Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where are you going on your holidays this year?

Listening to my good friends on BBC Radio 5 today, I was intrigued to hear them reporting the theories of an exotic gentleman called Erasmus Bjork. He is Danish, but that is no excuse for having such a compelling name. I guess we can discuss this later. We could go down the road of exploring funny names, but let’s leave that for a day when we are really bored. Let me just pause here to report that in the latest edition of that admirable organ “Viz”, someone enquires of Mr Bacon the name of his insurance company “Hadaway an Shite” he retorts. What is their address? One, punch in the fookin mouth street. We don’t want to go there, do we, boys and girls?

So, back to Erasmus. He is saying that the reason that we are not in contact with extra-terrestrials is that it takes too long to find each other. The following is an extract from an article in the Grauniad, a newspaper lacking the political perspicacity of Viz, but not bad if you are really bored.

He found that even if the alien ships could hurtle through space at a tenth of the speed of light, or 30,000km a second, - Nasa's current Cassini mission to Saturn is plodding along at 32km a second - it would take 10bn years, roughly half the age of the universe, to explore just 4% of the galaxy. His study is reported in New Scientist today.

The question is, why bother? Surely our experience here on this tiny planet (Dave has written about smallness today) would lead us to believe that there is an abundance of boring beings within spitting distance of us at any time (I will leave Mr Bjork to do the calculations on the dimensions of spitting distance), so why waste our time searching the universe for others? I spend my working life try to avoid conversations with myriad accountants, consultants and marketers; do I really need to explore the possibility of there being a race of tax auditors a couple of galaxies across, even if they do have three noses? The fact is that none of us have anything worthwhile to say, and most of us manage to devote ours lives to the demonstration of that truth.

Were Star Trek to be made realistic (I am now going into a territory I know little about, I am not a fan of science fiction), then Captain Kirk would be portrayed sipping the national beverage of some small republic on a planet 3.7 light years away discussing the route he took to get their with some boring, fat middle aged alien with a droning voice, an irritating accent and wearing an out of shape cardigan. Star Wars should, to mirror reality, be in the form of a home makeover programme with interesting ideas on how to decorate houses made of helium, and add interest to a garden that has a ground temperature of 208 degrees Celsius.

We should not be asking about finding intelligent life in the universe, but the chances of finding interesting life. Is there a solar system out there somewhere where there are jokes that have not already been round the internet three times?

Not boring you, am I?

26 comments:

Kindness (disarms the difficult) said...

never find you boring...

i read a post and later find that my brain bounced out of my head leaving me speechless and (there it goes again!) ..................unable to... write..... a....... word.

Pamela said...

Bored? Me? Nevah. Although, have you heard the one about the Martian and the Venuvian....

Homo Escapeons said...

Well I for one am glad that somebody, you in particular, had the cajones to finally come out and say...we would bore the shiite out of somebody who had the technology to have travelled 4 billion light years to get here...no wonder Aliens enjoy anal probing.

raincoaster said...

They've found that 10% of their subjects don't seem to mind!

Actually, there are Vulcans in the White House.

Artist once known as Dave said...

A similar article was in The Times, albeit with slightly different figures (but of interest only to an accountant).

Why would we need to meet aliens, anyway, when we have the internet, and regularly communicate with people of an alien culture (Usa, Canada...)?

MJ said...

That's more like it.

*wakes up and takes notice*

Frontier Editor said...

Could you repeat that? I was busy scratching myself.

Richard said...

I've been to Kidsgrove, that was far enough. And I didn't get out of the car.

Vicus Scurra said...

Richard. It is written in the Upanishads that he who has visited Talke Pits need search no further.

Geoff said...

It's not worth it. You know the most popular comedian on Mars?

Norman Wisdom.

You couldn't make it up.

Richard said...

I didn't get out there either because it was raining. And dark.

First Nations said...

i dated a danish guy one time. his name was Cydni. we had italian food and, um, that was it.

yeah, i see your point.

broomhilda said...

Hell, we barely have intellegent life on this planet...

tom909 said...

Just to confirm, for Richard's benefit really, it is in fact true that the two places on earth where just a mere visit can ensure liberation are, in this order, Varanasi on the banks of the River Ganges, and Talke Pits near Stoke on Trent.
Quite by chance I visited the latter in my late teens and I was pleasantly surprised by the spiritual elevation I experienced there. That was fucking strong acid that day wasn't it Vicus.

zoe said...

bored as fuck.

why does björk need a holiday ? she's got loadsa money.

move on.

NEXT.

Richard said...

Tom, have you actually been there without the aid of medication?

ziggi said...

are you busy or something?

tom909 said...

Richard, I haven't been to Varanasi, medicated or otherwise. I have been to Talke Pits out of my brains but not otherwise. Hope this clears up this rather important point.

Dyna Girl said...

WHo are the fastest people in the world?

The Russians!!

I bet that one is weak enough not to have made it 'round the internet 3 times and it's from right here at home.

Mark Gamon said...

Warp drive. Haven't you ever heard of warp drive?

Gibber gibber greeble fle'eek sringle runcible babbledibjork spoon...

Mark Gamon said...

BTW, Boggins is not resting any more.

MJ said...

A week has passed.

BORED AGAIN!

Vicus Scurra said...

Bored MJ? You should fuck off more.

Foilwoman said...

Off topic, but with a pseudonym (at least I hope it's a pseudonym) of Vicus Scurra, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how the name Erasmus Bjork could seem the least bit odd.

raincoaster said...

What is this "pseudonym" of which you speak?

Psst, Vicus: the Brits are revoking the registration of the Sea Shepherd ship the Robert Hunter, because it's interfering with the Japanese whaling crop.

The Sea Shepherd Society is of course run by Paul Watson, one of the founders of Greenpeace. And yeah, interfering with the Japanese whaling season was sorta the whole point, but there's no law against that in Britain.

I, like the view said...

North Cornwall