Frequently Asked Questions

 

Over the years people have asked a lot of questions, many of which I could not possibly answer.  However, Bob did talk about some of these subjects, and I think I remember some of what he said fairly clearly.  A lot of this is of a somewhat mundane nature, so rather than figuring out where to edit it all into the Conversation, I'll just stick it here.  This material comes from the infamous Lost Messages, by way of my all-too-fallible memory, so some of this is probably completely wrong.

 

Q:  Is this just fictional, or did it really happen?

A:  See here.

 

Q:  How did Bob get here?

A:  Inside a meteor.

They always arrive this way.  It's quite stealthy, and suits their purposes quite well.

They journey into the Solar System inside nanoships that are specially designed for this mode of travel.  The ship is encased within a protective shell composed of common meteoric materials, held together with a polymeric binder.  The shell helps protect them from cosmic rays and solar flares, and from the searing heat of atmospheric entry.

They do all of their deceleration and course changes far from Earth, where they are well beyond our ability to observe them.  By the time they approach this planet, they have already been aimed precisely where they want to go.  If anyone does see them, they look exactly like ordinary (albeit large) meteors streaking through the sky.

They generally arrive on a moonless night, and are targeted for the deep ocean, miles from shipping lanes.  Just before they strike the water, the outer shell is discarded into the sea, and the ship flies off towards its final destination.  The binder in the shell is water-soluble, and dissolves away completely, leaving ordinary meteoric materials to sink to the bottom.

These ships are designed with stealth properties similar to those used in modern stealth aircraft.  They always travel at sub-sonic speeds, with no lights showing, and maintain complete radio silence.  Nobody ever sees these ships, as they are not part of the "public relations campaign" fleet.

These arrivals happen only rarely.  They don't need to come here very often.  They already have a number of permanently staffed facilities here, deep underground, which are the homes of the locally built "public relations campaign" fleet.

I don't think Bob ever mentioned what method they use to leave this planet, although he did imply that they did so occasionally.

 

Q: What methods do they use to monitor us?

A: Aside from their rare field trips, they have primarily watched us from afar.  For many millennia, they watched with very large cameras concealed beneath the surface of the Moon as we destroyed forests and built farms, roads and cities.  But within the last century, these cameras were removed or covered up to prevent our discovering them.

They also have a network of radio monitoring devices in deep space.  It was completed many thousands of years ago, but sat mostly idle until the 19th century when humans started playing with serious electrical circuits.  It detected Marconi's first transmissions, and could not help but notice Tesla's efforts.

Most of these facilities are located above the Earth's poles, many billions of miles up.  From these two vantage points, they can monitor our radio and television transmissions continuously.  It seems to me that optical or radar observations might reveal these outposts to us, although Bob didn't think this was too likely.

Of course, they are now monitoring some of our computer networks.  Bob said that this is their most important source of information, and that arranging for this was not easy.

During the 1950's and 1960's, they knew we were building computers, because they saw such things depicted in television programs.  So some time during this period they started to hack.

They concentrated on our universities.  Universities are easy to locate in aerial surveys, are early adopters of computers, and tend not to have really good physical security, so they are perfect targets.  Finding the computers was easy, because they were huge and consumed monstrous amounts of electricity.  All they had to do was perform infrared surveys of college campuses at night, and each computer room would stick out like a sore thumb.

Once they located a building containing a mainframe, they entered the building through a ventilation shaft and mapped the building, staying mostly within the walls and ceilings and floors.  (Obviously, this is done with tiny nanoships.)  They tapped into data cables with microscopic probes, and eavesdropped on all the bits flitting by.  They also watched people at work, reading printouts and CRT screens through tiny holes in the acoustic ceiling tiles.  All this monitoring was completely passive;  they did not inject their own signals, but merely listened and watched.  This phase of the project went on for years, as they slowly built up an understanding of the particulars of our developing computer technology.

Around 1970, universities started installing timesharing systems.  When they began to see rooms full of pimply geeks parked in front of CRT screens at all hours of the day and night, they began to hack actively, safe in the anonymity of numbers.  By this time they understood ASCII and EBCDIC and how serial bitstreams were arranged, and they had already built their own terminal emulators, so it was fairly straightforward to get in. They obtained administrative usernames and passwords by watching over people's shoulders as they logged on, and used these to set up fictitious users they could log on as.  They were very careful never to hack destructively, and in fact they set up sizable quality assurance teams to evaluate potential inputs before anyone ever pressed a key on a (virtual) keyboard.  They logged on very rarely, only to confirm some suspected hypothesis about the operation of some particular system.

When people started connecting computers together, they were watching.  They intercepted the transmissions of the early ALOHAnet of the University of Hawaii, which later evolved into Ethernet.  And when the early ARPANET was first tested, they watched with great interest  -  they watched through a hole in the ceiling as the first node was powered up at UCLA.

So they were monitoring the nascent Internet from Day One.  As before, this was almost entirely passive, and was limited to traffic within university networks.  And they could only monitor a small sampling of the packets.  They didn't particularly care what people were saying to each other;  they were simply making sure they could understand the traffic.

They also went to some trouble to understand the instruction sets of our computers.  They could copy binary executable files (and sometimes source code) through the networks they had hacked, and also managed to obtain documentation for CPU instruction sets and the like.  So by the time the Internet explosion happened, they were ready to roll:  They could connect into the global network like everyone else, and had good emulations of personal computers, complete with application software.  They surfed the Net with the rest of us, and started lurking in newsgroups and chat rooms, and even came out of lurk mode once in a while to fry someone's neurons with overdoses of weirdness.

They also scoped out the internal architecture of our computers, and would occasionally put bugs into our hardware.  They got so good at this that they could attach tiny gizmos underneath CPU chips and watch the system buses at work.  This allowed them to monitor the internal workings of our computers, and even fiddle with the bits when they needed to.  For example, they could deliver faked e-mail messages to your machine, that had never passed through any network.  Although Bob never admitted it, I suspect they may have done this to me  -  this may explain how some of Bob's messages mysteriously disappeared from my hard disk after I had read them.

There were a few things Bob wanted to be really clear about:

  1. They didn't hack into defense networks and other secure systems.  They didn't want to run the risk of being detected by security mechanisms they were not yet aware of, and (frankly) there wasn't anything going on in these systems that they even cared about.
  2. They never made any serious effort to monitor our telephone networks.  They did figure out how the systems worked, but didn't feel any need to listen to our conversations.  They were more interested in our computer traffic.
  3. They went to considerable trouble to get up to speed on our computers as quickly as possible, because they knew that at some point we would invent and implement systems that would make the networks much harder to hack.  (This hasn't happened yet on any meaningful scale, but may happen in not too many years, so they were right to move quickly into this window of opportunity.)
  4. They don't transmit anything off-world in real time (in fact, they never transmit anything, period).  Instead, they archive data into physical storage, and then they physically ship the storage media off the planet on some kind of vehicle, for later analysis by hoards of interested parties who live out in the Oort Cloud.  They have ultimate nanotechnology, so they can cram many terabytes into something that could fit in your pocket.

There was one other thing that Bob was rather vague about, but he did drop some awfully tantalizing hints.  He said that they have some absolutely huge web servers installed and ready to go.  He implied that these servers contain copies of some of the amazing virtual worlds that comprise Bob's world, and that you will be able to visit them someday.  Presumably you will need a broadband Internet connection, and powerful 3-D rendering hardware like the kind that will probably become commonplace by the end of 2001.  When the time is right, they will somehow connect these massive servers into the Internet, and then you'll be able to actually meet some of Bob's friends.

 

Q:  Okay, so they're monitoring us...  what exactly are they watching for?

A:  Bob said that different people look at different things.

Apparently, many of them look at the same stuff you do.  They get big collections of archived Web pages, complete with graphics and mp3 files and all, and they surf it just like anybody else.

They are aware that a lot of the stuff on the Internet is garbage.  Doesn't matter, our World Wide Web is pretty popular off-world.  By now, it's probably more popular than our television programs.

But to many specialists, it is more than entertainment.  As Bob said elsewhere, they are using the Internet to evaluate our growing comprehension of other worlds and other states of being, as these are the signposts that lead to Contact.

Bob told me that the signs show up first on the Internet, because it's the place where anybody can publish for free, and it's basically uncensored.  Ideas do show up on television, but they're always dumbed down and sanitized there.  Television is a controlled medium, steered by corporations and governments and big religion and other power structures, while the Internet is the place where the individual can be in control.

Freedom of expression is essential to any discussion of Bob's world, because of dramatic differences at the level of culture, philosophy, morality, and ethics.

 

Q:  Well, the Internet has been around for a while now...  Why don't we hear more people talking about these things?

A:  I've talked with a lot of people about such things.  Generally, the discussion only goes so far, and then it breaks down.  And I think I'm beginning to understand why.

It's not difficult to get people to entertain certain hypotheses, at least at first.  But when you try to take them to their logical conclusions, most people balk.  It's simple fear that stops them.

What is your biggest fear?  The big, secret one that you won't ever admit to, or even think about?  For most people, I think it's this:

That someday, we will learn that everything we believe in, our core beliefs, are simply illusions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright Douglas S. Jones. All rights reserved.