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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Daily 2 Cents: SETI Broadcasts to Alien Worlds Worry Cosmologists -- Is Sending Messages to ET Silly? -- Aswang Transforms Into Bat!

Plan to broadcast messages to alien worlds leaves cosmologists worrying

A plan to beam powerful radio messages to possible alien civilizations on distant planets has caused consternation among some scientists who believe it could spell doom for humanity on Earth.

Leading figures behind the 50-year-old Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti), which uses radio telescopes to listen passively for unnatural signals from space, have now proposed an “active” form of search known as Meti – Messages to Extraterrestrial Intelligence. These signals will be aimed at the parts of the galaxy where Earth-like planets and life may exist, based on the growing number of “exoplanets” beyond our solar system identified by the Kepler space telescope, which include many in the so-called “habitable zone” of a star.

However, critics say the proposal betrays the founding principles of Seti, which were about listening rather than transmitting. They fear that sending signals of our existence could lead to visits from malign extraterrestrials intent on doing harm to humans. Read more at Independent


Is Sending Messages to ET Silly?

Making contact with aliens: the subject of many a sci-fi story, and a variety of imagined outcomes. Though no one knows what will happen if we encounter intelligent extra-terrestrial life, scientists are dividd on how we should proceed.

SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, has been searching for signals from said ETs for many years with no positive results. Of course, there have been interesting signals, but nothing specifically indicative of intelligence.

Scientists from SETI are turning up the volume on a debate that has been raging for several years over whether we should start actively transmitting messages into outer space rather than continuing to passively scan the skies while only leaking weak radiation from our surface activities on the planet. In a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose this week, Douglas Vakoch presented the question, and stated that beginning to transmit in an active, directed fashion would be part of humanity “growing up”. He also wondered if it would be the approach to let us actually “make contact” with aliens.

On his side is scientist and science popularizer, Seth Shostak, who rapidly and eloquently listed the reasons that behoove us to set resources to an active search for intelligent life beyond our solar system. The primary argument being that our planetary radio leakage has probably been enough to alert any reasonably advanced civilization to our presence, so why not start chattering in earnest? There have also already been several active communication attempts by humans, just not on a repeated basis. Additionally, limiting our radio-frequency output will be a burden to technological and cultural development that future generations should not have to bear.

David Brin, popular science fiction author and physicist, countered that we have no idea who is out there or what their motivations might be. We certainly aren’t invisible to anyone looking for signals of life in the universe, but we don’t want to go looking for trouble. He stressed that this discussion of sending messages to extra-terrestrial intelligence (METI as opposed to SETI) should considered by all of humanity, as the outcome will have global effects.

Brin later wondered how prevalent altruism, a behavioral strategy in which organisms do nice things for others with no thought for themselves, actually is in in nature. How often it has evolved should be a question of concern, as it would likely be a large part of alien cultural development.

If altruism is a rarity, Brin postulated that quid-pro-quo, or the concept of trading things of equal value, would be more universally understood. In a future scenario where we need to trade with ETs, information will be our most valuable asset, and should be guarded and valued as such.

A further argument against embarking on activating a METI program, involves existential considerations of risk, like planetary protection, which David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist, detailed as the concern of contamination. We exist in a microbial world that we are only just beginning to describe, let alone understand. There is a high probability that aliens carry microbes of all sorts that would be completely foreign and devastating to our immune defenses. The same goes for the effect of our microbiota on any aliens we might meet.

All of these arguments, pro or con, are completely moot in light of economic considerations. It has been calculated that it would cost to send repeated or continuous signals of appropriate strength to a small number of nearby stars using current technology would be minimal (on the order of $640 per year). But, to expand that search would require new construction and new technology, not to mention immense energetic input.

Frank Drake, the congenial scientific namesake of the Drake equation, said in conversation that despite the many potential benefits of making contact with an advanced life-form, “it would be silly to send messages now.” For starters, we won’t be able to benefit from such a project for at least 50-100 years. So, it would be a waste of resources at this point in time. Our time, money, and energy would be better spent searching as “sending messages is not efficient.”

According to Drake, we should focus our resources on exploring and utilizing our own solar system as “intelligent species wouldn’t be travelling between the stars.” Why is that? Moving between stars is cost prohibitive. He went on to say that a 100 year space flight to a nearby star at one-tenth the speed of light (the fastest tolerable to the human body) would require the equivalent of the full power output of the United States for 200 years… and, that doesn’t include the power needed to stop or land.

Only the most advanced civilizations will have moved beyond their own solar systems. It’s just cheaper to stay home, and listen. - BoingBoing


Manson's Freaky Bride Says Wedding Still On

Afton Elaine Burton is engaged to America’s most infamous mass murderer and now, the woman who calls herself "Star,” is giving her first interview about her strange relationship with the man most consider a monster.

She said, "Yes, I am going to marry Charlie Manson! I think he's the most handsome man in the world."

Star became obsessed with Charles Manson when she was a teenager in Illinois working at McDonald’s, and for the past nine years she's lived just outside the Central California prison so she can see him twice a week, but no conjugal visits are permitted.

She is 27 and Manson is 80, not to mention the fact that he's got virtually no chance of ever walking free.

"I’m going to stick with him whether or not he's in prison," she declared.

She recalled the first time they met, saying, "I just thought he was the cutest thing. He probably asked me ten times if I wanted to get married."

In a recent phone call between Burton and Manson, he asked, “So, are we sure together?"

She replied, "Yeah."

Manson asked, "Are we solid together?"

"Yes,” she replied.

He then asked, "Are you my wife?"

"Yes," she answered.

Manson then asked, "Until death do us part?"

INSIDE EDITION caught up with Star's mom, Melissa Burton in Bunker Hill, Illinois. She's never met Manson, and will not be attending the wedding.

Melissa said, "We love her with all our hearts! She's my daughter!"

INSIDE EDITION asked, "Will any family members or friends be going to the wedding?"

"No,” she answered.

INSIDE EDITION showed Star’s interview, which was conducted by jounalist James McGrath, to clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere.

Dr. Gardere said, "This is someone who probably is pretty delusional in thinking that what she is doing is very honorable, very healthy, when it's everything but!"

Charles Manson was convicted for masterminding the brutal murders of actress Sharon Tate and six other people in 1969.

If you think this young woman's relationship with Charles Manson is bizarre, consider his history. The women in Manson’s murderous cult known as "The Family" were totally obsessed with him.

At Manson’s trial, the female defendants shaved their heads the way he had shaved his and one photo of Star Burton showed her with a shaved head and a cross on her forehead in solidarity with the swastika on Manson’s forehead.

And brace yourself for another crazy twist in this story.

Star told INSIDE EDITION, "The seed gun is just one idea that Charlie came up with to help re-seed the planet."

A seed gun conceived by Charles Manson?! She demonstrated the device for us, which is a ball of seeds packed into paintball-type gun and launched over the ground.

So, will this jaw-dropping marriage between a mass murderer and a woman 53 years his junior actually happen? Star Burton vows that it will.

“I could take very good care of him," she said. - Inside Edition


Aswang Caught by Locals Transforming Into a Bat

Aswangs are known as one,of the most terrifying urban legends/myths in the Philippines and to its neighbouring countries. It has an ability to fly and be a shape-shifter. They crave for human flesh and blood. There are a lot of theories that proves their existence and one of the latest speculation about their existence comes from the Philippines.

Local authorities and local men swears that they saw a woman change her appearance into a bat, the said incident was shared to multiple social media platforms and one of it was in Facebook. According to a Facebook post made by Babyrose Bisagas Dinglasan, an old lady was in a waiting shed at Best Land Brgy.Mayao Crossing when she turned into a bat.

The alleged aswang was brought to the barangay hall wherein she was interviewed by the tanods (barangay peace officers) but she was later released after allegedly making the threat that her family would kill all the people in the barangay if the officers won’t release her.

Another speculation that came up tackles the psychological condition of the woman, other locals told authorities that the woman is not an Aswang to be scared at because she needs help as she now roams around town due to her psychological problem. Another comment from the Facebook post further supported that speculation as the comment stated that the woman once had a family but she left them because she cannot take anymore the domestic abuse she's been getting on her home.

Up until now, people are still guessing and exchanges arguments on whether the woman was really an aswang or another case of someone who just simply lost her mind. - The Controversial Files



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