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  • The Great Filter

    TheDude

    So far, SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) has been a total bust: a complete and utter waste of time and money. And that's great!

    As Robin Hanson pointed out in the mid 90's: If they would ever encounter an extraterrestrial transmission, we would be (statistically and royally) screwed, considering that we could hear a civilization approximately on our own level of development, but there is nobody more advanced visiting us.

  • The Fermi Paradox

    TheDude

    Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.

    Pondering this fact, in 1950 Enrico Fermi over lunch posed the now famous question concerning extraterrestrial life: "Where is everybody?" He was right: Considering the size and age of the universe we should be up to our eyeballs in aliens. Where the hell are they?

  • The Demon Core

    TheDude

    Imagine you have an actual nuclear bomb sitting around in your office to play with. What is the most fun thing to do with it? If right now you are thinking of showing visitors how close you can get it to detonation without blowing yourself up, I salute your gallantry.

    Of course, nuclear technicians in the 1940's already had that kind of steel balls (apparently along with lack of common sense or a will to live). You can probably imagine where this story goes...

  • Nuclear Potato Cannon

    TheDude

    Here is a question for you: What was the fastest ever man-made object?

    You'd probably guess it's one of the Voyager probes - specifically Voyager-1 at currently almost 40,000 mph. And you'd be most certainly and hilariously wrong.

    To zero in on the correct answer, you have to learn not to underestimate the curiosity (and nerdiness) of a bunch of nuclear scientists, having really, really big "toys" to play with.