from the it's-fun-to-dream dept.
gurps_npc writes: Phil Plait just wrote an interesting article about a star that is extremely variable. We generally look for cyclical, minute (1%) variations in star light to detect planets. But we found one that has a variation in starlight of over 20%. We don't have a very good explanation for this, and some people are speculating that such variation could be caused by a civilization building a Dyson Sphere around the star. From the article: "Such a sphere would be dark in visible light, but emit a lot of infrared. People have looked for them, but we've never seen one (obviously). Which brings us back to KIC 8462852 (PDF). What if we caught an advanced alien civilization in the process of building such an artifact? Huge panels (or clusters of them) hundreds of thousands of kilometers across, and oddly-shaped, could produce the dips we see in that star's light." Plait says it's overwhelmingly unlikely, but interesting nonetheless.
Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without
giant listings; we would find it hard to use them.
-- D.M. Ritchie