Tag: aliens

Has Larry Ellison been body snatched?

It is starting to look like the abrasive CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison has been bodysnatched and replaced by someone who wants to make friends with everyone.

While we knew he had buried the hatchet with long term enemy Salesforce, and signed a friendship agreement with Microsoft, the comments he has been making about CEO Marc Benioff indicate a dramatic shift in personality.

According to USA Today, the depths of the change were obvious in a conference call the pair made to outline their new pact. They seemed to be like a couple of love-sick teens talking about each other in terms which could be dangerous for our diabetic readers.

Ellison remembered the days before he called Salesforce a cockroach hotel when the pair worked together in perfect harmony.

As Benioff waxed on the praise in the conference call, he said: “the pre-integration of the application layer, the continuous improvement, the security and performance and the economy at the infrastructure level, are not going to come from a customer-supplier relationship but from a partnership relationship and that is what is very important to Oracle”.

While most of the world would not have a clue what he was saying, you could tell that love was in the air.

This is a far cry from Ellison slaming Salesforce.com, for using the “wrong” cloud model – unlike Oracle’s, Ellison dubbed Salesforce.com’s multi-tenancy architecture 15 years out of date, saying it has a “horrible” security model.

Now it seems that Ellison is looking forward to working with Salesforce for years to come.

Benioff said that this is “a new world, this is a new time”. The couple were in the “third wave of computing and companies like Salesforce and Oracle working together is evidence that that’s how it has to be in this new world because the value that can get creative is just going to be epic”.

Ellison watchers are not sure what to make of the superfriendly new rolemodel. We know that he has bought an Island near Hawaii so maybe the sea air is agreeing with him. 

IBM wants to build superfast microservers

Big Blue and a Dutch team of scientists are trying to come up with a breed of servers that process more data than today’s internet while coping with a sandstorm.

The team have to have their new microservers installed by 2017 in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Project, the world’s largest radio telescope, located in South Africa and Australia.

The spec is that it must be able to handle ten times the traffic and the sort of sand storms they get from the world’s most rugged terrain.

According to Slashdot, South Africa’s National Research Foundation, IBM, and ASTON are sitting in front of a video conferencing white board trying to brainstorm a new server design.

The SKA project hopes to use the telescope array to have a look “back in time,” where the radio waves from some of the earliest moments of the universe can still be picked up.

They are using a telescope that is so powerful it pick up an airport radar on a planet 50 light years away, although that is assuming that anyone is using airport radar in the rest of the universe.

The SKA will be made up of 3,000 dish antennas, arranged in five spiral arms from the centre of the core region and it will be built in 2017 and conclude in 2024.

Each needs to be connected to the others with enough optical fibre to circle the globe twice. When completed, it will need to handle 260 petabytes of traffic per month or 103.7 gigabytes per second.

IBM thinks the only way to handle all that traffic is with stacked, liquid-cooled microprocessors. At the moment an underlying architecture hasn’t been invented yet. It will have to be low-power and high throughput and probably be set up with the microservers as distributed nodes. 

First contact could lead to interstellar war

Many people have assumed that our first contact with an alien race will be peaceful and mutually beneficial.

However the good people at Active Politic have put forward a proposal which could see any Alien first contact being marred by the anti-copyright antics of Big Content.

If aliens contacted us and sent us a communication which contained speech, language and music of their culture that information would be widely distributed, analysed and played practically non stop on Radio Four.

Humanity decided to send a record on a gold disk on the Voyager 1 space craft which contains all evidence of our culture; music, speech, whales etc.

While Carl Sagan managed to get a copyright licence for all that material, it was still only going to allow him to put the music on one gold disk.

Aliens who are not familiar with our copyright laws will work out how to play the music and distribute it throughout the galaxy.

Now, if they arrive on Earth in the next 20 years or so, having found Voyager and played the record, they could find themselves being greeted by the RIAA with one of its legendary copyright law-suits.

Of course it could happen the other way round. If SETI picks up the music of another planet and distributes it the first thing we will know of it is when a fleet of its equivalent copyright trolls appear in our galaxy with a desire to collect.

But imagine that the aliens have been monitoring our radio signals to discover all they can about us. After landing Big Content will have one of its famous meetings with Joe Biden and demand that the aliens are arrested. He will off course check to see if their campaign contributions have been received before sending out the FBI to arrest the aliens and steal the content of their hard-drives as proof.

The aliens would then be locked up in a US prison for a trillion years until a rescue mission teleports them out and earth is vapourised for being too silly to exist.

The US is not fond of aliens, ask any Mexican, so what makes us think that Biden and his Big Content chums will treat intergalactic visitors any differently?

Really humanity’s only hope is to round up Big Content and their tame political sock puppets dump them in the old Shuttles and fire them at the heart of the sun before the alien mother ship turns up.

If Megaupload gets its cash back, we suspect Dotcom would be happy to provide a few dollars to help bring about this vision. 

Scientists scan the moon for alien life

Scientists at the Arizona State University have programmed their computers to scan millions of snaps of the lunar surface to look for signs that aliens might have landed there.

After all, if you have defeated the problems of speed of light travel and come all that way to see the Earth the first place you are going to put your landing gear down is going to be an orbiting lump of cold rock . The next thing you will do is go and scare some brain dead American farmer by giving him an anal probe.

But Professor Paul Davies and Robert Wagner at Arizona State University claim that passing extraterrestrials might have left messages, scientific instruments, heaps of rubbish or evidence of mining on the dusty lunar surface that could be spotted by human telescopes and orbiting spacecraft.

According to the journal Acta Astronautica, which we get for the Spot the Quark competition the pair admit that there is only a tiny probability that alien technology would have left traces on the moon, but since it is closer we might as well have a look.

It is also cheaper to scan lots of pictures rather than use expensive radio telescopes.

The scientists are using Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has mapped a quarter of the moon’s surface in high resolution since mid-2009. These images have also spotted the Apollo landing sites and all of the Nasa and Soviet unmanned probes.

They have developed software to search for strange-looking features, such as the sharp lines of solar panels, or the dust-covered contours of quarries or domed buildings. Because the moon is geologically inactive they might be visible millions of years after they were built.

Alien life might once have set up a lunar base in the underground networks of lava tubes beneath the moon’s dark, basaltic plains, and perhaps have left rubbish when they departed. “The same factors that make lava tubes attractive as a habitat imply that any artefacts left behind would endure almost indefinitely, undamaged and unburied,” the scientists write.

Quite why any alien civilisation would bother is not a question Wagner and Davies have answered. 

Retired man sets up 24 hour UFO hotline

For the first time ever, the FBI has declassified files and details of encounters with UFOs from over 50 years ago.

Found in the Vault, the archive backs up theories that extra-terrestrials landed in the US town of Roswell – before they were sent to the infamous Area 51 US airbase.

The documents are made up of memos, witness statements and findings of the events, which were sent to the bureau’s director Edgar Hoover. Flying Discs are mentioned. There’s one account from a special agent where he says three circular-shaped spaceships crashed containing the bodies of extra-terrestrials which were only three feet tall, lending credence to theories that the CIA enslaved an off-course alien passenger ship and forced them to ride at the Grand National for eternity.

Other witness statements come from a policeman, a highway patrolman and an army guard, who all claim that they witnessed a UFO on the night of April 4th 1949. The very date a disastrous election week for the Labour party kick-started in the United Kingdom!?!?!?

All reported seeing a “silver coloured object high up approaching the mountains at Sardine Canyon”, which then “appeared to explode in a rash of fire”.

Other reports from residents, who claim that they saw what appeared to be “two aerial explosions, followed by falling object,” back this up.

It’s a good thing to know, then, that a retired computer consultant and Brooklyn resident has set up a 24 hour UFO hotline. 

Joe Capp, 68, is running the hotline, which according to the New York Post has already taken calls of nearly two dozen sightings from around the city. offering people a way to report bizarre goings-on scoff-free. Until Capp uploads the lot onto Youtube

He says that of the calls he’s taken the most memorable has so far been from a woman who spotted three lights moving in unison in the sky over Park Slope, sounding not unlike this convincing amateur footage shot in Peckham.

Vatican believes in aliens with souls

The Vatican believes in aliens with souls and is willing to convert them to Christianity.

The Pope’s Astronomer, Doctor Guy Consolmagno, said today that it is most likely that aliens exist and that they would most certainly have souls.

In a speech at the British Science Festival the self-professed science-fiction fan, planetary scientist and Jesuit brother said he was perfectly comfortable with the idea of intelligent life on other planets, but said that our chances of encountering it and being able to communicate with it are probably very slim.

Consolmagno said that “God is bigger than just humanity”, is also “the god of angels,” and that “any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul.” However, he was quick to highlight his adoption of the medieval definition of a soul, which is “to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions.”

While we assume Consolmagno was joking about the multitude of tentacles, the Church has posited stranger things before, such as some magician coming back from the dead, turning a few loaves and fishes into thousands, and changing water into wine.

We are not sure if Cthulhu or Xenu are among these tentacled aliens with souls of which Consolmagno speaks, but they’re probably flattered that the Church is thinking of them.

We wondered if the Vatican would see these aliens as being a product of creationism or intelligent design, but Consolmagno dismissed the idea, labelling both creationism and intelligent design as “bad theology.”

However, the discovery of aliens would raise huge theological difficulties for the Catholic Church, which is already struggling to deal with the theological implications relating to the human race.

Consolmagno is a big advocate of both science and religion, which he said can and should work alongside each other. In 2006 he was quoted as saying: “Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism.”

He said that the Vatican is very aware of what is going on in modern science, mainly through the Pontifical Academy of Science, which includes Stephen Hawking among its members.

Consolmagno said that he would be willing to baptise an alien and convert it to Christianity, but only if they asked. 

He said that the Catholic Church’s treatment of Galileo over his observation that the Earth revolved around the Sun was “spectacularly wrong,” echoing the words of Pope John Paul II in 1992, when he said the Church’s accusations of heresy were a bad call.

The 57-year-old Consolmagno is one of 12 astronomers working for the Vatican and is the curator of a meteorite collection that the Pope has, which is something we didn’t know the Pontiff had any interest in.

It is not clear if the Vatican believes these meteors were sent to Earth when God was in his younger, more vengeful days of the Old Testament or if the Church is saving them up for the End of Days in case supplies of fire and brimstone run low.

SETI calls for citizen scientists

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute has opened up its data to all and sundry.

It’s also publishing its signal-detection algorithm, hoping techies everywhere can make it even better and pick up a few of the aliens’ missed calls.

“If you are knowledgeable about digital signal processing and pulling signals out of noise – we need you,” says the website.

“If you are eager to use your eyes, ears, and mind to help us find anomalies in the data streaming from the Allen Telescope Array – we need you.”

In particular, they’re after software developers, data parsing and gaming geeks and amateur radio astronomers.

We suspect that what they’ll actually get… well, you can work it out for yourselves.

Microsoft invents keyboard for aliens

Boffins at Microsoft have come up with a new form of keyboard that you need extra fingers to get working properly.

According to the press release, Microsoft’s new SideWinder X4 keyboard, has “the industry’s most advanced anti-ghosting technology,” which can read up to 26 key-strikes at once.

It being early on a Tuesday but most humans have ten fingers and even if they try to share the keyboard with a mate that is only going to give them 20 and lots of arguments about who has the home keys. Duets rarely apply to typing. We can only assume that this keyboard has been designed for 26 fingered aliens who are visiting the planet and need to send an email home.

The press release tells us that each key is scanned independently by the keyboard hardware, so each key press is correctly detected regardless of how many other keys are being pressed at the same time.

“The SideWinder X4 Keyboard excels where other keyboards fail, letting users execute key combinations and taking full advantage of their skill and speed.”

The new keyboard was developed by Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group and has “macro recording,” which lets users string multiple keys together at the hit of one button. This means that you will forget which key the macro is set for and accidently open your photoshop when ever you hit the button for your email. It’s also got adjustable back-lighting.

The SideWinder X4 will be available for $60 in March, and pre-sales on Amazon begin next week, Redmond tells us. 26 fingered aliens can place their orders using the SETI array. We guess that with this world saturated with Microsoft software, Redmond has had to look further afield for new customers.

Earth becoming ET's blind spot

Dr Frank Drake, the boffin who started SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) five decades ago, said our planet is slowly, yet gradually becoming invisible to extraterrestrial long-range sensors.

Dr Drake frets that the advent of digital broadcasting equipment, which is replacing its analog ancestors, will result in far less radiation being beamed out into space. This will make earth nigh imperceptible, English snoozepaper The Telegraph cited Dr Drake as saying. Dr Drake is currently attending a discussion meeting on “The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society”, which is being hosted by the Royal Society. Nonetheless, mmankind has fed itself and the universe enough radiation as not to go undiscovered, Dr Drake said some time ago when the stars were not yet right.

Dr Drake has not yet described which car aliens will drive, when they arrive. Will they have chauffeurs?

Signal deterioration will rekindle the fiery, flaming discussions SETI researchers keep on having about whether it’s a good idea to broadcast signals into space to show aliens we’re here, or not. Some say attracting aliens will lead to the eradication and/ or enslavement and so forth of the human species, whilst others believe ET will be a benevolent, kind, enlightened and loving being, similar to the Dalai Lama.

Dalai LamaOne might suppose a benevolent entity were to wipe out the more civilised parts of the human race entirely in order to save the planet, feed the world (sans Bono and Bob Geldof) and putting an end to cultural achievements such as Tokio Hotel, however boffins are mostly nerds and will most probably show a tendency to think in terms of 80ies movies, instead of growing up and sharing the view of an average Lovecraft reader, which boils down to aliens giving as much a poo about  humanity as humanity does to bed bugs, rendering all discussion pointless and futile.