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Re: starship-design: Re: Aliens, why haven't they contact us?

In a message dated 7/18/97 3:58:51 PM, TLG.van.der.Linden@tip.nl (Timothy van
der Linden) wrote:

>>>As far as I know they are quite good at detecting, only finding the
>>>"antidote" before it is too late can be a problem. However antibiotics
>>>usually can help quite a lot.
>>You can't use an antibiotic on alien microbes.  They work by suttle
>>disruption of celular chemistry.  I.E. something that will kill them, but
>Well, these chemicals make certain important biological chemical reactions
>impossible. Unless the alien bacteria use very different ways to stay alive,
>they may not be influenced. This is possible, but likely means that the
>bacteria cannot survive in the climate of our body (which provides only
>chemicals that are in a specific biological cycle that needs the climate of
>our body).

Actually they are tuned to disrupt certian key reactions in the microbe that
are critical to them and unused in us.  Virtually nothing is leathal or
healthy to all organisms here.  Owls can eat cyanide without effect.  Dogs
can be poisoned by chocolate.  Some bacteria are vulnerable to some
antibiotics, not to others.

>>>And even if we were not immune to alien bacteria, would we be able to spot
>>>it? Likely there are more Earthly bacteria that kill people than Space
>>No way to know.  Can't even know anything basic about their celular
>>construction or chemistry.
>Well of course we can't be sure about their chemistry, but in my discussions
>I assumed that they where based on DNA like we. If not, than all bets (from
>me) are off. I know too little about the possible chemical reaction-cycles
>in other systems.

Not all life forms here do use DNA.  Even those that do have very strange
variations of chemical and physical variations and tolerances.

>>>Well, that's why I didn't mention it the other discussion :)
>>>To get back to the point: Why would alien bacteria survive better than
>>Each taken out of its eco-would tend to react radically.
>Yes.. they radically die.
>We never hear about the millions of strange bacteria that don't survive
>their visit to local cousins. Only the few that are stronger will leave a
>noticable fingerprint. It's hard to make conclusions when you've seen only
>one side of the story.

One plauge is far more noticable then the deaths of thousands of microbes.

>I'd think that one could easely research this question. Just dump a few
>strange bacteria in a huge colony of "normal" bacteria and see what happens.
>If the strange bacteria turn out to survive all the time, then indeed you
>are right, but I strongly doubt that. My guess is that in most of the cases
>the local bacteria will survive over the foreign bacteria. The locals are
>usually much better adapted to the local climate (=temperature, chemicals,
>enemies, friends).
>I bet that only a few foreign bacteria will have a sufficiently high
>evolution that they can prosper in a new environment.

The problem is were not to interested in their lethality to microbes.  Were ve
ry intersted in their effects on macro-organisms (trees, birds, HUMANS, ...)
and their effect on biospheres.

>>So I expect earths microbes or vermine would be as deadly
>>there as alien stuff would be here.  Course the microbes are more hardy, so
>>they should survive better.
>Huh, this seems to be a paradox. If our bacteria kill theirs, than that
>would mean our bacteria are stronger. So then, how can their bacteria kill
>ours when they meet here?

Doesn't mean anything like that.  Our bacteria here have to deal with
organisms that they have been preying on for millions-billions of years.
 Their prey has adapted immune responces and other adaptations to resist
them.  Drop them in an alien ecology and the local life forms have great
adaptations to fight the local microbes.  None of which are correct for the
alien earth microbes.  Earth barteria and fungi can run rampant.  The alien
microbes have the same reaction here.   NO one evolved the right tricks to
fight them.

>>>Which "cultures with magical technology" do you mean. I can't recall when
>>>encountered them before. True other cultures did, but I thought they
>>>believed in magic.
>>We as in humans.  Obviously the current dominent cultures are to recent.
>>But the Japanise in the late 1800's to the abos walking out of the jungle
>>today give plenty of data sources.
>Hmmm, didn't most of them believe in supernatural rather than in facts?

Some did some didn't.  Whats the point?  Do you expect more sophisticated and
educated cultures would be less capable of dealing with the unexpected?  They
are the ones that have to continuously deal with the unexpected.

>>>Why then contact us and give us the data? Just for the fun to see what
>>What else do they have to trade?  Besides, exploreres usually have to give
>>gifts to the primatives.  Helps prevent becoming dinner.  ;)
>>Seriously thou.  To them it would be the equivalent of tossing out a
>>of beeds.  <Oh, yeah, fusion.  Heres a description from our history files.>
>Kelly, I see where this discussion is going. We've dozens of these in our
>private letters. We're likely not to agree about this question soon, our
>"fundamentals" (=my ideals and your reality) are still far apart (though the
>do come closer).
>>>What good is destroying your test subject if your only example?
>>What good is exploring if you never take a look at anything?  If you don't
>>interact with the natives, you might as well stay home.
>Oh, you may interact with them, but they first have to grow to the fact that
>they are not alone out there. Like I wrote you before, one can't force
>people into new developments.

Life always forces people into new developments.  People NEVER pregrow into a
solution before thrown into it.  Lifes about dealing with the unexplained,
unanticipated problems you were sure could never happen to you.

Why do you assume cultures and their citizens are so fragile and weak?