Proposed for OLLI Manchester fall of 2017 ... short URL is: https://is.gd/DrakesLastTerm
Radio astronomer Frank Drake proposed an equation that calculates the number of communicating civilizations in the Universe. The "Last Term" (L) is the length of time an intelligent civilizations releases detectable signals into space. Clearly for a given civilization this has a start time, and most likely has an end time. Pessimists have observed that the technology for global self destruction emerges about the same time as the technology for extraterrestrial communications and the absence of signals may indicate that few civilizations survive long enough to connect with galactic neighbors.
This class will focus on the only known such civilization and ask the question, "can we survive?".
The class will use perspectives from a number of trends and futurists to identify the factors involved, the challenges we face, and discuss how we might respond.