Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)
Currently, roughly 500 civilizations are known to the Alliance. Only 15 of those are extant. More than a half of the rest was discovered due to abnormal radioactive isotope spread and concentration on their former homeworlds, mainly Uranium-235.
Love this shutdown of "Humans are the real monsters", every species is going to have a dark spot in its history, or multiples of them. It's the sad part of being sapient, knowing that your kind has done bad.
Gharr's response that his own kind has done its dark deeds is in a way, hopeful. That they can rise above their past to be better, so can we. It also makes them easier to relate to knowing that they're not some all perfect beings like our human friend here is expecting them to be.
I just thought of something, wouldn't Gharrs internet/Wikipedia searches raise some red flags here?
Assuming the entire town is under surveillance by now, the sudden & unprompted searches for human history & language would draw some attention. (At least if those doing the surveilling know they're looking for an alien.)
I wonder if this is how the government/Quantum/"the ghosts" would find Gharr.
Quantum has, thus far, been very restricted in his searching to avoid detection, due mostly to the rules around contact. It's possible that he can be more direct now the leaders of Earth, at least, are aware but it depends if the revelation of these "ghost's" presence would require additional caution.
I'm uncertain if searches on human history and language in Wikipedia would really draw any attention. It'd be more searches about conspiracy stuff and alien landings but they have two things in their favour:
1. Dan is likely paranoid enough he has some protections in place for his browsing
2. Even if those protections aren't enough, searches about aliens and conspiracies probably aren't out of the norm for Dan's search history anyway
Honestly, if more than half of the 500 known civilizations were discovered due to indications of large scale nuclear war then you'd think that would permit another exemption to the first contact rule that once they hit nuclear weapons technology it's time to say hello and hold their hand a little through that part.
Then again, maybe its better for peace in the Alliance that the members have managed to reach space WITHOUT destroying themselves.
The "Great Filter" of unworthy civilisations. Rule 1: Don't kill yourselves. Rule 2: See Rule 1...
235U would be unused fuel of nukes, rather than fallout produced from those that did explode. For long-extinct-by-nuclear-war civilizations, 241Am would be a better indicator (as 137Cs, 131I and 90Sr have shorter half-times) ...
97Tc and 98Tc are extremely long-lived (half-life of 4.2some million years), even when compared to 241Am (432.2 years), so, given that the war has been long enough since, they will become the better indicators. However, there aren't lots of either produced in nuclear warfare.
60Co and 152Eu are said to be particularly indicative of nuclear weapons blasts, and 137Cs and 90Sr would be the best gauges on how deadly the contamination would have been for lifeforms such as ourselves, but all those have much shorter half-lives, between a couple years and somewhat over a century.
Thanks, been decades since I worried about these things and frankly. I was more worried about patient survival/decontamination because that's what I did for a living. I never had time to worry draining the Nile when I'm up to my eyebrows in Hippopotami. I say it that way because it's way more serious than swamps and alligators.