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If Aliens Visited…

A website for expressing ridicule of the absurd.
  [vote for,

Not a particularly world changing idea, and probably easy to implement exactly as described, given the resources.

Just a web site, like a blog, where users can post textual entries, and entries can have limited comments and voting etc.

The user posts an entry which is assumed to be prefixed with “If aliens visited”. The content is likely to be some externalised viewpoint of something we do and take for granted, which turns out to be rather ludicrous, absurd, silly or pointlessly arbitrary.

Each new observation is a new post, rather than bolting on new observations as comments. I’m not really sure comments are really a good idea in this context.

The body of random observations are shown to site visitors, weighted weakly by votes.

Ian Tindale, Apr 28 2011

'The Liberation of Earth' by William Tenn http://en.wikipedia...Liberation_of_Earth
If Aliens visited...it would be to stop other aliens from taking over the planet first. [DrBob, May 03 2011]


       "If aliens visited” I presume that might be followed by "..god help them" or "...they should avoid the Cotswolds as it's too twee"
not_morrison_rm, Apr 28 2011

       … and wales, because it's such a dump …   

       We like this idea, and will be delighted to contribute.   

8th of 7, Apr 28 2011

       "IAV'ed", they would pronounce William and Kate, king and queen of their planet, and steal them away. Soon.
blissmiss, Apr 28 2011

       Hmm. Seems like the real website, were it to actually exist somewhere, wouldn’t exactly lie stagnant awaiting its first entries.
Ian Tindale, Apr 28 2011

       If you build it...
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 28 2011

       Earth: The Book by Jon Stewart was written as a message to aliens that come across Earth after we are gone. It's hilarious.
DIYMatt, Apr 28 2011

       //externalised viewpoint of something we do and take for granted// _Lettres Persanes_ for the Internet age.
mouseposture, Apr 28 2011

       The site should also include the downloadable text of the famous book" To Serve Man".
8th of 7, Apr 29 2011

       So, "take a well-used literary conceit, put it on-line"?
pertinax, Apr 29 2011

       It’s only well-used since yesterday.
Ian Tindale, Apr 29 2011

       More likely than not an alien visit to this planet would have at least one of these characteristics:   

       1)The extraterrestrials will put a very low priority on "individuality" due to the rigors and perils of making such a journey. The life that arrives will not consider itself unique or likely understand that ideology in other species.   

       2)The life form will be absolutely rigid in implementing whatever plan it launched with. Persuasion and intimidation are useful to creatures that lack clarity. Alien visitors will have clarity in spades.   

       3) If the goal is to inhabit then we will not be able to resist, nor is any quarter going to be reasonably expected. Any colonizing life successful enough to be widespread and which likes an M-class like ours is and survives long enough to be noticed is going to have seen life and killed it with a high rate of success. Either it will find our soil infertile and go unnoticed or it will dominate. Ces't la vie.   

       4) The extra-terrestrial will have a radically different notion of time-scale than we do. They may either act with such exceeding rapidity that there is simply no time to study or respond to them (a flyby in seconds, or complete global devastation in a few days). Or they may move so slowly that the entire span of human existence might seem to them the blink of an eye. Life this patient would see us as simply another component of the slime of organisms that covers the surface of this world.   

       5) The aliens will have come to this galaxy interested in another planet or the sun. This life will only be noticeable as it acts out whatever plan it has.
WcW, Apr 29 2011

       <Collective Applause>   

       A masterly summary, [WcW]
8th of 7, Apr 29 2011


       My god, how will we explain that Jane Austin has been dead for centuries? Where is Emma Thompson's phone number when you need it?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 29 2011


       6) Aliens who undertake the extraordinarily difficult task of interstellar travel to an inhabited solar system must value extremely highly something obtainable in no easier way.   

       Physical commodities (dilithium, food, whatever) would be more readily obtainable closer to home. Information of a factual, scientific kind ditto. There's only one thing they could possibly want: Art   

       That is, they'll want cultural artifacts, from a culture so different from their own that they would never have thought of them on their own.   

       If they come, they will not want to transform us into something familiar to them. They will be eager for us to transform *them* into something familiar to *us.* Whether they will desire complete transformation, or something more Japanese, is a matter of conjecture.
mouseposture, Apr 29 2011

       [WcW] it ain't necessarily so.   

       If we become visitors to another life-bearing planet in, say, 200 years, which of those characteristics will we display?
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 30 2011

       So far [mp] is the closest to getting the motivation right.   

       We wonder if we should remind your species at this point that the market value of" art" tends to rise steadily after the death of the artist, 'cos "there ain't gonna be no more …"
8th of 7, Apr 30 2011

       [8th_of_7] Good point. We had better hope the aliens are art lovers, rather than art collectors.
mouseposture, Apr 30 2011

       That is a mater of statistics [MB]. Our attempt to visit a nearby planet is a statistically insignificant event.   

       There is a minute possibility that another life form will make a visit in one of their first journeys into interstellar space. Lets call that a really long shot.   

       Statistically however we are much more likely to meet with a species that is trying to visit every planet like ours or every star system like ours for some very specific reason. The odds here are like those of having your daily mail delivered correctly by the wind vs. the postman. I'm betting that the postman brings the mail, even if on a specific day it is windy. (the wind being metaphorical for our own space ambitions)
WcW, Apr 30 2011

       Probably end up on the arse end of an intergalactic university scavenger hunt: "Hey, didn't the Eiffel tower used to be over here somewhere? I'm sure I saw it yesterday"
FlyingToaster, Apr 30 2011

       [FT], that means that the Ferengi have called to say "Hello, do you have anything to trade ? No? Wanna bet? ".
8th of 7, Apr 30 2011

       When polled recently a majority of Parisians reported that they would not object to plans to remove the tour Eiffel. Aliens could take it and the statue of liberty without offending French sensibilities much. Stealing the Arc de Triomphe, or the Louvre would mobilize much of the french populace.
WcW, Apr 30 2011

       // Arc de Triomphe //   

       Yes, when did the french last fight a successful military campaign without outside help…?
8th of 7, Apr 30 2011

       Going back is one of the more ridiculous notions in interstellar travel. There is never a good reason to go back.
WcW, Apr 30 2011

       You fail to grasp the scale of the thing; the only model that has any real chance of just happening on our planet (even allowing for superior technology) is one that has made the jump from terrestrial to interstellar. If you want to imagine a ship with herbivores it it, fine. The fact is that that ship must represent a system that can travel immense distances adapt to the conditions when it arrives, prepare for another immense journey and depart (reproduce). Evolution will remove any features not consistent with this model. By the time such a species becomes wide enough spread to happen across us no aspects of the origin will remain. It will be a complex and awesome clockwork for space travel with all the curiosity and adventure removed to save weight. Think black goo, on a galactic scale.
WcW, May 01 2011

       I see no mention that a superior race may be protecting our planet from... annexation by a less friendly race until it's been decided whether we do ourselves in or grow up.   

It could happen.

       why. that's just the sort of dewy eyed bullshit that makes a poly-stellar organism unlikely to thrive. Think about what models would expand to the most solar systems the fastest: Those are the only models that we have any chance of seeing before our sun goes out.   

       Our chances of meeting other interstellar life go way up if eventually we become a poly stellar organism ourselves but we can't pretend that any part of our current ideology would survive that process.
WcW, May 01 2011

       [WcW] reasons from first principles, and arrives at very confident conclusions. He reminds me of William Thomson (Lord Kelvin).
mouseposture, May 01 2011

       [WcW] //4) The extra-terrestrial will have a radically different notion of time-scale than we do. They may either act with [...] exceeding rapidity [...] [o]r they may move [...] slowly [...]//   

       There's no possibility of a similar time scale because... why? Just because you've decreed otherwise?   

       Something with a "flyby in seconds" time scale would consume energy at such a voracious rate that they would be unlikely to ever make it here - let alone have patience for the journey.   

       A super-slow-motion time scale entity wouldn't be much threat - there'd be ample time to counter. However, this would also mean that they'd be unlikely to reach us - some other predator would have out-quicked them long before.   

       The square-cube relationship influences time rates as well as size.   

       I think "may have" would be more defensible than "will have".
lurch, May 01 2011

       //why. that's just the sort of dewy eyed bullshit that makes a poly-stellar organism unlikely to thrive.//   

       Unless they are paying it forward...
Ah jeez, I'm misting up again. Must you people chop onions every time I walk in the room?

       //Unless they are paying it forward... // or protecting an investment.   

       There need be nothing dewy-eyed or sentimental about //protecting our planet from... anenxation by a less friendly race until it's been decided whether we do ourselves in or grow up.// That could easily have cynical and self interested motives.
mouseposture, May 01 2011

       The problem with WcW conclusion is that we are travelling through space as we speak, thus space travel is an inherent property of life, and not a unique condition that will bring about special effects.   

       I think it's as preposterous as this sentence is awkward to claim to know about how something that is not known today will be in the future, when there is nothing but uncertainty about the future of what we know the most about today.
rcarty, May 01 2011

       I think 2 fries might be missing someone who would have enjoyed contributing to this discussion :-(   

       I once lost someone (from my life, not from the world) while I was working in a restaurant. I used to look forward to chopping the onions, because then I could stop trying to hold the tears in.
spidermother, May 01 2011

       <offers hanky to spidermom>   

       Hmm, damned if I can remember where I read this story...aliens finally turn up, they aren't that interested in eating anyone or conquest, their technology is slightly better than ours, they have no cure for cancer, no great insight into life or religion, their culture isn't that interesting and they aren't that interested in ours..and then they go away. I suspect it'll be like that.
not_morrison_rm, May 01 2011

       <Snuffle snort blow hack blett> Err... should I just keep this now?
spidermother, May 01 2011

       There are around 300 billion stars in our galaxy. Aliens could be quite successful, study a billion star systems, inhabit a million and still have only a small fraction of a chance of meeting with our planet. If we stay put the only species that we are likely to see are those that are spreading very rapidly, and those are not likely to be terrestrial, they aren't likely to be much like their terrestrial ancestors (if they have any) and more likely than not much of their efforts will be to the task or reproducing and spreading yet further. In this way our galaxy is very unlikely to be the terminus to any interstellar journey; very unlikely to be special in the eyes of our expansionist alien visitors.
WcW, May 01 2011

       No all I have is really big numbers 21Q. Numbers that are almost incomprehensibly large. The distances in space are so great that the further the more isolated in time you become. We can imagine quite a few neat scenarios. Alien races that use quantum communication across the galaxy. Aliens that want to study and understand. But when it comes down to the raw numbers and the scale of the thing it seems clear that if we see an extra stellar organism before our sun winks out it will be because   

       a) we will have changed into the sort of life that studies billions of stars and sends expeditions to millions of planets that look promising, or:   

       b) there are aliens who, doing the same broad unstopping sweep of the galaxy happen across us.   

       It's like finding a particular unremarkable piece of hay in a haystack the size of a football field.
WcW, May 01 2011

       What if we develop a quantum thingamagig that searches the expanses, but they have a rock that does that?
rcarty, May 01 2011

       If your species really wants to get in touch with other intelligent life-forms in the galaxy, why don't you just look them up in Yellow Pages like everyone else?   

       You can have our old copy if you like.
8th of 7, May 01 2011

       wiki universe.
WcW, May 01 2011

       or my personal pedantic bumper sticker:   

       Universe: There can be only one!
WcW, May 01 2011

       This number smells funny...
normzone, May 01 2011

       Perhaps it is like us visiting somewhere exotic and exciting, such as a buddhist monastery high in the Fukien mountains. We would talk to the monks; we might pay some attention to the workers who provided us with our tea and food, we might even pat a dog passing through a courtyard; but I doubt we'd pay much attention to the slugs who lived at the base of the wall.
pocmloc, May 01 2011

       Dude we are so much more special than slugs man. They are going to got SOOO excited when they see our mad skills. Our art and stuff is going to make them feel bad about their huge ugly spaceships and they will, like, hire us to consult them on how to be intelligent and cultured. Dude they absolutely will not pour bleach on the entire world when they see the majesty of the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall. Then they will most completely abandon their plan to use every molecule of carbon and potassium on the planet to build replica mothership. No way. That would be totally like, crass and un-superintelligent. They will be completely enlightened and will treasure our little discoveries like we were their very own offspring. 'Cus like, what else do they have to do?
WcW, May 01 2011

WcW, May 01 2011

       "would be one which forms close bonds between its members and recognizes the value of knowledge itself as a resource at least on par with physical resources like carbon and potassium"   

       "very likely be highly interested in figuring out if our technology could be assimilated into their own to improve their designs"   

       Dude hubris on a galactic scale. Aliens don't need to have anything but a passion for visiting every single planet that they can. Any other features that they will have will be secondary to this.
WcW, May 02 2011

       Do the aliens have large talons?
rcarty, May 02 2011

       The aliens will be trolls?   

       Let's see...the classical models include impractical real estate speculators and benevolent tourists. Subclasses are intelligent murderers and import/export entrepenuers.   

       They will either be tiresomely like us or as different as viruses.   

       We could always talk about the zompacalypse.
normzone, May 02 2011

       It could be done quite nicely in the 1st person as a blog or facebook page.   

       Day 1: landed in a square area contained by assembled stones. The area contained many living organisms attached to the ground being partially eaten by much larger mobile organisms. I had the curious desire to suck on their dangling appendages.   

       Day 2: Got milk.
marklar, May 03 2011

       Well, that’s something else entirely, nothing to do with this idea.   

       A typical entry by a typical contributor would be (remembering the prefix is boilerplated) – ‘If aliens visited’:   

       …they’d assume the dominant life on this planet is the insect class, or even the arthropoda phylum, because every few hundred million years when they check in to see how things are going here, they’re the ones that they see most of in terms of biomass, are the most evolved and diversified, and are here most consistently from one visit to the next.   

       Another example might be – ‘If aliens visited’:   

       …and saw our computer keyboards, they’d piss themselves laughing. Then they’d ask why the keys are laid out like they are, and they’d piss themselves laughing again.
Ian Tindale, May 03 2011

       Ah, you've never tuned in to" Galactic Jackass", have you, [IT] ?   

       What the producers like best is they don't even have to pay the performers…
8th of 7, May 03 2011

       I was reading WcW's sweet summary and thinking scifi short story. Of course the imminent threat are aliens comprising class 3. They get pretty far with their colonization efforts until they are summarily devoured by the different group of aliens already here (for a long time) which is in class 1,2 and 4; the fast 4.   

       I started to write this but realized I was just going to write the end of War of the Worlds.
bungston, Jan 18 2016


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