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Space Science

100/1 Odds On 'First Contact' Within a Year 309

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the cross-your-fingers dept.
astroengine writes "After all the kerfuffle of 'Ambassadorgate' — when the UK media went nuts over the rumored promotion of Mazlan Othman to become the UN's first choice as mankind's alien point of contact — it would appear that gamblers saw this as a tip that an alien landing was imminent."
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100/1 Odds On 'First Contact' Within a Year

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  • by Mastadex (576985) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#33734978)

    Bullshit.

  • Game changer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:37AM (#33735018)
    If aliens do visit massive fluctuations in currencies and wealth will render said bet meaningless. It only makes sense to vote against.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:38AM (#33735038)
    I could be better than 1% interest by putting the money in a good bank for a year. A sure thing, indeed...but still not worth the bet.
  • It's a good tip... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:42AM (#33735102)
    ... that some bookies figured that by giving great odds on an impossible events, idiots would flock to give them money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:50AM (#33735222)

    The ants in the ant pile see us coming; what shall we ever do? Certainly their massed forces will defeat us, mere puny humans with our ant killing poison!

  • by SETIGuy (33768) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:53AM (#33735262) Homepage
    It also depends upon the definition of "first contact". Physical contact with an intelligent alien species that has traveled to earth? Communications with an extraterrestrial species? Discovery of any form of extraterrestrial life? I'd need to know the specifics before I'd put money on either side of that bet...
  • Re:Game changer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:55AM (#33735296)

    I think you're right. Many people believe that the simple discovery of aliens would usher in some new era of either panic or cooperation for all of mankind.

    Based on what I've observed, I think it's most likely to be a simple case of few people caring. I'm sure some would claim it's a government conspiracy either way.

    You won't find a whole lot of people even concerned until they start whining about illegal aliens within our borders and the aliens taking our jobs.

  • Re:Game changer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:13PM (#33735560) Homepage Journal

    Why?

    There wasn't hysteria when people where found on remote jungles, or the New world. They didn't stop believing when the stumbled upon other groups who didn't believe the same way.

    Seriously, you really underestimate the level of there delusion.

    Almost immediately it would be "Hey our god created others, isn't he great!"

    Yeah, there would be some people who do rash things, but they would be in the far minority.

  • Re:Game changer (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Un quebecois (621765) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:54PM (#33736162)
    I think that in this regards the movies District 9 was really realistic.
  • Re:Game changer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:54PM (#33736166)

    Are you kidding? There was massive hysteria in the New World when the Europeans arrived...

  • Re:Game changer (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:02PM (#33736302)

    Lots of people would claim it's a government conspiracy. The U.S. would respond by invading Iran. And within a year 60% of those watching Fox News would belive that proof had been found that links exists between Iranian government and the aliens

  • Idle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:04PM (#33737306)

    What's with all the crap hitting the front page that should be on Idle? We've gotten stories about creative art in Minecraft, Asteriods on web pages, and now this. Slow news the past couple of days?

  • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:12PM (#33737474) Journal

    Well, after ruling this planet for 35 million years or whatever, the dinosaurs just up and disappeared. Obviously they developed space travel and decided to migrate to a better part of the galaxy.

    I remember seeing that Star Trek episode too: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Distant_Origin_(episode) [memory-alpha.org]

  • by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:50PM (#33738136)

    There are a few reasonable assumptions we can make here:

    1) If one species develops faster-than-light travel, then that means it's possible, and so it is quite likely that more than one species will do it.
    2) Eventually, those species will run across one another as they zoom around the galaxy. As with relations here on earth when one civilization suddenly stumbled upon another, those meetups are not likely to be immediate friendships.
    3) Because of that, it's likely that interplanetary wars will break out, which means weapons capable of doing damage from orbit will be developed.
    4) Even if a civilization develops intergalactic travel capabilities and never runs across another species until they for some reason decide to holiday on earth (rather unlikely), they're still going to have weapons that will cause us serious problems, as they're going to have to have ways of clearing interstellar debris out of their path. The space shuttle cracked a windshield when it ran into a postage stamp sized flake of paint while in orbit. And that's when it was traveling a mere 18,000mph. Light travels at 186,000 miles per *second.* If they hit so much as a dust mote they'd be vaporized unless they've developed technology to knock the dust out of their way (which could easily be used as a weapon), or shielding capable of withstanding the impact (in which case, their shield could withstand anything we shot at them).

    So no matter what assumptive path you travel, you end up with the conclusion that any species that is so far advanced beyond our own as to achieve faster than light travel, even if 100% peaceful, has the capability to crush us, because if it didn't, it couldn't possibly survive its attempts to travel around the galaxy.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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