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If I could talk to the aliens...
October 18, 2005 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Call the aliens using first intentional intergalactic communication system. Just $3.99 a minute, though prospective callers should know that they aren't really breaking new ground. Do you need inspiration about what historic message to send? The first commercial telegraph message was the poetic "What hath God wrought?" The first telephone call was the famous "Come here Watson, I want to see you." The first email, rather boringly, announced the availability of email. Stuck on the first word? Follow the path of Edison, who coined the word "hello" as a telephone greeting over Alexander Graham Bell's "Ahoy Ahoy." (Audio version) Just hope that you don't receive a collect call in return.
posted by blahblahblah (14 comments total)

 
Prof. KOENIGSBERG: I even got interested in the history of the `hello' badge, which, you know, when you go to a convention, you see all over the place. `Hello, my name is.' And I think I've actually determined the date and location of the invention of the first `hello' badge, which was in 1880 at Niagara Falls, which was the site of the first telephone operators convention. And I found the minutes of the meeting, and in there he's very proud to see that they're all wearing their name tags. And he says, `We have a new word to go on our name tags, the word "hello."'

Awesome. Thanks for this.
posted by jokeefe at 7:08 AM on October 18, 2005


Pfft. Like I don't already talk to aliens.
posted by Jon-o at 7:32 AM on October 18, 2005


I'd like to buy the aliens a coke. And teach them to sing in perfect harmony. (Instead of that awful screeching). Hey, wait a minute, I think I need to buy myself a coke! BRB.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:56 AM on October 18, 2005


I once read someplace that "Ahoy" was a Viking war cry.
posted by alumshubby at 8:26 AM on October 18, 2005


alumshubby,

I was intrigued by that, so I did some googling and found this article from the Straight Dope, which mentions that among other theories.
posted by JeremyT at 8:51 AM on October 18, 2005


A friend of mine is Slovak, and they say "Ahoy" as a greeting (although they might spell it "Ahoj").

And now that they've set this communication gear up, the aliens can stop beaming their instructions directly into my brain, right? Right?
posted by Gamblor at 8:54 AM on October 18, 2005


Is this the end of anal probes?
posted by dov3 at 9:17 AM on October 18, 2005


PLANET EARTH.

ATTENTION: ALIEN SENTIENCE

DEAR SIR,

CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL

HAVING CONSULTED WITH MY COLLEAGUES AND BASED ON THE INFORMATION GATHERED FROM OUR WORLD BANK, I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO REQUEST FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF $47,500,000.00 (FORTY SEVEN MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND EARTH DOLLARS) INTO YOUR ACCOUNTS. THE ABOVE SUM RESULTED FROM AN OVER-INVOICED CONTRACT, EXECUTED COMMISSIONED AND PAID FOR ABOUT FIVE YEARS (5) AGO BY A HUMAN CONTRACTOR. THIS ACTION WAS HOWEVER INTENTIONAL AND SINCE THEN THE FUND HAS BEEN IN A SUSPENSE ACCOUNT AT THE CENTRAL BANK OF EARTH WORLD BANK.

WE ARE NOW READY TO TRANSFER THE FUND INTERSTELLAR AND THAT IS WHERE YOU COME IN. IT IS IMPORTANT TO INFORM YOU THAT AS HUMAN BEINGS, WE ARE FORBIDDEN TO OPERATE AN ALIEN ACCOUNT; THAT IS WHY WE REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE. THE TOTAL SUM WILL BE SHARED AS FOLLOWS: 70% FOR US, 25% FOR YOU AND 5% FOR PLANETRAY AND INTERPLANETARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:23 AM on October 18, 2005


Earth is now poised to become the intergalactic hub of spam.
posted by palinode at 9:50 AM on October 18, 2005


Young Gfflbt oscillated frenetically through the front entrance of his family's underwater domicile, bleating plaintively. "Why, tender blubber, what's wrong?" his mother asked, stroking his quivering tentacles. "They other kids... outside... bwaaa bwaaaah... they said Dad's ship went to the outer rim... they said he was ordered to explore the SPAM PLANET!"
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:17 AM on October 18, 2005


Mr. Burns still answers the phone with "ahoy ahoy."
posted by maxsparber at 10:35 AM on October 18, 2005


I have vague memories of an alien invasion type film in which they notice earth due to the sudden arrival of radio and TV broadcasts at the other side of the galaxy - so they arrive at earth with visions of Jesse Owens winning the Berlin olympics and other events from the same period. Not quite sure whether I have just made this up, but at any rate it's intriguing to think about what an extra-terrestrial civilisation would make of the first radio waves they receive (which will be hundreds or thousands of years out of date if they ever get picked up by anyone). Likewise I have always wondered what they would make of the music and sound recordings on the Voyager craft. Better hope that the chord sequences in the Brandenberg concertos don't translate into a declaration of war...
posted by greycap at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2005


Gimmick. The legal limit for amateur transmission at 2.4 GHz is 1500 Watts (at most). It's inconceivable for any technology at even the nearest star to receive your message, especially given the cacophony of radio noise we earthlings emit at this frequency.

It may be possible, however, for amateurs to receive transmissions from afar. The SETI League is a group of amateurs attempting to do so. The professionals are called The SETI Institute.

"The aliens will contact us when they can make money by doing so." -- David Byrne
posted by neuron at 11:58 AM on October 18, 2005


Hello, can I speak to Mike Hunt, please?


/they'll never catch on.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on October 18, 2005


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