Friday, June 23, 2017

Broadcast TV & Alien Contact


So today I've been going through some old technology the library system is no longer using to evaluate its continued usefulness. I was deciding whether to re-purpose the technology or send it to surplus to be auctioned, or whatever they do with this old stuff. The items today included things like old PS/2 mice, filmstrip projectors, old dot matrix receipt printers, and even a TV/VCR combo
unit from the 1990s. I plugged in the TV to see if it still worked and I was immediately asked if I wanted to do an auto-programming of the channels. Well I thought to myself, "Why not?" and fashioned a make-shift antenna to the back of the TV.

After a few minutes of scanning available channels, the TV showed me there were no broadcast channels available. "Of course," I thought. "Obviously this TV does not have a digital tuner, and broadcast TV ended years ago, so there shouldn't be any channels out there to receive." But then that made me think of an article I once read a long time ago that discussed the idea that our closest solar system, Proxima Centauri, 4 and a quarter light years away, at the time the article was written, estimated that they would be receiving episodes of "I Love Lucy" about then. Wow. This means that for the past few decades, extraterrestrial aliens have been enjoying all those old TV shows we now watch on TVLand or MeTV.

But what happened when the signal stopped? Broadcast TV ended in 2009 and went digital. Many of us were inconvenienced at having to go out and buy digital tuners. But what did that mean for all those aliens receiving those broadcast signals, and then suddenly, the signal stopped? Would they assume our civilization just ended? Snuffed out in the blink of an eye?

Well this led me to the logical conclusion that if aliens from another world ever did make contact with us on planet earth, it would have to be that they were driven to find out if Jessica actually got shot by a firing squad at the end of "Soap," or if Sam Beckett ever actually got home on "Quantum Leap." Maybe NASA should consider sending out one last broadcast signal informing all those extraterrestrial alien planets out there that when the signal just stopped coming in for them, it didn't mean our civilization ended, it only meant that they now needed to have a digital tuner to continue receiving all those great programs. So maybe when the aliens do finally show up at earth's doorstep and contact us, they won't say, "Take me to your leader," instead, they may well ask, "Did the Fonze ever get married? We are dieing to know!"

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Broadcast TV & Alien Contact

So today I've been going through some old technology the library system is no longer using to evaluate its continued usefulness. ...