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Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems

Grab all they can

23 Feb 2021, 02:48 UTC
Grab all they can
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Music from your formative years stays with you — generally in latent form, but at other times echoing resurgently through the amorphous cycles of nostalgia that stretch out into decades.

For me, it was the era of The Sisters of Mercy, New Order, The Psychedelic Furs, and Depeche Mode. Listening to the old LPs sometimes occasions a near-electric jolt when stanzas that seemed obscure are suddenly infused with stunning up-to-the-moment relevance. Stuck inside of Memphis with the mobile home, sing…

Several days ago, I noticed a new Metaculus question with a curious, almost clickbait-worthy title, When will we meet grabby aliens?

The reference is to a recent paper by Hanson, Martin, McCarter and Paulson, that has been getting traction in response to write-ups by Scott Aronson and others. Hanson et al.’s abstract rebrands as “grabby” extraterrestrials that seem to bear some similarities to the antagonists in Starship Troopers.

The parameters of the GC model determine how fast and in what manner space-time fills up with grabby civilizations, and are specified by (1) the rate at which grabby civilizations emerge, (2) the rate at which they expand, and (3) the number of “hard steps” (bottlenecks) in the so-called Great Filter, whatever ...

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