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Old 6th July 2009, 07:38 AM   #201
JoeTheJuggler
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Originally Posted by AWPrime View Post
Not discovering a Higgs Boson also provides information and the LHC is useful for many other goals. Therefore I don't fully agree with the comparison.
You misunderstood my point then--or maybe I wasn't very clear.

I was comparing drawing a conclusion to lack of evidence of a Higgs Boson before using the LHC to look for it. That is, I wanted to make a parallel to some other thing where we, at one point, lacked the technology to gather the evidence of the existence of something. At that point in time, it's at the very least premature to say the thing doesn't exist.

Indeed, overall it's an argument in favor of the LHC (and by analogy, an argument in favor of programs like Kepler and a broader approach to SETI than just the search for radio signals).

Same with ETIs and more generally exobiology. Not having any evidence of their existence now, when we lack the technology to detect even life even on the nearest of extrasolar planets, is at least premature.
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Old 6th July 2009, 07:42 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by AWPrime View Post
Although the chances of alien life in this galaxy is very high, I think that current results could point to one or more of these scenarios:
- They lack the technology
- They are too far
- They won't have the will
- We lack the technology
These correspond pretty nearly to my numbered points that rebut the argument based on Fermi's Paradox as well.

I would point out that "too far" could be in space and time. We don't know that civilizations can last longer than our own. If they're relatively short-lived, like most of the other species that have existed on our own planet, then the argument that they must have filled up the galaxy with evidence of their presence long before now doesn't hold up.
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Old 20th August 2009, 10:34 AM   #203
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SETI was the topic of a segment of the Diane Rheme show on NPR today.

I think you can listen to it online from this page:

http://wamu.org/programs/dr/
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Old 23rd September 2009, 10:26 AM   #204
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SETI and SETI@Home are two different things.
The SETI Institutude does not support SETI@Home. Some people working at UC Berkley support the SETI@Home project which is now bundled with something called BIONIC which does number crunching for more down-to-earth projects.

Also, the SETI Insitute's web site does not even promote finding Intelligent life as one of its goals right there on its home page showing its list of goals. Life is one thing. Intelligent Life is a whole different bunch of statistics. There was life on Earth for hundreds of millions of years before "intelligent" live came about.

I have emailed some key players in the SETI organization asking them if the popularity and hope is fadeing. The very fact that they read and answered my email right away suggests to me that they WANT to believe but it also tells me they are desperate.

Anyway, I decided to post on this dicussion thread because I had an idea and a question. Imagine if the MythBusters got in volved. Imagine that The Myth was "we are alone for all practical purposes".

Would the result be "Busted" "Confirmed" or "Plausable"?

Now, just be be clear, we are talking about Intelligent life somewhat like us so that we could actually communicate with them in a meaningful way. We are also talking about intelligent life reasonably close so that communication is even possible and reasonable.
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Old 24th September 2009, 02:58 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Bill Thompson View Post
Some people working at UC Berkley support the SETI@Home project which is now bundled with something called BIONIC which does number crunching for more down-to-earth projects.
That would be BOINC...
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Old 6th October 2009, 01:52 AM   #206
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Say we (when our telescopes get a bit better) find an Earth sized planet in a habital orbit around a star close enough that we could reasonably send a message to; would we do it? I believe we would. Even considering we don't know how likely life is in the universe. For that reason I feel we should give a listen ourselves, especially considering its low cost. Just this lurkers 2 cents.
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Old 12th October 2009, 03:03 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by Bill Thompson View Post
Then SETI @ Home is a huge waist [sic] of effort. No intelligence would ever pick us out of the billions to be important or worth any time or effort.

It is self evident. Our species was too stupid to know SETI @ Home was a waist [sic]of time.
I guess you missed the part of my first post on this thread (post #7) where I said:
Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
BTW, best I can tell, none of this is about SETI@home in particular, right? It's just about SETI with radio telescopy in general. Nothing happens to degrade potential signals between the time they're received at Arecibo and the time they're divvied up and received by home participants, is there?
At any rate, it sounds like you've been railing against SETI in general and not SETI@home or the SETI Institute in particular.


Now this claim:
Originally Posted by Bill Thompson
Also, the SETI Insitute's web site does not even promote finding Intelligent life as one of its goals right there on its home page showing its list of goals.
isn't very accurate. (While it's not listed on the Mission Statement, but it is definitely expressed as a goal on their website (see below).

The very meaning of the acronym SETI is the "Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence". From the SETI Institute's website:

Originally Posted by SETI Institute
SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology.
Or do you suppose they think they can find some signature of the technology of alien life that is not intelligent?
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Old 29th July 2010, 08:40 PM   #208
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It just occurred to me that even if a weak and degraded signal was not decodeable, it would still show up as a bulge in the non-randomness. (Been running Seti@home for years now.)
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Old 3rd August 2010, 05:42 PM   #209
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Seti@home is completely pointless. As has been pointed out already, any radio or tv or broadcast signal dissipates rapidly in the vast distances of space. Within a relatively near distance from the point of origin, such a signal becomes indistinguishable from the background "noise" of interstellar space.

Given the infinite size of the universe, the chances that there are any AI broadcasting within even 10,000 light years of our planet are infinitesimal. Human beings could literally search the universe for millions of years with no results. There are far better things to focus our efforts on than trying to discern that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the cosmos.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 06:09 PM   #210
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1. Do you mean SETI or SETI@Home? Two different things.

2. Since you didn't make that clear it seems likely that you read none of this thread before you decided to resurrect it. Did you? If so, what is your point in bringing it back?
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Old 3rd August 2010, 06:15 PM   #211
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
1. Do you mean SETI or SETI@Home? Two different things.

2. Since you didn't make that clear it seems likely that you read none of this thread before you decided to resurrect it. Did you? If so, what is your point in bringing it back?
You're making a lot of assumptions about what I did or did not do, all of which amount to nothing. My statement about the pointlessness of Seti applies to both the @home, and the other form. It is truly pointless. Even IF we were to discover some signal from multiple light-years distant, it would have absolutely no bearing on life on our planet. It is nothing more than mental gymnastics.
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Old 16th August 2010, 08:33 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by RhodyDave View Post
Seti@home is completely pointless. As has been pointed out already, any radio or tv or broadcast signal dissipates rapidly in the vast distances of space. Within a relatively near distance from the point of origin, such a signal becomes indistinguishable from the background "noise" of interstellar space.

Given the infinite size of the universe, the chances that there are any AI broadcasting within even 10,000 light years of our planet are infinitesimal. Human beings could literally search the universe for millions of years with no results. There are far better things to focus our efforts on than trying to discern that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the cosmos.
It's a needle in a really really really big haystack. But that doesn't mean it's "completely" pointless. There is still a non-zero chance of getting extremely lucky.

And since the cost is relatively little for expanding our search much farther than we can currently send probes, why not try? (Also, an argument I made some time ago in this and/or another of these SETI threads is that we also might get lucky and catch a signal coming from a probe or other spacecraft rather than from the planet of origin. Such a probe might also send out targeted signals rather than broadcast, so the range would be pretty great.)

Also, the next generation of radio telescopes might well vastly increase our ability to detect a radio broadcast. I only just recently heard about the Square Kilometer Array project.

So, I wouldn't say that it's "completely pointless". I would however caution people from concluding from the lack of a real hit so far that no ETIs exist. As you correctly point out, even if there are ETIs about, things are so far apart in space and time that we are extremely unlikely to find that needle in the haystack.

[As an aside, by "AI" I hope you mean "alien intelligence" rather than "artificial intelligence", which is the conventional usage.]
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Old 16th August 2010, 08:38 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by RhodyDave View Post
You're making a lot of assumptions about what I did or did not do, all of which amount to nothing.
It's a reasonable assumption. We covered this point (equating SETI@home with SETI) about a year ago. We covered these same arguments you've resurrected. The only thing new I've said just now was the mention of the SKA project.
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Old 16th August 2010, 10:49 AM   #214
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Cool

Originally Posted by RhodyDave View Post
radio or tv or broadcast signal dissipates rapidly in the vast distances of space. Within a relatively near distance from the point of origin, such a signal becomes indistinguishable from the background "noise" of interstellar space.

True, except for a focused signal. Those would stand out quite nicely. Just saying.
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Old 16th August 2010, 12:31 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by LarianLeQuella View Post
True, except for a focused signal. Those would stand out quite nicely. Just saying.
Larian, have you heard about the SKA? I'm told it would enable us to receive broadcast signals out to something like 1000 light years, IIRC. That would encompass pretty damn many stars, even though it's still a tiny part of the volume of the galaxy.

And of course, there's still the issue of timing. Even a civilization that paralleled our own wouldn't have been broadcasting their equivalent of I Love Lucy long enough for such signals to reach us if they were over about 60 light years away.

In the scale of the galaxy, missing a signal by a hundred or thousand or even a million years is a near miss. But a miss is still a miss in the astronomical haystack.
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Old 16th August 2010, 02:35 PM   #216
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Joe,

At first I was wondering why you were asking about my tastes in music. You are refering to Square Kilometer Array I take it. Will that really be able to detect things that fall victim to the inverse square law of omnidirectional signals? If it can detect such weak signals, I am seriously impressed!
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Old 21st August 2010, 11:57 AM   #217
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Haha. Didn't you hear? Radio astronomy is a hoax. Possibly even a conspiracy.
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Old 31st August 2010, 05:18 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by RhodyDave View Post
Seti@home is completely pointless. As has been pointed out already, any radio or tv or broadcast signal dissipates rapidly in the vast distances of space.
Silly silly astronomers out there who think they can do the impossible.

Since radio signal photons "dissipate" rapidy, presumably all photons dissipate rapidly. If one photon from a star dissipates rapidly, then all must do the same and we shouldn't be able to see anything, regardless of it's size.

Those aren't stars out there, they are just holes in the shell between us and heaven.
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Old 7th September 2010, 05:05 AM   #219
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Certain aspects of a signal are lost relatively quickly. For instance a square pulse train is formed from a fundamental frequency and a number of harmonics at multiples of that frequency. Dependent on the medium it's travelling though (even interstellar space isn't a perfect vacuum some of the photons will be attenuated or slowed more than others. This means that the pulses lose definition, the rise and fall times increase. But an FFT analysis will still show underlying frequencies such as the fundamental. recovery of these pulses is even necessary on earth-bourne radars, for this very reason. The recivers use quantisers just after the receiver front ends to recover the pulse shape.

One problem is recognising that something may be an artifical signal, for instance seeing the frequencies associated with a TV signal may appear as a noisy natural signal unless you understand about frame and line rates.

The earth is actually a rather bright source of radio waves even compared to some stars. So looking for bright radio sources with varying doppler shift about it's parent star may indicate the possibility of a planet with radio sources. It's not proof of intelligence, but a potential pointer.

So no, SETI@Home is not completely pointless.
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Old 24th September 2010, 02:54 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by RhodyDave View Post
You're making a lot of assumptions about what I did or did not do, all of which amount to nothing. My statement about the pointlessness of Seti applies to both the @home, and the other form. It is truly pointless. Even IF we were to discover some signal from multiple light-years distant, it would have absolutely no bearing on life on our planet. It is nothing more than mental gymnastics.
Are you sure you have anything useful to contribute? If the signal were strong enough and we could decode it, we could learn a hell of a lot, both socially and technologically. It would be immeasurably transformative.


Societies in the habit of using radio waves to transmit data many light years might pick a form that would be resistant to undecodable distortions. You can pack a hell of a lot of error correction into a signal at the cost of transmission throughput. We are idiots to think that if such was to be used, they'd just blast out a signal like we would, though degradation would, of course, make inter-solar-system signals, not designed for such, almost impossible to detect, much less successfully decode.

And yes, deliberate signals would (probably) be more direction-focused, so we'd have to "luck out" that we got in the line of sight of one. But again, depending on the topology of their civilization, the required throughput rates, and the cleverness of their error correction, maybe even that might not be required. Maybe a 9 volt omni-directional transmitter could transmit across the galaxy, or between galaxies, with a clever enough error correction scheme.
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Old 24th September 2010, 05:15 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by RhodyDave View Post
My statement about the pointlessness of Seti applies to both the @home, and the other form. It is truly pointless. Even IF we were to discover some signal from multiple light-years distant, it would have absolutely no bearing on life on our planet. It is nothing more than mental gymnastics.
You really bring meaning to the word blandness as it applies to mental gymnastics. In other words meaningless.

If you think that discovering that there is intelligent, technological, life elsewhere in the universe would have no bearing on human life I have to plead for a special exemption to rule 12. When I get it I will finish this sentence..

Perhaps you were speaking of plants, or tadpoles?
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Old 28th September 2010, 03:26 PM   #222
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As to the SETI argument.

How many discoveries in the course of human history would have been missed or greatly delayed if we had decided it "just isn't worth it to look" ?


I quit reading half way through the posts so forgive me if someone else has made a similar statement.
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Old 1st October 2010, 11:48 AM   #223
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And the news from yesterday means either we got awful lucky to find a Goldilocks planet so soon and so close or they're relatively common in the galaxy.

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201010013
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Old 11th October 2010, 05:04 PM   #224
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Some guy is now claiming he got a possible signal from that area -- but when pressed, refuses to release the details.


Quote:
"I know the scientist, and when he first announced it, I asked him for the details, and he wouldn't send them to me," astronomer and SETI pioneer Frank Drake told SPACE.com. "I'm very suspicious."
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Old 19th November 2015, 09:04 PM   #225
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Doing about 4500 units a day according to BOINC, with my NVIDIA GTX 750 TI and hexcore machine. The graphic processor is about 95% of that.
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Old 20th November 2015, 05:52 AM   #226
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[quote=Beerina;6431532]Some guy is now claiming he got a possible signal from that area -- but when pressed, refuses to release the details.[/QUOTE

Anything above a certain threshold is notified to Seti, and all data sets are sent to more than one user anyway.

This was probably someone eyeballing a signal.
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Old 20th November 2015, 06:22 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Some guy is now claiming he got a possible signal from that area -- but when pressed, refuses to release the details.
WOW!
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Old 2nd December 2015, 02:59 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
WOW!
I see what you did there.
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Old 18th December 2015, 04:05 PM   #229
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Not pointless. It is a necessary processing of data. Very unlikely to find a result, but not pointless.
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Old 18th December 2015, 04:19 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Not pointless. It is a necessary processing of data. Very unlikely to find a result, but not pointless.
And who knows, someday someone might go through all that and find the Zimmerman telegram buried in all that noise.
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Old 29th December 2015, 07:14 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
And who knows, someday someone might go through all that and find the Zimmerman telegram buried in all that noise.
In spite of British misinformation suggesting the contrary, that message went only by cable. Will we detect cable traffic sent by aliens if our planet gets tangled in alien telegraph wires as the solar system meanders through cosmic space? Maybe, but maybe not. Wiki.
It has traditionally been claimed that the telegram was sent over three routes: transmitted by radio and also sent over two trans-Atlantic telegraph cables operated by neutral governments (the United States and Sweden) for the use of their diplomatic services. But it has been established that only one method was used. The message was delivered to the United States Embassy in Berlin and then transmitted by diplomatic cable first to Copenhagen and then to London for onward transmission over transatlantic cable to Washington. The misinformation about the "three routes" was spread by William Reginald Hall, then the head of Room 40, to try to conceal from the United States the fact that Room 40 was intercepting its cable traffic.
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Old 9th November 2017, 10:53 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Not pointless. It is a necessary processing of data. Very unlikely to find a result, but not pointless.
That was kinda what I was thinking. Just think of all the newer computers being sold, because people think that if they just had one extra GTX Titan X they'd be the ones to detect ET. And we're not even just talking small PCs. There's been more than one admin who got caught running it on the server at work. Just think of all those $100,000 server racks got bought because the old one seemed to crawl lately

So, yea, necessary processing of data. Necessary for the economy, that is
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Old Yesterday, 04:00 PM   #233
Skeptical Greg
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Yeah, pretty much pointless, compared to something worthwhile like Folding@Home, which is attacking problems like cancer and Alzheimer's...
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