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SETI: It's all hype and noise


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The BBC is reporting that SETI denies the report.

 

"It's all hype and noise," said its chief scientist, Dr Dan Wertheimer. "We have nothing that is unusual. It's all out of proportion." And Dr Paul Horowitz, of Harvard University, who specialises in hunting for possible alien contacts added: "It's not much of anything at all. We're not investigating it further."

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Would they even tell us if they did find one? Or would they cover it up until they figure it out?

I think we would not be told in case we all decided that the world was done for and went on a rampage. I had wondered at one point wether the amout of tv and media coverage may be an aclimatizing exercise for the eventual release of info.

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Like subspace radio!

 

I think it is worth taking a look at anyway. I mean, where would we be without pulsars? Extrude, extrapolate and examine! That's what I always say.

 

Chances are this is a new discovery, artificial or not, and deserves some degree of attention.

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I think we would not be told in case we all decided that the world was done for and went on a rampage. I had wondered at one point wether the amout of tv and media coverage may be an aclimatizing exercise for the eventual release of info.

 

I once read an article in Popular Science about the preplanned routine for when they do find ETI. If I remember correctly, they do eventually tell the public but keep it secret for a little while at first, perhaps just to make sure it's all true and not create a false alarm. Of course, it's not easy to keep a secret from the world.

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So if it's nothing usefull can we please see a science report of "signal nothing"? ;)

 

1 sept:

“It’s the most interesting signal from SETI@home,” says Dan Werthimer, a radio astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and the chief scientist for SETI@home. “We’re not jumping up and down, but we are continuing to observe it.”

 

What is more, if telescopes are observing a signal that is drifting in frequency, then each time they look for it they should most likely encounter it at a slightly different frequency. But in the case of SHGb02+14a, every observation has first been made at 1420 megahertz, before it starts drifting. “It just boggles my mind,” Korpela says.

 

2 sept:

"It's all hype and noise," said its chief scientist, Dr Dan Wertheimer. "We have nothing that is unusual. It's all out of proportion."

 

And Dr Paul Horowitz, of Harvard University, who specialises in hunting for possible alien contacts added: "It's not much of anything at all. We're not investigating it further."

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I've been running the SETI screen saver for years now. Currently up to 1185 data units, but my poor old computer is so slow now that it takes days to complete a data unit.

 

I hope they do find something in my lifetime. I think it will change everything. It will focus our attention outward and cause us to think more seriously about finding out what is out there.

 

Of course it will probably take years to understand the signal once we find it. More years debating how or even if we should reply. Then decades, if not centuries for our reply to reach the destination.

 

I have a question: How far can a radio signal travel before it is obscured by noise?

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"Some astronomers have argued that extraterrestrials trying to advertise their presence would be likely to transmit at this frequency, and SETI researchers conventionally scan this part of the radio spectrum." (1420Mhz)

 

So the obvious question: Do we broadcast such a signal?

If we aren't why would they.

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We did broadcast a signal once, in 1974, a 20 trillion watt omnidirectional broadcast that should be detectable anywhere in the galaxy with a receiver similar in size to Arecibo. It was a one-time thing, largely a token effort.

 

We would like to think that any race intelligent enough to send and receive such signals would be friendly, but do we really know that for sure? We have frightened ourselves enough recently with such movies as Independance Day and Mars Attacks.

 

Perhaps whoever is out there is also waiting for someone else to make the "first move."

 

With the distances involved it seems unlikely that we will ever be visited by another race. It will be hard enough just to say hello.

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Someone has thought of this before apparently. I ran across this today while reading about SETI.

 

"It has been proposed that advanced civilizations may explore distant stellar systems using intelligent robotic probes, commonly called von Neumann probes (after John von Neumann , an early thinker on self-reproducing automata). Such probes could maintain themselves, and even reproduce themselves, using raw materials found during their wanderings.

 

It could be that virtually all interstellar exploration is done by von Neumann probes. Such probes could reproduce like bacteria, multiplying their numbers in a characteristic period of time (the generation time). A single von Neumann probe could produce 1012 progeny, one probe for every star in the Galaxy, in only forty generations. Even if the generation time is as long as one million years (you have to include the time it takes for each probe to travel to another star), it would only take forty million years for the descendents of a single probe to visit all the stars in the Galaxy. This is a short time in the scheme of things.

 

Since we don't see these things all over the place, some conclude that there are no von Neumann probes. But we should not jump to this conclusion; it could be that all of the von Neumann probes ever deployed were programmed only to observe, and not to interfere with living planets. This would seem to imply something about the motives of all advanced civilizations that deploy such devices (if there are any)."

 

So maybe this is what is behind all those UFO sightings. ;)

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