Enrico Fermis Other Paradox

Discussion in 'Alien-UFOs in the Media' started by SysConfig, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. SysConfig

    SysConfig Adept

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    I ran across this little Gem on Twitter. The poster is someone I am actually not fond of and found it a little odd as her main interest is usually bashing the capitalist Imperialist powers and all that attendant baggage that goes along with it. I believe you will find this different maybe even refreshing.

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    In the summer of 1950, four nuclear physicists were walking to lunch from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Their names were Emil Konopinski, Herbert York, Edward Teller, and Enrico Fermi.
    One of them was not human.
    On the walk the four discussed science, because science is what they always discussed. It's what they lived, it's what they thought about, it's what they ate, slept and breathed. On this particular occasion they discussed the recent spate of reports about flying saucers, and whether or not an alien civilization could hypothetically have discovered how to travel faster than the speed of light.
    Once they arrived at the Fuller Lodge for their meal their intense conversation was interrupted by the mundane activities of finding seats and ordering their food. After a brief pause, Fermi's thick Italian accent broke the silence with a question that would later become famous.
    "But where is everybody?" he asked loudly.
    The way he phrased it caused the other three to burst out laughing; they immediately understood that he was asking, in his own inimitable way, why no signs of extraterrestrial life had been discovered.
    They listened with rapt attention as Fermi's luminous mind rapidly dissected the sheer mathematical improbability of humanity being the only intelligent life in this galaxy, let alone the entire universe, given the sheer number of stars and the likelihood that at least a small percentage of them would have habitable planets capable of giving rise to life. This question, and the peculiar exclamation with which it was first expressed, would go on to be known as the Fermi paradox.
    The scientists joyfully batted around ideas with the Italian "pope of physics", then finished their meal, returned to the laboratory, and they each went their separate ways.
    Fermi worked late, as such rare geniuses often do. Out there in the world with small talk, politics, family and teenaged children, it was difficult to really feel at ease. But in the world of scientific adventure, discoveries and breakthroughs, he always felt in command.
    The sunlight had long gone and the lab had gone still, and Fermi was scribbling away in his office, when there was a knock at the door. It gave Fermi a start; nobody ever interrupted him at this hour, that's what he liked about it.
    "What is it?" he asked in irritation.
    The door opened. It was York.
    "Hi," York said.
    "York," Fermi replied.
    "Can I come in?"
    "Yes, yes come in."
    York closed the door.
    "So," he said. "Do you want to know?"
    "Want to know what?"
    "Do you want an answer to the question you asked at lunch?"
    Fermi just stared.
    "Enrico I can't show you unless you say yes," York said, with a curious tone in his voice. "Do you want to know where everybody is?"
    "Yes," said Fermi, gathering up the papers on his desk. "Tell me what it is you know."
    Looking up when he didn't receive an answer, Fermi gasped. The papers fell from his hands and went everywhere, unnoticed. For perhaps the first time in his entire adult life, Enrico Fermi was not thinking about science.
    The large frame of Herbert York had vanished. Where Fermi's colleague had been standing was something else entirely.
    "I'm not going to hurt you," said a voice. But it wasn't a voice. It was a thought in Fermi's mind, very different in quality from any thought he'd ever had. Any thought he'd ever had on his own.
    It was short, and its skin had a grayish color. Its head was oddly shaped, and it stared at Fermi with giant, jet-black eyes.
    "Sei al sicuro," said the voice in Italian. "You are safe."
    "What... are you?" Fermi asked after a pause.
    "You know what I am."
    "Where is York?"
    The creature pointed a long, nailless finger at itself.
    "You? But.. but why?"
    "That's what I was going to talk to you about. If you're still interested."
    "I want to know everything," Fermi said as he sat down at his desk, his inquisitive mind again fully engaged. "Everything."
    The voice began telling Fermi a story, not as though it was speaking to one of the most brilliant scientists who's ever lived, but as though it was speaking to a small boy. Fermi experienced strange visions in his mind's eye accompanying the creature's words, as though he was being read a child's picture book, and he felt himself wrapped in a warm, loving energy that reminded him of sitting on his mother's knee when he was very young.
    The voice said:
    "A very, very long time ago, on a planet in another galaxy, scientists were having conversations very much like the one we had this afternoon. 'Where is everybody?' they asked. They knew the mathematical odds suggested they couldn't be alone, yet there was no sign of any life beyond their own planet's atmosphere.
    "Time went on, and scientific discoveries continued to unfold, but they didn't get an answer to their question. The people of that world unlocked the secrets of their anatomy, of their environment, and of harnessing energy, leading to a level of thriving their species had never before experienced. But that scientific advancement came at a price: their planet's environment couldn't cope with the amount of energy they were able to produce, and as more scientific breakthroughs were made, weapons systems became more efficient at killing.
    "It wasn't long before that planet's own Enrico Fermis began discovering how to tap into the secrets of the atom, leading to the invention of weapons like the ones your own breakthroughs gave rise to in your work with the Manhattan Project. As competing populations grew and became more powerful, it was just a matter of time before the inevitable occurred.
    "It was only by sheer, dumb luck that any of them survived the war. A few hundred had anticipated what was coming early enough to create an underground shelter that was sufficiently sustainable to survive the nuclear winter, and they made it through that tortured existence for generations after many near-miss difficulties which could have easily wiped them all out. When they finally re-emerged and began to rebuild the world their ancestors had destroyed, they collectively made sacred, solemn agreements among themselves about how they would treat each other, their environment, and the temptations of technological advancement to ensure that such horrors would never be unleashed again.
    "Using these sacred guidelines, they rebuilt their world, and rebuilt it far better than before. They devoted themselves not just to technological development for the good of everyone, but also to inner development to ensure that they would all have the maturity to wisely navigate all the coming scientific discoveries they knew they would make going forward.
    "Those discoveries would eventually grant them the capability to travel between star systems, and then later to travel between galaxies. Once they had the ability to easily explore their universe, their scientists finally got a conclusive answer to that age-old riddle we discussed this afternoon.
    "They discovered that they weren't the first. On planet after planet after planet, all throughout the cosmos, they discovered the ancient ruins of alien civilizations that had long preceded their own. Intelligent life, it turned out, was every bit as common as their primitive calculations had first guessed all those millennia ago. It just consistently fell victim to its own technological development, just as theirs nearly had.
    "This is all they found in their explorations throughout the entire universe. When it wasn't dead worlds where the intelligent life had wiped itself out, it was intelligence that had not yet reached a level of technological sophistication to destroy itself. It's like an ecosystem has a lifespan, just like the life of an individual organism, and eventually it reaches a level where it simply self-destructs. If it doesn't obliterate itself with nuclear technology, it rapidly renders its ecosystem uninhabitable and the entire world dies a slow, miserable death.
    "It was only by a pure, random fluke that this hadn't happened on their home world, and theirs was the only planet in the universe to escape this fate. They were alone.
    "The weight of this crushing realization caused anguish throughout their species. They began intensely studying worlds where intelligent life was nearly at the point of existentially threatening technology, and they watched in despair as they snuffed themselves out on planet after planet after planet, without fail.
    "Over the ages, after much deliberation, it was decided that they should try directly intervening to see if they could keep an intelligent alien species from self-destructing. The earliest attempts failed spectacularly. Clean energy systems given to species at this juncture were quickly weaponized to disastrous effect. One species wiped out an entire star system in one great blue flash. If a species is still acting from its defensive, fight-or-flight evolutionary conditioning, it's simply not collectively mature enough to handle technological gifts from a civilization millions of years more advanced than its own.
    "But they didn't give up. Over a very, very long period of time, they eventually found a system which worked: a very light-touch benevolent interventionism which protects a developing intelligence from its most self-destructive impulses while leaving it alone enough to learn from its mistakes and mature beyond its omnicidal tendencies. Covert operatives are sent in to teach them and nudge them toward maturity, as well as to monitor the development and deployment of dangerous technologies-"
    "York," interrupted Fermi, pointing at the creature.
    "Yes, covert operatives like myself. Your scientific breakthroughs have helped advance human technological achievement by leaps and bounds Enrico, but they have also put your world in grave danger. As you know the Soviets have the bomb now, so we are monitoring things far more intensively than we were previously."
    "What happens if there's a war like the one your people had?" asked Fermi.
    "Those weren't my people. Theirs is an ancient civilization which developed long before my ancestors evolved. My people were among those helped past the point of self-destructiveness by the program I am describing to you now; we're just the ones who run operations on earth because we look more like humans than any of the others. An encounter with one of them could be very frightening for a human if they were accidentally seen."
    Visions of other alien races flashed through Fermi's mind.
    "Gahh!" screamed Fermi.
    "See?"
    "Yeah alright alright, I get it."
    "So after a very long time and a tremendous amount of trial and error, a second species made it past the barrier of technological development, and joined the first in exploring life in this universe together. Then a third, then a fourth. Over millions of years a system was perfected where the signs of advanced life are mostly hidden from immature intelligences, showing them just enough signs of our existence to keep them curious and asking questions. We set up technologies around their star systems which hide our energy and communication signatures from their detection, and the area is cordoned off from everyone except those with authorized access."
    "Like a baby's playpen," Fermi said.
    "Yes, or like an eggshell. You don't open up an egg to help it grow, you merely keep it safe and provide it the conditions necessary for it to gestate and hatch."
    "Are you telling me we'll be hatching soon? Maturing, as you say, and joining you in the stars?"
    "I don't even know if you'll hatch at all, to be truthful. For all our best efforts, many civilizations still don't make it. We'll maintain an aerial presence around your nuclear facilities and any military infrastructure which could lead to nuclear war, and whenever it looks like such a conflict might be on the horizon we'll redouble our efforts, but there are other ways your species can wipe itself out which our program has fewer options for dealing with. If you're like other developing intelligences, you're probably in for a long, rough road either way."
    "Why though?" asked Fermi.
    "Well as I said, we can't give you technologies which would help with your environmental-"
    "No no, I understand all that," Fermi interjected. "I mean, why have a 'program' at all? Why did the first advanced intelligence go out of its way to help a bunch of alien lizards or bugs or whatever develop in the first place? Why would they care? What do they get out of that?"
    "Company."
    "Company?"
    "It's a big, cold, dark universe Enrico. It gets lonely. New intelligences always come at the experience of consciousness from wildly different angles than any which preceded them, and if they don't survive, nobody else gets to enjoy those weird new perspectives. It would be so lonely going millions and millions of years with no other intelligences to talk to. I think we all kind of intuitively grasp that. Don't you?"
    "I- I think that I do," said Fermi. "So, do you... enjoy us?"
    "I love humans very, very dearly. I enjoy them immensely, and I consider myself quite fortunate to be able to interact with them. I enjoy you, Enrico. A great deal. It has been a true honor to have a mind like yours as a friend."
    "Is that why you are telling me all this?"
    "Well, yes. And because you asked. And..."
    The voice trailed off.
    "Yes?"
    "I'm not sure if I should tell you. We have no rules for this."
    "Tell me," said Fermi.
    "Well, I don't know how you're going to take this, but my readings say you're not likely to live much longer. A few years maybe. Looks like probably cancer."
    "Ah," said Fermi, sitting back in his chair. "I see."
    "I'm sorry."
    "No, no I'm glad you told me," he replied. "I prefer to know. I always prefer to know."
    "Yes. That's the story of your whole life."
    "Yes indeed it is," said Fermi, tears welling up in his eyes. "Well. Hmm. And I guess you're also telling me all this because you know I could never ruin your program by telling everyone about it because I'd look like a madman and destroy my legacy."
    "I think we both know you wouldn't do that anyway. You saw what happens without the program."
    "Hmm. True."
    The two organisms stared at each other for a moment. Fermi turned and looked out the window to the stars.
    "So... I can tell only myself then," he said. "For everyone else, this may as well never have happened. It happened, and yet at the same time, it did not happen."
    "That's true," Herbert York's voice boomed in his ears, giving him a start. "But, again, you did ask. And you always prefer to know."
    "Yes," Fermi replied. "Thank you so much."
    "Goodnight Fermi."
    "Goodnight, York."
    Herbert York walked out the door and pulled it closed behind him.
    Fermi returned his gaze to the stars.
     
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  2. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Cool story. Cool picture - I may use it for my LinkedIn profile :)
     
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  3. JahaRa

    JahaRa Noble

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    Interesting version of an old "new age" story. I'm sure he would laugh his head off at this story.

    Herbert York - Wikipedia
     
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  4. SysConfig

    SysConfig Adept

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    I didn't see anything that detracted from the story in wikipedia....certainly it's a window into and recognition of the fears present at that time..arms race..nuclear proliferation, korean war..Vienna was still in recovery..I don't think scientists of that time would laugh at very real documented concerns, same concern in the 60's , yet diminished in our enlightened 21st century by the advent of mininukes and directed energy weapons , clean and accurate, which have made it more likely the sum of all fears happening even by accident. As the story points out quite clearly....there is only so much Aliens can do..while there is so much we can do to prevent it.
     
  5. JahaRa

    JahaRa Noble

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    I was talking about the story depiction Herbert York as an alien. Did you read the story or just post it?
     
  6. Spaceman spiff

    Spaceman spiff Honorable

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    You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.

    ― Carl Sagan, Contact
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  7. SysConfig

    SysConfig Adept

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    Did you read the story or just post it?
    Obviously Sir, (may I call you Sir? )you didn't read my introduction..how I came about it..and my reason and intent to benefit AE interest ....Far be it from me to ascertain whether Enrico really experienced this..maybe someone else would prefer Alien be slashed and guardian angel or inner projection of the self.. something like that...to make it palatable or credible .
    As for the other part of your proposition alluding it being a cut paste and post job..That's pretty much how the human mind operates and could not be avoided else no one would be able to read the story. Good Day Sir..
     
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  8. JahaRa

    JahaRa Noble

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    No you may not call me Sir or Madam. You can call me JahaRa if you feel the need to call me anything. I did read the introduction and your previous response indicated you did not read the article under the photo, since you did not know that it described Herbert York an alien. My original response was that Herbert York would probably find that very funny.

    You are making my comment personal when it is not. Maybe in future you could use the mantra "nothing is personal" to manage some of your emotional responses to others.
     
  9. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    The story itself is fairly typical regardless of the details. Powerful omniscient beings who are well aware of the specifics of our problems and have rules regarding interaction. Similar to say, dead relatives tuning in to know all about you but can only pass certain cryptic messages. It's never 'don't go to Illinois on the 7th' always open to interpretation. This message is typical of that era. At the time there were also tall Nordics etc etc saying the same thing to others.

    So...... what if there really are powerful beings interested in us that really do have rules and regulations. Just saw something on TV about maritime salvage and had a thought: destroying us isn't on the menu but if we did it ourselves would be just fine with them them. Maybe global warming is more acceptable that nuclear war. You can extract value from or even raise a sunken ship - not so much with one blown to pieces.
     
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  10. Double Nought Spy

    Double Nought Spy Celestial

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    Perhaps you failed to consider the possibility that your comment could be taken in a number of different ways. I was puzzling over that very thing when I read it. At any rate, there was no reason to get nasty.
     
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  11. SysConfig

    SysConfig Adept

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    Outstanding takes Farmer Spiff and Doubles .....you all got the better part of the message!
     
  12. Double Nought Spy

    Double Nought Spy Celestial

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    Cool story, Bro.

    Heh! That's what the cool kids on Reddit say. Cool kids on Reddit? I suppose it's all relative. Anyway, I'm not using the typical context either so I'm just not cool at all.

    Yes, that is a great photo. I'm a collector of old panel meters and associated bits, so it's extra interesting to me. I've got a pretty neat stash of old meters, usually picked up for a buck or two at thrift stores and such. Sometimes I use them in projects. Here's a crappy phone picture of the most recent one. I had an old variac, cleverly installed in some kind of old food tin, that I wanted to make more useful. The variac now lives in an old tweed slide case. I tried to make it look as much like it came out of a small factory in the 50s as I could. It's just the thing for firing up an old tube radio that's been sitting in someone's attic for decades. Greatly reduces the amount of magic smoke released into the room.

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  13. Double Nought Spy

    Double Nought Spy Celestial

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    Another good photo.

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  14. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    So sit back and wait for the ship to sink to plunder all its riches unchecked?...

    ...
     
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  15. JahaRa

    JahaRa Noble

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    Did I get nasty first? I don't think so, I think I responded in kind. It doesn't matter, It seemed to me that my comment would be clear to anyone who read the whole story.
     
  16. Double Nought Spy

    Double Nought Spy Celestial

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    All that was needed was something like, "Oh, I just meant the real life York would no doubt find it hilarious that he was cast as an alien." Your comment was ambiguous, at best.

    Sys is an old friend of mine, not nasty at all. He has been an invaluable participant in other forums over the years. It's safe to assume he means to be polite and constructive, if an assumption has to be made.
     
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  17. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    That's awesome, I'd love to have one of those early models...

    I have an older model oscilloscope from the early 70s I think or maybe older...I bought it at a garage sale one day and I've had it for many years, still works great too, the last time I used it was about 3 years ago lol...

    ...
     
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  18. SysConfig

    SysConfig Adept

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    That is beautiful art right there!!. Simply gorgeous work Double ..Kudos..It certainly also triggered a torrent of past imagery from CARET to Rick Sternbach of Star Trek fame , the latter I corresponded with concerning his panel artwork and set designs for Star Trek which contained surprising elements of the CARET hoax. This along with Sid Meade Futurist (RIP) and the talent but disingenuous Andoid Jones The key operative word is design. Thats what drew me to that seemingly innocuous article. Offered not as evidence of some nuts and bolts alien....but something that resonated very much with Jaques Vallee extra dimensional hypothesis , glimpses we see in movies like Contact, or subtle narratives Inception, Ray Bradburrys Martian Chronicles, or even Forbidden Planet, where our minds are not really that all disconnected from each other or the universe, time and space.
    Another Kewl CutnPaste
    Jacques Vallée, UFOs, and the Case Against Aliens
    Vallée proposed the existence of a technologically-mediated, extra-dimensional intelligence that has operated throughout human history, masquerading as creatures of myth and legend in the witnesses’ culture. This intelligence has repeatedly manifested itself in the form of a technologically or spiritually-advanced civilization, unreachable by humans, and just outside the understanding of the witnesses. It has evolved its appearance to keep up with our changing worldview and ever-expanding technological capabilities, but always represents what’s just ahead of us in our vision of the future.
    For example, this intelligence appeared over Medieval Europe in flying ships, with occupants who claimed to originate from a civilization above the clouds. After the industrial revolution, the same intelligence appeared over the Western United States in dirigibles, with pilots claiming to be from foreign continents or the planet Mars. The intelligence then appeared in rounded, metallic saucers when the world’s superpowers began experimenting with jet engines and disc-shaped craft, and just before humanity’s exploration of outer space renewed interest in the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
    Vallée published his work in Passport to Magonia in 1969. The book is now considered a breakthrough in our understanding of UFOs, and it’s revered as a cult classic. But initially, at least, Vallée’s views made him an outcast in the UFO community, which had largely formed a consensus on the extraterrestrial hypothesis. In his own words, Vallée became a “heretic amongst heretics.”
    A New Paradigm
    In his next three books, The Invisible College, The Edge of Reality, and Messengers of Deception, Vallée developed the idea that the UFO phenomenon acted as a kind of “control system” to alter human belief systems and social structures over long periods of time. By drawing from powerful archetypes in our evolving cultural repertoire, they create a myth about themselves - their origin, means of travel, and purpose for visiting - which feeds back into our shared mythology with each new encounter.
    The specific content and logic of these encounters are self-contradicting and frequently absurd, but what Vallée called the “meta-logic,” or their deeper, symbolic meaning, showed consistency in undermining dominant belief systems and social structures.
    Vallée also rejected the idea that the US Air Force was withholding proof of extraterrestrial visitation or flying saucer crashes, and argued instead that by debunking UFOs and disseminating misinformation, they were distracting the public from their own ignorance of an elusive, and ultimately unpredictable phenomenon. It was the UFO phenomenon itself that engaged in the real cover-up, by cloaking itself in absurdity so as to be rejected by mainstream culture.
    In his next three books, Dimensions, Confrontations, and Revelations, published between 1988 and 1991, Vallée expanded on the control system hypothesis, and criticized contemporary ufologists for their obsession with establishing extraterrestrial origins and achieving government disclosure. He travelled to Brazil, Australia, and the Soviet Union, among other places, to study manifestations of the UFO phenomenon there, and published UFO Chronicles of the Soviet Union in 1992.
    In 2010, Vallée published the results of years of data curation with Chris Aubeck, a compendium of 500 descriptions of anomalous aerial sightings from antiquity to the early modern period. The book allows for easy comparison of sightings across different cultures and historical eras, and demonstrates common features over time.
    Legacy
    Not only did Vallée provide the first real alternative to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, he helped turn ufology’s attention away from the physical origin of UFOs, and toward their effects on people and society. This shift in perspective has lead “new ufologists” like Micah Hanks and Nick Redfern, and abduction researchers such as John Mack and Whitley Strieber, to recognize linkages between UFOs, consciousness, and other anomalous phenomena, and to explore theoretical frameworks for understanding them all together.
    Vallée has left his mark on popular culture, serving as the inspiration for Claude Lacombe in Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But his legacy is built on the far-reaching impact that he’s had on UFO science. Vallée has made a number of game-changing breakthroughs in our understanding of aerial anomalies, and by re-opening the question of UFO origins, he paved the way for many more.

    By the way..I recognized those dials for another reason. Some folx want them back
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  19. dr wu

    dr wu Noble

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    Interesting story indeed and it resembles plots of various sci-fi novels I have read over the years. One of my favorites is the Culture series by Iain M Banks (highly recommended if you like literate sci-fi) ...where an advanced humanoid Culture exists in the Galaxy and often ushers in or guides and protects developing worlds using agents implanted on those planets.
    Of course another obvious analogy of watching over worlds is The Day The Earth Stood Still.

    Good link to Dr Vallee also....imho the most relevant reading one is likely to do regarding a deeper look into the nature of the ufo enigma.
     
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  20. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    yup. just thinking outside the box. who says they're nice or have some truly obscure motive ?
     

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