h a l f b a k e r y
Replace "light" with "sausages" and this may work...
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Packaged as a neat futuristic looking device with knobs and digital readouts, it'll give you an accurate estimate of just how many alien civilizations are out there, waiting to be found.
Turn up the knob on the star formation rate, and watch those civilizations multiply!
Turn down the knob
on the fraction of live planets that evolve intelligence (there's no proof, after all), and watch those civilizations dwindle!
For an extra $9.99, add an audio chip using the digitally sampled voice of Carl Sagan to read out the output.
Drake's Equation Primer
[theircompetitor, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
(?) Aliens Cause Global Warming
Crichton points out the scientific fallacy of Drake's equation. [waugsqueke, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
(?) here ya go!
enter your own values... [futurebird, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Database of Current Thinking
A lot of the discussion on this thread is very relevant to Crichton's article, above. [DrBob, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Billions of Earths
[theircompetitor, Oct 29 2010]
[theircompetitor, Apr 11 2011]
[theircompetitor, Aug 26 2012]
Wow, 100 billion or more planets in the Milky Way
[theircompetitor, Jan 03 2013]
Drake's Equation from the point of view of a tapeworm
[normzone, Jan 11 2013]
Latest estimates on "earth sized, liquid water" planets
[theircompetitor, Nov 04 2013]
[theircompetitor, Jun 10 2016]
1500 years to go
[theircompetitor, Jun 16 2016]
ADE 651 Bomb Detector
unbelievable, but believed [xenzag, Jun 16 2016]
good role model for the Drake's Equation Calculator [xenzag, Jun 16 2016]
getting close to a good planet count estimator
[theircompetitor, Aug 14 2019]
Life? Everywhere... Intelligent life? Probably somewhere
[theircompetitor, Nov 25 2020]
||waugs: excellent article; I've seen myself the absurdities of the arguments about the ozone layer. I'm off outside to get a drag of some secondhand smoke.
||Over the weekend I saw a WWI naval gunnery computer that had various knob and wheel driven input settings and then it chuntered out a result. This could be adapted to do this and would look wonderful too.
||What's the point of this? If you want random numbers, use something involving radioactive decay, which is always more fun. And if you want unreliable statistics, hire pollsters.
||On the other hand Crichton's essay must get some sort of credit for getting more than half way through before comparing contemporary scientists to nazis.
||the linked app measures relativistic impact of your
||and so nothing to do with cost/benefit analysis of throwing cloaks over muddy puddles as I had initially expected?
||See last link.... if you construct a device and make it convincing enough, then it will convince people. In this case we see a bomb detector that did absolutely nothing but was sold for thousands of dollars and widely used, over a long period of time, fooling everyone.
||The tapeworm bit is pretty dim. Tapeworms can reproduce sexually and frequently populate diversely within a given host. It is reasonable to assume that mechanisms of communication exist to keep this population informed of one another for reproductive purposes within a given host thus they do not doomed live in a speculative isolation but in a state of primative society with other tapeworms as well as some level of competition with other parisites.
||I didn't know ducks were so clever.