You might imagine that in the midst of a global pandemic and all of its social and economic fallout that our minds would be laser-focused on immediate, Earthly woes. But apparently not entirely. A case in point is the recent virus-like spread of news headlines to the effect that there should be “at least 36 alien civilizations” in our galaxy. Not ten, not a thousand, or a billion, but 36. There you have it, three dozen other sets of intelligent life dotting our cosmic neighborhood, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.