Autor Tópico: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991  (Lida 1429 vezes)

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They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 00:40:26 »
http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/thinkingMeat.html

Citação de: Terry Bisson, 1991
    Someone did a radio play of this...

"They're made out of meat."

  "Meat?"

"Meat. They're made out of meat."

  "Meat?"

"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

  "That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

  "So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

  "That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

  "Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

  "Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

  "No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

  "So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

  "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

  "Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

  "So what does the meat have in mind."

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

  "We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

  "They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

  "I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

  "Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"

  "Both."

"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

  "I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

  "I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

  "So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

  "Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

  "A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can marked this sector unoccupied."

  "Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again."

  "They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #1 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 07:35:26 »
Cool... thinking meat!
Wait. I'm meat-made.
Cool anyway!

So, these non-meat beings are supposed to be silicium-made, maybe? Metals?

And... hey, what does it means the word "meat" for them? Food is improbably, if they aren't CHON*-based. Working material too. Maybe energy source? I'm thinking about this because 1st. They know that we're "meat", and 2nd. They have prejudices about meat life forms, so I can conclude that they have meat in their planet.

BTW, nice fiction!

*Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, before anyone asks :biglol:
Monoteísmo é a hidra de Lerna. Con Kolivas estava certo sobre o desktop. Prozac não deixa tudo melhor. Aquiles devia ter escolhido os dois destinos, juntos. Coração sentimental + mente cética = aflição. Sou responsável pelo que digo, não pela sua interpretação sobre o que digo.

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #2 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 10:20:27 »
I guess Bison had in mind something like creatures with a totally inorganic chemistry.
"Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
They treat the myriad of creatures as straw dogs"
Laozi

"no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish"
David Hume

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #3 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 10:42:38 »
I guess Bison had in mind something like creatures with a totally inorganic chemistry.
Siliceous beings, maybe...?

I lost a bit of hope in discovering non-carbon, non-silicon life. Metallic life seems to me too much infeasible; and others non-metals don't catenate. Even with silicon, it would be hard expect it - maybe Si+Al+O, like in Earth soil, but these kind of composites seems too much inert.
Monoteísmo é a hidra de Lerna. Con Kolivas estava certo sobre o desktop. Prozac não deixa tudo melhor. Aquiles devia ter escolhido os dois destinos, juntos. Coração sentimental + mente cética = aflição. Sou responsável pelo que digo, não pela sua interpretação sobre o que digo.

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #4 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 11:19:09 »
I guess Bison had in mind something like creatures with a totally inorganic chemistry.
Siliceous beings, maybe...?

I lost a bit of hope in discovering non-carbon, non-silicon life. Metallic life seems to me too much infeasible; and others non-metals don't catenate. Even with silicon, it would be hard expect it - maybe Si+Al+O, like in Earth soil, but these kind of composites seems too much inert.

Sentient machines.

Some scientists wondered about lifeforms that are based on a silicon chemistry because silicon is the element that has properties that are closest to carbon. It is possible to form long molecules using silicon instead of carbon atoms.
In an analogous manner, others have proposed lifeforms that uses ammonia NH3 as solvent instead of H2O.

But a machine could be made of many things metallic and non-metallic.
Remember that the modern industry uses another elements in their semiconductor substances, elements like Indium, Gallium and Germanium, thus not only Silicon.
There are exotic materials also, things like the supercondutor ceramics the physicists are synthetising in some laboratories in the pursuit of the discovery of a supercondutor in ambient temperatures.

I can imagine sentient machines that could "eat"  Th, U, Pu or another energy source when necessary (certainly not in a dayly basis!).
"Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
They treat the myriad of creatures as straw dogs"
Laozi

"no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish"
David Hume

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #5 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 11:29:40 »
I guess Bison had in mind something like creatures with a totally inorganic chemistry.
Siliceous beings, maybe...?

I lost a bit of hope in discovering non-carbon, non-silicon life. Metallic life seems to me too much infeasible; and others non-metals don't catenate. Even with silicon, it would be hard expect it - maybe Si+Al+O, like in Earth soil, but these kind of composites seems too much inert.

Sentient machines.

Some scientists wondered about lifeforms that are based on a silicon chemistry because silicon is the element that has properties that are closest to carbon. It is possible to form long molecules using silicon instead of carbon atoms.
In an analogous manner, others have proposed lifeforms that uses ammonia NH3 as solvent instead of H2O.

But a machine could be made of many things metallic and non-metallic.
Remember that the modern industry uses another elements in their semiconductor substances, elements like Indium, Gallium and Germanium, thus not only Silicon.
There are exotic materials also, things like the supercondutor ceramics the physicists are synthetising in some laboratories in the pursuit of the discovery of a supercondutor in ambient temperatures.

I can imagine sentient machines that could "eat"  Th, U, Pu or another energy source when necessary (certainly not in a dayly basis!).

Yep, but metals don't seem to be evolution-friendly. I can't imagine proto-machines starting to appear as I can with proto-cells made of carbon. Life, as far we know, starts with closed reaction cycles, some kind of proto-metabolism...

My question is, which elements can start life?

About ammonia, it has water-like proprieties, and is a nice hypothetical substitute. But it's liquid only in lower temperatures than water, so these beings would have a lower metabolism rate (and, by extension, a lower evolution and longer life-time).

Hunh... maybe... and what if we just ignore the 2nd periodic row, and search in 3rd?
Silicon+phosphorous+sulphur instead of carbon+nitrogen+oxygen? Seems plausible to me!

Exobio is fascinanting.
Monoteísmo é a hidra de Lerna. Con Kolivas estava certo sobre o desktop. Prozac não deixa tudo melhor. Aquiles devia ter escolhido os dois destinos, juntos. Coração sentimental + mente cética = aflição. Sou responsável pelo que digo, não pela sua interpretação sobre o que digo.

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #6 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 11:49:00 »
I guess Bison had in mind something like creatures with a totally inorganic chemistry.
Siliceous beings, maybe...?

I lost a bit of hope in discovering non-carbon, non-silicon life. Metallic life seems to me too much infeasible; and others non-metals don't catenate. Even with silicon, it would be hard expect it - maybe Si+Al+O, like in Earth soil, but these kind of composites seems too much inert.

Sentient machines.

Some scientists wondered about lifeforms that are based on a silicon chemistry because silicon is the element that has properties that are closest to carbon. It is possible to form long molecules using silicon instead of carbon atoms.
In an analogous manner, others have proposed lifeforms that uses ammonia NH3 as solvent instead of H2O.

But a machine could be made of many things metallic and non-metallic.
Remember that the modern industry uses another elements in their semiconductor substances, elements like Indium, Gallium and Germanium, thus not only Silicon.
There are exotic materials also, things like the supercondutor ceramics the physicists are synthetising in some laboratories in the pursuit of the discovery of a supercondutor in ambient temperatures.

I can imagine sentient machines that could "eat"  Th, U, Pu or another energy source when necessary (certainly not in a dayly basis!).

Yep, but metals don't seem to be evolution-friendly. I can't imagine proto-machines starting to appear as I can with proto-cells made of carbon. Life, as far we know, starts with closed reaction cycles, some kind of proto-metabolism...

My question is, which elements can start life?

About ammonia, it has water-like proprieties, and is a nice hypothetical substitute. But it's liquid only in lower temperatures than water, so these beings would have a lower metabolism rate (and, by extension, a lower evolution and longer life-time).

Hunh... maybe... and what if we just ignore the 2nd periodic row, and search in 3rd?
Silicon+phosphorous+sulphur instead of carbon+nitrogen+oxygen? Seems plausible to me!

Exobio is fascinanting.

No problem with low temperatures and longer life-time.

The most common type of stars are M dwarfs, by far.
Stars that being cooler and smaller than the sun could easily have planets with conditions compatible with the triple point of ammonia.

Cool cool planets! With low temperatures that favours superconduction.

Also, such kind of stars are long-living, far more stable than the sun with "lifespans" of tens of billion years at least.

The universe aren't old enough to see a M dwarf dying!
M giants and supergiants are at the end of their lives, but stars of this kind were of early types when at the main sequence, like B,A,F and G, not of type M.
The current theories of stellar evolution postulates that a M-dwarf will not go through the giant phase at the end of its life. No Betelgeuse for them!
"Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
They treat the myriad of creatures as straw dogs"
Laozi

"no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish"
David Hume

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #7 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 12:21:58 »
from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/tables/phase.html


Triple point of Ammonia:  195.40K  0.0607 105Pa (pressure)
Triple point of Water:  273.16K  0.00610 105Pa
"Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
They treat the myriad of creatures as straw dogs"
Laozi

"no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish"
David Hume

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"Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
They treat the myriad of creatures as straw dogs"
Laozi

"no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish"
David Hume

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #9 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 19:13:25 »
1st. They know that we're "meat", and 2nd. They have prejudices about meat life forms, so I can conclude that they have meat in their planet.

Maybe they know unbrained animals like sponges or jellyfishes.

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #10 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 19:22:19 »

Yep, but metals don't seem to be evolution-friendly. I can't imagine proto-machines starting to appear as I can with proto-cells made of carbon. Life, as far we know, starts with closed reaction cycles, some kind of proto-metabolism...


Well, I can imagine some race creating a nanobot who can replicate using some kind of genetic information inside it. If the genetic information may be changed, so the nanobots can evolute, maybe start to form colonies. Soon machines with metabolism, growing, reproduction and consuption of the elements of their enviroment would rise.

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #11 Online: 15 de Outubro de 2008, 22:10:13 »
Very nice :lol:  Well, maybe those beings aren't made of matter at all, like Arthur C. Clarke's "starchild" or Asimov's "nexi", whose intelligence was stored in the very structure of space-time. They could be used to matter made beings, but not organic forms...

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Re: They're Made out of Meat - by Terry Bisson, 1991
« Resposta #12 Online: 25 de Outubro de 2008, 18:02:24 »
Omigod...
"O primeiro pecado da humanidade foi a fé; a primeira virtude foi a dúvida."
 - Carl Sagan

"O que é afirmado sem argumentos, pode ser descartado sem argumentos." - Navalha de Hitchens

 

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