Weirdo Aliens.

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Weirdo Aliens.

Postby mojo » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:28 pm

I wasn't sure where to post this thread, please move it if it isn't in the appropriate place, thanks.

I'm no expert in biology or chemistry but some articles i found a while ago have fascinated me ever since, so i thought i'd share them with you all as well.
I do happen to think that there is "other" life in the universe oither than what is found here, i don't however think that they are "grey's, nordic's or reptilians".
I think most if not all life that we may stumble across in the future will in fact probably have even less resemblance to us than those.

Weirdo aliens.

Why do we presume that alien life will necessarily be similar in its needs/shapes or thoughts to ourselves or other of earth's animals/organisms.
I remember reading an excellent short story about humans landing on Pluto and tromping around the place and generally making a nuisance of themselves. It is only much later that they discover that these pretty little snowflake type things lying all over the planet that they were stomping through were actually lifeforms that they destroyed.
You can just see us doing something like this can't you.
We know so little about ourselves and our own enviroment that it amazes me that we could even begin to think what life on other planets may be like.

Anyway here's the article.

Alien Life May Be "Weirder" Than Scientists Think, Report Says

Instead of thriving on water, extraterrestrial organisms might live in a sea of liquid methane. Or instead of getting energy from the sun, they might thrive on hydrochloric acid. snip........
The report concludes that scientists need to consider an expanded list of characteristics that define life, including so-called "weird" life-forms that may thrive where Earth organisms couldn't.


Page 2

Since these characteristics make life on Earth possible, scientists have long assumed they are required for life elsewhere in the universe.
But advances in biology and biochemistry in the last decade show that the basic requirements for life may not be so concrete, according to Baross.
For example, he said, the Viking lander missions to Mars in the 1970s were controversial, because although they did not find life, they only looked for Earthlike life.


Link to the related article on the Viking mission

The Viking Mars mission may have missed signs of life when it visited the red planet 30 years ago, a new study suggests.
If future missions are to set the record straight, the study's authors add, scientists may need to change the ways in which they search.


"We simulated these [tests] that Viking did 30 years ago, this time in extreme regions of our own planet," said Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.
"We found low levels of organic compounds in those soils, but we cannot detect them by the same technologies used by the Viking mission."


Page 2

Possible Martian life-forms now include a newly discovered class of microorganisms on Earth that can survive and even reproduce at 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1 degree Celsius)—below the freezing point of water.
The cold-resistant life-forms fascinate scientists, because frigid planets like Mars are far more common in our galaxy than warmer worlds.


Related article on the ice lake discovered on Mars

Scientists Finding Strange Life Forms in Great Salt Lake

Westminster, the University of Maryland and George Mason University are not only finding life where life shouldn't exist, but life, perhaps like nothing of this earth.
Instead of the rods, spheres and spiral shapes microbiologists are familiar with, they're seeing organisms shaped like pyramids, triangles, squares and crescents.


Related article on life in the Atacama desert, the driest place on Earth

Link to artistic impressions of what some different life forms may take, just scroll through the 6 pictures

Flying Whales, Other Aliens Theorized by Scientists

One side of the planet is draped in eternal freezing darkness, the other side is bathed in permanent starlight.
Fields of "stinger fans"—animals that look like tall plants—cover the floodplains. Other strange species abound, from giraffe-like predators called gulphogs to tiny flesh-dissolving tadpoles known as hysteria.


Distant Planets Could Have Plants of "Alien" Colors

Related article by Dr. Seth Shostak

In fact, as a tour of any zoo will convince you, there’s a breathtakingly wide variety of creature designs that work on our planet – and presumably on theirs, too. So why would intelligent extraterrestrial life look anything like us? Probably it wouldn’t, although there’s a mechanism known to biologists as “convergent evolution” that argues for at least a bit of a resemblance.


But it’s a bit extreme to maintain that we are the best design, and therefore convergent evolution will ensure that an intelligent alien looks like your brother-in-law. After all, an extra set of arms might be useful, as would an eye in the back of our heads. A double spine might allow faster and easier walking, and a few extra digits on each hand could make for better tool use or piano playing. The bottom line is that any biological creature we find that’s at least as clever as we are might have, some features in common with us (two eyes, instead of one, for instance). But there’s little reason to think our own design is so wonderfully optimal that all thinking beings will have converged on it.


Link to cool interactive video

I sure hope that when we do master space travel that we treat the worlds we visit with the utmost respect and take as much care as possible to protect any lifeforms that may exist on other planets from our usual gung-ho attitude to exploration.
Consider how we decimated our own species when europeans first passed on diseases to indigenous populations during exploration and discovery of our own world.
Consider the damage we could do on Alien worlds, or i guess, what alien microbes or bacteria could do to us.

Life in extreme enviroments, also lots of other good links at the bottom of this page.

Take the discovery of a huge body of -liquid- water four kilometers under the ice of Antarctica. This "lake" is 250 kilometers long by 40 wides and is 400 meters deep: approximately the size of Lake Ontario! Confirmed in 1996, this discovery came at a time when the Galileo Orbiter was sending back the most intriguing images of Europa - which have led to the current hypothesis that Europa harbors a liquid or perhaps "slushy" ocean beneath its icy crust.


Ice samples from cores drilled close to the top of the lake have been analysed to be as old as 420,000 years, suggesting that the lake has been sealed under the icecap for between 500,000 and more than a million years.
Biologists suspect that there may be life forms that have been unaffected by surface conditions for up to a million year, making Lake Vostok an invaluable, living biological museum.
At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Galileo Mission, a project has been initiated to probe the waters of Lake Vostok for life - a model for a possible mission to Europa.


www.astrobio.net, an excellent article, ive snipped some interesting bits if you dont want to read the whole thing.

The committee that wrote the report found that the fundamental requirements for life as we generally know it -- a liquid water biosolvent, carbon-based metabolism, molecular system capable of evolution, and the ability to exchange energy with the environment -- are not the only ways to support phenomena recognized as life.


The assumption that life requires water, for example, has limited thinking about likely habitats on Mars to those places where liquid water is thought to be present or have once flowed, such as the deep subsurface.
However, according to the committee, liquids such as ammonia or formamide could also work as biosolvents -- liquids that dissolve substances within an organism -- albeit through a different biochemistry. The recent evidence that liquid water-ammonia mixtures may exist in the interior of Saturn's moon Titan suggests that increased priority be given to a follow-on mission to probe Titan, a locale the committee considers the solar system's most likely home for weird life.


Additionally, studies in chemistry show that an organism could utilize energy from alternative sources, such as through a reaction of sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid, meaning that such an organism could have an entirely non-carbon-based metabolism.


So what these guy's are saying is, Yes, we do need to rethink the way that we view what shape, form, environment and energy is needed to harbour life.

OK, conjecture time.

Why would an intelligent alien need to have toolmaking ability.

An enormous gaseous amoeba type of creature floating in a gas giant planets atmoshere would have no need of toolmaking. It is able to interact with its enviroment by creating electricity within its body, it is the top of the food chain, it spends its life (lets say 1000years) floating around in social groups discussing mathematics or algebra, how much more advanced in that particular area of intelligence would that creature be.

Found an article that originated as a press release from the Institute of Physics and is now on www.astrobio.net

Summary (Aug 21, 2007): Physicists have discovered life-like structures that form from inorganic substances in space. The findings hint at the possibility that life beyond Earth may not necessarily use carbon-based molecules as its building blocks.



"These complex, self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter," says Tsytovich, "they are autonomous, they reproduce and they evolve".


They are suggesting that life may in fact not need to be carbon based, or even organic!! Thats a seriously cool theory.

Seems to me to be a rash of interesting articles and research being released lately dealing not only with the possibility of life being found elsewhere but exactly what form of biology that life may be like.

Another article on the possibility's of life being found in extreme enviroments, though this deals only with bacterial forms.

news.nationalgeographic page 1

The work suggests that if bacterial life existed on Mars or on Jupiter's moon Europa, it might still survive locked in icy soils.


news.nationalgeographic page 2

But in the much colder environments of Mars or Europa, life might be able to survive while frozen for much longer, Willerslev said.
At those lower temperatures, DNA damage would accumulate more slowly.
So the new results "could suggest that if you had similar life on Mars, it could exist for much longer," he said.


So maybe were not that far away from creating our own "weirdo lookin' alien life".

Artificial Life Likely in 3 to 10 Years

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."


This is intersting too.

www.timesonline

SCIENTISTS have discovered that inorganic material can take on the characteristics of living organisms in space, a development that could transform views of alien life.




Any thoughts on this?



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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby Access Denied » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:15 am

Good question and great post Mojo! I’ve been thinking about this myself lately… I’ll have to look this material over and gather my thoughts for you.

In the meantime, here’s a thread I started on ATS you may be interested in that touches on some of my thinking about this…

Life As We Do Not Know It
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread237994/pg1

It was inspired by this interesting debate between some leading Astrobiologists…

Launching the Alien Debates
http://www.astrobio.net/news/article2168.html
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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby Chorlton » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:43 am

Though I dont believe in ET, it has always tickled me that if ET did exist, he might be here already. In micro form. Mini spaceships and mini beings, so small that we cant see them.

Stupid idea I suppose.
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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby mojo » Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:56 pm

Chorlton wrote:Though I dont believe in ET, it has always tickled me that if ET did exist, he might be here already. In micro form. Mini spaceships and mini beings, so small that we cant see them.

Stupid idea I suppose.


not a stupid idea at all chorlton, what do we know about the quantum universe?
not a lot.
There may very well be intelligent microscopic lifeforms somewhere in the universe, lol, what was that show from the 70's were a plane load of humans crashed on a planet and they were the size of mice compared to the inhabitants?
Not being an expert in this field, it’s still fascinating to theorize.

http://www.interactions.org/cms/?pid=1012346

Quantum Universe presents the quest to explain the universe in terms of quantum physics, which governs the behavior of the microscopic, subatomic world. It describes a revolution in particle physics and a quantum leap in our understanding of the mystery and beauty of the universe.

Nine interrelated questions define the path ahead.
1. Are there undiscovered principles of nature: new symmetries, new physical laws?
2. How can we solve the mystery of dark energy?
3. Are there extra dimensions of space?
4. Do all forces become one?
5. Why are there so many kinds of particles?
6. What is dark matter? How can we make it in the laboratory?
7. What are neutrinos telling us?
8. How did the universe come to be?
9. What happened to the antimatter?



http://critical-path.itgo.com/Articlesanscover.html

The purpose of this paper is to present a model of the nature of reality and our perception of the universe, applying a few principles of quantum physics. This model represents a new view of reality, utilizing principles of quantum mechanics to explain the construct of existence, as humans perceive it. It is intended to provide a mental platform from which new insights about time, space, and human perception can be obtained. Finally, the author utilizes this model to speculate about various subjects, including the nature of "reality", the passage of time, and an opportunity to detect the presence of advanced life forms in our universe.


The assertions made by Chalmers, Wheeler, and others indicate that they believe the most fundamental building block of the universe is not atoms or even quarks, but rather information itself. At first glance this hardly seems possible. How could information, something that seems completely insubstantial, be the material from which all perceivable physical, and phenomenal aspects of our universe arise? Exploring that question, It is useful to consider the quantum wave function, and particularly the principle of duality.


Will something as insubstantial as “information” be considered a “life form”?
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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:35 pm

mojo wrote:
The assertions made by Chalmers, Wheeler, and others indicate that they believe the most fundamental building block of the universe is not atoms or even quarks, but rather information itself. At first glance this hardly seems possible. How could information, something that seems completely insubstantial, be the material from which all perceivable physical, and phenomenal aspects of our universe arise? Exploring that question, It is useful to consider the quantum wave function, and particularly the principle of duality.


Will something as insubstantial as “information” be considered a “life form”?


Great posts, mojo. And now you have hit on an area of research that I am knee-deep in. I have a working theory that comes at the "information" issue from a different view... my view of closed-loop control systems. While information "seems insubstantial" it is only because we do not recognize it as a physical metric. Here is the "buildup" for my theory:

1) Temperature is the lowest level metric we define that encompasses the (approximate) measures of Mass, Space, and TIme. It deals with the internal motions (velocities) of particles of a body (mass).
2) Momentum is the next highest level metric we define that encompasses a mixture of the same three (approximate) measures of Mass, Space, Time. It deals with the external motions of a body (velocity to the first power, or "mV").
3) Energy is the next highest level metric in this chain. (Velocity to the second power or "mv^2").

It is clear even from Newtonian physics that Energy is a higher level metric that actually controls the change of momentum of a body. We identify the change in momentum of that body (over time) as an unbalanced Force (F = d(mv)/dt). So in simpler terms, you need to add energy to a body in order to change its momentum, which equates to applying an unbalanced force.

4) Information is the next highest level metric in the above chain. This is one of the mainstays of my theory. I arrive at it from the demonstrable fact that we use changes in Information to control the expenditures (conversions) of Energy from one form to another. This is the principle of closed-loop control systems... In order to control the energy expenditures of a physical system, we implement physical sensors that measure information ("that which reduces uncertainty"). We use that information about the state of a body to form a difference between what we want the body to be doing, and what it is currently doing (an error signal). That difference error signal is then applied as a command to the "energy loop" to control how energy is used and/or converted.

Now, if you follow the progression of the metrics 1-3, you see we move from internal velocities (Temp) to external velocities (Momentum) and then progress to higher degrees of velocities (Energy). If we continue this trend and try to link it to my theory of Information, what do we get? Well, we should get that Information would vary with the cube of velocity. In terms of solid body mechanics, what metric do we know of that varies with the cube of velocity? POWER. To be more specific Power = Force * Velocity. When moving through any kind of fluid, the resisting Force (aerodynamic drag) is a function of velocity squared. So we arrive at the realization that the power required to keep a body moving at a constant velocity in some fluid varies with Velocity^3.

The question then becomes: Is this a validation that Information = Power? Or at least that Information ~ Power? I think so. But these are just my musings. The primary aspect of my "theory" is that information is a combined metric of Mass, Space, and Time (I call it Massive SpaceTime) that subsumes physical energy.

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby ryguy » Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:43 pm

Fascinating...as I'm reading your posts here (excelleng job guys...wow) - I keep replaying the hundreds of stories I've read over the past month related to hauntings, "ghost" activity, and other related phenomenon that, very often, appears to be "intelligent" in nature.

If you compare much of the strange "unseen" phenomenon to what Ray has described above to information and energy - it's conceivable that you guys are forming the beginning of a fascinating hypothesis to the cause of "hauntings."

Known "feedback" witnessed from the system:

1. Objects moving
2. EVP (electronic voice phenomenon)
3. Orbs and apparitions entering the range of vision for humans
4. Electrical devices affected (turned on or off)
5. Mechanical devices affected (faucets turned on or off)
6. Sounds (knocking, rapping, even "growling")
7. Temporary elevated EMF readings (difficult to separate from the "noise" however)

Oh wait...this isn't really related to the thread topic "weird Aliens" is it....or IS IT?? :shock:

Now if you guys can hammer out a solid hypothesis based on information theory, provide a set of tests that could be performed "in the field," and a list of necessary test equipment - I'll be willing to get out there and perform those tests at various haunted locations. Anyone willing to come with me? :)

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby Zep Tepi » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:31 pm

I would say if aliens are responsible for creating such "feedback" from the system, there would be an abundance of evidence for scientists to look at and examine. As things stand currently, there is none. Sure, people say things move and this happens and that happens, but where is the proof?

As for aliens coming in all shapes and sizes, it is theoretically possible for mankind to actually adjust human DNA to make it possible for humans to live on otherwise inhospitable environments. If we can do that now - or at least in the next couple of hundred years - we have to assume that so-called aliens have the exact same capability. Aliens could be all around us and we wouldn't even know it.

I'm sure I just saw that rock move...

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:47 pm

ryguy wrote:Now if you guys can hammer out a solid hypothesis based on information theory, provide a set of tests that could be performed "in the field," and a list of necessary test equipment


I would love to do so. But the problem I always run up against in forming such a solid hypothesis is that you must be able to distinguish closed-loop from open-loop phenomena. As you know quite well, Ryan, simply from the concept of "black box" vs. "white box" system theory, simple observation of stimulus vs. response does not guarantee that any conclusions you arrive at with regard to the internal mechanization of a system are correct. In fact, this is the major problem that most controls engineers have with the IPCC climate models (another thread, in another forum).

What I am getting at could be more simply stated by analyzing a presumption: If my theory about Information being a higher-level (directive) metric for Energy is correct, then one might think a valid way to state a hypothesis that encapsulates this theory would be something like "all forms of energetics observed (conversion of energy from one form to another to create a result) must be the direct result of the application of information." Clearly where this falls apart is when an open-loop process is involved, the simplest example being an apple falling off a tree. Does information cause this to happen? No. It is simply gravity, and thus it is an open-loop process (as far as we understand gravity, currently). The only viable context for the previously-stated hypothesis would be if, in fact, there is a closed feedback loop (natural or artificial). In such cases we can clearly see that information about the current state affects future states. But this then requires that in order to "test" such a hypothesis we need to be sure that the energetic process we are testing involves at least one loop closure (i.e. applies information). This forces a "white box" understanding of the process vs. "black box".

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby ryguy » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:42 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:I would love to do so. But the problem I always run up against in forming such a solid hypothesis is that you must be able to distinguish closed-loop from open-loop phenomena. As you know quite well, Ryan, simply from the concept of "black box" vs. "white box" system theory, simple observation of stimulus vs. response does not guarantee that any conclusions you arrive at with regard to the internal mechanization of a system are correct.


Yes - that's absolutely right. On the other hand, we could potentially recognize a closed-loop if we could discover a repeatable feedback response. For example, when I am in the area where there's a high level of "haunting" activity - when I do "A", I always get a response back as "B."

So far I've been reviewing case files from just over 100 paranormal groups across the country (those kind enough to publish their investigations publicly), and there appear to be a huge number of common patterns, but no one is really treating the phenomenon as a "system"...most groups (if not all) assume what they are dealing with is a "ghost", a "demon", or some other entity. They aren't running their investigations as a test-response, they're either trying to learn about the "ghost" and or purge the spirit. The good thing about these investigations is that when you review them at a higher level - it's fascinating to observe how the phenomenon responds to certain actions of the investigators.

I would think if we could identify solid patterns, we could test the system ourselves to determine if the feedback is, in fact, repeatable. This would signify a parameter of a closed loop system, wouldn't you agree? Given, of course, if there are also open-loop responses it could create confusion - and non-repeatable responses. This could be why so many people describe these phenomenon as strange and unpredictable. But you and I both know that complicated systems based on complex control algorithms only "appear" complicated, until you understand the system.

What I am getting at could be more simply stated by analyzing a presumption: If my theory about Information being a higher-level (directive) metric for Energy is correct, then one might think a valid way to state a hypothesis that encapsulates this theory would be something like "all forms of energetics observed (conversion of energy from one form to another to create a result) must be the direct result of the application of information."


That's an excellent statement...I bet we can think of several methods where it could be tested "in the field."

The only viable context for the previously-stated hypothesis would be if, in fact, there is a closed feedback loop (natural or artificial). In such cases we can clearly see that information about the current state affects future states. But this then requires that in order to "test" such a hypothesis we need to be sure that the energetic process we are testing involves at least one loop closure (i.e. applies information). This forces a "white box" understanding of the process vs. "black box".
Ray


Yes, I agree. And I'm proposing that if there does exist at least one loop closure - we could potentially identify that. Just imagine the breakthrough (sort of like Newton's breakthrough) if we could identify even one loop closure. We'd likely have every paranormal group in the country jumping on the bandwagon...just one predictable response from the system when a particular action or deed takes place. In my mind, that would be an impressive breakthrough...

Vallee recognized the potential for the system to be tested in this way. In my opinion, the system is complicated enough so that it probably would require engineers with a control systems background to analyze and develop the response algorithm of that system. Now if I could just do like Gordon Novel or Hal Puthoff and get some investor to help us out with a few million - we'd be good to go. ;)

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby mojo » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:11 pm

Access Denied wrote:Good question and great post Mojo! I’ve been thinking about this myself lately… I’ll have to look this material over and gather my thoughts for you.

In the meantime, here’s a thread I started on ATS you may be interested in that touches on some of my thinking about this…

Life As We Do Not Know It
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread237994/pg1

It was inspired by this interesting debate between some leading Astrobiologists…

Launching the Alien Debates
http://www.astrobio.net/news/article2168.html


Haha, we must have both come across the same article on astrobio.net, i'll have to give a bit more consideration to the posts by Ray and ryguy, very late in the day for me atm, head feels like mush.
thanks all for the feedback.

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:25 pm

ryguy wrote: On the other hand, we could potentially recognize a closed-loop if we could discover a repeatable feedback response. For example, when I am in the area where there's a high level of "haunting" activity - when I do "A", I always get a response back as "B."


Yes, very true. But always being the devil's advocate (or just a thorough engineer :) ), I should point out that often loop closure dynamics (gains, time constants, and entire compensation paths) are affected by the environment a system operates within. As always, I use the example of an airplane's control system since it is what I do: The primary environment that is used to schedule feedback loops on airplanes is the dynamic pressure (q-bar = 0.5*density*velocity^2). How feedback loops respond with respect to changing dynamic pressure can be as simple as a gain change (varying amplitude) all the way up to much larger behaviorial changes (switching-in or -out of entire compensation computations, such as integral and derivative terms). So while I certainly agree with you, in principle, Ryan, I would only also point out that beyond just quantifying input stim and output response, we would also have to know the pertinent environmental aspects and be able to quantify them. For anomalous phenomenon such as you speak, one that would immediately come to mind would be the e/m environment. In any event, it would certainly require more measurement equipment that the human eyes and ears. :) But not insurmountable.

I would think if we could identify solid patterns, we could test the system ourselves to determine if the feedback is, in fact, repeatable. This would signify a parameter of a closed loop system, wouldn't you agree?


Completely.

Given, of course, if there are also open-loop responses it could create confusion - and non-repeatable responses. This could be why so many people describe these phenomenon as strange and unpredictable. But you and I both know that complicated systems based on complex control algorithms only "appear" complicated, until you understand the system.


Exactly! Nothing a little well-informed analysis (and perhaps a tad bit of modeling) cannot help to crack.

Yes, I agree. And I'm proposing that if there does exist at least one loop closure - we could potentially identify that. Just imagine the breakthrough (sort of like Newton's breakthrough) if we could identify even one loop closure. We'd likely have every paranormal group in the country jumping on the bandwagon...just one predictable response from the system when a particular action or deed takes place. In my mind, that would be an impressive breakthrough...

Vallee recognized the potential for the system to be tested in this way. In my opinion, the system is complicated enough so that it probably would require engineers with a control systems background to analyze and develop the response algorithm of that system.


Yes, it would be a huge and exciting breakthrough, and would necessarily lead to a paper wherein we lay out any theory and model such that others could repeat and test. Just the science, ma'am! :) (Joe Friday)

Now if I could just do like Gordon Novel or Hal Puthoff and get some investor to help us out with a few million - we'd be good to go. ;)


We'd better make it an even billion... Some of that sensitive test equipment can get purty damn expensive! :wink:

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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby torbjon » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:33 am

Mojos' alien life:

I get into this conversation alot, it seems... just recently with Chorlton in another thread here, as a matter of fact, that of us supposed "brainiacs" always "humanizing" alien life forms... weird, huh? the way folks seem to naturally do that. It's almost as if nobody reads cheap sci-fi books anymore *sighs*

20+ years ago I was reading stuff about Chlorine based life forms... This was back before we learned about the stuff living at the bottom of the ocean near vents, which seems to be a primarily Sulfur driven eco system (no sun, no photosynthesis, which, for many years, was THE foundation of "life"... no sun, no photosynthesis ergo no life)

Deep ocean vent life shows rather conclusively that there could be critters on a moon of Jupiter or Saturn or any other high pressure sun free liquid environment.

Something else I find whack is the concept that life Must "evolve" (or at the very least live) inside the influence of a gravitational body... how did anybody ever come to That conclusion?? What's wrong with getting together in a nebula and calling that home? Honestly.

My own personal experience with "weird" life forms comes from close association with what we called Freezer Rats.

A quick search for Rats will show you that they tend to hang out with humans... you do Not find them in the Arctic, Ant-Arctic, or perpetually snow capped mountains unless there are humans around and even then it's rare. Like most critters they don't seem to dig on the cold too much, ya know?

So, in the 1970's the company I used to work for built themselves a nifty little cold storage unit... it could hold around 3 million pounds give or take. We kept the thing at -20 C (-4 F). This is the room we stored bait in, note the frost hanging from the pipes on the ceiling and the frost/snow covering the metal floor:

http://www.torbtown.com/alaska/alaska_150.html

This is a room where we kept people food, you can see the refrigeration pipes better in this shot, along with the perpetual shower of frost that rained down from them, and the industrial sized / strength boxes (totes) we kept fish in (along with one bozoboy to offer perspective)

http://www.torbtown.com/alaska/alaska_153.html

Okay, no biggy, I know, I'm getting there.

Apparently when they built the thing back in the 70's they built the thing around a viable colony of Wharf Rats (typical rats you see running around the various docks of the world... long tails, short greasy fur, long "buck" type teeth up front, molars in back, etc) before turning the thing on... because there's no way in 'ell that a viable Colony of rats would Ever voluntarily march into that inhospitable environment and set up shop when you could have ALL the fresh seafood you could ever want just rain down on you like mana from heaven out under the docks and under the cannery, and especially back by the reduction plant.

So this colony of rats got trapped in the cold storage unit, it got turned on and chilled down to -20C, and the freeking things didn't die... they Adapted. Not only did they Adapt, they have Obviously Evolved. They have evolved to the point where they are no longer suited to live in any other environment... Their tails are all but gone now, and even though their feet have these super thick pads on them they don't walk on their feet; their claws have grown much longer and stronger and they walk on claw tip (tippy toe) which helps to raise their bellies up off of the metal flooring (unlike their wharf rat brethren who slink around on their bellies alla the time) Their fur is between four and six inches long and is not greasy at all but is fluffed up... they look a lot like a Tribble from Star Trek, they really are just a puff ball with no visible head or tail. Their front, traditional rat like "buck" teeth have been replaced by short little needle sharp things, and their traditional rat molars have lost their cutting edge and look a lot more like a grain eaters molars than a meat eaters... Which didn't make much sense until you ponder what it is they are eating alla the time: Rock Hard Frozen Seafood. You can't slice that stuff, nor can you ever warm it enough to slice it or cut it... ya gotta Grind it up to eat it *shrugs*

The unit was built in the 70's, I started work there in 1990 and Freezer Rats were already well established by that time... I don't know how many litters they have a year but it's not alla That many, ergo they evolved FAST. I say Evolved because a mom had her litter in a live trap once and we got to investigate them quite closely (we were all fascinated by how anything could actually Live in there) The babies were born with fluffy fur, virtually no tail, thick pads and long claws on their feet... they didn't have teeth we could measure yet so Maybe they are filing their teeth down but I'm betting that's a genetic trait too.

Rats are a pretty mundane animal, they are not alla That special, ya know? But these rats adapted and evolved to survive in an incredibly hostile environment in a remarkably short period of time.

And folks try to tell me that life can only live, survive, and Thrive within a very narrow range of conditions *laughs*

ya, tell that to the rats.
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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby Access Denied » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:15 am

Reminds me of spaced out scientist dude’s line [Jeff Goldbloom] from Jurassic Park…

Henry Wu: You're implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will... breed?
Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way.


On the other hand rats don’t use tools.

More later…
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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby lost_shaman » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:27 am

mojo,

I think you're right, but in my opinion it is our ancestors who were in fact the 'Poster Children' for "Weirdo Aliens".

Let me quote to make a point...

"Instead of thriving on water, extraterrestrial organisms might live in a sea of liquid methane. Or instead of getting energy from the sun, they might thrive on hydrochloric acid. snip........
The report concludes that scientists need to consider an expanded list of characteristics that define life, including so-called "weird" life-forms that may thrive where Earth organisms couldn't."



The newly formed Earth four billion years ago was a very poisonous inhospitable place for carbon based life as we know it today. That being said 'our' carbon based ancestors found the "poisonous" Earth to be... well, Yummy! There is a massive layer of iron oxide spanning across the Earth that attests to the 'Yummy-ness' of the newly formed Earth to the first lifeforms inhabiting the planet. Our 'bread and butter' Oxygen was once simply a waste product of early life.

It was early life on Earth that literally terraformed the planet into what we know it as today. Such apparently is the nature of carbon based life... Pair that with the knowledge that we now know the Universe is teaming with organic matter and it seems quite likely that carbon based (organic) life forms will make up a majority of any life we might find in the Universe.

Seriously, are 'we' carbon based (organic) life forms not the "Weirdo Aliens" of the Galaxy/Universe?
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Re: Weirdo Aliens.

Postby Access Denied » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:47 am

mojo wrote:I'm no expert in biology or chemistry but some articles i found a while ago have fascinated me ever since, so i thought i'd share them with you all as well.

Cool, welcome to the club.

mojo wrote:I do happen to think that there is "other" life in the universe oither than what is found here, i don't however think that they are "grey's, nordic's or reptilians".

Agreed, there’s no reason not to believe they’re simply projections of ourselves from science fiction…. be they time travelers, undersea dwellers or whatnot.

mojo wrote:I think most if not all life that we may stumble across in the future will in fact probably have even less resemblance to us than those.

Who knows, you could be right…the really frustrating part is we only have one data point to go on as far as “highly advanced” intelligent life goes and I don’t see that changing anytime soon… although that may change somewhat should we find other examples of life in our own solar system… but even then I suspect it will be pretty similar to one of our own species. We already have millions of different “weirdo” life forms right here on Earth… many no doubt as yet undiscovered.

mojo wrote:Weirdo aliens

Why do we presume that alien life will necessarily be similar in its needs/shapes or thoughts to ourselves or other of earth's animals/organisms.

Who’s “we”? As your links show, many scientists, specifically those in the Astrobiology field, believe this to be an open question and don’t presume anything. That said however, in searching for other life in our own solar system, the logical first step (and when it comes to space exploration logic is dictated by budget) is to search for life as we know it first. Should that hypothesis be falsified then obviously the next logical step would be to look for other possibilities.

mojo wrote:I remember reading an excellent short story about humans landing on Pluto and tromping around the place and generally making a nuisance of themselves. It is only much later that they discover that these pretty little snowflake type things lying all over the planet that they were stomping through were actually lifeforms that they destroyed.
You can just see us doing something like this can't you.

I hate when that happens.

mojo wrote:We know so little about ourselves and our own enviroment that it amazes me that we could even begin to think what life on other planets may be like.

Well, we’ve got to start somewhere but I think we know a lot more than some of us would like to admit… eventually I’m afraid we’re going to reach a point of diminishing returns. Yeah I know, it wasn’t that long ago we thought we’d never see anybody go to the Moon but in the larger scheme of things it isn’t really that great of a leap… the next one is exponentially harder.

mojo wrote:I sure hope that when we do master space travel that we treat the worlds we visit with the utmost respect and take as much care as possible to protect any lifeforms that may exist on other planets from our usual gung-ho attitude to exploration.

I suspect that depends on who’s paying the bill if history is any kind of lesson. If it’s democratic governments doing the exploring they’re accountable to the taxpayers who fund it but if it’s dictatorships or privateers looking for exploitable resources then I’m afraid probably anything goes.

mojo wrote:Consider how we decimated our own species when europeans first passed on diseases to indigenous populations during exploration and discovery of our own world.
Consider the damage we could do on Alien worlds, or i guess, what alien microbes or bacteria could do to us.

Indeed, although from what I understand NASA and ESA are already pretty good about this but then again probably the only way to be 100% sure we don’t inadvertently adversely affect other worlds (or bring about our own extinction) is to observe them remotely…

To quote my hero Deborah Harry (Blondie)… “Accidents never happen in a perfect world…”

mojo wrote:So what these guy's are saying is, Yes, we do need to rethink the way that we view what shape, form, environment and energy is needed to harbour life.

Well, I doubt we’re going to find any other highly advanced lifeforms in our solar system by doing so if that’s you mean…

mojo wrote:OK, conjecture time.

Why would an intelligent alien need to have toolmaking ability.

To get to the other side?

[hopefully you get the reference]

I guess it really depends how you define intelligence… toolmaking ability is certainly one good sign but I don’t think it’s a necessary one. Dogs for example seem pretty intelligent to me but they don’t need tools to survive… they have built-in tools… paws, teeth, etc.

mojo wrote:An enormous gaseous amoeba type of creature floating in a gas giant planets atmoshere would have no need of toolmaking. It is able to interact with its enviroment by creating electricity within its body, it is the top of the food chain, it spends its life (lets say 1000years) floating around in social groups discussing mathematics or algebra, how much more advanced in that particular area of intelligence would that creature be.

I’m not sure I buy into that theory but I must admit I can’t really say why… just a feeling I have. I think something like that could be considered life just like an amoeba is but I don’t think it’s going to be complex enough to evolve in that kind of environment… and if it was I think it would eventually evolve into something we would easily recognize as complex intelligent life anyway.

mojo wrote:They are suggesting that life may in fact not need to be carbon based, or even organic!! Thats a seriously cool theory.

Agreed.

mojo wrote:Seems to me to be a rash of interesting articles and research being released lately dealing not only with the possibility of life being found elsewhere but exactly what form of biology that life may be like.

Yep, and to think some people accuse scientists of being incapable of thinking “outside the box” when in fact it’s all about expanding the box… systematically that is.

mojo wrote:So maybe were not that far away from creating our own "weirdo lookin' alien life".

Well, perhaps not but the real trick in my opinion would be creating intelligent life…

mojo wrote:Any thoughts on this?

You mean besides thinking you made an excellent presentation that deserves an equally well-considered response?

[sorry it took me so long]

I guess in general what stands out most to me is the need to define intelligence and to some extent what constitutes life… indeed one could argue the Universe itself is one giant organism.

[now on to your other post…]


Yikes, I’m afraid you lost me there…

[not you, the author]

mojo wrote:Will something as insubstantial as “information” be considered a “life form”?

Well, some in the metaphysical/philosophical crowd like to think of information as being interchangeable with energy and assign it some special meaning but in my opinion it’s an unnecessary and potentially misleading abstraction… in other words it’s just a different way of describing things and it doesn’t necessarily lead to any new insight into the true nature of reality.

[whatever the hell that is]

mojo wrote: http://www.interactions.org/cms/?pid=1012346

Quantum Universe presents the quest to explain the universe in terms of quantum physics, which governs the behavior of the microscopic, subatomic world. It describes a revolution in particle physics and a quantum leap in our understanding of the mystery and beauty of the universe.

Nine interrelated questions define the path ahead.

Oh cool, I hope you don’t mind if I have some fun with this…

1. Are there undiscovered principles of nature: new symmetries, new physical laws? Of significance in our macroscopic world?

2. How can we solve the mystery of dark energy? Better lighting?

3. Are there extra dimensions of space? If they’re extra do we really need them?

4. Do all forces become one? In the end or at the beginning?

5. Why are there so many kinds of particles? Because God is a sadist?

6. What is dark matter? How can we make it in the laboratory? Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

7. What are neutrinos telling us? Less than we want them to?

8. How did the universe come to be? Or not to be.

9. What happened to the antimatter? It went into hiding in the antiuniverse?

All joking aside, I’m definitely looking forward to finding out what the LHC reveals about these questions but personally I’d like to see Stephen Hawking’s bet and raise him a hundred…

Hawkings bets against Higgs’

Renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has bet 100 dollars (70 euros) that a mega-experiment this week will not find an elusive particle seen as a holy grail of cosmic science, he said Tuesday.

[snip]

"The LHC will increase the energy at which we can study particle interactions by a factor of four. According to present thinking, this should be enough to discover the Higgs particle," Hawking told BBC radio. "I think it will be much more exciting if we don't find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again.

[snip]

Physicists have long puzzled over how particles acquire mass. In 1964, a British physicist, Peter Higgs, came up with this idea: there must exist a background field that would act rather like treacle.

Particles passing through it would acquire mass by being dragged through a mediator, which theoreticians dubbed the Higgs Boson. The standard quip about the Higgs is that it is the "God Particle"—it is everywhere but remains frustratingly elusive. While questioning the likelihood of finding Higgs Bosons, Hawking said the experiment could discover superpartners, particles that would be "supersymmetric partners" to particles already known about.

"Their existence would be a key confirmation of string theory, and they could make up the mysterious dark matter that holds galaxies together," he told the BBC. "Whatever the LHC finds, or fails to find, the results will tell us a lot about the structure of the universe," he added.

Who am I to the question the smartest man alive? I know a hedge bet when I see one…

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