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Television For an Audience 45 Light Years Away 324

Posted by kdawson
from the waiting-for-syndication dept.
beebopdebop writes, "The Irish Times notes that Europe goes intergalactic tonight with the broadcast of a program conceived for aliens and broadcast towards a point 45 light years away in the direction of the Big Dipper. The two naked hosts will present their own unclothed bodies as examples of our physical embodiments, and will tell about daily human existence. Music, art, and our own personal messages will be transmitted as well as discussions from sociologists, scientists, and space experts. This project is the brainchild of the French-based Centre National D'etudes Spatiales and is rooted in seriousness as a natural extension of the gold-plated ambassador disks of Pioneer 10. Those of us wishing to be included can still post messages to be sent into space via a CNES antenna. We will have to wait 90 years to learn whether or not some lifeform was listening."
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Television For an Audience 45 Light Years Away

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  • The reply: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:05AM (#16264321) Homepage
    "Put some clothes on, you flabby bastards."
    • by D4C5CE (578304) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:50AM (#16264483)
      ...would probably be the more appropriate title.

      We may be sending out the wrong signals though by telling them this world is not just pre-Warp, but even pre-Wardrobe. ;-)

      Anyway, there's reason to be afraid someone may also have seriously misunderstood mankind's actual role in reproduction for Aliens [imdb.com]...

    • by Kidbro (80868) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:07AM (#16264531)
      "Put some clothes on, you flabby bastards."

      This is a European [istheshit.net] initiative, not an American one ;)

    • The reply will probably more along the lines of "Hello, beings from Earth, we thank you for the delicious-appearing pictures of your food animals, and welcome you to the Interstellar Federation of Meat-Eating Worlds. A trade mission is already on its way to your planet via hyperdrive: we look forward to a mutually-beneficial exchange of meats."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pedantic bore (740196)
      More likely, it will be something to the effect of:



      This is an automated message.

      The message you sent (attached below) requires confirmation
      before it can be delivered. To confirm that you sent the
      message below, just hit the "R"eply button and send this
      message back (you don't need to edit anything). Once this is
      done, no more confirmations will be necessary.


    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @03:16PM (#16267975)
      and perhaps we should broadcast this to people on earth to see if there are aliens amongst us?
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:06AM (#16264327) Homepage Journal

    Since the target is only 45 light years away surely that should be intragalactic.

    • by beh (4759) * on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:38AM (#16264449)
      I'd be curious to know how they want to prepare any potential "viewers" for what's in the stream coming to them...

      Even if they get a broadcast at a certain frequency - how intuitive will it be for an alien listener, that this broadcast will be audio/video in PAL, SECAM or NTSC coding?

      Sounds pretty useless to me - about the same chance, as if they send a windows version of the Encyclopedia Britannica out for aliens to browse through...

      In comparison, the gold plate on voyager is something more readily accessible - as an effort was made to keep the message simple.
      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:30AM (#16264583) Homepage Journal

        I remember reading about a conference on communication with ET's where one person prepared a message, not encrypted, but just expressed in a strange way; which is what would would expect from ET's. The message was circulated to all attendees and none of them could extract the meaning, though there was a lot of slapping of foreheads, etc, when the answer was revealed.

        So yes, even for people who know they will have to decode an unknown message, it can be hard to meaning with no starting point.

        • by Lord Crc (151920) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @08:36AM (#16264827)
          I remember reading about a conference on communication with ET's where one person prepared a message, not encrypted, but just expressed in a strange way

          Yeah I saw something similar. The guy had made a file containing the binary data and handed to fellow ET researchers, asking if they could decode it. Nobody was able to do it. The trick was that if you printed out the 1's and 0's using a certain column width, it drew a picture.

          There's a LOT of ways to encode data, which might seem intuative to some but will baffle others. I don't think you'll have to go further than the various file formats we got to see that ;)
      • My thoughts exactly. If you send a signal out there that no one has a receiver for, then how are they supposed to pick it up. What if we sent out an xm radio signal and all they use is FM and AM still? Maybe a better project would be to just hurl some garbage into space. Something they can actually look at and touch, then they could try to piece together what it all means.
      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        how intuitive will it be for an alien listener, that this broadcast will be audio/video in PAL, SECAM or NTSC coding?

        Actually if they can't figure out that whole PAL, SECAM or NTSC thing, they'll still get the image in black and white. The black and white part of analog video is built in a pretty obvious manner actually. Anyways I think the most important is that they get a signal from us, so they know that we're here, then it doesn't really matter whether they see us naked or not.

    • by Kjella (173770)
      While also true, I think the word they were looking for is interstellar. Intragalactic sounds like "as opposed to all the intergalactic broadcasts", e.g. intranet and internet. While we do use words like international and interregional, we don't use intranational and intraregional, it's simply national and regional. Following that pattern, we'd probably simply say galactic. It would be somewhat misleading though, as it sounds like the whole galaxy could tune in. Since it's a point-to-point broadcast, inters
  • by Xemu (50595) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:08AM (#16264331) Homepage
    "The two naked hosts will present their own unclothed bodies as examples of our physical embodiments, and will tell about daily human existence."

    Let's hope they picked Ingrid Swede and Scarlet Johansson. It would be interesting to hear them speak about their daily life.
  • hm, (Score:5, Funny)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:09AM (#16264335) Journal
    Don't we already send out enough signals into space, many of which deal with the subject of life on our planet? If anything aliens would be getting pissed off with being inundated with out crap 24/7... and it doesn't help that they'd be getting about 3000 channels all the time so would find it really hard to tell the difference between them.

    On a slightly less serious note, is it really a good idea to teach potentially hostile aliens about how we work (and by extension how to kill us)? Not to mention we know that the only people who are really going to watch are 1000 light-years away waiting for single female lawyer
    • by Mr2cents (323101)
      Yes, but now we can include our own messages. I've sent: "To whoever finds this note, I have been imprisoned by my father, who wishes me to marry against my will. Please, please, please come and rescue me. I am in the tall tower of Swamp Castle."

      That should make it an interesting day when their invasion army warps into orbit.
    • Couple things (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:50AM (#16264663)
      1) Just because we blast out signals all the time doesn't mean they are perceptible from any distance. None of our normal transmission systems are designed for anything but terrestrial operation. A large number face the Earth, many are low power and omnidirectional, and so on. Not the kind of thing really designed to be noticeable at interstellar distances. The SNR is likely to be too low. So something specifically designed and focused for it has a much better chance.

      2) I don't think it's a worry if they are hostile because it wouldn't really matter. Supposing they are a hostile race, and thus devote a good deal of research and effort to weapons development as we do, and supposing their technology is far enough ahead of ours that they could send an invasion fleet (something we are at least hundreds of years away form, maybe more) I think its' safe to assume that we would get rolled regardless of the information we provided. I mean think of it like this: Would it really matter if a society like 18th century Europe gave any info to a foe as advanced as the current US military? The technology difference is so massive that there's no hope. A single armour division would probably be sufficient to crush whole armies.

      Now please don't let this give the impression that I don't think this is a massive waste of time and money, it is, but not because of the reasons you listed (it's a waste because in all likelihood there's nothing there).
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by VendettaMF (629699)
        Why would they bother with an invasion fleet? Surely a one time momentum investment in applying a giant chunk of iron based meteoric junk to the "Terran Problem" is a much more likely scenario?
      • by snarkh (118018)
        I mean think of it like this: Would it really matter if a society like 18th century Europe gave any info to a foe as advanced as the current US military?

        This is understating the issue greatly. Really, it would be more similar to a tribe of cavemen doing battle with a modern army.
        Any civilization capable of mounting an invasion over interstellar distances would likely be many thousand years more advanced in technology.
    • Don't we already send out enough signals into space, many of which deal with the subject of life on our planet?

      Yeah, but considering what percentage of that is FOX news, daytime soap operas, infomercials and Jerry Springer, maybe they'd be happy to see some hot naked French chicks without having to invade North Dakota with pod ships just so they can get all the good porn on cable.
    • by Mikey-San (582838)
      On a slightly less serious note, is it really a good idea to teach potentially hostile aliens about how we work (and by extension how to kill us)?

      Don't you know that security through obscurity always fails?
    • by Xyrus (755017)
      Look, does anyone really think that hostile aliens would actually invade our planet? It would be a waste of resources.

      If an alien species capable of interstellar flight really wanted to take over our planet, it would be far more effective to just lug an asteroid into a collision course with earth. No muss, no fuss.

      ~X~
    • is it really a good idea to teach potentially hostile aliens about how we work
      Yeah, but these aliens are going to be deceived into thinking we go around naked. I can't wait to see the surprise on their faces when they turn up with skin-crisping UV energy weapons only to discover we almost always wear protective clothing.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      If anything aliens would be getting pissed off with being inundated with out crap 24/7...

      Why do some people have such a though time putting themselves in the place of the hypothetical aliens. Even among the scientists, some think that the aliens know about us but find us not evolved enough to be interesting to meet. Come on, if we received a broadcast from aliens, even if the broadcasted us their equivalent of Inspector Derrick, we'd be happy as fuck, just to find out that there's some other sort of life

  • by the grace of R'hllor (530051) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:09AM (#16264337)
    No, we'd have to wait a few years longer. Before 'they' figure out that it was a transmission, before they've decoded it correctly (do you think they use PAL or NTSC? Decisions!) and can begin to interpret it (who says they have eyes or ears?), manage to figure out what we are and what we're actually saying, and managed to construct a reply in a format that we're likely to be able to decode, you're probably looking at quite a few years.

    Given that we've only just managed to decipher what our own first man on moon actually said after a few decades, I think you're looking at decades of work.

    And all that's before they even manage to create and send a reply, which will take 45 years to get here.
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:14AM (#16264353) Homepage Journal
    It would be a shame to send it once and have them miss it.

    This is the problem I have with specific EM signals.
    Once they are gone, thats it.

    I still think the only real way to communicate with outlying civilisations properly will be with supernovas.
    Though, only one message could be send - "Help our sun is blowing u^&"%£%^&!*(())[NO CARRIER]
  • SFL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:16AM (#16264361)
    I'd think they would much prefer the latest episode of Single Female Lawyer.
  • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:17AM (#16264363) Journal
    I've gotta be the first to say this: So with the two naked presenters (presumably male and female adults, I haven't seen the show), exactly how are they going to show human reproduction?
    • by he-sk (103163) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:33AM (#16264429)
      The "hosts" were animated drawings, which looked surprisingly like the man and woman drawn on the disk that is aboard Pioneer.

      Incidentelly, I was watching TV with a friend yesterday as I don't own one, and while we flipped through the channels we stumbled upon that program. In the 10 minutes or so we watched, they showed an interview with Orson Welles, telling that he was shocked to learn that so many people took his radio play of War of the Worlds for real and then a guy who on 9/11 first thought that he, too, was in some kind of fake television play. Then they showed a report about early alien/monster movies and how they spoke of the desire and fear we have of the unknown.

      Inbetween segments they had a split screen with one panel showing a guy laying on the grass talking about something or other and in the other panels they showed beautiful nature photography.

      Quite entertaining, I must say.
  • Naivete.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VendettaMF (629699) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:27AM (#16264409) Homepage
    Why do people continue to delude themselves that an alien intelligence will be able to comprehend communication as we consider it? And if they can that they'll be foolish enough to waste time on decoding, renderring and interpreting an unreachably distant point of light? And if they go that far, why the heck does anyone expect a usefull response?

    At best there'll be no response, but should they then pick up on our everyday TV the likely response is surely some form of uncrewed planet buster. I know I'd prefer not to leave a hornets nest like humanity brewing in any corner of my galaxy. No intelligence with a self-preservation process would.

    We are a crippled duck, currently hidden in a vast swamp. Our only security being through obscurity. Why the hell do people insist on flailing around screaming for the hunters? Actually, that doesn't quite work. We are a crippled unknown creature, that appears to have the mindset of a ravaging beast, but lacking the ability. Which lives longer? The rabid dog spazzing out in broad daylight in th emiddle of the street or the rabid cat stalking the shadows?
    • Well, turn it around then: if we received a signal from a distant alien race, don't you think we'd put our very best people onto decoding it the very same day it was received? You bet we would.

      Your point about our safety is well made. However, what if early explorers decided it was too dangerous to go out? "Nah, there might be monsters in those hills, I think i'll stay home by the fire". Safe, but pretty dull when there might be interesting things to discover.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noamsml (868075)
      Your immediate assumption might be that alien intelligence must be superior, but why would you assume that?
    • Probably because EM is a good medium, the signal they receive (we don't care about pre-electrical civilizations) would be distinct from the background noise, there is a pattern to the signal, etc.

      Curiosity (we don't care about non-curious civs -- actually, an oxymoron) will ensure they want to figure out what this strange, point emanation is.

      You presume unreachability.

      We (the current generation) don't expect, nor care about a response.
    • by amliebsch (724858)

      Why the hell do people insist on flailing around screaming for the hunters?

      I believe it is because we are so desparate to find that we are not totally alone in the universe that we are willing to run the risk of our own destruction.

    • Why do people continue to delude themselves that an alien intelligence will be able to comprehend communication as we consider it?

      Because it's quite likely that intelligent alien life is DNA, RNA, and protein based, has developed vision, has developed color vision, communicates with a linear stream of symbols, and has two sexes. In fact, there's a good chance that it has a body plan similar to ours, is bipedal, and uses sound to communicate. How do we know that? Because a lot of what we are is determined
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:27AM (#16264411)
    Sincerely, The alien operators of FireWall@Dipper.Big
  • They will already have seen episodes of Knight Rider and they will know that the Hoff rules the universe. Why would they bother with this crap?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      They then saw Baywatch and after analysing the bouncing boobies for a while decided Hoff wasn't the ruler.
      It was a silicone intelligence.
  • Futurama? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:30AM (#16264423) Homepage
    Yeah, great idea! Let's beam out the first season of Lost and wait for the aliens to invade us because the finale gave them no answers and they got fed up with waiting for us to beam out the second season...
  • by Tx (96709)
    The two naked hosts will present their own unclothed bodies as examples of our physical embodiments, and will tell about daily human existence.

    Naked News has naked presenters telling about daily human existence, so this is old ;). If they just broadcast NN instead, I bet that'll get ET over here in a hurry though. [nakednews.com]
    • by Tx (96709)
      Oops, missed a </a>, sorry. Was meant to be be like

      Naked News [nakednews.com] has naked presenters telling about daily human existence, so this is old ;). If they just broadcast NN instead, I bet that'll get ET over here in a hurry though.
    • by NitsujTPU (19263)
      I don't think that that would get ET here any more quickly.

      Assuming that ET has an entirely different physiology, the would be aliens would have to be into humans through an extension of zoophilia or perhaps develop a form of xenophilia. (Is this the correct prefix when talking about ETs?)
  • 90 years (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xemu (50595) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:43AM (#16264459) Homepage
    We will have to wait 90 years to learn whether or not some lifeform was listening.

    But then the MPAA can still sue them for DCMA and copyright violations if they decoded the movie without a license and used parts of our broadcast in their reply!
  • In the book "Andromeda Strain", Michael Crichton discussed the various methods that an alien civilization might choose to contact us. Various manifestations of electromagnetic transmission, such as radio or television, are deemed to have too high a distance-to-expense ratio since signals fade in inverse square of the distance: Too little bang for too much buck.

    An interesting solution was proposed whereby you would use biological organisms to spread the news of your existence. By spreading vast amounts of
    • by FhnuZoag (875558)
      Well, once again, Crichton is full of shit.

      Life, as we know, mutates, and any signal you try to send with it quickly runs out. And mass producing such organisms and sending them out into space is *not* cheap, especially not relative to the alternative of sending out EM signals. (How are you going to get the momentum changes to send these things certain places?) The real killer is that it's ridiculously slow.

      And such spores will also fade in the inverse square ratio - in general, anything that sprays out in
      • Yeah, but imagine the sheer number of geeks that would line up to have their semen shot into space! Erm, wait, on second thought, maybe that isn't such a pleasant scenario.....
      • by egomaniac (105476)
        The only way to get out of the inverse square law is either to use coherent sources like lasers...

        That is incorrect -- lasers follow the normal inverse-square law, just as all other EMF emissions do. To avoid this, you would have to have a laser beam which doesn't spread out, and of course such a thing is impossible under the laws of physics. All laser beams spread out over distance.

        The reason we sometimes say that laser beams don't follow the inverse square law is a bit of handwaving with respect to huma
      • by oohshiny (998054)
        The only way to get out of the inverse square law is either to use coherent sources like lasers,

        Lasers also follow the inverse square law, they just have better constants. Furthermore, coherence is incidental to their directional properties.
  • by thhamm (764787)
    those aliens [earthlink.net] will be pissed we replaced their favorite show "single female lawyer" with two silly naked people.

    we want McNeal!!!
  • DRM (Score:2, Funny)

    by arthurpaliden (939626)
    Too bad they will not be able to read the message when it gets there since they will not have the correct regional coding on their TV sets.
  • ..my full name, address and phone number? They don't even know what PLANET I'm on for Zarquons sake!

    Not to mention the piss-poor interstellar data protection laws.
  • Uh, hello aliens. This is what we look like. See, we're soft and squishy on the outside and crunchy on the inside. We still use radio waves to communicate and we can barely reach out of our atmospheric envelope. Hey, wanna come over and play?
  • 45 lightyears isn't that much IMHO. If there is someone that close who can pick up our signals, then there's a good chance that they already have a presence in this Solar System. And they probably would be aware of us since we've already been broadcasting for more than 45 years. Those signals are no where near as strong, but if they're listening on the radio spectrum, then that's most of the way to being able to hear the more feeble broadcasts of 45 years ago.

    Even at a modest speed of 300 km/s (or 0.1% o

  • because they would be able to travel faster than light AND back in time

    In fact, the reason that so many UFOs were sighted in the early 50s was Earth TV was so interesting that many galaxies sent talent scouts. Of course, the reason we were never invited to the Universal Television Network was we only produced boring programming. (They made one exception and aired the first 5 seasons of Saturday Night Live.)

  • This is a really bad idea! Hasn't anyone there been watching Doctor Who? Sheesh, talk about putting us all at risk from giant reptilian pr0n collectors.
  • Personally, I wouldn't allow my works to be sent to them aliens as they may have super advanced alien TIVOs and abuse my copyrights.

    Then again, my copyrights will have run out by the time they see my works... Or will they still be in effect...

    All except my BY-SA and GPL and other Free works that is.

    all the best,

    drew
    http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=(creator%3 A%22drew%20Roberts%22)%20OR%20(collection%3A(ourme dia)%20AND%20%2Fmetadata%2Fauthor%3A(drew%20Robert s)) [archive.org]
  • One of the other problems that might occur is the possibility that the recieving aliens don't have the same sensory organs/functions that we do. Even if they found a satelite of ours with an audio recording, what good would it do if they didn't have the ability to detect/interpet sound waves the same way we do? The same could be said for visual recordings. They might not 'see' the same spectrums of light that we do and not be able to see anything on a screen. For all we know, they could only hear magnetic w
  • The **AA must be thrilled to have several billion more planets to sue.
  • by Explo (132216) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @10:10AM (#16265219)
    Being an hopeless astronomy freak, I couldn't help noticing that the article doesn't quite appear to know where they're actually sending the broadcast. On the beginning on the article they're talking about sending the broadcast to a star in Big Dipper. Later, the name of the star turns out to be Errai. All is fine and dandy, except that the Errai resides in Cepheus.

    Article does not mention why that particular star was selected, however, it appears to host a known exoplanet, which is quite probably the reason here. Errai also happens to be somewhat more massive than our sun, which means that it progresses through its 'life' faster than the Sol. Any possible life out there has less time to evolve before the star kicks the bucket. It's also a double star, which may make the orbits of the planet(s) in the system somewhat more chaotic.
  • by suv4x4 (956391)
    I suppose our science, medicine, cities, culture is not interesting to aliens.

    They'd much prefer to see us waving our private parts on front of the camera. Yea, that's gotta do it.
  • If they have the ability to communicate at FTL speeds, it would only take as long as it takes for our signal to get there, then potentially a faster response back.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @10:20AM (#16265285) Homepage Journal
    The aliens will interpret the message as a declaration of war (Why else would those pink monkey things be shaking their genetaila at us?!) and build a vast fleet of planet-buster bombs which they will launch at us at sub-light speeds. In the hundreds of years they take to reach their destination they'll decode more of our signals and realize that we want to be freinds. Unfortunately, no one having thought to build a self-destruct into their armada of doom, their sole transmition to us will be "Freinds... oops, our bad..." which will arrive moments before their fleet destroys everything in our solar system.

    Or maybe not...

  • Anyonw knows how?

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