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Old 07-15-2014, 09:07 AM   #41
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The 8 bits per pixel is a bit of a wildcard here. ...
Agreed. 8-bits flies in the face of the explanation of using a prime number for the frame. I saw T-Al's explanation, but I would still think a straight binary B/W w/o gray-scale would make more sense in this case. Just use a higher prime to get more detail. A B/W laser printer can make decent pictures.

I'm probably going way too far here, but I also wonder if some very different civilization would 'see' a picture in the same way we do? Seems to me a 2D representation of our world has to be processed by our brains to turn it into a representation of the real 3D thing. Maybe other civilizations don't respond to light like we do. Maybe they detect gravitational field shifts, or magnetic fields, or something we have no knowledge of. And maybe their intelligence doesn't extend to imagining how we 'see' things?

But I guess you need some basis for people to follow along. I just recall, when I was a kid, hearing scientists say that 'life' could not exist on such and such planet, due to the atmosphere or something. I couldn't help but think - why couldn't a different kind of 'life' form there, a kind of life that would find our planet fatal?

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Old 07-15-2014, 12:33 PM   #42
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I'm probably going way too far here, but I also wonder if some very different civilization would 'see' a picture in the same way we do? Seems to me a 2D representation of our world has to be processed by our brains to turn it into a representation of the real 3D thing. Maybe other civilizations don't respond to light like we do. Maybe they detect gravitational field shifts, or magnetic fields, or something we have no knowledge of. And maybe their intelligence doesn't extend to imagining how we 'see' things?

But I guess you need some basis for people to follow along. I just recall, when I was a kid, hearing scientists say that 'life' could not exist on such and such planet, due to the atmosphere or something. I couldn't help but think - why couldn't a different kind of 'life' form there, a kind of life that would find our planet fatal?

-ERD50
I am not an astronomer, but I'm willing to bet that nearly all planetary systems that have been observed exist with a fusion-fueled star at the center, with orbiting bodies around the perimeter.

And with the exception of a black hole at the center of a solar system instead of a star (which may have been a star at one time), all solar systems will have a star that is throwing off a lot of energy in the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Regarding temperature, life would not be able to form unless there is a liquid medium mixing things around. Having just a solid/frozen planet would not allow enough things to mix and move and disperse around to actually cause things to react and interact. If you relied on moving gases to blow things around, it would be far more slowly because of buoyancy factors when things are in liquids vs gases. And while there are things like plate tectonics and a planet's own friction-induced heat radiating from its core that could provide some heat, a lifeform would more likely than not be utilizing the electromagnetic radiation from the star (since molten metals in the planet's core would likely be way too hot for compounds to form, which leaves a very small thickness of mantle/crust for compounds to collect and form to create life - and see previous statement about interactions between solids vs suspended in liquid for the difficulties in life forming with solid matter sitting next to other solid matter).

And since many compounds have melting and boiling points somewhat in a similar range of, say, 0 degrees F to, say, 350 degrees F, the odds of having a lifeform based on a planet with predominantly liquid helium or liquid hydrogen (with very low boiling point temperatures) is not as likely, since everything else at the extreme low temperature of liquified elements that are in gas form on Earth, would be frozen solid and unable to move on the other planets. So that implies that the temperatures of the other planets would likely be somewhat similar to earth's temperatures (note: all of the above are "likely" factors, not absolutes. Could alien lifeforms develop on a planet like Jupiter? Perhaps...but given these factors above, I would bet it would be far more likely with conditions similar to found on a planet like ours)

So from the above view, it is reasonable to expect that if there is alien lifeforms, odds are it would likely have some form of similar environmental conditions to Earth (in terms of light-sensing and temperatures), rather than vastly different. Again, it doesn't mean it's impossible - just appears to be more likely.
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:55 PM   #43
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There are probably some framing things you could do on the 8 bit bytes as well. Perhaps in a way that would give you a nice grid when everything is assembled properly, which could then be discarded. Simple spaces every ninth bit would probably give it away simply enough. I wouldn't count on someone trying all combos of bits and figuring out the 8 bits and what to do with them.

With a single bit per pixel, you could do something that would describe the more complex format and then switch to it for subsequent communications.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:11 AM   #44
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Why not a 3D representation? A prime # of elements in 3 dimensions. In some ways, that seems simpler than trying to represent a 3D image in 2D, which always has some distortions. We are somewhat artificially limited to 2D when drawing a 3D object on a piece of paper, or projecting it on a monitor, but those limitations don't exist in a transmission of information.

It's the difference between sending someone a picture of an object, versus sending someone a 3D model of that object. The 3D carries so much more info, and I'm sure intelligent beings could figure this out, and I'm sure they would have 3D display technology.

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Old 07-16-2014, 09:54 AM   #45
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>why couldn't a different kind of 'life' form there, a kind of life that would find our planet fatal?

Yes, I always thought the same thing, and, for example, silicon-based lifeforms were in vogue for a while (not the LA silicone-based lifeforms).

But I've come to understand that there are constraints, and it's unlikely that complex lifeforms could be very different from us in their molecular basis. That is, it pretty much has to be carbon-based.

True, I'm assuming that the aliens are visual, and would understand a 2D image. I think those are good assumptions. Note that vision has evolved independently at least twice on this planet alone (cephalopods). I seem to remember experiments in which octopi responded to 2D images.

3D is more messy, and I'm not sure it adds much.

>With a single bit per pixel, you could do something that would describe the more complex format and then switch to it for subsequent communications.

I considered that, but I think that it should be trivial to figure out the BPP etc with the 8 BPP image. As soon as you get it, the frame will pop out.

BTW, I made a stupid mistake above, I should have written:

1. A burst of 8,072 bits of data, a brief pause
2. A burst of 8,072 bits of data, a brief pause
3. This continues for a total of 1009 repetitions
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:57 AM   #46
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I just finished the book The Eerie Silence. Here's my review on GoodReads:
I read this book partly for research for a sci fi book I'm writing, but also to understand why SETI has been so unsuccessful.

He showed me why. Namely, 1. Concerning civilizations that detect our broadcasts, then send us a message, the timing doesn't work. For example, if the civilization is 100 light-years away, they would just be detecting our signals about now, and it would be another 100 years before we would get their signals. 2. Concerning our detecting incidental signals from other civilizations, they are just too weak for us. Also, judging from our brief transmission period (as we move towards cable), we'd have to be lucky to detect them at the right time, and 3. Concerning "tutorial beacons" they just take too much energy.

He says we need to figure out new ways to search--the radio telescope thing isn't working.

Surprisingly, his conclusion is that we are probably the only intelligent life in the observable universe. I read that several times to be sure I understood, and indeed, that's what he says.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:42 AM   #47
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You could switch from science fiction toward science fantasy, really get rid of space/time, you shift consciousness and be wherever whenever you want. Not too hard since time and space are illusions/social conventions/scientific mental creations. What if we find the alien is already communicating with us internally?
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:23 PM   #48
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What if we find the alien is already communicating with us internally?
Oh, so THAT'S where those voices in my head are coming from!
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:43 PM   #49
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But I've come to understand that there are constraints, and it's unlikely that complex lifeforms could be very different from us in their molecular basis. That is, it pretty much has to be carbon-based.
Even if you want to stick with carbon based life instead of other (theoretically possible) compositions, there are still lots of ways that Earth based carbon life evolved that could have gone differently elsewhere. One significant possibility is stereo-chemistry of proteins. Many protein building blocks are possible to construct as mirror images of each other, the so called right-handed or left-handed proteins. Curiously, all Earth life uses the left-handed proteins and discards the right-handed ones. Some right handed proteins are dangerous (rare) or otherwise mess up left-handed life forms but it isn't hard to imagine a carbon based chemistry that is right-handed (or ambidextrous) that reacts badly to some common Earth protein, and likely conflict and drama would follow.
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:17 PM   #50
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Even if you want to stick with carbon based life instead of other (theoretically possible) compositions, there are still lots of ways that Earth based carbon life evolved that could have gone differently elsewhere. One significant possibility is stereo-chemistry of proteins. Many protein building blocks are possible to construct as mirror images of each other, the so called right-handed or left-handed proteins. Curiously, all Earth life uses the left-handed proteins and discards the right-handed ones. Some right handed proteins are dangerous (rare) or otherwise mess up left-handed life forms but it isn't hard to imagine a carbon based chemistry that is right-handed (or ambidextrous) that reacts badly to some common Earth protein, and likely conflict and drama would follow.
This speaker talks about that, but in a different and interesting context, in this talk. I watched it this morning and enjoyed it a lot:

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Old 07-20-2014, 09:17 PM   #51
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Given that we still cannot talk to whales and dolphins in a meaningful way and barely understand dogs, horses to train them, I think that's wildly optimistic
Well, those animals are not really what I was talking about. They might be our best examples of non-human intelligence, but I don't think I'd like to try to teach them calculus. We have machines today that understand what humans say in many languages. We have a machine that can answer questions and can parse out nuance and innuendo (Watson). I find it not so hard to believe that a society that mastered FTL travel couldn't observe a bunch of humans speaking (with closed captions) and then write us a letter and read it to us. But could be I've read too many science fiction books!
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