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Space Science

United Nations Names Ambassador To Aliens 306

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sounds-like-a-cushy-job dept.
Shag writes "Although searches for extraterrestrial intelligence have thus far come up empty-handed, the United Nations appears to be preparing for eventual 'first contact.' Many media outlets are carrying the story that Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist who heads the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna — already charged with things like keeping track of satellites to prevent Kessler Syndrome and coordinating the international response to any earth-impacting asteroids — will be the first person to meet with aliens if they do show up." Update: 09/27 16:42 GMT by S : Looks like this one's too good to be true — in an email to The Guardian, Othman said, "It sounds really cool but I have to deny it."
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United Nations Names Ambassador To Aliens

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  • Do they know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:57AM (#33711272)
    Do they know more than we do? Should we be expecting, "first" contact soon?
  • by EDinWestLA (453682) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:57AM (#33711276)

    .. to welcome our new alien overlords.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:58AM (#33711312) Homepage

    Except that it is the US Air Force that actually does the job.

  • No he won't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:58AM (#33711316) Homepage Journal

    They may have appointed him as the official contact person, but in the event it does happen, nobody really knows how and where first contact will happen. It might very well be with a farmer in the middle of nowhere, or with a penguin in the arctic.

  • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:00AM (#33711346)

    Isn't it more likely any aliens will pick whomever THEY want?

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:01AM (#33711386) Homepage

    If extraterrestrial life forms (biological or mechanical) would decide to come here I'm pretty sure they'd have the means to scan the planet and meet up with whoever they damn well please.

    We already have UAVs that are pretty impressive. I'm sure a swarm of intelligence gathering bots the size of insects are not an issue for someone with the capacity for intrastellar travel. I'm guessing they'd pick somewhere remote without huge crowds people bothering them as they attempt to make first contact.

    Or then they'd just kill us all and turn us into fertilizer, who knows?

  • Re:Do they know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:06AM (#33711484)

    more likely it is the bureaucracy of the UN planning for every contingency, and establishing a hierarchy of who's in charge if something happens.

    If aliens were to show up, and land in China or the US I cannot seriously envision a situation where they would defer to the UN ambassador to make first contact. However if they show up in somewhere with less bravado, and less scientists, they might have to go along with the UN or at the very least the UN would be fairly heavily involved in making sure they get as many representatives as they can there.

  • I don't see it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:23AM (#33711776)
    If they set off from the closest sun-like star (18 Scorpi, 46 light years) right now, at the maximum speed we have achieved in space flight (62000km/h - Voyager 1) they would be here in approximately 80,000 years. That long ago, we were using pointy sticks to hunt and living in caves.

    Even if they increased their speed by three orders of magnitude, they would no longer be a representation of their own species. First contact with an alien civilisation a century out of time with itself. That's akin to someone coming out of a cave right now, having waked in when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

    I don't see it.
  • by causality (777677) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:25AM (#33711818)

    Everyone assumes aliens will be far more technologically superior to us. If we happened on an Alien planet with prehistorical man, our UAVs still wouldn't be able to tell who their leader is.

    And coincidentally enough, we are not capable of interstellar travel.

    If your intention was to refute the idea that a civilization capable of interstellar travel would have technology that makes our UAVs look like primitive toys, you have not succeeded.

  • Re:I don't see it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iONiUM (530420) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:40AM (#33712076) Homepage Journal

    You kind of think inside the human box. I realize our current understanding of the universe and physics puts maximum travel speed at what you specified, or even somewhat close to the speed of light. But I'm kind of assuming that in 200-500 years from now, our understanding will be fundamentally different, and we will find ways that seem extremely impossible right now to travel great distances at faster speeds. I guess that sounds like a sci-fi argument, but I just don't really think our understanding of spacetime and physics is very good at the moment.

  • Re:No he won't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:43AM (#33712150)

    or with a penguin in the arctic.

    If its a penguin in the Arctic then I'd be really surprised

  • Re:No he won't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CHK6 (583097) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:45AM (#33712178)
    I don't take the time to learn the communication of cattle, chicken, or fish before I eat them. And other animals learn though pain and praise when we train them. So unless earth is marked as a intergalactic nature preserve, expect to be dinner or slaves.
  • Re:Do they know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halivar (535827) <bfelgerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:48AM (#33712230) Homepage

    So you are in agreement that a larger, more powerful outside force should use their power to force sovereigns to meet their demands and social mores or die.

    So what's your beef with US foreign policy, other than sheer hypocrisy?

  • Re:Baby Steps (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:29AM (#33712942) Homepage Journal

    Kennedy assassinated? That was just a cover-up so that he could be an ambassador to the aliens, who was in turn succeeded by Elvis Presley and proceeded by Amelia Earhart. This new guy being appointed by the UN is just the latest in a whole series of ambassadors to the aliens going back for more than a century...... .... or so I've heard from Art Bell's Coast to Coast. Now that is a reliable source of information as good as I've ever found.

  • Re:Do they know (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheoMurpse (729043) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:36AM (#33713058) Homepage

    So you are in agreement that a larger, more powerful outside force should use their power to force sovereigns to meet their demands and social mores or die.

    Do you think a nation has the right, as a sovereign, to commit internal genocide?

    If not, then there has to be a larger, more powerful outside force to stop them. There's just a disagreement as to how minimal the, say, "crime against humanity" has to be before the larger force may intervene.

    If you do believe the nation has the right to commit genocide, I think you're a monster or someone more obsessed with philosophical symmetry than with pragmatic results (which likely does not bother you).

    I just wanted to expose you one way or the other. :)

  • Re:Ok question: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by electron sponge (1758814) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:00PM (#33713462)

    Why would aliens intrinsiclly meet with humans?

    Because their interactions with ant colonies would be disappointingly one-sided.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:56PM (#33714266) Journal

    Currently it exercises no real power over the planet but it's the place where most of the world can be represented at once in a single room.

    I mean, until we have unification across the globe there isn't any real way for us to have a "leader" for them to go to. Rather than just speak to the President of the United States, who might withhold information for political reasons, its more probably they wish to speak to EVERY leader of the human race.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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