Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Slow Moving American Disaster

Lets be clear here, long before that walking abortion decided to run for office I always felt Trump was a supremely sleazy individual whose only real accomplishment was being born into a  rich family. That's right, he is not a self made man, he inherited big bucks from his real estate-dealing dad along with a Rolodex filled with contacts. Trump is not a Bill Gates nor Elon Musk who both have created billion dollar businesses just with their tangible intelligence and talents.

A real look at Trump's attempts at business shows a long series of disastrous failures that left him back in the 1990's on the verge of utter collapse. After some strange loans from sources that has never been revealed, Trump became nothing but a celebrity trademark little better that some talent-less rich girl whose claim to fame is just a homemade hardcore sex tape.

Lets not leave out one of the most laughable attempts at business, Trump Steaks, whose CEO, Jerry Levin said, "we literally almost sold no steaks." This delusional pussy grabber is a prime example of what happens when a population forgets substance and becomes infatuated with spectacle along with being willing hostage to their fears and prejudices. 

Trump's one true talent, besides being a bully, is being a masterful con artist who can appeal to the less educated. Trump is the epitome of the big talking, low information voter who has no real concept to the complexities that exists in government. Simply put, a failed real estate developer with no intellectual curiosity beyond dumping his current wife then bedding a younger bimbo can't conceive of the intricacies involved in international relations, healthcare, or diplomacy. When the House finally passed their version of a healthcare bill to repeal "Obamacare" several weeks ago, Trump threw a massive ceremony at the White House that gave the impression to many that he thought an actual law had been passed. Of course anyone not living under a rock while watching Fox News should know both Trump and Senator McConnell's efforts utterly failed in the senate.

Now we have Trump siding with neo-Nazis after the riots on Charlottesville last weekend. Both his lack of response on Sunday, then his forced condemnation of white supremacists that was literally a wink-and-a-nod of approval to them on Monday were surreal for anyone calling themselves the leader of this country. Now today the country was witness to one of Trump's most hate-filled, incoherent rants excusing those racist monsters. When Trump took the oath of office back in January I knew were were in deep trouble, a fact that is proven true every time some information gets out from the Robert Mueller investigation involving the Trump Campaign and Russia. Our country is in grave danger, so severe that I could not have imagined the degree things could be corrupted by that narcissistic thing occupying the White House.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wasted Weekend

Been one of those weekends where I wasn't exactly sick but doing anything requiring movement or any real thinking was just to much trouble. Spent all day Saturday and most of today laying on the living room floor as my wife and daughter binge watched Game of Thrones reruns.  See, my fourteen year old daughter has just within the the last two weekends become interested in the show and my wife talked her into watching the entire series while giving a running commentary on the characters and situations.

Why did I just lay on the floor while my wife and daughter watched a show I don't have much interest in? Good question, but the only possible answer I can give is that while I felt terrible being cooped up in the bedroom just didn't appeal to me. Another reason could be that my wife gives the most amazing lectures on the fictional families and history of that show. And to think she calls me a nerd over what I know about Star Trek.

Whatever the case, somehow I am going to have to drag my sorry ass to work tonight. I've got too much to do and like I said, I don't think I'm really all that sick. Here is some tropical music to enjoy.    

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tiki Inspired Dreams

Thinking back on it now, I find it astonishing that my dysfunctional parents somehow found it in themselves to cooperate enough to take my siblings and myself to Walt Disney World just one year after the place opened. The city of Orlando and the surrounding area were, compared to now, still overwhelmingly underdeveloped with mom-and-pop hotels and restaurants existing alongside the young and sleepy corporate giant. I imagine those quaint and genuine local businesses had no idea that just a few short years later they would all be wiped off the map as the joyful rodent's empire began expanding at an ever increasing pace.

Don't get me wrong, my wife and I love everything about Disney. So much that we have not only sunk more money into its Vacation Club than I comfortable thinking about but that I have honestly lost count of the times we have visited each of its parks. Like some pathetic stoner desperate to get a new fix, even now I am looking forward to staying at Disney's small resort down on Hilton Head Island in the summer of 2018 and then making our way back to Disney World itself in 2019.

It's hard to really describe why I enjoy the parks so much when stories abound about how some who visit them are overwhelmed by the crowds and the growing prices. Usually, I despise crowds myself but in all the times I have been down there with my wife and kids, I somehow found a kinship with the other parents in the long and meandering lines waiting for their turn to enjoy Walt's creation. There were numerous times where my wife and I and other parents in the lines shared vital supplies like baby wipes, spare diapers, juice boxes,and assorted prepackages snacks in an effort to get the kids through the long minutes of waiting. 

Another reason I fell in love with Disney World was my discovery of the Enchanted Tiki Room on my first visit back in 1972. For those who don't know, it is a “pseudo-Polynesian themed musical animatronic show” featuring over a hundred colorful robot birds handing down from the ceiling. The show has them singing and making jokes with the climax being when a group of Polynesian tiki gods, craved figures lining the walls, become angry and throwing a tantrum.

The interior of the attraction has fake windows looking out towards a tropical island scene with heavy foliage and mountains creating a sensation, at least in me, that you are somewhere in the beautiful south Pacific. When the tiki gods get angry the skies in these island scenes gets dark with flashes of lightning and the sounds of thunder and rain adding to the dreamy feeling. The thing that has always mesmerized me is that in one of the fake windows there is a simple thatched hut not far off in the distance. This will sound weird, but I have always found that scene to be incredibly peaceful, so much that every visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room I find myself looking at the scene instead of paying attention to the show.

The Enchanted Tiki Room at Disney World was my first exposure to what is normally called “Tiki Culture” which is a very Americanized version of Polynesian culture and art. First conceived in 1934 with the opening of Don the Beachcomer, a Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant, American tiki culture has to me always symbolized a laid back and easy going style of life. Restaurants and bars that go with this theme are known for their tropically-inspired drinks with their menus leaning heavily on Hawaiian and even Chinese dishes. 

While tiki culture-inspired restaurants and bars are quite rare in my area, it is the music that continues to offer up that relaxing, peaceful, and dreamy feeling. Luckily for me I found Exotic Tiki Island, a website that is dedicated to nothing but playing vintage Hawaiian, exotica, and tiki tunes that easily transport me to that island scene I first saw at Disney World so many years ago. Ran by a guy going under the name of Tiki Brian, the music he plays is one of the best ways to shed the worries and fears that are daily coming closer to overwhelming us all. If you get a chance, jump over to his website and listen to some of the many archived podcast shows he has available. Needless to say, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend nights when I am off is to fall asleep to the amazing songs he plays.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review--On the Origins of War by Donald Kagan

Despite most everyone understanding war is a horrific practice that slaughters the innocent and wastes resources that could be better used to promote life, humans can't seem to advance beyond resorting to it when problems seem intractable. Like John Steinbeck once said about war showing the failure of man as a thinking animal, many people continue to glorify conflict and make the case that the necessity of defeating the enemy du jour is a great way to advance technology. An easy statement to make when the fighting isn't destroying your own country or ruthlessly killing your children.

No, I'm not a whacked out pacifist desperate to ban the bomb or to cut the United States military to nothing in an insane attempt to get other powers to do the same. I fully recognize war is fact of human civilization and that our way of life, even with its numerous flaws, is worthy of being defended in the face of authoritarian adversaries who worship the pursuit of unrestrained power. This belief does make me a bit of an oddity since I am the stereotypical bleeding heart, tree hugging liberal who believes in social justice and who hopes that humanity will one day grow the hell up. There are far better things for us to do as a species than kill each other over religious, political, territorial, or ethnic disagreements.

The very fact that war will continue to be something with have to contend with means thinking people should understand the factors that push countries and empires into conflict. This requires the study of history which for me starts with Thucydides and his recount of the Peloponnesian War to the far more recent On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace by Donald Kagan.

In his work, Mr. Kagan attempts to connect the common threads linking the three main reasons for which peoples feel they have no other alternative than to go to war.

The first factor is fear of other political entities, the second being honor in the sense of gaining or restoring glory, and the third being interest in which a nation or empire feels their position would be endangered by the actions of other players. Simple enough concepts but things become difficult when you add the actions of human players who, for whatever reason, either rise up to manage the situation or fail thus resulting in war. Mr. Kagan does not offer a set playbook on how leaders should handle threats, each situation is different but they all require a country to act from a position of strength.

In his book, Mr. Kagan draws upon the histories of the Peloponnesian War, the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, both World Wars, and finally the Cuban Missile Crisis in an effort to illustrate his points. The one element common in each of the examples is that preserving the peace requires active effort in the way of maintaining alliances along with military readiness and ability to make your adversary understand war will be the result if they give you no other choice. In sober, but compelling prose Dr. Kagan lays out the repercussions for any power that fails to maintain the proper military and diplomatic stance.

Mr. Kagan is clearly endorsing the “peace through strength” philosophy in his book, which my liberal political comrades despise almost as much as the insane idea about preventive war being a credible way to keep the peace. As much as liberals hate the idea, peace through strength it is the only credible option when you are faced with authoritarian nations for whom force is the chief way they exert power in the world.

On a personal note, I have to add that from my perspective peace through strength has to be balanced with active participation with other nations in making the world a better place. If all a more powerful country does is bomb the crap out of a poorer nation the natives being killed aren't going to care if foreign jets in their skies or soldiers on the ground are fighting a just cause. Peace through Strength can easily morph into cruel occupation which will just breed hate and help your enemies recruit more fighters.

Published in the mid-1990's Mr. Kagan's book is even more relevant now with Russia attempting to reassert itself and redraw the geopolitical map while China is not so slowly becoming a major military power. It goes without saying that if there was ever a time the United States needed to learn the lessons offered in this book and stand firmly with its democratic allies it is now. Instead the current occupant of the White House has a bizarre, and possibly criminal. relationship with the thug in Moscow while he berates our allies and pursues delusions like voter fraud and border walls.

At least the current occupant of White House has relatively able men working to ensure our national security. It's his rabid and largely ignorant supporters that would be well served to read this book to get a real understanding of the dangers of undermining the very geopolitical structure the United States helped create after the end of the Second World War. Of course, that would require such individuals to already have a basic knowledge of history, not the propaganda offered up by right-wing news sources.

For everyone else I highly recommend this excellently written book that while painting a rather dire picture of human nature offers practical advice on how to keep the peace. Hopefully, one day far in the future such advice will no longer be needed.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Thoughts From a Stranger in Exile

One of the peculiar aspects of my childhood was the small town where I spent the early years of my life. It had numerous faults, like every village, town, and city across the planet but one of its saving graces was an air of humanity that seemed, to my young eyes, to even cross racial lines.

The best example I can give is the fact that as you cruised the picturesque streets of my hometown filled with houses built before the American Revolution everyone waved and smiled. I'm not talking about barely conscious reactions executed reluctantly, but a full-fledged greeting where each person made solid eye contact and smiled. It wasn't until I reached young adulthood that I would learn such behavior was wildly out of the ordinary in nearly every other location I spent more than a few hours.

Call me naïve, but in many ways I have come to cherish that basic recognition of an imperfect but common humanity. If anyone is wondering, yes, on a recent short visit to my hometown I discovered this behavior is largely still intact. On the other hand, I have long since learned that the area I now live is the complete opposite to that open and friendly behavior. I'm only half joking when I write that only way the natives could become more dour and xenophobic would be for them to build a wall around the county and then send out armed patrols to scour the domain for malcontents like myself.

I didn't come to this belief on a whim. My cynical and distant attitude is not only the result of numerous observations but was confirmed by one of the locals who lived down in the Low Country for a short time. It was during a relatively deep conversation, something quite dangerous given how that individual believes pro wrestling and magic are real, that he felt the people from the Low Country area of South Carolina were far too laid back and “touchy feely” for his taste.

Yes, it is wrong to paint with such a broad brush, and yes I have met and know some exceptional people who were raised in area I now live. That being said, if I'm ever lucky enough to be able to move the door behind me will not be slammed shut by the irate natives eager to cleanse their hive of the likes of me, but by the gush of wind I produce leaving as fast as possible.

I could easily produce many examples of what caused me to develop such a disdain of the general area, but I will just offer up an incident that truly freaked me out for its blatant callousness.

It was mid-October of 2002 and I was working for a third party x-ray repair company that had the service contract on all the imagining equipment for the local county hospital system. My boss, a guy named George Miller, and I had spent the early part of the morning traveling out to one of the more distant satellite facilities owned by the county hospital to calibrate and do preventive maintenance on the various pieces of x-ray equipment located there. Situated in a truly small town, well away from the modern shopping centers of the Greater Columbia Area, the main street business district still contained active shops and commercial enterprises whose histories could be traced back for decades. Being well out beyond the territory I usually traveled, seeing all those functioning old style businesses did create a bit of a time warp for me.

The actual medical facility was really nothing more than urgent care practice that at best did extremely light outpatient surgery. This suited my boss fine since besides keeping the x-ray equipment running throughout the hospital system, it allowed him a chance to train me on the smaller, relatively idiot-proof instruments used there.

While I do have an Associate Degree in electronics, I had no experience in any type of medical imaging equipment. The only reason the third party x-ray repair company hired me in the first place was that they were desperate for a warm body being that experienced technicians were damn near in a similar venue as Bigfoot and unicorns. Conversely, I was eager to prove myself and begin building a lasting career since due to a lingering recession I had been laid off twice in the previous six months.

Our actual time onsite was brief, a testament to the simplicity of the imaging equipment and the call we received from the main hospital saying one of the bigger, money making fluoroscopes was sending all sorts of complex error messages to the control panel. This resulted in a cascade panic attack first infecting the operator and then quickly moving up the chain of command to the distraught department head.

The boss man and I were packed up and back on the road in less than ten minutes. Despite the urgency, we both settled into the usual routine of discussing our mutual interest in science fiction and the stalled American manned space program. Since I was riding in George's car I was sort of required to listen to his lecture on how the space shuttle was an utter failure and how NASA should be putting funds into rockets that after launching their payloads into space would then fly back and land vertically on legs that extended from the fuselage. While I liked George, I'll admit to the fact that I thought the dude had more than a couple of screws loose with his 1950's ideas on making space travel less expensive. Little did I know that by 2017 Elon Musk and his SpaceX company would make what I thought of as a crazy, impractical idea a reality.

As we approached the main hospital we had to stop at an intersection with the medical campus to our left and a fast food chicken place on the right. George was in a dedicated left turn lane and as we waited for the traffic lights to cycle around so we could turn into the parking lot his lecture had devolved to him explaining how he believed an alien spacecraft really did crash at Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947. Yeah, while George hit the nail on the head about reusable rockets, he had some crazy ideas about UFOs and the belief that there was an actual population of giant herbivore dinosaurs still living in the largely unexplored jungles of Africa.

As George switched between talking about his crashed Roswell alien scout ship and hoping some rich individual would fund dinosaur hunting expeditions into the Congo I noticed a guy waiting at the crosswalk next the chicken place. This particular intersection had recently been fitted with pedestrian crosswalk signals to aid folks in safely getting across what already a busy highway. This individual waiting at the crosswalk was an average looking guy dressed in casual slacks and a jacket, and I would have immediately forgotten I ever saw him if the following event hadn't taken place.

I don't know anything about how traffic lights and pedestrian crosswalk signals are programmed but before the guy waiting next the chicken place got his to cross the highway the lights changed allowing traffic to flow until the road was essentially empty. That's when the pedestrian signal went to green allowing him to cross over towards the hospital campus. It was then that I noticed he not only had a bad limp but that his pace crossing the highway was glacially slow.

As the guy crossing the highway slowly made his way to the other side George had switched over to the long-necked herbivore dinosaurs living in Africa lecture and the reasons why he was sure they existed. His chief reason was how, according to him, the local tribes of central Africa all spoke about giant monsters living deep in the jungles. As I said, George was a cool and interesting guy on most subjects but I had worked with him long enough to realize you didn't interrupt his lectures, even the ones that had long since drifted into improbable and outright bizarre territory.

As he droned on my attention was on the pedestrian trying to cross the highway. After making it to the small cement median in the middle of the road I could tell he was tired. By all rights he should have just stayed there and waited for the clearly visible oncoming traffic to pass before attempting the cross the other half. But the median didn't have anything to trigger the pedestrian signals and stop the flow of traffic, which meant he could have stood there for a long time waiting for the highway to clear again. So it made sense when the guy went ahead and stepped out into the highway even with a cluster of cars speeding his way.

That being said, given the speed of the oncoming cars and how long it was taking the guy to limp across the highway it was clear that something bad was possible if the former didn't slow down or the latter didn't pick his pace up. I wasn't yet panicking for the guy, I figured that the drivers coming towards him would slow down as they got closer. I mean, it was the commonsense and compassionate thing to do for another human being. That didn't happen, if anything from my perspective the two leading cars seemed to speed up.

The pedestrian noticed this as well and began something akin to a trot to get out of the way. With the distance between the cars and the pedestrian closing rapidly I remember physically cringing expecting the guy to become road salsa. At the very last second though, the pedestrian literally jumped the last four or five feet of the highway head first to avoid getting hit.

When that group of cars passed by the left turn traffic signal George was waiting for hit and he scooted his car into the hospital parking lot. As George made the turn, I tried to see if the pedestrian was okay but my last sight was of him laying on the sidewalk. A series of landscaping shrubs, small trees, and an embankment quickly blocked my view.

Another of George's peculiar traits was his desire for the perfect parking space, yet another subject that could cause him to begin a lecture with him explaining the factors involved like shade, distance from the entrance, and relative condition of other nearby cars. So it was several more minutes before I was able to get out of his car. When all those conditions were finally met I didn't hear anything in the way of sirens nor the screams of a group of people I spotted heading in the general direction of the intersection. I could only assume the pedestrian had picked himself up and proceeded on to his destination. As for George, I didn't say anything to him about what I had seen, being so wrapped up in his dinosaur lecture the entire incident with the pedestrian had totally escaped his notice.

This event occurred just a few years after I moved to the area, and since then it surprises me far too much when I do see examples of basic humanity and simple common courtesy. No, I do not feel I am keeping a score card since most of what I'm talking about wasn't directed at me personally. And yes, to a certain extent I realize that people generally see what they come to expect so it would not be wrong to say I have a large rather polished chip firmly secured to my shoulder.

I guess the simplest explanation for my disgruntled, bias, and possibly unfair attitudes is that I do not feel at home in my current location. I recognize this because my kids, who I believe are well adjusted and give every indication of that fact do quite well getting along with the natives. Whenever this gets a little to depressing I remember how my grandparents often remarked that they didn't like my hometown and wished they could move back to Marion, South Carolina, the area they were raised. Something that puzzled me since I thought the Low Country was the best place in the world with it beaches and beautiful Charleston a short drive to the south. 

After everything is said and whined about, I guess all comes down to the trite idea that home is where the heart is, and that you shouldn't look to closely for what you expect to see. That being said, I'm still moving my sorry ass away from this place if I ever get the chance.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

More Alien Weirdness?

Not to get weird, because that ship sailed long ago, but as I was surfing the YouTube channels Sunday afternoon one of the guys I watch on a regular basis posted an interesting and out of the blue video. Turns out that the giant Arecibo radio telescope has detected an "odd" signal that seems to be coming from Ross 128, a red dwarf star about 11 light-years away.

Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist from the University of Puerto Rico said the star was observed for ten minutes, during which time the signal was detected and that it seemed "almost periodic". Méndez admitted that the signal could have originated from a communications satellite, since they often transmit on the frequencies observed but that the radio burst was "very peculiar". The video you will find below does suggest that if the signal was from a communication satellite it would have to be quite a bit farther out from Earth than is normal.

My first thought after hearing that was the signal might be from a spy satellite. Over the last several decades the United States and the Soviet Union have launched numerous secret payloads into space and I've heard a lot of crazy theories that some of them are in weird orbits in an effort to go undetected. There is also a chance that the signal came from the star Ross 128 itself, since red dwarfs often produce massive flares.

Recent speculation about that habitability of red dwarf star systems tends run either hot or cold. On the plus side, those stars live far longer that our sun, thus allowing a lot of time for life and intelligence to evolve, but those massive flares probably sterilize any planets orbiting close enough to be in their Goldilocks zone. Whatever the case, the guys and gals at Arecibo will be trying to tune in on Ross 128 in an effort to pick the signal up again.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Busy Aliens?--An Examination of Przybylski's Star

Curiosity can be a dangerous thing leading to the discovery of all sorts of facts that either challenge existing beliefs, or for some open the door to knowledge showing the spectacular and bizarre nature of the universe. Since the European Renaissance, scientific inquiry has done just that, we've gone from believing our world is the center to the universe to understanding that our planet circles an average yellow-star which is on the outskirts of a boring spiral galaxy lost among trillions of others.

The last real item separating us from the rest of the cosmos is that we have no idea if both intelligence life and simpler organisms exist anywhere else. The probes we've sent out into the solar system strongly suggest the presence of liquid water underneath the surface of several moons of Jupiter and Saturn allowing for the possibility of things like bacteria and other single cell organisms. Many scientists hold out the hope that similar conditions might exist underneath the surface of Mars, sort of like underground reservoirs of liquid water protected from the near vacuum of the surface and the unfiltered UV light coming from the sun. Long story short, while no respectable scientist will go out and say he or she is certain we share the solar system with simple organisms, but they would love to have a more robust space program that would determine that fact. From what I've read and seen on videos, unless humans get real stupid and wreck the planet or commit mass suicide we should know whether or not other life exists in our solar system within fifty years.

It is the search for intelligence life where we have little chance of answering that question barring the interception of radio signals from interstellar or intergalactic space. Yes, there is a more than zero chance that an alien starship might just happen to see our little planet and decide to stop by and say hello. But that “more than zero chance” is so infinitely small it would be better for the average person to plan on winning the lotto than expecting such an event from ever happening. Astrophysicists and other astronomers have made some curious observations about other stars in the galaxy that right now they can't readily explain with existing theories causing a few to hesitatingly suggest the presence of advanced alien civilizations.

The first example is KIC 8462852, which stirred up the media when it was found something was causing that star to periodically dim up to twenty-five percent suggesting something really big was orbiting it. Ideas of why it was dimming an unusual amount ranged from an asteroid field, a cluster of comets, to debris leftover from the collision of two planets. None of them really satisfied the observations leaving someone to jokingly suggest some really industrious aliens were building a Dyson sphere around the star to collect all that easy solar energy.

With curiosity running at warp speeds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) guys and gals began scanning the star looking for radio communications between all those busy aliens working to enclose the star. None were detected, but fuel was further added to the possible alien fire when astronomers looked at the data collected over the last hundred years or so of observing that star suggesting the dimming has has grown over that time. The actual nature of this dimming is still unknown leaving KIC 8462852 to be the subject of continued intense investigation, although recent ideas put forward squarely put the cause back into the non-alien induced reasons.

Then there is Przybylski's Star, located roughly 370 light-years away, is showing seriously bizarre characteristics that suggest the presence of elements unknown to Earth or maybe aliens dumping heavy substances into it as a way to reveal their existence.

From Wikipedia:

In normal-sized stars like our sun, as it ages and runs low on hydrogen it gets hotter until it starts fusing its remaining fuel into iron. While the sun is even now slowly getting hotter when it fuses iron that when it goes seriously old age and does the expansion out beyond the orbit of our planet. No real worries though, without humans screwing things up, we've got about a billion years before the increasing temperature makes Earth too hot for liquid water and about another three billion before it gets incinerated.

When larger stars run out of fuel they go super nova, the temperatures and pressure involved in those explosions forge all the heavier elements like silver, gold, and many of the heavy elements being detected in Przybylski's Star. So, long story short with Przybylski being one classification bigger than our sun, and because it clearly hasn't exploded, why it contains those types of elements is quite bizarre.

The going non-alien explanation is that there is some source, like a nearby neutron star, feeding the elements into hot plasma that makes up the star. Another, almost as wild possibility as aliens, is that Przybylski's Star somehow contains a as yet unknown on Earth heavy element that is simply decaying into the ones listed above. Once again, how this unknown element was created without any nearby super nova remnants is a big mystery.

Just because when you eliminate all the other possibilities whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be considered. The one explanation half jokingly suggested is that aliens are producing mass quantities of heavy elements and then feeding them into Przybylski's Star in an attempt to get noticed by other intelligent species. A seriously fascinating idea but although, like Carl Sagan once said, extraordinary claims must come with extraordinary evidence. This method does seem crazy, but who can tell what another species with technology far more advanced than our own might consider a good idea.

Realistically, there is probably a far more reasonable explanation as to why Przybylski's Star has those wacky elements circulating in its plasma. For a short time scientists entertained the idea that pulsars, rapidly rotating neutron stars, might be navigational beacons for aliens cruising around in their starships. But for me Przybylski's Star and the curious nature of KIC 8462852 are enough to keep hope alive that the SETI guys and gals might just have an exciting announcement to share with the world one day.