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Nothing's gonna change my world?
February 7, 2008 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Fears that malevolent aliens will tune into this week's broadcast of The Beatles' song "Across the Universe" have been voiced by scientists.
posted by monospace (68 comments total)

 
Our Fearless Leader says "Bring it on!"
posted by Daddy-O at 10:11 AM on February 7, 2008


This is exactly why the Canadians have been pushing to open diplomatic relations.
posted by mullingitover at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2008


What if every intelligent species in the universe thought this way? Perhaps the universe is filled with intelligent life, it's just that everyone's too paranoid to talk to each other.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:16 AM on February 7, 2008


*****MESSAGE RECEIVED. RESPONSORY TRANSMISSION AS FOLLOWS:

DANGER
STRANGER

YOU BETTER
PAINT YOUR FACE

NO ELVIS
BEATLES
OR
THE ROLLING STONES


MESSAGE ENDS.***********

posted by Smart Dalek at 10:18 AM on February 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Really? Across the Universe? Isn't that like celebrating the Infinte Wonders of our Bodies by having everyone shit into a bucket.

Or am I just a bit grumpy-wumpy today?
posted by Jofus at 10:18 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Time travellers from the future 'could be here in weeks'

How naive. Time travellers are already here and always have been. Invest in tinfoil.
posted by DU at 10:19 AM on February 7, 2008


They have a point. It is a pretty crappy song.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2008


Jai guru deva. Om.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2008


In 862 years after the song finally reaches the North Star and the aliens race back at light speed, then we worry.
posted by caddis at 10:27 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


***IF YOU DON'T HAVE MOJO NIXON
THEN YOUR SOLAR SYSTEM COULD USE SOME FIXIN'***

posted by steef at 10:27 AM on February 7, 2008 [16 favorites]


It'll be fine, just don't point it at Omicron Persei 8.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:30 AM on February 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


who has persuaded space agency NASA to kick off the party and now hopes to convert alien life forms to The Beatles.

So let me get this straight... we have the technology to convert aliens into bugs? Because, and I'll be perfectly honest here, some of my greatest fears about aliens are that they are already bugs.

This seems like a technology that we shouldn't have developed, let alone deployed.
posted by quin at 10:30 AM on February 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Jai guru deva om? Them's fightin' words!
posted by hal9k at 10:31 AM on February 7, 2008


Hmm. I've been beaming Motorhead songs into outer space for years, with no apparent ill effects.
posted by The World Famous at 10:32 AM on February 7, 2008


I did some early pioneering work in beaming Black Sabbath into space. There were concerns voiced at that time as well.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2008


Meat The Beatles is a COOKBOOK!
posted by hal9k at 10:36 AM on February 7, 2008 [20 favorites]


The only danger here is this: When the aliens hear the Beatles and begin to love their music, they will come here to see them live and in person. At that point, when they discover that not only have they disbanded but two of them are dead, one has been rumored to be dead for many years, and the one that's definitely still alive is Ringo - well, that's when the shit will hit the fan, my friends.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


[NOT RINGOIST]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


So we're showing the aliens how much we enjoyed the British invasion? Is that really the right message to send them?
posted by PlusDistance at 10:44 AM on February 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Uh, kinda a misleading headline if you read the article.
posted by klangklangston at 10:57 AM on February 7, 2008


Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:58 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought it was discovered that such transmissions dissipate long before they even reach Alpha Centauri. But I don't know where I heard that. I could have been drunk at the time, as I am now.
posted by Legomancer at 11:00 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


While it makes for a less interesting post, no fear has been shown by any scientists. A lone scientist in the first link talks about caution/information in general but then says:

"I have no fear that NASA's latest transmission exposes Earth to any danger from aliens,"

While the other scientist is also not spooked:

fellow Seti Institute researcher Seth Shostak is not worried and writes off the fears as paranoid
posted by mikepop at 11:00 AM on February 7, 2008


Not exactly the Beatles Flying Saucer, but close...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:00 AM on February 7, 2008


WE WERE JUST GOING
TO KEEP
EUROPA

SWITCHING TO
PLAN 9
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:03 AM on February 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wow... I was just thinking about the huge cultural phenomena (such as NASCAR) that don't affect my life in any way, and how I don't affect them in any way, and how little one person's life can be like another's, but it never even would have occurred to me before now that someone's day at a legitimate job could be spent on an official report raising concerns that a Beatles transmission might angry up the aliens.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:06 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


What with the Jai Guru Dev line, it's a little odd that his disciple, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi popped his clogs around the same time, eh?
posted by Nick Verstayne at 11:08 AM on February 7, 2008


[RINGOIST]
posted by LordSludge at 11:08 AM on February 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow... I was just thinking about the huge cultural phenomena (such as NASCAR) that don't affect my life in any way, and how I don't affect them in any way, and how little one person's life can be like another's, but it never even would have occurred to me before now that someone's day at a legitimate job could be spent on an official report raising concerns that a Beatles transmission might angry up the aliens.

I thought the same thing when I read about people that smell farts for a living.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:12 AM on February 7, 2008


I played the song Sunday morning. Nobody in the brunch crowd attacked me, so I'm feeling OK about the whole thing. (BTW, I also played Sexy Sadie to give time to the other side.)
posted by kozad at 11:14 AM on February 7, 2008


What if we are simple food for borg-like alien civilizations? What if we are seeds that have been planted in various places in the universe? When if when they start to get our radio signals, that means we are ripe for harvest.
posted by chillmost at 11:22 AM on February 7, 2008


It'll be fine, just don't point it at Omicron Persei 8.

Honestly, we should be more worried that Omicron Persei 8 is going to catch a rerun of My Super Sweet Sixteen.
posted by shmegegge at 11:27 AM on February 7, 2008


Meat The Beatles is a COOKBOOK!
...and all this time I thought it was Sgt. Pepper...
posted by wendell at 11:28 AM on February 7, 2008


*** EARTH PEOPLE
NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA
EARTH PEOPLE
I WAS BORN ON JUPITER ***

posted by nasreddin at 11:28 AM on February 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


What if we are simple food for borg-like alien civilizations? What if we are seeds that have been planted in various places in the universe? When if when they start to get our radio signals, that means we are ripe for harvest.

I was wondering why we have so many fat people walking around now. It's just part of a alien plot.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:29 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank God they didn't decide to broadcast the movie from last year. That would drive any alien to genocide.
posted by fungible at 11:30 AM on February 7, 2008


it never even would have occurred to me before now that someone's day at a legitimate job could be spent on an official report raising concerns that a Beatles transmission might angry up the aliens.

You see, there's your problem right there. Is a job like that really a legitimate one?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:30 AM on February 7, 2008


I'd never actually bothered to sit and listen to that song before. It's really quite arrogant.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:36 AM on February 7, 2008


Jai guru deva. Om.

Turns out to be Xyrkian for "I touch myself while killing your children."
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:39 AM on February 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


If this is going to piss the aliens off, I say to them: Let Live and Let Die.

No, wait, that was Wings.

Let it Be. That's better.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2008


If this is going to piss the aliens off, I say to them: Let Live and Let Die.

No, wait, that was Wings.

Let it Be. That's better.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2008


Haha! DOUBLE!













Haha! DOUBLE!
posted by Mister_A at 11:50 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


If this is going to piss the aliens off, I say to them: Let Live and Let Die.

Hearing "this everchanging world in which we live in" might just annoying enough to decide to change that world in a big way, once and for all.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:51 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


*be annoying enough
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:52 AM on February 7, 2008


Man -- this news is going to send Cliff Richards right over the edge!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:00 PM on February 7, 2008


Burhanistan, you're right. It is arrogant and flaky as well.

(Alien hears Nothing's gonna change my world and responds: "Let's see if that includes the mega-death ray...")
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:03 PM on February 7, 2008


Set phasers to decimate.
posted by Senator at 12:07 PM on February 7, 2008


Well, the good news, if it can be considered good news, is that a) it appears the energy lifespan of a civilization with our level of complexity is too short to make it likely that we'll be intercepted by another one in time for them to do anything about it, and b) the energy cost of engaging in interstellar warfare is probably beyond what's practical for lifeforms similar enough to ours to be recognizeable to us as sentient life. So scientists who grew up reading about Cold War-tinged relativistic apocalypses can probably rest easy.

For the bad news, well, see above.
posted by kowalski at 12:09 PM on February 7, 2008


PS: why are the aliens using Teletype machines from the '80s?
posted by nasreddin at 12:16 PM on February 7, 2008


Huh! I always thought it was jackaroo dave ah - which of course never made any sense whatsoever.

The Laiback cover is extremely creepy IMO.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:26 PM on February 7, 2008


Most of today's pop music sound alien to me.
posted by PinkTurtle at 12:28 PM on February 7, 2008


I think the greatest threat is ASCAP suing NASA for broadcast licensing fees.
posted by D.C. at 12:30 PM on February 7, 2008


One thing to ponder - initially our radio-wave broadcast signals were very powerful - but very wasteful in-terms of overall bandwidth. Sixty years ago, we were shouting.

As we have discovered computer processing and threw up satellite networks, we have been able to compress and split signals to transmit more information, using less bandwidth.

We can't be the only civilization that went through the same radio development phase - so, chances are after all of our signals become "high-bandwidth, spread-spectrum", will we even be listening for old-style radio? Are they?
posted by jkaczor at 12:32 PM on February 7, 2008


So - this is the reason I don't think SETI programs are going to work - if signals are split across arbitrary bandwidth frequencies at random/unkown timing intervals - we would never be able to tell, it is essentially "white noise". To work (IMO), SETI monitoring would have to be treated as a decryption excercise.

And unfortunately, the more we learn about bandwidth efficiency, spread-spectrum, quantum data manipulation - the harder the overall problem becomes.

For all we know, we could be completely awash in high-density communications - but without the key....
posted by jkaczor at 12:36 PM on February 7, 2008


C'mon, everyone knows that Pink Floyd was the first in space.
posted by not_on_display at 1:11 PM on February 7, 2008


Was this really the right Beatles song to broadcast?

Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
We are a weak species
which has barely mastered nuclear fission
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world. [..]

Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
We have no satellite defenses
and our planet is full of rare minerals and elements
We are a docile race capable of
operating simple machines, yet easily cowed
by shows of force
It calls me on and on across the universe

posted by whir at 1:15 PM on February 7, 2008 [16 favorites]


You know, the Telegraph is a lousy paper.
posted by CCBC at 1:16 PM on February 7, 2008


I thought it was discovered that such transmissions dissipate long before they even reach Alpha Centauri.

Yes and no. Normal broadcasts are meant to be heard on Earth, so there is no effort to make it especially detectable outside of our little bubble. So, yes, an ordinary broadcast dissipates really quickly. But a broadcast like this Beatles one would be targeted. A strong "beam" aimed at the star in question. Think of it like the light coming from a light bulb versus a laser.
posted by wastelands at 1:20 PM on February 7, 2008


Doesn't Michael Jackson still own the rights to that song?
posted by rocket88 at 1:30 PM on February 7, 2008


Doesn't Michael Jackson still own the rights to that song?

If anyone can collect royalties from aliens, he's the guy.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:21 PM on February 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Probably apocryphal story.......

Apparently when Voyager was being planned with it's communication plaque for our alien neighbours, someone suggested we should send some music.

A scientist suggested maybe some Bach, but Carl Sagan said that would just be showing off.
posted by surfdad at 3:07 PM on February 7, 2008


I love how the argument against the "don't annoy the aliens" camp seems to be "Don't worry, this whole thing is a complete waste of time and effort."
posted by pompomtom at 4:21 PM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


We should send the aliens, instead, a really wicked playlist.

Saturn
Space Oddity
etc.

On a Zune.
posted by flotson at 5:22 PM on February 7, 2008


The distance to the audience is even more than their Shea Stadium concert.
posted by Tube at 6:05 PM on February 7, 2008


This'll work as well as it did the first time 'round :
  1. Get them hooked
  2. Reel them in
  3. Subject them to Yoko.
If we keep this up, our species is gonna get a reputation. Nuclear winter, global warming, and rogue asteroids will be the least of our problems.
posted by Pinback at 6:28 PM on February 7, 2008


they are already here. among us.
posted by kliuless at 6:49 PM on February 7, 2008


GCU Big Sexy Beast: Heard this?

GCU Arbitrary: Hmm. Bowie's better.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:54 AM on February 8, 2008


Point well taken, whir. You'd think they'd have listened to the lyrics first...
posted by klausness at 3:56 AM on February 8, 2008


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