ELSILENCIO QUE AFRONTA EL PROGRAMA SETI


Mario Torres es un uruguayo que hace décadas se radicó en Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Desde su tiempo en Uruguay siempre manifestó su interés por la astronomía y más particularmente por la Búsqueda de Inteligencia Extraterrestre.
Así, estando en la Argentina se vinculó mediante Internet al programa SETI  (SETI@home) en el que puede participar voluntariamente toda persona dispuesta a hacerlo, acoplándose a la búsqueda de posibles fuentes de emisiones de radio procendentes del Espacio.
Es a partir de su extensa experiencia en esa tarea, que le mereciera inclusive un reconocimiento de la NASA, que Torres nos hace ahora este su aporte que con mucho gusto reproducimos aqui en el blog de todos los Miembros del UAPSG-GEFAI.
             ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

En lo que respecta al silencio que afronta el programa SETI (en parte debido a los pocos recursos con que dispone) tenemos que tomar en cuenta un tema tecnológico.


La tecnología electromagnética resulta totalmente inapropiada para la comunicaciones interestelares por su relativa "lentitud".


Cualquier mensaje enviado debe esperar como mínimo una década por su respuesta (en el caso del sistema más cercano).
Esto, unido a una baja densidad de civilizaciones avanzadas, da una idea de la baja probabilidad de comunicación.


Y quiero agregar un hipotético factor, sugerido por Carl Sagan, que de ser real terminaría justificando el silencio:

Lo que llamó "ventana tecnológica". Para mi, ahora estamos en la ventana tecnológica de la comunicación electromagnética.


La hipótesis es que existe una tecnología de comunicación a velocidad superior a C y por ende mas apropiada para las comunicaciones interestelares.


La existencia de esta tecnología sumada a una baja densidad de civilizaciones que la poseen desalienta a las mismas de intentar comunicaciones interestelares electromagnéticas.Simplemente, preferirían esperar a que alcancemos esa nueva ventana tecnológica.


Por ejemplo, una civilización situada a 400 años luz de nosotros apenas más adelantada y que recién haya adquirido esa tecnología no explorará el espectro electromagnético mas allá de su vecindario (algunas decenas de años luz).


No espero que nos envíen señales de radio y si reciben alguna diran: ¡hace 400 años en la Tierra tenían tecnología electromagnética! ¡Ya deberían tener tecnología supralumínica!

Es un planeta muy interesante.


Resulta ser algo parecido a la primera directiva de Start Trek:

No entrar en contacto con civilizaciones que no hayan alcanzado un determinado nivel tecnológico.


Si esta hipótesis resulta ser cierta entonces: tal vez, sólo tal vez, estemos rodeados de civilizaciones que están esperando quedemos ese salto cualitativo en las comunicaciones.
 
Tal vez, cuando lo demos, descubramos algo así como una Internet Galáctica...


Esa tecnología podría utilizar un estrechísimo agujero de gusano que a modo de fibra óptica permitiera construir un atajo a una ruta de decenas o cientos de años luz.

Debería ser muy estrecho porque dicen que se necesita muchísima energía para crear uno de gran tamaño.
Y habrá otras posibilidades, seguramente algunas que aun no podemos imaginar.

Mario Torres

A modified version of the Drake Equation, and what it tells us.

The Odds That We’re the Only Advanced Species in the Galaxy Are One in 60 Billion

For decades the famous Drake Equation has been used to estimate the number of technologically advanced species in the universe. Now Adam Frank from the University of Rochester and Woody Sullivan from the University of Washington take a slightly different approach to the problem and suggest a modification of the Drake Equation. Instead of estimating how many civilizations are out there to communicate with today, they estimate how many civilizations have been out there since the beginning of the Universe. 

At first glance this seems to be only a slight semantic difference, but it is not. A big unknown in the original Drake Equation is the average lifetime of a civilization during which they might be available to communicate with us. This window might be very short, especially if technological species are typically replaced by machines. Or it could be very long.


Reframing the question makes longevity a moot point. Frank and Sullivan ask: What is the chance that we are the only technological species and always have been? If we put the question this way, the Drake Equation boils down to A = Nast * fbt, where A is the number of technological species that have ever formed over the history of the observable universe, Nast are all the astronomical unknowns (which we now have a much better handle on than we did in 1961), and fbt are the biological unknowns, which are still many—including the fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears, the fraction of those planets on which intelligent life emerges, and the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.

Based on recent exoplanet discoveries, Frank and Sullivan assume that one-fifth of all stars have habitable planets in orbit around them. This leads them to conclude that there should be other advanced technological civilization out there, unless the chance for developing such a civilization on a habitable planet in the observable universe is less than 1 in 1024 (a 1 with 24 zeros!). For our own Milky Way galaxy, the odds of being the only technologically advanced civilization are 1 in 60 billion. Thus, it’s very likely that other intelligent, technologically advanced species evolved before us. Even if only one in every million stars hosts a technologically advanced species today, that would still yield a total of about 300,000 such civilizations in the whole galaxy.

The Archilles’ heel of these statistical estimates is of course the biological uncertainties; Earth is still the only planet where we know life exists. The appearance of life may be extremely unlikely, and so might the evolution of technology. After all, there are many intelligent species on our planet, including dolphins, octopi, apes, parrots, and elephants, but only once in 4.6 billion years has a technologically advanced species evolved. And life cannot have appeared in the very early Universe until heavier elements produced by the explosions of many supernovas became abundant. 

Still, Frank and Sullivan think their 1 in 1024 estimate constitutes a “pessimism line”—a lower bound on the probability that one or more technological species has evolved over time. And that’s good news for SETI, even if it doesn’t help us know where to look.

 Dirk Schulze-Makuch is a professor of astrobiology at Washington State University and has published seven books related to the field of astrobiology and planetary habitability. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at the Beyond Center at Arizona State University and currently also holds a guest professorship at the Technical University Berlin in Germany.

Source: "Air & Space Magazine" May 3, 2016

 

UNA VERSIÓN MODIFICADA DE LA ECUACIÓN DE DRAKE Y LO QUE NOS DICE



La Posibilidad de que seamos la Única Civilización Avanzada en la Galaxia es Una en 60 Mil Millones

Por Dirk Schulze-Makuch

AIRSPACEMAG.com

Mayo 3, 2016


Por décadas la famosa Ecuación de Drake ha sido utilizada para calcular la cantidad de especies tecnológicamente avanzadas en el universo. Ahora Adam Frank de la Universidad de Rochester y Woody Sullivan de la Universidad de Washington emprenden una aproximación levemente diferente al problema y sugieren una modificación en la Ecuación de Drake. En lugar de calcular cuántas civilizaciones hay ahí fuera con las que podríamos comunicarnos hoy, ellos calculan cuántas civilizaciones ha habido allí desde el comienzo del Universo.

A primera vista esto parece ser una leve diferencia semántica, pero no lo es. Una gran incógnita en la Ecuación de Drake original es el promedio de vida de una civilización durante el cual puede ser capaz de comunicarse con nosotros. Esta ventana tiene que ser muy pequeña, especialmente si las especies tecnológicas son típicamente remplazadas por máquinas. O puede ser muy grande.

Reformular la pregunta hace de la longevidad un punto irrelevante. Frank y Sullivan preguntan: ¿Cuál es la posibilidad de que seamos la única especie tecnológica y que siempre lo hayamos sido?  Si planteamos la pregunta de esta manera, la ecuación de Drake se reduce a A = Nast * fbt,
Donde A es la cantidad de especies tecnológicas que se han formado a lo largo de la historia del universo observable, Nast  son todo lo astronómicamente no conocido (de lo cual tenemos ahora un manejo mucho mejor de lo que teníamos en196) y fbt  son los desconocimientos biológicos, que aún son muchos –incluyendo la fracción de planetas en los cuales la vida realmente aparece, la fracción de esos planetas en los cuales emerge la vida inteligente, y la fracción de civilizaciones que desarrolla una tecnología que libera señales detectables de su existencia en el espacio.

Basados en los recientes descubrimientos de exoplanetas, Frank y Sullivan suponen que un quinto de todas las estrellas tiene planetas habitables en órbita alrededor de ellas. Esto les lleva a concluir que debería haber otra civilización tecnológicamente avanzada ahí fuera, a menos que la posibilidad de que tal civilización se desarrolle en un planeta habitable en el universo observable sea menor a 1 en 1024 (¡un 1 con 24 ceros!). Para nuestra propia galaxia, la Vía Láctea, las posibilidades de ser la única civilización tecnológicamente avanzada son de 1 en 60 mil millones. Por lo tanto, es muy posible que otras especies inteligentes, tecnológicamente avanzadas hayan evolucionado antes que nosotros. Aún si una de cada millón de estrellas tiene una especie tecnológicamente avanzada hoy, eso todavía arrojaría un total de 300.000 de tales civilizaciones en toda la galaxia.

El talón de Aquiles de estos cálculos estadísticos son claro está, las incertidumbres biológicas; la Tierra es el único planeta en el cual sabemos que existe vida. La aparición de vida puede ser extremadamente improbable, y de igual manera la evolución de tecnología. Después de todo hay muchas especies inteligentes en nuestro planeta, incluyendo delfines, pulpos, monos, loros, y elefantes, pero sólo una vez en 4 mil millones 600 mil años ha evolucionado una especie tecnológicamente avanzada.  La vida no puede haber aparecido en el muy temprano Universo hasta que elementos más pesados producidos por explosiones de muchas supernovas llegaron a ser abundantes.

No obstante, Frank y Sullivan piensan que su cálculo de 1 en 1024 constituye una “línea pesimista”  --un salto más bajo en la probabilidad de que una o más especies tecnológicas hayan evolucionado a lo largo del tiempo. Esa es una buena noticia para la Búsqueda de Inteligencia Extraterrestre (SETI) aunque no nos ayude a saber dónde buscar.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch es un profesor de astrobiología en la Universidad del Estado de Washington y ha publicado siete libros referidos al campo de la astrobiología y la habitabilidad planetaria. Además, es profesor adjunto del Centro Beyond en la Universidad Estatal de Arizona y actualmente también ejerce como profesor invitado en la Universidad Técnica de Berlín, en Alemania.

Extraído de "Air & Space Magazine", Mayo 3 de 2016.
Traduccion especial para UAPSG-GEFAI por Milton W. Hourcade 




















Comment on Martin Kottmeyer's "UFO FLAPS: AN ANALYSIS"

Martin Kottmeyer, born in 1953 in the USA, is an essayist and skeptical ufologist. He has devoted to study different things like classical Greek Astronomy, History of religions, Psychology, Science-Fiction and contemporary beliefs. Kottmeyer is considered an expert on the psycho-sociological aspects of the UFO phenomenon.

I dedicated weeks to study his work "UFO FLAPS: AN ANALYSIS" and here are my 



COMMENTS ON Martin Kottmeyer’s “UFO FLAPS: AN ANALYSIS” 


a) General impression


Reading the 16 pages document, the first impression is how much has been written about UFOs than ends to be totally futile. Rivers of ink and tons of paper wasted in trying to sustain in some way what essentially has been and it is a myth created by the military intelligence.


From the beginning, the main idea that underlies behind the UFO waves or flaps, is that they represent the very existence of a technological reality other than human, e.g. “alien” or extraterrestrial.


For me this is a basic error over which every other thing is built. 


Different would be if the UAPs were considered a natural phenomena not totally known whose activity could be linked to specific geographic places, variations in temperature and pressure, solar radiation, seismic activity, underground rivers, etc.etc.


b) An important distinction


Kottmeyer uses interchangeably the words “wave” or “flap” without any distinction among them, and it has been of common use and accepted within the UFO community that a “flap” is a local concentration of UFO reports, in a very limited geographical area (i.e. Colares, in Brazil).

A UFO wave encompasses a wider area, like a whole country or a geographical region.


c) A needed clarification


From the very beginning it is needed to make it clear that in his analysis, Kottmeyer is not referring to true UFO cases, but just about UFO-reports, which is a very different thing. Therefore in the case of UFO waves, their nature is essentially more cultural than factual. If we were to consider UFO flaps, the situation is totally different.


d) The analysis itself


What Kottmeyer does is to pass in review different theories or hypothesis that along the years tried to give a rational explanation for the UFO waves.


Mars and Venus


One by one is considered and thrown down the Reconnaissance Theory of Maj. Donald Keyhoe;  the various Martian Hypothesis forwarded by Lonzo Dove (a rather obscure character called an “analyst” and an “astronomer”, amateur possibly) that in 1947 joined a group formed by Al Bender;  Edgard Jarrold, of the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau, Aimé Michel and Prof. Charles H. Smiley, Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Brown University, and the Venus hypothesis offered by Richard H. Hall (NICAP).


Mathematical models


Once the possibility that “flying  saucers” could come from neighboring planets (quite frankly a naïve presumption) a second tier of speculations begun, based on mathematical possibilities starting with the last UFO wave.

Once again, there was not a substantial base to do so, and therefore they ended being pure speculations.


Kottmeyer cites Donald Keyhoe again, predicting a wave in July of 1950 that didn’t take place. The British Brinsley le Poer Trench posited a 2 years cycle, and also failed.  Once again Keyhoe poposed a 5 years cycle. The investigator Jenny Randles spoke about a 21 months cycle, and psychologist David Saunders had a proposal for a cycle of 61 months, meanwhile  the industrial/organizational psychologist and test developer Donald  Johnson suggested that a great UFO wave would take place on February 1988. He failed. Nevertheless in 2003 he predicted that there would be a worldwide UFO wave on March of that year. Regretfully, he failed miserably.


As a corollary, Kottmeyer says: “With such failures, hope has faded for a simple mathematical model of mass ufo appearances.”  This phrase of Kottmeyer, underlines the fact that they continue thinking of UFOs as some kind of flying machines.


Behaviorist notions  


Jacques Vallée appealed to behaviorists to suggest that the occurrence of UFO flaps and waves follows a pattern of a procedure of reinforcement to instill on us an irreversible behavior. 


It is in “The Invisible College”  (E.P.Duttom 1975) that Vallée talks about a “control system” saying that  UFOs and related phenomena are “the means through which man’s concepts are being rearranged” and to be more specific Vallée adds that  “mythology rules at a level of our social reality over which normal political and intellectual action has no power…."


Kottmeyer criticizes the behaviorist approach of Vallée saying that for a procedure of reinforcement to be such “a stimulus must be of a positive, rewarding character”, and UFOs create fear. But Kottmeyer is wrong on this because behaviorists recognize also that there are negative reinforcements, and I personally do not think that UFOs are neither positive nor negative.



Tourist Theory


Kottmeyer with good criterion calls this theory a “speculation in the extraterrestrial mode”. And indeed it is nothing than that. 


R.H.Marx and R. DeLillo proposed their theory in an article published by  the ineffable “Flying Saucer Review” in July, 1979. They think aliens come to Earth as we go to the zoo. We are the specimens to be observed and eventually hunted.


A small variation is presented in 1984 by F.C. Gillespie and John Prytz, in what they call the activity of “external intelligence” that comes as rugby players go to participate on a championship.


Not in vain, after all these absurd speculations Kottmeyer suggests that: “The necessity of a psychological and sociological approach is mandated by the fact that nine out of ten ufo reports involve misinterpreted stimuli.” I totally concur.


Silly Seasons 


Kottmeyer divides the “sociological explanations of ufo flaps into two general categories” that he divides in “silly season theories” and “crisis theories”.  Silly seasons theories affirm that “news media are a sufficient cause of flaps”.


For Kottmeyer there is no relation whatsoever between what the media (newspapers, magazines, TV shows and movies) does dealing with UFO and the general public. Nevertheless he admits that “A look at ufo numbers before and after the release o twenty popular alien invasion films turns up minor increases for fourteen of them.”


In my experience I can say that a very popular TV program that goes on air every week and that presents “ufo cases” will definitely induce among the general population to report ufo sightings, and it will create a small flap of “cases” among very susceptible people. When those cases are reported to newspapers, the “flap” is already there. 


It all starts with a journalist or a showman/woman that purportedly is looking for “witnesses” to appear in his/her program to talk about their “experiences”.  This procedure launches the “snow ball” of “ufo reports”. Once properly investigated they end in nothing out of this world but the “flap” has been artificially created.


On the other hand, I agree that movies do not tend to trigger “ufo reports”.



Reaction to Science


John A. Rimmer poses the theory that for every scientific advance is an equal and opposite mystical reaction: i.e. the ghosts rockets of 1946 and the saucers of 1947 would be a reaction to the introduction of nuclear weapons in 1945, as well as the Levelland (Texas)  wave of 1957 would be a reaction to the Sputnik.

But no such reaction took place after the Moonlanding.


I would like to take the opportunity to say that transcending the punctual facts of science, there is a dangerous general reaction against science itself and the scientific knowledge for an increasing amount of people that take refuge in mystical organizations, conspiracy viewpoints, the development of religious sects, etc. A grossly divide between believers and rationalists.


Crisis theories


Rodney  Stark and William Banbrigde propose in their book “A theory or religion” that people tend to appeal to the supernatural during times of crisis, and ufos can be seen as “forces outside of nature”. According to this view, people will appeal to ufos every time there is a big crisis.  Facts reject this theory, at least when it deals with ufos. 


Kottmeyer mentions the example of the big crisis of the Cuban missiles in 1962 and there was no “flap” neither any kind of repercussion in terms of an increase of “ufo reports”.


Mass hysteria


“Flaps” explained as “mass hysteria” has been sometimes used as explanations for a series of reports during a very limited time, mostly by official sources. 


I think that we shouldn’t be talking about hysteria but about anxiety, and fear. Wright to the point comes Michael Swords who says that these situations “are more properly  labeled as anxiety attacks and ads the point that the people involved do not display psychotic symptoms” according  to Kottmeyer.


Therefore, mass hysteria is not an explanation for the occurrence of a “flap”, less of a ufo-wave.


Paranoia theory


Kottmeyer starts this part of his study by saying that: “Many facets of the ufo mythos are identifiable forms of paranoid ideation. The core belief that aliens are making a reconnaissance of our planet”  style  “Flying  Saucers are Watching Us” –a book title of the Sixties—“is –continues saying Kottmeyer—a collective variant on the common paranoid delusion of observation, the erroneous impression that one is being watched by persecuting others. Allied to this is a complex of suspicions.”


Application


He then turns to paranoia to explain the growing number of ufo-reports after the Arnold case, incredibly relating  then to a speech of President Truman that “spoke in sweeping apocalyptic terms of communism as an insidious world menace.” on March 12, 1947.


But the argument made by Kottmeyer ends in a nonsense, because he also says that “One of the earliest moves by the government in investigating the flying saucer problem included background cheks of those who claimed to have seen saucers to determine if they had communist ties”.  Badly this could create a jump in ufo-reports.


The other assertion made by Kottmeyer is that “Ufo numbers respond to developmens in the steel strike in a convincing manner” and relates the steel strike with the Washington National sightings.  


I would admit this assertion if Kottmeyer would say that ufos were used as a distraction of the impact the steel strike had in the country.  But he does not offer these explanations. Simply correlates them because of timing.  On the other hand, he does not explore the Ufos over Washington case and simply accepts the explanation of “temperature inversion”.


Sputnik and Sixties


The successful launching of Sputkik I and later II by the Soviet Union was –according with Kottmeyer—“the central trauma of the fifties”.


The same criterion of trauma he extends for the sixties due to the Vietnam War. In both cases Kottmeyer affiliates himself with the Paranoia Theory that we can summarize in these terms: every time the American people is seriously affected by something negative the reaction is an increase of Ufo-reports.


Once again, what is not demonstrated is the link between both factors, but simply a coincidence in time.  Had Kottmeyer investigated and be able to demonstrate that government agencies used the media to promote some ufo-reports in order to create public interest on the subject, that could be an explanation. But that investigation was not done.

Nevertheless, if negative situations affecting the American people would trigger a “ufo wave” why nothing happened after September 11, 2001?


My explanation is that the historical time was different and the mechanism of the intelligence were not used to create a “ufo wave” in this case, because all the country reacted positively and with patriotism in the face of the attacks suffered. 


Other resolutions


A wrong evaluation of the very important  Cuban missile crises, makes Kottmeyer to say that there was pride in the resolution of the conflict, but diminishes the fact that during many days previous to the solution of the conflict, there was fear and anxiety among the American people, but there was not any “ufo flap”.


Kottmeyer uses the doubtful source of the so-called National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) a center managed by one person that only collects ufo-reports, to demonstrate a link between the scandal Clinton-Lewinsky in 1998 with “mass sightings of spheres and fireballs”.


This procedure to try to link a situation lived in the USA with “ufo flaps” or “ufo waves” lacks totally of rationality.  


The first thing to question is how many of those ufo-reports ended to be classified as “unknown” , because the answer to this question would demonstrate the artificiality of the idea of “ufo waves” or “ufo flaps”.  In any event, we would be talking about “report flaps” or “report waves”. 


The second thing is that Kottmeyer do not analyzes the real cause of those rumors that create the “report flaps or waves”. He simply affiliates to the Paranoia Theory (mentioning the work of W.W. Meissner “The Paranoid Process”) to explain the “flaps” and “waves”. 


The third thing is the extreme provincialism that Kottmeyer exhibits:  if (and this is a great if) the ufo activity that supposedly is the base of ufo-reports is a worldwide phenomenon, the exclusive reference to the United States does not explain intrinsically the phenomenon itself.

What about then, to “ufo flaps” or “ufo waves” in other countries and regions?

Are also them related to moments of fear and anxiety? 


This approach obviously eliminates UFOs as the real cause of “flaps” or “waves”. UFOs therefore are inexistent, what exists is fear or anxiety in the public.

I think this vision of the whole subject is very poor.


What is rich anyway is the effort done by Martin Kottmeyer to list the different explanations given to the “flaps” and “waves” by different authors.


Personally –and based on my experience as investigator—I tend to think that the media plays a very important role in the creation and feeding of “ufo flaps and waves”. What has still to be investigated is what turns suddenly the interest of the media to the UFO subject.  It could be due to competence, low ratings, wish to increase earnings, or the work of intelligence.



Milton W. Hourcade

May 24, 2016.