Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things you don't want to hear the smartest man in the world say

We all have dreams about aliens and space travel. Most of them involve aliens landing, telling you you're the ultimate special human, and then whisking you far away to fight in an intergalactic battle where you're the key to defeating evil, and your reward will be all the space bucks and alien princess 'tang you can carry. Or it involves aliens invading Earth and you coming up with the key to defeat them that was so simple that the aliens, with their superior intelligence and weaponry, really should have had a contingency plan for it, but OH THEIR ALIEN HUBRIS AND ARROGANCE, YOU CANNOT DEFEAT THE HUMAN SPIRIT!

Or maybe you just want to be Han Solo or fuck around and have a family type adventure with a stranded, but friendly, alien. Whatever. The point is, you don't think of the aliens coming down, fucking our shit up royally, and then exterminating or enslaving us for all eternity. Well, Stephen Hawking really wants you to start considering that notion. Like, right now.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”
Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
Bleak enough for you? That's just the beginning stages of the Discovery Channel's new series Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking. Hell, part four is called "Aliens: Did I mention the part where they rape you and eat you at the same time? No? Trust me, it'll be awful."

But, the smartest man on earth isn't just trying to scare you about aliens and sell a spec script to Steven Spielberg where a man in a wheelchair beats back the evil Columbus aliens with knowledge, quantum theory, and a chair mounted Gatling gun, no, he's trying to educate about other things as well.

Aside from aliens, Hawking's program discusses the nature of life, space travel, time travel, black holes, and the wonders of the cosmos in an attempt to entertain and teach. Largely about how we're all doomed, but also about things that we won't be able to see or fully comprehend... because hostile forces from other planets will have wiped our civilization out before we become smart enough. The four part miniseries already aired its first two parts on the 25th, with the second two to come in subsequent weeks. Watch, learn, and be afraid.

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