Great news: UN to appoint envoy to extraterrestrials; Update: Or not?

posted at 7:33 pm on September 26, 2010 by Allahpundit

A fun microcosm of the UN in action: Not only are they willfully embarrassing themselves, but should the day ever come when an envoy is needed, their plan will go straight out the window as nations jockey furiously for position in the E.T. receiving line.

Let’s face it. If they landed tomorrow and said “Take me to your leader,” they’d be taken to Obama. And then he’d take them to the AFL-CIO.

THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire…

Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law and governance at the UK Space Agency and who leads British delegations to the UN on such matters, said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person.”

Uh huh. Truth be told, I think this is one job for which President Spock might be well suited. Human emotion is a risky proposition when dealing with the lizard people, as they might not fully understand it. No worries about that with O. Plus, any leader dealing with a potential enemy whose arsenal is bigger than his own would naturally want to show extreme deference lest he provoke a confrontation. He’s got that covered too. And the best part? If it did happen, we’d get a fresh round of polls asking, “Is Obama secretly one of the lizard people?” 20 percent or bust!

Exit question: Dude?

Update (9/28): Too good to check?

The Royal Society knew nothing about it. The United Nations referred all queries to the switchboard of Unoosa in Vienna. Its switchboard number wasn’t much help. “The person at extension 4951 is unavailable, please leave your message after the tone,” it said. Those messages might make for some interesting listening today.

Finally an email from Othman herself would have prompted our Martian to trudge back to his spaceship. “It sounds really cool but I have to deny it,” she said of the story. She will be attending a conference next week, but she’ll be talking about how the world deals with “near-Earth objects”.


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Comments

Just what we need, more weirdos Obama can bow to.

HellCat on September 27, 2010 at 12:41 AM

Henry Waxman would make the ideal envoy, -someone the aliens can relate to.

slickwillie2001 on September 27, 2010 at 12:49 AM

“Is Obama secretly one of the lizard wizard people?”

Schadenfreude on September 27, 2010 at 12:58 AM

Kucinich is a good candidate…Maxine Waters…Boxer…

My absolute favorite, Chelley Obama!

Schadenfreude on September 27, 2010 at 12:59 AM

Too bad Andy Kaufman has passed on as well.

Don’t panic. The Vogon destroyer ship still has orders to make way for the new intergalactic bypass so one may as well sip one’s Pangalactic Gargleblaster and learn to live with it.

(Tip of the hat to Douglas Adams.)

viking01 on September 27, 2010 at 1:05 AM

Pythagoras wrote, “Anyone who understands the physics of rocketry knows that a visit from a planet outside our solar system is laughably impossible.”

‘Laughingly impossible’? No, not laughingly impossible, not beyond the realm of possibility impossible. Who’s to say other intelligences haven’t solved the seemingly insurmountable problems of time and distance between the stars? The writer William Burroughs, for one, postulated a biological approach to space travel, engineering human beings in such a way that they could withstand and even thrive in the most hostile environment known. Others have postulated that it might be possible one day to actually project consciousness–thoughts, memories, personalities–that which makes a person a person–as a kind of interstellar transmission. Frankly, if an alien civilization has figured out interstellar travel, I wouldn’t want to meet them. Things typically don’t go well when a supremely technologically advanced culture encounters a society substantially less advanced.

Who knows? I do know the problems inherent to space travel are currently insoluble because most of the best minds in the space travel business are currently devoted to their new mission of boosting Muslim self-esteem. And how, I wonder, did President Obama arrive at that particular shift in mission? Personally, I suspect Obama did it maliciously in order to make NASA funding instantly abhorrent to taxpayers. Liberals, by and large, loathe the space program, feeling money spent on rockets is a frivolous expense that takes away from building the Utopia they all dream about, where social justice abounds and all the pretty flowers pick themselves.

troyriser_gopftw on September 27, 2010 at 1:08 AM

Obama would be the logical choice. He’s never met an illegal alien he didn’t like.

He would just report to us “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.”

kurtzz3 on September 27, 2010 at 1:36 AM

Earthers.

Ronnie on September 27, 2010 at 2:12 AM

Great, the termite mound selects one termite to go out and greet the exterminator.

ZenDraken on September 27, 2010 at 2:22 AM

They should have appointed Slim Whitman.

AaronGuzman on September 27, 2010 at 3:34 AM

They’d probably just nuke us from orbit. It would be the only way to be sure.

trigon on September 27, 2010 at 3:36 AM

Where are the “Men in Black” when you need them?

/signed/ K

Khun Joe on September 27, 2010 at 3:57 AM

Colbert would be a good nominee, then we could square the circle.

NoDonkey on September 27, 2010 at 6:27 AM

Dr. Michio Kaku … with Brock Lesner standing behind him with his arms crossed and a menacing look on his face.

Tony737 on September 27, 2010 at 7:27 AM

If the UN can manipulate climate data to fabricate the ‘hockey stick’ and ‘prove’ man-made global warming, imagine what it can do with ‘communications’ from outer space.

We are all socialists and vassals of the UN now, or else we’ll be obliterated by lasers from Pluto.

petefrt on September 27, 2010 at 7:38 AM

UN to appoint envoy to extraterrestrials

Hey, let’s appoint Al Gore.

petefrt on September 27, 2010 at 7:49 AM

We might very well be the most advanced being in the Galaxy as we might be on the only planet in just the right orbit, that has been stable long enough, around a stable enough star, without interference from other stars, that is far enough away from the center of the Galaxy and contains the right mix of elements to allow things like us to exist.

crosspatch on September 26, 2010 at 11:54 PM

And we might not.

Oldnuke on September 27, 2010 at 7:50 AM

U.N. wouldn’t even be able to get KLAATU BARATA NIKTO correct.

pilamaye on September 27, 2010 at 8:12 AM

Aaaak Aaaak, Don’t Run, We Are Your Friends!

gordo on September 27, 2010 at 8:28 AM

They’re going to need an interpreter. Where do I apply?

itsacookbook on September 27, 2010 at 8:55 AM

They have already landed in Washington, DC. Upon finding no intelligent life forms, other than four legged creatures that barked, they returned home.

Wills on September 27, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Mazlan Othman? Isn’t that what Klaatu said to Gort right after he told him to barada nikto?

Extrafishy on September 27, 2010 at 9:08 AM

They’re just sticking with their plan outlined in The Report from Iron Mountain?

/sarc…sort of [laughing nervously]

selias on September 27, 2010 at 9:10 AM

What I find particularly galling is the presumption of the UN that it believes itself to be the “leader” of world opinion and can negotiate on the world’s behalf.

Bob in VA on September 27, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Anyone who understands the physics of rocketry knows that a visit from a planet outside our solar system is laughably impossible.

Pythagoras on September 26, 2010 at 11:06 PM

You seem to be assuming chemical rockets are the only possible form of propulsion.

You also seem to be assuming that alien visitors to the solar system would come in person. Perhaps they would just send machines.

DarkCurrent on September 27, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Talk about a do nothing job! I bet he also gets paid an extra billion dollars a year!

jeffn21 on September 27, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Talk about a do nothing job! I bet he also gets paid an extra billion dollars a year!

jeffn21 on September 27, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Only if he is related to a high ranking member of the UN. Otherwise he just gets the league minimum, a couple million.

TQM38a on September 27, 2010 at 10:06 AM

When the professor comes down with space AIDS, we’ll know what she was really up to.

madmonkphotog on September 26, 2010 at 9:30 PM

“I did not have sexual relations with that alien”

The aliens are only here doing jobs earthlings won’t do, cut them some slack, racists!

jnelchef on September 27, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Make Kucinich the envoy. The aliens will leave here post haste, shaking their heads in disbelief, and never return.

kingsjester on September 27, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Make Kucinich the envoy.

kingsjester on September 27, 2010 at 10:25 AM

No can do. We can’t both have the same envoy.

VelvetElvis on September 27, 2010 at 10:41 AM

All I know is this…I don’t want to be probed again, it ain’t fun…

right2bright on September 27, 2010 at 10:46 AM

I heard about this months ago on Coast to Coast and they were completely serious.

Queen0fCups on September 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Great news: UN to appoint envoy to extraterrestrials

I’m confused!!!

I thought the UN was our “envoy to extraterrestrials”!!!

landlines on September 27, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Ack ack. Ack ack ack. Ack ack ack ack.

Maybe they no liking the human being.

unclesmrgol on September 27, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Where are the “Men in Black” when you need them?

/signed/ K

Khun Joe on September 27, 2010 at 3:57 AM

*Bright flash of light*

Sorry, what were we talking about?

gekkobear on September 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM

If they landed tomorrow and said “Take me to your leader,” they’d be taken to Obama.

Right, so why wait for the aliens to land here before we make the introductions? Let’s be proactive and put Obama on a rocketship today and launch him (permanently) into deep space, on an official UN mission to meet and greet alien lifeforms. (And let’s send the little woman along with him, so he won’t get lonely).

It would be selfish and wrong of us to waste Obama’s “talents” here on earth. He clearly belongs to the universe — so let’s let it have him.

AZCoyote on September 27, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Now, dont we need some kind of SWEEPING legislation to take care of every possible aspect of alien interaction, from discrimination you racist earthlings, to healthcare, proper redistricting of congressional districts, wages, language, etc etc /SARC

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on September 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Make the aliens interact with Joe Biden. The lack of logic will make their heads explode, just like in Mars Attacks!

RegularJoe on September 27, 2010 at 12:58 PM

What, exactly, are the skills required for this position, and how does one obtain such skills?

“Greetings, I have a Masters degree in Alien Communication, and I have been chosen to meet with you”

“Ack Ack”

Zap!

BobMbx on September 27, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Now, dont we need some kind of SWEEPING legislation to take care of every possible aspect of alien interaction, from discrimination you racist earthlings, to healthcare, proper redistricting of congressional districts, wages, language, etc etc /SARC

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on September 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Couldn’t we just hang a bunch of “Keep Out” signs all over the solar system?

BobMbx on September 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM

All you base are belong to us.

jediwebdude on September 27, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Where are the Darleks when you need them?

Caststeel on September 27, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Couldn’t we just hang a bunch of “Keep Out” signs all over the solar system?

BobMbx on September 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM

No, cause Voyager is out there telling the universe where we are and welcoming them in 57 different languages, none of which they’ll understand.

Oldnuke on September 27, 2010 at 4:17 PM

OK, I obviously didn’t convince everyone that interstellar travel is laughably impossible so let’s try again.

With a nuclear powered ion drive you can go, say, 100 times as fast as our current interplanetary missions. So the mission takes only a few thousand years. Imagine what you need to take with you for a trip like that. It’s laughably infeasible. You really think we would EVER want to launch such a mission. The only possibility would be a one way trip because our sun was going bust.

OK, now where’s the nearest star that has gone bust. Whoops! We’re not talking 4 light years away now, we’re talking thousands of light years and these space travelers would have passed lots of other stars on the way in their trip that would have lasted MILLIONS of years. What might they have seen of our earth back then to make them interested in going in this direction. It just doesn’t work out.

But it’s worse than that. There are about 2 hydrogen atoms per cubic meter in deep space. At very high speed, they act like radiation and if you’re going, say, 0.001C (300,000 meters per second), millions of them are passing through your spaceship every second. You get fried. You can’t go that fast.

In the annals of dumb ideas, having a UN envoy waiting for these nomads rates WAY up there.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

“Madam Mazlan Othman, Leader of the Unossa, will speak in Kavli.”

Sounds like she’s already an alien war-lord attending a intergalactic conference on a distant planet.

Rod on September 27, 2010 at 5:27 PM

You get fried. You can’t go that fast.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Well, not naked

DarkCurrent on September 27, 2010 at 5:54 PM

This story was on slashdot this morning with an update referencing the Guardian news blog:

“It sounds really cool but I have to deny it,” [Othman] said of the story. She will be attending a conference next week, but she’ll be talking about how the world deals with “near-Earth objects”.

VerbumSap on September 27, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Aaaak Aaaak, Don’t Run, We Are Your Friends!

gordo on September 27, 2010 at 8:28 AM

EXCELLENT!!

This is exactly what I hear when a dem/socialist/progressive speak.

SAVE US SLIM WHITMAN!!!

Talon on September 27, 2010 at 6:51 PM

Some suggested viewing for the new envoy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_(The_Twilight_Zone)

patch on September 27, 2010 at 7:05 PM

OK, I obviously didn’t convince everyone anyone that interstellar travel is laughably impossible so let’s try again.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

There, that’s a little more accurate.

This, however, I’m certain that most folks who frequent this site will agree with.

In the annals of dumb ideas, having a UN envoy waiting for these nomads rates WAY up there.

Oldnuke on September 27, 2010 at 7:23 PM

There is absolutely no restriction on how far you can travel through space. One can travel from here to the edge of the known universe (and thats a really long way).

You’ll have been dead for a couple of billion years, but you’ll get there.

BobMbx on September 27, 2010 at 8:01 PM

OK, I obviously didn’t convince everyone that interstellar travel is laughably impossible so let’s try again.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

An advanced civilization could send out FTL communication bouys with artificial intelligence and flexible factories. Quantum entanglement allows FTL communication. It’s well proven and has even been used to send music over fiber-optic.

Once there are buouys widely spread over thousands of light years, when someone wants to travel, their thinking organ is scanned, encoded and transmitted. On the other side, a body is fashioned with an embedded computer simulating the transmitted psyche. There are technical and perhaps ethical issues to overcome in this scenario, but otherwise it’s viable.

theCork on September 27, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Put the whole MSNBC gang on this! Nobody else listens to them and they could sidestep that whole ratings thingy.

IlikedAUH2O on September 27, 2010 at 9:32 PM

OK, I obviously didn’t convince everyone anyone that interstellar travel is laughably impossible so let’s try again.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

There, that’s a little more accurate.

Oldnuke on September 27, 2010 at 7:23 PM

I’m thrilled to learn that you know how everyone on this board thinks. If you can do that, interstellar travel is a snap.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Tom Cruise. Because really…who is closer to Aliens?

Jesse on September 27, 2010 at 10:49 PM

Pythagoras wrote, “OK, I obviously didn’t convince everyone that interstellar travel is laughably impossible so let’s try again.”

Pro-tip, Pythagoras: try not patronizing those you’re attempting to persuade. You sound like a teacher I knew once, bitter and shrill because he was stuck teaching high school chemistry in rural Indiana while all his old science major college buddies were out in the real world making the big bucks: swimming pools, movie stars. He viewed the students in his class–of which I was one–as none-too-bright objects of resentment. Fun times.

You’re arguing an absolute, implicitly claiming anyone who disagrees with you is clearly not in complete possession of the facts, as you equally clearly believe yourself to be. You’ve also assigned to yourself an incredibly pretentious Internet pseudonym. Clearly, you have acquired a serious case of unwarranted self-importance. The only cure is a week on 4-chan, telling everyone there how darn smart you are. They’ll set you straight.

troyriser_gopftw on September 28, 2010 at 12:52 AM

troyriser_gopftw on September 28, 2010 at 12:52 AM

NASA was seriously studying the logistics of a manned mission to Mars. My work on that opened my eyes to the ridiculousness of interstellar travel. So far the Mars trip hasn’t merited funding. It’s quite a stretch. The nearest star is a quarter million times as far away.

It’s way, way out of the realm of possibility, especially given the hydrogen in deep space.

This may sound pedantic and that’s unfortunate. I just want to point out the significance of the distances involved.

When one of my kids was in the third grade, the teacher asked them to make models of the solar system. We did one to scale with a softball as the sun. Earth was the size of a grain of sand and Pluto was a third of a mile away. This actually confused the teacher. She couldn’t accept how “empty” the solar system is.

Shrink that model by a factor of a hundred, so that the sun is the size of a grain of sand, and the nearest star is almost a thousand miles away.

Pythagoras on September 28, 2010 at 1:57 AM

Shouldn’t our own President Merkin Muffley greet them ?

Texyank on September 28, 2010 at 2:06 AM

In the annals of dumb ideas, having a UN envoy waiting for these nomads rates WAY up there.

Pythagoras on September 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

True.

There’s intelligent life, and then there’s UN-intelligent life.

So the whole idea is brain-dead, but the choice of envoy is logical.

landlines on September 28, 2010 at 2:41 AM

I’m thrilled to learn that you know how everyone on this board thinks. If you can do that, interstellar travel is a snap.

I was thrilled to find out that there is no undiscovered knowledge left in the universe. How refreshing to discover that we’ve discovered every thing there is to know and no new technology will be forthcoming ever. It must be refreshing to be so confident that something is impossible. I’m pretty old and for my entire life people have been pointing out to me why this and that are utterly ridiculous and impossible. Some even provided irrefutable calculations and proof that they were correct. A considerable number have been proven wrong. What I’ve come to believe over the years is that if it can be imagined it can be accomplished. Just because we don’t have the technology or scientific ability to do something today doesn’t mean that we won’t have it in a hundred years or a thousand.

Oldnuke on September 28, 2010 at 7:49 AM

Oldnuke on September 28, 2010 at 7:49 AM

Do you doubt Special Relativity?

Pythagoras on September 28, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Listen folks, I don’t want to get into a flame war; I’m just bothered by how space is erroneously depicted.

For example, suppose you made a picture, to scale, of the solar system at 4000×3000 pixel resolution. Suppose further that to increase the scale, you didn’t put the sun in the middle, but put it on one side and put the plants in order straight across.

At that scale, the sun would be smaller than one pixel and the planets much smaller (i.e., not there). How does this compare to typical depictions of the solar system? How often does anyone show a depiction to scale?

The distances involved, just to get to the nearest star, are many orders of magnitude beyond feasibility. I expect science to progress massively in the future (solar physics and biochemistry are progressing massively now), but some limits are absolutes and the speed of light is one of them.

My point in all this was just to try to correct some widespread misconceptions about the distances involved. The words, “epic fail” obviously apply.

Pythagoras on September 28, 2010 at 10:07 AM

What I believe is that we don’t know everything about anything and things that we see as absolutes today may not be so absolute in the future. You do know that Einstein once stated that he saw no scientific evidence to indicate the possibility of nuclear power. Then he mucked things up by finding the evidence.

Can I add your name to the bottom of this list.

Oldnuke on September 28, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Well, we do need someone to deal with the 97.

/free balloons to the first person to get the reference

jjraines on September 28, 2010 at 11:35 AM

What I believe is that we don’t know everything about anything and things that we see as absolutes today may not be so absolute in the future. You do know that Einstein once stated that he saw no scientific evidence to indicate the possibility of nuclear power. Then he mucked things up by finding the evidence.

Can I add your name to the bottom of this list.

Oldnuke on September 28, 2010 at 10:13 AM

This is a better list than others I’ve seen. Thanks for the bookmark. Look, I don’t think a lot of things are impossible. Time travel (specifically, traveling back) would be one.

I’ll just admit a lesson learned in the art of apologetics. There are some huge misconceptions about distances in space and the feasibility of space travel is much less than what people think. I should have introduced that more carefully.

That said, there’s a perverse rule on these boards that you have to say something outrageous to get any action. I got people to think — but mostly not about the distances.

I could add points about where the nearest star hosting an advanced civilization might be and the likelihood of their traveling this far and in this direction, but this dead horse will take no more abuse.

It’s actually a fun topic but I apparently spoiled that.

Pythagoras on September 28, 2010 at 12:18 PM

It’s actually a fun topic but I apparently spoiled that.

Pythagoras on September 28, 2010 at 12:18 PM

You and others here might find this site interesting.

It explores various possibilities for robotic interstellar spaceflight and is updated regularly.

DarkCurrent on September 28, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Anyone else notice the two stories on top of each other and the similarities between the two photos? That lizard man…Olberman…and just below that, the alien from the movie….is there a difference in them?

norm1111 on September 28, 2010 at 12:47 PM

It’s actually a fun topic but I apparently spoiled that.

Pythagoras on September 28, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Not really, you just came off a little too sure of yourself. Don’t take offense at that, not meant in an offensive way. I was actually enjoying it. I’ve had similar discussions many many times over the years. I doubt that anyone with an engineering/scientific background is unaware of the magnitude of distance involved in interplanetary travel, much less interstellar. But hey, the longest journey begins with but a single step. Distance is relative. In 1700 a hundred miles was a major trip, today it’s a couple of hours. It’s still a pain in the ass if you get tied up in traffic on I-95 though. I find it a little odd that you doubt that interstellar travel is feasible, but traveling in time is possible. We have already proven that we can travel to the moon and back but so far we’ve only been able to move forward in time. In my youth I had people prove to me that nuclear power was not a viable source of power. The reasoning was it was much too difficult to control. Then along came the Nautilus. I was also informed that it was a theoretical impossibility that we could ever reach the moon. Some folks still believe that. There are few things that I believe to be impossible. So far I cannot kiss my own elbow but remain unconvinced that it is actually impossible. It’s been my experience that just when we begin to understand something someone comes up with another heretofore undiscovered fact that shows us that we didn’t actually understand it at all. Sometime when I’m bored and suffering from insomnia remind me and I’ll tell you about an event that happened to me involving samarium and an estimated critical position calculation for a nuclear reactor.

Oldnuke on September 28, 2010 at 12:59 PM