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SETI@Home 2nd Look at Possible Hits

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the wouldn't-that-be-spiffy dept.

Space 438

cpk0 writes "This article from MSNBC discusses how data returned from SETI@Home users is beign retested by the Institue for a possibility of alien radio signals being included. At just over 4 years old, I think this would be the first big break for SETI@home." This is a followup to a December Slashdot story. Apparently this is getting some major attention in the mainstream media lately.

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438 comments

Why not? (-1)

stallo (575157) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485376)

because i caaaaan. biatch

Paul Harvey (-1, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485382)

Paul Harvey was promoting this today on his show. Is Paul Harvey a geek or what?

Paul Harvey?!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485448)

Isn't he dead yet?!!! He must be like 173 years old now!

Re:Paul Harvey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485454)

Got better things to do with my time than to listen to infomercials. You got Paul Harvey doing his little infomercials, and in between them you get regular commercials.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485383)

first fucking post? No way!

nice 'editing' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485386)

If you're accepting 'subscriptions', you should be capable of catching errors like 'beign'.

frist p0st!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485387)

frist p0st, you linux loving gayfers

Fun Stuff (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485393)

It would be nice to see more people running SETI@HOME to take advantage of those spare CPU cycles.

Re:Fun Stuff (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485488)

nope, actually it wouldn't be. SETI@Home is a waste of time.

Use it for Distributed.net or the folding project...

Or even better.. (2, Interesting)

Mindjiver (71) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485546)

People could lend their cpu cycles helping something worthwhile out Folding @ home [stanford.edu] instead of looking for something that isn't there. Helping the fight against diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson is a lot more rewarding than looking for little green men.

Re:Fun Stuff (1)

ShortSpecialBus (236232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485594)

I would, but then my apartment gets too damn hot.

Seriously, 6 computers, 4 of which are in the same room, running at full CPU stuff heats my apartment up to about 80 degrees, not to mention what the one room heats up to...

Re:Fun Stuff (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485646)

Hey...I live in Michigan...I should try that...might lower my gas bill. :)

Every night... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485394)

I stare at stars all night long!!

PLEASE!! What should I do with my LIFE ??!

could be just what we need... (5, Interesting)

mike77 (519751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485398)

Maybe I'm being too poetic, but with a world on the brink of war, a confirmation of an alien civilization would be an amazing thing right now. Maybe give our leaders a kick in the ass that their petty squabbles are not the end all be all of our existence.

Re:could be just what we need... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485423)

I am the son of Hillary Rosen!

PLEASE!! What should I do with my LIFE ??!

Re:could be just what we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485428)


Yeah, why don't you fly to Iraq and personally deliver the message to Saddam....

Re:could be just what we need... (0)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485431)

or maybe we will organize a preemptive attack, since they would of course be an immediate threat to us....

Re:could be just what we need... (4, Insightful)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485439)

yeah!! bomb these terrorists aliens!!

and bring them democracy and liberty!!

Re:could be just what we need... (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485539)

and Jesus too!

Re:could be just what we need... (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485577)

of course!
don't forget that "democracy is a gift of God to americans" according to G.W.Bush ;)

PARENT IS OFFTOPIC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485453)

End of message

Re:could be just what we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485484)

mod parent up insightful!

Re:could be just what we need... (5, Funny)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485465)

I can imagine a beautiful, peaceful alien race. Free of crime, war, and violence.

Then I can see us taking over that race, cuz those fuckers would NEVER see that shit coming.

Re:could be just what we need... (1)

Bobulusman (467474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485597)

I always liked that Jack Handy

The late great Carl Sagan once wrote (5, Insightful)

wiggys (621350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485466)

http://www.seds.org/billa/psc/pbd.html [seds.org]

We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Re:The late great Carl Sagan once wrote (5, Funny)

Sedennial (182739) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485505)

There needs to be a new moderator choice - 'Depressing' :)

Slashdot vs UT (3, Funny)

wiggys (621350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485554)

Ever played Unreal Tournament? It would be satisfying to have the announcer shout out the moderator categories, ie instead of "Dominating!", "Godlike" or "Multi-kill!", a well-crafted response on Slashdot would be rewarded with cries of "Fascinating!" or "Thought-provoking!"

Just an idea...

Re:could be just what we need... (5, Funny)

ip_vjl (410654) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485481)

Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode (from the version that ran in the 80's)

Aliens come to Earth and tell us that they seeded our planet years ago ... but are disappointed in us because we have this "small talent for war with all our petty border skirmishes and such" and will wipe us out in a few days.

World leaders feverishly work to hammer out their differences in the days before the aliens return.

When they return, they are handed a huge treaty as we stand back and proudly proclaim "Peace in our time."

The alien laughs.

"No, you misunderstood. We breed warriors."

Either that (2, Funny)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485549)

or they are running out of money, and need some more.

"Hey...that data sounds just like a....Higgs Boson!"

Re:could be just what we need... (1)

SoulRain9999 (658269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485586)

Considering that the universe is 30 billion light years wide, it would take billions of years for most aliens signals to reach us, let alone reaching us with spaceships.
I think this is basically impossible, but it's the kind of thing that's so important that we can't give up no matter what; It's something we NEED to know just like we need to know how how and why we exist at all.

Re:could be just what we need... (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485674)

Instead of sending out sattelites with a record and pictures and crap like that. Why don't we send out a spacecraft with a particle that is quantum entangled with a particle on earth, and then using quantum superpositioning use this as a method of instantaneous communication with anything the satellite comes into contact with. We could slingshot it around Jupiter and try to send it along the same concentric circle our solar system is in, around our galaxy. Just a thought.

Re:could be just what we need... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485622)

First Contact will go something like this:

"This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less that two of your Earth minutes. Thank you."

You left out the most RELEVANT part! (3, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485675)

"The plans have been displayed for comment for the last 200 years at your regional planning board in Alpha Centuri.

What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centuri?!!!

If you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, then that's your own lookout. "

Re:could be just what we need... (1)

DevilM (191311) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485678)

Since they plan on starting the analysis on March 18th, they will be one day too late to stop the war.

ATTENTION IMPROTATN ANNOUNCEMENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485406)

Rob Nambla is a flaming faggot. And Kate Fent has a pair of big, hairy testicles. Thank you.

beign (-1, Offtopic)

winse (39597) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485410)

wtc(rap)?

quick, get Art Bell on the phone . . . (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485412)

Or George Noory. [coasttocoastam.com]

This is BIG, damnit! Call in the Shadow People!

Here's a qoute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485490)

Here's a usenet post I read that summarizes my feelings about Coast to Coast:

"THere's only so many stories about orbs and shadow people I can hear before I feel like throwing my CC radio against the bedroom mirror."

What a waste (5, Interesting)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485413)

The probability of catching radio waves from intelligent life forms in a 4 year window is crazy. The distances they'd have to travel are enormous, and that civilization is probably long extinct, and the spectrum we are looking at is very narrow, and our definition of intelligence is also very narrow... what if what we think of cosmic background noise is in actuality encrypted data transmissions, meant to be indistinguishable from background noise? Too many assumptions are taking place, it's really a waste of resources.

Re:What a waste (2, Interesting)

no soup for you (607826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485440)

Too many assumptions are taking place, it's really a waste of resources.
A waste of resources? If the idle cpu cycles are being used to perform calculations, what resources are being wasted?

Re:What a waste (2, Informative)

adpowers (153922) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485480)

Idle cycles that could go to other better projects [mersenne.org] .

Re:What a waste (5, Insightful)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485581)

How about this? You spend your spare cycles on something you think is important, and I'll do the same.

Sound good? Alllllllllrighty then.

Re:What a waste (1)

Lovepump (58591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485519)

I think, perhaps, the poster meant that with the amount of assumptions being made, and the unlikelyhood of being able to do anything with the fact that "oh, there is alien life out there", the idle cycles could be used more efficiently - say in the folding@home project, or any of the other distributed computing systems currently running.

Then again, I've happily spent the last 4 years checking RC56 encryption keys, and my machine is currently checking Optimal Golomb Rulers to try to find shorter ones that those already known, so I can hardly preach about wasting CPU cycles.

Re:What a waste (1)

dethl (626353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485443)

The distances they'd have to travel are enormous

Who says that the aliens haven't been sending out radio waves for hundred or even thousands of years?

Re:What a waste (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485444)

grow a cock

Re:What a waste (0, Flamebait)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485445)

> it's really a waste of resources. ...as compared to posting on Slashdot, of course.

Re:What a waste (1)

J3M (546439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485458)

I agree with some of your points, with the exception of it being a waste of resources. A waste in your mind, maybe, but I for one have been allowing SETI to use my spare cycles for over a year now. Why not? I had always wondered if they would actually act on any signals, so I'm glad to see it. Besides, even if ET is never found, this research could lead to some other discovery.

Re:What a waste (5, Insightful)

SpamJunkie (557825) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485460)

that civilization is probably long extinct

You're assuming they also have Bushes as leaders. That's unlikely.

what if what we think of cosmic background noise is in actuality encrypted data transmissions, meant to be indistinguishable from background noise?

Then it wasn't meant for us. We're not trying for a man-in-the-middle attack, we're looking for life explicitly trying to contact another civilization.

Re:What a waste (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485525)

You're assuming they also have Bushes as leaders. That's unlikely.

Resistance is futile! Bushes are everywhere in the galaxy!! You will be assimilated!

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485471)

Its positive thinking like yours that the world really needs!

We should channel all our resources into something far more useful like bombing people we don't like. oh. I see.

Re:What a waste (1)

wiggys (621350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485494)

what if what we think of cosmic background noise is in actuality encrypted data transmissions, meant to be indistinguishable from background noise?

Kinda like alien steganography? I hope the NSA knows about this!

Re:What a waste (2, Interesting)

sethaw (598206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485506)

The probability of catching radio waves from intelligent life forms in a 4 year window is crazy

You have to start somewhere. Its not really just a 4 year window, since all searches for other civilizations occur one after the other building upon each other and using previous discoveries. This is just the way science works.

The distances they'd have to travel are enormous, and that civilization is probably long extinct

This is irrelevant.

definition of intelligence is also very narrow

And what is our definition?

what if what we think of cosmic background noise is in actuality encrypted data transmissions, meant to be indistinguishable from background noise?

Yes some data may be encrypted, however it is a reasonable assumption that some of it is not. In general most data that we send is not encrypted. If also including data that has been compressed (which would seem like encryption to us) we would just need to find something about it that is not a natural pattern, we wouldnt have to be able to read it.

Re:What a waste (5, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485531)

I'm not sure I agree with you 100% on your police work there, Lou.

Firstly, the distance that signals from another potential civilization *could* be enormous, but then again they could be reasonably small. There are a pretty fair number of stars within, oh, 100 light years or so of our own primary. The real question there is what sort of values to plug into the Drake equation, and we won't have a good idea there until we collect some data points.

Secondly, why would you assume that an alien civilization would carefully hide their transmissions? We don't, even though we understand that we're basically advertising the location of our planet with TV and radio and radar. Besides, if you really wanted to mask your location, you'd stick to cable. Sure, we wouldn't pick them up, but for each ultraparanoid civilization (and I'll grant you that they very well may exist), there are probably others less cautious.

Sure, we could be all the life that's out there -- in the absense of any concrete proof, there's always that chance. That said, I personally have a hard time believing that in a universe as big as ours the there's a unique instance of anything. Anyhow, putting in a minimum of effort seems pretty reasonable when you're talking about making the greatest discovery in the history of history, doesn't it?

Four year window (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485533)

It's not really a 4 year window. You can sample 10 seconds of data and the time origin of the information that reaches you in that period can range from a year to many billions of years.

Re:What a waste (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485535)

Much of the data is data that they have had for a long time, just didn't have the resources to process. So yes, seti@home is 4 years old, but the data is not.

Re:What a waste (5, Insightful)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485545)

Well, you will be glad to hear that no tax money goes to support SETI. Zero public resources are spent on it.

Everyone that contributes to SETI, from Paul Allen [seti.org] to Team Lambchop [teamlambchop.com] , is spending their own resources of their own free will. They obviously think it's not a waste.

So, what exactly are you complaining about?

Re:What a waste (1)

Becquerel (645675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485583)

True, the only chance of us detecting them is if they are either, in the same (short) period of technology as us, where they use vastly powerful electomagnetic radiation to transfer low bandwidth data over great distances. Or they are deliberatly trying to contact other life around 'suitable' star systems, which if they are anything like us then they will be doing.

The former would be quite difficult to find as there is such a small window to look in, requiring a seti style programme. Wheras the latter should be alot easier to find, assuming they are vulcanesque and using logical frequencies and patterns to try and communicate. This should only require a single good detector that cycled round looking at the most appropriate local star systems in the most likely spectrums. ASSUMING they are doing the same with a signal the two should meet up eventually...

Re:What a waste (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485601)

> Too many assumptions are taking place, it's really
> a waste of resources.

but it's still fun to try.

for those of us humans (ie, nearly all) who will never be granted the privilege of escaping earth's orbit, or even less taking a picture of something new, or even more remotely cruising through the cosmos, taking part in silly projects like seti@home is about the closest we'll ever get to helping accomplish something in space.

for those of us who still want to take part in space exploration, seti@home is the easiest, most reachable, way for joe schmoe to join in on it. Just because it's probably futile doesn't mean it's a "waste".

It's still fun, like playing a cosmic lottery. ;)

How does one succeed without trying? (0)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485655)

Just a lucky guess I suppose.

Re:What a waste (4, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485657)

The probability of catching radio waves from intelligent life forms in a 4 year window is crazy.

I don't know we've been sending signals pretty much continuously for over 50 years. They could be sending something but we just haven't got it yet.

The distances they'd have to travel are enormous, and that civilization is probably long extinct, and the spectrum we are looking at is very narrow, and our definition of intelligence is also very narrow...

I'll give you the first point, the second is doubtfull since they could only be a few hundred away, they've probably changes but extinct? doubtfull. Even if they are extinct does it really matter? We kind of got a speed limit already so chances are we wouldn't have much meaningful communication anyways. The fact is that all we need is a confirmation of their existence, and if we were able to distinguish their signals we might get some interesting TV programs. Which brings we to you narrow spectrum comment. The fact is that we've pretty much saturated the spectrum for quite a region. If the aliens did used radio waves for their communication as well they would be likely to use up a fair region also meaning all we need is one hit from that portion. And I'm not sure what you're getting at with def'n of intelligence. Either thier sending signlas or their not. Maybe that they've found a better means of communication?

what if what we think of cosmic background noise is in actuality encrypted data transmissions, meant to be indistinguishable from background noise? Too many assumptions are taking place, it's really a waste of resources.

Well hopefully they didn't feel the need to encrypt everything. So what if they did maybe someone else didn't. I really don't see anything here to convince me that your assumptions that we won't find anything are any more convincing than the assumptions that could lead us to something. As to a waste of resources perhaps if you consider the cycles that people actually do donate to be a small resource that could better go to curing cancer than perhaps. On the other hand in real economic costs it's almost trivial! Really when it comes down to it we're drilling for oil. We probably won't find anything and it costs a bit to do it but if we ever find something...

Another writeup (-1, Troll)

Mdog (25508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485416)

There's another interesting writeup on this over at Tubgirl tech archive [tubgirl.com] .

Hack (3, Interesting)

Deton8 (522248) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485417)

There were so many well-publicized hacks to SETI@home that I'll bet that there will be a lot of skepticism about any results even if we discover a jpeg file of an Arcturian time machine in there.

Re:Hack (5, Insightful)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485449)

I'm sure they have the original data. The only thing they have to do to settle a claim like this is to reprocess the data in question.

Re:Hack (1)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485523)

Seti@Home scientists are still having a tough time with this one:

People of earth, this is Bartron, commander of the Martian invasion force. Your planet is in our hands. Resistance is useless. Your President was delicious.

Re:Hack (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485530)

So you mean to tell me that the Aliens didn't really get first post?

Re:Hack (4, Informative)

sethaw (598206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485574)

Thats why they send every packet to multiple people to verify the results. Conflicting results should appear and the scientists can execute tests on that data. However, even if there are positive results this doesn't mean anything is found. This is why we have to go back and look for signals where they were found in the past, because there is justified skepticism in any result that says "we found aliens."

sei@home (2, Funny)

wiggys (621350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485421)

I always thought that "settee at home" was a reference to armchair astronomers.

Ob-ritualistic suicide reference (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485553)

As long as it's not "suttee at home" [bartleby.com] , I think we're fine.

First conversation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485424)

Picks up phone, "Hello?"

E.T., "Hi, mom? This is you long lost son--I need a ride!"

ET... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485478)

"Mommy, I'm scared!
Why are those men with the dark glasses pointing walkie-talkies at ET and Henry?!!!"

"Why don't you grow a set Timmy, and go play with your GI Joe?
You pansey little shit!"

typo (-1, Redundant)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485433)

being, not beign

Issue (5, Interesting)

BenV666 (620052) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485435)

The only problem they have with Seti@home these days is the statistics.
I know a few people who actually compete over who has computed the most packets. People also try to cheat to get high stats, that is where it goes wrong...
Therefore it might be better to ditch those stats all together, or at least make them less informative...

Re:Issue (2, Informative)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485470)

i believe that the powers running SETI@home send out redundant data and compare, so as to reflect a more accurate statistic

March 18th... Next Tuesday. (-1, Troll)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485459)

The Arecibo Observatory will work for three and a half days, starting March 18, to revisit the candidate signals identified by SETI@home users.

There doesn't seem to be anything new in this article in comparison to the previous slashdot article. The only difference seems to be that SETI has decided when to actually do this analysis (which I've quoted above).

Somewhere, light years away (0, Offtopic)

presroi (657709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485468)

(Disclaimer: there might be bad physics [intuitor.com] involved in this posting)

When I startet this posting, I realized, that all bad jokes about Seti@home were already made and there is nothing more to invent left. Let's try a new approach:

Recounting? That reminds me of something... [cnn.com]
Florida, I hear you calling. Will the number of Aliens found increase or decrease when you recount the number of blibs and blurbs coming out from the Universe? Will the Federal Court of the Universe stop this recount by a 5:3?

Well, if someone could finish this pointe.

bizarro universe (3, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485474)

Alien message decrypted: "Greetings. I am the Democratic, peaceloving, and openminded President Eroeg W. Hsub, from the plant Htrae. We will allow your planet to continue to produce weapons of Galatic Destruction, instead of wiping your puny solar system off the map.

Re:bizarro universe (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485500)

*planet

War, warrrrrr (5, Funny)

DonkeyJimmy (599788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485475)

(from the article) "Our chances right now [of finding something] are small," SETI@home chief scientist Dan Werthimer said in a telephone interview. "But you have to plan for success"

He continued: "and in this case, success would mean an intergalactic war that would result in the destruction of entire galaxies. We have already begun training our astrosoldiers in the art of zero-G warfare, but chances of defeating the alien menace is slim. I for one welcome our new alien overlords... Hail ants."

The chosen few? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485491)

Did anyone else get a message indicating their machine processed a packet of interest and requesting contact information for the media?

The message (5, Funny)

soundofthemoon (623369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485493)

Someone in the Pleiades needs help moving 50 billion quatloos out of a forgotten government bank account, and they want Earth to help.

GWM SEEKS GBM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485501)

I am a gay white boy looking for a black man with a 9+ inch penis to treat me like his prison bitch. Pound my lily white ass, then make me lick my own shit off your cock, while my wife watches! Afterwards you can go ahead and fuck my wife too, since I am totally incapable of satisfying her. Contact cmdrtaco@slashdot.org for more info.

lost my interest (2, Interesting)

milktoastman (572643) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485510)

I don't know, I used to be so interested in SETI, but in the last few years I've lost all enthusiasm for it. I guess because, ultimately, I don't think its likely that intelligent civilizations are very dense out there, and if they did, we'd probably never recognize the signal...and if we did, I'd say, 'okay, now what? We still have to go on living alone because we can't talk back and forth, so it's even more disappointing to know they exist but are unreachable.' We'll probably destroy ourselves before that's an issue, anyway.

Global Extraterrestrial Hunt to Revisit Old Signal (2)

rpiquepa (644694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485511)

Besides MSNBC, other medias are *revisiting* the SETI@home project. Read for instance this Space.com [space.com] article, published yesterday (March 10, 2003). Tariq Malik wrote: "Researchers spearheading a worldwide effort to find ET, or anyone else out in space besides us humans, plan to revisit a group of their most likely candidate radio signals using the world's largest radio telescope." He added that "the Arecibo Observatory will work for three and a half days, starting March 18, to revisit the candidate signals identified by SETI@home users."

Guess they were right (5, Interesting)

rde (17364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485515)

As someone who scanned that part of the sky for seti@athome (so to speak), I got a mail from our berkelean chums, suggesting that a lot of media interest might be forthcoming. I mentally scoffed at the possibility, but here I am talking about it on a *cough* reputable site like slashdot!

seti - acting under the auspices of the planetary society - were kind enough to ask whether I'd like my fifteen minutes now, and make my name available for interview to those legions of reporters who'd be after a human interest angle.

Of course, 'human interest' is exactly not the reason I signed up for seti@home, but there you go. Nonetheless, I volunteered, just in case they want a European perspective. However, I really, really doubt that anything will come of it. Just like a seti user should.

SETI Hoax (0, Flamebait)

gestapo4you (590974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485517)

It's been known for a while that the SETI@Home has nothing to do with finding aliens but is used for target calculations by US "Intelligence".
A lot of $$$ saved on free processing power.
So why don't you open up your box to help out?

However it turns out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485524)

you have to admit that the Crab nebula is the better nebula for rapping, because nebula rhymes with -- oh.

Useless piece of software (4, Funny)

supergiovane (606385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485532)

Dear Mr Seti@home project leader,
we can tell for sure that your software needs some serious revision because as it is it doesn't work well in finding alien lifeforms.

Respectfully yours,

Alf
Mork
E.T.
Chewbecca
Yoda
Spock

not a troll, but... (-1, Troll)

rob-fu (564277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485538)

you think if they actually found something which led to the discovery of extraterrestrial life, would the (U.S.) government tell anyone about it?

Think about the implications that such a discovery would have on organized religion. See the 'Contact' parallel? Not that a discovery of alien life would turn religion on its head, but it would definitely distort it in some way. Perhaps this is all just my opinion though.

Of course, the U.S. government would be the first to jump on it, and they're not exactly forthcoming with everything.

Re:not a troll, but... (1)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485648)

Too bad for the U.S. government, because they opted to discontinue funding SETI in the 1990s. It is now a private, non-profit corporation using donations from such tech luminaries as both Hewlett and Packard, and Paul Allen.

So, even if the gummint *wanted* to squelch a SETI discovery, they wouldn't be able to, because it's totally out of their hands now.

I was pissed when congress cut SETI spending (the way it happened was a total farce), but I have to admit in hindsight, it's about the best thing that ever happened to them.

Like others have pointed Seti can seem a waste (0, Troll)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485544)

No doubt actually finding and verifying(good luck) alien signals would a great discovery. But at the same the practically speaking its a complete waste. All of these people could and should be donating to something like Folding or some other distributed effort that actually will probably help humanity by finding a cure for cancer or some other disease. But I guess actually helping your fellow humans is less glamourous then being the first nerd or geek to discover some faint signal which when discovered probably won't even be accepted by the rest of the world and will be debated forever.

Seti being first and all earned its user base, but since other more practical and worthy uses for distributed computing have come about its time to shift resources to tasks which will actually may improve the world's quality of life.

The sad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485552)

is that even if we pick up Alien Superbowl XII, religious fools will not shut up.

And if they find ET? (5, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485559)

Assume for a moment that this second pass finds a signal that is not random and is coming from a Sun like star 3,000 light years away. We watch it with more and more telescopes and damn if it doesn't send a big old red flag of intelligence.

Now what?

Any transmission there and back will have a 6k year life span. That's far to great of a distance for us to explore yet, and far to much of a time to comprehend between signals. So how will we deal with another society 17,597,088,000,000,000 miles away?

My pessimism says we let it divide us even more. Some will claim it as Atlantis, others will see it as home of the Aliens that have abducting them. The religious zealots will condemn, and our government will try and ignore it.

My optimism hopes that it will inspire us to space. Give us a goal worthy of sending Humans to, and something that will also inspire kids to get more involved in Science.

I know that there has been much written about what a positive result in this search would mean to society, but I'm wondering if anyone else has their own thoughts?

Space.com article (2, Informative)

lucretio (651058) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485563)

There is also an article here [space.com] .

Decrypted Alien Message (5, Funny)

papadiablo (609676) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485602)

"No! All your base are belong to us!"

SETI Algorithm (0, Troll)

llsouder (539184) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485610)

while(get.nextIpAddress()) { if (downloadedSETISoftware==true) intelligentLifeFound=false; }

aliens, war? (-1, Troll)

Bures (655233) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485616)

What about the possibility of all this news being fake? We are in a time of war and now we have news writings like this? Is it just used distract people from what is going on in our own world? I am a skeptic when news like this comes out when we are in a time of war. But it would be interesting to discover that we are not the only one's that have developed innovations to upgrade our lives. Let the invasion begin! :)

HHGTTG (1)

Exedore (223159) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485620)

No big deal... It's probably just Zaphod asking if anyone has any mixers.

The machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5485627)

but if we find a message from some alien it will be the blueprints of some machine that when built and activated will turn out to be a trojan horse that will flood our planet with syrup mmmm syrup

This isn't news (-1, Flamebait)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485635)

SETI following its 150 most probable leads is only of slightly more serious interest than Weekly World News doing follow-ups to its 150 most believable stories. SETI isn't science. It's another part of the vast Carl Sagan empire of science remade for the ten o'clock news.

ET already knows all about us (4, Funny)

scotay (195240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5485690)

The fact that we're still using screen savers on non-monochrome monitors is proof we're not advanced enough for first contact.
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