the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
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01-08-2013, 03:49 AM
Star the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
I'm referring to the book b/c the aliens are described a bit more detailed than in the movie. Since the story is mostly based on scientific hypotheses/theories that might be possible, but haven't been proven yet, I'd like to take a closer look at the aliens Sagan writes about. Some of the characteristics I extracted are:

1. They can go "inside people's heads" and read their dreams, with which they trade in order to collect information.
2. They most likely look a bit different than us (as it states in the book, they don't have 10 fingers)
3. They seem to be a so called Type III civilization (correct me if I'm wrong), as they can do interstellar travel at Cygnus A

I am wondering on what hypotheses or theories the infos we already have are based on.

Moving on from there, to make things more fun, we can only imagine what else could be about them? Apart from the evolutionary aspects, or their procreation how would they live, what would they like, feel, thrive for, what would be their core values etc, leaving out any supernatural woo-woo and use what our current knowledge provides us with, which isn't less stunning. Thoughts?

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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01-08-2013, 04:18 AM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 03:49 AM)pxlgirl Wrote:  I'm referring to the book b/c the aliens are described a bit more detailed than in the movie. Since the story is mostly based on scientific hypotheses/theories that might be possible, but haven't been proven yet, I'd like to take a closer look at the aliens Sagan writes about. Some of the characteristics I extracted are:

1. They can go "inside people's heads" and read their dreams, with which they trade in order to collect information.
2. They most likely look a bit different than us (as it states in the book, they don't have 10 fingers)
3. They seem to be a so called Type III civilization (correct me if I'm wrong), as they can do interstellar travel at Cygnus A

I am wondering on what hypotheses or theories the infos we already have are based on.

Moving on from there, to make things more fun, we can only imagine what else could be about them? Apart from the evolutionary aspects, or their procreation how would they live, what would they like, feel, thrive for, what would be their core values etc, leaving out any supernatural woo-woo and use what our current knowledge provides us with, which isn't less stunning. Thoughts?

Unfortunately the founding idea of this and SETI has been proven to be based on faulty data. Radio waves do not last forever they instead break up (I believe it is within 4 light years might be sooner) to be fair to Dr Sagan no one knew this at the time. It is actually quite sad we thought that our culture in the form of radio and television was going out into the cold emptiness of space to maybe someday be discovered by an Alien intelligence who would then attempt to decipher the meaning but in truth all those signals have just broken down into white noise not too much past our solar system (far to soon to have even reached the next system over let alone the far reaches of the galaxy)

Now as to Sagans Aliens (I must confess to not have read the book and only briefly glanced at the movie) I don't see how one could rule anything out given that we have no baseline (apart from earth) as to how evolution could produce a sentient species capable of space travel. Would they need to be Bipedal or for that matter even Carbon based? If we base our model to only Carbon based life (ie life as we know it) That still leaves us with almost endless variations though a few guesses can be made based on current knowledge.

First they would most likely be a pack or clan based species (intelligence seems to be favored more in that type of group setting vs loners Dogs for example are smarter than cats) They would also be at least Omnivores if not Carnivores (brain growth requires protein and hunters are generally more intelligent than their prey) past these few requirements (and even they are at best speculatory) I'm not sure what you could eliminate knowing the wide variety of planets that are in the "goldilocks zone" all the "Super Earths" with vastly different gravity and ecosystems (in theory anyway). Maybe one of the requirements for life to survive is a Binary planetary system (the earth and the moon) and any planet that does not have a satellite that is of comparable size has to violent of a rotational shift to sustain life.

So I'll toss Omnivore/Carnivore Pack/Clan based Evolution into the mix of our hypothetical Aliens.

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01-08-2013, 06:47 AM (This post was last modified: 01-08-2013 01:34 PM by Logica Humano.)
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 04:18 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Unfortunately the founding idea of this and SETI has been proven to be based on faulty data. Radio waves do not last forever they instead break up (I believe it is within 4 light years might be sooner) to be fair to Dr Sagan no one knew this at the time. It is actually quite sad we thought that our culture in the form of radio and television was going out into the cold emptiness of space to maybe someday be discovered by an Alien intelligence who would then attempt to decipher the meaning but in truth all those signals have just broken down into white noise not too much past our solar system (far to soon to have even reached the next system over let alone the far reaches of the galaxy)

Now as to Sagans Aliens (I must confess to not have read the book and only briefly glanced at the movie) I don't see how one could rule anything out given that we have no baseline (apart from earth) as to how evolution could produce a sentient species capable of space travel. Would they need to be Bipedal or for that matter even Carbon based? If we base our model to only Carbon based life (ie life as we know it) That still leaves us with almost endless variations though a few guesses can be made based on current knowledge.

First they would most likely be a pack or clan based species (intelligence seems to be favored more in that type of group setting vs loners Dogs for example are smarter than cats) They would also be at least Omnivores if not Carnivores (brain growth requires protein and hunters are generally more intelligent than their prey) past these few requirements (and even they are at best speculatory) I'm not sure what you could eliminate knowing the wide variety of planets that are in the "goldilocks zone" all the "Super Earths" with vastly different gravity and ecosystems (in theory anyway). Maybe one of the requirements for life to survive is a Binary planetary system (the earth and the moon) and any planet that does not have a satellite that is of comparable size has to violent of a rotational shift to sustain life.

So I'll toss Omnivore/Carnivore Pack/Clan based Evolution into the mix of our hypothetical Aliens.

To build on what my good friend here has said, aliens would most probably share similar facial characteristics. Their eyes would be pointing front if they are hunters, their ears would be positioned to listen for prey, and (assuming their mouth would even be on their face) they would have some form of teeth, etc.

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01-08-2013, 09:16 AM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 04:18 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(01-08-2013 03:49 AM)pxlgirl Wrote:  I'm referring to the book b/c the aliens are described a bit more detailed than in the movie. Since the story is mostly based on scientific hypotheses/theories that might be possible, but haven't been proven yet, I'd like to take a closer look at the aliens Sagan writes about. Some of the characteristics I extracted are:

1. They can go "inside people's heads" and read their dreams, with which they trade in order to collect information.
2. They most likely look a bit different than us (as it states in the book, they don't have 10 fingers)
3. They seem to be a so called Type III civilization (correct me if I'm wrong), as they can do interstellar travel at Cygnus A

I am wondering on what hypotheses or theories the infos we already have are based on.

Moving on from there, to make things more fun, we can only imagine what else could be about them? Apart from the evolutionary aspects, or their procreation how would they live, what would they like, feel, thrive for, what would be their core values etc, leaving out any supernatural woo-woo and use what our current knowledge provides us with, which isn't less stunning. Thoughts?

Unfortunately the founding idea of this and SETI has been proven to be based on faulty data. Radio waves do not last forever they instead break up (I believe it is within 4 light years might be sooner) to be fair to Dr Sagan no one knew this at the time. It is actually quite sad we thought that our culture in the form of radio and television was going out into the cold emptiness of space to maybe someday be discovered by an Alien intelligence who would then attempt to decipher the meaning but in truth all those signals have just broken down into white noise not too much past our solar system (far to soon to have even reached the next system over let alone the far reaches of the galaxy)

Now as to Sagans Aliens (I must confess to not have read the book and only briefly glanced at the movie) I don't see how one could rule anything out given that we have no baseline (apart from earth) as to how evolution could produce a sentient species capable of space travel. Would they need to be Bipedal or for that matter even Carbon based? If we base our model to only Carbon based life (ie life as we know it) That still leaves us with almost endless variations though a few guesses can be made based on current knowledge.

First they would most likely be a pack or clan based species (intelligence seems to be favored more in that type of group setting vs loners Dogs for example are smarter than cats) They would also be at least Omnivores if not Carnivores (brain growth requires protein and hunters are generally more intelligent than their prey) past these few requirements (and even they are at best speculatory) I'm not sure what you could eliminate knowing the wide variety of planets that are in the "goldilocks zone" all the "Super Earths" with vastly different gravity and ecosystems (in theory anyway). Maybe one of the requirements for life to survive is a Binary planetary system (the earth and the moon) and any planet that does not have a satellite that is of comparable size has to violent of a rotational shift to sustain life.

So I'll toss Omnivore/Carnivore Pack/Clan based Evolution into the mix of our hypothetical Aliens.

What do you mean by "break up"? No, the radio waves just keep going.

Since you've neither read the book nor seen the movie, your comments on "Sagan's aliens" are applicable how?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-08-2013, 10:58 AM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 09:16 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-08-2013 04:18 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Unfortunately the founding idea of this and SETI has been proven to be based on faulty data. Radio waves do not last forever they instead break up (I believe it is within 4 light years might be sooner) to be fair to Dr Sagan no one knew this at the time. It is actually quite sad we thought that our culture in the form of radio and television was going out into the cold emptiness of space to maybe someday be discovered by an Alien intelligence who would then attempt to decipher the meaning but in truth all those signals have just broken down into white noise not too much past our solar system (far to soon to have even reached the next system over let alone the far reaches of the galaxy)

Now as to Sagans Aliens (I must confess to not have read the book and only briefly glanced at the movie) I don't see how one could rule anything out given that we have no baseline (apart from earth) as to how evolution could produce a sentient species capable of space travel. Would they need to be Bipedal or for that matter even Carbon based? If we base our model to only Carbon based life (ie life as we know it) That still leaves us with almost endless variations though a few guesses can be made based on current knowledge.

First they would most likely be a pack or clan based species (intelligence seems to be favored more in that type of group setting vs loners Dogs for example are smarter than cats) They would also be at least Omnivores if not Carnivores (brain growth requires protein and hunters are generally more intelligent than their prey) past these few requirements (and even they are at best speculatory) I'm not sure what you could eliminate knowing the wide variety of planets that are in the "goldilocks zone" all the "Super Earths" with vastly different gravity and ecosystems (in theory anyway). Maybe one of the requirements for life to survive is a Binary planetary system (the earth and the moon) and any planet that does not have a satellite that is of comparable size has to violent of a rotational shift to sustain life.

So I'll toss Omnivore/Carnivore Pack/Clan based Evolution into the mix of our hypothetical Aliens.

What do you mean by "break up"? No, the radio waves just keep going.


http://zidbits.com/2011/07/how-far-have-...rom-earth/

Quote:As radio signals leave earth, they propagate out in a wave form. Just like dropping a stone in a lake, the waves diffuse or “spread out” over distance thanks to the exponentially larger area they must encompass. The area can be calculated by multiplying length times width which is why we measure it in square units – square centimeters, square miles, etc. This means that the further away from the source, the more square units of area a signal has to ‘illuminate’.inverse square law

Another way to think of it, is that the strength of a radio signal will be only 1/4 as great once you are twice the distance from the source. At ten times the distance, the strength of the signal would only be one hundredth as great.

Because of this inverse square law, all of our radio signals become indistinguishable from background noise at around a few light-years from earth. For a civilization only a couple hundred light-years away, trying to listen to our broadcasts would be like trying to detect the small ripple from a pebble dropped in the pacific ocean off the coast of California – from Japan.

That is what I meant by break up. Bad use of verbiage as dissipate would be more correct. As the radio waves get further from earth they become weaker and weaker until they are indistinguishable from the background noise (Saturn for instance can be heard on old radios it's in the high AM setting somewhere I believe)

(01-08-2013 09:16 AM)Chas Wrote:  Since you've neither read the book nor seen the movie, your comments on "Sagan's aliens" are applicable how?

I didn't comment on "Sagan's Aliens" directly, only commented that (as per the OP's instruction) we could not rule very much out and could only make some vague guesses as to their nature. Since (I thought) the nature of this thread was speculation on what a possible intelligent Alien species would be like (within proven scientific parameters) that is what I attempted to pursue.

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01-08-2013, 11:20 AM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
Radio wave intensity drops off with distance.

A very high powered, tight beam, directed towards likely candidate stars, might just work (this is what's detected in the story). And that's always what we've been looking for - deliberate signals, as opposed to incidental ones. Notwithstanding certain technologies which would have rather characteristic signatures regardless - but they've only been more recently theorized.

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01-08-2013, 01:36 PM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
I always thought that radio waves (or any kind of radiation for that matter) is a lousy way to find alien life. Imagine, if we could travel faster than light, or something to that effect, we wouldn't communicate using radio waves. Or at least that would be the least used technology.
We don't use messengers or smoke signals or stuff like that since a few centuries. We only use paper mail for bills and some romantic stuff and that's it.
A civilization that figured FTL travel surely has an ansible or some form of instantaneous communication and probably they use radio (if at all) for some minor thing that we'll hardly hear. Maybe they even don't use radio at all and for the minor thing they use light pulses as we do with optic fibre.

So maybe they could be flying above us and we wouldn't hear their communications. If we really want to hear them we should try to develop this kind of technology first.

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01-08-2013, 03:05 PM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 01:36 PM)nach_in Wrote:  I always thought that radio waves (or any kind of radiation for that matter) is a lousy way to find alien life. Imagine, if we could travel faster than light, or something to that effect, we wouldn't communicate using radio waves. Or at least that would be the least used technology.
We don't use messengers or smoke signals or stuff like that since a few centuries. We only use paper mail for bills and some romantic stuff and that's it.
A civilization that figured FTL travel surely has an ansible or some form of instantaneous communication and probably they use radio (if at all) for some minor thing that we'll hardly hear. Maybe they even don't use radio at all and for the minor thing they use light pulses as we do with optic fibre.

So maybe they could be flying above us and we wouldn't hear their communications. If we really want to hear them we should try to develop this kind of technology first.

SETI is designed to look for far away aliens, not ones flying over our heads.

It doesn't assume space travel, just radio technology.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-08-2013, 03:16 PM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 03:05 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-08-2013 01:36 PM)nach_in Wrote:  I always thought that radio waves (or any kind of radiation for that matter) is a lousy way to find alien life. Imagine, if we could travel faster than light, or something to that effect, we wouldn't communicate using radio waves. Or at least that would be the least used technology.
We don't use messengers or smoke signals or stuff like that since a few centuries. We only use paper mail for bills and some romantic stuff and that's it.
A civilization that figured FTL travel surely has an ansible or some form of instantaneous communication and probably they use radio (if at all) for some minor thing that we'll hardly hear. Maybe they even don't use radio at all and for the minor thing they use light pulses as we do with optic fibre.

So maybe they could be flying above us and we wouldn't hear their communications. If we really want to hear them we should try to develop this kind of technology first.

SETI is designed to look for far away aliens, not ones flying over our heads.

It doesn't assume space travel, just radio technology.

you don't say! ever heard of a hyperbole Chas?

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01-08-2013, 06:40 PM
RE: the aliens in Sagan's book "Contact"
(01-08-2013 03:16 PM)nach_in Wrote:  
(01-08-2013 03:05 PM)Chas Wrote:  SETI is designed to look for far away aliens, not ones flying over our heads.

It doesn't assume space travel, just radio technology.

you don't say! ever heard of a hyperbole Chas?

Apparently didn't recognize this instance. No

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