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OT suspected - Here’s what aliens probably look like
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a425couple
2018-02-26 03:57:35 UTC
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Here’s what aliens probably look like
By Susannah Cahalan February 24, 2018 | 3:32pm | Updated

The film "Arrival" was about understanding aliens. We already may have
hints. Paramount Pictures
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We are on the cusp of discovering new technologies that “will take us
even farther as we explore the planets and the stars” — and lead us
closer to making contact with alien life, writes Michio Kaku in “The
Future of Humanity.”

We know that one out of every five stars in the Milky Way galaxy has an
Earth-like planet orbiting it — which means that there are more than 20
billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, according to Kaku. Though
there are other conditions necessary to creating life (there must be a
Jupiter-sized neighbor to keep asteroids and debris out of the planet’s
path and the Earth-like planet requires a moon to stabilize it), there
seems to be plenty of options out there for life to exist.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, thanks in
part to funding from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, devotes 42
high-powered telescopes to scanning a million stars to listen for alien
communication.

Last year astronomers sent out a signal from the Norwegian city of
Tromsø, containing electronic music and information on geometry and
binary numbers, hoping it will reach ET ears.

Dr. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute told Kaku that he believes we
will make contact before 2025, though he upped that number by 10 years
in a recent article for science magazine The Nautilus.

“I’ve bet a cup of coffee to any and all that by 2035 we’ll have
evidence of ET,” Shostak wrote. “I’m optimistic by nature — as a
scientist, you have to be . . . I feel that we’re on the cusp of
learning something truly revolutionary.”

But what would ETs look like once we finally meet them?

To find out, Kaku interviewed experts in exobiology, a field that
studies what life might be like in distant worlds with different
ecosystems. Based on his research, Kaku decided that intelligent alien
life would have three necessary features:

The aliens, like humans, would have stereo vision, which allows eyes to
compare images and track distance — a necessary feature in predators,
who hunt and track their prey. “In all likelihood, intelligent aliens in
space will have descended from predators that hunted for their food,”
Kaku writes. “This does not necessarily mean that they will be
aggressive, but it does mean that their ancestors long ago might have
been predators. We may be well served to be cautious.”

The aliens would have some form of opposable thumbs or grasping
appendages, necessary for hunting prey and creating tools (which they
would have to do to be sophisticated enough to make contact).
They would also need to have language. “In order to hand down and
accumulate essential information from generation to generation, some
form of language is crucial,” Kaku writes.

In addition, Kaku theorizes that many alien civilizations will exist on
ice-covered moons (like Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon
Enceladus), where life would exist completely underwater. So how would
an aquatic species become truly intelligent beings?

Kaku takes this thought experiment back to Earth. The one Earth-bound
underwater animal that nearly fits all the above criteria — stereo
vision, graspable appendages — is the octopus, he writes. The
cephalopod, which has survived on Earth for at least 165 million years,
only lacks language.

On a different planet, however, cephalopods could easily develop
language — in fact, if conditions changed drastically on Earth, Kaku
says it could even happen here, too.

“On a distant planet under different conditions, one can imagine that an
octopus-like creature could develop a language of chirps and whistles so
it could hunt in packs,” Kaku writes. “One could even imagine that at
some point in the distant future, evolutionary pressures on Earth could
force the octopus to develop intelligence. So an intelligent race of
octopods is certainly a possibility.”

So that’s what we can expect? An intelligent race of octopods, like in
the movie “Arrival”?

Shudder.

Michio Kaku also writes about mining asteroids for billions of dollars.

FILED UNDER ALIENS , LIFE , SPACE
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https://nypost.com/2018/02/24/heres-what-aliens-probably-look-like/
Jaimie Vandenbergh
2018-02-26 10:06:24 UTC
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Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"

Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.

Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
Panthera Tigris Altaica
2018-02-26 15:42:20 UTC
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Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
J. Clarke
2018-02-27 03:26:11 UTC
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On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.

As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
Dimensional Traveler
2018-02-27 05:44:00 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
Octopi are scary smart. They have been observed to open screw top jars,
eat the shell fish inside, put the pieces back in the jar and close it
again.
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Cryptoengineer
2018-02-28 02:53:30 UTC
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Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
On Sun, 25 Feb 2018 19:57:35 -0800, a425couple
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise
from that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of
scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie --
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks
and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious
problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have
even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water
will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other
things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and
its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands
either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans
are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very
clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and
cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of
developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
Octopi are scary smart. They have been observed to open screw top
jars, eat the shell fish inside, put the pieces back in the jar and
close it again.
There are other things about octopi and squids which make it difficult.
They are short lived - well under five years. Also, they breed once,
and then die, which makes it difficult to pass on learning. While some
squids school, octopi do not, which makes society difficult.

pt
Panthera Tigris Altaica
2018-02-27 22:35:37 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
It's still just _one_ thing. A considerable number of tools work best with two. Also, trunks/tentacles cannot have the equivalent of an opposable thumb. This particular failing was explored in Niven and Pournelle's _Footfall_. Worse, there is no internal skeleton in the trunk, making it instantly less capable as a load-bearing member. Finally, one major limitation of the trunk, which makes it worse than a cephalopods' tentacles, would be that it's on the elephant's _head_. There will be problems due to the limitations of the neck muscles and bones.
Post by J. Clarke
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
They would still have tentacles, not hands. They'd be better than an elephant's trunk, but still would lack opposable thumbs. And, like trunks, still would not have internal skeletons.
J. Clarke
2018-02-28 02:55:36 UTC
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On Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:35:37 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
It's still just _one_ thing. A considerable number of tools work best with two. Also, trunks/tentacles cannot have the equivalent of an opposable thumb. This particular failing was explored in Niven and Pournelle's _Footfall_. Worse, there is no internal skeleton in the trunk, making it instantly less capable as a load-bearing member. Finally, one major limitation of the trunk, which makes it worse than a cephalopods' tentacles, would be that it's on the elephant's _head_. There will be problems due to the limitations of the neck muscles and bones.
Post by J. Clarke
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
They would still have tentacles, not hands. They'd be better than an elephant's trunk, but still would lack opposable thumbs. And, like trunks, still would not have internal skeletons.
Lemme guess. You've never actually seen an elephant up close and
personal.
Quadibloc
2018-02-28 05:46:56 UTC
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Aside from that objection: any limitations of Terrestrial elephants
might be ameliorated in an alien elephant-like creature.

As well, the five fingers of either of my hands cannot exert as much
force as an elephant's trunk, so I wouldn't worry too much about "the
limitations of head and neck muscles".

However, I do have trouble imagining an Elephantine _watchmaker_.

Still in all, an alien civilization could get far enough before that
issue arose to be able to find workarounds; it's not as if today's
microprocessors are made by the nimble-fingered descendants of those
who used to string core memories for us.
Greg Goss
2018-02-28 15:27:40 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Aside from that objection: any limitations of Terrestrial elephants
might be ameliorated in an alien elephant-like creature.
As well, the five fingers of either of my hands cannot exert as much
force as an elephant's trunk, so I wouldn't worry too much about "the
limitations of head and neck muscles".
However, I do have trouble imagining an Elephantine _watchmaker_.
Still in all, an alien civilization could get far enough before that
issue arose to be able to find workarounds; it's not as if today's
microprocessors are made by the nimble-fingered descendants of those
who used to string core memories for us.
One thing that people never think of is the value of joints in knowing
where your fingers are. Close your eyes and touch your index
fingertips together. You can do that because your brain has learned
to integrate the angle of the many joints involved to have a pretty
good idea where each fingertip is. An octopus has good eyes and a big
brain just to keep track of where its arms are. Without joints, you
have much less idea of where things are.

I think Niven's mini-elephants had reasonable opposability.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Quadibloc
2018-02-28 05:49:52 UTC
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Made by them _by hand_, that is. I haven't forgotten where TSMC and Samsung are located.
Panthera Tigris Altaica
2018-02-28 15:46:25 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:35:37 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
It's still just _one_ thing. A considerable number of tools work best with two. Also, trunks/tentacles cannot have the equivalent of an opposable thumb. This particular failing was explored in Niven and Pournelle's _Footfall_. Worse, there is no internal skeleton in the trunk, making it instantly less capable as a load-bearing member. Finally, one major limitation of the trunk, which makes it worse than a cephalopods' tentacles, would be that it's on the elephant's _head_. There will be problems due to the limitations of the neck muscles and bones.
Post by J. Clarke
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
They would still have tentacles, not hands. They'd be better than an elephant's trunk, but still would lack opposable thumbs. And, like trunks, still would not have internal skeletons.
Lemme guess. You've never actually seen an elephant up close and
personal.
Actually, yes I have. Please note the posting handle. Think where I might work to have inspired that handle. Think what other animals might be present at such locations. You have failed to address my points: elephants have but one trunk, which makes many operations difficult. There are no bones in the trunk, making other operations difficult. Trunks lack opposable thumbs (see 'no bones') making still more operations difficult. Trunks are on the elephant's head, resulting in limitations due to the neck.

Elephants can do a lot of things with their trunks, but are seriously limited. There is a _reason_ why Niven and Pournelle in _Footfall_ had the Snouts have trunks which branched, and even then there were problems, which became a plot point.

Cephalopods, with their _multiple_ tentacles, have problems, serious ones, but are better placed than elephants. Lifeforms which lack hands are at a serious disadvantage when creating a technical civilization. It's that simple.
William Hyde
2018-02-28 19:55:02 UTC
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Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by J. Clarke
On Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:35:37 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
It's still just _one_ thing. A considerable number of tools work best with two. Also, trunks/tentacles cannot have the equivalent of an opposable thumb. This particular failing was explored in Niven and Pournelle's _Footfall_. Worse, there is no internal skeleton in the trunk, making it instantly less capable as a load-bearing member. Finally, one major limitation of the trunk, which makes it worse than a cephalopods' tentacles, would be that it's on the elephant's _head_. There will be problems due to the limitations of the neck muscles and bones.
Post by J. Clarke
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
They would still have tentacles, not hands. They'd be better than an elephant's trunk, but still would lack opposable thumbs. And, like trunks, still would not have internal skeletons.
Lemme guess. You've never actually seen an elephant up close and
personal.
Actually, yes I have. Please note the posting handle. Think where I might work to have inspired that handle. Think what other animals might be present at such locations. You have failed to address my points: elephants have but one trunk, which makes many operations difficult. There are no bones in the trunk, making other operations difficult. Trunks lack opposable thumbs (see 'no bones') making still more operations difficult. Trunks are on the elephant's head, resulting in limitations due to the neck.
Elephants can do a lot of things with their trunks, but are seriously limited. There is a _reason_ why Niven and Pournelle in _Footfall_ had the Snouts have trunks which branched, and even then there were problems, which became a plot point.
Cephalopods, with their _multiple_ tentacles, have problems, serious ones, but are better placed than elephants. Lifeforms which lack hands are at a serious disadvantage when creating a technical civilization. It's that simple.
ObSF: "Second Dawn" by Clarke.

William Hyde
J. Clarke
2018-03-01 03:19:47 UTC
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On Wed, 28 Feb 2018 07:46:25 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by J. Clarke
On Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:35:37 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:42:20 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
--
"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic
simulations involving a sledgehammer and a common laboratory frog,
we can assume it will be pretty bad." - Dave Barry
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Watch an elephant use that trunk. It is both immensely powerful and
very precise. It is not nearly as clumsy as you believe.
It's still just _one_ thing. A considerable number of tools work best with two. Also, trunks/tentacles cannot have the equivalent of an opposable thumb. This particular failing was explored in Niven and Pournelle's _Footfall_. Worse, there is no internal skeleton in the trunk, making it instantly less capable as a load-bearing member. Finally, one major limitation of the trunk, which makes it worse than a cephalopods' tentacles, would be that it's on the elephant's _head_. There will be problems due to the limitations of the neck muscles and bones.
Post by J. Clarke
As for cephalopods and water, octopi have to get wet periodically but
they are quite capable of moving around on land. Other molluscs do
fine on land so there's no reason that a non-aquatic cephalopod could
not exist.
They would still have tentacles, not hands. They'd be better than an elephant's trunk, but still would lack opposable thumbs. And, like trunks, still would not have internal skeletons.
Lemme guess. You've never actually seen an elephant up close and
personal.
Actually, yes I have. Please note the posting handle. Think where I might work to have inspired that handle.
A library?

Sorry, but on the Internet nobody knows you're a dog.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Think what other animals might be present at such locations. You have failed to address my points: elephants have but one trunk, which makes many operations difficult. There are no bones in the trunk, making other operations difficult. Trunks lack opposable thumbs (see 'no bones') making still more operations difficult. Trunks are on the elephant's head, resulting in limitations due to the neck.
Elephants can do a lot of things with their trunks, but are seriously limited. There is a _reason_ why Niven and Pournelle in _Footfall_ had the Snouts have trunks which branched, and even then there were problems, which became a plot point.
Cephalopods, with their _multiple_ tentacles, have problems, serious ones, but are better placed than elephants. Lifeforms which lack hands are at a serious disadvantage when creating a technical civilization. It's that simple.
One can equally argue that human articulation has many limitations.
You make far too big a deal about thumbs as specific organs without
apparently understanding why they are useful.
Titus G
2018-03-01 03:37:10 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Wed, 28 Feb 2018 07:46:25 -0800 (PST), Panthera Tigris Altaica
snip
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Think what other animals might be present at such locations. You
have failed to address my points: elephants have but one trunk,
which makes many operations difficult. There are no bones in the
trunk, making other operations difficult. Trunks lack opposable
thumbs (see 'no bones') making still more operations difficult.
Trunks are on the elephant's head, resulting in limitations due to
the neck.
Elephants can do a lot of things with their trunks, but are
seriously limited.
snip
Post by J. Clarke
One can equally argue that human articulation has many limitations.
You make far too big a deal about thumbs as specific organs without
apparently understanding why they are useful.
Yes. Thumbs are almost useless when picking one's trunk.
Michael F. Stemper
2018-02-27 21:29:03 UTC
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Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
ObSFW:

The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
--
Michael F. Stemper
This post contains greater than 95% post-consumer bytes by weight.
D B Davis
2018-02-28 06:56:29 UTC
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Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and
their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The
article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages
than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap
to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick
metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields).
Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier.
Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk
is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than
cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope
of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
Speaking of the Niven's Grogs, there's Pard from _The Healer_ (Wilson).
Pard's only mobility is derived from using gravity to drop from a cave
ceiling.
Pard's a small sentient parasitic blob that waits on a cave ceiling
for a host. When a suitable host passes underneath, he drops on the
host's head and transfers his consciousness into the host to form a
symbiotic mind.
Pard, of course, requires a human host. But there's a slim to none
chance of finding humans on other planets.

Thank you,

--
Don
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-02-28 07:18:15 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and
their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The
article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages
than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap
to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick
metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields).
Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier.
Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk
is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than
cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope
of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
Speaking of the Niven's Grogs, there's Pard from _The Healer_ (Wilson).
Pard's only mobility is derived from using gravity to drop from a cave
ceiling.
Pard's a small sentient parasitic blob that waits on a cave ceiling
for a host. When a suitable host passes underneath, he drops on the
host's head and transfers his consciousness into the host to form a
symbiotic mind.
Pard, of course, requires a human host. But there's a slim to none
chance of finding humans on other planets.
Is it established that Part requires a human host? It's been an extremely
long time since I read those, but maybe dropping off on a non-human host
happens and we just don't hear about it because other hosts don't have
the brain and manipulators to run the pard program at sentient communicating
level?
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
D B Davis
2018-02-28 14:53:44 UTC
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<snip>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by D B Davis
Speaking of the Niven's Grogs, there's Pard from _The Healer_ (Wilson).
Pard's only mobility is derived from using gravity to drop from a cave
ceiling.
Pard's a small sentient parasitic blob that waits on a cave ceiling
for a host. When a suitable host passes underneath, he drops on the
host's head and transfers his consciousness into the host to form a
symbiotic mind.
Pard, of course, requires a human host. But there's a slim to none
chance of finding humans on other planets.
Is it established that Part requires a human host? It's been an extremely
long time since I read those, but maybe dropping off on a non-human host
happens and we just don't hear about it because other hosts don't have
the brain and manipulators to run the pard program at sentient communicating
level?
You're absolutely correct. Although Pard nearly always kills intelligent
hosts his prey is not limited to humans.

Thank you,

--
Don
Robert Carnegie
2018-02-28 08:23:29 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and
their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The
article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages
than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap
to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick
metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields).
Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier.
Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk
is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than
cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope
of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
Speaking of the Niven's Grogs, there's Pard from _The Healer_ (Wilson).
Pard's only mobility is derived from using gravity to drop from a cave
ceiling.
Pard's a small sentient parasitic blob that waits on a cave ceiling
for a host. When a suitable host passes underneath, he drops on the
host's head and transfers his consciousness into the host to form a
symbiotic mind.
Pard, of course, requires a human host. But there's a slim to none
chance of finding humans on other planets.
Is it established how Pard got up on the ceiling in the first place?

There are ones in Star Trek that can fly around. They look like
undercooked omelettes.
Sjouke Burry
2018-02-28 12:42:14 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by D B Davis
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and
their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The
article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger disadvantages
than do corvids. First, being under water will be a significant handicap
to the development of, among other things, chemistry (and its sidekick
metallurgy) and electricity (and its sidekicks electromagnetic fields).
Second, they don't have hands either, and tentacles are notably clumsier.
Elephants and cetaceans are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk
is just one, very clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than
cephalopods, and cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope
of developing anything even close to a technical civilisation.
The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
Speaking of the Niven's Grogs, there's Pard from _The Healer_ (Wilson).
Pard's only mobility is derived from using gravity to drop from a cave
ceiling.
Pard's a small sentient parasitic blob that waits on a cave ceiling
for a host. When a suitable host passes underneath, he drops on the
host's head and transfers his consciousness into the host to form a
symbiotic mind.
Pard, of course, requires a human host. But there's a slim to none
chance of finding humans on other planets.
Is it established how Pard got up on the ceiling in the first place?
There are ones in Star Trek that can fly around. They look like
undercooked omelettes.
I think the prop department did indeed use half-kooked omelets....
D B Davis
2018-02-28 14:54:54 UTC
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Raw Message
<snip>
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by D B Davis
Speaking of the Niven's Grogs, there's Pard from _The Healer_ (Wilson).
Pard's only mobility is derived from using gravity to drop from a cave
ceiling.
Pard's a small sentient parasitic blob that waits on a cave ceiling
for a host. When a suitable host passes underneath, he drops on the
host's head and transfers his consciousness into the host to form a
symbiotic mind.
Pard, of course, requires a human host. But there's a slim to none
chance of finding humans on other planets.
Is it established how Pard got up on the ceiling in the first place?
There are ones in Star Trek that can fly around. They look like
undercooked omelettes.
My memory failed me. Pard's no blob. He's more like a tiny tribble, a
furry, lichen-eating cave slug.
Pard's officially known as an "alaret," a killing-thing-on-the-
ceilings-of-caves. Because the vast majority time alarets kill their
hosts with intelligence during the mental graft.

Thank you,

--
Don
a425couple
2018-02-28 18:33:40 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and
their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The
article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger
disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a
significant handicap to the development of, among other things,
chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its
sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands
either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans
are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very
clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and
cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing
anything even close to a technical civilisation.
The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
One interesting to me, totally different viewpoint, comes from
Poul Anderson's "Trader to the Stars", where Nicholas Van Rijn
has overhauled, captured and boarded a ship they needed
badly. But the 'race' controlling the ship had it's controls
securely locked, and then they vanished into the on board
'zoo population.

None of the on board creatures could possibly be the
ship masters. It had to be a pairing, one creature
was very smart, and able to control a creature with
a body capable of both fine controls and good strength.

So, for example, have a smart crow, sitting on a head
of a monkey.
Anthony Nance
2018-03-01 14:07:41 UTC
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Post by a425couple
Post by Michael F. Stemper
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
"We have one example of intelligent life (not counting cetaceans,
elephants, corvids, cephalopods etc) so we're going to generalise from
that example!"
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
None of those have hands. Corvids might be able to use their beaks and
their feet, but without true hands they'll have serious problems. The
article actually mentioned cephalopods, which have even bigger
disadvantages than do corvids. First, being under water will be a
significant handicap to the development of, among other things,
chemistry (and its sidekick metallurgy) and electricity (and its
sidekicks electromagnetic fields). Second, they don't have hands
either, and tentacles are notably clumsier. Elephants and cetaceans
are simply out of the running; an elephant's trunk is just one, very
clumsy, tentacle, making them even worse off than cephalopods, and
cetaceans don't even have that. No hands equals no hope of developing
anything even close to a technical civilisation.
Since the context is aliens, can't we assume that different
planetary environments will mean different selection pressures
and hence different adaptations? Say, fingers at the ends of
trunks or tentacles, or...?
Post by a425couple
Post by Michael F. Stemper
The issues of hands-free intelligent life are examined in some of the
Known Space works, most pertinently in "The Handicapped".
One interesting to me, totally different viewpoint, comes from
Poul Anderson's "Trader to the Stars", where Nicholas Van Rijn
has overhauled, captured and boarded a ship they needed
badly. But the 'race' controlling the ship had it's controls
securely locked, and then they vanished into the on board
'zoo population.
None of the on board creatures could possibly be the
ship masters. It had to be a pairing, one creature
was very smart, and able to control a creature with
a body capable of both fine controls and good strength.
So, for example, have a smart crow, sitting on a head
of a monkey.
This reminds me that both Poul Anderson and Hal Clement did several
stories where the body types & capabilities of the inhabitants were
pretty well thought out from the setting/planetary environment -
Clement's Mesklin stories coming to mind, first and foremost.

Tony

a425couple
2018-02-26 18:17:24 UTC
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Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
Post by a425couple
The aliens, like humans
Sheesh. They need to interview a more interesting class of scientists.
Cheers - Jaimie
OK.

IMHO, the alien in Flint and Spoor's "Boundary" and it's
follow-ups seemed quite interesting to me.

And Arthur C. Clarke was very creative in creating
aliens that lived on Mercury, Jupiter, and various
moons.

Hmmm.....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_extraterrestrials

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrials_in_fiction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_extraterrestrials_by_form
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