Laser "porch light" could be a beacon for ETs

Originally published at:

Motel 3…


I understand how a young boy on the cusp of puberty could be perverted by the wrong inputs, and 'I believe therapy, lots of therapy could be a big help here, but right now Elliot I just need you to stop calling me.


It’s like nobody read the Dark Forest.


Do astronomers work on different timescales?

40 years for the initial message to get there, a year or three while they figure out whether to respond, 40 years back, a couple more while we figure out whether to initiate ‘conversation’, 40 years for the first data-rich message to get there, several more while they decode that and figure out a response, 40 years back to us … we’re talking about the thick end of 200 years before any conversation begins, and 80 year pauses between “sentences”. Even with a full career each generation of astronomers only maybe gets to send and receive one sentence. You’re looking at a multi-generational effort for any substantive communication.


“It’s rather cynical, she explained, to think that a civilization advanced enough to notice us and make the long trip to Earth would be so emotionally stunted as to purposely destroy us upon arrival.”

They might be pissed off that you blinded their pilot.

And, looking at our history; exploitable real estate inhabited by less technologically advanced people hasn’t brought out the best in humans.


See, that’s the thing about aliens: they’re so alien. if they exist, which I doubt, there is absolutely no way to predict their motivations and behaviors. So they’re an ideal palimpsest for projecting our ideas about our selves and our world.

That’s why I’m expecting perfectly benevolent Space Democrats to arrive any day now, with free Xanax for all.


I think they’re currently having a civil war between those who want to join The Culture, and those who don’t.


Bad idea. Do we want to pretend we didn’t “colonize” and violently submit other races in the past? And we kind of look alike

I read it and found the conclusions to be deeply flawed. Heck, by the third novel it’s readily apparent how insane the whole position is.

The whole thing is a game theory 101 exercise using flawed inputs.

It’s kind of like saying “if house flies lay eggs at a rate of 700 per 20 days, and I failed to kill a fly I saw one year ago, how many extra flies are there in the world now?” Then getting the answer that says the Earth should be blanketed in layer of flies 10 miles thick, and saying to yourself “the only logical conclusion is to kill every fly immediately to avoid catastrophe” instead of “my model is overly simplistic and gave me an absurd answer”.


Barring a new physics, talking is pretty much all that could happen. The distances are (literally) astronomical. However, an interesting way to do it could be to “talk past each other.” Essentially have a continuous conversation, not waiting 80 years for a reply. You would have to keep good records, since when you get their response, it Wil be to something we sent 80 or more years ago, but it could be done. Just look at this bbs. You often need to go upthread to figure out what the response is to, but it works.


As soon as the first message comes back there will be a lot of conversations started depending on how well the secret is kept.

Or, suppose we are on the receiving end of a “This is our first message to you” calling card. Everyone and their brother will be sending off messages through phone apps pointed at their telescopes.

So is the plan to build literally billions of high power lasers and large telescopes so we can get coverage out to a few light years? I guess you can cut down on the amount needed by not shining at star systems that are unlikely to contain life, but it’s still a huge amount of effort for such a small chance of payoff.

The ads might not pay for it but look what it’ll do for your exposure!


Somewhere in my third decade of reading SF, I finally learnt not to take an author’s take on history, politics or sociology even as seriously as their mis-takes in biology or physics. Just because it’s written down in grammatically coherent sentences is no indication that the ideas are similarly coherent.


Hopefully our stellar neighborhood wouldn’t react to it like a persistent car alarm.


That is the truth. The nature of a laser is to be fairly coherent. It will spread over that distance, but still close to a point source. Therefore, it is directed to a specific system. Odds it will just happen to be one with advanced tech?

This is going to devolve into 419 scams immediately!


You don’t know me but I am contacting you because I have a need for help getting 600 intergalactic quaatloos out of the primitive planet Earth…


“to think that a civilization advanced enough to notice us and make the long trip to Earth would be so emotionally stunted as to purposely destroy us upon arrival”

Well, pretty much every human civilization has behaved that way, so it is a good bet that we would head out to kill Them, isn’t it?

The voices of peace are often drowned out by the voices of hate and greed.