If extraterrestrials ever landed on Earth, they would find us extremely strange. Their first intimation of our existence might well be a Super Bowl broadcast or a stray transmission from the Playboy channel. But, of course, they might seem equally strange to us. How strange? Their senses could be entirely different from oursthey might see in the infrared or “hear” radio waves.What would aliens look like? An intelligent octopus-like creature is certainly plausible. What about odd numbers of limbsa three-legged alien with three arms and three eyes? What about an entire planet of immobile, silicon-based “trees” that communicate with each other via electrical signals?The Science of Aliens gets weirder still. Could a giant interstellar cloud be “alive” and intelligent? Could creatures live at extremely high pressures and temperatures? And which of these many possibilities would be similar enough to us that they could communicate with them, or they with us? Would they have any interest in abducting us? Would they want to have sex with us?In classic Pickover style, here is speculation at the far edge of knowledgeand beyond.
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About the Author
Clifford T. Pickover is on the research staff of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. He is a regular columnist for Discover Magazine and an associate editor for the magazines Computers and Graphics, Computers and Physics, Odyssey, and Theta. His many previous books include Mazes for the Mind; Keys to Infinity; Computers and the Imagination; Can You Escape?; Black Holes: A Traveler's Guide; and The Alien IQ Test.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book barely touches on its subject, it has more information on earth life forms than hypothetical aliens. This is useful for a science fiction writer, but all of the information found in this book could be found elsewhere for free or in much greater detail. The writing style isn't extremely professional, with a few proofreading errors strewn throughout the book, and oddball biblical references which seem extremely out of place in a science fiction speculation book. There are very few images of aliens in the book, many are of earth life and the few that remain are done by very amateur artists. The image on cover of the book itself seems interesting, however you never see anything like it inside. If you're a sci-fi author looking for help on creating unique aliens, you'd do better to save money and just search relevant articles on Wikipedia, or look at other books on the subject. If you are someone new to science fiction and aliens entirely, you might find this interesting but there are better works out there.
We've generally always focused on the notion that Aliens are far ahead of our own technology, but what hasn't been talked about much is the likelihood of alien civilizations that may be technologically inferior to us. Which may be why they havent responded to our SeTI's radio signals, because there may be alien civilizations where they have yet to enter into their version of an industrial age. Why havent this sort of theory been talked about much, and is it possible? Secondly if there are advanced aliens why havent our scientific experts thought of the potential disaster it could spell for humanity if we keep trying to contact such superior beings. We need only to look at out own history to see that less advanced peoples get the short end of the stick as a result of coming into contact with far advanced peoples. An example would be American Indians and their relations with the first European settlers to the new world, and they both belong to the same species. Can you just imagine a similar situation with two different species? Are we in any immediate danger should an alien civilization far ahead of us one day answer out signals? I'd like this posibility to be addressed more. At some point in the future when we humans become a spacefaring species ourselves with colonies all over the galaxy and fleets of war ships, and we come into contact with a less advanced alien civilization, I can only pity such a civilization due to man's seemingly inherent lust for conquest. Therefore what makes us think that Aliens who have acheived the height of technological achievement be any different?
I haven't even read this yet - I just know "anonymous" is a creationist , and I am canceling him out.
This book is a testimony of some extreme conclusions of an author who has demonstrated his commitment to natualism. The whole book is not about science but about fantasy. There are four basic reasons scientists know this: 1) Cosmology has discovered the shattering truth that matter is not eternal, as naturalistic scientists once confidently assumed. The universe began at a finit period of time ¿ which in turn implies that something outside the universe must have set it going 2)There are staggering 'coincidences' that make the universe fit for life. From the molecular properties of water to the balance of electrical charges in the proton and electron, the entire structure of the physical universe is exquisitely designed to support life on Earth. 3) Laboratory experiments touted as proof that life can arise spontaneously by random natural forces turn out to prove nothing of the sort. Instead, they provide positive evidence that life can be created only by an intelligent agent controlling, directing, and manipulating the process. The discovery of DNA gives explosive new force to argument for design. If we rely on experience ¿ and, after all, science is supposed to be based on experience ¿ the only known source of information is an intelligent cause. 4) Darwin did not succeed in demonstrating that life developed by means of mindless, undirected natural forces. Experiments with breeding and mutations have shown that his fundamental assumption ¿ that living things van vary endlessly ¿ is fatally flawed. Today, the most advanced investigations into the heart of the cell confirm that the irreducible complexity of living things can be explained only by inteeligent design. I believe that this book and the series, Cosmic Safari, are not expressions of science, but rather expressions of belief in the faith of naturalism. It is misleading to present it as science.