Thursday, March 29, 2012

Aztecs with telescopes

A science article. I like to read those because they are very much in tune with my Lenten resolution. They often inspire awe. But they can be unintentionally funny.

Like those breathless and edgy Science Channel apocalyptics, where the Sun finally engulfs the earth...5 billion years from now.

Apparently there are tons of earth-like planets in the galaxy after all, some of which are only about 30 light years away. One light year is 5,865,696,000,000 miles. About 6 quadrillion miles, then times 30. That's a number even larger than Obama's debt. So I guess it's sorta moot for now.

And that may be a good thing. Even though (or perhaps because) I am an intellectual of sorts --someone who has made his living by talking-- I never equate "intelligent" with "nice and friendly". Two entirely separable tracks.  I love those folks who get all dewy eyed about us finally "not being alone in the universe." They might consider the Aztecs --or the Incas, or any of the North American Indian tribes. I wonder if any of their priest-astronomers longed to find intelligent life far across the Great Sea...


One of my favorite films is Tim Burton's 1996 Mars Attacks! Aside from the admittedly ignoble pleasure of seeing Sarah Jessica Parker's head on the body of a small dog, (typecasting), it is not only goofily and sharply funny with a terrific cast, but the paranoid Strangelove general turns out to be correct, all the pacifists and idealists get squashed, and the world is finally saved by White Trailer Trash love of country music.  Even with Glenn Close's parody of Nancy Reagan, it's a right-winger's dream :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also one of my fave flicks -- and correct in its non-optimistic ideas about aliens.

The most intelligent kinds of critters tend to be predators, by necessity.

Whatever kinds of creatures there might me out there, the one most likely to _bother_ crossing interstellar space to reach Earth would be those with imperial aims.

An interesting theory is the idea that the reason we have never heard radio signals from alien civilizations, despite much searching, is not because they aren't out there, but because the majority of them think that broadly advertising one's presence is unwise.


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