FUTURE: Fermi Paradox

The Low Golden Willow (phoenix@ugcs.caltech.edu)
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 16:44:00 -0700 (PDT)

Matt Austern <austern@isolde.mti.sgi.com on rec.arts.sf.science:

thomsona@netcom.com (Allen Thomson) writes:

> The truly depressing explanation for the Fermi paradox is that,
> as some "theories of everything" have suggested, space-time is
> not in a minimum energy state. Like supercooled water, it could
> suffer a phase change when subjected to the right disturbance --
> and that disturbance is something technological civilizations
> inevitably do. Thus, around every former such civilization,
> there is a sphere of changed spacetime expanding at the speed of
> accompanied by the non-trivial amounts of energy released by the
> phase change.
> That would certainly explain the Fermi Paradox, wouldn't it? ;-}

No, it wouldn't; in fact, the false vacuum hypothesis makes it worse.
If this hypothesis is true, it means that there were no technological
civilizations in our galaxy until extremely recently: at most 50,000
years or so.

Actually, I think that this is a pretty good argument against the
hypothesis that we're living in a false vacuum and that it's
easy to induce a phase transition. If it were that easy, then
someone else would probably have done it by now.

(But I admit that I get a kick out of imagining protests outside the
construction site of the next major accelerator, with protesters
waving "SAVE THE UNIVERSE" banners.)

-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-)