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Hullabaloo


Thursday, June 16, 2016

 

No intelligent life

by Tom Sullivan


Sketch of a "spaceship" creating crop circles, sent to UK
Ministry of Defence circa 1998. via Wikimedia Commons.

"Writing about a Donald Trump speech is like trying to describe the whiplash," Jim Galloway wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution when Donald Trump visited Atlanta back in February. Trump was back again yesterday. George W. Bush was the U.S. president who thought Africa was a country. Now comes candidate Donald Trump who thinks Belgium is a city.

Andrew Stroehlein lives in Brussels.

Trump also thinks America's "nuclear is old and tired," but not Russia's.

Trump also believes it costs the government $1 million every time we “turn on” one of our aircraft carriers.

All this from one Trump speech yesterday in Atlanta — a beautiful state, by the way.

Trump takes factoids he half heard on Sunday talk shows and regurgitates them in speeches as if they are truths he's gleaned through years of careful study and deliberation (which is for losers, believe me). Or he simply pulls stuff out of his ass and crowds cheer. He may not know what the hell he's talking about, but, like your average street tough, he's got attitude. In word jazz, coherence just gets in the way of the performance.

In the New York Times' Sunday Review, astrophysics professor Adam Frank reported on new data that suggest even with a healthy dose of skepticism, "a trillion civilizations still would have appeared over the course of cosmic history." He writes:

In other words, given what we now know about the number and orbital positions of the galaxy’s planets, the degree of pessimism required to doubt the existence, at some point in time, of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization borders on the irrational.
Speaking of bordering on the irrational, it might still be early to count ours as one.