962: The Corliss Resolution
|The Corliss Resolution
Title text: And no avian society ever develops space travel because it's impossible to focus on calculus when you could be outside flying.
Jeb Corliss is a professional BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer, like in the fourth panel. Corliss has jumped from a lot of different buildings and monuments in the world. He's publicly taken the position that the dangers of his activity are irrelevant, because the ability to effectively fly is so incredible and compelling that nothing can dissuade him from doing so.
The Fermi paradox is the question of why humans have yet to detect any evidence of extraterrestrial life. The name apparently arose from a discussion between Enrico Fermi and several other physicists, in which they were discussing the vastness of the universe and the huge numbers of inhabited planets that were likely, which supposedly caused Fermi to exclaim, "So where the hell is everybody?" The argument is that, given the number of intelligent species we were expect to exist in the galaxy, and the amount of time we would expect them to have existed, it's surprising that we haven't observed some evidence of their existence, or even been visited by them yet.
There are a number of different theories to explain this apparent paradox, ranging from life (or intelligent life) being rarer than we expect to the signs of alien intelligent being hidden or hard to detect, to the lifetime of an intelligent civilization being generally short. The last theory is most relevant to this strip, as some hypothesize that any sufficiently advanced civilization will develop the tools to destroy itself, and will almost inevitably use them, sooner or later. This suggests that the galaxy may be littered with collapsed or extinct civilizations that never gained the means to contact us.
Randall proposes a different (and rather more fun) theory: before they can develop space travel and the like, civilizations will inevitably invent an "activity more fun than survival." That is, something fun that's also very dangerous, such as flying off a cliff in a wingsuit. This also suggests that most intelligent civilizations collapse, but instead of happening due to war or reckless science, it happens because something becomes so fun that beings do it until it kills them.
As said in the title text, a being that can already fly (hence "avian society") would probably prefer flying around outside over developing the tools needed for space colonization.
See 384: The Drake Equation for another comic about intelligent life in the universe.
- [Cueball with an unusual suit runs right with a small cloud behind his legs. The frame of the panel is only two thirds the normal height and above the frame is the text from the narrator:]
- Narrator: The Fermi Paradox: Planets are so common that life should be too. So where is it?
- [Cueball keeps running with the small cloud behind his legs. Above him there are two frames with narration:]
- Narrator: Well, now we know.
- Narrator: It's not that life inevitably destroys itself with war.
- [Cueball leaps into the air off a jagged cliff edge with gray cliffs. The image frame only covers a small part of the center of this panel. Narration text is shown both above and below the image:]
- Narrator: It's just that it takes longer to develop space colonization.
- Narrator: Than it does to invent an activity
- [A Youtube video is shown with the usual icons in the black bar below the image; play, volume, full screen etc. The video shows Cueball soaring downwards as indicated with four speed lines behind his spread out arms and legs. The strange suit has opened up revealing it to be a wingsuit. The sound is on and Cueball can be heard. Above the video frame there is a final narration text in a frame. Two people are watching the video together off-panel and their comments are shown below in two voice bubbles with arrows pointing left and right.]
- Narrator: More fun than survival.
- Cueball: Wheeeee!
- Off-panel voice #1: Holy crap.
- Off-panel voice #2: I don't care how dangerous it is. I have to try it.
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!