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RE: starship-design: alien aesthetics

From: 	Lindberg[SMTP:lindberg@olywa.net]
Sent: 	Sunday, May 17, 1998 1:52 PM
To: 	SSD
Subject: 	starship-design: alien aesthetics

>If we assume that we meet through means other than our
>radiotelescopes (eg exploratory missions stumbling across each other or
>an inhabited planet) and neither side is overtly aggressive, then human
>attitudes will be greatly shaped by how "cute" or "hideous" the aliens
>appear should we decide to exchange video images

Agreed. It may be that we may encounter aliens that look extremely disgusting, but may not be as aggressive as more "cute"  looking ones. I must agree with Carl Sagan that if an alien armada appears in our skies, we are likely to be very hospitable to them, especially if they are very highly advanced. (don't provoke those who may have a bomb bigger than yours).


>On the other hand, should we find a race
>which we find "cute" we should worry about letting down our guard.  To
>use a terrestrial parallel, cats certainly fit many people's definition
>of "cute" and yet, they are extremely intelligent, aggressive, dangerous
>animals for their weight class. 

Probably why I have a dog. Cats are just a bit TOO smart for my comfort.

> "Cute" aliens can be just as dangerous
>as the others.

Correct. I seem to remember a book in which something like this happens: Two alien races are discovered, one is extremely ugly, the other is small, and "cute". Humans decide to befriend the "cute" ones, only to find out later that they are the aggressive ones, and the ugly ones were willing to help us out. By the end of the book though, it is too late for humans: we become pampered slaves.

Kyle R. Mcallister