Tag Archives: people

Will the Aliens Be Nice? Don’t Count On It


Will the Aliens Be Nice? Don’t Bet On It

By GARY GUTTING

The probability that there is intelligent life somewhere other than earth increases as we discover more and more solar systems that seem capable of sustaining life. The thought that there might be extraterrestrial intelligences (ETI) somewhere out there excites us and has led to organized efforts to contact any such beings. We have sent space probes with data about us, and we transmit signals with a structured content (like symbols expressing mathematical formulae) to what we hope will be an intergalactic audience. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence project (SETI) is obviously based on the assumption that the possible benefits of contact with ETI outweigh the possible harms. But do they?

A recent study by researchers at Penn State and NASA provides a useful outline of the various ways that encounters with ETI could be beneficial, neutral or harmful to us. The study faces up to the most chilling possibilities: ETI might “eat us, enslave us, attack us,” inadvertently infect us with horrible diseases or just decide to eliminate us for the greater good of the universe. (Regarding this last point, the report is especially concerned that ETI might be at least metaphorically green and see us a threat to the universe’s ecology.)

The report draws no conclusions about the wisdom of pursuing SETI, though it does urge the need to develop quantitative measures of possible harms and benefits. Its final sentence seems content with the idea that we will “continue the search for extraterrestrials into the future.” Especially after reading the report, I am not so content.

What is likely to happen if we make contact with ETI? Given the size of astronomical distances and assuming the speed of light as the maximum possible velocity, the most likely outcome is not real contact but merely an exchange of messages, perhaps at very long intervals. Little chance of harm there.

But there is still non-zero probability of real contact. Since we have no way of predicting with any certainty the outcome of such contact, it might seem that we have no reason to assume a bad rather than a good result. From this we might conclude that there is no objection to pursuing SETI, if only to satisfy our curiosity.

But we do know this: for the foreseeable future, contact with ETI would have to result from their coming here, which would in all likelihood mean that they far surpassed us technologically. They would be able to enslave us, hunt us as prey, torture us as objects of scientific experiments, or even exterminate us and leave no trace of our civilization. They would, in other words, be able to treat us as we treat animals — or as our technologically more advanced societies have often treated less advanced ones.

This suggests an argument against SETI that is the reverse of Pascal’s famous wager argument for believing in God. Pascal’s idea was that even a small probability of bringing about an enormous good (without risking unacceptable evil) was good reason for acting. This is a reasonable principle: even a small prospect of enormous good can swamp the prospect of more probable but much lesser goods. Pascal’s argument runs into trouble not because of this principle but because of worries about, for example, which God we ought to believe in. (There is also, as William James pointed out, the disconcerting possibility that God might be particularly ill-disposed to people who believe in him through the calculating reasoning of the wager argument.)

The swamping principle also applies to a small possibility of an enormous evil, which can provide a good reason for not acting. This would seem to be the case with ETI. Since there’s at least a small (and perhaps a not so small) probability that they will bring us catastrophic evil, why should we risk such an outcome?

One reason might be that ETI could instead bring us enormous benefits: they might even lead us to a paradise of peace, wisdom and joy. But there is no reason to think that such a paradise is more probable than a hell of slavery or extermination. And enormous gains are not worth the equal risk of horrendous loss. Who would take a bet that promised, at equal odds, either a lifetime of unalloyed happiness or a lifetime of utter misery? Better to stick with the likelihood of a normal human life, mixed with joy and sorrow.

Another possible reason is that ETI might in fact save us from horrors equal to the worst they might inflict on us. If the probability of their saving us were equal to or greater than of their destroying us, then the bet of making contact might well be worth it. Here the most plausible suggestion is that, without intervention from powerful and good ETI, we are likely to destroy ourselves through nuclear war. But there is a failure of imagination in thinking that nuclear annihilation is as bad as the worse that ETI might do to us. They might, for example, give us each thousands of years of excruciatingly painful existence as their slaves. This might not even be due to moral perversity; they might be so beyond us that they were incapable of recognizing us as objects of moral concern.

We cannot know what might happen to us from contact with ETI. But we do know that there may well be unthinkably horrible outcomes that are not likely to be offset by potential benefits. We should not take the SETI bet.

SOURCE

10 Signs That The American People Are Starting To Freak Out About The Condition Of The Economy

10 Signs That The American People Are Starting To Freak Out About The Condition Of The Economy

Courtesy of The Economic Collapse Blog

All over America, restlessness and frustration are growing. It has now been almost three years since the great financial crash of 2008, and yet the U.S. economy is still a complete and total mess. In fact, there are all sorts of signs that things are about to get even worse, and the American people are just about fed up. Virtually every major poll, survey and measure of consumer confidence shows that the American people are becoming more pessimistic about the economy. Millions of hard working Americans that worked their fingers to the bone for their employers and that did everything “right” are sitting at home on their couches tonight staring blankly at the television. Many of them still have a hard time believing that they were laid off and that there is nobody out there that wants to give them a good job. There are millions of other Americans that won’t get much sleep tonight because they will spend much of the night rolling around in bed wondering how they are possibly going to be able to pay the mortgage. We have never faced such an extended economic downturn in modern U.S. history, and a lot of people are starting to freak out about the condition of the economy. As Gerald Celente likes to say: “When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose – they lose it.”

Every single month, the number of good jobs continues to go down. Wall Street actually rewards companies that have a good “outsourcing strategy“. As I have written about previously, a growing percentage of the jobs that are being “created” these days are very low paying jobs. But you can’t support a family, pay a mortgage or even afford decent health insurance on what you would make stocking shelves at Target or passing out buckets of chicken for KFC.

The American people keep waiting for “hope” and “change” to show up, but all they get instead are more helpings of “despair” and “frustration“.

Sadly, most Americans still cling to the hope that if the “next election” will just turn out the right way that things will be okay. But the truth is that things seem to stay on pretty much the same course no matter who we put into office.

For many years the status quo seemed to be okay for most people, but now we are starting to reap the results of the economic seeds that we have sown.

Now our economic decline is starting to accelerate and people are starting to panic. Most Americans may not know why all of this is happening, but what many of them do know is that something in their gut is telling them that things have gone terribly, terribly wrong somehow.

The following are 10 signs that the American people are starting to freak out about the condition of the economy….

#1 Things have already gotten so bad that Americans will literally trample one another just to get on a waiting list for rental assistance vouchers. Just check out the following excerpt from a local news report about a recent incident in Texas….

At least eight people were hurt Thursday morning while scrambling to line up for a limited number of Dallas County rental vouchers — after waiting for hours in their cars.

People lined up Thursday morning to apply for Dallas County Section 8 housing vouchers. Dallas County sheriff’s spokesman Kim Leach estimated the crowd at about 5,000.

Video of this incident is posted below. One of the people that was trampled was a pregnant woman….

#2 Almost every measurement of consumer confidence is going down. For example, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell from 61.7 in May to 58.5 in June.

#3 The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has fallen to 63.8 after being at 71.5 in June. It is now the lowest that it has been since the last recession “ended”.

#4 The Rasmussen Consumer Index is down 9 points from a month ago.

#5 A recent poll taken by Rasmussen found that 68 percent of Americans believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#6 According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%.

#7 In many areas of the United States this summer, just about anything that is not bolted down is being stolen by people that are desperate for money.

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#8 According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.

#9 Another recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.

#10 According to a brand new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 63 percent of Americans believe that the nation is on the wrong track. That figure is three percent higher than it was last month.

One of the only things preventing chaos from breaking out in the streets of our cities from coast to coast is government handouts.

Today, almost 20 percent of all personal income in the United States comes from benefits provided by the federal government.

You don’t believe this? Just check out what the New York Times recently had to say….

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics.

There are tens of millions of Americans that are living “on the edge”, but at least the massive government handout programs are enabling most of them to survive.

So what happens when the checks from the government stop coming?

Look, I am not advocating that the “welfare society” that we have become is a good thing. Today, Americans receive more in direct government benefits than they pay in taxes. That is not even close to sustainable.

What I am pointing out is that tens of millions of Americans that are deeply suffering are currently being pacified by these government handouts. Once the handouts are cut significantly or taken away completely it is going to unleash a lot of anger and frustration.

Of course what the American people really need are good jobs that will give them dignity and allow them to provide for their families, but millions of those keep getting shipped out of the country.

So the only thing that millions of Americans still have to hang on to are their government benefits. Once that changes a whole lot of people are going to throw a fit.

In fact, we are already seeing some really bizarre behavior across the United States. In many areas of the country we are literally watching society crumble right in front of our very eyes.

But not all Americans will resort to lawless behavior. In fact, there are a lot of really good, hard working people out there that this economy has left behind.

There are some people that have put in decades of hard work only to see their dreams shrivel up over the past few years.

Some of the stories people send me are absolutely heartbreaking. I have looked at each and every comment that has been left on The Economic Collapse over the past couple of years. Needless to say, it has taken a huge investment of my time to go through more than 20,000 comments. But in the process I have gotten a very good idea of what people are going through across the nation.

So how badly are people hurting? Well, a reader identified as “Anna44” recently shared with us what some of her family members have been going through in this economy….

My B-I-L was a dealership owner/manager who worked long hours over 38 years and had to close his doors when Saturn was dissolved. When his dealership went under, 72 others lost their job. That’s 72 families who took a hit. He lost his home, everything. A few of his former employees lost their homes as well eventually. They were not lazy or WORTHLESS. It took him a year and a half to finally find something, but now he lives in a hotel unable to qualify for a house or apartment. This is an educated man who competed nationwide for top dog and got it more then once. His biggest fault? He’s almost 60, young enough to need the work, but too old to be hired.

As for my husband- 26 years AF officer, handling millions & billions on International & National levels has just entered his 7th month of unemployment. Two tours abroad- lazy he is NOT. He doesn’t qualify for unemployment, nor is he counted because he gets a retirement check. He wants and needs to work- yet there is little out there. If he doesn’t find something soon, we too will lose the home we sunk every cent into after 20 years of saving for it!

All across America tonight there are similar stories. People have done everything “right” all of their lives and they are frustrated that now they have been pushed to the edge of poverty by this economy.

Unfortunately, it looks like things may soon get even worse. Economist David Rosenberg recently told CNBC the following….

“We’re just one small shock away from the economy going back into recession.”

That is not what the American people want to hear.

What they want to hear is that things are about to get better.

What they want to hear is that things are going to get back to normal soon.

Sadly, that is just not going to be the case.

The economy is going to get worse and worse, and the frustration and the anger of the American people is just going to continue to grow.

SOURCE

Why Do People Resist Conspiracy Concept?

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by Mike Parker

(for henrymakow.com)

It is the human tendency to deny the reality of “conspiracy“, even though all of human interaction is by definition a “conspiracy“. Conspirators rely on this habit of denial, because it makes their conspiracies possible. As long as people are denying that conspiring is possible, then conspiring is guaranteed to be successful.

“Nobody would do that. Nobody would even think of doing that.”

Men – intelligent men – who set forth to commit “crimes“, or to accomplish things that other people would not approve of, are committed to finding the means of doing such things, in ways that “normal” people would not normally be ready to anticipate.

“Motive” is easy to suppose. A man steals from a bank. Motive: He wanted the money.

“Means”, if it is done right, is not necessarily so easy to uncover. A man who points a gun at a bank teller has a straightforward means.

The most brilliant conspirators set their aims towards unusual thinking. The further that a plan is removed from normal thinking, the more valuable the proposition will be. Scads of crime films have been successful, working from the basis that surprising the audience with new and unexpected means of committing crimes will get their attention. Yet coming up with the most incredible means of committing crimes is in truth the foundation for the success of the deepest conspiracies that “normal” people think could never be possible.

The credo of the most successful conspirators is this: “Make what you do so far removed from normal thinking that normal thinkers would never even consider it possible.”

The most powerful and successful conspirators refuse to acknowledge that anything is impossible, and this is why they have been successful. They ride on the human tendency to accept everyday explanations for even the most deranged events.

Imagine a planet of free thinkers. People whose minds are capable of exploring every possible direction of human action, both great and “depraved“. That is not Humanity, in general. That is better a description of the highest heights of the Illuminati. They ask themselves, “What would people NOT expect?” And they use that, to generate social change from unexpected directions.

Then they ask: “How can we prevent others from thinking the same way?”

It’s simple: give them new toys, and create “world-ending” crises to worry about. Meanwhile actual world-killing crises unfold – and that means Japan.

So forth.

People in general do not feel happy about intrigue and conspiracy. They want to live their lives in peace, without worry. They want to be able to put their bag down, and attend to other business, without worrying that someone will steal their bag while they are otherwise involved.

The true Conspirators are by now so far ahead of commonplace thinking that what they are aiming at is not stealing the bag, but replacing it with their own bag, and telling you it’s the one you just set down.

People are too easy to control.

“No one would ever do that. It’s not possible. We can’t do that. No one would ever want to do that. No one would think of that.”

Maybe you wouldn’t. And that’s exactly why THEY did.

Why are people so resistant against truth? Or even fact?

I have spent much of my life trying to understand the blindness of normal humans.

For example, this very day I attempted to inform my colleagues that one or more of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima has been admitted to be in a meltdown state. This is a likely catastrophic development.

I might as well have been telling them the schedule for the #260 bus. They didn’t know; they didn’t care; and they didn’t care to know.

Is it indifference? It is inertia? Is it lack of mental ability?

What is wrong? What is wrong with people? Why do they refuse to see?

Whatever it is, it is the means by which the conspirators have managed to succeed.

http://www.henrymakow.com/conspiracy.html