Re: Universal Schelling points
Wed, 12 Feb 1997 00:54:18 -0500 (EST)

Several of you have weighed in with thoughtful comments on this topic, and
I've enjoyed learning about how astrophysics might combine with game theory
to encourage mega-engineering projects--and *incredible* parties!

Several parties have mentioned that the relevant Schelling point(s) might lie
not in physical space but rather in the electromagnetic spectrum. That makes
a lot a sense, on reflection. Why cart our meat (or, more aptly, silicon) to
the party when we can simply attend at a distance, virtually? Granted that C
would still hinder our repartee, but the same damned limit would also make
personal meetings extraordinarily burdensome. (Sure, relativistic effects
would cut the apparent commute, but who wants to return to homebodies who've
aged at hugely disparate rates?)

Assuming that we seek electromagnetic Schelling points, would we really aim
at something (as I believe Michael Lorrey suggested) in the 21 cm band? I'd
like to hear more of the reasoning behind that choice. Doesn't it rely on a
rather parochial notion of appropriate biologies?

Were I an alien trying to contact scattered friends, I think I'd set up a
sort of lighthouse that, at freakishly regular intervals, would blast out
discrete bursts of EM radiation. Then I would, in between or next to the
bursts, plug in my message to the universe: "Partyline in the 10 cm band!
Just dial 1-900...."

Sounds kinda' like a pulsar, eh? I wonder if anyone has listened closely to
the spaces *between* their signals.

T.0. Morrow