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comment by kleinbl00


"Still Rama, bitchez"


Avi Loeb dismissively deals with the "100% pure nitrogen" argument in his book, which came out what, six months ago? by pointing out that we've never seen this before despite our observation of 25 new comets a year.

Also unaddressed by the "it's just a rock" hypothesis is the utter and total dependence on a non-spherical shape in order to justify the solar behavior contradicted by the implied torque necessary to accomplish that. Short version, it's 100% uniform nitrogen ice that happens to outgas in a decidedly non-uniform way. Not only that, but the amount of cometary outgassing did not change in any way as 'Oumuamua looped around inside the orbit of Mercury, because the torque didn't change, the period of albedo oscillation didn't change, nothing changed despite models requiring 'Oumuamua to shed twenty percent of its mass in the process.

Further, most natural hypotheses tend to wave their hands over terms like "In terms of speed, the object entered the solar system at a velocity a bit lower than would be expected" rather than address the fact that 'Oumuamua hit the solar system at Local Standard of Rest:

    'Oumuamua originated from a very special frame of reference, the so-called local standard of rest (LSR), which is defined by averaging the random motions of all the stars in the vicinity of the sun. Only one star in 500 is moving as slowly as ‘Oumuamua in that frame. The LSR is the ideal frame for camouflage, namely for hiding the origins of an object and avoiding its association with any particular star. The relative motion between ‘Oumuamua and the sun reflects the motion of the sun relative to the LSR. ‘Oumuamua is like a buoy sitting at rest on the surface of the ocean, with the solar system running into it like a fast ship. Could there be an array of buoys that serves as a network of relay stations or road posts, defining the average galactic frame of reference in interstellar space?



Loeb's basic argument is that the scientific community will bend over backwards to avoid heresy. From a probabilistic standpoint, his argument is that investigating 'Oumuamua from the hypothesis that it is artificial requires far less exotic "model the horse as a sphere" thinking than investigating it from a natural standpoint, yet you can't investigate it from an artificial standpoint without the Daily Mail camping on your lawn and your colleagues accusing you of Little Green Men hysteria. "If you assume heretofore undiscovered exotic material and ignore 70% of the objections to our hypothesis, it makes total sense" is the basic standpoint of the entire scientific community while "LOL you believe in space aliens" is the basic standpoint of the media, while Loeb is rightly pointing out that we're an investment away from throwing 'Oumuamuas into the cosmos for a couple hundred grand each.

mk  ·  692 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This thing is making me crazy and you’re not helping.

kleinbl00  ·  691 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You'd probably enjoy Loeb's book. He makes a few key points:

- Everyone's conception of "aliens" and "space travel" is warped to fairy-tale status by the misapplication of science in popular culture. Breakthrough Starshot's basic mission is to get a probe to the nearest star in Yuri Milner's lifetime and to do that, they need a 100GW phased laser array. That plus TBD light sails 20 years at 0.2C plus this guy:

Gives you an interstellar probe. Which wants neither your women nor your water nor to be taken to your leader.

- The amount of evidence of an alien civilization is likely to be orders of magnitude more than the amount of influence an alien civilization is likely to be many orders of magnitude more than the amount of communication an alien civilization could have with us is likely to be non-zero, compared to the amount of interaction we're likely to have with an alien civilization. Unless we're dead wrong about physics, postage stamps with mylar attached is about the only craft that makes much sense. Scale it up, sure, but it's not like we're talking about a new Silk Road here.

- The majority of evidence of past civilizations available to us is trash. It stands to reason, then, that the majority of evidence of past extrasolar civilizations is likely also trash.

I don't think the unequivocal discovery of intelligent extrasolar life will be profoundly earthshaking. I think it'll be something that everyone knows that everyone knows is bullshit until the heretics start making salient points at which point a few brave scientists will say "YOLO reputations are for the squares anyway" and pick apart the research. I mean, it's been fifty years since Carl Sagan attacked the idea that the Mariner 9 results for Mars were inconclusive because at Mariner 9's resolution, you couldn't detect life on Earth, either.

There's a big faction in scientific research to assert that all the questions have been answered with the corner-case exceptions of whatever the speaker wrote his (always his) thesis on. Dogma is very much about professing allegiance to the party line and the party line is conformist AF. The guys at the margins who wonder will always be pilloried because they require everyone else to affirm or reject their dogma and most people just don't enjoy thinking, scientists included.

    This thing is making me crazy and you’re not helping.

Nope. Neither is Avi Loeb. That's what scientists are fuckn supposed to do.

mk  ·  691 days ago  ·  link  ·  

True that, and thank you for it.

My thoughts keep wandering to a "grab some Mars DAO" or something equally as interesting and useful.

kleinbl00  ·  691 days ago  ·  link  ·  
mk  ·  691 days ago  ·  link  ·  


I do wonder how much money is an issue, and how much it has to do with getting in line at JPL, etc.

kleinbl00  ·  691 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Okay but what the hell is it? AUM is like petty cash and their about is

    Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.
goobster  ·  692 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So.... still Rama, as far as I'm concerned, too!

The "buoy" metaphor is a powerful image, isn't it...?