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SETI Researcher Quashes Signal Rumors

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the killing-my-dreams dept.

Space 379

brainstyle writes "According to Dan Wertheimer of SETI the whole ET signal excitement is more hype than science. I told myself it was in all likelihood nothing special, but I'm still disappointed. Darn."

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Look on the bright side... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141369)

First post!

This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is no (5, Funny)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141370)

Wow... check out these segments from the article:

Astronomers deny ET signal report

Astronomers have moved swiftly to quell speculation they may have received a deep-space radio signal

It's all hype and noise

We have nothing that is unusual. It's all out of proportion.

It's not much of anything at all. We're not investigating it further.

At the moment, we have no candidates that we are particularly excited about

It's all hype. We don't have anything we are excited about.

we have no candidates that we are particularly excited about and the new 'signal' is not a priority.

it is not surprising that a signal like this occurs purely due to chance.

not new and definitely not a signal


With that much denial in one news report, you know it has to be a cover-up :).

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (0)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141417)

Well done for spotting those subtle clues sherlock.

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (5, Interesting)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141493)

The BBC article is certainly high on denial and short on substance. I particularly dislike the intro: " It was reported on the internet that the signal had been found .." - Oh, these wacky Internet people are at it again. The New Scientist is also a print publication, and it did not report that a signal had been found, it reported that there was a particularly strong candidate signal, which showed certain interesting oddities which may very well rule it out from being artificial:

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.

This does not, however, convince Paul Horowitz, a Harvard University astronomer who looks for alien signals using optical telescopes. He points out that the SETI@home software corrects for any drift in frequency.

Fishy and puzzling

The fact that the signal continues to drift after this correction is "fishy", he says. "If [the aliens] are so smart, they'll adjust their signal for their planet's motion."

The relatively rapid drift of the signal is also puzzling for other reasons. A planet would have to be rotating nearly 40 times faster than Earth to have produced the observed drift; a transmitter on Earth would produce a signal with a drift of about 1.5 hertz per second.

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

Now, in light of these facts, which are not denied in the BBC article, the "We're not investigating it further" type responses certainly sound like an attempt to prevent the media from getting their panties in a twist. "Actually it was a reflection from a weather balloon..."

I hope SETI does investigate. That's the whole point of the project, isn't it?

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (3, Funny)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141537)

"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.

The bionic Lemming says :

A navigational Beacon? Rotating on a repair facility? Made to cover as much of an area as possible in times of distress?

Or do the aliens have Software written by their version of Microsoft - and they accidentally have a port opend that's now spewing out their version of Viagra spam?

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (2, Funny)

molo (94384) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141682)

A navigational Beacon? Rotating on a repair facility? Made to cover as much of an area as possible in times of distress?

Maybe a hollow sphere or ring rotating for artifical gravity? ie. DEATH STAR. /me runs

-molo

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (1, Funny)

Devar (312672) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141494)

Let me be the first to say, that I for one welcome our newly-covered-up alien overlords!

These are not the droids you are looking for (3, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141505)

They know its not a real signal because it said so.

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (1, Redundant)

secretsquirel (805445) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141558)

"With that much denial in one news report, you know it has to be a cover-up :)." The neurolizer strikesagain!

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat – This is (5, Interesting)

DHR (68430) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141575)

Lots of denial, without any explanations. We want to know why its all hype and noise, why it's not unusual, and why it's not a signal. In short, what did they realize it was?

Re:This is not a cover-up. I repeat - This is no (4, Funny)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141577)

I for one welcome our new non-existant alien overlords.

Conspiracy Theory (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141580)

no contact with extraterrestrials had been made

How many millions of light years are the signals for this anomaly occurring? I am buying stock in tin foil because there is no way they could have sent a response back and got a confirmation that the single was received in a few hours. Run for the hills, they're covering up something :^/

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141373)

ohhh yeah!! el swanko!!!

et? (1, Funny)

fred911 (83970) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141375)

No phone home?? darn!

I was all ready (2, Funny)

hax0r_par (776404) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141376)

to believe this too. When will the aliens come so that we may bring rise to the war on inter-galactic terrorism?

Re:I was all ready (1)

milktoastman (572643) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141739)

You almost had some real flamebait here, but it isn't that funny 'cause your "clever" analogy breaks down given that terrestrial terrorism is real and inter-galactic terrorism isn't.

And how interesting.. (5, Funny)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141378)

That when I first clicked the "Read More".. I see this:

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

Instead of the story..

Re:And how interesting.. (3, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141447)

see... it is a cover-up!!!

Oversight ala Contact? (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141745)

Most likely not ET.
But even if it's not, the real question is whether the Government is swooping in to take over management of detecting and decoding of the Signal ala "Contact"

The denials mean little in themselves, but if the next day includes evidence of some Science oversight committee on flight to SETI@Home and various other radio observatories, and if a suspiciously high percentage of radio dishes start pointing in the same direction in the sky - well then interesting days may be ahead.

F^%$# aliens, where are you? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141379)

F^%$# aliens, where are you?

Re:F^%$# aliens, where are you? (2, Funny)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141465)

F^%$# aliens, where are you?

In secret underground bases under the Arizona desert, why do you ask?

Re:F^%$# aliens, where are you? (1)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141567)

If they came to Deadwood in 1876, they'd be "Bug-eyed C***s***ers!"

Don't be too quick to judge! (5, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141385)

Dan, did you try to map the signal to a 3 dimensional shape? A cube maybe??

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (5, Funny)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141419)

Ah...you too are a firm believe in The Time Cube [timecube.com] . But, if you believed, you should know that you cannot fully understand the Time Cube! :-)

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (1)

contagious_d (807463) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141606)

What... The... Hell..?

I have not seen that before. Is that guy for real? I mean, holy crap, that is just strange.

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141644)

Actually, he seems pretty dead serious. Check out the MIT videos on his site. He participates in a quasi-debate session w/ some professors and students. Pretty interesting, though the guy seems dumber than bricks.

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (1)

CXI (46706) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141732)

Actually, I thought that author was making a Contact reference..

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (2, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141435)

They can't get him off the ground into LEO because of the incoming hurricane. Once they can get a shuttle out of the hangar and off the ground he will broadcast his 3D findings from Mir.

Clueless mods at it again. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141702)

This isn't offtopic in the least. This is a reference to the movie Contact where a genius solves the coded messages sent by the aliens in 3D. He's located on space station Mir at the time.

God if you're going to moderate someone down at least know what you're doing.

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141479)

Yeah!

And I'll bet if they triangulate the signal they'll find out it's probably coming from pop-star Lance Bass's own personal space station.

That freaky eccentric teen idol is only trying to spur on our scientific endeavors. He's so dreamy.

Re:Don't be too quick to judge! (4, Funny)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141530)

Dan, did you try to map the signal to a 3 dimensional shape? A cube maybe??

They did, and results were disturbing.

Decoded, the signal resolved into the datastream of a Usenet flamewar decades ago, culminating in the invokation of Godwin's Law.

The truth (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141387)

is out there...

oh well (3, Funny)

Second_Infinity (810308) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141388)

I guess I'll have to take the signs and flares off my roof now. :(

I for one (3, Funny)

jcook793 (567065) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141389)

I for one say good riddance to our alien radio-emitting overlords.

And the signal says... (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141391)

First Post.

Obviously not intelligent.

Should be safe (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141392)

We should be fine as long as the signal isn't a countdown.

Re:Should be safe (4, Funny)

cephyn (461066) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141657)

Or a cookbook.

Re:Should be safe (1)

AppHack (622902) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141685)

That can't be it. If so my cable TV would be all fuzzy and co^munic@t0ns w*@ld b^ . . . Carrier Lost

what are you looking for (1)

wasserja (808913) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141395)

What are you hoping they find?

Re:what are you looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141632)

Your mom.

lasers (-1)

steelerguy (172075) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141396)

shouldn't we be looking for lasers over radio waves anyway? i mean they are a hell of a lot faster and could actually make it to earth from a far off place a bit more quickly.

c == c (5, Informative)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141425)

Radio waves and light [also a radio wave] travel at the same speed through space.

Re:lasers (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141428)

How the poop are lasers "faster" than radio waves? I think you will find that C is a constant in this neck of the woods.

not just a good idea, it's the law (1, Funny)

kippy (416183) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141437)

Wait, lasers are faster then radio waves? The congress just amend some fundamental laws of physics?

Re:lasers (1)

Rebelfish (724556) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141464)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but both lasers are radio waves are electromagentic radiation--just different frequency and phasing--and both travel at the speed of light, c, 3.0E8 m/s.

The Speed of Slashdot (1)

Rebelfish (724556) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141503)

One thing faster than C may be how quickly people read slashdot. In the time that it took to write a reply about the laws of physics, five people saw this statement and posted corrections, without realizing that while they were typing, others were posting. I think that's a tribute to the immense number of Slashdot readers.

Re:lasers (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141469)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that since they're both EM radiation, they both travel at the speed of light.

-Paul

Re:lasers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141482)

Really? I thought all EM radiation (i.e. light) propagated at the same speed through space at C = 2.998 x 10^8 m/s? I guess we have to totally redesign physics now that some forms of EM are faster than others . . .

Re:lasers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141509)

But saying laser sounds better. I mean it is fricken laser for cripes sake. I bet a *digital* laser, yeah...digital...would be faster.

MOD PARENT DOWN... It is making people more dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141522)

It is making people more dumb for having read it.

Re:lasers (1)

steelerguy (172075) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141540)

Sorry, when I said faster I meant you can transmit data faster. So a given chunk of data would arrive quicker via laser than radio wave.

I think we should start looking for lasers over radio waves simply because you can send more data that way and it is more effcients. Same reason many space agencies are looking to change satellites over to lasers rather than radio then can transmit their data back to Earth much more quickly.

Re:lasers (2, Informative)

anothy (83176) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141725)

the problem is that radio is broadcast and lasers are (more or less) point-to-point. if some orbital satellite is shooting data back to its planet, there's no laser shooting off to hit earth. even if, for some reason, an alien society is blasting lasers out into their night sky (or from satellites), the odds of them hitting earth are roughly one in umpy-bazillion. radio, on the other hand, goes out in waves, like ripples.

Re:lasers (0, Flamebait)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141573)

You're a dumbass. And so is the person who modded you up.

The Source (1)

Crzysdrs (801722) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141398)

Until they actually know what the source of the signal is, and not just it might be 'an unknown celestial event'. I will hope against hope that someone out there is as interested to talk to us as we are to it.

Re:The Source (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141733)

Seeing as they put the distance at 1000 light-years, that'd be a pretty crappy conversation. Just for perspective, the signal would have left the source 95 years before the knights of the First Crusade took Jerusalem (and killed everybody there).

Maybe not radio? (4, Informative)

Gentoo Fan (643403) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141399)

NPR has a cool piece [npr.org] regarding how radio may not be the best approach to looking for ET life.

Re:Maybe not radio? (5, Funny)

Big_Al_B (743369) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141490)

NPR? Well they're probably just saying that because, in their experience, no one is listening. :^)

Re:Maybe not radio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141622)

I never thought I had people to look towards as guidance within my family when I was growing up. Being an inappreciative son who was, to put it bluntly, spoilt beyond all belief, it is a shame that upon leaving the wing of my parents, how much of their greatness did I realize I overlooked.

Growing up I never wanted to be straight-edged. I always wanted to bend the rules, get around them, make them work for me. Stringent upbringing at a catholic household coupled with strong Chinese tradition can be overbearing, especially when the parents were unwilling to bend their morales to please anyone.

I guess I inherited their stubbornness, and neither party was willing to concede. Still they supported me for the duration at college, until father could no longer tolerate the wastefulness of my ways. I ended up dropping out, thought I was good at IT, and could live without his monetary supply.

Well, I live without his monetary supplies, but just because I was a geek, an above average geek, didn't mean I was great one. Humility came hard, and my folks' reasoning over the course of my upbringing echoed throughout the last 2 years. Wonders what hindsight does to ones perspective.

Neither mom nor dad ever took 2nd place in their achievements, may it be academically, finicially nor moralistic. They were successful people in what they did, well known amongst their own professional community, and they never ever had to break a rule. They were upstanding citizens, they adhere to their morals and whilst they did once in awhile break a sweat whilst being prolific professionals and incredible parents, they succeeded admirably. I admire their resourcefulness, their intellectual capabilities and most of all I want to be as good a human being as they are. They succeeded in being outstanding parents, I was the one who was a tad 'late'.

Two years ago I left school and became a drifter. I had no means to afford the next meal. My father offered me one last opt out ticket. Come home, we'll make you work and give you guidance. I didn't take the ticket, I didn't take the compounding bribes bestowed on me from mother either. I stayed, reeled back to their teachings many years ago, and started to make sense of them. Their teachings had roots in other places, not all of it was original, but their explanations to me were never over wrought with detail. It was to the point, and in hindsight made perfect sense.

1. You don't have to break rules to win. Use them to your advantage, Play by them and hold your own. People respect you for it.

2. Never win for the sake of winning alone. You don't see grand masters venturing to coffee houses playing the worst players to satisfy their ego. You shouldn't have to do that to stroke yours either. Winning should take effort, cunning and intellect, otherwise the victory is worthless. (father taught me how to play chess and basketball)

3. There are free lunches, but it is rare. Always give back whenever you can.

4. Pissing off mom will end up getting back to dad. Never will father escape the sharp end of the stick. This goes for negotiating with any couple. Piss off the woman, and you won't get what you want.

5. There is a time and a place for everything. Pick the right time, the right place and the right approach. As quoted from the person who cited Dorothy Parker as one of his heros, getting away with something outrageous involves some sort of a masquerade as to hide the true nature of said action. Pick your masquerade carefully if you are going to escape the wrath of your audience, especially if you demand them to do something for you.

6. Never step on people unless you absolutely have to, and if you do, make sure they deserve it.

7. If you are to step on someone, make damn sure they can never ever ever hurt you back.

8. There are three things that are important in life, and they go in descending order of importance. These are Family, Integrity and money. They are often at conflict and seldom do you get all three in your favor. Always strive for the first and second ideals. Money alone is never a reason enough.

9. Nobody can do the job with as much thoroughness as you want them to do it. Try and do as much on your own.

10. Broaden the horizons of your knowledge base. You can't know too much about anything. Have fun learning and try to act as humble as possible in public.

11. If someone bothers to take the time to teach you something, listen carefully, pay attention, especially if they are good at it.

12. Never depend your success on someone elses' fuck-up.

13. Keep to your rules of conduct and stand by your own opinions. If you are right, people will see why, even if they won't admit it. If you are wrong, change your mind. Be flexible.

14. Never let people's praises cloud your judgment. Humility not only comes from your peers, but from your own envisionment of perfection. Strive to be as close to your idea of perfection as possible, enjoy getting there. The blood, sweat and toil are the most satisfying.

message was real... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141403)

It offers a free ipod.

Re:message was real... (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141712)

Free gmail accounts.

And the cover-up begins. (3, Funny)

DarkHand (608301) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141406)

A mention of a possible signal and someone comes out to vehemently deny it? Tinfoil time!

Cover-up conspiracy theories (2, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141744)

Y'know, I get really tired of all this bullshit I hear. It's bad enough to hear this bullshit when I interact with "normal" people -- do we really need this on slashdot as well?

Look everyone, making any sort of contact with an alien civilization would be such an incredible discovery, there's no way the government could ever keep it quiet. Christ, they can't even keep China from obtaining detailed blueprints on every single nuclear weapon in the US arsenal. So how are these nincompoops going to keep a bunch of scientists -- who have given up the chance to be reputable, respected, and published for the chance to discover life -- quiet? I don't care what kind of blackmail or torture or whatever technique they used -- there is no way they could keep all the scientists quiet. What's to stop a terminally ill SETI researcher from spilling the beans?

Guys, just relax. There is no conspiracy. The reason SETI has to vehemently deny shit like this is because the media blows everything completely out of proportion. They are trying to contain the situation before everyone picks it up and starts running with it. Occam's razor and all that jazz.

GMD

Tin Foil Hats (-1, Redundant)

kippy (416183) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141412)

Does anyone else smell a massive governmental cover-up conspiracy involving the NSA, CIA, DHS, INS, NASA and the Rand Corporation?

No? Good, then you're a sensible person.

Well (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141414)

I, for one, retract my welcome of our new alien overlords.

It was a partial message... (1)

MonsieurPiedlourde (594399) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141443)

"Nyy lbhe onfr..." was all they received. Their best attempts to decrypt the message were unsuccessful.

Re:It was a partial message... (0)

Tofino (628530) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141553)

Zbir nyy mvt! Sbe terng whfgvpr!

Son of a... (1)

Todd Fisher (680265) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141453)

So now I don't have to be sure to drink my Ovaltine?

I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories but... (5, Interesting)

fzammett (255288) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141458)

I try to keep the tinfoil hat in the closet as much as possible, but one can't resist...

Yesterday, we get this quote from Dan Wertheimer:

"It's the most interesting signal from SETI@home. We're not jumping up and down, but we are continuing to observe it."

but today we get:

"It's all hype and noise. We have nothing that is unusual. It's all out of proportion."

and we also get Paul Horowitz:

"It's not much of anything at all. We're not investigating it further."

So yesterday the chief scientist for the project says it's the most interesting signal (which in and of itself just means it was a little different than the rest) and that they will continue to investigate it. But now today it's just a bunch of media hype and they aren't investigating it any further (I'm not sure who Horowitz actually is, but it seems a safe assumption, based on his comment, that he's associated with the project".

Yes, it COULD just be a case of "Oh wow!... Oh no, wait, nothing". Or it could be an outright coverup. I suspect it's something in between, but chains of comments like these really do lead a person down a particular path.

Re:I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories but (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141510)

Reminiscient of the "Flying Disk Found" and "It Was Just a Weather Balloon, Nothing To See Here, Folks" headlines that were about 24 hours apart back in 1947.

Pass me that Reynolds Wrap when you're through with it, okay?

Unlikely .... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141591)

Yes, it COULD just be a case of "Oh wow!... Oh no, wait, nothing". Or it could be an outright coverup. I suspect it's something in between, but chains of comments like these really do lead a person down a particular path.


I think you would probably find that the people who want to find extraterrestrial life really, guinuinely want to find it. They would neither risk being considered cranks by repeatedly saying "found one -- oops, psyche" nor would they willingly participate in a cover up if they did.

A lot of scientists already think of SETI as being a little flaky. Giving people reason to believe that more would be silly.

[ then again, since I can't prove a negative, I can't completely rule out the assertion either. =]

Re:I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141695)

I'm not sure who Horowitz actually is

He's a very prominent pysicist, astronomer, mathematician, that also writes damn fine electonics books.

Re:I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141721)

Or something so em-bare-ass-ing that they want to kill the hype before their screwup also makes it to the media, then *poof*, reduced funding...

Correct link (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141466)



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/3621608.stm [bbc.co.uk]

see the 2 in the URL ? that denotes US based servers (bbc world edition) if its a 1 its UK servers, great and superquick for the UK but as most of the traffic here is US based its better/quicker to use the designated servers for that area

Wait a minute... (4, Insightful)

cephyn (461066) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141476)

so if this is really nothing and they at SETI aren't interested, where'd all the damn hype come from in the first place? thats what i dont get....who started it, and what happened to them?

i understand its so very probably not an ET signal...but what if it was?

So no .... Elvis is alive ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141478)

So no .... Elvis is alive ?

Delay tactic (4, Funny)

SunSaw (700981) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141485)

My sources indicate that the message was along the lines of "take me to your leader", but the folks over at the SETI project want to wait until after the US election in November before replying. BTW, here's a sample of the results [berkeley.edu] that users have submitted.

Alone (3, Funny)

HogGeek (456673) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141486)

Like most of the geeks on this site, I'm afraid we are really all alone...

Although (5, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141489)

It is worth noting that TFA says that the signal in question in in the hydrogen absorbtion band. I remember reading old sci-fi stories that speculated that these frequencies would be a good candidate for interstellar communications, since interstellar hydrogen absorbs EM radiation in this frequency, sweeping it clear of noise. Obviously SETI feels the same way, or else they wouln't consider this signal to be "of interest".

If they have found an interstellar signal in this frequency, and it isn't artificial, will we have to revise our understanding of astrophysics? My understanding is that this can't be regular white noise. Maybe it's from our solar system (a naturally occuring local signal rather than interstellar). Or maybe it's something new.

Re:Although (1)

Jhan (542783) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141709)

...interstellar hydrogen absorbs EM radiation in this frequency, sweeping it clear of noise. Obviously SETI feels the same way, or else they wouln't consider this signal to be "of interest".

Eh? Wouldn't that mean interstellar hydrogen would also absorb the signal? Your link would be useles, unless your signalling power was humongous, in which case... Why worry about noise?

It's most likely the ... (3, Funny)

JediDan (214076) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141491)

warning beacon [amazon.com] . I've been wondering when it would drift close enough to be detected.

STAY AWAY! Mostly Harmless (but they're getting worse).

Yeah, redundant, but... (2, Funny)

MyHair (589485) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141492)

I, for one, welcome nobody.

1420 MHz (3, Funny)

jmanforever (603829) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141495)

I picked up this signal on my modified home satelite dish, and was able to decode the following:

"4ll Ur B4s3 r B3l0ng 2 Us"

Re:1420 MHz (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141602)

Im sorry, i think youve picked up the AIM datastream instead

Crap! (1)

UncleBiggims (526644) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141497)

The Amazonians are looking for a little interplanetary snu-snu and Dan Wertheimer's been cooped up for so long "analyzing data" that he doesn't recognize the signal.

Traitors (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141501)

when we're all enslaved by aliens, the SETI nitwits will be remembered as traiters to the human race.

In other news... (2, Funny)

d41d8cd98f00b204e980 (808839) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141527)

A giant gyroscope-like device is being build on Okaido, Japan.

swamp gas (2, Funny)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141533)

He continued: "With Seti@home having analysed some 50 trillion frequency bands, it is not surprising that a signal like this occurs purely due to chance."

it was all swamp gas, move along now, nothing to see here

but.... (1)

31337NIGGER (798651) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141535)

Isn't is great how the media picks up a story and runs with it. Even CNN ran the news about the "alien signals".... I was hoping it was the Gay Niggers From Outer Space!

look at an even better bright side (1)

cmdr_forge (588346) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141550)

I say it again...Calvin and Hobbes said it best " the surest sign of intelligence out there is that they have not tried to contact us"

Looking for ET in all the Wrong Places (0, Flamebait)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141557)

I told myself it was in all likelihood nothing special, but I'm still disappointed. Darn.

I think it is about time the world realizes that the ETs have been here all along and we are their handiwork. They've left us an important message which we refuse to acknowledge. We willfully blind ourselves to it. Why? Because we want an ET of our own making.

Look at it this way: The singularity already happened and the visible universe is the result. The real ETs are way too advanced to use cheesy low-tech EM signals for communication.

Darn? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141561)

Shouldn't that be shazbot?

Conspiracy (2, Interesting)

$lingBlade (249591) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141612)

The thought of a conspiracy to cover this up is nagging at me. Imagine if we *were* to be contacted by aliens, what do you think the repercussions would be with respect to religion, national security (U.S. as well as others), economics, science, politics, and so on? To veer off a bit to make my point, if we were hit by a very large meteor from outer space, society if it weren't completely wiped out *might* stand a chance at rebuilding.

But if something like extraterrestial contact were to happen to us as a society, our fundamental ideas of who we are, and more importantly where we're going would change so drastically that I think it would be beyond our level of common comprehension. I think the most serious implications would in fact be religious. I think that most people of faith are happy believing in a creator that created us, our world and that's about it. I don't remember running across any mono-theistic religions which dealt directly with the idea of ET's.

When I've posed this question to religious folk, they often just say that just because it wasn't in the Bible or Koran or Kaballa (sp?) or various other religious writings, doesn't imply that *God* didn't create other life forms outside our planet. He simply didn't tell us about them.

My point to this rant is both a question, and an answer. I think for many people it would be exciting to finally have a question like *are we alone in the universe* answered. I think the great majority though, would be scared shitless and chaos would ensue. Wasn't it about 60 + years ago that Orson Wells did his famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast? Weren't there more than a *few* people out there that were running around reporting lights in the sky, running for safety?

We like to think of ourselves as so much *smarter* than we were back then (collectively and generally) but I still think people would freak out (especially the religiously faithful) if it were found to be true that we were NOT the only intelligent life in the Universe.

Re:Conspiracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141748)

What was that biblical line where Jesus said "My father has many houses?"

The point is that nothing has been interprited that way because aliens aren't among us. If they were, those people would find SOMETHING in those texts to justify them, and "prove" that they were right all along.

which book (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141624)

About first contact involved ET's hammering earth into a pulp with millions of relativistic missiles before hunting down the remains of humanity?

Maybe we don't want to find these guys after all.

cover up (2)

5m477m4n (787430) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141647)

The signal really is a TV broadcast, when decoded they found out that we are the most popular reality show in the universe. The aliens threatened to cancel us because it wouldn't be real anymore now that we know the truth. So they are hiding the truth from us in order to save our pla%$%$^&%^&+++

Nothing to see here, please move along.

alien's mistake (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141650)

they was probably testing some new weapons. Its hardly intention to broadcast on frequencies that lame civilizations use to find new targets for voyager-spam.

So obvious (1)

kevfuzz (557156) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141661)

Government Cover Up.

This story hit fark before slashdot.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10141669)

How is this possible? Slashdot should be way ahead of Fark on this. This isn't the only case where slashdot is way behind either.

Go get 'em Gort! (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141675)

Klaatu barada nikto! Muhahahaha! ... Uh, nevermind my outburst...

there is still hope (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#10141697)

for the hardcorest tinfoil hatters among us in the news today, as silent, flying Big Black Triangles [space.com] sightings are on the rise...

Personally, I'm hoping this is some kind of military craft that is going to be unveiled soon, so we can check out whatever cool tech is inside.
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