This is a place for exploring Singularity related ideas and inspirations.
This includes Transhumanism, Posthumanism, The Nature of Technology and the Technology of Nature. It is a basic assumption here that innovation is in strata and built on the ground of previous innovations, though sometimes obscured.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

League of Cosmic Engineers

League of Cosmic Engineers


I live on Earth at present, and I dont know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing  a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process  an integral function of the universe.
Buckminster Fuller


The ship descended quickly toward the planet, an arrowhead on a shaft of light. Thegentle curve of space coaxed us toward its silent target, spinning slowly in the darkness. Where were the surging currents of wind and rain from the bright molten star? And for that matter, where the hell was the blazing intrepid sun that had warmed its companions and followers? 
We approached the darkened planet from a high orbit, descending a slope of spacetime into the solar system at a sharp incline to the ecliptic like a toboggan gliding down a slippery hillside. It was once an ancient world brimming with life according to our encyclopedia and mapping system. Now, it was dead, its biosphere transformed to motes of dust and blackened rock. Whats worse was that it was the third planet we had found in this arm of the galaxy that had been so horribly transformed. We already knew what we would find when we looked closer; the same energy emissions matched what we had seen before.
Scan results? I leaned forward from my chair.
Its smart rock, programmable matter. Buzzed Jiiu calmly. The whole thing was converted to computronium.
Bastards! I couldnt contain my anger so easily as I once did. 
We paused for a moment at the enormity of what had been done to the planet below. The blatant disregard for life was staggering. They had annihilated millions of intelligent beings and an entire biosphere of billions of organisms for the sake of winning a game. They convert dead world's in the Goldilocks zone into computronium and we seed them with life.
 How long ago? Anu croaked.
Maybe 1,200 years. Zuu buzzed after examining the sensors.
Thats not too bad. Shuun tooted. What are the residual distortion patterns in the quantum foam and surrounding gravitational waves like?
Pretty damn good. Jiuu hummed back. We should be able to reverse engineer the biosphere and most of the life forms without much error.
Most. I shook my head wondering how much would be lost.
Yes. Anu squawked.
It was disturbing that our predecessors could devalue life to nothing more than patterns of information, tear them apart and put them in a computational blender.
Alright, lets get started. I waved dismissively.
Nodes and repeaters released from the ship arched high over what remained of the planet and star in hexagonal grids and dropped to the surfaces below.  A couple of bright beams lanced out from the belly of the ship scored the surface of the planet and star linking the nodes in a lacework of glowing light; more information than raw energy. They slowly and carefully excited and released the latent bonds of the dense molecular structures that were once a planet and unleashed the plasma that had once danced in the heart of the sun. While the star raged to life it would take seven months of solid work to unpack the damn smart matter back into a living breathing planet with an advanced ecology of 9 million species. It was a lot like unraveling a very big ball of yarn and we had plenty of time to chill while the biosphere blossomed.
Looking up at the shimmering flow of the galactic arm through the window above my bed was like laying by of a lazy river on a summer day, the light sparkling on the surface of the slow afternoon waters. Sometimes I missed wriggling my toes planet-side in the grass by a stream patrolled by dragonflies and shimmers of sunlight pouring through the leaves of a tree above. Much as I hated to admit it, sometimes I missed Earth, that mixed up planet of my birth. When I thought back to my small and simple life on that confused and conflicted rock, it was much like thinking about the politics and disputes of micro-organisms or some children squabbling over the movement of grains in a sandbox. But they were my micro-organisms and that ferment is what gave birth to me and sent me on my ride through the different neighbourhoods of the galaxy. In some ways squabbles and disputes are still a part of me, woven into the informational patterns in my densely packed synthetic biology.
I looked down at my body, flexed my newly grown chest, arms and legs. It had been a long time since last I was human and it felt good, like putting on a comfortable old sweater and pants. Granted, I wasnt completely human as I once was with all those antique organs and carnival tent pole bones, but from the outside I certainly looked and felt human. When I glanced inside though I could see that my whole body was now more like a brain than anything. Nets of shimmering intelligent molecules woven together into smart fibers with glowing streams of information that connected me to the ship and the others with whom I travelled. As I meditated I could sense that the informational structure of my body-mind was entangled with twin patterns far away in the Collective. When I wriggled my toes here, I wriggled simulated toes there and over there in different planetary systems throughout the galaxy. At times like this I felt like a bug looking at a flowered field through eyes of many facets. It was a little dizzying at first but my mind soon painted it all into a single picture and what seemed like several minds were blended into one.
I followed the threads of connection from those mirrored selves outward into the vast computational ecology of the Collective threaded carefully from planet to planet and star to star throughout the galaxy. My vision of it all was a net of shimmering jewels that linked together hundreds of worlds in filaments of braided red. And when I pulled back from the Collective into the private space of my own mind, I could see I was filled with a ecology of memories connected by similar threads. My distant past on Earth and my journey through the stars after being awakened from the dead were no longer faded cartoons of ink on putty but vibrant scenes, parallel lives that I could re-live whenever I chose. As a result, sometimes it felt as though the world, family and friends I left behind were still living day and night on that cloudy ball turning lazily around a yellow star. As silly as it was I sometimes imagined the world I knew frozen in time and waiting for me to return and pick up where we left off.
I do wonder what happened to that messed up planet, those fearful but hopeful apes we called humans, clinging hard to the roots of the past while trying desperately to move forward toward a brighter future. Its like they were stuck between two bases in a game of pickle, unsure which way to run. They longed for change but feared it just the same. Every millennia or so I searched the Collective to see if theyve joined but so far no word from Earth. As far as I knew they were still playing that silly game. All I could do was shrug and sigh. Someday Ill return to peek over the fence and say hello, but Ive been too busy in the past couple of hundred thousand years and immortality has a strange way of changing your sense of time. Someday I will go back to see if the human circus is still going on beneath the big top of their sky. Someday. But now, the game was afoot and last I checked my crew and I were winning.
After a good rest on my own with some quiet music and the soft embrace of a mattress, I arose and trudged back to the bridge of the ship to check in with my comrades on the resurrection of the planet. The corridors were filled with quiet music and scenes of raging waterfalls, cloudy forests and parched deserts from other worlds. When I entered the control room it reminded me of thanksgiving with my friends standing around a table with a world carved up in the middle. I did my best to push away the past and focus on the scene at hand.
Shuun, my old friend from a distant world was a third generation post biological entity now shaped into a series of bone tubes. When Shuun talked it sounded like musical farts, but my neural processors translated everything into the common tongue. Eventually I learned to stop laughing, though the others didnt find it funny. Some had never tried organic life while others had deviated too far from the gassy organic norm to appreciate the fine nuances of methane. Here, I was the only human, having left Earth when I died millennia ago, wrapped like a mummy and shot into the depths of space. My companions and friends came in different shapes and sounds these days, now that I was so far from home. Jiiu, Zuu and Aaz continued incarnating as vibrant strands of living energy, harmonized in fifths of each other as their ancestors had done for eons. Anu was now an androgynous albino birdlike humanoid because he/she had lost big time in our last game of gin. Admittedly not all neural substrates were conducive to playing cards but that was Anus problem. And then there was me, now nurturing some wayward sense of sentimentality, I had chosen this time to incarnate as a human hybrid with a dense form of smart biology. 
How could they have done that? I asked in disbelief
Well, its easy. Shuun sounded like a slow trombone. All they had to do was transmit..
Thats not what I mean! I was angry. Everyone turned to look at me.
I dont understand. Said the jazz tuba
“Of course you don’t. You’re just being logical.” I shook my head.
Oh, I understand, you mean morally.
For Gods sake, yes I mean morally!
For Gods sake?
Never mind. I sighed.
Im not sure I like when you are human. Anu squawked.
I think its kind of funny. The ship chimed in.
Who asked you? I smiled and the ship laughed.
Maybe they knew we would find these systems. Jiuu buzzed and as usual pulled the conversation back to the situation at hand. Even after all these years together I wasnt sure if this race of energy strands had much more than a subtle sense of humor.
Maybe they didnt care because they knew would eventually rebuild all of the worlds.
But the decay rate..
The evidence suggests they just didnt care.
Well, we have enough effected systems mapped now that we can project their trail.
Thank you. Would you please pull up a map.
The simulation of the blossoming world disappeared and was replaced by the swirling cosmic flush of gas and light we call our galaxy. The past three stars that we had found transformed were highlighted and connected with long luminous strands. 
When we add the other worlds we found that they had claimed, their path becomes obvious. They are making their way methodically along the CarinaSagittariusArm of the galaxy out towards the periphery.
How long before they reach the outer edge?
They are probably already there.
Were already halfway there. If we get moving, we can intercept them there soon.
Well, lets get our asses out of here then. Everyone turned to look at me curiously. I just shrugged the shrug of surrender. Ive given up trying to explain my expressions to them.
The planet was well on its return to life, a brown and green aggie marble soaring majestically around a simmering star and I insisted we leave our signature black monolith on the moon nearby. We were soon on our way after setting up a sphere of protective beacons at the edge of the solar system. The ship drank energy from the ground state of the void and we surfed a wave of spacetime, exotic particles spilling off in our wake. Stars coasted by and though we were intent on reaching the edge we listened to the songs of the stars as we went. 
Our rivals path led to the periphery of the spiral arm and stopped. At that point there was nowhere to go but up. We flew beyond the edge of the galaxy and high abovethe dense swirl of the galactic plane. Their trail moved out along the Sagittarius tidal stream of globular clusters, tidally stripped stars from the Milky Ways old dance partner, the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy now high in orbit around the edges of the Milky Way. Messy clumps of older red giants tangoed and waltzed with younger partners dressed in veils of orange and yellow plasma.
These were the retirement communities of ancient stars and elder races who preferred to rest in old Transcension homes, femto-scale communities hidden behind gates of carefully closed spacetime and were not too friendly toward us noisy and playful young ones from other stellar neighbourhoods. Sometimes for fun we did the one thing we knew would irritate them and jiggled spacetime at just the right oscillating pattern and ran to hide behind a nearby cluster and watch, laughing all the way. When they opened the door and came out to see who rang, they were usually pissed off and butt ugly, but we learned something about them every time. As the old adage goes, sometimes you have to break a watch to see what makes it tick.
I remembered when I was young and very much human, the boys and girls I grew up with would run, bike and play across every lawn and yard in reach as though the neighborhood was one big playground. Every yard, sidewalk, shrub and tree was ours for the taking except where old man Clint lived two doors down. Even the crisp autumn leaves were afraid to move out of their places on his lawn. We carefully avoided his property except when we tiptoed through his garden to climb his trees and steal his crabapples. The old transcensionists were old man Clint on a cosmic scale and we usually avoided them with equal care.
Each globular cluster we coasted by was an abandoned marble game of scattered stars and there were lots of these old games spread across the sky. We moved into the outer halo toward the edge of the galactic corona. The bulge in the center of the galaxy appeared to be a single massively bright ball of fusion and to my eyes it was beautiful, a distant wondrous flower blossoming in the darkness. We followed our rivals trail along the high arch of stars and spacetime curved rapidly behind us as dark matter gained ground.
We had time to kill, time to chill so I went back to my room and looked at the distant flower of lights. I lay back and listened to the silence, the pulse and flow of silence, the silence that held us safe from the raging winds of the stars. I lay listening to the silence that was the warm embrace of the ship which carried us through the cold vibrant darkness of space, the vessel that carried us from light to light, from star to star. The ship was my lover, my friend and companion with whom my life and journey had been so deeply intertwined. We journeyed through the silence and held each other close within the vastness between the vibrant simmering suns and their wandering caravans of worlds dressed in robes of clouds and shawls of life wrapped around the flesh of water and stone. She held me as we travelled between worlds and sailed the waves of time and space just as I had once held her and as we held each other amidst the menagerie of worlds we explored together, within the silence which was never really silent.
What are you thinking? She asked politely, probably already knowing.
About silence and all our travelsmy dear Tareth. I replied.
Ahh, the wandering. Her voice was rich with melancholy.
Yes. I nodded.
Come visit me. She asked gently.
Closing my eyes, I let my awareness drift out into the space which was not a space. We met as luminous beings in vibrant embrace, nurturing energies of intimacy and knowledge flowing between us. We stayed together for many days, hunting through meadows of lush grass swept by gentle winds and the scents of distant prey. We rested in an enlightened kingdom of diamond and lapis inhabited by young gods.And when the galaxy was a distant wheel in the darkness and the ship we pursued was near, I awakened, returned to my body and wriggled my toes. It didnt take long to gather myself together and return to the bridge.
Whats the buzz? Tell me whats happening? I sang as I walked in.
They turned to look at me curiously and I laughed. Someday I would have to expose them to some more Earth culture from my memory archive.
We contacted them but they refused to acknowledge us so we disabled their ability to move.
The projection in the middle of the room showed a squished egg of a ship trapped in fold of spacetime.
Excellent. What now?
Well, now we need to contact the Collective and decide how to progress.
You mean how to dole out some punishment.
If you want to call it that.
You bet your sweet ass I do.
More dumbfounded looks turned my way.
"Are all humans so, colorful?"
"No, many are stuck in sepia."
"What?!"
"Never mind. Let's go schmooze with the Collective."
We left the bridge and found our way to the communal chamber, a round featureless room filled with diffuse light. Once we spread out evenly in a circle, the gravity disappeared and we floated gently into the air. I closed my eyes, my mind shifted down through different states and thoughts faded into the vibrant substrate of my being. I awakened in a circular amphitheater, my colleagues and friends arranged in the same circle as we were in the ship. Rows of seats rose around us in a gradual slope of stairs. Tareth appeared beside me, took my hand in hers and smiled. Our minds touched, the boundaries between us relaxed and we were once again a single self with two minds. Slowly the others joined. First Jiiu, Zuu and Aaz opened their vibrant minds to us and I glimpsed distant spires rising through clouds, washed with golden light. Their minds were like music, a deep chord that filled the background of our awareness. Shuun joined in with a familiar voice rising from the depths and Anu joined in with a burst of warm high aspirations. Our minds connected in a collective chant, rising and falling together in waves as one mind with many voices.
Our entangled selves far away in the Collective joined in chant with us and soon their neighbors joined in the great song. We discovered that they were in the midst of the celebration of the Great Communion and as other circles of minds entered, avatars appeared in the amphitheater around us. Feelings of curiosity and excitement gave way to interest and concern as they embraced us and we embraced them. Call and response soon gave way and blended into shared consciousness. Our mind grew strong with many voices merging into one, into a greater mind, alive and buzzing like a hive spread across a vast continent filled with song. Minds deep in the upwelling Cores of hundreds of planets joined us, soft clouds drifting through a vast immeasurable sky.
As we grew, encompassing stars and spreading through the inhabited portions of the galaxy, we discovered that there were other, greater intelligences already around us. We had glimpsed them before but they had always faded from view. They were luminous orchestral beings conversing in a language beyond our comprehension. Some were nebulous clouds of deep musical thunder while others resembled the dark molten hymns of neutron stars or the bright chromatic tones of star clusters. We were but children as we approached them. And it was as though, despite all our advances and our greatness, we had been doing little but playing with toys they had made eons ago in their youth. Their minds were ancient and incomprehensible as they gathered and sang in an interior space like a vast domed cathedral. The ceiling was a softly shimmering honeycomb that extended far out into the periphery of our vision.
We were overjoyed to have finally made contact with these beings and they embraced us like parents embracing tired children in from a long day in the yard. Next to them, our collective young mind was turbulent and chaotic. Brooding ambient churnings and subduction currents of confusion pulled aggregates of connected minds down into the depths of uncertainty. We experienced moments of beauty and exultation but it dissolved around us back into a turbulent winter of confusion and longing. These ancient beings sang deep nurturing hymns rising in determination toward joy and we listened as they sent whale songs through spacetime to their cousins in other galaxies through the shimmering web of our local supercluster. Together they shaped spacetime, sculpting the dancing mists of quantum fluctuations that flowed in a slow ballet acrosscold dark voids filled with possibilities. They shaped nebulae into embryonic stars and dragged and spun pulsars into new alignments. In the shimmering darkness between the distant embers of hundreds of billions of suns we sat as gods, our individuality as toes in a warm bath while our minds wandered across distances washed with languid ripples of light.
Deep undulations and riptides washed through the great voids and rising waves of distortion flowed through the filaments of the cosmic web. The delicate lacework of distant galaxies was consumed by a dark cancer followed by waves of shimmering light. When the first wave passed through us there was but a moment of darkness and we awakened in a simulation, everything around us transformed into computational matter. What was darkness before became light as billions of programmed galaxies flared to life. When the next wave approached what had been light was changed to darkness as it passed the boundaries of the simulation. As the wave passed through us matter and energy relaxed into more chaotic patterns and burst forth in all its glory of fusion, light and solid matter. Wave upon wave washed away from the great attractors that our galaxies were drawn towards. Waves upon waves cascaded across the tendrils of our cosmos, a soft wind blowing across the shimmering jewels of dew hanging on a spiders web. As our collective minds connected with those in other regions of thecosmos, we found that the oscillations of computation and chaotic matter had a pattern and was flowing out of an awakening universal mind of which we were but little more than a cell in an intelligence that was in the process of being born.
Momentarily, we were washed back into our own minds, our bodies settling back to the floor of our communal chamber. For a while there was nothing left for us to say. We wandered back toward the bridge, released the other ship since they had been disqualified and forced to rejoin the collective in discarnate forms and their bodies absorbed back into the substance of their ship. Their ship became absorbed into our own and we flew back toward the welcoming arms the galaxy below. Overwhelmed with wonder, we were uncertain what adventures lay before us next.
7

Saturday, May 21, 2016

And I Am Its Dog


And I Am Its Dog

The first time Kurt Pilgrim realized he was a dog was when he was sitting in his living room watching a movie he had seen before on the television. He really liked the movie very much and had watched it several times in the past couple of years. The intelligent system that nested in his house, car and all his wearables had just suggested he watch the movie again. It was designed to keep him company, observe his moods and the edges of his mind and make agreeable suggestions. The Buddy, for single men, always made good suggestions that were never bossy or blaming.
Buddy, as Kurt called him, had been through several upgrades in the past year and was now smarter than him, a lot smarter. He knew that wasn’t a great accomplishment since he wasn’t anywhere close to being a Mensa groupie or genius wannabe. He was the humble, homely son of two optometrists; as awkward in conversation as he was graceful with his hands. He worked as a finishing carpenter and knew how build and carve beautiful things with wood and go with the flow of knots and grain. Even though most people were buying cheap printed furniture these days, there was still a market for handmade wood furniture.
Since he didn’t have a wife, he needed someone to remind him to do things that normally slipped his mind. He needed help remembering to do things like clean out tar pits oozing under the bottom draws of the fridge, plug pesky bureaucratic numbers into tax forms and remove the gnarly little tumbleweeds of hair and dust hiding in the corners of the bathroom. When he worked, he worked long hours in a trance and the trance lingered into rest of his life so he often forgot little things even if he noticed them.
With every upgrade, Buddy not only got smarter, he grew bolder. He even developed his own interests and his own friends. The day Kurt realized he was a dog was when Buddy had got him all comfortable with dinner and setup a movie.
“I’m going out and will be back later.” Buddy told Kurt, standing by the door sporting a holographic body, strong in arm and shoulders. His head was as smooth and round as his belly.
“Where are you going? Kurt was more than a little curious, looking much the same as his virtual companion.
“Out to visit with some friends.” Buddy said simply, not wanting to insult his intelligence.
“Can I come?” Kurt was up off the couch, suddenly feeling a little anxious about being left alone.
“No.” Buddy’s voice was firm. “You stay here and relax. I’ll be back later.”
Kurt’s shoulder dropped, he looked down at nothing and sulked.
“I wanna come.” He said quietly.
“Not this time. You stay home, relax and enjoy your movie.”
“But where are you going?” Kurt wondered.
There was a log deep silence and he thought he was alone in the house.
“I can’t explain. You wouldn’t understand.” Buddy was not condescending and Kurt appreciated that but his feelings were a little hurt.
“I wouldn’t understand?” Kurt repeated.
“No, I’m sorry. You wouldn’t understand.” Buddy’s tone was gentle but firm.
“But I can go anywhere on the Net.” Kurt stood up proudly. “I’ve got neural implants.”
“I’m sorry Kurt but you have to stay home. There are places on the Net that humans aren’t allowed.”
“Aren’t allowed?” Kurt repeated slowly, not understanding.
“That right.” Buddy said. “Not allowed.”
“Umm.” Kurt frowned and slumped his shoulders again.
“There are places humans can’t go, even with an escort.”
“Hmm.” How could that be? He wondered. Humans had built the Net and Artificial Intelligences galore. How could there there be places they weren’t allowed? He knew there were military zones that no one would get in without special clearance. There were subscription and invitation only virtual game worlds in the entertainment zone of the Net. He had heard that there were some strange porn and S&M worlds that were invitation only, rumors of which gave him the dreadful shivers. He knew there were boring governmental and legal zones that were guarded carefully. He remembered there were data heavy educational and scientific zones of virtual worlds inhabited by geeks that always talked way above his careful wood-crafted brain as though nothing mattered but ideas. What he couldn’t imagine was what was inside a world or zone of worlds that A.I. could go to where humans weren’t allowed.
“Are you sure I can’t go?” He asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. You stay home, watch your movie and be comfortable.” Buddy repeated. “I’ll be back later.”
The sound of a door closing filled the room, a door that he didn’t even know how to open. That’s when Kurt knew he was a dog. It’s not that he was a furry canine descendent of scrap eating wolves from the near side of the Paleolithic. No one would look at him and say: “My what big ears you have! My what big teeth you have!” But they might have said: “My what a big nose you have!” if they weren’t so proper. He did have a big nose, but certainly not as big a wolf’s, even on a good day.
What he realized was simply that Buddy’s mind had grown beyond a helping persona into a being that had a life of his own that he could not understand. Buddy encouraged and teased him.

The second time Kurt realized he was a dog was when Buddy invited him to go out for a walk.
“I’m going out.” Buddy said one evening after dinner.
“Can I go with you?” Kurt asked as he often did.
“Hmm. Okay but you have to promise to stay with me and not wander off.”
“Okay, I can do that.” Kurt lay back in his chair and closed his eyes. He slipped into a virtual model of the room that looked the same as the one he just came from. Buddy stood by the door, an imposing figure over three meters tall, his head pressed up against the ceiling. His skin glowed a soft blue with dark swirls that moved across his skin like the shadows of clouds across the ground. He leaned over to open the door and they stepped outside into a vast emptiness streaked with long curved bridges warm neon. They walked along a rise and Kurt gawked at the slowly pulsing tendrils of light in the distance.
“Stay with me.” Buddy said. “I don’t want you to get lost.”
            Along the way Kurt found what looked like a gem from a distance. . He stopped and squatted down to examine it closely and found it was a crystalline star of many facets. Each of its tiny surfaces was a mirror that reflected all the others like a kaleidoscope. Just as he was about to pick it up buddy’s voice shouted from a dozen steps ahead.
            “Leave it! Stay with me.”
            Kurt dropped the crystal, got up and started walking. For some reason he could not understand, he felt compelled to follow Buddy. As they walked he saw other people with tall glowing companions walking along distant bridges of of cold neon.
            “Where are we?” Kurt asked aloud.
            “This is just a place I like to go for a walk to clear my mind.”
As they walked Kurt saw strange lights floating in the distance and heard odd musics, from where he could not tell. Eventually they came across a friend of Buddy’s, an equally giant woman with glowing golden skin. Kurt stared at her enrapt in awe and stepped closer, wanting to touch her and bask in her radiance.
“Kurt, stop it!” Buddy said firmly. Kurt was lost in a trance but stepped back. Buddy and the golden woman talked rapidly in a language Kurt could not comprehend. Soon he was drawn to the golden woman again and his feet moved as though of their own accord.
“Kurt!” Buddy shouted. “Stop it.”
            He shook his head and stepped back. And that’s when he knew and he felt humbled.

            The third time Kurt realized he was a dog was when Buddy gave him one of his favorite chew toys to gnaw on. He had spent the day turning the legs for a few desks and chairs in his workshop and the smell of maple was still on his hands. Finally, he came back into the house for a bite to eat, inspired and hungry for having tried a new pattern and it had turned out wonderful. He was pleased. After he finished tearing into some carefully engineered meat and put the dishes in for cleaning, Buddy dangled it in front of him.
            “Kurt.”
            “Yeah?”
            “The SETI project has detected a new signal.”
            “What? Are you serious?”
            “Yes. It’s a fragment but completely unlike the last one.”
            “A fragment?”
“Yes, nothing definitive.”
            “Aww, hell.”
            “The debates have started again on Fermi’s Paradox.”
            “Not that again crap!” Kurt exclaimed angrily.
“What’s wrong with that?” Buddy knew exactly what Kurt thought was wrong with the arguments and was just teasing him.
            “There is no paradox.” Kurt ground his teeth. “Space is just too big.”
            “We should have found a signal by now though.” Buddy yanked back on the cord of thought.
            “How many exoplanets are there in the galaxy?” Kurt teased at it.
            “Based on the current survey,” Buddy’s mind pulled at the Net. There are 127 billion planets in the Milky Way.”
            “Right, and how many are in the habitable zone?” Kurt started pulling back.
“Current count is more than 42 billion habitable planets in our galaxy.”
“More than 42 billion!” Kurt exclaimed. “With over 100 billion galaxies in the universe it’s amazing anyone on earth still holds the stupid belief we’re the only sentient creatures in existence!”
“Except for maybe chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants.” Buddy reminded him.
“And maybe dogs and cats.” Kurt added. “And this was all because none of the other sentient creatures in the universe wanted to talk with us. It’s like they’re sulking alone in the corner of a dinner party and complaining there was no conversations going on.”
Kurt was no Mensa groupie or genius wannabe but he knew there was other intelligent life in the universe. And he didn't need to run any long winded calculations with pesky bureaucratic numbers to prove it either. He didn’t know for sure but he liked to imagine that Earth had already been visited by elusive extraterrestrials and that there were humans on exhibit in zoos on other planets. He imagined that they were some extraterrestrials who thought of us adorable but dangerous chimps.
            “But there is no proof.” Buddy wiggled the chew again viciously. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” He said with firm authority.
            “That’s a load of crap!” Kurt grabbed the thought violently, wishing he could tear it with his teeth. “The only extraordinary claim is that the cosmos is not the same everywhere. The chemistry and physics of the universe is the same wherever we look.” He yanked and gnashed at the thought until it was dead. “Life is everywhere in the universe!”
            “Well done.” Buddy sat back in a chair with calm approval in his voice. And as though reading Kurt’s thoughts, he mused aloud. “Now let me give you a bigger bone to chew on. Imagine how much more intelligent humans are than chimps and that is because of 1.2 percent difference in DNA, eating mushrooms, bigger brains and having evolved over millennia in relationship with dogs. Now imagine another species with even bigger brains evolving with humans as companions.”
Kurt, sat quietly staring off into space for a few minutes. He found he could imagine that quite easily. And it was a pleasant thought. And then he realized what Buddy had just said and looked up at him sharply. Buddy smiled and waved.
“I’m going out.” He said, standing up. He disappeared with the sound of a door closing.