25 January 2010 (Monday) - Stuff

One of my (many) failings is that I am a very “do it now!!!” person. If something needs doing, I crack on and do the entire project as quickly as possible. It was less than two weeks ago that I made the decision that our multi-region DVD player was knacked. Five days later it was replaced, and was playing through a new telly too.

Six days ago I speculated about making some changes to my internet and phone bill to subsidise getting Sky HD. Today I had the Sky HD fitted, and to be quite honest, SpongeBob SquarePants does look much clearer in HD.

I can’t see much difference with the Internet speed either. For all that the speed checker says it’s three times faster than it was a week ago, I’m now wondering if “internet speed” is one of those phrases which means something very esoteric in I.T. circles, but doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on how fast the computer does internet-related things. I found a website which allows me to compare the speed of other internet users in my area. People with my provider seem to have relatively comparable speeds, people with other providers have really variable speeds. I expect they all get their smut downloaded at the same rate, though…

OK, the phone is now cheaper, the internet connection faster, the TV is in HD. What’s my next project going to be?

Meanwhile at the Royal Society, some of the finest scientific minds are meeting to discuss the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence. (That’s aliens to you and me!). The theory being that as Corot and Kepler and other space telescopes are getting better and better, planets with free oxygen in their atmospheres may be discovered soon. And therefore we’ll meet aliens. Apparently (!)

I can’t help but feel that there are two sad indictments of our society here. Firstly the assumption that the (very) remote discovery of an Earth-type planet is synonymous with meeting E.T. And secondly that the experts seriously feel that any announcement of discovery of alien life is expected to be met with wide-spread pandemonium and panic by the populace.

After all, even saying hello to the closest place aliens could conceivably be would take nearly ten years. I suppose the public have all seen Star Trek and Doctor Who and have believed it.

Will we find oxygen atmospheres that indicate signs of life? Probably. Will we find signs of alien intelligence? Possibly. Will we meet the aliens? I’d like to think so but Enrico Fermi did some calculations on the subject sixty years ago. If there are aliens, where are they?

1 comment:

  1. I think the aliens are hiding behind Uranus, I'm sorry, I couldn't resist it. I know, I'm a bad boy! :o)