So, Scientific American responds to Stephen Hawking. Which I also did, a few days ago.
But they are smarter, and answer this question: “But notwithstanding the fact that intelligent life appears to be extremely rare, what are the odds that space aliens would really want something from our planet?”
So, this article is making the AP rounds, in which Stephen Hawking states that if we find aliens they likely will be more advanced then us, and that the more advanced species generally KILLS the less advanced species. Citing the Europeans destroying all the American Indians.
This upsets me for 2 big reasons.
1) Scientists are supposed to push the boundaries of what we know and what we can do. They are supposed to explore, research, test. Sometimes its hard to get funding for these things. I have heard people say we shouldn’t give NASA money because there is better uses for that money. Frankly, I don’t know how useful most of NASA is. I have no idea. But what I DO know is that its a great thing to continue to push the limits of our knowledge and understanding.
Understanding outer space might not be crucial today, but it certainly might be tomorrow. So we’d better work on it now. Scientists need to be forward thinking. We are destroying our planet. The answer to fixing it might be on other planets. We nearly got hit by a meteor a few weeks ago. I hope we continue to scan the skies for the next one. I can’t fathom what we could learn by discovering life on another planet.
But to keep doing this work, scientists need funding. And you know what will make people NOT want to fund space exploration?
The world’s most famous smart guy saying aliens will probably kill us.
2) I don’t understand why Hawking thinks that if we run into another life form it will be so much like us. So much like us, that it will treat us like we treated the Indians. Or like we treated the people of Pandora. Oh wait. That second one is a movie. A movie which I thought contained a pretty simplistic view of what aliens might be like. A movie which made it seem like humans will never learn from their mistakes, and we will look the other way while atrocities happen in other lands.
I guess I am not a genius, because I think we are slowly getting smarter. I think as communication barriers go down corporations and governments will get away with less.
I also think alien races won’t walk on two feet and look like Zoe Saldana.
Sure if we discovered aliens we should be concerned for our safety. We should be concerned for their safety too. But I don’t think we need to be scared of finding aliens.
But I’m not smart. Personally, I still can’t grasp why we mostly expect to find life on planets with water. Is it impossible to imagine life as we don’t know it? Does life have to work the same everywhere? I certainly don’t know the answer.
The only answer I do know is: Stephen Hawking shouldn’t make dumb headline inducing quotes about how scientist should NOT do something.
Jill Tarter, the director of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is nicer then me when she responds
Before I wrote this, I talked to Becky about it. We agreed that Stephen Hawking shouldn’t have said that. Of course Becky also said “Man, I don’t even care if aliens are hostile. Knowing we’re not the only intelligent life, I would die happy at the hands of them ray guns”. At least that’s a keep searching the skies attitude. Even if it still ends with ray gun death.
Kevin is walking down the street. A short old woman approaches him.
Woman: Do you know what time it is? Kevin: It’s about 6:15 Woman: Are you sure? Kevin: Not exactly. (Checks phone). It’s 6:20 Woman: Are you Irish or Polish? Kevin: A little of both actually. Woman: You have a handsome face. Kevin: Thank you. Woman: I’m the palm reader.
*The palm reader reaches and shakes Kevin’s hand. She doesn’t let go.*
Kevin: Nice to meet you. Woman: I turned 71 today. Kevin: Oh. Happy Birthday. Woman: You are going to live a long life. Kevin: Oh, great. Thanks. Woman: Are you married? Kevin: No. I live with my girlfriend. Woman: What do you do for a living? Kevin: I teach. Comedy. Acting. Woman: You are going to have a good life. Kevin: Thanks. Woman: Put some paper money in your hand. Kevin: Oh. No. I don’t need my palm read. Woman: It’s my birthday. Kevin: Yes. Woman: You can buy me a cup of coffee, if you like. Kevin: I’m sorry, no. Woman: Have a nice day. Kevin: Happy Birthday.
Last week I came home to find that a recent tumblr post had rocketed from a dozen or so notes to over a hundred. I tried to check out the reblogs to see what blog had sent that post beyond my meager 150 or so followers.
I couldn’t figure it out. Then my friend Pat sent me a message telling me “your post about @ircmullaney’s improv notes is showing up on Tumblr’s radar….”
I wrote him back asking how that post got popular. I asked this because I didn’t know what the radar was. I felt like he was commenting using some sort of new/old slang about how clearly folks were talking about my post.
Pat had gone to sleep so he couldn’t correct my misunderstanding of radar.
But then another friend, Katey, posted about me being on ‘the radar’. So I emailed her asking why that post had taken off. She responded that it had been put on the radar. I started to write back, “Yes, I realize that, but WHY is it on the radar…” but as I wrote radar I realized that I was missing something obvious. I pulled up my dashboard, looked in the lower right corner and saw the radar. I have barely ever paid attention to it, so I never realized the name of it. But, there it was, my post, on the ‘radar’.
Then I got too nervous to post anything all weekend! I had gathered like 40 more followers! They wanted more insightful improv posts. But I was just reblogging a post by Kevin Mullaney. That wasn’t even MY insight!
So if you are following me for improv talk, well you’ll probably get it from time to time. In between posts about comic books, TV, and online videos that I have worked on.
But if you want more full time improv talk you should follow Kevin Mullaney’s post. Here is his tumblr version: Mullaney
The most recent Spider-Man cartoon, titled Spectular Spider-Man, was my favorite adaption of Spider-Man ever.
I talked about it before briefly and I commented how if it ran at least 4 season it could have an impact like the Animated Batman series of the 90’s had.
But this cartoon sadly was made for the Kids WB, which ended it’s existence. The 2nd season aired on Disney XD. And then Disney bought Marvel and things are getting reorganized, so they are starting a brand new Spider-Man cartoon. This one is based on comic book writer Brian Bendis’s work. It might be good, although the previous cartoon based on Bendis’s work was the imperfect Mtv computer animated Spider-Man cartoon (man Spidey’s had lots of cartoons!).
But, let’s hope it’s good. Even then it will pale next to these well crafted seasons. Self-contained episodes, within mini 4 episode arcs, all playing into season long stories. Characters are introduced early and change and evolve.
This series truly takes the best of Spider-Man’s comics and ran with it. The changes they made were almost entirely for the better. Harry and Gwen are very different from the comic books, but they make a lot more sense to me in the cartoon. Mary Jane, Captain Stacy, Betty Brant… each character was crafted with an understanding of what made them cool.
The fight sequences were really well done. And most importantly Spider-Man is funny during the fights. That’s something Raimi didn’t get and Tobey Maguire couldn’t pull off.
Take a look at this early fight with Doctor Octopus (I can’t seem to get tumblr to make this format nicely, but it seems to work):
The show was smart too! If you watched the clip you see the brilliant scientist easily see through Spider-Man’s plan. Then you see Spidey adapt and outsmart the outsmarter. I love watching characters be smart.
This was the Spider-Man series I always wish existed. It’s a Spider-Man cartoon that felt like the comics felt to me. And it was a series that pleased this VERY picky Spider-man fan.
I’m glad they made 2 seasons of it. I wanted a LOT more.
I hope all my current and future students follow this link and read the whole post.
In particular his points about some of the naunces of agreement are key.
This part about eating spinach is great.
For instance, your scene partner begins a scene by saying, “Finish your spinach, or you won’t get dessert.” Well, first thing to know is that you shouldn’t argue about it. Be agreeable, eat your spinach.
There is a bit more to it, however. The initiation implies that you do not like spinach, otherwise why would they insist that you finish it? You have to agree to that as well. You don’t like spinach. What do you do then? I just told you that you can’t argue about it, that you have to eat it. You do. You just don’t have to like eating it. It can be quite fun to watch a character do things they don’t want to do. So always remember: Do the thing that your character doesn’t want to do.
and this part about not solving problems
Let’s say your scene partner starts a scene by saying something like, “I’m really hungry. I wish I had something to eat.” They have initiated a problem. It might seem like responding with, “Look there’s an apple tree. Let’s get an apple,” would be a good idea. However, by solving the problem you have denied them. To yes-and a problem, you make the problem worse. A better response might be to say, “There’s a restaurant down the road, but it will take a couple of hours to get there on foot.” In effect you are saying, “Yes you are hungry, and you won’t be eating anytime soon.”
So Thursday a large asteroid, with a diameter of 20-40 meters flew between the moon and the Earth. I didn’t hear about it until late Thursday night, after it had already passed.
I am shocked stuff like that doesn’t get more attention. That’s close! Right? The moon is close. As a friend mentioned to me, the news about it not being a big deal is probably the same news you’d get if it was too late to do anything about it. But let’s not think about that. Let’s just build some sort of Endor based forcefield to keep out future asteroids and evil spaceships.