I for one welcome our insect overlords...
As for FTL... Alcubierre?
I know, I know- that's cheating. The exotic matter needed is prohibitively expensive, energy-wise. (On the order of what Thomas said for some of the other projects he mentioned.)
I await my photo of Rog standing on his doorstep as a lukewarm North Sea laps at his toes, screaming "Global warming is a plot by greedy scientists!"
Let's see YOUR data that faster than light travel IS possible, Rog. Fair is fair... :o)
I will admit that I keep my mind open an this one, though. Newtonian physics was the bomb, until Einstein. Who's to say that some future model won't be JUST A LITTLE BIT BETTER, just as relativity was just a little bit better than Newtonian physics? A Grand Unified Theory?Then, maybe we'll find a loophole.
But, yeah, under current models FTL is a non-starter.
The Fermi paradox has problems. It assumes that ancient cultures don't go extinct at a significant rate. What if the lifespan of intelligent races is very finite? Then we'd have to hope that one was nearby at the moment, and we haven't been looking very long.
Still, it's a fair question.
I read a decent story once that adressed Ben's concerns about broadcasting into space. The Earth was eventually destroyed when Von Neumann machines from an alien race dropped a slug of neutronium and a slug of antineutronium into the Earth. They orbited the core until drag slowed them down and they met in the center. (The antineutronium was so massive that relatively little mass was lost to interaction with the Earth, but it gave off LOTS of radiation.) Boom. No Earth.
But the sequel was even better. It centered around a group of humans out searching the local region in relativistic spacecraft looking for the perpetrators. Eventually they found them, but they had protected themselves well. The planet-killers had uploaded themselves into computers and were no longer material, but they had engineered a sentient race that still lived in their home solar system, and that was INNOCENT. And to boot, the innocent race thought that the planet-killers were their gods. To wreak vengeance upon the planet-killers meant annihilating this innocent race, too.
Quite a moral quagmire...
But, of course, the humans just destroyed the planet, anyway, and to hell with the innocents.