May 29, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Preparing the World for Aliens

Some people are so convinced there are alien intelligences in the universe, we should be getting ready to meet them.
    The Telegraph, a UK newspaper, reported that NASA has partly financed a creative writing class on “interstellar message composition” at the University of Wyoming.  Professor Jeffrey Lockwood wants to help the 11 students think about what we might say to an alien intelligence.  One student “created a poem about menstruation with syllables arranged in a mathematically harmonious order, known as the Fibonacci sequence.”  The course is being advised by Douglas Vakoch, director of interstellar message composition at the SETI Institute (see 04/17/2008).  Who better than writers, he said, to express the human condition to our stellar neighbors.  “It could be tomorrow that we’ll need to be ready to decide if we reply,” he said.  Don’t expect a lively dialogue, though; each one-way message could take thousands of years.
    Over the Rockies at Denver, Jeff Peckman is asking the city council to create an “Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission,” reported the Denver Post.  He believes the federal government is already aware of extraterrestrials and is spending a great deal of taxpayer money to conceal the fact.  Peckman is gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to create an 18-member commission, at the cost of $75,000 a year, to decide on policies for dealing with space beings.  The Rocky Mountain News said that Peckman believes he saw an alien winking through a window on a video of a UFO.

Which of these stories is absurd, pseudoscientific and an egregious abuse of taxpayer money?  Pick any two.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, SETI

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