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SETI Finds Interesting Signal

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the ding-dong-ditch dept.

Space 816

Several readers sent in notes about an interesting signal discovered by SETI. No real evidence of Someone Out There, but not fully explainable either. Another reader submits a blurb suggesting that aliens should send spacemail, not signals: "Rutgers electrical engineering professor, Christopher Rose, has an article on Nature magazine's cover today describing the most efficient way for our civilization to be discovered by aliens. On this question of better to 'write or radiate', his conclusions: better not to send radio transmission, when physical media like DNA on an asteroid can declare a terrestrial presence. Similar to what motivated Voyager scientists to attach a plaque for the outbound trip. Rose has some great information payload sizes as examples (like the entire information equivalent for our global genome fitting on a 100 pound laptop!)."

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I for one... (2, Funny)

nzgeek (232346) | about 10 years ago | (#10134085)

I for one welcome our new intelligent extra terrestrial overlords!

(Sorry, it had to be done...)

Re:I for one... (1)

nzgeek (232346) | about 10 years ago | (#10134109)

P.S. can anyone access the New Scientist article? Surely it can't have been slashdotted this quickly!

Maybe it has been taken offline by some mysterious FTL alien death ray? Kinda like a planetary Chinese firewall?

Re:I for one... (2, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#10134152)

P.S. can anyone access the New Scientist article? Surely it can't have been slashdotted this quickly!

It's been 'drudgereported' all day. I saw it this morning on drudge and have not been able to access it. Drudge gets more traffic than slashdot.

Re:I for one... (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#10134185)

Replied to wrong post (I am using links and I suck at it.)

BLarg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134088)


I for one welcome our new... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134092)

nah, too easy

Waste of time (5, Funny)

LFS.Morpheus (596173) | about 10 years ago | (#10134094)

No one's gunna pay attention to us until we have warp drive anyway.

Re:Waste of time (5, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 years ago | (#10134138)

and then it will be some boring pointy eared guys with no sense of humor and alien chicks who are never in the mood

Re:Waste of time (5, Funny)

G00F (241765) | about 10 years ago | (#10134277)

But at least the world will know of logical women.

Re:Waste of time (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134221)

Speak for yourself. Some of already have it. We just see the speed limit signs as warp speed. 55 becomes warp 5.5 and 70 becomes 7.0

We're moving so fast that you never see us, but we're there.

Well, someone has to say it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134097)

I, for one, welcome our No-Definitive-Proof-Of-Existance Overlords... or something.

Oh, and to be on topic, here's some other interesting signals... [] .

DNA Over Signal (4, Funny)

Jack9 (11421) | about 10 years ago | (#10134098)

When dealing with the vastness of space, how can you advocate physical over transmission. The article does nothing to describe why sending an object with mass 1/1000000 the size of a planet that we would notice is somehow preferable to trying to boost a signal.

Re:DNA Over Signal (3, Insightful)

mOoZik (698544) | about 10 years ago | (#10134122)

Because the laws of physics - most specifically the inverse square law - work against the transmission of electromagnetic energies over vast distances. Isn't efficiency the pinnacle of any advanced civilization?

Re:DNA Over Signal (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 10 years ago | (#10134177)

"Because the laws of physics - most specifically the inverse square law - work against the transmission of electromagnetic energies over vast distances."

The inverse square law only holds for point source spherical radiators. That why they had big fsking dishes in the movie "Contact". Duh. Well, no, that not why they have them on the receiving end, but you know what I mean.

Re:DNA Over Signal (4, Informative)

mOoZik (698544) | about 10 years ago | (#10134194)

1/r^2 stands true for all electromagnetic waves. That means the intensity of the signal will decrease by the square of its distance.

Re:DNA Over Signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134237)

Wrong. Idiot.

Re:DNA Over Signal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134131)

You're forgetting about the inverse square law. The farther space probes get away from earth, the larger they get. That's why, for example, small satellites like our Mercury probes are able to cause regular solar eclipses.

Re:DNA Over Signal (5, Interesting)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | about 10 years ago | (#10134141)

Well, the problem with radio signals is that they degrade so fast, and the fact that what we transmit will probably not be intelligible to any foreign species, they may get the drift that we are semi-intelligent, but probably not enough information to decipher where we are from or our purpose. With physical artifacts, as long as the beings can see visible light, there is a good chance that they can get a good jist of what we are trying to convey. We can draw pictures of humans and animals and plants on our planet, and possible draw basic symbols and graphs to make out basic mathematical concepts, and possibly the general location of Earth. While it would be much more difficult to locate a physical object than a radio signal, the short range of a radio way probably makes it impractical for long distance communication in space. Of course, there is the possibility of physical objects degrading with time, but with proper materials this should be pretty limited.

Re:DNA Over Signal (4, Insightful)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | about 10 years ago | (#10134149)

Indeed. There's an outside chance [] that in 40,000 years Voyager will enter another solar system with its record (the plaque was on the Pioneers). The chances that a civilization exists there, and that they will notice and intercept it are unbelievably small. Why bother?

Re:DNA Over Signal (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | about 10 years ago | (#10134284)

It's when those aliens find Voyager and kit it out with lots of death rays and send it back to Earth in search of its creator you have to worry...

Re:DNA Over Signal (4, Insightful)

gregmac (629064) | about 10 years ago | (#10134258)

How about sending out an object that transmits a signal? You still have a limited range around the object, but at least it will broadcast farther than earth broadcasts. Sending out a signal also increases the chances that an object will be located .. if we were to start picking up some mysterious signal that was nearby, we'd sure try to locate it. It could run on solar power, and only wake up and start broadcasting when it's actually close enough to a sun (in a solar system) that it gets enough power. I'm not sure what it would broadcast - zipping it around our own planet and having SETI alarms going off would probably be a good test.

The other problem with earth-based transmission is that we don't do it anymore [] . We'd need large antennas broadcasting "we're here" signals outwards, and considering SETI already has problems with credibility while looking for signals, I'd imagine getting funding to send out signals would be even harder.

laptop? (2)

loonicks (807801) | about 10 years ago | (#10134099)

If it's 100 pounds, it's not really a laptop. Where I used to work there was a 75 pound tower with a handle on top, maybe that's what they're getting at...

Re:laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134114)

In space, no one can hear you laugh because you're 100 pound laptop is weightless. :D

Re:laptop? (1)

frankmu (68782) | about 10 years ago | (#10134163)

the laptop probably weighs 5 lbs. the rest of the weight is the nuclear powered battery for the long trip

SETI finds a signal? (1, Redundant)

Phleg (523632) | about 10 years ago | (#10134101)

I don't think I've ever seen a website slashdotted so fast.

Re:SETI finds a signal? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134184)

Slashdotted my ass. We were never supposed to know about this. The government cover-up is underway.

Re:SETI finds a signal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134236)

I don't think I've ever seen a website slashdotted so fast.

I saw it on Google news and tried for over an hour before it showed up here, so it was apparently pre-slashdotted. Either that or it's a side-effect of the temporal cold war.

Welcome (1)

tymbow (725036) | about 10 years ago | (#10134104)

Aren't we supposed to be welcoming our new insect overlords and something about toiling in underground sugar caves?

100lb laptop?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134107)

Damn, that would suck. Hope you meant 10 pounds... :-)

Re:100lb laptop?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134124)

Now I know why the tray table was broken on my flight home from LA last week.

and we wonder where DNA technology is going. (1) (257083) | about 10 years ago | (#10134108)

*CONSPIRACY* I bet the govt is pushing DNA technology so we can grow the DNA sequence that was sent to us in 47 out in Roswell......

My thoughts... its just a matter of time. The universe is WAY too fricken big for us to be alone.

And if we are, I guess will we ever find out considering how BIG space is?

When does faith in god over power the desire to go one step farther?

Re:and we wonder where DNA technology is going. (4, Insightful)

Repton (60818) | about 10 years ago | (#10134160)

The universe is WAY too fricken big for us to be alone.

But it could also be WAY too fricken big for us to be detectable...

(try crunching some numbers WRT the invention of radio transmitters, the speed of light, and the distance to nearby stars)

Tragic misunderstanding (4, Funny)

girouette (309616) | about 10 years ago | (#10134110)

Voyager scientists attach a plaque on the outbound trip - aliens attach a plague on the return trip.

Re:Tragic misunderstanding (1)

LFS.Morpheus (596173) | about 10 years ago | (#10134165)

Heh, the first time I read it as "plague," and then when I saw it was plaque, I thought of the dentist's office.

Re:Tragic misunderstanding (1)

morganjharvey (638479) | about 10 years ago | (#10134238)

Dude. Have you looked in a child's mouth recently? Plaque is a plague.

Oh, wait...

Every time... (4, Interesting)

keiferb (267153) | about 10 years ago | (#10134111)

...I hear about something like this, I just have to wonder how we know what we're looking for. I mean, seriously... life outside of our solar system is probably not at all like the life we find here on Earth. At least, I sure hope it's not. In any case, how do we even know what to start looking for?

Re:Every time... (3, Informative)

mOoZik (698544) | about 10 years ago | (#10134155)

We assume that any sufficiently advanced civilization will attempt to seek other such intelligences, just as we are doing with SETI and other smaller projects. Transmission by electromagnetic means is the most likely means of communication, due to its speed, relative simplicity, etc. We are looking for artificial patterns in received signals to suggest that it was created by intelligence and not by nature, that is, stars, clouds, whatever.

Old Mindset (1, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | about 10 years ago | (#10134276)

This line of thinking is incredibly anachrnostic. It's a relatively modern version of the Great Chain of Being. The GCOB is a western idea of a hierarchy of things, starting at the center of the earth, and radiating out into space. So, at the bottom are rocks and plants, then comes animals, then people, then angels and finally God in the Heavens. In the age of exploration and colonialization, it was thought that there was a linear development from stone tools -> spears -> bow and arrow -> bronze weapons -> steel weapons, finally to European society.

The 50's 'world of tomorrow' thinking is just the updated version of this. Aliens (read: any advanced civilizatoin) are like us, just like God made us in His Image, except for the bad parts. Therefore they are mathematicians and scientists. They use radio waves and other technologies that we use, just like savages in the jungle use spears like ancient Europeans used to.

I think when/if we do come into contact with trulu other life or intelligence, it will totally blow our collective and individuals minds, like way more than LSD.

Re:Every time... (4, Informative)

Kainaw (676073) | about 10 years ago | (#10134202)

how do we even know what to start looking for?

It is a common misunderstanding that the SETI project is decoding radio signals and trying to listen to some sort of alien language. What SETI is actually doing is looking for radio signals that are not from Earth. They are rather easy to find because as the Earth spins, it will create a very predictable increase and decrease in the frequency of radio waves that are not from Earth (simple doppler effect). Waves produced from the Earth have a near constant frequency because both the sender and receiver and spinning around the Earth at the same time.

An interesting signal is one that is from off-planet. It gets more interesting if the direction of origin is some other galaxy. It gets even more interesting if there is no scientific reason for any object in that galaxy to produce the signal. Finally, with all that checked, someone might try to see if the radio waves are transmitting an actual message - or we can beam our favorite Simpsons episodes right back to source to prove our own intelligence.

well... (1)

vena (318873) | about 10 years ago | (#10134233)

there's really no reason to assume that life outside our solar system is like us OR not like us, is there? "like us" seems like a logical place to start, but no one's going to give you a definitive on either being absolute.

Re:Every time... (1)

kalidasa (577403) | about 10 years ago | (#10134281)

We're looking for what we know how to find, with the awareness that there will likely be civilizations that communicate in ways that we don't understand or even recognize, or that don't communicate at all, or that may confuse us utterly if we ever figure out that they even exist. In fact, we are looking basically for someone who is looking to be found by people just like us.

Hopefully, as we conceive of new ways to communicate, we'll start looking for those as well.

send engineered DNA (1)

whovian (107062) | about 10 years ago | (#10134116)

with a mathematical pattern embedded into it. Use the amino acid codings. Maybe encode a special pattern into both a new radio signal and into the DNA. That should reduce odds of the signal being interpreted as a freak of Nature (unless of course the alien civilization chooses to believe the signals are $DEITY in origin).

Re:send engineered DNA (5, Funny)

jabex (320163) | about 10 years ago | (#10134180)

Oh what are you thinking?!

Everybody knows that if you send some genetically engineered organism into the vastness of space, it will only return far more advanced - and destroy us for sending it's ancestors to a dark and empty prison.


Re:send engineered DNA (4, Insightful)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | about 10 years ago | (#10134271)

What if we deliver this encoded DNA to a species that uses, say, a silicon matrix encoding their genetics?

Why would they even look at DNA, if they didn't realize it was a way to encode info as well as the foundation of life for us?

What should I do? (1)

TuxMelvin (97727) | about 10 years ago | (#10134117)

I can either get really excited about the possibility that we've found extra-terrestrial life... ...or I can assume this is just some strange fluke, like it almost always is.

What am I saying... almost always? It ALWAYS is. But there's gotta be a first time...

And here comes another signal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134118)'s a distress call from the New Scientist webserver!

Re:And here comes another signal... (5, Informative)

StarsEnd (640288) | about 10 years ago | (#10134154)

slashdotted - try this / []

Re:And here comes another signal... (2, Informative)

sploxx (622853) | about 10 years ago | (#10134278)

Yes... and there is also a seti@home [] page for the signal candidate.

Hmm (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134120)

If this turns out to be an MP3, it looks like someone is gonna get sued (it would be filed as RIAA v. Zorack Doe)

Time to go find the dog (2, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | about 10 years ago | (#10134121)

While I originally applauded SETI's efforts, I'm beginning to find this a bit ridiculous. When you lose your dog, you don't normally wait for it to find you: you look for it. We're basically sitting here waiting for a message, when we should be physically searching. Chances are any life worth finding in our neck of the universe won't be communicating via radio signals anyway.

I think the latest Mars expedition was a good step: look for livable areas, later look for life. Don't sit around waiting for it to come to you.

Re:Time to go find the dog (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134136)

...says SilentChris

Re:Time to go find the dog (4, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 10 years ago | (#10134222)

SETI isn't looking for messages people are sending us, it's looking for evidence that somebody out there is communicating by radio. As an example, other civilizations within about fifty light-years or so would be able to pick up TV signals from us, and radio could be detected for almost twice the distance. None of these are intended as extra-terrestrial communications, but they'd be evidence that we're here.

Re:Time to go find the dog (1)

geneing (756949) | about 10 years ago | (#10134274)

Why do we think that extraterrestrials wouldn't use spread spectrum method for communication? After all it's a more efficient and noise resistant method.

A spread spectrum signal will appear as noise in fourier space.

Re:Time to go find the dog (1)

geneing (756949) | about 10 years ago | (#10134250)

I'm afraid that, using your analogy, we are the dog.

The only hope is that other civilizations are more advanced then us and started sending strong radio signals a long time ago. We are just listening to hear the call of our masters...

in a shocking new discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134123)

Scientists have announced that /.ers are emitting tachyon particles, as a server targetted by /. readers has gone down so quickly that many believe it wasn't even up when the article was posted

A minor issue is that (4, Insightful)

rasafras (637995) | about 10 years ago | (#10134125)

Physical objects are a tad harder to find. We would be happy to find a civilization like our own... however, we didn't notice a rather large until three days after it had almost hit our planet. The other real snag happens to be major as well - it doesn't travel at the speed of light. Puts things on a slightly larger timescale, doesn't it?

ET's sneakernet (1)

the_denman (800425) | about 10 years ago | (#10134130)

Wow this is really spreading, first all us humans start using the sneakernet to transfer all of our *iaa contraband files from person to person, now ET is going to do it too!

It looks like the general idea is if you don't care how fast your "letter" gets there you go cheep with bulk rate shipping, but when it really has to be there yesterday nothing beats the higher cost overnight service.

Menu? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134133)

Rose has some great information payload sizes as examples (like the entire information equivalent for our global genome fitting on a 100 pound laptop!)

I'd rather not send a menu with the greeting.

rocks with our DNA?? (2, Insightful)

snooo53 (663796) | about 10 years ago | (#10134137)

I would think that the chances of an alien race discovering an asteroid with our DNA on it would be infinitely less than them seeing our radiation signals.

Not to mention the time involved for those rocks to travel interstellar distances. The radio signals will get there at the speed of light. Assuming the rocks don't vaporize along the way, by the time they arrive anywhere, we're talking millions->billions of years later... by which time if we haven't gone extinct, surely we will have already acheived interstellar travel.

Finally! (5, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | about 10 years ago | (#10134142)

Pardon me while I step out to light up my giant "WELCOME TO EARTH" sign.

Is it just me... (2, Interesting)

Veridium (752431) | about 10 years ago | (#10134144)

...or does hurling an asteroid at a distant planet sound like a good way to piss ETs off? On a more practical note, it also sounds like a good way to infect a planet with some such bug. And if they weren't talking about targeting a planet with that "communication medium", then it seems really absurd that that could be a better way to communicate than radiating. Radiating allows you, with relatively little energy expenditure, to send your message out in many different directions hoping someone gets it. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

I didn't read any of the articles yet because they all appear to be slashdotted. Nice going everyone.

Re:Is it just me... (1)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | about 10 years ago | (#10134283)

He never said "Better" from what I've read, just "costs less energy". He is, of course, correct in that sending physical objects fairly slowly is a lot cheaper than the energy requirements for a reasonably detectable signal at XX light years.

But its also a lot slower, and probably harder to detect, making it not necessarily "better".

Ah, Love that Trek (1)

segfault7375 (135849) | about 10 years ago | (#10134145)

Similar to what motivated Voyager scientists to attach a plaque for the outbound trip

Commander Willard Decker : V'ger... expects an answer.
Captain James T. Kirk : An... answer? I... don't know... the question.

Hopefully... (2, Insightful)

sploxx (622853) | about 10 years ago | (#10134146)

it is "something"!!

Maybe not aliens (I'm sometimes to sceptical to get excited, although I'd like to be :) but new astrophysical phenomena.
AFAIK, pulsars (these fast spinning dead stars with rotational periods in the msec-sec range) were discovered as someone looked at the data and though "wow, aliens, this periodic signal".

When translated the signal reads... (2, Funny)

smellygeek (702897) | about 10 years ago | (#10134150)

Do not run. We are your friends.

Screw the tin foil hat.... (1, Redundant)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | about 10 years ago | (#10134156)

...100 pound laptop
I for one welcome our new giant alien overlords!

100 Pound Laptop (3, Funny)

eSun (217758) | about 10 years ago | (#10134159)

My wife weighs about 100 lbs, can sit on my lap, and contains a complete copy of the human genome.

Re:100 Pound Laptop (2, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10134262)

Ya but can she run linux? This is /. afterall :)

Andromeda Strain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134162)

Uh? wasn't that the plot of The Andromeda Strain way back in the 70s - the best guess as to the purpose of the wierd crystalline polymer-eating blood-coagulating alien bug was as a friendly greeting, and it was just unfortunate that it happened to eat certain long chain molecules found in human vein walls?

Atari (2, Funny)

Ravensign (134410) | about 10 years ago | (#10134166)

Looking at that signal that we are broadcasting to the ET's, they are going to get it and think we are a race of sentient Atari game character, and wonder one thing:

Do they know about the magnet? Can they get the chalice across walls?

DAMNIT! (2, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 10 years ago | (#10134170)

We get an interesting signal and then you asshats go and /. it!

Oh well, it's probably aliens requesting to be removed from our spam email list.

Sending DNA doesn't seem like a good idea... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 10 years ago | (#10134173)

Sure the prevailing theory is that IF someone is OUT THERE, they will be NICE.


They will have evolved, just like critters here, and just as likely as not they will be nasty ones if they were tough enough to survive long enough to be interested space stuff. Look at the slashdot lot - would you trust them with your daughter?

Giving them Earth DNA just gives them clues that we are here (which is of course the point) but more importantly tells them everything they need to know to make some bug spray especially for us.

Re:Sending DNA doesn't seem like a good idea... (4, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 10 years ago | (#10134246)

Sorry to reply to myself, but I forgot to make a key point; Why do we want to be discovered?

I mean, it would be cool to discover intelligent aliens and all, but why have them discover us?

I like to surf the internet, but for crying out loud, I have a firewall. I see the Internet, the Internet doesn't see me.

I'd say just be cosmic lurkers until we are damn sure it is safe to be sticking our nose into things.

Of course the odds of anything on this topic happening (good or bad) are so poor that I don't think anyone has to worry.

Re:Sending DNA doesn't seem like a good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134260)

Giving them Earth DNA just gives them clues that we are here (which is of course the point) but more importantly tells them everything they need to know to make some bug spray especially for us.

I agree. A race that can travel lightyears to our planet can kill us all only if it knows our DNA.

Re:Sending DNA doesn't seem like a good idea... (0, Troll)

overworked+underpaid (743766) | about 10 years ago | (#10134263)

You Americans are so paranoid. You think they'll be communist aliens? Or are you just worried that they'll be Muslims? Better launch a pre-emptive strike before it's too late.

One question (2, Interesting)

geneing (756949) | about 10 years ago | (#10134179)

Why do we think that extraterrestrials wouldn't use spread spectrum method for communication? After all it's a more efficient and noise resistant method.

As I understand, a spread spectrum signal won't appear as a strong peak in fourier space (that's what seti is essentially looking for).

Any thoughts?


mmmmmhotpants (800341) | about 10 years ago | (#10134182)

ET Phone Genome

Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134183)

mirror the site here. Really. This is one of the more interesting /. stories!

So far the only words they've decrypted are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134188)

Single Female Lawyer

face it (1)

blitziod (591194) | about 10 years ago | (#10134196)

the first ignal we see from any "Advanced" culture will likely be an advertisement for some new alien pop up blocker or penis enlargement product!

Re:face it (4, Funny)

Wumpus (9548) | about 10 years ago | (#10134254)

How true. Consider that the male image on Voyager had a teeny tiny penis, and it all starts to make sense.

The other option is a return message on a plaque, depicting a male alien with really large reproductive organs. That'll tell us, more than almost anything else, what sort of mentality we're dealing with.

Hope to $DIETY it's the extraterrestrials... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | about 10 years ago | (#10134197)

I hope we find Extraterrestrial life sometime during my lifetime. I think that a scientific discovery as huge as this would change my life forever. It's not that I believe Earth is the only inhabited planet, but it'll be really *really* nice to find some concrete evidence of life elsewhere.

Maybe it's just me, but I think such an event will broaden my horizons, make me rethink life and change it for the better - and hopefully also help us as a whole (ie humans) to forget violence, wars, differences etc in the larger scheme of things.

Again, maybe it's just me, and maybe I'm rambling, but I have nothing to do, the site's Slashdotted.

Sending Global Genome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134208)

Oh yeah great idea! Let's get them a head start in the impending inter-galactic war so they can fine-tune their bio-weapons on the way over.

Either way (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | about 10 years ago | (#10134211)

Well, either we are the only intelligent life in the universe or we are not, either answer is awesome.

Umm... (4, Insightful)

r00k123 (588214) | about 10 years ago | (#10134213)

...the entire informational equivalent for our global genome?

I think I might rather hang onto this information until we're sure our new-found neighbors are friendly.

Would we know a signal if we found it? (3, Interesting)

Trespass (225077) | about 10 years ago | (#10134223)

Any civilization using radio may be using a lot of encrypted digital signals to communicate among themselves. Wouldn't a sufficiently advanced spread spectrum scheme seem like noise?

Perhaps I am naive, but I think about the things human beings could always see, but couldn't understand until their knowledge progressed past a certain point.

Do both (1)

skrysakj (32108) | about 10 years ago | (#10134225)

Why discuss physical versus transmission?
Do both.

Send out various satellites, in various directions, and have them broadcast a signal as they go.

Another article... (3, Informative)

sploxx (622853) | about 10 years ago | (#10134231)

is here on [] .

Anyone got a torrent? (2, Interesting)

smclean (521851) | about 10 years ago | (#10134239)

Where's the data? I want to see the signal data. I'm sure it would be confusing to see without the proper perspective and backgrounds into the physics behind their radio telescope and ambient radio noise and whatnot, but I want to look at it anyway.

Bad example? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10134244)

From the Rose article:
Potential recipients at that point might be unable to snag a passing message for any one of many reasons. They might not be listening. They might be
extinct. So someone sending such a message would have to send it over and over to increase the chance of its being received.

I don't think an extinct civilization is going to have an easier time finding 100 DVD's on some asteroid....

wait a minute (1)

tuxter (809927) | about 10 years ago | (#10134247)

Didn't we attach a plaque depicting naked humans? Isn't this _Our_ first interstellar prOn? Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing some signals from other planets, shows like RALF (Retarded alien life form, the must see show, with those strange pink squishy hyoomanns) and Dr.What, the time travelling doctor in his retardis. Seriously though, wouldn't it be interesting to see an alien cultures spin on entertainment? Do they have DRM? Will we be able to crack it?

100 pound laptop? (1)

tsunamifirestorm (729508) | about 10 years ago | (#10134252)

Sweet, where can i get one? ;)

When the signal was finally translated... (5, Funny)

Colonel Cholling (715787) | about 10 years ago | (#10134255) read "PH1RST P0ST!!!"

Don't worry, NASA scientists have already modded them down.

I need to tell them!! (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 10 years ago | (#10134256)

Don't go! It''s a COOKBOOK!

I knew it!! (1)

jmcmunn (307798) | about 10 years ago | (#10134259)

The last few days my client for Seti has had problems connecting to get more data to inspect. Can this possibly be a coincidence that I can't get more data, and now someone finds an 'alien signal'? I think they'coming, they are trying to keep us from seeing them by shutting down Seti, but it won't work...I am getting out the Celestron and heading out to watch!!!

Mysterious signals from 1000 light years away (5, Informative)

another misanthrope (688068) | about 10 years ago | (#10134261)

I sent in this article - very cool read and makes me wish for FTL travel!

New Scientist [] is reporting that the signal "also happens to be the best candidate yet for a contact by intelligent aliens in the nearly six-year history of the SETI@home project, which uses programs running as screensavers on millions of personal computers worldwide to sift through signals picked up by the Arecibo telescope...*snip*

...There are other oddities. For instance, the signal's frequency is drifting by between eight to 37 hertz per second. "The signal is moving rapidly in frequency and you would expect that to happen if you are looking at a transmitter on a planet that's rotating very rapidly and where the civilisation is not correcting the transmission for the motion of the planet," Korpela says.

Quick! Get Jodi Foster! (1)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | about 10 years ago | (#10134268)

... so we can launch her out into space! Not in the direction of the signal, but rather into the sun! :P

a bit too heavy for my daily commute (1)

Scott (1049) | about 10 years ago | (#10134275)

I wouldn't call it a laptop if it weighs 100lbs, unless it gets to sit on my lap while I'm in space.
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