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#26 2004-02-02 10:22:15

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Josh, you didn't ask a question. You sent a box of crap at near light speed (which would take longer, by the way) with the hope that they would send you back a box of crap.

Your appeal is denied.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#27 2004-02-03 12:09:22

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Everything about humanity constitutes crap? I see how it is. :;):

No, really, I find it unfanthamable that we'd be able to understand them, much less they us, without such a level of information exchange. Stupid "hi's" are interesting on philosophical grounds, but they don't really convey anything useful. We could send Fibonacci sequences all day and all night (to convey math, and our attraction to spirals; a concept seriously proposed by the SETI guys, haha), doesn't mean we'd learn anything by it. Doesn't mean we'd get anything meaningful.

In any case, no attempt at a message is guaranteed a response; they could go extinct by the time it gets to them. An actual object is far more capable of arriving, since you can send far more density; radio waves degrade over long distances, this goes for your data rate, too. Even if it can't go at the speed of light, it can go quite close to the speed of light (being so small, it wouldn't take that much energy really), so it's inconsequential.

Here's how it's done. You send a small probe full of information about your society, and have it orbit the sun of the reciever; it then emits a beep of some kind so that the recieving society can go out, collect, and spend the next ten thousand generations looking it over.

Don't be discouraged that I come up with the best ideas. tongue[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#28 2004-02-03 12:23:41

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Very well sir, I accept your silly little challenge.  tongue 

Everything about humanity constitutes crap? I see how it is. [/quote:post_uid0]

Yup. Some of it smells better than other portions of it though.

In any case, no attempt at a message is guaranteed a response; they could go extinct by the time it gets to them. [/quote:post_uid0]

True, but the exercise assumes we can talk to them. You're a moderator, that means you get to delete and move threads- you don't get to make the rules.  :laugh:

An actual object is far more capable of arriving, since you can send far more density; radio waves degrade over long distances, this goes for your data rate, too. [/quote:post_uid0]

Okay Josh, please calculate the energy required to send your imaginary probe/sugar cube at near light speed.

And since the exercise assumes that we can get a message across the great divide, degradation of radio waves is not an issue.  big_smile

You send a small probe full of information about your society, and have it orbit the sun of the reciever; it then emits a beep of some kind so that the recieving society can go out, collect, and spend the next ten thousand generations looking it over.
[/quote:post_uid0]

This assumes that the species can identify the object, can access the data stores on the object, that the object is still working after all this time, that the aliens can get to the object, and that the aliens can make sense of ALL the data.

Don't be discouraged that I come up with the best ideas. [/quote:post_uid0]

Don't worry, I'll let you know when that day arrives.  tongue  :laugh:[/color:post_uid0]

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#29 2004-02-04 10:32:40

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

True, but the exercise assumes we can talk to them.[/quote:post_uid0]

Hey, you're the one interjecting the idea that my package might get lost. Don't change the overall goals here! big_smile

Okay Josh, please calculate the energy required to send your imaginary probe/sugar cube at near light speed.[/quote:post_uid0]

Um, I just looked on google and someone else did it for me, and they say it takes about the energy of a car battery, I have no reason to disbelieve it, but if you want I can make a bit of effort, get my science handbook, and give you actual numbers (give me a bit of time to do that as I'm on hiatus though). big_smile

I'm quite confident I am right. Heh heh

This assumes that the species can identify the object, can access the data stores on the object, that the object is still working after all this time, that the aliens can get to the object, and that the aliens can make sense of ALL the data.[/quote:post_uid0]

Heheh, what makes you think they'd have a better chance at decyphering your few sentence long question (I assume that's how big your question might be)? How do they know what you're asking? Are you assuming that we [i:post_uid0]already[/i:post_uid0] know how to communicate with them properly? Well then, all that stuff is covered and I still win. big_smile

Marvin Minsky has argued that basically intelligence is the same everywhere, and I think it's quite a compelling argument. I do not think that aliens would have a hard time understanding a freaking time capsule of information from us.

Obviously the survivablity of such an object would be questionable, but I think if we sent enough of 'em, it would be no real problem. Read that link I gave... :;):[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#30 2004-02-04 10:43:36

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The goal is to ask one question. The goal is not to send a million nano-probes at a third of the speed of light in the hope that the aliens will receive one of these self-builing thingy-majigs.

Very well, I like your moxy.  big_smile

You get a point for coloring outside the lines. However, you lose a point for coloring outside the lines.  tongue  :laugh:[/color:post_uid0]

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#31 2004-02-04 10:49:49

Algol
Member
From: London
Registered: 2003-04-25
Posts: 196

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000080:post_uid0]Have you seen Elvis? We cant seem to find him anywhere.....[/color:post_uid0]

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#32 2004-02-05 02:43:10

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

The goal is to ask one question. The goal is not to send a million nano-probes at a third of the speed of light in the hope that the aliens will receive one of these self-builing thingy-majigs.[/quote:post_uid0]

My idea doesn't need self replicating AI's or anything.

But in any case, don't you know that transmitting messages is done in... packets? Indeed, as you loaded this page, you probably recieved several dozen packets. This is done in case packet loss occurs somewhere between you and the server. This is to insure that your message arrives safely.

These nano-probes are merely packets. smile

Indeed, our little radio-wave based message would be using packets. Each time we repeat the message (which I am sure we would), we have gone through a packet.

big_smile[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#33 2004-02-05 05:20:00

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The idea you refrenced, the one with the link, calls for self-modulating, self-repairing, nano-probes.

It's the galactic equivilent of sending thousands of post cards to a known address in the hopes one of them dosen't get lost in the mail.  :laugh:

Send your snail mail though. I'll stick to email.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#34 2004-02-05 17:08:33

Mad Grad Student
Member
From: Phoenix, Arizona, North Americ
Registered: 2003-11-09
Posts: 498
Website

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I don't see why I didn't recieve any point gain, but I'll make an attempt to redeem myself anyway. Another possible question (Assuming other JPL guys hadn't thought of it already) is "We can't seem to agree, how do you define life?" A joke question might be "Are you the guys that keep anal-probing us?" I honestly can't understand why you would use your only question like that, though. I mean the sheer effort just to explain human anatomy enough to even get the joke...

Another thing I don't understand is why we would have to send stuff manually to them. Obviously these guys improbably use radios, just keep using them! First you send a binary code, then tell them how to use the 26-letter Roman alphabet. After that you tell them how to encode and watch pictures, listen to music, etc. The difficult part would be finding ET in the first place.[/color:post_uid0]


A mind is like a parachute- it works best when open.

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#35 2004-02-05 17:38:22

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Therein lies the rub, Mad. Doing that training via signals could take many hundreds of years, if not thousands, or even tens of thousands for stars far enough away.

Do we really have the patience for this?

A time capsule of sorts is far more resilent to damage, and is easier to understand, simply because there has to be no wait period to figure out if what is being said is understood or not.

My answer is intended to cover the far more important question about meaning. I make no assumptions about our ability to understand one another, because a scenario where where "one question at a time" occurs is simply unlikely.

My way is the right way. smile

For all we know there's a probe waiting for us on the moon somewhere, ala the monolith, with data about hundreds of different species around the galaxy. smile[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#36 2004-02-07 20:10:39

cecilj
Member
From: Mary Esther, Florida
Registered: 2004-02-07
Posts: 2

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]the "eternal" question!   "boxers or briefs?" 
Seriously though..........."If an asteroid impacts a planet and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"    big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#37 2004-02-09 07:51:09

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Mad Grad tries again, this time taking the lead with 20 points for asking for a definition of life! However, the human race already has an answer, so all 20 points have been distributed to poor children in some third world african nations. Here's hoping they have a better future with them!

The answer: Life is anything that ain't dead.  big_smile

cecilj tries to make the board with an updated zen question, so he get's a point when we actually find out. Until then, he holds steady with zero. Most likely answer though is that it dosen't make a sound since sound dosen't travel through space.  :;):

And, after further review, Josh is penalized 7 points for continuing to descend down that bottom-less pit of sci-fi quackery to justify his imaginitive position. Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you are wrong Josh.

But Josh, you're wrong.  :laugh:[/color:post_uid0]

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#38 2004-02-09 14:14:18

dickbill
Member
Registered: 2002-09-28
Posts: 749

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The first question in an alien encounter ?
IMO, It all depends of the alien's face. If he is ugly with teeths and a crual look, I'm not gonna ask him any question, but if she is cute and she walks towards me with a nice smile, I'm not gonna ask the last quantum physic theorem either, I'm gonna wait for her to ask.
If he/she pretends she/he's a martian, then I know that's just a joke, a hidden camera or something. You cannot fool Dickbill.[/color:post_uid0]

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#39 2004-02-19 07:07:48

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]If the aliens had a sense of humor, I'ld ask how many of them does it take to screw in a lightbulb.

Or what they did with all their lawyers. Maybe they sent them all out into space, cosmic missionaries of law and regulation, hurrumping and preening under silky white wigs. Maybe the aliens would tell us how to do it too! Two fer one.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#40 2004-02-20 19:04:57

Mad Grad Student
Member
From: Phoenix, Arizona, North Americ
Registered: 2003-11-09
Posts: 498
Website

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The answer: Life is anything that ain't dead.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0][/quote:post_uid0]
[color=#000000:post_uid0]Okay, then I have another question for you: "What is being dead?" If you answer "Anything that ain't/isn't/is not/be not alive" then I think I'll have to start a commite to outlaw these types of answers that don't go anywhere. And another one to deduct a point from you. big_smile

Trust me, getting them to understand English (At least in writing) wouldn't be as difficult as some of you seem to think. First, you give them a mathematical primer, teach these guys a plus sign, 1-10, feta, and how to carry a one. Next, teach them how to convert mathematical data into language. For this you send something like the old Muzzy language teachers. Show a picture of an airplane with a caption that reads "Airplane," and so on. Once that's complete, move into verbs, adjectives, etc until they understand. Finally, you can start asking them these crazy questions. An alternative would be just to encode the questions in math, and ask them that way, the cheepo express way to understanding human communication.

A final thought:
"Can you send us a probe? We'd love to know how you make things."[/color:post_uid0]


A mind is like a parachute- it works best when open.

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#41 2004-02-24 10:08:15

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]"What is being dead?" Well, I don't know how some aliens might respond to that, but if you're asking me, dead is something that ain't alive.  big_smile

I look forward to the Committe's decision on the matter.  tongue  big_smile

How do you express the concept of 'freedom' in mathmatical formulas? I'm sure we could convey the idea of a sphere, even a plane- but esoteric ideas not grounded in anything physical, well, that's a bit harder.

Try this, imagine that you are talking to an alien and you want to explain what a rainbow is, how would you do it if the aliens have no eyes? What if they are incapable of sensing what a rainbow is, how do you properly explain it?

Refraction of light? They have no eyes, so they wouldn't understand what light is (in our terms), or what the refraction of the light via water droplets means in the creation of a rainbow. To them, we would be trying to explain a figment of our senses (in relation to their own).  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#42 2004-02-26 11:48:06

DanielCook
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 90

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Well ... why not ask it (the alien that is) to answer all your questions ... ?

Or maybe just : "Why?"

(Nice and metaphysical)[/color:post_uid0]


-- memento mori

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#43 2004-02-26 11:59:06

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]:laugh: Daniel, nice work!

You get four points for asking two all-encompasing questions, well done! However, the points are only meta-physical, so as soon as we figure out how to make them [b:post_uid0]real[/b:post_uid0], we will give you those points plus two more. Nice showing though with zero points!  big_smile

If you ask them to anaswer all of your questions, you have just asked them one question, which is all of your questions, so either way they answer (yes or no), we don't get much of an answer.

As for the Big "Why"... the answer is: "because it just works out this way."[/color:post_uid0]

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#44 2004-02-26 12:48:52

DanielCook
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 90

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Thank you! Thank you! I'm just happy to be here! <insert fake smile here> tongue

Actually the answer to "Why" is just "Because." :;):

Anyway: If you know that the alien can answer your questions you can figure out how to have him answer it. I'm sure the more devious / deranged minds on this planet can figure out how to do [i:post_uid0]that[/i:post_uid0] ... Of course if the alien says no ... off to find the next alien that can ... Simple.[/color:post_uid0]


-- memento mori

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#45 2004-02-26 13:04:53

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Ah, but 'because... why' though is the follow up question!  :;):

Because it works out this way. Why it works out this way is anyone's guess. big_smile

And yes, knowing if the alien can or cannot answer all of your questions would help define any future questions, but it fails the the rules of the game!

Of course I was never one to always color within the lines, but my teachers still dinged me on the grade. Nothing wrong with creativity, but this exercise is more about being creative [b:post_uid0]within[/b:post_uid0] the lines.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#46 2004-02-26 15:00:05

DanielCook
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 90

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Why it works out that way is of course the "anthropomorphic principle" ... it works out that way ... because if it didn't you wouldn't be here to observe it ... big_smile

Anyway ... breaking the rules is the first point in thinking outside the box (or the lines in this case). Maybe I should redefine my question then to within these lines to ... (drum roll please ...)

Please explain everything to me?[/color:post_uid0]


-- memento mori

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#47 2004-02-26 15:24:51

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Almost...  big_smile ... if it didn't work out this way [b:post_uid0]I[/b:post_uid0] wouldn't be here to observe it. All the "you's" in the universe are also neccessary too...

And I will have to humbily (can ya tell!) disagree with your assessment on when to break the rules. You only break the rules if the problem cannot be solved within the box, not before.

And as for your latest entry, you are penalized four points for presenting a statement in the form of a question! We were looking for, [Alex Trebek snobby-intellectual-voice]"[b:post_uid0]Will[/b:post_uid0] you please explain everything to me?" big_smile

Better luck next time![/color:post_uid0]

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#48 2004-02-26 16:41:58

DanielCook
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 90

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I was struggling to formulate the question without having the answer being "Yes". Sometimes a question can be too open ended.

Anyway: As structured your question still only seeks affirmation that the alien will answer your questions. He can still say only sa yes or no ...  :;):

(Hey, its your rules ...)[/color:post_uid0]


-- memento mori

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#49 2004-02-26 16:50:07

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]It's [b:post_uid0]your[/b:post_uid0] question.  :;):[/color:post_uid0]

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#50 2004-02-26 17:01:59

DanielCook
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 90

Re: One question, what would it be? - Contact with an ET, what would you ask?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]My question was "please explain ..." You changed it to "will you please ...". Semantics.

big_smile

This is getting boring. Try something else?

How about: What is the correct model that unifies the EM, Strong Nuclear, Weak Nuclear and Gravity forces?[/color:post_uid0]


-- memento mori

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