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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
SETI and the Drake Equation
    #571199 - 03/06/02 04:48 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

I am posting this because someone asked what I thought of the movie "Contact". I enjoyed it immensely as entertainment only, but the principles behind it are pure SF.

I believe SETI to be a total waste of time for several reasons.

For the sake of this discussion, I will grant the base assumptions that there are other intelligent life-forms in our galaxy.

1. Makes the assumption that technological advancement follows a certain path, just as evolution does. The alien culture may not need or require radiowaves to communicate long distance on their planet.

2. If radio waves are used by the alien civilzation, the power levels need not be very high to carry across the surface of a planet.

The power of leakage into space dissipates at a rate inversely proportional to the square of the distance (hope I got that right - I am tired!) much like a flashlight.

If there were a replica of earth nearby, I believe that the best we could detect non-directional signals would be a planet a few light hours away at most as the signal would be drowned out by the background cosmic radiation noise. There are no planets outside of our solar system that are even remotely that close.

That would only leave directional signals. Are we sending any? No! SETI is passive only. So we expect other societies to send powerful beacons our way, which would mean that they knew exactly where we were or had nearly infinite resources to transmit in all directions while waiting decades or centuries for a response. It doesn't make even the slightest bit of sense.



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The proof is in the pudding.


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Offlinealphatrion
journeyman
Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 64
Last seen: 12 years, 6 months
Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: Swami]
    #571249 - 03/06/02 07:10 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

The brilliance of "Contact" for me was the depiction of the search for meaning not the portrayel of SETI (which happens to be the most correct compared to SETI in other movies). I look at sci-fi not as something that might happen or realistic but as a fairytale with a deeper meaning; a modern myth.

This signal analyzing project of SETI can be seen as a waste of time (so you are right to some extend)....

BUT:

It surely grabbed the attention of the world, it IS cool. Why? Because it is the power of myth, searching for 'the other side'. This attention generates the needed publicity/financial support for SETI.
Also people become aware that there is more to life than the earth alone... that there are stars and universes that trickle the imagination (as an 'imagineer' you should sympathise with that). With the seti@home project they become personally involved in this search.
It brings science closer to the people.

Therein lies the usefulness and meaningfullness of this SETI project. But because I myself am already tuned into the beyond and i like to see my computer to do something more useful than seti@home i have folding@home running. But this project doesn't seem to have quite the same exciting feel to it, does it?

I believe SETI to be a total waste of time
You believe that this technical implementation is waste of time, do you also believe that the idea behind SETI iself (which includes more) is a waste of time? I really do not want to compare you to the David Drumlin character but you leave me little choice :-). If so, do you have a project in mind that is just as exciting and imaginative for the public at large instead?



It is the SEARCHING itself i find the most important. In a way Ellie is my rolemodel for my own search for meaning.

related links:
Useful alternative for seti@home (which is still very cool): http://folding.stanford.edu/
SETI homepage: http://www.seti.org/
Swami's point more elaborately written: http://mb-soft.com/public/seti.html


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Anonymous

Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: Swami]
    #571250 - 03/06/02 07:12 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

Swami, for once I completely agree with you. Sending radio waves to look for aliens is like sending smoke signals to Nasa to ask for help.

I believe SETI is a coverup for something else.


Edited by Anonymous (03/06/02 07:14 AM)


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: ]
    #571254 - 03/06/02 07:22 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

(Actually this is the second time that you have agreed with me. One of us is slipping :smile:)

A coverup for what? 


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: alphatrion]
    #571258 - 03/06/02 07:30 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

If so, do you have a project in mind that is just as exciting and imaginative for the public at large instead?

I find utilitarian programs such as desalination plants, wind and solar farms to be very worthwhile.

The space station and fusion research holds promise. Life extension, genetic engineering and viral research all get my support.

On the more esoteric front, I love the idea of terraforming and colonizing a planet such as Mars.

My own pet field is artificial intelligence. If anyone cares to check the times of my posts, you will notice that I never sleep. All of these posts are actually done by a robot using a Swami personality imprint.



--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Anonymous

Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: Swami]
    #571259 - 03/06/02 07:30 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

A coverup for the Government's contact with extraterrestrials in the 50s.

Government: "Hey, if we are searching for aliens, then they will think we never had any contact with them in the first place"


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: ]
    #571266 - 03/06/02 07:43 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

Your theory on this holds little water. Francis Drake had a very difficult and predominantly solo uphill battle getting SETI (I forget the original name) off the ground. It was not government initiated or sponsored until it was fairly far along.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (03/06/02 07:45 AM)


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Offlinealphatrion
journeyman
Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 64
Last seen: 12 years, 6 months
Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: Swami]
    #571304 - 03/06/02 09:00 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

All of these posts are actually done by a robot using a Swami personality imprint.

That is really a wonderfull thing, is it GPL'ed? Maybe you could debug this AI robot because it appears to occasionaly quote out of context, misinterprets and than responds negatively to this interpretation like for example in its last message in the nibiru thread. Also sometimes it doesn't seem to be very responsive. Otherwise it is doing a good job imo.

Some of your fav. projects are indeed worthy of more public attention... i hope this latest fusion discovery will stand up to scientific inquiry.

More utilist arguments for SETI: Cannot an unfininished Dyson sphere or finished ones be detected by SETI? Also maybe this SETI is unusefull for _the_ SETI but maybe not for finding pulsars and maybe not yet discovered strange natural phenomena.

On a related note i unfortunately found out that both the cassiopaea group (Q) and their aliens (A) for different reasons are agreeing with you! SETI does appear to suck :-(

Q: (W) Well, they already have the technology and are searching the skies with the SETI telescope in Puerto Rico.
A: SETISchmetti, W! SETI stands for "search for extra terrestrial intelligence," now why don't you all start a search for a method to invent indoor plumbing?
Q: (W) Well, you know, Carl Sagan... (L) Oh, I know. And they are always asking for money. Every time I get their mail-outs I write across the top: "They are already here! When will you guys wake up?!" And I send it back. Does Carl Sagan know that we have already been 'invaded?'

http://cassiopaea.org/sessions/960224.html


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: SETI and the Drake Equation [Re: alphatrion]
    #571358 - 03/06/02 10:12 AM (14 years, 11 months ago)

That is really a wonderfull thing, is it GPL'ed?
I am not programmed to respond in this area.

Maybe you could debug this AI robot because it appears to occasionaly quote out of context, misinterprets and than responds negatively to this interpretation like for example in its last message in the nibiru thread.
"Dave, that can be attributed to human error."

Also sometimes it doesn't seem to be very responsive.
Frequent reboots causing a loss of stack pointers.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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