UPDATE: Well, maybe not.

The United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before – and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any “first contact”.

During a talk Othman gave recently to fellow scientists, she said: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials.

“When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.”

Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law and governance at the UK Space Agency and who leads British delegations to the UN on such matters, said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person.”

  1. Mikey Twit says:

    This isn’t The Onion? Really? Every time I think the UN is completely useless, they go and prove me right!

  2. Dallas says:

    Good idea to make it a scientist instead of some religious loon that will just get us all zapped or eaten.

  3. jbenson2 says:

    Dallas stays amazingly true to form and supports a scientist who will be “allegedly” our first contact with a space creature.

  4. UncDon says:

    News of the Weird

    qurpq Js//am, the /jrqw of the ?MMc./z tribe (orbiting the star Rigel) was glad the Malaysian footstool was provided promptly …

  5. Terwilliger Ernest Meistershaft says:

    This assumes the aliens will even care we have a ‘leader’ (I nominate GWB).

    More likely, they will say: “We are your leaders, resistance is futile.”

    If the aliens are friendly, the Christian Taliban or Muslim Jihaists will kill them all if the don’t convert, that is, if the gun nuts don’t use them for target practice first.

  6. LDA says:

    I am sure the aliens will realise the U.N. doesn’t represent anyone.

  7. RexOfRome says:

    Did you ever notice on Star Trek that whenever they arrive a planet they radio to the surface and somebody is alway standing by to talk to them. Now we will have the same capability. Boring job, they will have a long wait.

  8. Holdfast says:

    @LDA – who represents you then?
    Your Representatives? By all accounts they represent whoever paid them.
    Obama? I suspect he represents opinions that you do not hold – even if he won an election.
    Some shaven headed general with an IQ of 105 making him the cleverest grunt around? I suspect that this is your choice.
    I want an intelligent & educated person who is prone to thinking.

  9. bobbo, to infinity and beyond says:

    Aliens will land where human activity is most pronounced: near Shanghai. I don’t think the Chinese will turn over the event to the UN.

  10. Gary, the dangerous infidel says:

    When you go to the zoo, do you always ask to see the head zookeeper? No, you probably just look at the most interesting exhibits and go home, maybe grabbing a burger at McDonald’s for the trip.

    Earth is the interplanetary zoo (and the butt of many alien jokes), and none of our visitors so far have asked to see our leaders. They only ask directions to the nearest McDonald’s.

  11. Dallas says:

    Unfortunately, they will probably go to the pope.
    If you were an alien, wouldn’t you go to the guy with the biggest headdress, jewelry and lives in a castle?

  12. Mr. Fu says:

    This is kinda like MIT in the 80’s having a Time Travelers Press Conference. Though, a time travelers attributes are simply applied to surfing the concept of time being a static ripple. Those that surf between dimensions beyond our perceptions would be less likely to stop off for tea and crumpets at an organization that, well…Africa in the past 20 years.

  13. Mike says:

    I agree #7 LDA

    If they are smart enough to get here, you’d think they might do some observation before they land and realize what a joke the UN is.

    Of course, if you go with the theory that a race of aliens is going to try to take over earth posing as our saviors, then yes, they will be going to the UN first…so I wouldn’t listen to any aliens who are working with the UN.

  14. Mike says:

    #9 Holdfast
    I represent me. I’d assume that the aliens would be contacting people individually or in small groups.

    I’d be weary of any aliens wishing to communicate with a government or the mass media. They wouldn’t be that dumb, unless they had ulterior motives.

  15. LDA says:

    # 9 Holdfast

    I do. Although outside forces have the power to dictate to me they do not represent me. I do however accept the theoretical benefits of having elected representatives for matters pertaining to wider sociological and logistic matters but my interests quite often conflict with the wishes of the majority. I certainly prefer that to a body in which any low life dictator has as much say as democratically elected representatives and where five countries (including Russia and China) may veto anything that doesn’t suit their interests (effectively trumping the will of the rest of the world).

    It doesn’t matter if you would choose “an intelligent & educated person who is ‘prone to thinking.”!? the U.N.’s does not care what you think and will not ask your opinion (which was my point).

    Furthermore, if you think a astrophysicist’s skills extend to diplomatic relations with theoretical alien species and would rather a corrupt, unelected body act on your behalf in choosing them for the task, maybe you are right to let others make decisions for you. Regardless I do not give the U.N. the authority to act on my behalf (and they don’t care about that either).

    Why would someone that realises ‘their’ elected representatives do not work in the peoples interests believe the U.N. does? Flawed logic don’t you think? Do your interests generally allign with China’s and Russia’s (or even America’s)?

    What would lead you to the fallacious conclusion that I would choose “Some shaven headed general…”? Rather a strange leap to make.

    P.S. I would tentatively defer to Ms. Othman on matters pertaining to astrophysicist but would seek other opinions.

    P.P.S. I wonder how much the U.N. is paying this ambassador and how many thousands of starving children it could feed with the money (as if the U.N. cares about that).

  16. LDA says:

    # 17 Alfred Persson

    I think evolutionary biologists dislike the idea of superior or inferior life forms, but I get what you mean. One example (group) would be parasitoids. You could also say domestic (non-slaughtered) animals like dogs and cats or farm animals (i.e. less horrible death by wolf etc.). There are quite a few examples.

  17. this is sirius says:

    Your alien overlords shall soon arrive on your miserable plants.

    You humans will soon pay dearly for your puppys in river atrocity!

    It will be our turn , low-hair apes!!!!!

    Mwhaaaa Haa Haa !!!

  18. LDA says:

    #21 Alfred Persson

    Pretty much.

  19. RSweeney says:

    The UN is proof that you don’t want third world cleptocrat morons running the Earth.

    Or to have access to OPM (other people’s money).

  20. clancys_daddy says:

    As there is no evidence that evolution is directional. The possibility of life on other planets simply due to the probably overwhelming number of planets is statistically high, to the point of an almost certainty. The odds of an “intelligent” life form very low. The earth has one possibly two intelligent life form depending on the definition of intelligence. If you use a common theme of brain size vs body size you get humans and dolphins. Brain,or body size alone won’t work. That’s two species out of the millions currently on the planet and the millions more that are extinct. Toss in, intelligent enough to find away around a couple of very pesky physics issues would reduce that further. Willing to come here? Pretty much none. So the odd are pretty much the same as finding a virgin in a whore house.

  21. animby - just phoning it in says:

    I’m not much of a theist but, god save us if the UN gets to manage any first contact!

    In the meantime, here;s a woman who has just obtained a more or less lifetime job who must now start to build a small bureaucracy, will get an excellent salary plus perqs for living in NYC and frequent business class travel back and forth from Malaysia and will produce reams of meaningless documents all for a situation the is (at best) unlikely to ever to occur.

    And we, the citizens of the United States, are funding 22% of the costs for this fiasco.

  22. Dallas says:

    #28 Pedrito. If aliens showed up in your village, my guess they would pick your mule as the more interesting life form with a less offensive smell to take on board the saucer.

    You’re a disgrace to the human species.

  23. RexOfRome says:

    Does this mean that when Jesus comes back that he is going to have to deal with the U.N. instead of the Pope? Gods are aliens, right?

  24. MikeN says:

    Unfortunately, Mazlar Othman in their language, means killer of the enemy.

  25. MikeN says:

    Bobbo, why China? It has the most people but the aliens can’t see national boundaries. India has about the same population with 1/3 the are, so it is more dense. Bangladesh even more so.
    Or perhaps they will go to Japan or New York based on the night lights.


  26. MikeN says:

    Shouldn’t the proper pick have been Al Gore?
    He always is blathering about ‘this planet’ like he is an alien. He walks like he is an alien wearing a human-suit. And he was born 9 months after Roswell…

  27. LDA says:

    UN denies alien ambassador plan.

    The United Nations has dismissed media reports that it is planning to appoint an ambassador to be the first point of contact with aliens.

    Britain’s Sunday Times had reported that a UN official had been given the task of co-ordinating humanity’s response if extraterrestrials make contact.

    However, the official in question, Malaysian astrophysicist Mazlan Othman, says that while she likes the idea of being an alien ambassador, the job does not exist.

    – BBC

  28. Someone says:

    Wow! Anybody else experience “lost time” reading this thread?


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