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Sci-Fi Space Science Idle

What If Aliens Came To Save the Galaxy From Mankind? 534

astroengine writes with an amusing piece in Discovery. From the article: "In a study carried out by NASA and Pennsylvania State University scientists, several intelligent extraterrestrial encounter scenarios are examined. One of the scenarios is a sci-fi favorite: what if we encounter an alien race hellbent on destroying us? However, there's a twist. This isn't mindless thuggery on behalf of the aliens, and they're not killing us to get at our natural resources; they have a cause. They want to exterminate us for the greater good of the Milky Way."
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What If Aliens Came To Save the Galaxy From Mankind?

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  • by Mage66 ( 732291 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @06:22AM (#37139786)

    At our technological level, we pose no danger to anything off this planet.

    It would be like saying you'll sterilize a grain of sand to protect the planet.

    Such a silly scenario...

    If we ever develop interstellar travel that is fast, cheap and practical, maybe then this scenario starts to have legs.

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @06:58AM (#37139986) Homepage Journal

    really, the global warming scare factory blew right past hyperactive speed and went straight to plaid.

    It is crap like this that makes it hard for many to believe there are is any seriousness in the global warming let alone man causing it or making it worse. I cringed while reading this article. I am not sure if its more of a creepy cringe or just offensive to real thinking

    Its time to get the zealots out of the lead roles, they are no more than Bible thumping tent preachers, whats next, snakes?

  • What bilge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @07:11AM (#37140080) Homepage
    The perfect storm of magical thinking and self hatred.
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @07:17AM (#37140122)
    Do you remember when the term "scientist" applied to people who did science? We used to reserve the title "scientist" for people who did repeatable experiments. People like the ones referred to in this article were called "science fiction writers" with the key word being "fiction".
  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @07:56AM (#37140378)

    For less than 3% of the current US defense budget, you could FULLY FUND NASA!!

    Why the HELL is NASA always the FIRST thing talked about when cutting, and Defense always the LAST.

    Or Defense budget is OBSCENE.

    I refuse to acknowledge anyone who is "fiscally conservative" who's first priority is not cutting the Defense budget.

    I'm looking at you tea party!!

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @08:06AM (#37140448)

    So if we start spreading to other worlds, then a spacefaring race that by definition would have spread to other worlds would come to kill us for our spreading to other worlds.

    As noble as everyone is trying to make the aliens case sound, it would be as wrong as any other mass genocide has been.

    The case of killing us because we're in their way I can understand.

    The case of killing us because its a noble thing to do is total bullshit.

  • by mosinu ( 987941 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @08:08AM (#37140468)
    Actually first on the block should be foreign aid. Then I would agree with cutting defense as well as any and every other program out there with NO exceptions.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday August 19, 2011 @08:33AM (#37140710) Homepage Journal

    Foreign aid is a tiny sneeze compared to military spending when you factor in pensions. Cutting military spending now is the key to cutting pension spending later, provided the cost cutting is accompanied by force reduction and not just compromising quality.

  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Friday August 19, 2011 @08:59AM (#37141034) Journal

    Anyone who has mastered FTL travel will be impossible to stop. They could bounce around us whenever we got close enough to engage.

    If they've mastered accelerating physical objects to even a significant fraction of c, then they could wipe us out before we even know about them just by slamming an object (any object) into any point on the earth.

    So preparing for a future hostile encounter with aliens where they don't care about our resources or ourselves is pointless. The fight will be over before we've realized it's begun.

  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @09:25AM (#37141398)

    As good as it feels to hate farm subsidies, they do serve a halfway useful purpose -- they basically eliminate famine and domestic shortage in exchange for higher total costs the other 95% of the time. Seriously... when's the last time you *ever* heard the word "famine" used in the context of "United States" or "Post-WWII non-Soviet-Bloc Europe"? If farmers operated purely without subsidy in a profit-maximizing way, they'd simply risk a bad food-free year every 10-20 years in exchange for .73% higher profits the next quarter. If one or two farmers did it, nobody would notice. If the American Agribusiness Industry acted like California's power-generation and transmission industry, we'd have a domestic crisis every time locusts descended upon Arkansas or Kansas (or at least poorer countries would, because the US would buy up most of their food).

    Subsidizing dead industries is a bad thing, but there's a lot to be said for year-to-year stability as well. Would anybody who's sane *really* choose to save 1.9% per year in the long (25+ year horizon) run on groceries if it meant that prices at the store could soar overnight without warning, even if it meant that next year the same goods might be selling for pennies on the dollar? People have better things to do than spend their days researching prices and plan their purchase strategies for things they use daily at spot-market prices.

    The reason for subsidies is simple -- it encourages farmers to plant enough to guarantee abundance under nearly any likely scenario, without leaving them trying to sell those same crops during a "good" year for less than they would have made by simply investing the season's crop capital in 6-month CDs and going on vacation somewhere. Gratuitous waste sucks, but shortage & famine is much, much worse.

  • a few points (Score:2, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @09:40AM (#37141628) Journal

    1) this is a "study"? REALLY? And people wonder why our government is out of money, when bullshit like this rates the scientific focus of NASA? Please, let's have another article on how scientists are baffled that people are taking science less seriously following this one?

    2) this is a relatively old trope from science fiction. Nothing new here at all. I can think of at least one AE van Vogt short story from the 1960s that had a similar theme.

    3) if we're talking about it seriously, the likelihood of us encountering a spacefaring civilization within say, 500,000 years of tech development of us are vanishingly small. Beyond that, would either of us really even care the other exists? Or notice? I'm not going to go into it unless someone asks, but the math on this is at least as solid as the Drake equation.

    4) this is a neat psychological extrapolation of the sort of OCD egoism that's driving much of the consensus around climate change today. The idea that some civilization penned in on some rocky world orbiting a peripheral average star might actually matter to a starfaring civilization is absurd, gross narcissism. We're still using CHEMICAL rockets - pretty much glorified fireworks - to get off our planet, for pete's sake.

  • Re:What bilge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @10:17AM (#37142142)

    "The perfect storm of magical thinking and self hatred."

    Religion called, citing prior art.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes