I was inspired to post this onto my blog after reading a couple of threads about SF, and whether it was reasonably likely that aliens would ever really want to invade Earth.
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We've been told that the school my boys attend is going to set up it's own radio station. To get some content happening, all the children at the school have been learning some computer software called SuperDuper Music Looper. The radio station is to include lots of information about what is happening at the school. An endless loop of advertising. Imagine my joy.
Still, I must think instead of the aliens homing in on Earth from distant reaches and star-flung dimensions. (1) They will never find us without all these broadcasts to guide them in as well as to educate them about our ways. They have to dive through black and white episodes of things like the various Lucy shows, the Twilight Zone, early Dr Who, and so on. Then the use of colour. Then change of spectrum, or wave frequency, might give them something to think about on their way here as they swim through the soapies. Also, if they can get the language worked out, and can see the images as we see them, they might be diverted (2) by the shows themselves.
Surfing through the re-runs might cause their navigators some confusion, though, as might the retro-music fashions. Steering a course through space-time, as they would be doing, they may feel they have lost their bearings, have gone about in circles when they find themselves in troughs they thought they had already visisted. They might be mystified as to why old stuff is new again.
Not as mystified as the kids at school, though, who wonder how it is that their Mums know all the words to all the latest songs that have never even been heard before. The kids haven't been around long enough to experience retro music themselves.
Of course, if the aliens are energy beings, they might view the broadcasts in a different fashion than we do. They might run into a confusion similar to that of anyone who has ever mistaken a store dummy for a real person. (3)
Matter-beings more like ourselves might be better able to understand what they are looking at, assuming they have eyes and minds like ours and, on the whole, were not very alien at all. (4) They could watch Myth Busters and learn a lot about crash test dummies. They might wonder about the smallness of the myths being represented on that show, though. It's not like the Myth Busters guys ever test a real myth like "Can one word create a world?" or, "Does a stake through the heart really kill vampires?"
Of course, to test that last myth, the myth busters team would need some sort of vampire, which might be dangerous, so they'd have to use a crash test golem instead. With the right word on its head, the golem could represent the vampire, and then, should the stake thing turn out to be myth, the word could be peeled off the golem's head. Obviously, to a golem, the whole world from one word myth seems quite plausible.
Our travelling aliens, though, having finally come within the last five kilometres to Earth, would now be near enough to pick up the transmissions from our local school. After having come so far, and despite having learned to understand the transmissions they have been riding through, they would then find that they are not prepared for Earth at all. Instead, those last waves would tell them that it is, for instance, Teddy Bear day, and they they shojld have brought their bears, and/or come in casual clothes and brought a gold coin donation.
They'd probably just turn around and leave.