Experiment One

“We think we may have found a way to communicate, faster-than-light.”

“Amazing! Our first message should be something profound, and meaningful.”

“Well, the channel for communication is universal, we could instantly hear anyone from anywhere in the universe, but the channel is just hissing static, at the moment. So perhaps we should just say ‘Hello’ and see who responds?”

“Make it so.”


“Well, nobody is answering.”

“Perhaps more research is required.”


“Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news and there’s good news and there’s bad news.”

“Give me the first good news.”

“Well, the universe is full of life.”

“Amazing! The first bad?”

“There’s so much life that when a civilization discovers this universal faster-than-light communication, they hear static, and immediately broadcast ‘Hello’. So many civilizations are doing this that the output noise of all their hellos sounds like static.”

“Awful, what could possibly be the second good news.”

“The second good news is that after further experimentation, we’ve found we can reverse the polarity to make our voice broadcast on only one sub-channel of the universal channel.”

“And the second bad news???”

“Civilizations like us, six months ago, have no idea about the sub-channels and broadcast, at full volume, on all of them. The channel has no direction and infinite range. We haven’t yet been able to glean any information from it. We’ll have to patiently wait for enough civilizations to discover they can reverse the polarity until we have any chance at all to communicate on this universal channel.”

“And how long will that take.”

“Well, how vast and full of life, exactly, is the universe???”

Experiment Two

“We shouldn’t run this new experiment.”

“What now?”

“Well, it says here it may obliterate the entire solar system.”


“Yeah, it’s hard to tell, until we’ve run the experiment. If we had the data from the experiment, we’d be able to tell. It’s a little paradoxical.”

“Well, this experiment is absolutely groundbreaking. It’s the pinnacle of our physics. This makes the LHC look like a children’s toy, if we can pull this off. It has the opportunity to unveil a whole new domain of science, to supply truly free energy to all, solve world hunger, cure all disease, and make social media good, particularly my linkedin. If we do this, humans may be able to explore the universe easily, become truly multi-galaxy, and live in a post-scarcity society.”

“I understand, but on the other hand, there’s a possibility that this will obliterate the entire solar system, if my calculations are correct. The obvious and logical nature of the experiment actually troubles me.”

“How’s that?”

“Well, there’s occasionally periods in history when the conditions allow for the simultaneous discovery of the same new universal law. A classic example is Leibniz and Newton simultaneously discovering calculus. Given the material conditions of the time, the discovery was the obvious logical next step in mathematics. I think the recent discoveries in the field of polarity reversal make this new physics experiment, obvious. I think now the conditions are right for anyone in the world to run this experiment.”

“Then clearly, we should be the first.”

“Ok, ok, I get that you want your name on the paper, and maybe we’ll get a Nobel, but on the other hand, maybe we’ll obliterate the entire solar system.”

“Ok, but what if you’re wrong! Imagine the benefits of this experiment.”

“Well, this experiment seems so obvious, we’re not sure if it’ll obliterate the solar system, obviously, but by my calculations, if it did, the result would look exactly like a gamma ray burst.”


“Well, now I’m thinking, maybe all these gamma ray bursts aren’t a natural phenomena, but maybe, they’re civilizations winking out all over the place, because scientists like us decided to run this obvious experiment.”

“Well, that’s grim.”

“Yeah. And the experiment is so obvious, and so clearly will open up a huge new field of discoveries in science, that it seems like every civilization would run it. Even if one scientist doesn’t run it, it is so obvious and within the capabilities of everyone that there will be someone incautious enough, on someone’s planet, that does. Heck, it is so simple that someone with a deathwish could run it!”

“Well I..”

“And the other thing that fucks me up about this is it seems like this experiment is the thing that’d not only offer us enough information to figure out if the experiment will kill us all, it would also make it way easier for us to spread to the stars. Maybe this experiment’s discoveries would allow us to survive the experiment. Without it, we’re kind of stuck here, within the killzone of the experiment.”

“Maybe we should warn people, observe some more gamma ray bursts and check this theory.”

“But we may never know. What would have to happen is a civilization decides to run the experiment, they announce the details of the experiment, and then we see them explode. We haven’t even contacted an alien civilization yet. You know what’d make it way easier for us to communicate with alien civilizations? The discoveries we make as a result of this experiment, probably.”

“So correct me if I’m wrong here, but you’re saying that this experiment is likely to completely change our understanding of the universe, solve almost every issue on earth, is completely obvious, anyone is now able to do it, to survive it we need the results of the experiment, there’s no clear way to tell if it’ll kill us all, and worst of all, if we don’t run it I might miss out on a Nobel.”


“Ok, I still think we should run the experiment. If we don’t, someone else will.”


“Ok. Here I go, pressing the big red button.”