February 22nd, 2012 | brainjuice
February 21st, 2012 | researchmaterial
I first came across this idea, I think, at Charlie Stross’ blog some weeks ago. I only chewed on it a bit, because I think I was still zoned out after finishing GUN MACHINE. But it’s just popped up in my feeds again, and this is the takeaway:
(Karl) Schroeder explains the Fermi Paradox – the apparent contradiction between the likelihood that extraterrestrial civilizations exist and the lack of evidence for them – by speculating that we have not yet encountered our cosmic neighbors because they are indistinguishable from their native ecology.
Which is a fascinating thought experiment, and gives a marvellously wiggy megascale corollary to Arthur C Clarke’s famous dictum about any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.
What I haven’t seen dealt with yet in my skim-reading of the topic, and maybe it’ll be there when I drill down, is this: the experiment seems only to work if we assume such societies generated no electromagnetic noise at all in their transition to that level of civilisation. We have to conceive of a civilisation that had no period of electromagnetic broadcast in its lifetime, or else there would be ambient evidence and Fermi would seem to me to reinstate itself. Which is a wonderful workout for the imagination.
February 20th, 2012 | comics talk
I would argue that the comics shops moved past any real, collective desire to even try to sell alternative and independent comics long before the publishers of those comics by necessity switched some of their focus to the book trade.
February 20th, 2012 | brainjuice