This is about the only place I can post my 2 cents' worth about Project Serpo (as described in Len Kasten's book Secret Journey to Planet
. It's related to a comment that Byrd made in www.abovetopsecret.com...
The stated mission was to go to the Eben homeworld and learn their science and technology and bring it back. Instead of taking chemical and
industrial engineers, mathemeticians, physicists, astronomers, electrical engineers and chemists, the team is filled out by: one leader, two
linguists, three "scientists", two pilots, and two guards. Oh yeah... they're "crosstrained".
First of all, there are places *on Earth* where you don't dare drink the water, yet the crew drank a milky white liquid with "unknown compounds" in
it for thirteen years? Were they (the crew and the military planners) nuts? Didn't they think to take along a junior chemistry kit so that they could
identify, say, mercury?
Second of all, and my major contribution, mathematics learned from the Ebens would be considered to be the safest sort of information to release to
the general public. (I'm a mathematician, teaching at a university in the United States.) The only reference to mathematics in Kasten's book,
though, is Eben learning how to do addition and multiplication. NO WORD about how these basic operations are done with the Ebens, not even whether
they use a base-10 system. (Either answer would be important.)
Also, the team passed up a chance to ask about two very famous unsolved mathematics problems (at the time): The Four-Color Theorem and Fermat's Last
Theorem. The 4CT has to do with coloring maps, so any society which draws maps would have run across it. Since you can't build a warship or an atomic
bomb with proofs of either of these results, why wouldn't the Ebens provide their proof(s) of these results?
(A few years ago, a "psychic" claimed to be in contact with an advanced civilization that predicted a pole shift in 2012. She opened herself up for
suggestions to ask of this race, and I suggested a proof of the 4CT. She went nuts, which convinced me that she was faking it.)
I could go on, but people have probably torn this thing to shreds. (A "leader" who doesn't know that the past tense of "lead" is spelled "led"
... The "Kirk Allen" response to "what about all the cassettes and documentation?" ... technology (other than space travel) that is only decades
ahead of us ... no air conditioning ...) My personal feeling is that this is a combination of several science fiction stories, with a few details from
reality thrown in, with themes/episodes like Preparation, The Voyage, One Crew Member Dies En Route, Their System of Time, Dreams of Home, Food, A
Glance At Their Science, The Deep Dark Secret, A Male Leader Who Is Hostile To The Hero(s), A Female Being Who Is Friendly, The Return, ... Nothing a
gifted sci-fi writer couldn't have come up with. (That's why I don't buy a CE3K / Serpo connection as well.) There aren't any day-to-day comments,
either, which would support the feel of what happens over a long amount of time. ("123 decided to start shaving his beard again.")
****, I went on anyway. I'll stop now. Really.