Snowden on Extraterrestrials

Perhaps of interest (I had heard about this, but thanks to Ed for the signal boost—no pun intended): Snowden was recently on “Star Talk” with Niel Degrasse Tyson. The sensational bit that’s been echoing around the intertubes is that Snowden hypothesized that perhaps the reason we haven’t yet heard from aliens is that maybe all their communications are encrypted to such a degree that we can’t distinguish said communication from the noise of cosmic background radiation. To my knowledge, this is a novel solution to the Fermi paradox (NB: if you want to feel enjoyably paranoid, spend some time reading/thinking about the Fermi paradox, which is deeply unsettling). Apparently, however, Snowden isn’t right on the facts. But it’s definitely worth keeping this little nugget in mind as a cultural phenomenon when we read Accelerando later in the semester.