4.02.2008

Stop That


Exterminate all Humans!

You’re killing us. You don’t know you’re killing us, and you certainly don’t mean to be killing us, but you are and you’ve got to stop. Or be stopped, damn you.

When the Borg come to invade (or the Zerg, the Daleks, the Arachnids of Klendathu – take your pick) and assimilate all of us into their hive collective, they will surely thank us for the many bright radio signals, television broadcasts, not to mention the occasional Beatles Song, and especially for the latest attempts by certain METI groups to blast out volume-cranked radio beacons into all directions of space.

Indeed, when the Andromedeans descend and clamp their mind-control collars around our necks, the first instructions will likely include an order to kneel and bow our heads in grateful acknowledgement of all the METI imbeciles who did everything they could to ensure that Earth could be so easily found and subdued. Alien overlords, conquerors, usurpers, and run-of-the-mill brain sucker-outers especially love it when their prey/victims/hosts do everything they can to announce their location and relative helplessness:

“We are here! We have interesting technology! We have plentiful resources! We can easily sustain all kinds of life! And we are really, REALLY stupid!”

Without a doubt, even the slow, monomaniacal Vogons will turn aside from their blundering path of destruction and conquest when they hear a message like that! “Hmm? What’s this signal we’re getting? Entire race begging to be crushed mercilessly? Oh, goody!”

To be sure, the well-intentioned METI individuals, and their Beatles-loving counterparts over at NASA are not expecting to contact anyone like the Vogons or the Zerg, but rather, they hope our messages will serendipitously find their way to all the loving & friendly races of space. Surely there are many wise, benevolent beings all across the universe who have only been waiting to be asked nicely to contact us, so they can bring us the cure for cancer, eliminate AIDS, teach us faster-than-light travel, and give each of us a pony.

Meanwhile, as the Arachnids are busily inserting their probosci into our brains and feeding on our cranial slurry, they will surely appreciate the peculiar mindset of a species that would go so far out of its way to invite destruction. To fully appreciate the outrageousness of what the METI (splinter group of SETI) and its Russian counterpart are intending to do, one need only imagine the ancient Aztecs and the Mayans posting signs all up and down the Atlantic coast inviting all sorts of kindly visitors from across the sea:

We’ve got gold – TONS AND TONS of solid gold. NO IRON WEAPONS or HORSES. Rich Foodstuffs. We promise to WORSHIP YOU LIKE GODS. Please come! Map & Directions on back of this sign. Open 24/7! (Oh, and silver too. Did we mention that?) 1-time-only bonus: First arrival gets to keep Mexico City!

Part of the problem here is that average-joe TV watcher is almost as bad. Earth is broadcasting signals constantly, and any smart race of beings would STOP DOING THAT as soon as they could figure out how. We should be doing the opposite of what METI wants us to do, by curtaining-off and concealing wherever possible the stray signals we are sending into space. In fact, this is probably the best argument as to why SETI hasn’t discovered anything yet. No one else who has evolved and survived out there has done anything as incomprehensibly stupid as continuously advertise their location to strangers.

Have you ever wondered why, in nature, animals camouglage themselves? Camo is your first line of defense against the bigger, the badder, and the hungrier. We like to think we could just open up a big ol’ can o’whuppass on any invader that might come our way, but we have no idea – none – no concept whatsoever with regard to our ability to fend off a nasty ET. In fact, logic dictates we would almost certainly be weaker than any spacefaring opponent. (Read my prior post to understand why.)

Look, I don’t want to come off sounding like some paranoid alien-hating nutjob. There is every possibility that the very first ET that hears the METI signal will be open, thoughtful, considerate, and interested in developing a mutually beneficial relationship. There is also every possibility that we have a neighbor, perhaps even in our own galaxy, who is covetous, expansive, exploitive, violent, and mean. We just don’t want to risk giving that kind of neighbor a friendly hello.

Eliminating over-the-air broadcast of television signals is a first step, and in this day of hi-def, probably one of the least painful. Alas, even as I write this, I can imagine at least one reader who would prefer to keep the three channels he can receive using an antenna, and in exchange gladly sacrifice future generations to the Brood Swarm that will devour our bodies and consume our genes, and eventually cover our entire planet in a thick, organic creep membrane. Lovely, just lovely.