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You Will Shake Hands With An Alien Within 25 Years

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While many of us have been waiting our entire lives to encounter extraterrestrials, that’s just a drop in a bucket from a geological perspective. Unless you’re one of those who believes that aliens built the pyramids, dinosaurs were from space, or some such thing, we’ve been waiting to say hi our galactic neighbors for eons. According to one expert, we still have a while to wait until we meet aliens, but maybe not as long as you think.

Talking to BoingBoing, Seth Shostak, the chief astronomer for the SETI Institute, made a rather declarative statement. He thinks that we will have some contact with extraterrestrial life with in the next 25 years. Though he’s quick to point out that we haven’t found any life in outer space, “dead of alive,” from armor plated killing machines down to microbes, but that doesn’t shake his resolve.

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A New Equation For Estimating Possible Alien Life

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Habitable Zone

Habitable Zone

Since the aliens are taking their damn time contacting us (even though some of us blame that on humanity’s own stupidity), we’re left to entertain ourselves by trying to figure out where and who they might be. And since attempts to fix the Kepler telescope failed — NASA announced on August 15 that the damage to their planet-hunter was too extensive to be fixed — we have to take matters into our own hands. And you know what that means: math.

MIT’s Sara Seager, an expert in exoplanets, concocted an equation to arrive at the probability of extra-terrestrial life. It looks like this: N = N*FQFHZFOFLFS. Have a mentioned that I hate math? I love space and totally believe in aliens, but one glance at Seager’s formula makes my eyes glaze like ham.

So let’s explain this with good ol’ words. According to Seager’s publication in Astrobiology Magazine, here’s what all those symbols mean:

N = the number of planets with detectable signs of life
N* = the number of stars observed
FQ = the fraction of stars that are quiet
FHZ = the fraction of stars with rocky planets in the habitable zone
FO = the fraction of those planets that can be observed
FL = the fraction that have life
FS = the fraction on which life produces a detectable signature gas

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Blade Runner, Aliens, And Other Classic Sci-Fi Flicks Become Multi-colored Barcodes

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HeaderWhen combined with the global outlet that is the Internet, passion for our favorite movies and TV shows can inspire people to translate that passion into a thousand different, unexpected creations. We here at GFR regularly feature fan-created artwork and short films that can rival Hollywood when it comes to creativity and unique vision. But this one, this is one of those things where trying to figure out how they came up with the idea is enough to give a guy a headache. The left half of the image above is obviously pulled from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. But before we spoil the how or why, you’re just going to have to take our word for it when we tell you that the right half of the image? That’s Blade Runner too.

That multi-colored barcode comes from the MovieBarcode Tumblr blog. It was created by taking frames from the film, squeezing them down into digital strips, and then assembling them in sequence to create…well, barcodes. And while these images don’t tell you much about the story or characters of your favorite films, they do simply demonstrate one visual quality of films that it sometimes overlooked: the color palate, and how it changes over the course of the movie. Knowing that and looking back at the Blade Runner image up top, it makes sense. You can see the film’s mixture of dark imagery peppered with bright neon flashes, a concise summary of the visual world Ridley Scott created.

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The Predator, The Terminator, And ED-209 Pose For New Mondo Posters

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PredatorThat headline might read like the introduction to a bad joke, but instead it’s the setup for a new art show at the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas. And it’s a show that looks to be worth checking out if you’re within driving distance — if not, you still might be itching to get your fingers on prints of some of artist Jason Edmiston’s pieces from his current show, entitled “A Rogue’s Gallery,” which focuses on classic cinematic monsters and villains. We opened up with the Predator’s camera-friendly smile up above, but he’s just one of many bad-nasties on display in Edmiston’s show, which runs through September 14.

Edmiston told io9 that his goal for each of these paintings was to make it look like the villains and monsters actually came to his studio and posed for a portrait. Describing his style as “idealized realism,” Edmiston clearly takes his subject matter seriously:

A lot of time, people will do portraits of pop culture characters and they’ll try to get really quirky with them, and they’ll be tongue-in-cheek. But I wanted to treat most of these portraits as pretty much, straight-up ultimate versions of these characters, as if they were going to be turned into stamps. You know what they did with the Elvis stamp? They made the ultimate 1950s version and the ultimate 1970s version.

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Area 51 Exists, Conspiracy Theorists Everywhere Rejoice

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Area 51

JFK was not killed by a lone gunman. Gas and oil companies killed the electric car. The government is controlling us via HAARP’s radio waves. 9/11 was an inside job.

Conspiracy theories are pretty fun, so long as everyone takes them with a grain of salt, or better yet, as pure entertainment. But conspiracy theorists around the world are high-fiving each other and yelling “I told you so!” with the recent confirmation that Area 51 does indeed exist. Not that Google Earth couldn’t have told us that, but at least now the government acknowledges it.

A 1992 report documenting the history of U-2 spy planes has just been declassified thanks to the Freedom of Information Act invoked in 2005 by National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson, and affirms the location of Area 51, as well as its use as a government facility.

While the confirmed existence of the site may trigger some to buy into everyone of the theories surrounding the once-secret location, according to the report, the UFOs alleged to be associated with the facility were really U-2 planes flying at altitudes of roughly 60,000 feet. Back in the 1950s, commercial planes typically flew between 10,000-20,000 feet, while it was more common for military aircraft to fly no higher than 40,000. Thus, people didn’t expect, or even think it was possible for aircraft to fly at 60,000 feet, which, along with the difficulty in discerning objects flying so high, led to the assumption that they were extraterrestrial in origin. The report asserts that while this enabled investigators to rule out most of the UFO sightings, they were forced to bite their tongues with regards to the real cause. The report does not acknowledge the existence of aliens.

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Michael Biehn On The Disappointment of Aliens: Colonial Marines

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BiehnIf you ask gamers what one of the biggest disappointments of the past year was, chances are several of them are going to mention Sega’s Aliens: Colonial Marines. Probably after punching a hole in a nearby wall. For decades, video games have been cribbing from James Cameron’s classic Aliens, and from the larger Alien mythology. But while there have been a few good Alien games over the years, we haven’t had an official spin-off that truly captured the frantic action, the claustrophobic fear and paranoia, of Cameron’s Alien sequel. Many a shout of joy went up, then, when Aliens: Colonial Marines was first announced. And many a cry of grief went up when the game arrived…and was bad. The victim of delays and behind-the-scenes production issues, Colonial Marines disappointed on virtually every front. And as it turns out, gamers weren’t the only ones left bitter about the experience. Aliens actor Michael Biehn, who returned to voice the character of Corporal Dwayne Hicks, called the experience “passionless.” Ouch.

On paper it sounded amazing. An in-canon sequel to Aliens, Colonial Marines would follow up directly on Cameron’s film and explore many of the locations from the films, casting players in the role of a squad of Marines sent to figure out what the hell happened to Hadley’s Hope and the last squad they sent to investigate. Early footage looked like the Aliens game fans had been waiting decades for. But when Biehn was called in to voice the role of Hicks, his first impressions were not good. Speaking to Game Informer, Biehn says the experience “wasn’t fun at all.” He continues: