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.

When Oprah met Mary

I didn’t realize the death of Mary Tyler Moore would affect me this much, but here’s another moving moment that I didn’t realize happened until last week:

Mary Tyler Moore inspired more women than you could ever imagine. Even the most powerful woman in television. Which made Mary the most powerful woman ever.

A colorful memory in black and white

One thing I noticed when Mary Tyler Moore died last week was this photo accompanying her obituary:

ap7008290251This is a 1970 still from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Anyone notice anything strange about it?

It’s 1970. They had color TV in 1970. The show was in color.

Here. I’ll show you. This is the famous line from the first episode:

Why is the photo black and white?

Here’s a link to the obit in the Washington Post and the New York Times. Even the Guardian in London went black and white.

I suspect it’s because the networks sent production stills to newspapers in black and white because few newspapers had color capacity in the 1970s. (That’s right, kids. Color was a relatively new thing for newspapers in the late 20th century. That’s probably why print is dying.)

Or maybe we were all poor back then and only saw the show on black and white televisions and don’t remember it any other way?