On the astounding lack of extraterrestrials round Here
See the original posting on Boing Boing
If youve ever looked around and wondered, where are all the aliens, hit Play, below. No, you wont find an alien. But youll hear a luxuriously unhurried interview with British astronomer Stephen Webb. He has probably given this question more careful thought than any living person, and many (but by no means all) of his reflections can be found in his brilliant book, Where Is Everybody.
This is the eighth episode of my podcast series (co-hosted by Tom Merritt), which launched here on Boing Boing last month. The series goes deep into the science, tech, and sociological issues explored in my novel After On but no familiarity with the novel is necessary to listen to it.
Todays interviewee is a world-leading expert on the subject of Fermis paradox which is encapsulated in his books title. And the paradoxs roots are quite literally as old as Earth itself.
Life arose here presumably from dead matter almost as soon as the collisions and volcanism of planetary formation calmed enough to permit its existence. If thats a normal pattern, billions of planets out there should harbor some form of life. Because some of those planets are billions of years older than ours, their brainier occupants could have far surpassed todays technology when our forerunners still had fins. Yet we see no evidence of this. And its not for a lack of seeking it, as there are scientists who have done little else for decades.
There isnt just one possible solution to Fermis paradox. There are at least 75 by Stephens count, and we discuss several. Our interview is delightfully wide-ranging, as Fermi solutions touch on every aspect of science, and several branches of sociology. This makes the paradox a worthy subject of study for anyone – even those with zero interest in extraterrestrials.
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