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所有的外星人在哪里?

Where are all the aliens? | Stephen Webb

我曾见过一次UFO
I saw a UFO once.
我当时约八 九岁
I was eight or nine,
和一位朋友在街上玩耍
playing in the street
他比我大几岁
with a friend who was a couple of years older,
我们看见一个毫无特色的银制碟形物在房子上方盘旋
and we saw a featureless silver dischovering over the houses.
我们看了几秒钟
We watched it for a few seconds,
接着 它以非常快的速度瞬间飞走
and then it shot away incredibly quickly.
即使当时只是孩子
Even as a kid,
我很气它竟然可以不遵守物理定律
I got angry it was ignoring the laws of physics.
我们跑进屋内告诉大人
We ran inside to tell the grown-ups,
大人充满怀疑 换成是你们也会怀疑 对吧?
and they were skeptical — you’d be skeptical too, right?
几年后我报了仇:其中一个大人告诉我
I got my own back a few years later: one of those grown-ups told me,
昨晚我看到了飞碟
“Last night I saw a flying saucer.
我在酒吧喝了几杯 当时正要离开
I was coming out of the pubafter a few drinks.”
我在那时打断他 我说:“我能解释你的目击”
I stopped him there.I said,”I can explain that sighting.”
(笑声)
(Laughter)
心理学家已经证明了我们不能相信我们的大脑
Psychologists have shown we can’t trust our brains
会告诉我们真相
to tell the truth.
要愚弄自己是很容易的
It’s easy to fool ourselves.
我看到某种东西 但哪种情况比较有可能
I saw something, but what’s more likely —
是我看到了外星人的太空船?
that I saw an alien spacecraft,
或是我的大脑错误的诠释了我的眼睛给它的资料?
or that my brain misinterpreted the data my eyes were giving it?
从那之后 我就一直纳闷:
Ever since though I’ve wondered:
为什么我们不会到处看到飞碟?
Why don’t we see flying saucers flitting around?
至少
At the very least,
为什么我们不会看到在宇宙中有生命?
why don’t we see life out there in the cosmos?
这是个谜 在过去三十年 我已经和数十位
It’s a puzzle, and I’ve discussed itwith dozens of experts
不同领域的专家讨论过
from different disciplinesover the past three decades.
没有达成任何共识
And there’s no consensus.
1960年 法兰克·德雷克就开始寻找外星人的线索
Frank Drake began searchingfor alien signals back in 1960 —
目前 一无所获
so far, nothing.
随着每一年过去 都没人观察到
And with each passing year, this nonobservation,
且缺乏外星人活动的证明 让这一切更令人迷惑不解
this lack of evidence for any alien activity gets more puzzling
因为我们应该会看见他们 对吧?
because we should see them, shouldn’t we?
宇宙已经138亿岁了
The universe is 13.8 billion years old,
这是概略数字
give or take.
若我们把宇宙的年龄比喻为一年
If we represent the ageof the universe by one year,
那么我们这个物种大约是在午夜前12分钟才出现的
then our species came into beingabout 12 minutes before midnight,
12月31日
31st December.
西方文明才几秒钟而已
Western civilizationhas existed for a few seconds.
外星文明可能在夏季就已经出现
Extraterrestrial civilizationscould have started in the summer months.
想像一个夏季文明
Imagine a summer civilization
发展出了比我们更先进的科技水平
developing a level of technologymore advanced than ours,
不过 我是指已经被接受的物理为基础
but tech based on accepted physics though,
不是指虫洞或曲速引擎 诸如此类
I’m not talking wormholesor warp drives — whatever —
只是TED所颂扬的那种科技的推断而已
just an extrapolationof the sort of tech that TED celebrates.
该文明可能会设计出可自我复制的探测飞船
That civilization could programself-replicating probes
去探访银河系中的每一个星系
to visit every planetarysystem in the galaxy.
如果他们在八月某一天的午夜之后
If they launched the first probes just
发射了第一艘探测飞船
after midnight one August day,
那么在同一天的早餐之前
then before breakfast same day,
他们就已经殖民了整个银河系
they could have colonized the galaxy.
跨银河系的殖民并没有太多困难
Intergalactic coldifficult isn’t much more difficult,
只是比较花时间
it just takes longer.
数百万银河系中的任何一个文明
A civilization from any oneof millions of galaxies
都有可能在我们的银河殖民
could have colonized our galaxy.
似乎很牵强?
Seems far-fetched?
也许是吧
Maybe it is,
但外星人不会从事一些可辨识的活动吗——
but wouldn’t aliens engage in some recognizable activity —
比如在一颗恒星的周围建立小世界来捕捉免费的阳光
put worldlets around a starto capture free sunlight,
合作撰写银河维基百科
collaborate on a Wikipedia Galactica,
或是对着宇宙大喊:“我们在这里!”
or just shout outto the universe,”We’re here!”
所以 他们在哪里?
So where is everybody?
这是个谜 因为我们确实预期会有这类文明存在
It’s a puzzle because we do expect these civilizations to exist,
对吧?
don’t we?
毕竟 在银河系中 可能有一兆个星球
After all, there could be a trillion planets in the galaxy —
甚至更多
maybe more.
不需要任何特殊知识 你也会去思考这个问题
You don’t need any special knowledgeto consider this question,
这些年来 我已经和许多人 一起探索了这个问题
and I’ve explored it with lots of people over the years.
我发现 他们通常在表述他们的想法时
And I’ve found they often frame their thinking
会用需要被清除的障碍
in terms of the barriers that would need to be cleared
来思考一个星球是否会有能够沟通的文明存在
if a planet is to host a communicative civilization.
他们通常会去确认四项关键障碍
And they usually identify four key barriers.
可居住性——那是第一个障碍
Habitability — that’s the first barrier.
我们需要有一个刚好属于“适居带”的外星星球
We need a terrestrial planetin that just right”Goldilocks zone,”
也就是说 水要以液体形式流动
where water flows as a liquid.
外面有这种星球存在
They’re out there.
2016年 宇航员确认了在最近的恒星适居带上
In 2016, astronomers confirmedthere’s a planet in the habitable zone
有一个星球 这个恒星是比邻星——
of the closest star, Proxima Centauri —
它非常近 近到突破摄星计划打算要送探测飞船过去
so close that Breakthrough Starshot project plans to send probes there.
我们成了在星际旅行的物种
We’d become a starfaring species.
但并非所有世界都可居住
But not all worlds are habitable.
有些会太靠近恒星 会被烤熟
Some will be too close to a starand they’ll fry,
有些则太遥远 会被冰冻
some will be too far awayand they’ll freeze.
无生源论——从无生命到创造生命——那是第二个障碍
Abiogenesis — the creation of life from nonlife — that’s the second barrier.
生命的基础建材并非地球独有:
The basic building blocks of lifearen’t unique to Earth:
已经发现彗星上有氨基酸
amino acids have been found in comets,
星际云尘中有复杂的有机分子
complex organic moleculesin interstellar dust clouds,
行星系统中有水
water in exoplanetary systems.
原料已经存在
The ingredients are there,
我们只是不知道它们要如何结合起来创造生命
we just don’t know how they combine to create life,
很有可能 这些世界的生命迹象尚未开始
and presumably there will be worldson which life doesn’t start.
第三个障碍是科技文明的发展
The development of technologicalcivilization is a third barrier.
有些人说 我们已经在和外星智慧共享我们的星球
Some say we already share our planetwith alien intelligences.
一篇2011年的研究指出大象能够合作来解决问题
A 2011 study showed that elephantscan cooperate to solve problems.
一篇2010年的研究指出 被囚禁的章鱼能够认出不同的人
A 2010 study showed that an octopus in captivity can recognize different humans.
2017年的研究则指出 渡鸦会规划未来事件——很美好
2017 studies show that ravenscan plan for future events — wonderful,
聪明的生物——
clever creatures —
但他们无法去思考突破摄星计划
but they can’t contemplatethe Breakthrough Starshot project,
如果我们今天都消失了
and if we vanished today,
他们也不会去执行突破摄星计划——
they wouldn’t go onto implement Breakthrough Starshot —
为什么他们要去执行?
why should they?
演化的最终目标并不是太空旅行
Evolution doesn’t havespace travel as an end goal.
有一些世界中的生命不会去发展先进科技
There will be worlds where life doesn’t give rise to advanced technology.
跨越太空的沟通——那是第四个障碍
Communication across space –that’s a fourth barrier.
也许先进文明会选择探索内太空
Maybe advanced civilizationschoose to explore inner space
而不是外太空
rather than outer space,
或做短距离的工程建设 而非长距离的
or engineer at small distancesrather than large.
或许 他们只是单纯不想冒险 以免遇到
Or maybe they just don’t wantto risk an encounter
可能更先进且有敌意的邻居
with a potentially more advancedand hostile neighbor.
在某些世界 不论是什么原因
There’ll be worlds where, for whatever reason,
文明可能会保持沉默 或不会花费很长时间试图沟通
civilizations either stay silentor don’t spend long trying to communicate.
至于障碍有多高
As for the height of the barriers,
大家都只能猜测
your guess is as good as anyone’s.
依我的经验 大家坐下来仔细斟酌时
In my experience, when people sit down and do the math,
他们的结论通常是 在银河系中有数千个文明存在
they typically conclude there arethousands of civilizations in the galaxy.
但 我们又回到原本的谜:他们在哪里?
But then we’re back to the puzzle:Where is everybody?
就定义来说 UFO——包括我看见的那一个——
By definition, UFOs — including the one I saw —
是不明的
are unidentified.
我们不能很简单地说它们是太空飞船
We can’t simply infer they’re spacecraft.
你仍然可以为了好玩 而想像有外星人来到这里
You can still have some fun playing with the idea aliens are here.
有人说 夏季文明的确已经殖民了银河系
Some say a summer civilizationdid colonize the galaxy
且在地球播下生命的种子……
and seeded Earth with life… others,
其他人说 我们是住在宇宙的荒野保护区
that we’re livingin a cosmic wilderness preserve —
一个动物园
a zoo.
还有其他人 说我们住在模拟世界中
Yet others — that we’re living in a simulation.
只是程式设计师尚未让外星人现身而已
Programmers just haven’trevealed the aliens yet.
不过 我大部分的同事 主张有E.T.存在
Most of my colleagues thoughargue that E.T. is out there,
只是我们得要继续寻找 这是合理的
we just need to keep looking, and this makes sense.
太空很大
Space is vast.
找到一个讯号是很困难的
Identifying a signal is hard,
而且我们还没有寻找那么久
and we haven’t been looking that long.
无疑的 我们应该投入更多的心力去搜寻
Without doubt, we should spend more on the search.
重点在于了解我们在宇宙中的地位
It’s about understanding our place in the universe.
这个问题太重要了 不能无视它
It’s too important a question to ignore.
但 有一个很明显的答案
But there’s an obvious answer:
我们是孤单的
we’re alone.
只有我们
It’s just us.
在银河系可能有一兆个星球
There could be a trillion planets in the galaxy.
若说我们是唯一会思忖这个问题的生物 听起来合理吗?
Is it plausible we’re the only creatures capable of contemplating this question? Well,
是的 因为在这个情况中
yes, because in this context,
我们不知道一兆是否算是很大的数目
we don’t know whether a trillion is a big number.
2000年时 彼得·沃德和唐·布朗利提出了地球殊异的想法
In 2000, Peter Ward and Don Brownlee proposed the Rare Earth idea.
还记得人们用来估计文明数目的那四个障碍吗?
Remember those four barriers that people use to estimate the number of civilizations?
沃德和布朗利说 可能还有更多
Ward and Brownlee said there might be more.
咱们来看看一个可能的障碍
Let’s look at one possible barrier.
这是地球物理学家大卫·沃尔瑟姆
It’s a recent suggestion by David Waltham,
在近期提出来的
a geophysicist.
这是我的极简化版
This is my very simplified version
大卫的原版是更精密许多的主张
of Dave’s much moresophisticated argument.
我们现在能够在这里
We are able to be here now
是因为地球先前的居民享受了
because Earth’s previousinhabitants enjoyed
40亿年的好天气——
four billion years of good weather —
虽然起起落落 但总的来说仍然是温和的
ups and downs but more or less clement.
但长期的稳定气候是很奇特的
But long-term climate stability is strange,
因为天文气候的影响是有可能
if only because astronomical influences
将一个星球推向结冰或烤熟状况的
can push a planet towards freezing or frying.
我们的月球似乎是有帮上忙
There’s a hint our moon has helped,
那很有趣
and that’s interesting
因为普遍流行的理论是
because the prevailing theory is
月球会出现是因为忒伊亚
that the moon came into being when Theia,
和火星一样大的天体 撞上了刚形成的地球
a body the size of Mars, crashed into a newly formed Earth.
撞击的结果本来有可能是个很不同的地球——月球系统
The outcome of that crash could have been a quite different Earth-Moon system.
我们最后得到的是一个大月球
We ended up with a large moon
那让地球有一个稳定的轴向倾斜角度
and that permitted Earthto have both a stable axial tilt
和缓慢的转速
and a slow rotation rate.
这两个因子影响了气候
Both factors influence climate and the suggestion is
意味着它们协助调节了气候改变
that they’ve helped moderate climate change.
对我们来说太好了 对吧?
Great for us, right?
但沃尔瑟姆指出
But Waltham showed
如果与月球再大个几英里
that if the moon were just a few miles bigger,
一切就会不同
things would be different.
地球的转轴现在就会混乱地偏离正轨
Earth’s spin axis would now wander chaotically.
就会发生气候快速变化的情形
There’d be episodes of rapid climate change —
对复杂的生命来说不是好事
not good for complex life.
月球的大小刚刚好:
The moon is just the right size:
够大但不会太大
big but not too big.
有一个适居的星球周围有个适居的月球
A”Goldilocks” moon around a”Goldilocks” planet —
也许也是个障碍
a barrier perhaps.
你们可以想像出更多的障碍
You can imagine more barriers.
比如 数十亿年前 简单细胞就出现了……
For instance, simple cells came into beingbillions of years ago…
但也许要发展出复杂的生命
but perhaps the development of complex life
还需要一连串不太可能发生的事件
needed a series of unlikely events.
一旦地球上的生命能够有多细胞
Once life on Earth had access to multicellularity
以及精密的基因结构
and sophisticated genetic structures,
还有性别 就会有新的机会产生:可能会出现动物
and sex, new opportunities opened up: animals became possible.
但 也许 许多星球的命运就是
But maybe it’s the fate of many planets
只会有简单细胞等级的生命存在
for life to settle at the level of simple cells.
纯粹只是为了说明清楚
Purely for the purposes of illustration,
让我再提出四个可能的障碍 来补充
let me suggest four more barriersto add to the four
前面已提到大家认为会阻挡与外星文明沟通的四个障碍 我再说一遍
that people said blocked the pathto communicative civilization. Again,
纯粹只是为了补充说明清楚
purely for the purposesof illustration,
假设跨越每一个障碍的机会是千分之一
suppose there’s a one-in-a-thousand chance of making it across each of the barriers.
当然 可能会有不同的方式来通过障碍
Of course there might bedifferent ways of navigating the barriers,
有些机会可能会高于千分之一 同样的
and some chances will be betterthan one in a thousand. Equally,
可能会有更多障碍
there might be more barriers and
且当中的机会只有百万分之一
some chances might be one in a million.
咱们来看看 在这状况下会发生什么事
Let’s just see what happens in this picture.
如果银河系有一兆个星球
If the galaxy contains a trillion planets,
有多少个星球上会有文明存在 且像我们一样能够去思忖
how many will host a civilizationcapable of contemplating like us
像突破摄星这样的计划?
projects such as Breakthrough Starshot?
可居住性——在对的恒星周围
Habitability — right sort of planet
有对的星球——
around the right sort of star —
一兆剩下了十亿
the trillion becomes a billion.
稳定性——气候要长久都能很宜人——
Stability — a climate that stays benign for eons —
十亿剩下了一百万
the billion becomes a million.
生命必须要能开始——一百万剩下了一千
Life must start — the million becomes a thousand.
必须要有复杂的生命形式出现——
Complex life forms must arise —
一千个剩下了一个
the thousand becomes one.
必须要用能够去使用精密的工具——一千个银河中只有一个星球能符合
Sophisticated tool use must develop — that’s one planet in a thousand galaxies.
要了解宇宙
To understand the universe,
他们就得要发展出科学和数学的技术——
they’ll have to develop the techniques of science and mathematics —
一百万个银河中只有一个星球能符合
that’s one planet in a million galaxies.
要去接触其他恒星 他们必须要是社交型的生物
To reach the stars,they’ll have to be social creatures,
有能力和彼此讨论抽象的概念
capable of discussingabstract concepts with each other
使用复杂的文法——十亿个银河中只有一个星球能符合
using complex grammar — one planet in a billion galaxies.
他们还得要避开灾难——
And they have to avoid disaster —
不只是自己造成的灾难 还有来自天空的灾难
not just self-inflicted but from the skies, too.
绕着比邻星的那个星球
That planet around Proxima Centauri,
在去年被太阳耀斑轰击了
last year it got blasted by a flare.
一兆个银河中只有一个星球能符合 这是在可见宇宙中的假设
One planet in a trillion galaxies, just as in the visible universe.
我想我们是孤单的
I think we’re alone.
我那些认同我们是孤独的同事
Those colleagues of minewho agree we’re alone
通常能够先看到障碍——生物灾难
often see a barrier ahead — bioterror,
全球暖化 战争
global warming, war.
一个沉默的宇宙
A universe that’s silent
因为科技本身就会形成障碍
because technology itselfforms the barrier
让一个真正先进的文明很难发展 让人沮丧
to the developmentof a truly advanced civilization. Depressing,
是吧?
right?
我的主张正好相反
I’m arguing the exact opposite.
我是看《星际迷航记》与《禁忌星球》长大的
I grew up watching”Star Trek”and”Forbidden Planet,”
且我见过一次UFO
and I saw a UFO once,
所以我当然对宇宙孤独的想法感到有点伤感
so this idea of cosmic lonelinessI certainly find slightly wistful.
但 对我来说
But for me,
宇宙的沉默正在呐喊
the silence of the universe is shouting,
“我们是走运的生物”
“We’re the creatures who got lucky.”
我们越过了所有的障碍
All barriers are behind us.
我们是唯一清除了所有障碍的物种——
We’re the only speciesthat’s cleared them —
唯一能够决定自身命运的物种
the only species capableof determining its own destiny.
如果我们学着领会我们的星球有多么特别
And if we learn to appreciais how special our planet is,
照顾我们的家园并寻找其他的
how important it is to look after our home
是多么重要的事
and to find others,
单单知道宇宙的存在
how incredibly fortunate we all are
我们所有人有多么幸运
simply to be aware of the universe,
那么人类也许还能生存一阵子
humanity might survive for a while.
所有那些我们幻想外星人
And all those amazing things we
可能做过的不可思议的事
dreamed aliens might have done in the past,
都可能成为我们的未来
that could be our future.
非常谢谢各位
Thank you very much.
(掌声)
(Applause)

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视频概述

外星人也许在不远的将来就会现身,在此之前我们得好好欣赏我们自己的星球。

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收集自网络

翻译译者

甪里

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审核员@XG

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaIghx4QRN4

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