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Old 10th May 2012, 09:11 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I never said these were impossible. How about you make that your contribution?

What is the basis for the doubt expressed in this post.

Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Though I doubt they would have many of the bird's characteristics.


Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Which ones do you think are reasonable?


Triantiwontigongolopes.
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Old 10th May 2012, 12:31 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Thanks for all that. I'm working on a novel that takes place on another planet and I want the flora and fauna to be technically correct. So what life will likely be like in any Earth-like environment vs what is random is where I'm starting when developing the planet scenario.
I'd say don't get so tied up in background detail that you lose the story.
There is no "correct". There are many "feasibles".
Quote:
I've been to Meteor Crater but kick myself for being close to Chicxulub but I didn't know about it at the time or I would have gone to see the remnants of it.
I doubt you missed anything. It took Pemex years to prove there was anything there at all. I expect you went to see Mayan ruins which was likely a far more rewarding use of your time. Besides, it's always nice to have a reason to go back. If you ever find yourself in Nordlingen, Bavaria, don't miss the Ries crater museum.
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Old 10th May 2012, 12:33 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Akhenaten View Post
Or none of them.

eliminate the mollusc or insect characteristics

No love for bacteria

Why?

In what way? What's so interesting about the way flies read?


Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
If you ever find yourself in Nordlingen, Bavaria, and aren't drunk out of your mind, don't miss the Ries crater museum.
ftfy

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Old 10th May 2012, 12:48 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Intelligence and predation may be common, but socialization also requires intelligence.
Predation is expensive. i'd sooner guess that the next 'crown of creation' that we encounter will be photosynthesizing, or at least, gmo's enough to handle long periods of inadequate nutrition.

On earth, there is a certain 'theme' to the organisms that have stood the longest test of time. We aren't one of them, of course.

If only our arrogance could make up for obvious short-comings, we'd be the tits. or 'the man'. god-like. There's a massive wooish disconnect, to me, in any realistic long range view of our amazingly short history, which is now in major jeopardy, because of us.

Not saying we weren't an interesting experiment.

Um, what % of time have we managed, compared to a snapping turtle or a crocodile?

We're a blip, people.
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Old 10th May 2012, 01:47 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
If only our arrogance could make up for obvious short-comings, we'd be the tits. or 'the man'. god-like.
Well you know, some of us are God-like already
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Old 10th May 2012, 05:56 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I'd say don't get so tied up in background detail that you lose the story.
There is no "correct". There are many "feasibles".
Not an issue. The flora and fauna are just some background included in the environment the story takes place in. But in part of the story people live in the wilderness and I do want to it to be interesting.

Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I doubt you missed anything. It took Pemex years to prove there was anything there at all. I expect you went to see Mayan ruins which was likely a far more rewarding use of your time. Besides, it's always nice to have a reason to go back. If you ever find yourself in Nordlingen, Bavaria, don't miss the Ries crater museum.
I would have looked for shocked quartz or some shatter cones. As for the ruins, yeah, I've seen a lot including the equinox at Chichén Itzá. I also had a cool map some graduate student made doing a study of the area. We found lots of pottery shards and cenotes around the countryside.
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Old 10th May 2012, 06:01 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
Whatever some intelligent alien from another planet looks like, I suspect it will be a predator.
.
This month's ANALOG..."To Save Man"...H.G. Stratmann... couple of telepathic aliens dock with the ISS.... and then the hi-jinks begin...
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Old 10th May 2012, 06:03 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Intelligence and predation may be common, but socialization also requires intelligence.
.
Ravens socialize.
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Old 10th May 2012, 07:31 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
.
This month's ANALOG..."To Save Man"...H.G. Stratmann... couple of telepathic aliens dock with the ISS.... and then the hi-jinks begin...
Is it a takeoff on "To Serve Man"?
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Old 10th May 2012, 07:49 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
On earth, there is a certain 'theme' to the organisms that have stood the longest test of time. We aren't one of them, of course.
The theme is generalist, and HomSap has that with added technology. We're going to be around for a good while yet.
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Old 10th May 2012, 07:52 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Akhenaten View Post
Triantiwontigongolopes.
Taste like chicken, from what I've heard.
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Old 10th May 2012, 08:28 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by CapelDodger View Post
The theme is generalist, and HomSap has that with added technology. We're going to be around for a good while yet.
Whatever.

My money's on the intestinal flora in my colon.
I've been transferring my consciousness to them.

They could be around for a long while.

But what on earth gives humans a sense of their long term success?
is it a religious belief?

It always feels religious to me, when i sense it coming from atheists.
Our manifest destiny. Our big dealism.

We're we really created in the image of the fsm?
What are we going to do when the spaghetti starts to fall off hon-god's face?
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Old 11th May 2012, 12:12 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Intelligence and predation may be common, but socialization also requires intelligence.
Agreed. Lions socialize.
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Old 11th May 2012, 05:29 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Whatever.

My money's on the intestinal flora in my colon.
I've been transferring my consciousness to them.

They could be around for a long while.

But what on earth gives humans a sense of their long term success?
is it a religious belief?

It always feels religious to me, when i sense it coming from atheists.
Our manifest destiny. Our big dealism.

We're we really created in the image of the fsm?
What are we going to do when the spaghetti starts to fall off hon-god's face?
I think this morbid fixation with the demise of selfish and arrogant mankind seems a bit religious as well. It seems more an issue of a glass being half full or half empty, I don't see what is so convincing about fixating on our demise as you seem to be doing. I'm just speculating as I go along, but I think our biggest danger is disease or natural catastrophe like volcanic eruption and disasters from space.

When it comes down to dying over manipulating our environment and resources, I would think societies and civilizations would collapse before the species itself is extinct. Which in a way is a self emergent defense to keep isolated populations protected from the demise of our species as a whole. I don't think our weapons are enough to wipe us all out. But our manipulation of diseases could be different and could lead to wiping the whole species out possibly. Possibly an overreaction to averting a perceived catastrophe could have ramifications which could lead to killing us all.

But I don't see us dying because we're selfish or arrogant. That seems more like a cynical observation born of a jaded life experience.
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Old 11th May 2012, 05:40 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
I think this morbid fixation with the demise of selfish and arrogant mankind seems a bit religious as well. It seems more an issue of a glass being half full or half empty, I don't see what is so convincing about fixating on our demise as you seem to be doing. I'm just speculating as I go along, but I think our biggest danger is disease or natural catastrophe like volcanic eruption and disasters from space.

When it comes down to dying over manipulating our environment and resources, I would think societies and civilizations would collapse before the species itself is extinct. ....
My thoughts entirely.

I can also see rise+fall, rise+fall, leading eventually to a realisation that we are not gods with limitless abilities, and an acceptance of a more conservative, sedate civilisation.
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Old 11th May 2012, 06:00 AM   #96
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Well,
I'd sure like to see things turn around for humans, but without acknowledging the collision course we're on, how is that going to happen?
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:06 AM   #97
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Well, a nice, global plague that killed everyone over 60 would leave the survivors wealthier and solve the UK pensions crisis.
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:29 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Well, a nice, global plague that killed everyone over 60 would leave the survivors wealthier and solve the UK pensions crisis.
Interesting use of the word "nice" . . .
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:54 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Is it a takeoff on "To Serve Man"?
.
Doesn't appear that way overtly, but the aliens do seed the earth to reduce the need for strife, when they leave.
There's another in that ANALOG where humans meet aquatic aliens with mechanical ability.
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Old 11th May 2012, 09:20 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Well,
I'd sure like to see things turn around for humans, but without acknowledging the collision course we're on, how is that going to happen?
I think we've arguably overcome worse already as a species. Though current problems do pose some rather unique challenges as opposed to what we've overcome.

But just looking at what we have overcome in the face of the opposition, I think there's probable cause to allow for some hope.

At one time all the power on Earth was in the hands of people that were given it by divine right by the powers of creation and for no more justification than being born into the right family. Not only did they have all the resources, but they had the lethal military power to keep it.

These people had no interest in relinquishing that power and no need to, yet eventually human pressures and demands and our sense of altruism have turned this idea of inherited power into a concept we deem embarrassing by society's standards today.

The same for slavery, and the same for civil rights for women and for foreign races. I don't think anybody has a more vested interest in keeping us on a path to destruction than people once had for subjugating the population or hording their wealth. Yet we have instituted systems today (which of course are far from perfect), yet these systems are founded upon and celebrate an idealism based on the promotion of the common welfare and an inherent right to freedom for all.

Corruption is an ever present specter to be dealt with, but I think it says a lot about what we've done as a species considering nobody ever had a more vested interest in nuclear weapons or other dangers to humanity than once kings had in their divine right of power by birth or the slave owner his divine power over his slaves.

And while we are still facing an uphill struggle with the distribution of wealth and power and the stewardship of our environment, I think it says a lot that these concepts of human subjugation and selfishness are condemned in the ethos of the majority of our world today and are something we look back on with embarrassment.

It does seem that the more progress we make, the larger the danger of failure becomes. And it does seem that many forget the lessons history demonstrates, and while the successes of our species them self now have given rise to dangers threatening our global welfare, so far so good.
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Old 11th May 2012, 03:20 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by quarky
I'd sure like to see things turn around for humans, but without acknowledging the collision course we're on, how is that going to happen?
Peter Ward gives his (very sound and well-thought-out) reasoning in "Future Evolution". Basically, we may hurt ourselves somewhat, but there has never been any single event that can wipe us out and we share numerous characteristics with lineages that tend to be long-lived (cosmopolitan generalists that can easily adapt to numerous environments, foods, etc). Even if there was a nuclear war there are many, many groups living in areas simply too remote to bomb. Really, the only thing going against our survival is our relatively long childhoods.

Quote:
Predation is expensive. i'd sooner guess that the next 'crown of creation' that we encounter will be photosynthesizing, or at least, gmo's enough to handle long periods of inadequate nutrition.
Predation may be expensive, but it's also inevitable. SOME organism is going to eat others. And photosynthesizing, on land at least, doesn't seem to require anything in the way of intelligence. Remember, plants got to land first--they've had more time to adapt to it than we have. And photosynthesizers in the oceans are the ones that move around. Many animals in the oceans are benthic, sessile detrituse feeders.

If plants were going to be the brains of the operation, I'd expect them to already BE the brains of the operation, on Earth anyway.

I'm not saying that plants CAN'T become intelligent--in fact I gave a fairly plausible route for them becoming intelligent on Earth. But I object to both the notion that they will NECESSARILY become intelligent, and that heterotrophes are somehow unlikely. There's simply no basis for either assertion.

Originally Posted by rjh01
Just done a Google search for characteristics of mammals, reptiles and birds. Any alien animal could have almost any combination of any of these characteristics.
I want to point out that you're biasing your results to a single phylum (Chordata). It's equally likely that our alien overloards will be some sort of mullusk, or arthropod (more likely, actually, since arthropods are the most successfull of any animal lineage), or Ediacaran critter, or something so weird that paleontologists have never encountered it (and that's saying quite a lot right there!). This is a common bias, and it leads to a very weird view of potential alien life--the view that dominates the Star Wars/Star Trek universes.
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Old 11th May 2012, 04:24 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Really, the only thing going against our survival is our relatively long childhoods.
That is interesting, and I agree. It's strange to see someone like Turkana boy being the size of an adult human and learning through the diurnal cycles in his teeth that he was probably only 8 years old. It's kind of scary to imagine the world of today with elementary schools filled with hairy young men and women.
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Old 11th May 2012, 06:41 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
That is interesting, and I agree. It's strange to see someone like Turkana boy being the size of an adult human and learning through the diurnal cycles in his teeth that he was probably only 8 years old. It's kind of scary to imagine the world of today with elementary schools filled with hairy young men and women.
...we're posting on an internet forum. Is it really that different?
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Old 11th May 2012, 07:34 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Peter Ward gives his (very sound and well-thought-out) reasoning in "Future Evolution". Basically, we may hurt ourselves somewhat, but there has never been any single event that can wipe us out and we share numerous characteristics with lineages that tend to be long-lived (cosmopolitan generalists that can easily adapt to numerous environments, foods, etc). Even if there was a nuclear war there are many, many groups living in areas simply too remote to bomb. Really, the only thing going against our survival is our relatively long childhoods.

Predation may be expensive, but it's also inevitable. SOME organism is going to eat others. And photosynthesizing, on land at least, doesn't seem to require anything in the way of intelligence. Remember, plants got to land first--they've had more time to adapt to it than we have. And photosynthesizers in the oceans are the ones that move around. Many animals in the oceans are benthic, sessile detrituse feeders.

If plants were going to be the brains of the operation, I'd expect them to already BE the brains of the operation, on Earth anyway.

I'm not saying that plants CAN'T become intelligent--in fact I gave a fairly plausible route for them becoming intelligent on Earth. But I object to both the notion that they will NECESSARILY become intelligent, and that heterotrophes are somehow unlikely. There's simply no basis for either assertion.

I want to point out that you're biasing your results to a single phylum (Chordata). It's equally likely that our alien overloards will be some sort of mullusk, or arthropod (more likely, actually, since arthropods are the most successfull of any animal lineage), or Ediacaran critter, or something so weird that paleontologists have never encountered it (and that's saying quite a lot right there!). This is a common bias, and it leads to a very weird view of potential alien life--the view that dominates the Star Wars/Star Trek universes.
Well, you're no fun to debate, because you actually know stuff.

But, the point I was trying to make is this timeline we can look at here.
Certain species of reptiles have really hung in there. they may continue to do so, based on past performance. Why shouldn't that basic design be the one to evolve into the niche that rewards intelligence?

is a cold-blooded intelligent creature unlikely? I have no idea.
Giant fungal networks? Slime molds the size of Texas on Europa?
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:14 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by quarky
But, the point I was trying to make is this timeline we can look at here.
You and I likely have a very different perspective on this.

Quote:
Certain species of reptiles have really hung in there. they may continue to do so, based on past performance. Why shouldn't that basic design be the one to evolve into the niche that rewards intelligence?
Very simple. Reptiles are tetrapod vertebrates that utilize amniotic eggs. Vertebrates don't necessarily have to exist--in fact, many of the first fish had exoskeletons. The fish that comes onto land may be a hexapod--the number of limbs is contingent upon the number of fins of the fish that migrates onto land. External reproduction may not occur--that planet may be dominated by some other mechanism. And amniotic eggs may not be favored--after all, the only impetus for it on Earth was the amount of land far from water. If there's less, there's less pressure to adapt to more arid environments.

It wouldn't surprise me that reptiles didn't evolve on another planet. What should surprise us is that they DID on OUR planet.

You always have to bear in mind that the overwhelming majority of our history--4/5 of it, 4 BILLION years--occurred without the presence of recordable multicellular life (ie, life with hard or at least stiff parts). ANYTHING other than something akin to cyanobacteria would be fantastically improbable.

Quote:
is a cold-blooded intelligent creature unlikely? I have no idea.
Giant fungal networks? Slime molds the size of Texas on Europa?
Sure. Slime molds are known to be able to learn, so it's likely that they can adapt to think.
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Old 11th May 2012, 09:16 PM   #106
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that's a relief.

But the size of Texas?
Or, in Texas?

Are you saying that Texas, could in fact, be a giant slime mold?
because that's what I'm hearing, and it gives me faith.
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Old 11th May 2012, 10:26 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by quarky
But the size of Texas?
Or, in Texas?
It's not out of the question to have a slime mold-like organism the size of the planet (assuming it has sufficiently connected suitable habitat). In some senses, we may have one here on Earth, in the form of the internet.

I leave political commentary out of my discussions of exotic life. It's easier on my brain that way. Discussing the biosphere, and exotic biospheres, is a pleasant and enriching activity. Discussing politics is akin to watching porn: it can be fun, but you're not doing anything productive and I always end up with the sense that I could have done so much more with my time.
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Old 12th May 2012, 06:46 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
...

is a cold-blooded intelligent creature unlikely? I have no idea.
Giant fungal networks? Slime molds the size of Texas on Europa?
The brain requires a lot of oxygen that a cold blooded design is unlikely to be able to supply.

But some different kind of brain we've yet to conceptualize is another story. Octopi are extremely intelligent as far as squishy life goes. My understanding is their brains are not as centralized as ours.

Octopus Arms Found to Have "Minds" of Their Own
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Old 12th May 2012, 07:00 AM   #109
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I was looking for a link to the octopus brain and came across these two links that convey the concept I first mentioned in this thread:

The Octopus: A Model for a Comparative Analysis of the Evolution of Learning and Memory Mechanisms
Quote:
Comparative analysis of brain function in invertebrates with sophisticated behaviors, such as the octopus, may advance our understanding of the evolution of the neural processes that mediate complex behaviors. Until the last few years, this approach was infeasible due to the lack of neurophysiological tools for testing the neural circuits mediating learning and memory in the brains of octopus and other cephalopods. Now, for the first time, the adaptation of modern neurophysiological methods to the study of the central nervous system of the octopus allows this avenue of research. The emerging results suggest that a convergent evolutionary process has led to the selection of vertebrate-like neural organization and activity-dependent long-term synaptic plasticity. As octopuses and vertebrates are very remote phylogenetically, this convergence suggests the importance of the shared properties for the mediation of learning and memory.
And PZ's discussion of it where I got the link from: Octopus brains
Quote:
Even something as specific as the neurobiology of learning and memory benefits from the evolutionary approach. By comparing different systems, we can identify the commonalities linked to function, and thereby come closer to finding generalizable rules and principles rather than the usual welter of details.
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Old 12th May 2012, 11:04 PM   #110
Craig B
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
is a cold-blooded intelligent creature unlikely? I have no idea.
Giant fungal networks? Slime molds the size of Texas on Europa?
What about the "Black Cloud" in Fred Hoyle's 1957 sci fi novel. See wiki
Quote:
As the behaviour of the cloud proves to be impossible to predict scientifically, the team at Nortonstowe eventually come to the conclusion that it might be a life-form with a degree of intelligence. In an act of desperation, the scientists try to communicate with the cloud, and to their surprise succeed in doing so. The cloud is revealed to be a superorganism, many times more intelligent than humans, which in return is surprised to find intelligent life-forms on a solid planet.
How could such beings evolve? No problem. Hoyle was a "steady statesman", so he was content to propose that they had always existed, as components of an eternal universe.
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Old 13th May 2012, 01:51 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
What about the "Black Cloud" in Fred Hoyle's 1957 sci fi novel. See wiki How could such beings evolve? No problem. Hoyle was a "steady statesman", so he was content to propose that they had always existed, as components of an eternal universe.
That sounds intriguing. It also reminds me of my question on the second page of this thread.

Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
What if they are gas or vapor or some kind of system of interacting photons in a magnetic field? Are these states too simple or basic a framework to give rise to a complex system capable of replication and emergent awareness?
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Old 13th May 2012, 03:30 PM   #112
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What if there could be something as different from intelligence as intelligence is from sensory responsiveness?

"Paranormal" abilities are defined in comparison to biological normality.

A creature with a wholly different evolutionary history from anything on Earth might also have different chemistry , different senses, different communication mechanisms and so on.
Under those circumstances, telepathy, even limited forms of psychokinesis might be quite normal. Ability to sense and manipulate electromagnetic fields, to stun or kill at distance using bioelectricity could exist.
Perhaps as brains can produce minds which manipulate images and information, there are minds which can project such images, even communicate with them.
Even being able to use intense, focussed ultrasound (like some cetaceans) would be pretty neat. I wonder if a tight enough ultrasound beam could stop someone's heart?
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Old 13th May 2012, 03:44 PM   #113
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Quote:
A creature with a wholly different evolutionary history from anything on Earth might also have different chemistry , different senses, different communication mechanisms and so on.
Within certain limits, yes. Certainly an organism which evolved in a different medium (say, liquid ammonia or liquid methane) would act differently than a modern human. However, biology--ALL of biology, including any potential exobiology--is an emergent property of chemistry; thus, the same general chemical principles will necessarily apply to all organisms on all planets. They will be subject to entropy, electromagnetism will function identically, ionic and covalent bonds will be the same, etc.

Quote:
Even being able to use intense, focussed ultrasound (like some cetaceans) would be pretty neat. I wonder if a tight enough ultrasound beam could stop someone's heart?
Sound is vibrational energy; under the right conditions and with the right intensity, ultrasound could light you on fire. The issue is evolving a structure capable of withstanding the forces necessary to generate such a sound.

Quote:
Quote:
Perhaps as brains can produce minds which manipulate images and information, there are minds which can project such images, even communicate with them.
This one, I'm going to have to disagree with you on. Projection is completely different from processing. Your monitor displays images; your CPU processes the data. Organisms on Earth do both project light and use displays to communicate, but they don't do so with their brains for the same reason as they don't use their stomachs for it: it's simply the wrong organ. Anglerfish, and other denizens of the deep abyssal seas, have a symbiotic relationship with organisms that emit light, allowing them to project light. Cuttlefish are the best examples of organisms putting on displays, which sometimes (if I recall correctly) include communication (even if it's limited to "I'm ready to mate", that's communication). Both use external organs for it.

The idea of some mind being able to circumvent any known means of communication--some direct, mind-to-mind communication--simply isn't plausible. The biology may be different, but the physics is the same.
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Old 14th May 2012, 02:30 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
...Under those circumstances, telepathy, even limited forms of psychokinesis might be quite normal. Ability to sense and manipulate electromagnetic fields, to stun or kill at distance using bioelectricity could exist.
Electric eels exist, and I wouldn't rule out aliens which communicate via some kind of naturally-evolved radio transmission and reception.
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Old 14th May 2012, 06:01 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Both use external organs for it.
The idea of some mind being able to circumvent any known means of communication--some direct, mind-to-mind communication--simply isn't plausible. The biology may be different, but the physics is the same.
Don't see how physics is any kind of argument against what Soapy Sam suggested since we've implemented technology that does what he proposed alien biology might be able to do.
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Both use external organs for it.
So on Earth there does seem to be dichotomoy between brain and other organs. Our brains are isolated to single organs dedicated to thinking.

But is it impossible that an alien biology could produce a brain that is distributed across the "skin" of a creature and directly incorporates some other functions (such as the color changes of octopuses) for communication without need of a separate organ?
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Old 14th May 2012, 07:47 AM   #116
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The radio wave discussion made me think there could be aliens that communicate in wavelengths humans don't hear. Elephants do that, I believe. I wonder why/how our hearing range evolved?

And there would likely be creatures that had different visual light range differences since many exist on Earth.

Natural elements/objects exist that are radio receivers. I wonder what it would take for a biological transmitter? And would language be the radio waves or would something else be broadcast like speech that the animals used closer up?
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Old 14th May 2012, 07:54 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
The radio wave discussion made me think there could be aliens that communicate in wavelengths humans don't hear. Elephants do that, I believe. I wonder why/how our hearing range evolved?

And there would likely be creatures that had different visual light range differences since many exist on Earth.

Natural elements/objects exist that are radio receivers. I wonder what it would take for a biological transmitter? And would language be the radio waves or would something else be broadcast like speech that the animals used closer up?
Elephants (and many other creatures) hear a different >sound< frequency range.

Radio waves would be a different wavelength of Electromagnetic Radiation, so they are a different wavelength of "light". Some creatures see different wavelengths on EM radiation also.

Hearing is sound, seeing is EM.
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Old 14th May 2012, 08:30 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Elephants (and many other creatures) hear a different >sound< frequency range.

Radio waves would be a different wavelength of Electromagnetic Radiation, so they are a different wavelength of "light". Some creatures see different wavelengths on EM radiation also.

Hearing is sound, seeing is EM.
Wavelength, frequency, meh. I understand sound and light are not on the same spectrum.

It doesn't change the fact our senses register different wavelengths/frequency and natural objects receive radio waves.
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Old 14th May 2012, 01:59 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy
Don't see how physics is any kind of argument against what Soapy Sam suggested since we've implemented technology that does what he proposed alien biology might be able to do.
Not really. Light emission isn't uncommon in animals, and is more or less necessary in anything with muscles. However, we wouldn't call things communicating via radio waves psychic.

Quote:
But is it impossible that an alien biology could produce a brain that is distributed across the "skin" of a creature and directly incorporates some other functions (such as the color changes of octopuses) for communication without need of a separate organ?
I'd say it's fairly unlikely, merely because the tissue would be important enough that the more protection the better the fitness. However, even if they did it still wouldn't amount to paranormal abilities--it'd be a novel adaptation that takes advantage of known physical laws.

The issue I have isn't that this stuff is impossible; it's with this quote:
Originally Posted by Soapy Sam
"Paranormal" abilities are defined in comparison to biological normality.
It's simply not true. We don't call things paranormal because they're not biologically normal, otherwise we'd call extremophiles paranormal. We call things paranormal because they violate the laws of physics. Communicating via lasers or radio waves or smell isn't paranormal--the latter isn't even biologically abnormal, come to think of it--but communicating via telepathy IS. Creating an electrical current outside of your body that influences the outside world isn't paranormal; in fact sharks and eels do it on Earth--but telekinesis IS.

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger
Natural elements/objects exist that are radio receivers. I wonder what it would take for a biological transmitter?
It's not too far-fetched. After all, animals already are known to use magnetism and electricity. If something like an electric eel evolved, then became intelligent, I can imagine them utilizing some similar form of communication. It'd also lead to interesting technological oddities, as they'd discover electricity MUCH earlier than humans did.

Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy
Hearing is sound, seeing is EM.
Ever hear of synesthesia? I know masochists in BDSM that like pain because they enjoy the pretty colors.
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Old 14th May 2012, 03:32 PM   #120
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There are lots of species that communicate in frequencies that escape our normal sensing apparatus. Cetaceans, according to some reports, can stun their prey with a blast of sound. This is not a violation of forces we understand, nor is the tricks of electric eels and other fish. On board lighting (bio-luminescence) is common place now...yet, all of this is relatively new to our understanding.

Is it not likely that there are a few things we missed?
Bottle-nosed dolphins could win the mdc, as it is now, if they needed the money. Their abilities with sound waves, high above our hearing range, to see beyond the surface of their fellows, would have sounded like woo, a mere 50 years ago.

So, no more surprises?

If we've learned anything in these last few decades, it is that life is more fantastic than we could have guessed. It exists in places we assumed were devoid of it.

I'm not looking for life that circumvents the laws, but I wonder if we are challenged in our imaginations, as per what is possible, especially within radically alien environments.

A smart phone is a lot like the old days of e.s.p., or at least, if one went back in time with one, you'd win the ancient MDC with ease.

A vast, organic neural network, based on signals that travel outside of the organism, seems plausible, at least in retrospect.
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