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Gravitational Waves Reveal We’re Worth Reconnoitering

See that scientists have just discovered the existence of gravitational waves? Well, hopefully. They also announced the same discovery a couple of years ago but then retracted it (see my post “Dust on Your Lens: Gravitational Waves and Cognitive Biases”).

But assuming this time it’s for real; it’s a pretty amazing feat. To wit, they detected two black holes merging at a distance of 1.2 billion light years from us. Now that’s something worth talking about, even if the details are an arcane mystery to 99% of the Earth’s denizens.

According to my somewhat dusty knowledge of physics and cosmology, if we can detect an event like this using a gravitational wave, then we ourselves have left our own cosmic fingerprint all over the wave. Of course you would need the science to detect that and only a civilization much more advanced than ours would be able to detect it. But, folks it’s out there. We’ve given away our position.

Now of course any alien with the right technology has already seen us. Our dirty fingerprints are all over the planet ranging from gases in the atmosphere to electromagnetic emissions and so on, maybe even our own brainwaves (see my post “Is Astrology a Branch of Neuroscience?”).

But with our detection of gravitational waves, ET knows something else. Before, we were just a curiosity, maybe one of billions of such backward civilizations. Now we've risen out of the rut. We are worth a further look. We’ve been elevated to the category of Level 1 civilizations on the Kardashev scale. Maybe we are going to get to Level 2, which could possibly pose a threat to another galactic civilization. Are we a Galactic North Korea or Iran?

There’s always been a debate as to whether we should welcome or fear interest from an advanced alien civilization. Traditionally we have been prone to want to love them. Maybe it’s a religious thing. But recently the winds have shifted. Stephen Hawking is now the main proponent of a view that says we shouldn’t do anything to attract the interest of aliens because they are probably going to be dangerous to us.

OK in that case, we’ve blown it, given our position and technological capabilities away completely. A prescient civilization would now be preparing for potential alien Armageddon.

All that presumes of course that there are alien civilizations out there and that they would be trying to contact us. Until now that’s been a contentious debate although statistical probability on its own argues strongly for the case.

But now we’ve just got more news that seems to be confirmatory. That is that the phenomenon called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) have, for the first time, been seen to be repeated. There’s no explanation we can think of where FRBs would be identical every time they happened but that’s what we have just seen. So there’s some possibility that for the first time we have seen evidence of a Type 2 or 3 Kardeshev civilization trying to make contact with us. Enough maybe to freeze the blood in our veins.

Discovery of gravitational waves is an exciting event. But the fact that this means humans have also become much more discoverable and interesting introduces another radical perspective. Galactically we have just become much more visible and intriguing to others out there.

Maybe time for those national defense planners to introduce another military scenario into their forward planning?







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