If we’re typical, then there’s life elsewhere in the universe.

Or so says the Green Bank Formula. Duh. I could have told you that. I believe that’s a tautology. They go through elaborate pains to multiply R (rate of star formation) x fp (% stars likely to have planets) x ne (no. of those planets likely to have the ecology for life) x fi (% planets that might actually develop life) x fc (% of planets that reach the technological level of radio communication) x L (the average life-span of a civilization at that level) or N= R x fp x ne x fi x fc x L. With vague, but generally acceptable estimates, this yields the figures N= 10 x .5 x 2 x 1 x .01 x L, thus N= .1L or N= L/10. This means that if the average time that a technologically advanced civilization can exist without self-destruction is only ten years, then there’s only likely to be one extant at any given time. Guess who. If, however, some civilizations, say 1%, can tame their wilder impulses and achieve stasis and technology BOTH, then there are likely one million of them out there and the nearest one would be only on average a few hundred light-years away. Considering that we’re already way past the ten-year mark and a hundred or so supposedly ‘Earth-like’ planets have been found and Europeans are fucking instead of fighting, then the odds are improving, and life is not only good, but we’re not alone.

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