Friday, January 13, 2006

 

Alien Web?

You are browsing eBay on the Web with an alien. You will buy the alien any object in the following list that the alien chooses. Which do you think the alien will choose? Why? Which object is the least likely to be chosen by the alien?

1. Several unpolished ancient Roman coins all from Thrace and the Balkan peninsula after the Roman conquest in 46 AD.
2. Anna Kournikova poster (25" x 35"), never used, along with a protective mailing tube.
3. Burlap sack containing uncut emeralds straight from a Brazilian mine.
4. 100 top-selling CDs
5. Chess set comprising a solid glass board with alternating frosted squares, along with chess pieces made of clear glass.
6. A box containing Adobe PhotoShop software.
7. A 10 by 14 foot handmade Kerman Persian rug.
8. Grandfather wall clock of beautifully crafted cherry wood, with glass front revealing a swinging pendulum. The clock chimes twice on the hour and once every half hour.
9. French empire crystal chandelier, dressed with 24% lead hand-cut crystal. This chandelier is characteristic of the grand chandeliers that decorated the finest European palaces.
10. Cute giraffe pair with intertwined necks (small statue).
11. American-flag, alabastrite bookends adorned with highly-detailed renditions of eagles.

Comments:
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My thoughts, broken down by object:

1. Several unpolished ancient Roman coins all from Thrace and the
Balkan peninsula after the Roman conquest in 46 AD. Possible, since
they can't be bought back in the alien land. However, I doubt an alien
would understand the value of these coins since it doesn't know when
or where 46 AD in Thrace is.

2. Anna Kournikova poster (25" x 35"), never used, along with a
protective mailing tube. No. The alien isn't going to be interested in
a picture of a human, and in fact probably thinks people look
disgusting (but hopefully is too polite to mention that to me). The
protective mailing tube isn't a plus either, since it's bound to be
made of cardboard and the alien can get tubes made of much sturdier
materials back home.
3. Burlap sack containing uncut emeralds straight from a Brazilian
mine. This depends on what minerals are common on the alien world. If
the alien lives in a house carved out of a solid emerald block, these
are going to be totally useless. On the other hand, if emeralds are
very rare and very much in demand (the way they are here), this choice
is much more favorable. I'm guessing, though, that the alien's never
heard of emeralds before, so probably not.
4. 100 top-selling CDs. Maybe. If the alien can figure out how to play
them, then definitely yes. Human music can't be found anywhere back in
alienville. But if the alien can't play these (especially if it
doesn't know that CDs contain music) then no.
5. Chess set comprising a solid glass board with alternating frosted
squares, along with chess pieces made of clear glass. No. The alien
has its own intellectual games, and may not even understand the "war"
theme that is central to chess.
6. A box containing Adobe PhotoShop software. Almost no. The alien has
ways of editing images, probably far more advanced than this. But it's
possible that the alien wants to bring back a sample of human
programming.
7. A 10 by 14 foot handmade Kerman Persian rug. Quite possible.
Certainly alien art will be totally different from Persian rugs.
However, the alien may not have the same aesthetic sense as humans.
8. Grandfather wall clock of beautifully crafted cherry wood, with
glass front revealing a swinging pendulum. The clock chimes twice on
the hour and once every half hour. This seems very likely. Not only is
it the only choice composed of a large amount of organic matter, but
it's also a timekeeping device. Aliens probably don't understand our
concepts of past, present, and future, at least not the way we do, but
I'm sure they'd be interested in them.
9. French empire crystal chandelier, dressed with 24% lead hand-cut
crystal. This chandelier is characteristic of the grand chandeliers
that decorated the finest European palaces. No. The alien doesn't know
jack about European palaces.
10. Cute giraffe pair with intertwined necks (small statue). Possible.
It represents an Earth species, which is good, but it's cute, which is
probably bad. Not even all humans like cute, so I don't think aliens
will either.
11. American-flag, alabastrite bookends adorned with highly-detailed
renditions of eagles. Likely. Detail is good, as are images of Earth
species. However, they're not as interesting as the grandfather clock.

In conclusion: the grandfather clock is the most likely and the poster
is the least likely.
 
I agree with anonymous.

The grandfather clock would be the interesting one for an alien.
The concept of time to them would be anachronistic to them.

I can't see any of the other stuff being very interesting to an intergalactic visitor.
A bag of gems would be as curious as a bag of dirt. "Oh, thanks," they'd say, "for the box of rocks. Much obliged."
 
I don't know. I think the question is kind of vague. What's the purpose of the alien buying an item? What kind of alien is it? I guess if it was a cultural exchange of sorts, I would hope the alien would choose the chess set, and not choose software. Well, let's say MY alien would choose the chess set and not the software. The software doesn't really say anything about who we are, except for maybe our level of technology. Shrug, I don't really have a firm opinion.
 
The alien would pick:
Chess set-lots of interesting pieces to toy with and study. Maybe the alien would come up with its own game or theory.

Box with Adobe photoshop-Boring and pointless cardboard box with plastic stuff in it. The aliens back home won't be amused.
 
I would say that the alien would choose the uncut emeralds because it is pretty obvious that uncut emeralds would be something integral to a UFO's engine. After all, if the alien had to resort to ebay, things must be pretty desperate.

I think the CD's would be the last choice. Radio signals are constantly bled from the earth.
 
Assuming the alien is unfamiliar with humans.

1. Chess set...the games people play usually portray some cultural importance. The human mind is revealed in this more than any other object.

2. 100 CDs unique music...reveals inner human desires, it shows our emotional side unlike the chess set's intellectual side.

3. Anna Kournikova...because she's hot! Actually a picture of a human would be important to take home to show friends if they weren't familiar with humans.

4. Adobe software...how do humans build artifical intelligence (even if it's on very low level). The first signs that humans are beginning to learn how to build their future successors (Robo-sapian).

5. Roman coins...a bit of human history from the most powerful human empire to exist. Also a symbol of one of humanity's biggest drives in life: money.

6. Grandfather clock... Simplistic and boring. Like wanting a slide rule when you already have a quantum computer. Human obsession with time is only interesting reason to buy and show friends back home.

7-11 Emeralds, rug, chandelier, giraffes, American flag bookends...all works of art probably to an alien that may have unknown value. The emeralds could probably be manufactured on alien homeworld.
 
the chandelier. the bigger and sparklier the better.
 
exactly how would one use that AK poster now?
 
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Emeralds would be the creature's least likely choice, since emeralds are probably not unique to Earth.
 
the alien has chosen the CD's....with the same penetrative scan first used to liquify my bodily pod and engage me here it seems to have determined most certainly that that is his objective. The alien scans into my machine and interfacing with the alien my perceptions are able to follow his like a person on a bicycle following a car and I see that he has reviewed the connection of information as far as the reconnections of sources will allow and passed approval back up to his galactic directors that indeed this ebay thing seems to be a reputable and reliable way to gain hold of the very information which has been responsible in large part for polluting the universe even at its most remotely receding borders.
 
Depending on the alien's motives, research or profit....

If research, probably the picture of Kornikova and if profit probably the clock.
 
What are you looking for today?
 
I would think that he would choose the CD's because simply put they give the best glimpse of our society as a whole
 
The chess set. I'm guessing anyone from anyplace would enjoy challenging games.
The least likely would be Anna.Being an alien he would probably think she was ugly, if you can even imagine such an absurd thought.
 
Since I know nothing about the alien's culture, likes or dislikes, it is no more than random words for me to answer.

So I'll go this way- I am the alien & I know nothing about the items other than his brief explanation.

My choice would be the handcrafted rug, which I could use, or the beautiful chess set, which I could learn to play.

And since this is for me, last on my list would be the cd's or the software.

Remember, this is for the alien himself, not for his species or how valuable it might be.
 
I say the alien will pick a Floor Clock. That sounds fresher than grandfather clocks.
 
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