Stone Suspension Bridges and Dim Suns

Obvious Errors in Science Fiction (and how to avoid them)


This is a situation in which the outlier dominates the observed behavior - Joe goes through hundreds of channels in a less than a minute, then settles down to watch a show for an hour, so the average amount of time he spends on a channel is very different from the time a someone stopping in is likely to observe.

This is relevant to the Fermi paradox as well - even if almost every technological species destroys itself in a century or less, a single outlier civilization that managed to start expanding into interstellar space would span the galaxy in a relatively short time.

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