Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona on February 5, 1973 · Page 25
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona · Page 25

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Monday, February 5, 1973
Page 25
Start Free Trial

MONDAY-FEBRUARY 5, 1973 Investigative Reports · Analyses · Opinions Of Others TUCSON DAILY CITIZEN - PAGE 25 An Uncommon Conversation with an astronomy professor We are not alone.. .but are we too dumb to know it? By PHILIP NOBILE ; · · Universalr«i · . : ' ' , . ITHACA, N.Y. -- On the scale of implausible happenings, I would rank: 1) the appearance of God, 2) the retuni from the dead, and 3) the discovery of life on other planets; as the three most implausible. While we can hardly do much about the first two, a few forward-looking scientists are beginning, todo a little about the third. ; · . ; ' r ' , : " · :; ' For instance, astronomy professor Carl Sagah and 'his colleagues ait Cornell University have listened to 10 stars through ; a radio telescope for evidence of extra-terrestrial life. However, there are more than 10 billion stars in our galaxy and billions of galaxies. So we have a long way to go. Despite the heavy odds against tuning into intelligible sounds .from outer space, Sagan is convinced we eafthlings are not alone in the universe. He even got NASA to, go along with a pretty farfetched scheme of his. When he learned that the Jupiter-bound Pioneer 10 satellite was going to bounce off Jupiter's gravitational pull and head out of our solar system, he figured why not send them a message with the forever wandering satellite: NASA consented to attach a plaque of Sagan's design on the. outside of Pioneer 10. The gold-plated aluminum plaque depicts a nude man and woman and some scientific symbols which tell the story of our planet in shorthand. Nevertheless, Sagan isn't holding his breath for a reply. And neither am I. , , Here is how our interview went: Q -- As a scientist concerned with facts, what do yon have to say about the probability of life on other planets? A -- Well, the question of life on other planets is not science fiction, but it's not science in the strictest sense either.We're- faced with the' difficult problem of extra-polating from a single example and only a few related clues. First of all, there are many experiments underway now which .bear on the origin of life "on earth. Radio astronomers have discovered that the molecules that led to life on earth are absolutely common throughout the universe. Complex organic molecules, lor example, have .been found in meteorites. r Secondly, there has been a lot of time for life to develop on other planets. The galaxy is .more than 10 billion years old; that is, more than twice the age of our solar system. So there.must be places which have had enormously longer periods of time for these organic and evolutionary processes to occur. thirdly, it looks as if planets themselves are abundant. If you put all these things together, you come out not with an . extremely reliable: conclusion, but certainly a strong implication that life is common in-the universe. . ' Q;- Life, maybCi but riot human life. In our own solar sy- tem at least, there are no planets suitable for human habitation. · · / ,'':.' . . " . ' " · · : ' ' ' . ; · ' " A -- That's true. Human beings have specific requirements because they've evolved under specific conditions. I can very weU imagine organisms on Mars or Jupiter who would speculate that life^on earth is impossible because the conditions .there are so different '-", | , - . · · · · ·r - · ' " ' ' '· '.", ' · It's important to realize that it's us who adapted to the earth's environment and not the other way around. · . V- . , ' · ' · ' " I , ' , " ' ' ' · Q -- Then the .chances of human life existing,elsewhere in the universe are close to zero? , ; V 'A -- Right. I'll put it another way v If you started the earth over again identically the same as it started^ in fact, you would never get human beings again because there are simply too many random events in evolution to; have them all recur again. Q -- If there's nobody like us lit space, why did you send your plaque out of the galaxy on Pioneer 10? · A -- To communicate with all those non-human guys up there. . .Q -- But if they're not human, they won't be able to communicate with us. A - W h y is that? . Q -- Well, you, tell me. We Just don't have any model for communicating with non-human higher Intelligences. A -- We suggest that beings of a quite different sort have evolved on the'planets-of other stars. But they are faced with the r ' same objective universe that we are, they have to develop the 'same physics, the same mathematics and the same astronomy. Therefore, in the scientific sense; those guys are probably very easy to communicate with. The mere fact that they could intercept the Pioneer 10 spacecraft means thiey already have a teclihological capability far in advance "of ours. I would expect that'grade schoolers up there could read the plaque perfectly okay. .· · Q -- If these beings are as Intelligent as yon say, why haven't they gotten in touch wHnws by now? A -- One point ; is that the universe is immense and the-distances between the stars are very great. The Pioneer 10, which is Prof. Carl Sagair Messenger to outer space the first human spacecraft to leave the solar system, is also the fastest object ever launched. But Pioneer 10 will take 80,000 years to reach the nearest star. So it doesn't surprise me at all that nobody's been visiting us lately. Q -- Couldn't they stay at home and send us messages instead? ; A -- We don't know that they're not sending us messages. With just a few trival exceptions, we're not listening. Q -- Why do you assume that whatever civilization Is out there is necessarily more advanced than our own? A -- I don't. I only assume that the guys we can communicate Letters To The Edi Prices keep rising Editor ttoe Citizen: . : When Social Security was raised 20 per cent, , it allowed senior citizens to relax a little and not have to watch our budget quite so closely. But now, as usual, we read of new increases in the cost of living. First, it was Tucson Gas; Electric .asking another increase in rates, which does not seem right. Thie utility is getting enough now for what they give... If you want service, you must hire an electrician, or gas repair man, both of whom · are very expensive, and more than a Social Security recipient can afford." Next came the notice of. a $2 per month' charge added to the water bill for a "sewer charge" . '. . Then along comes a report that our,property tax, on smaller homes, should be practically doubled. This was the last straw; it would take ·' the rest of our 20 per cent raise in Social Security. ' ' . · ' , . Someone better do something to keep taxes and utilities stabilized here or many of the senior citizens will have to go "back East," even- though in order to live they need Tucson's sunshine and dry, warm climate ... Maybe our governor and senators should pay a little attention to rising prices and the hardship it creates for the many senior citizens here. I'm sure many other retirees think as I do. MRS. ESTELLE ROLLINS 3718 N. Mesquite Place 1,200 families benefited Editor, the Citizen: Before Christmas, many people donated time and money to help the Community Christmas Center. This letter is a thank you to them. More than 1,200 .Tucson families this Christmas received food and toys.... Many people worked at the Community Christmas Center helping organize the food and toys. This was truly a community effort and the' community deserves a thanks for a job well- done.. MARGY VAUGHAN, Chairman' Community Christmas Center Testimony ivas specious Editor, the Citizen: I refer to the Citizen of Jan. 23 in which was reported the proceedings of the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee relative to restoration of the death penalty in certain particularly heinous crimes. Before this body appeared Attorney Ben Lazarow of Tucson, who, as reported, testified as follows: "Since 50 per cent of the homicides are committed by blacks, let's realize at the outset that you're legislating against minorities." Assuming, it would seem, that because a crime is committed by a member of a minority group no restraining laws should ever be passed affecting a miaority. Well, every person is a member of some minority. Even murderers themselves belong to a select minority, and we should .be thankful .that it is as small .as it is considering the do-gooders -. running rampant todayl I do not'condemn.Mr. Lazarow's opinion on the! death .penalty. That is'his right. However, I do regard his .testimony as given above to be ridiculous. , . Possibly this type of specious thinking is a prime example of why our present'judiciary process is probably at its lowest ebb in the estimation of the citizenry, -. . _ · G. B. SMITH ·'· . 5225 E. Lee St. Only thing left to tax -. Editor,_the Citizen: ' Re the "Bedside security" editorial in the Jan. 24 Citizen: , What does the Citizen mean -- the only reassuring thing about the Defense Department's invasion of the bedroom with a radio receiver is . that accepting it will be entirely voluntary? Once the bureaucrats get a foot in the bedroom door, it will ,be a question of time until the, tax-gatherers begin installing microphone and video transmitters in every bedroom to levy a fun tax on every couple, as forecasted 28 years ago in a fictional short story of mine titled, "Kisses and Taxes." Only thing left to tax. I trust the citizens shall choose to spurn the imposition. ANSELL WEST . 1425 E. Prince Road Hunting cuts food costs Editor, the Citizen: For a couple of years now, I have been reading anti-hunting and ;pro-hunting letters in this column. Some I.agreed with,' others I laughed at. It is great for free -people to express their opinions in public. · -. · . But I get utterly disgusted when I read letters based on emotion. No facts. Let's approach this hunting argument'intelligently. Get some facts from professionals, degree-holding biologists or the Arizona Game and Fish Department. These people are not politicians, they are professional biologists. While some people are watching "Walt Disney," these men are "working" with our wildlife. Working trying to save them from our blitzkrieg of their homes. Our urban sprawl. I am a middle-class -- 40-hour-week family man. My grocery bill is about $40 per week. I look forward eagerly to my hunting seasons -120 pounds of venison, 30 pounds of javelina, numerous dove, quail, duck and rabbit certainly taste good and really make a large dent in my grocery bill. If you do not like to hunt, don't! But, please, don't try to stop me. I don't care if you drink and · drive or play golf! So please don't try to stop me from doing what I enjoy. DICK DRUCE Tucson Varmint Caller 1332 E. Seneca Arizona Album The U of £s first football team -- 1899 No, the gaily-clad football players above won't be among the University of Arizona's 1973 grid team, but they were just as fine a group of young men, ready to give their all for the glory of the U of A. This 1899 team, the first formally organized team at the University, was coached by Stewart F. Forbes, not pictured, and it won two, tied one and lost one game. The players are (bottom row, left to right): Edward Stafford and Newton Robinson; (second row): R. Castenada, Will Olney, George M. Parker, Duncan Campbell, Benito Suarez and Frank Fish; (third row): Pike Day, Guy Rockwell, Will Angus, Tom K. Marshall and Charles Richmond; (fourth row): Willard Brown, Ross Russell and J. Garneth Homes; (top row): Charles French. (Courtesy University of Arizona Library.) with are smarter than us. There are probably a lot of dumb guys on other planets. Even if they're just a little dumber than we are, they probably don't have radio astronomy and so we can't talk to them at all. We are the dumbest ones who can talk at all, since v we've only had radio astronomy for a few decades out of billions of years. Q -- In addition to your plaque, are we ^making any other attempts to contact other intelligences? A -- We are inadvertently sending messages all the time. For example, the high frequency end of the AM broadcast band is trickling out into space. Also, ordinary domestic television escapes the earth. The radar defense networks of the United Statei and the Soviet Union get out. Q -- Do you mean that someone with a TV set on another planet could watch our TV programs? · A -- He'd have to have a big antenna, tout the answer is yes. What you have to imagine is that some 40 or 50 light years out from the earth, there is the information about the 20s as it was heard on radio in the,20s..-So it is conceivable that if there's anybody within 40 or 50 light years from earth, they have recently discovered that there's a low form of intelligence here. Q -- Given the distances and time involved in space travel, do you rule out manned exploration of the universe? A -- It's very difficult to prognosticate technology. Yet there is a consequence of the theory of special relativity called time- dilation which says that if you travel very fast, time as measured by you slows down. Your watch as well as your heart beats slower. ' · · - , . . Q -- If man gets up enough speed then, he'll be able to make long journeys into space. A -- Yes. If a spacecraft which would travel near the speed of light were developed, it would be possible to go r anywhere in the galaxy within a human lifetime. Just to give you an example, you could travel to the center of the galaxy 30,000 light years away and back, but you would find that 60,000 years had elapsed on earth when you returned, ; Q -- This Is utterly fantastic. A -- Special relativity is as firmly established as anything in physics, but there's no hint of a device which is capable of the speed of light. I'd be very surprised if something happened along these lines before the next few centuries. Copyright 1973 Dick West Bomb-blasted Hanoi the envy of world With the signing of the peace treaty, North Vietnam has gained an enviable status among the nations of the world -- that of a former enemy of the United States. From the standpoint of future economic development, it probably would have been better if the North Vietnamese had been defeated outright. Then they would have been the beneficiaries of a rebuilding program that would have restored the country 10 times -yea, mayhaps even 50 times -over. As has happened to some of the more fortunate countries that lost their wars with the USA. But, as the North Vietnamese will soon discover, it is better to have fought the United States inconclusively than never to have fought at all. Although the war with . the North Vietnamese was inconclusive, luckily for them they took enough of a pounding to become eligible for U.S. reconstruction aid. A recent Gallup Poll showed that 40 per cent of the American people favored helping repair the bomb damage. And that survey was taken before the peace agreement was announced. The next poll likely will boost the helping hand ratio to over 50 per cent, a figure that might well have' been above 90 per cent had North Vietnam capitulated. It is not, however, through direct aid that former U.S. enemies prosper. The big boom comes when they start selling us automobiles, motor bikes, transistor radios, tape recorders, television sets and imitation zip- po lighters. Already, you may be sure, Hanoi is getting ready to-begin production of the homobile, the hocycle, the stereoho, the teleho and the photoho -- consumer goods named in honor of Ho CM Minh and tailored for the American market. What I fear is that we may eventually have so many former enemies we will be unable to absorb their industrial output. Should that happen, some of our former enemies might resume hostilities in order to renew the ..demand for their products. Ann Landers Arthritis costs millions in absenteeism Dear Ann Landers: Your slip is snowing. When that woman wrote to say her new brother-in- law made a poor impression from the moment he extended his hand and gave her a "dead- fish handshake," you went right along with her and agreed that a firm handshake means "I am genuinely glad to meet you..." Apparently you are one of the lucky people who knows nothing about arthritis. As one who has had it in my shoulder, elbow and fingers for 10 years, I can tell you it's just plain heck when someone grabs my hand and gives me one of those "I'm genuinely glad to meet you" greetings. I usually extend my left hand promptly, but once in a while I'm not quick enough, and it's agony. Please, Ann, print my . letter, and while you are at it, tell the world that arthritis is not a disease that occurs only in people of advanced years. Many young people have it, too. I'm 36. Thank you. -- IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN Dear I.M.: Of course you are right, and I'm glad you wrote. Your letter provides me with an opportunity to tell the world something else. Arthritis costs industry about nine billion dollars a year for absenteeism and medical care. It is second only to respiratory diseases in days lost from the job. Nobody dies from arthritis but it is a horrible crippler, can be excruciatingly painful, and we need to spend a lot more money on research to find out what causes arthritis and how to arrest it -- or better yet, how to prevent it. Dear Ann Landers: Sooner or later everybody sees himself in your column. I got mine today. I refer to the mother whose son gave her the silent treatment because she couldn't stand the filth in his apartment and decided to clean the place up. Unfortunately, she accidentally threw out some of his important papers. He was furious and let her know it. I used to babysit for my daughter-in-law when they went out of town or had a sitter problem. When I say she wasn't the best housekeeper in the world I am putting it gently. I soon discovered that whenever I cleaned her cupboards or closets or waxed her floors, my g"od intentions were interpreted as "fault-finding." Her resentment c?,Tr? as r- shock but it opened my eyes to the fact that some people want to live in filth. Orderly types, such as myself, should keep their mouths shut and not try to "help." I wonder how many other mothers saw themselves in your column today. Care to comment? - MYOPIC AND HAPPIER Dear My: Dozens of women wrote to express similar sentiments and I found it fascinating that nine out of ten women whose "help" was resented were mothers-in-law --· not mothers. 0 Dear Ann Landers: Here it is February and our daughter, age 9, is still playing Cowboys and Indians with the hat and holster set we gave our 7-year-old son for Christmas. He is playing with her doll. Do we have a problem? Please answer soon. We are -- CONCERNED IN CALIFORNIA Dear Concerned: In all probability not, but it's too early to tell. Keep your eyes open, however. You might have two problems. If this pattern persists, particularly with the boy, I recommend that you have him evaluated professionally. Give it six months. What's prudis'n? What's O.K.? If you aren't sure, you need some help. It's available in the booklet: "Necking and Petting -- What Are the Limits?" To receive it, mail your request, enclosing 50 cents in coin and a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope, to Ann Landers, Tucson Daily Citizen, P. 0. Bo" 5027, Tucson, Ariz. 85703. CoovrioM 1973

What members have found on this page

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free