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    • CommentAuthorgaveedra
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    isn't this a standard trope of science fiction? but since an intellectual says it it has more credence?
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    I just think it's interesting to actually hear it come from someone like him, because usually you're hearing otherwise. As for it being the trope of science fiction, well that's the thing, it's fiction, the writers are saying "oh man, what if..." the readers are going "whoa, imagine if that actually happened," and here's someone who doesn't deal with fiction for a living, going "nope, it'll happen." I don't know if that made sense, but that's how I'm seeing it.

    Also, Icelandbob, pure win.
  1.  (8137.43)
    This is all assuming these aliens have evolved the same emotions motivations we have. For all we know, they could have evolved to touch every bum they can find in the universe and then move on.
  2.  (8137.44)
    I would like to point to two theories: first, the conservation of energy, then the so-called "life zone" around some stars. (Also, I am not a scientist, so if my references aren't exact, don't jump on me.)

    The idea of conservation of energy is that there is a finite amount of energy, or its alternate state mass (E=mc^2, after all), in any closed system. This universe very probably is a closed system, if the Big Bang Theory is correct, and therefore there is a finite amount of energy. Let's say, for argument's sake, that 75% of the energy in the universe it taking the form of matter. Then 90% of that is in the form of the theorized dark matter, leaving us with 7.5% in "normal" matter. Of this, probably 99.99% is the stuff of stars and gas giant planets. Then from what's left over, of the mass of a planet like Earth, we'd figure that, what, 0.0000001% is useful in any kind of interstellar tech? As you can see, we're rapidly approaching a point where resources are very, very scarce, even when you're looking a starting point of all the energy/mass in the universe. I'm modeling this argument after the Drake Equation, of course.

    My working theory (and it could be utter crap, seeing as it deals with future tech so far beyond the curve I can't even guess at how utterly wrong I am) is that any aliens that can wander from star to star have pretty much mastered energy manipulation. Stars put out more energy per second than we know what to do with, and that's taking into account estimated energy usage for things like rearranging a solar system.

    So, let's say aliens are similar enough to use to want roughly the same things, otherwise they'd probably pass on by. I just think it would be easier to build a planet or three in their equivalent to Mars's orbit, guide it in slowly to a comfy spot, and start terraforming. They can use fancy quantum entanglement doohickeys to transmit heat energy from sun to planet, peel necessary gases from any handy gas giants they've got about, play with nanobots to create whichever elements are necessary for what they need to build (including gases, now that I think on it), etc.

    I need to re-read Keith Laumer's The Infinite Cage, which I think I read maybe once back in high school. Sure, the universe is a closed system, but so incredibly huge and packed (very loosely) with such a vast amount of stuff that there's no we can consider it a cage. It's simply beyond our ability to be restrained by, and the aliens would have to be beyond our perceptual abilities to escape that limitation.

    Hopefully that also equates to them not finding us tasty. Maybe some of those enzymes they add to our feed are to make us digestible.