The odds of intelligent life in the universe

Two things.

  1. If someone is our there, do we really want them to know how insane thing have gotten since Jan. 20?
  2. Maybe someone is out there, has already found our transmissions and said, “Hell no!  Those people are crazy!”

Because look at it this way. Transmissions are radio waves. The first public radio broadcast was on Jan. 13, 1910, and it was music. Since radio waves travel at the speed of light, that means that broadcast has traveled for 107 years or a distance of 107 light years. Pretty far.

Since that time, we’ve broadcast everything from news to entertainment. So an alien civilization tuning in to the radio would think we’re a dangerous place, since entertainment includes science fiction about battling alien invasion (remember “War of the Worlds“?) and murder mysteries, not to mention actual wars and general mayhem that humans seem to enjoy so much..

Then we bring in television, and the first TV broadcast was in 1928 of a ventriloquist’s dummy. Since that time, we’ve broadcast images of war, destruction, murder and mayhem that’s travelled 89 light years. Seeing destruction is much more unnerving that hearing destruction.

So maybe the first thing they saw wasn’t death and destruction, but they caught the first television broadcast in the United States, which happened in 1936. What would civilizations that live 80 light years away from us have seen?

OK, it’s official. Humans are weird. Stay away.