s, has never been adequately answered since. In spite of how we wish to believe, we've yet to discover any concrete evidence either in the universe or closer to home on any of the planets and moons we've explored.

A number of theories have been advanced as to why we haven't found them yet (conspiracy theorists not withstanding). One of those theories is the it's dangerous to contact us. After reading today's news, and after watching the government shutdown and the idiots who have participated in it, I can see why any space-faring civilization would give us a very wide berth. Consider these two stories that underscore just how sorry a species we really are.

  • The shutdown, while it may have been a "two week vacation" according to Senator McConnell, was devastating to American science across the board. From suspended clinical trials to space exploration (the James Webb Space Telescope) to research in the Antarctic that was allowed to essentially wind up being buried in the ice and snow, one major scientific project after another was damaged in ways that will be very difficult, if impossible to recover (the Antarctic studies are an example of this). The shutdown even put public health at risk when a salmonella outbreak occurred during the shutdown and was allowed to go essentially unchallenged during the shutdown.
  • While not a part of the shutdown, poachers in Africa have been slaughtering elephants by the hundreds. The latest story is from Zimbabwe via the Telegraph. There, poachers mixed cyanide in the local waterholes during the dry season, so that the elephants would drink from them and die and then have their tusks removed by the poachers. Not only were adults killed, but so where the young. In addition to killing elephants, when the scavengers came to feed off the dead elephants, they too died, and included hyenas and lions. They've started to round up and prosecute the suspects, but that won't bring back the elephants. And it appears that the slaughter may be even higher than the initial 300.
Is it any wonder that no alien species want to have anything to do with us?

References

The Government Shutdown Was Temporary, Its Damage to Science Permanent - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=government-shutdown-was-temporary-the-damage-to-science-permanent

Are Republicans anti-science? In this case, yes - http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/18/republicans-antiscience-shutdown-cost

Uncle Sam and Safety – The Unseen and Long-Lasting Effects of the Government Shutdown - http://charlottesville.legalexaminer.com/uncategorized/uncle-sam-and-safety-the-unseen-and-long-lasting-effects-of-the-government-shutdown/

Cameroon increases elephant protection after mass slaughter (August 2012) - http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?205913

Poachers kill 300 Zimbabwe elephants with cyanide (October 2013) - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/10390634/Poachers-kill-300-Zimbabwe-elephants-with-cyanide.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

first night for the gingersnaps

The first night has passed and the two have managed to survive, in spite of what their tiny hearts might have thought when first arriving. Greebo, the larger of the two, has been in hiding the entire time so far. Ponder has spent the time zipping in and out of hiding spots, checking things out, and learning just how comfortable pillows are for resting your head.

During the night I felt the tiny body of Ponder hitting the bed as he leaped up on the side, and then climbed to the top to run around on top of me. At least once he play-attacked my fingers. He might be small but his claws are still quite sharp.

When I got up in the morning the bowl of cat kitten food was fairly well depleted. It's been refilled and fresh water put in the big dish on the floor. I'm assuming that both Greebo and Ponder are feeding and drinking. I have seen Greebo under the furniture peeking out at me when I went looking for him. I'm leaving him alone while he continues to adjust.

So far the guys h…