Another quiet weekend. I made caramel corn, and we watched “All The Little Animals” (Christian Bale was around 23, so young!). We took a few walks: over to the graveyard and to a cafe. I doodled here and there, and deeply contemplated my novel (which has a few questions I need to answer before I can move on with it).

07/28/14 Trend Setters

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  1. I agree with Sector General author James White that it’s very unlikely diseases could cross between alien species. The biologies of one planet’s infections and another’s creatures would be too different. It’s hard enough for terrestrial diseases to cross species and they have similar DNA. Unless the aliens are made of sugar, bacteria won’t find them very tasty. It’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t worry about it. If the aliens are related to humans somehow, though, they should be worried. Maybe they are, and are, and want humans to stay away because they know we have cooties.

  2. I agree to a point.
    Chiral organic chemistry would prevent a lot of transfer, IF that’s the difference.

    But if they use the same handedness of proteins, sugars, etc. then it won’t be a big disease like smallpox or bubonic plague that will cause problems.
    It would be a little bacterium that barely survives in its normal habitat, but goes wild in the alien one.

  3. If it’s not the bacteria, then the insects and vermin visitors and especially colonists could introduce. They might not kill the aliens directly, but if local predators don’t adapt to keep their population in check, it explodes, and soon billions of creatures nibble at the planet’s food ressources.

  4. @Nathanyel, whattya mean?! It was, what, two males and a female that escaped from their cages, and now it’s all, boo hoo hoo, Australia is being run over by rabbits, whine, whine whine. Why don’t those Australian marsupials grow a set and start defending their home territory, huh? I mean, Australia is the freakin’ Continent of Death, fer cryin’ out loud! Spiders that will jump out an throttle you when you open the door to use the loo! You can’t tell me that a bunch of wallabies armed with baseball bats and razor-sharp hind claws couldn’t clear out a bunch of iddy-biddy baby wabbits.

    And don’t get me started on those flying fish swimming up the river to Chicago. That’s a bad sci-fi movie, not an ecological disaster.

  5. Coyoty: But consider the Copernican principle, biology-style. Life on Earth is probably made of the same stuff as most life on the universe is, since it’s more likely that we’ve gone down a common path than a rare one. RNA and amino acids self-assemble given the conditions on early Earth and even in gas clouds; it’s no coincidence that that’s pretty much what we’re made of. Other aliens are likely to have something very, very similar to DNA (although *probably* a different translation to protein and a somewhat different set of amino acids.) All in all, they’ll probably look like food to an enterprising Earth bacterium.

    I’m sure that if we ever encounter extraterrestrial life, it will be both shockingly different and shockingly familiar.

  6. Considering our DNA doesn’t use all of the available amino acids there is plenty of room for those with more complex, or just different DNA which may or may not be dangerous to either of us.

    The Chtorr Scenario should be remembered though. Though any who would want to defeat us would just give us something that can kill us all like in the “Species” scenario where paranoid aliens gave humans a very active and reactive DNA that coupled with Humans normal propensity to try things would eventually eliminate human kind just leaving very dangerous hybrids.

  7. Or, like the little bacterium in Peter Watts’ trilogy of “Starfish”, “Maelstrom”, Behemoth”, it could just outcompete us for a minor, but essential, nutrient like copper.

  8. I think I’d spend the time on the way to certain doom preparing a message as eloquently as possible.

    Content: Our home planet has fucked us over. Plz send it bombs and asteroids at near light speed. KTHXBYE.

  9. I think we are the disease. And I think the intelligences near us are probably aware of this. That’s why we haven’t been contacted, and why we never will. Sorry to come off as a typical sociopath, or any number of other labels that might be used, but I feel we as a species should really start taking our place on earth seriously….If it isn’t already to late. Ed.

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