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Aliens? Time Travel? Skipping Generations?

Scientist Stephen Hawking has made a new documentary for the Discovery Channel in which he confesses that, in order to speak frankly about his notions about the future, he had to overcome his fears of “being labeled a crank.”

Thrusting off his heretical shackles, he reportedly suggested that spaceships will one day be so fast that we won’t know whether we’ve come or gone. Hawking suggests that Einstein’s theories of relativity will become as relatively obsolete as, who knows, the home phone. He posits that, at some point when we’re all long gone, a day on a spaceship traveling at 650 million miles per hour would be akin to one year on Earth.

According to the TimesOnLine, Hawking believes that

HUMANS may one day be able to use time travel to skip generations into the future….
He has suggested humans could build spaceships capable of such high speeds that time itself would slow down for those on board. Such a spaceship could travel thousands of years into the future at close to the speed of light, reaching distant star systems within the lifetime of its crew.

In theory it could allow humans to “colonise the future” — perhaps even returning to repopulate Earth if a disaster caused extinction on this planet during the flight.

Hawking himself has published a lengthy piece in The Daily Mail in which he speculates extensively about all these ideas.

Time travel movies often feature a vast, energy-hungry machine. The machine creates a path through the fourth dimension, a tunnel through time. A time traveller, a brave, perhaps foolhardy individual, prepared for who knows what, steps into the time tunnel and emerges who knows when. The concept may be far-fetched, and the reality may be very different from this, but the idea itself is not so crazy.

Physicists have been thinking about tunnels in time too, but we come at it from a different angle. We wonder if portals to the past or the future could ever be possible within the laws of nature. As it turns out, we think they are. What’s more, we’ve even given them a name: wormholes. The truth is that wormholes are all around us, only they’re too small to see. Wormholes are very tiny. They occur in nooks and crannies in space and time. [….]

Given enough power and advanced technology, perhaps a giant wormhole could even be constructed in space. I’m not saying it can be done, but if it could be, it would be a truly remarkable device. One end could be here near Earth, and the other far, far away, near some distant planet.

Theoretically, a time tunnel or wormhole could do even more than take us to other planets. If both ends were in the same place, and separated by time instead of distance, a ship could fly in and come out still near Earth, but in the distant past. Maybe dinosaurs would witness the ship coming in for a landing.

Whoa! You’ve probably heard that Hawking is also warning us that we should stop trying to contact aliens from outer space, because they aren’t going to be nice to us.

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans,” the Times quotes him as saying.

The reasoning behind his less than optimistic view being that, “I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.”

Like this maybe?

According to Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer, Hawking’s warning is too late, because Aliens have already been here and shared their technology with humans.

The 86-year-old cabinet minister accused Hawking of spreading misinformation about aliens. In an interview, Hellyer said, “I think he’s indulging in some pretty scary talk there that I would have hoped would not come from someone with such an established stature.” [….]

Last year, Hellyer delivered a speech in Washington about alien visitations to Earth and said humans should thank Aliens for most of what we have today because they have been visiting Earth for millennia.

“Microchips, for example, fiber-optics, they are just two of the many things that allegedly — and probably for real — came from crashed vehicles,” said Hellyer.

My goodness! I never knew that.

Angela Hill at the Oakland Tribune thinks Hawking is full of it too.

I doubt aliens would have so ravaged their world that, with all the planets in all the galaxies in all the universe, they’d head to this gin joint for resources. If nothing else, our halo of space junk should be sufficient to dissuade visitors and serve as an unintentional force field, like when you’re on a road trip and you reflexively avoid a motor lodge surrounded by mounds of rusty car parts with plates from every state, and the half-lit Eddie’s Motel sign sporadically blinks D-I-E … D-I-E.

Good point, Angela.

George Dvorsky of Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies offers five reasons why Hawking is wrong about Aliens–the gist being that if Aliens were going to ravage Earth and steal all our resources, they would have already done it by now. He ends with this caveat:

Transmit messages into the cosmos. Or don’t. It doesn’t really matter because in all likelihood no one’s listening and no one really cares. And if I’m wrong, it still doesn’t matter—ETIs will find us and treat us according to their will.

My head is spinning. So what do you think? This is an open thread.

64 Responses

  1. I thought Aliens had already been here and had kidnapped lots of people?


    • not so . They are far, far more evolved that we are. The solar system we share with them is, in a way, a unit. We are so out of balance with war, environmental degradation, nuclear power plants spewing deadly toxins which we can’t even measure with our pathetically out -of- date instruments. We are in real danger of blowing the whole thing – for all of us and them also- and they know it, far better than we do.

    • I thought they had been here, came for our resources and created us. We called them Gods. Some left and some remained among us. They are not against war. In fact, they encourage it. Our war gene is likely from them. That’s one telling.

    • ‘The Fourth Kind’ Trailer HD (This is a spooky movie…did Hawkins see it? If so, the Sumarians have been here in time past)

  2. I for one welcome our new alien overlords.

  3. Calls to my mind one of my fav movis of all time and the first VHS I ever bought:


  4. Don’t ask me. I thought it was ridiculous when people used to say that someday, everyone would have a computer in their home. I’ve learned not to be dismissive.

    • Good point.

    • how about the Jetsons where you could talk on the phone and see the person you are talking too…utterly ridiculous!!!!!!

  5. Thanks for all the good links–I love this stuff.

  6. OT: just saw a clip on Fox of Obama at the WHCD delivering the joke about how he wasn’t going to go to the dinner but Biden talked him into it, leaning in to whisper to him “Mr. President… this isn’t just any dinner, this is a big fucking meal.” Reminded me of Bush’s horrible WMD joke a bit. The WMD bit was much worse of course, but Biden calling the health insurance bailout a BFD and Obama making further light of it… meh.

  7. Hawking was on Larry King Friday night along with some other physics people and Dan Ackroyd (a big believer). Unfortunately, larry king asks the dumbest questions–always “so, what do you make of this?”

  8. I’ve read that time travel into the past isn’t possible because of the paradoxes. You could travel back and kill yourself as a child or kill your grandfather and then you would not have existed. In other words, effect can’t come before cause.

    I’ve also tried unscrambling a scrambled egg. Can’t be done, trust me.

    • I’ve read that too. Very depressing, I would have liked to change some things.

      Fascinating subject.

    • If time travel into the past isn’t possible, then once you get to the future it’s impossible to go back to when you came from, because that would be time travel into the past.

      • Right. You’d have to take a chance that you’re not going to some time that is more horrible than the present.

    • But we witness the past all the time. Some of the stars in the sky no longer exist, as the light which carries their image has been traveling for eons through space before it reaches our eyes. When we finally see it, the star may in fact be long gone. Maybe we could actually go to the past if we could travel at the speed of light or faster.

  9. I worked with a woman who claimed her son was an alien who saw the “Blue People.” She also believed that many missing persons were kidnapped by the gov’t to feed the aliens they have hidden underground. Apparently, human is quite the delicacy to them.

    While I don’t actively believe, I also am not a non-believer. Willing to listen, learn and process all possibilities.

  10. Great post for a Sunday night, BB. I love good science fiction–Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov and, of course, Star Trek–but I tend to agree with Hawking that alien visitors would likely be looking for colonization opportunities. I’d also hate to think that just as the Europeans nearly wiped out the native Americans with all the diseases they brought with them across the ocean, that alien cultures might bring viruses just as deadly.

  11. speaking of freaks and aliens; guess who raises his ugly little pedophile head?


    • I saw that! Of course you can remain silent, you disgusting abuser. Except you have no shame.

  12. OK, I have to ask, if anyone here listens to West Coast (I think) where people call in about cigar shaped spaceships? Anyone?

  13. We f up this planet enough to wipe out life and I hope that all our little spaceships blow up and no more of our incredibly slow witted species survive. We are a punk ass race if we can’t get it right here. Just a sorry punk ass lot. We don’t need to be the toxic virus of the universe. Just sayin

    • See now my mind just jumped to us being the cause of the great disaster … Can’t imagine why I would have jumped to such a conclusion… Silly, silly me

  14. Grandfather, Great Spirit, you have been always, and before you no one has been. There is no other one to pray to but you. You yourself, everything that you see, everything has been made by you. The star nations all over the universe you have finished. The four quarters of the earth you have finished. The day, and in that day, everything you have finished.
    –Black Elk Speaks

  15. oh, and before I forget: I am with Hawking. There are out there aliens – of all forms and shapes – germs and blobs and green ones too. Benevolent, rapacious and couldn’t care less too. The word is a much more complicated place than we think it is.

  16. Here are some great informational links about the potential for extraterrestrial life:

    The SETI project (via Discovery Channel) http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/30654-science-of-the-impossible-seti-radio-monitoring-video.htm

    Speculations on what life on other planets may look like from National Geographic:

    The Discovery Channel’s Alien Life video series:

    • I feel terrible, just as it was getting to the aliens, I fell asleep, then couldn’t go back to sleep lamenting missing it.

  17. I recently had the privilege of attending a presentation by John Mather, NOBEL prize winning astrophysicist ( http://astrophysics.gsfc.nasa.gov/outreach/podcast/wordpress/index.php/tag/john-mather/ ) involved with the Hubble telescope project and the new James Webb Space Telescope project ( http://mather.gsfc.nasa.gov/ ). Numerous people inquired about his knowledge of or understanding about the existence of or search for life on other planets. He expressed that he did not believe that contact was possible from either end because of the distance between here and any planets or galaxies with the potential for intelligent life. He said they haven’t picked up any communication signals despite listening for several decades and was generally not hopeful or encouraged.

    It was a very interesting lecture.

    • What does he think about all the scientist studying teleportation via worm holes or the wave energy? Are they spinning there collective wheels? I thought some of the theories seemed possible and even logical.

      • I need coffee, I just realized I am not fully awake.

        • At least you were awake enough to realize you weren’t awake!

          • Ayup, I am awake now… There is a slight problem doc, I just realized we have been hanging out with a Klown who asks for our kidneys or other organ on a regular basis and yet we were up discussing those MEANIE SPACE ALIENS as per Hawkins (all worried and pondering). 😯

            I say we offer up the Klown first as a speciMEN and I think we will all be safe! 😆

      • His research in th field of Cosmology is mostly related to the Big Bang Theory. His NOBEL prize was based on research that confirmed this theory.

        He theorizes that the “end” will come when the galaxies collapse into black holes.

        • Humans are interesting creatures, we are told the galaxies will collapse into black holes and that is how it will all END…and we rush out and try to CREATE a BLACK HOLE and ask all the countries to pitch in for the project! 😯 Hemmm….

          Large Hadron Collider

          The upcoming experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have sparked fears among the public that the LHC particle collisions might produce doomsday phenomena, involving the production of stable microscopic black holes or the creation of hypothetical particles called strangelets.[56] Two CERN-commissioned safety reviews have examined these concerns and concluded that the experiments at the LHC present no danger and that there is no reason for concern,[57][58][59] a conclusion expressly endorsed by the American Physical Society.[60]


        • Yea, don’t worry, just look at how the EXPERTS are handing two OIL DISASTERS….NO WORRIES…it will be a ‘tiny, winy, itsy, bitsy little BLACK HOLE’!

      • According to a book I have, “Teleportation: The Impossible Leap” by David Darling, teleportation is going to be a reality. Right now, they can only teleport subatomic particles, but eventually will be able to teleport atoms, molecules and living things. A scary aspect of it is that if you step into a teleportation device, your molecules will be reassembled using materials at the destination point. This means that the “you” arriving at the destination will be identical to the original you and have all your memories, but it will not be the original you, who will no longer exist. Don’t let them teleport you!

  18. Love this post, BB. Too funny. He’s probably right about ETI’s landing here with hostile intentions. Maybe there would be some initial fascination. Maybe they take a few specimens and examine them first.
    Come to think of it, maybe the abducted aren’t crazy after all.

    Well, Brook has finished all of her application work for EPGY. Took awhile to get samples of her work. Now, I can relax.

  19. I think they’re trying to save us from our silly, petty, warlike selves.

  20. Proof that aliens have visited our planet — they took a poll:


  21. I think that ETs are quite aware of this planet. They broadcast us live and are enjoying the show. A comedy of errors of course, except for the non-human activity.

  22. I believe Hawking was talking about us. We are the ones that look to colonize other planets because we have ravaged our own earth depleting its resources. I believe the biggest fear is to be visited by our selves

    • so you are one of those “hate earthlings first” lefties?

      ; )

  23. Great thread, BB! Fun comments.

    PS I’m still watching/believing Star Gate. 🙂

  24. Just as Reagan confused DOD movies he made with actually being in the service, I think that Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer is confusing MIB with real life.

  25. Cosmic Journeys: When Will Time End? (this one is for SOD)

    • SOD,

      Don’t look NOW, but it would appear you and I are already Aliens on this planet with our stellar outlook/interest.

      Youtube Statistics on this video:
      This video is most popular with:
      Gender Age
      Male 45-54
      Male 35-44
      Male 25-34

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