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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Medium Is the Message

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Arecibo Message

Where is everybody?

Related source » Moore's Law and the Origin of Life | MIT Technology Review: 'via Blog this'
[This related source is recommended in its entirety.]

“As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself.”
— The Physics arXiv Blog, April 15, 2013 (

Hiding in plain sight.

As everyone knows, the answers to some puzzling questions are occasionally right in front of our noses. Enrico Fermi's famous paradox may well be just such a question.

Suppose the extraterrestrials (ET) had already visited Earth; perhaps even as long as a billion years ago, or more. It seems likely that, rather than establishing a permanent colony here, they only stayed long enough to leave a message for some future native intelligence to decipher. How would they safeguard such a message from destruction over potentially extremely long periods of time?

As others have speculated, a prime candidate for such an indestructible medium of information would be DNA, especially the so-called noncoding DNA that, presumably, would be less susceptible to evolutionary alteration. Moreover, in order to maximize the survivability of the ET message, the ET visitors would choose those DNA-vehicles that are the most nearly ubiquitous form of all — bacteria.

Furthermore, the ET would want to insure that such DNA-vehicles were both prolific as well as abhorrent to more evolved species, in order to maximize the survivability of their message carriers.

Which now brings us to the follow-up question for Fermi's paradox: What medium in our biosphere is loaded with bacteria, is ubiquitous, and is universally shunned by sentient beings?

I strongly suspect that it is shit.
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