RE: Alien Communication Re: Ethics of being a Creator

Jones, Spike (
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 09:30:50 -0700

From: Paul Hughes
Reply To:
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 1998 2:44 PM
Subject: Re: Alien Communication Re: Ethics of being a

Jones, Spike wrote:

> paul, i am surprised at how often i hear this argument. alien
> intelligences could send us black and white photos of themselves,
> style, using a long string of binary digits. i dont think the
whales have
> ever attemped such a
> thing. i suspect that when we finally do receive signals from the
cosmos, they
> will
> be easy to understand, by careful design.

Watch yourself here. Sending a simple black and white photo

1) That they have electromagnetic vision similar to ours.

granted. but practically all complex lifeforms on this planet have evolved
such a system.
it is inherently useful in nearly all imaginable environments.

2) That their vision is at the same frequency as our - highly

i agree: their vision would most likely be a different spectrum. but it
wouldnt need to
be the same spectrum as ours for a black and white image to be informative
to them.

3) That they would have the same spatial awareness to put something
into a 2-d

we should explore what is the simplest possible "grid". is that a 2-d
matrix? even if et has a different system as you suggest, it would occur to
them to
try the simplest possible grid.

As a test it would be fun to take an x-ray photograph of a jellyfish
and then
digitize it into 0's and 1's and then send this binary coded message
to SETI to
see if they can interpret it. Depending on how clever they are, it
could take
them years to figure out what it is.

something like this has been tested. seti scientists sent a bunch of bits
to a number
of smart people. the number of bits was the product of two prime numbers.
reported that every test subject figured out to put the bits in a m by n
matrix and color
in the 1s (or 0s) to form a picture.

it would be a cool challenge to try to design a number of b/w pictures to
send to
et that would encourage technology exchange, mutual understanding etc.
thanks for the input! spike

Paul Hughes