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Friday, January 28, 2011


I'm going to be in the air or on the road for most of the next several days. This Android phone will be my only access to this blog until next Tuesday. Expect shorter posts without lots of photos and graphics, and probably more typos since I can't actually see all of the screen. If it works out, I'm going to start writing about SETI, and things like the Drake Equation, the Fermi Paradox and the Great Silence. The more we learn about abiogenesis and astronomy, the more ubiquitous life in the universe seems likely to be. But life, even intelligent life, does not equate to life which broadcasts radio signals. By this definition of "intelligence" there was no intelligent life on earth until Marconi, and Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh are more intelligent than Isaac Newton. And fireflies, by communicating with deliberately phased electromagnetic pulses, were intelligent millions of years before Marconi.

Arguably there are many intelligent species on earth, from primates and cetaceans to corvids and octopi. But of the millions of species on earth past and present, only humans have developed tools more sophisticated than the digging-stick. One less species on earth, and earth would not be broadcasting its intelligence into the cosmos, in the form of Knight Rider reruns.

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