Quotes by Seth Shostak (Scientist/American).

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While I have always thought that the motivation for looking for E.T. was both self-evident and patently worthy, it's possible that I'm a victim of my own job description. Others don't inevitably agree. Some will opine that there are better ways to spend the money.
• Seth Shostak
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Are two eyes, four appendages and an upright posture really essential for any creature that can ace the galactic SAT's? Maybe not. In fact, I'd venture that any aliens we ever detect or (less likely) encounter will look quite different than this self-referential stereotype.
• Seth Shostak
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The idea of close encounters of the zero'th kind - which is to say, not a close encounter at all, but simply uncovering evidence that someone's out there - dates back to the Victorian era.
• Seth Shostak
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Here's a news flash: scientists can be wrong. That's no big deal (unless the scientist is you), since research is self-correcting. Consequently, most errors by scientists become historical curiosities, with little long-term importance.
• Seth Shostak
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We're interested in things that have big teeth, and you can see the evolutionary value of that, and you can also see the practical consequences by watching 'Animal Planet.' You notice they make very few programs about gerbils. It's mostly about things that have big teeth.
• Seth Shostak
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Mars still remains the astrobiology community's number one choice for 'nearest rock with life,' but there are many researchers who argue that the moons of Jupiter are better bets. In particular, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are all thought to hide vast oceans of liquid water beneath their icy, outer skins.
• Seth Shostak
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Every day, the temperature of Sol's surface increases by five billionths of a degree, a change of no consequence for thousands of millennia to come. But a few hundred million years from now, barring a fix by our descendants, this relentless heating will substantially change Earth's biosphere in ways that might not be survivable for us.
• Seth Shostak
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Junk, redundancy, and inefficiency characterize astrophysical signals. It seems they characterize cells and sea lions, too. These biological constructions have lots of superfluous and redundant parts, and are a long way from being optimally built or operated.
• Seth Shostak
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One of the jovian moons, Europa, is coated with twice as much liquid water as is sloshing around our planet.
• Seth Shostak
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The split between religion and science is relatively new. Isaac Newton, who first worked out the laws by which gravity held the planets and even the stars in their traces, was sufficiently impressed by the scale and regularity of the universe to ascribe it all to God.
• Seth Shostak
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While it may be disappointing, I have to confess to people who ask for my insights on the meaning of it all that astronomy doesn't provide any clearly useful data on matters of sin and souls.
• Seth Shostak
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If the cosmos isn't finite, then far, far away, floating duplicates of your brain - with all its experiences, thoughts, and emotions - are occasionally (and temporarily) thrown together by the random combining of atoms. Such 'Boltzmann brains,' as they're called, are a disturbing consequence of an unlimited universe.
• Seth Shostak
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Engineers are now experimenting with 4,096-line TV systems, suggesting that with the next generation of sets you'll be able to count the grass blades on the Superbowl field, an obvious lifestyle improvement.
• Seth Shostak
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The limitless content of our universe might be only one instance of a large (and possibly infinite) number of other universes.
• Seth Shostak
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Ever since the Second World War, television signals (as well as FM radio and radar) have served as Homo sapiens' emissaries into deep space. High-frequency, high-power broadcasts have filled an Earth-centered bubble more than 60 light-years in radius with signals.
• Seth Shostak
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The stars look the same from night to night. Nebulae and galaxies are dully immutable, maintaining the same overall appearance for thousands or millions of years. Indeed, only the sun, moon and planets - together with the occasional comet, asteroid or meteor - seem dynamic.
• Seth Shostak
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A century ago, scientists believed there was only one obvious stomping ground for alien biology in our solar system: Mars. Because it was reminiscent of Earth, Mars was assumed to be chock-a-block with animate beings, and its putative inhabitants got a lot of column inches and screen time.
• Seth Shostak
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Judging by informal observation, most young Americans burn up their spare time buffing their emotional IQ and self-esteem with social media and non-stop texting. That's great for eye-thumb coordination, but what about the satisfaction of actually making something?
• Seth Shostak
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Despite the impression you may have from watching too much TV, movies are not about reproducing reality. They're about telling stories.
• Seth Shostak
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Very few societies on Earth developed science as we know it today. On the other hand, the number is not zero - the Greeks, the Chinese, and the Maya did, among others. Once invented, science proved so useful that it spread like mold on a petri dish.
• Seth Shostak
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This plucky NASA telescope is able to find planets en masse. If you compare planet hunting to prospecting for gold, then Kepler is equivalent to trading in your trusty pan for a diesel-powered sluice box.
• Seth Shostak
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Clearly, unless thinking beings inevitably wipe themselves out soon after developing technology, extraterrestrial intelligence could often be millions or billions of years in advance of us. We're the galaxy's noodling newbies.
• Seth Shostak
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'What was there before the Big Bang?' That's a question that both kids and adults love to pose to anyone who seems sympathetic. After all, if the universe has only been around for roughly 14 billion years, isn't it legitimate to ask what was in existence before the mother-of-all-events cranked up the cosmos?
• Seth Shostak
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Our brains are continuing to evolve, and perhaps a few tens of thousands of years from now, our descendants will walk around with five pound brains, allowing them insights that we can't imagine.
• Seth Shostak
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The planets and moons of our solar system are blatantly visible because they reflect sunlight. Without the nearby Sun, these planets would be cryptic and dark on the sky.
• Seth Shostak

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