Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

ET would have to be real spacer to visit us

Most nights, before retiring to bed, I nip out to the backgarden and look up to see what's happening in ooter space. Usually, there isn't much: some twinkling; perchance a cloud scudding across the Moon; a satellite might fly over, never deviating from its linear path and, alas, never turning out to be a UFO.

I'm beginning to think there's nothing out there though, nightly, I still utter a prayer or, at least, send out a telepathic plea: please help us. Still no answer.

Disappointed, I wrap my dressing gown closer around me and retire to bed, sipping my milky cocoa and thinking: "They're never going to come."

Top boffins at Princeton, Americashire, are coming to similar conclusions. They say the idea of extraterrestrial life is "wishful thinking" and the actual reality-style data suggests that Earth is a one-off, an aberration caused by flukey conditions. Well, fluke me, who'd have thought?

However, if you live in the modern world - and all available data suggests you do - then you won't be surprised to learn that this was followed swiftly by another report suggesting billions of planets might have developed similarly flukey conditions, and that aberrations were in fact the norm.

Speculation was along the lines that the extraterrestrials might live underwater, leading to fears that we might get slapped in the face by a giant fish.

Despite this real and present danger, comments left by leading intellectuals online indicated a widespread feeling that, if there were aliens out there, we'd have been slapped by them by now.

Coincidentally, one newspaper ran an extensive series of accounts from Americans claiming to have been abducted by aliens who took them to their spaceships and probed them in the traditional manner. Alas, in scientific terms, these accounts tended to discredit the whole alien thesis, as the abductees were all, without exception, loonjobs. The headline, "Aliens definitely exist, says nutter", does not inspire confidence and, once more, it looked like we were looking at a case of hope fighting a losing battle against evidence.

Other leading theorists fulminated ungrammatically from behind sophisticated pseudonyms to suggest that the aliens were so highly evolved as to be appalled by us and our absurd hairstyles. So they were keeping their distance, while occasionally watching us through an eyelobe-bearing tentacle. I see.

Oddly enough, Finnish researchers claimed this week that we hadn't finished evolving, despite the evidence of any high street on a Saturday night.

Farming and monogamy were supposed to have been our highpoints, but since everyone now thinks vegetables come in packets with barcodes, and no one is monogomous any more, it could be that we're moving on - and getting worse.

According to the Finns, survival of the fittest still applies, as witnessed by any visit to the gym.

Everyone will have experienced that feeling of dread when a hormonally imbalanced baldie turns up on the next machine and keeps looking over at your settings in an inappropriately competitive manner. But surely we should be beyond that by now. If we're still governed by survival of the fittest, how have we evolved at all? I doubt that, if there are aliens out there, they're wearing trainers and trackies.

I'm pretty sure they'll be familiar with the works of JRR Tolkien, listen to prog rock, and wear flared trousers, these having been the highpoints of our civilisation.

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