I have a close relative in his 50s that is brilliant. However, he never got much formal schooling, and so a lot of things about the universe are pretty mysterious, and he has learned a lot about how the world works through osmosis and the Discovery Channel. Lately, he has gotten a lot more intellectually curious about the world. While he is increasingly voracious about knowledge, a lot of stuff sounds equally plausible, and so things like New Age Mysticism are just as convincing for him as the Theory of Relativity. Actually, the New Age Mysticism is a lot easier to understand and sounds a lot cooler, so he's having an easier time believing that. I'm trying to steer him in the right direction and provide some legitimate answers to the deep questions of life and the universe - to the extent that we know those answers. He thinks it's cool, for example, that clocks on an airplane move at a slightly different rate than clocks on the ground. Unlike New Age Mysticism and the like, some of the answers are a little disappointing. With respect to the questions of aliens, for example, I showed him the Hubble Deep Field and explained that each little smear of light on there was a galaxy, and that we recently discovered lots of other stars that had planets like ours. We talked about the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox. I explained that my best guess was that the universe was teeming with life (relatively speaking), but that the chances of us ever interacting with any intelligent life out there are low - if nothing else just because of the incredible distances involved, and the fact that the speed of light seems to be the universe's ultimate speed limit, for all practical purposes. I then had to explain that no, we do not have aliens stored away at Area 51. Looking at the Deep Field, I got a little disappointed that I could see so many stars, and that so many of them had planets and probably life of some sort, but that I'd never get to know any of it. FOCUS: What thing that will probably not happen in your lifetime are you most disappointed about?