ET, Please Phone Home

If you’re a habitual This American Life radio listener like I am, you might have heard the story about a guy who has differences with his dad in the program entitled “Go Ask Your Father.”

Unlike most father-son conflicts, this one wasn’t about sports, report cards, or borrowing the car to make out with the girl next door. Noooo. Paul Tough (now an editor at The New York Times Magazine) didn’t understand why his dad, a university professor, has spent so much energy trying to get ET to phone home. Or rather, phone us.

In fact, I thought you might enjoy a peek at the webpage where Prof. Allen Tough is asking any and all interested extraterrestrials to contact his organization. I thought it might be a simple form, but apparently Prof. Tough has higher expectations than I do of ETs.

And here’s the list of questions compiled from suggestions from over 200 humans, in which we ask about how humanity is holding up against its intelligent peers, and how aliens get it on, among other things.

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