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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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NASA Scientist to Scour Kepler Data in Search of Alien Technologies

I think this is a long shot but it's worth taking a look, every now and then long shots pay off.


The Kepler space telescope may be dead in the water, er space, but the data it has collected over the years lives on. A new initiative is set to use this data in an effort to locate alien spaceships, Dyson spheres, and a galactic laser internet — and they've been given $200,000 to make it happen.

The Templeton Foundation recently granted the money to Geoff Marcy, a NASA researcher for the Kepler mission. Marcy, who was recently appointed the new Watson and Marilyn Alberts Chair for SETI at the University of California at Berkeley, is a superstar when it comes to detecting planets outside of our solar system. His work has resulted in the discovery of over 100 exoplanets, including the first system of planets orbiting a distant star.

And fascinatingly, he's going to use the same approach used to detect exoplanets to search for extraterrestrial artifacts like massive spaceships, Death Star-like objects, and Dyson spheres. By using the transit method, where the dimming of a star indicates the presence of an orbiting planet, Marcy hopes to detect artificial objects as well.

"I do know that if I saw a star that winked out, then at some point it winked back on again, then winked out for a long, long time and then blinked on again, that that would be so weird," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Obviously that wouldn't constitute the detection of an advanced civilization yet, but it would at least alert us that follow-up observations are warranted."

Indeed, Marcy is on the right track. A Dyson sphere — a hypothetical massive structure of solar panels that would completely surround a star at a distance of about 1 AU (the distance of the Earth to the Sun), would give off a tremendous amount of waste heat in the form of infrared radiation — a potentially detectable signature. The dimming of a Dyson-sphere-enveloped-star would be erratic or quasi-periodic, unlike the regular transit of planets. It's important to remember that a Dyson sphere would consist of a series of interconnected solar panels, and would not be a solid object.

Harry Turtledove, The Last Article

Harry pits Gandhi against the Thousand Year Reich to make a point about the limits of non violence.

Like most Turtledove stories he puts in a lot of little details that add to the atmosphere of the tale.

I ended up reading this through a convoluted chain that started with a post in this forum about Cordwainer Smith that got me thinking about Eric Frank Russell which led me to Operation Mincemeat and thence to Jo Walton's blog post about Russell where I then found a link to the story below.


If you really think that privacy is unimportant in the 21st century then perhaps you should consider

Consider that Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision making abortion legal, was decided on the basis of a right to privacy.


The Court declined to adopt the district court's Ninth Amendment rationale, and instead asserted that the "right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the district court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy."

No privacy rights means no abortion rights. Bear in mind as well that corporations such as Target can already often tell when a woman is pregnant from her digital metadata, if corporations can do that then so can government.

Would you trust the NC state legislature to respect a woman's right to privacy in reproductive matters? How about a Republican US Senate and House?

Early to mid 2000's I spent a lot of time posting on right wing boards as a liberal

Although I can climb into the head of a wingnut well enough to post a pretty good spoof that will slide by most Poe detectors it doesn't come naturally to me and that makes it more work than I care to engage in for something I do mainly for entertainment so I almost always just posted as a liberal in enemy territory.

I was told I had Bush Derangement Syndrome and that I was just a hater more times than I could possibly count. What I really found most interesting about the experience of posting in enemy territory though was that if I was abusive and slung insults and was generally an asshole then most of the time I wouldn't get banned from commenting. No, what got me banned very quickly almost everywhere was being calm, polite and rational, using logic and posting links to published articles or news items backing up what I had to say.

Authoritarians want to make everything about personality, personal animus and emotion, they really can't help themselves because that's the way they see the world. In the end authoritarian followers want a leader from whom all wisdom flows, someone to tell them what to think and how to think it, it's a difficult thing to comprehend for those of us who aren't wired that way and I think they have an equally difficult time understanding someone who is not an authoritarian follower.

I'm taking what they're giving cause I'm working for a living



Among the 100 million people in this country who hold full-time jobs, about 70 percent of them either hate going to work or have mentally checked out to the point of costing their companies money — “roaming the halls spreading discontent,” as Gallup reported. Only 30 percent of workers are “engaged and inspired” at work.

At first glance, this sad survey is further proof of two truisms. One, the timeless line from Thoreau that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The other, less known, came from Homer Simpson by way of fatherly advice, after being asked about a labor dispute by his daughter Lisa. “If you don’t like your job,” he said, “you don’t strike, you just go in there every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”

The American way, indeed. Gallup’s current survey, covering two years, is a follow-up to an earlier poll that found much the same level of passive discontent from 2008 to 2010. Even in an improving economy, people are adrift at work, complaining about a lack of praise, with no sense of mission, and feeling little loyalty to their employer.


All of that is certainly at play. But here’s the surprise: the main factor in workplace discontent is not wages, benefits or hours, but the boss. Yes, that cretin from Kentucky Fried Chicken, in countless forms. The survey said there was consistent anger at management types who failed to so much as ask employees about their opinion of the job. Ever.

The people I'm around in real life are convinced the government is recording everything

It's not hard to work the conversation around to Affaire Snowden, I can be garrulous if I wish and I'm interested in what people think.

Not yet have I found someone who does or will categorically deny that the government would do such a thing and then lie about doing it.

The majority of them accept it as fait accompli; "Really, you have to ask?" <shrug>.

Not that everyone gives a damn mind you, even people you would think should care quite a bit just due to the nature of their occupation, people who should be professional paranoids.

The "gives a damn" people cut across the usual political lines I've noticed though.

Is a society where it is impossible to do anything at all illegal without being caught a good thing?

Because eventually that's where society in America and on Earth may well be headed, do anything to break any law and the evidence to arrest, arraign and convict you will be on a computer somewhere and it will be meta analyzed by sophisticated algorithms so that any lawbreaking will be detected and acted upon.

In my mind the desirability of such a tightly controlled society is highly dependent on the rules that society has.

Are you convinced enough of the rationality and sheer sanity of our rules and those who make and enforce those rules that you would be comfortable living in a world similar to that of Minority Report where every crime was instantly detected?

Sometimes I think about Smirk and Sneer having that sort of power and it really chills my soul.

Ever had an OP unexpectedly "blow up in your face"?

Yeah, I've had it happen back on DU2 and got my ass handed to me and no I'm not linking to it even if I could find it.

I've had my thinking changed several times by that sort of thing, make an assumption and make an ass of myself.

Most of the time these days I manage to get my brain engaged before I hit <enter> but every now and then...

Thanks to naivete I made an error in judgement in my early twenties

That was my age when Nixon was forced from office in disgrace, naively I was convinced that no Republican would be President again for at least a generation, that it would take that long for the Republican brand to shed the stench of Nixon and rehabilitate itself to the point a Republican President was again a possibility.

We all know how that worked out, we had one Democratic President for one term and then it was Mourning In America with Ronaldus Maximus for eight horrendous years and then Poppy Bush for another four. We have not to this very day begun to climb out of the hole in our society those two unspeakable creeps put us in.

I get the impression reading for the last few days that a great many DUers who should know better think that there will never be a Republican President again and they don't have to worry about granting powers to that office that they would surely come to bitterly regret should a Republican once again hold it.

One thing I have learned in six decades of life is that you could run the Republican party through a wood chipper and it would reassemble itself like that liquid metal Terminator in T2, they are too useful to the 1% and have more money than God, Allah and Yahweh combined as well as all the moral sense of a rabid badger on meth.

Dismiss the possibility of another Republican President at your extreme peril.

Just put a new SSID on my wifi router

Booz Allen Surveillance Unit 12C4U

Some of my neighbors are unfriendly, this should nip it in the bud.

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