[ExI] Wrath of the Old Ones

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Tue Apr 28 06:06:15 UTC 2015

Some time ago we talked here about banking matter for future use when
ultralow cosmic background greatly magnifies its usefulness for
computations. Now I am wondering what kind of approach would the Old Ones
use to prevent weeds from sprouting among the galaxies they tend to.

At first glance, I would think they would simply extinguish stars and
possibly store matter in containers too small to trigger nuclear fusion but
large enough to be gravitationally stable. When the time comes, in 10e100
years, they would awaken, and haul the frozen carcasses to the remaining
black holes, and carefully stoke quasar fires again. But how do you prevent
rapacious little critters from crawling out of every damp piece of rock
every couple of billion years or so?

It's worth noting that simply snuffing out stars won't stop initiation of
life. Life on Earth most likely started from an energy source independent
of the sunlight - from proton concentration gradients in alkaline seeps,
powered by serpentinization of peridotite. Surely there are many other
potential energy gradients that can power pre-biotic evolution.

Keeping tabs on the world over eons will be a tall order. The Old Ones
would need unfailing will, an unwavering commitment through the long night,
absolute unity, since factionalism would almost certainly devolve into ever
shorter term fights over resources. The would need to stay lean, so as not
to use up negentropy too quickly but not too lean to swat emerging bipeds
pronto. Any parasite capable of boosting its von Neumann spores to high
sublight speeds could spread appallingly fast, and promptly convert the
stored matter into yet more parasites.

The coming night, in mere 10 - 20 billions of years, will be the canvas of
titanic struggles among grim forces acting over trillion-year horizons.

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