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starship-design: WHERE ARE THEY?
There is some recent theoretical work suggesting that gamma-ray
bursts are non-isotropic, meaning that they do not radiate
equally in all directions. These models claim that gamma-ray
bursts happen when a massive star in a particular mass range
undergoes a core collapse; a black home forms in the core, an
accretion disk forms around the black hole from matter that has
not yet fallen into the core, and the accretion disk creates two
extremely energetic relativistic particle beams perpendicular to
the disk. These blast through the outer layers of the star and
create the gamma-ray burst when they impact the interstellar
medium. So from two directions you can see a gamma-ray burst,
but from other directions the star looks mostly like a normal
If this is true then gamma-ray burst events are even more common,
but we can see only those whose beams point at us. However, it
is then unlikely that gamma-ray bursts can sterilize galaxies.
I have heard other claims that our large moon influenced the
development of life on this planet, but your summary of Guillermo
Gonzalez's claim that intelligent life is somehow connected to
the presense of solar eclipses doesn't even attempt to speculate
why these necessarily have to be connected.