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The Drake Equation is a simple little formula that allows one to calculate the number of civilisations in the galaxy. It is a tried and tested scientific means of working out the number of civilisations that pose a threat to the USA and indeed the world.
Here, using the latest information available to science and the most up to date techniques, I have recalculated the values for the Drake Equation showing that the National Defense Establishment must have its funds greatly increased (an unconventional view perhaps, but I am not biased and trapped by the establishment as certain low browed arriviste scoundrels are).
For our readers who don't know simple maths (surely the vast majority of you), you need not worry - this is so simple a child could master it.
Here is the Equation:
N = R* × fp × ne × fl × fi × fc × L
Let us run through the values one by one.
N= The number of communicative civilisations. This is the thing we are trying to work out, and it equals the multiple of all those funny symbols on the right hand side of the equals sign (again, for those of you who don't know any mathematics, I mean that when you multiply all the things on the right, you get the thing on the left. The symbols represent numbers, the numbers we are putting values on).
R* = The rate of formation of suitable stars. In other words, the rate of formation of stars with a large enough habitable zone (the bit Earth is in, not too hot and not too cold for life) and a long enough lifetime for life to develop.
This one is measured in star systems per year. Now, our galaxy is about 5 billion years old, and has about 5 billion stars. So the rate of formation is obviously 1 per year. The number of suitable stars is smaller though. It is obvious that all stars have a habitable zone - even the coolest of brown dwarves will have a region close enough to be inhabitable. So the only determinant we need worry about is lifespan. The only stars that don't live very long are giant stars, and they are very rare - only one star in a thousand is short lived. So we can safely say that R* = 0.999. This is established fact, there really isn't any other plausible value.
fp= The percentage of those stars which have planets. Well, here around the sun we have a mighty 9 planets, which suggests that planets are jolly common right off the bat.
There is more evidence - only recently have we had the technology to examine other stars for the existence of planets. And yet already, after just 5 years, we have found 67 planets not of Earthly origin. Given that we can only see the biggest planets as yet, this would suggest that these bodies are phenomenally common, and I feel no hesitation in giving fp a value of 95%.
Ne=The number of 'Earths' per planetary system. In other words, how many of these planets are in the habitable zone? This is very easy to calculate. In terms of temperature, the habitable zone is from -50 Celsius (The South Pole) to +50 Celsius (Sub Saharan Africa). The temperatures in the solar system range from 200 (Mercury, the hottest) to -200 (Pluto, the coldest). This is a range of 400 degrees, of which habitable is 100. So the habitable zone is 25% of the range out from any star, so therefore, by a process of simple logic, Ne = 25%.
fl = Percentage of those planets where life develops. This is where we leave uncertainty behind and start to have more of an idea of the figures. Life develops very easily indeed - for it is a simple process of complex forms replicating themselves. Salt, for example, is a form of life, for each layer of a salt crystal creates the next when in solution. It is thought that it is by this process that life first developed. As clays and salt solutions are extremely common on all planets, it is fair to say that this figure is extremely high. But I shall still be prudent and conservative, and pin the figure at 90%.
fi = Percentage of those planets which develop intelligent life. Given that you have life on a planet, how likely is it that intelligent life will develop? Well, again. I would say that this figure is very high indeed. As life develops by a evolutionary, Darwinian process, and as only the fittest survive, it is clear that any life form more intelligent than another will persevere. There is an inevitable, unstoppable pressure on creatures to become more intelligent. Therefore fi=90%, or thereabouts.
fc = Fraction of above where technology develops.This one is easy. All intelligent civilisations develop technology, otherwise they wouldn't be very intelligent now, would they? fc=100%.
L = Lifetime of these civilisations (years). This one is more difficult. The only thing that can destroy a civilisation is another civilisation. Otherwise, they are immortal. Given that conflict is extremely common, but that total annihilation is not, we can safely estimate that L = 1 Billion or so, if not more.
Multiplying all these numbers together, we see that N = 1,921,826 civilisations active now in our galaxy.
And there is more: Our galaxy is only 120,000 light years across. So the nearest civilisation to us will be in the nearest star to us, or possibly even in our own solar system - such as Jupiter or Venus.
This is the greatest threat Mankind has ever faced.
What happens when one civilisation meets another? Well, if one of the civilisations is more advanced that the other, then the inferior is completely subsumed. This is a law of nature. It is happening now - USian culture is flooding the world, not through force of arms, but through sheer superiority. The effects of even meeting a more advanced alien civilisation, even a supposedly friendly one, would be unthinkable. It is that end that certain far sighted organisations are already working to defend us against.
It is clear to me that the USA must increase hugely its space weapons programme, in order to defend the Human Race from the impending alien cultural imperialism. They will start insidiously, with simple prime numbers bleeped through space from far off stars, and then progress to music and plays, novels and TV programs - these hallmarks of what it is to be human will be supplanted by alien ideas.
I hope that with this revelation the USA does the right thing. When we hear those prime numbers being broadcast, we must switch our radio off and ignore the impure transmissions from far away. China succeeded in this aim when it turned away the Europeans, and retained their culture, where the Japanese did not (something we must be wary of). We should learn from these old, noble civilisations and do the same ourselves.
Curiosity can result in the death of identity - it is this we must fight to avoid.