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Are we alone in the Galaxy? Fossil Fuels as a possible "Great Filter" in answer to the Fermi Paradox

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The Fermi Paradox and the "Great Filter" If you aren't familiar with the Fermi Paradox, it goes something like this:

Assume Earth is a fairly typical planet orbiting a fairly typical but relatively young star. Billions of such planets exist in our galaxy, many of which should evolve life. Some fraction of these surely include intelligent life that attempts to travel between the stars. If we are only a few hundred years away from interstellar travel (more on this in a future blog post), surely some societies that have a billion-year head start on us should have gotten there first right? So "Where is everybody?" Why haven't we been obviously visited? Why don't we see intelligent radio signals coming from all over the galaxy? Why hasn't the entire galaxy been colonized (Given the fact that once interstellar travel is developed, exponential expansion would allow a society to do so in a "short" time)?

It's not really a paradox since there …