No Cry For Help (Alien Science Fiction)

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A t a security station 10 miles from the dish, I handed my cellphone to a guard. A different guard drove me on a narrow access road to a switchback-laden stairway that climbed steps up a mountainside, through buzzing clouds of blue dragonflies, to a platform overlooking the observatory.

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It was Nan who had made sure the new dish was customized to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Apart from microwaves, such as those that make up the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, radio waves are the weakest form of electromagnetic radiation. Collecting these ethereal signals requires technological silence. After making a shortlist of candidate locations, Nan set out to inspect them on foot.

Hiking into the center of the Dawodang depression, he found himself at the bottom of a roughly symmetrical bowl, guarded by a nearly perfect ring of green mountains, all formed by the blind processes of upheaval and erosion. After the dish is calibrated, it will start scanning large sections of the sky. Liu Cixin told me he doubts the dish will find one. If a civilization were about to be invaded by another, or incinerated by a gamma-ray burst, or killed off by some other natural cause, it might use the last of its energy reserves to beam out a dying cry to the most life-friendly planets in its vicinity.

Previous observatories could search only a handful of stars for this radiation. In Beijing, I told Liu that I was holding out hope for a beacon. I told him I thought dark-forest theory was based on too narrow a reading of history.

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It may infer too much about the general behavior of civilizations from specific encounters between China and the West. Across history, it is easy to find examples of expansive civilizations that used advanced technologies to bully others. But even if these patterns extend back across all of recorded history, and even if they extend back to the murky epochs of prehistory, to when the Neanderthals vanished sometime after first contact with modern humans, that still might not tell us much about galactic civilizations.

And no civilization could last tens of millions of years without learning to live in peace internally. The Milky Way has been habitable for billions of years. Anyone we make contact with will almost certainly be older, and perhaps wiser. M oreover, the night sky contains no evidence that older civilizations treat expansion as a first principle.

Maybe the self-replicating machinery required to spread rapidly across billion stars would be doomed by runaway coding errors. Or maybe civilizations spread unevenly throughout a galaxy, just as humans have spread unevenly across the Earth. Some seti researchers have wondered about stealthier modes of expansion.

Some have even searched for evidence that such spacecraft might have visited this planet, by looking for encoded messages in our DNA—which is, after all, the most robust informational storage medium known to science. They too have come up empty. The idea that civilizations expand ever outward might be woefully anthropocentric.

Liu did not concede this point. To him, the absence of these signals is just further evidence that hunters are good at hiding. He told me that we are limited in how we think about other civilizations. First contact would be trickier still if we encountered a postbiological artificial intelligence that had taken control of its planet. Its worldview might be doubly alien. It might not feel empathy, which is not an essential feature of intelligence but instead an emotion installed by a particular evolutionary history and culture.

The logic behind its actions could be beyond the powers of the human imagination. It might have transformed its entire planet into a supercomputer, and, according to a trio of Oxford researchers , it might find the current cosmos too warm for truly long-term, energy-efficient computing.

It might cloak itself from observation, and power down into a dreamless sleep lasting hundreds of millions of years, until such time when the universe has expanded and cooled to a temperature that allows for many more epochs of computing. The first thing I noticed at the top was not the observatory, but the Karst mountains. They were all individuals, lumpen and oddly shaped. They stretched in every direction, all the way to the horizon, the nearer ones dark green, and the distant ones looking like blue ridges.

Amid this landscape of chaotic shapes was the spectacular structure of the dish.


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Five football fields wide, and deep enough to hold two bowls of rice for every human being on the planet, it was a genuine instance of the technological sublime. Cool and concave, the dish looked at one with the Earth. I sat up there for an hour in the rain, as dark clouds drifted across the sky, throwing warbly light on the observatory. Its thousands of aluminum-triangle panels took on a mosaic effect: Some tiles turned bright silver, others pale bronze. It was strange to think that if a signal from a distant intelligence were to reach us anytime soon, it would probably pour down into this metallic dimple in the planet.

The radio waves would ping off the dish and into the receiver. International protocols require the disclosure of first contact , but they are nonbinding. Maybe China would make the signal a state secret. Even then, one of its international partners could go rogue. In Beijing, I had asked Liu to set aside dark-forest theory for a moment. Help Submitted by Isabella not verified on August 2, - am.

I once read a book about a woman who got dumped by her boyfriend and soon after she was hooking up with someone in the room above a diner when she heard a murder in an alleyway behind a diner and it turned out to be one of the girls her ex was seeing and the other girl he was seeing killed that one Bc she was pregnant and the lady slept and got together with a cop who was in love with her after everything happened with her ex.

I read it in my English class. It was beautiful.

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Find a book Submitted by Mackenzie not verified on September 19, - pm. The book I'm looking for is about a girl that's family moves into the house that used to be a home for un mentally stable women she begins to figure out that there other beings in the house and ends up dying when her parents move out her old friend came to the house with her boyfriend and they start kissing on the couch the girls gets really mad and begins to hurt her friends and that's about all I can think of from the book.

The dead girls of hysteria hall Submitted by Sakura not verified on September 27, - am. Fiction book Submitted by Bonita not verified on October 19, - pm. I'm looking for a book that I read when I was about 13 years old I'm 20 now I don't know very much about it, but it was a fiction book about a boy who lives in a government who decides everything for you.

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Everyone has to take a "medicine" or some sort of vitamin when they go out the door, by laying their hand on some sort of device, then you get a little sting and it detects your blood, so you can't skip your daily vitamins. He eventually discovers that the drug is doing something to your brain and makes you forget stuff.

So he tries to fool the device with an apple where he put his blood on. He stops taking the drugs and his memory becomes clear. He has some sort of girlfriend and convinces her to stop taking the drug too. I really can't remember any more, I hope someone can help me out!!