RE: SETI/ASTRO: MBrains/JBrains & Globular Clusters

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Mon Jul 16 2001 - 16:51:47 MDT

On Monday, July 16, 2001 12:31 PM Eugene Leitl wrote:
> > I'm not sure about that.
> I'm not sure either, but you can't haul the tera and peta tons of fightin'
> hardware from theah' to heah. The only thing you can do, is to visit in
> person (i.e. dragging the star, or at least a considerable fraction of a
> star with you), and it takes forever, and the other guy sees you coming.

Think gamma ray burst. What if that is the weapon or something disruptive
like that? The only purpose might be to destroy, disrupt, or confuse -- not
to invade and occupy.

> > Well, it depends on the goals. If the goal is just disruption, then you
> > don't have to successfully grab the cluster from the JBrains, just make
> > less useable for them.
> Sure, but the expense on your side is symmetrical. This is not space
> opera. This is teeth against claw, metric gigaton against metric gigaton.

> > Only for a while, I would think. If you used stealth initially --
> > perhaps while setting up shop -- then went off stealth once you'd
> > assured yourself that there were no likely competitors or spoiled
> > sports, then the only loss would be the initial period of stealthing
> > and any residuals from that.
> Sure, but is everybody out there *still* hiding? After all the Gyears of
> starting time?

Well, of course, the Hubble data was, IIRC, on one cluster. It hasn't
peeked into every nook and cranny.

> > I presume a cloud of nodes would be less like a ecology or a society
> > and more like an exclusive club or a firm -- at least, initially.
> Right, initially. But the initial clique gets amlified orders over orders
> of magnitude, and every fluctuation will get magnified to planetary scale.
> They *will* be heterogenous, soon.

That seems plausible unless some other type of organization (and
communication technology?) is (are) found. Then the club might turn more
into a hive then into one supermind, no?

> > So, there might be some agreement over resource usage and, if need be,
> > defense.
> Of course there's some agreement amongst some agents, but the rest of it
> is just savannah and coral reef. It doesn't participate (why, it is pretty
> mindless), but you can't control it, either. It has a signature the size
> of Manhattan. You can't hide that.

Think of hiding Manhattan in the solar system. If I put it on the other
side of Neptune and always keep it pointing away from Earth, humans still
wouldn't know it exists.

>> This assumes a certain degree of rationality on the part of both parties.
> The ones which will be fighting, will be smart enough.

Smart does not equal rational.

>> This doesn't mean 10^N - 1 times out of 10^N the JBrains won't win. It's
>> that 1 though that might bother them enough to use some countermeasures.
>> Also, it might not be us they're stealthed against. Think of the
>> in Pohl Anderson's _Gateway_ series, where there's one really advanced
>> that is doing _ultramegascale_ engineering -- IIRC, changing the global
>> geometry of the universe -- and doesn't want any interference, doesn't
>> want potential sources of interference evolving.
> Right now we have to idea whether ultramegascale is even feasible. We know
> what we can do with self-rep machinery, especially nano, that's about it.
> As for the rest of it, we'll know when we get there.

I was just bringing a scenario for consideration. I would say, right now,
it is feasible. If you move enough matter around -- this is basically most
of what you have to do here right -- you can re-engineer the known universe.
(If the universe is infinite or if it's already expanding hyperbolically,
then I concede the point.:)

> Meanwhile, we've got
> billions of local scale problems, which are yet unsolved, so I tend to
> save my worries for when/if we get there.

I agree. I don't lie awake at night pondering what JBrains are up to.


Daniel Ust
    See "The Many Births of Free Verse" at:

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