Intelligent Life and Cows

While commuting to work today, I got stuck behind a slow moving car. The driver put on his left hand turn signal. As I prepare to drive around him to the right, he turned right, almost colliding with me.

It is commutes such as these that get me thinking about signals and intelligent life. More specifically, humankind’s search for some signal that intelligent life exists in the universe. I have always been skeptical of these efforts. I do not understand why scientists spend so much time looking out into space for intelligent life.  If they looked around down here, they would see that we are surrounded by intelligent life. (With the possible exceptions of cows and commuters).

Our search for intelligent life reminds me of an insecure property owner.  The kind of person who is embarrassed by his neighbors.  He keeps looking down the street and hoping someone more like himself will come along and move in next door.

It is easy to predict the result of our contact with extraterrestrial life.  One of three things will happen:

  1. If the creatures are dumber than us, like cows, we will eat them.
  2. If we are dumber than the creatures, they will eat us.
  3. Otherwise, we will fight with each other.

Why do I pick on cows? I have spent many hours in free range country. Every time I have met a herd of cows on the road, all the cows on the left side of the road have exited to the right and vice versa.  Any resemblance to commuters is purely a coincidence.

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