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srn347 comments on That Alien Message - Less Wrong

111 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 May 2008 05:55AM

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Comment author: [deleted] 07 January 2013 10:38:05PM -1 points [-]

Am I the only bayesian here who assigns a much higher probability to the stars doing that by coincidence than to aliens actually doing that to signal?

Comment author: MugaSofer 08 January 2013 11:52:28AM *  -1 points [-]

The stars changing luminosity, abruptly, regularly, precisely, and this is centered on Earth in both time and space ? Yes, you are.

EDIT: The relevant section:

One day, the stars in the night sky begin to change.

Some grow brighter. Some grow dimmer. Most remain the same. Astronomical telescopes capture it all, moment by moment. The stars that change, change their luminosity one at a time, distinctly so; the luminosity change occurs over the course of a microsecond, but a whole second separates each change.

It is clear, from the first instant anyone realizes that more than one star is changing, that the process seems to center around Earth particularly. The arrival of the light from the events, at many stars scattered around the galaxy, has been precisely timed to Earth in its orbit. Soon, confirmation comes in from high-orbiting telescopes (they have those) that the astronomical miracles do not seem as synchronized from outside Earth. Only Earth's telescopes see one star changing every second (1005 milliseconds, actually).


It quickly becomes clear that the stars that jump in luminosity, all jump by a factor of exactly 256; those that diminish in luminosity, diminish by a factor of exactly 256. There is no apparent pattern in the stellar coordinates. This leaves, simply, a pattern of BRIGHT-dim-BRIGHT-BRIGHT...

[EDIT: removed false claim that the effect must be superluminal. Thanks, TheOtherDave!]

Comment author: TheOtherDave 08 January 2013 02:56:30PM *  0 points [-]

We don't know that the effect is superluminal; it's equally consistent with the idea that stars throughout the night sky were modified starting millenia ago so that when the light arrived in the region that earth is traversing right now it formed a regular pattern. (Though there's no particular reason I can see to reject the theory that the effect is superluminal, either.)

Comment author: MugaSofer 08 January 2013 03:03:23PM -1 points [-]

Whoops, you're right.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 08 January 2013 03:25:44PM 0 points [-]

I'd find that evidence -against- aliens within our galaxy, actually, as it would go a long way towards convincing me that I'm living in a simulation in which our planet is the primary emphasis.

Comment author: MugaSofer 08 January 2013 03:34:42PM -1 points [-]

(The aliens referred to would be the ones running the simulation. Y'know, like in the story?)

Comment author: OrphanWilde 08 January 2013 03:38:58PM 1 point [-]

(Laughs Retracted. I should really stop replying to comments directly from the comment stream.)