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Remember the episode of “The Twilight Zone” where the earthlings discover only too late that a book brandished by extraterrestrial visitors, titled “To Serve Man,” is not, in fact, a philanthropic manifesto — but, sadly, a cookbook?

Even after watching this show as a kid, I didn’t give serious thought to the possibility of space aliens turning us into toast. But then last week Stephen Hawking made news by weighing in on the subject: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” And Hawking knows a thing or two about outer space!

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