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Space Science

SETI Finds Interesting Signal 816

Posted by michael
from the ding-dong-ditch dept.
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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SETI Finds Interesting Signal

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  • by LFS.Morpheus (596173) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:24PM (#10134094) Homepage
    No one's gunna pay attention to us until we have warp drive anyway.
    • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:30PM (#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
      • by G00F (241765) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:47PM (#10134277) Homepage
        But at least the world will know of logical women.
        • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Informative)

          by NonSequor (230139) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:02PM (#10134381) Journal
          Sorry, but Vulcan women, and in fact Vulcans in general, aren't logical, they're just stoic. If they were really logical, they'd realize that logic can only be applied in situations where one has reliable axioms, which excludes the vast majority of all common situations (I say this as a math major). Furthermore, I'd wager that in cases where one doesn't have enough information to make a "logical" decision, it's usually much wiser to follow one's emotions.

          Since the Vulcans are too dumb to figure this stuff out and follow a philosophy we abandoned that hit its peak and quickly declined about two thousand years ago, I'd say that they are too dumb to have actually created warp technology on their own and they must have just stolen the technology from another civilization.
          • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Informative)

            by AKAImBatman (238306) * <.akaimbatman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:31PM (#10134595) Homepage Journal
            ===GEEK ALERT=== (You have been warned)

            The original series specfically addressed Vulcan "logic" as more of an unemotional state. Their idea is to make a decision based on rational thinking, utilizing the facts at their disposal. The Vulcans/Surak felt they must follow such a course because their powerful emotions were destroying their society.

            Furthermore, I'd wager that in cases where one doesn't have enough information to make a "logical" decision, it's usually much wiser to follow one's emotions.

            Actually, that was sort of the point of Kirk and Spock's relationship. Spock tempered Kirk's impulses, while Kirk showed Spock that emotions can be a valuable asset when making decisions.

            Since the Vulcans are too dumb to figure this stuff out and follow a philosophy we abandoned that hit its peak and quickly declined about two thousand years ago, I'd say that they are too dumb to have actually created warp technology on their own and they must have just stolen the technology from another civilization.

            Have you been watching Enterprise? Those aren't Vulcans! They're dumbasses in robes and bowl cuts POSING as Vulcans! I'm willing to bet that they're really aliens created by future guy to slow down human development! The real Vulcans were shang-hied by future guy before they met Cochrane! Or maybe Enterprise just sucks. Hmm...
            ===/GEEK ALERT===

            Putting the technobabble aside for a moment, the Vulcans were a plot device that Roddenbery used to explore the human condition. It's quite common in writing to take a human trait to an extreme or remove it so as to use the contrast to better explore the attribute. In the case of Star Trek, the "emotional" vs. "unemotional" contrast allowed the strengths and weaknesses of each approach to become obvious.
          • Re:Waste of time (Score:4, Insightful)

            by merdark (550117) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @11:12PM (#10135450)
            Sooo, do you think you have enough information to make a logical decision to use your emotions? If you don't have enough infomration to make semi-logical choices for the majority of common situtaion, then perhaps you haven't thought about those situations enough.

            Emotions were usefull in primitive society. Now, they often get you in trouble more than anything. Take anger. People following this emotion has led to road rage, killings, beatings, many firings, bad customer service, etc etc etc. Take love, people do SO many stupid things because of love. You think people would learn from these stupid things, but no. They do not. Or take greed.

            If there is a lack of information avaliable, the logical thing to do is to try to FIND information. Not fall back on primitive emotions.

            Perhaps what you are referring to are situations involving ethics. Where logic is perhaps too *harsh* to be applied. In these situations it is indeed wiser to follow one's emotions. But not because of a lack of information. Rather, because we are still quite primitive as a species. Regardless of what we think of ourselves, many of our actions are not at all logical, nor are the smart, or wise, or anything of the like. As a result, being logical in ALL situations will quickly get you branded a lunatic, heritic, insenstive, immoral, or any number of other derogatory terms.

            Humans still incredibly stupid. We all simply have a HUGE ego problem.
            • Re:Waste of time (Score:4, Insightful)

              by JohnFluxx (413620) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @04:00AM (#10136667)
              Applying logic to maximise your own gains would be very bad - that's why we have emotions, so that we try to maximise the gains for everyone. (Consider the prisoners' dilema)
            • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Geoff-with-a-G (762688) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @08:50AM (#10138130)
              If you want to be analytical, tell me where emotions come from.

              My thinking is that your brain is aggregating and analyzing data in quantities too large for your conscious thought (ration/logic/analysis/thought, whatever you want to call it) to keep up with. Take someone throwing a ball at you. To plot coordinates and calculate trajectory with your conscious mind would take far too long for you to catch it in real time. But you've got "lower" brain functions that can handle those calculations fast enough to be useful.

              I think of it like ASICs (Application Specifc Integrated Circuits - think graphics cards and network switches) vs. CPUs. Your "higher brain" can think up new stuff and analyze situations that your instincts don't recognize. But your "higher brain" is goddamn slow by comparison. So netiher one is "better" or "more correct", they're just suited for different situations.

              As for "If there is a lack of information avaliable, the logical thing to do is to try to FIND information", that doesn't work. For last resorts, go back to DesCartes - you can't prove anything 100%, because you can't even trust your own senses 100%.

              If you don't like my extreme example, I'll pick something more moderate. Watch Law and Order. When you look at a real life (yes, I know it's a fictional show, but it's a good model) you get the impression that it's almost impossible to prove something 100%, especially when you're being opposed. "Go get more proof" is not a valid approach, because there is a limit to the amount of information you can actually get. To get anything done, you eventually have to make a decision based on the information you have, and those decisions are often messy.

              In addition to those theoretical limits, there's a time factor. To steal a quote from the military mindset: "It's better to make a good decision now than the best decision later." Real life happens in real time, and delays cost you. Emotions analyze available input way faster than logic does, and most things operate on time constraints. So emotions will often serve you better than analysis, especially in situations where time is short and information is limited.

              To call emotions "primitive" is, I belive, a primitive characterization of important workings of the human mind.
          • Re:Waste of time (Score:4, Informative)

            by Capitalist1 (127579) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:09AM (#10136330)
            If they were really logical, they'd realize that logic can only be applied in situations where one has reliable axioms, which excludes the vast majority of all common situations (I say this as a math major).

            You say this as a math major who needs to do one of a) get his money back, b) pay more attention, or c) transfer to a better school.

            Ok, that was harsh. You won't find a better school anywhere, so I guess it's not your fault.

            Logic isn't a field of study that began in mathematics - it's a field of philosophy, specifically in epistemology (the study of how we come to know things). Actual logic is the doctrine that our ideas, to be correct, must conform to reality. That is, ideas must be derived from reality primarily by observation and by processes which are themselves derived from the actual relationships amongst actual things in the physical world (again, observation). Logic most specifically does not start with axioms from which all other knowledge is then derived.

            Yeah, that philosophy was abandoned about two thousand years ago - and look what replaced it: the Dark Ages. If it hadn't been for Thomas Aquinas re-introducing that philosophy through the works of Aristotle, we might never have recovered from abandoning those oh-so-declined ideas.
      • by yppiz (574466) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:26PM (#10134558) Homepage
        As CBG from the Simpsons says:
        Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you this will mean much less breeding, for me, much much more.
        --Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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.
    • when we invent warp brakes!

      Alien one: what was that! Was it the martians was it the centaurians?

      Alien two: Naw prolly some race that just invented warp speed, give them a couple of thousand years and then they will invent warp brakes.
    • by mshurpik (198339) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @09:23PM (#10134964)
      Rose has some great information payload sizes as examples (like the entire information equivalent for our global genome fitting on a 100 pound laptop!).

      Great while we're at it, let's also send them a Macintosh floppy disk. To make it fun, nobody tell them if its big or little endian. Anyone in the universe up for some GACTAGATTGAC?

  • by Jack9 (11421) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:25PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mOoZik (698544) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:28PM (#10134122) Homepage
      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?

      • But ... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705)

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

        Ummm ... but space is three dimensional and vast. Flinging a rock in any random direction is exactly that.

        At least with EM stuff it tends to want to radiate in a lot of directions since we broadcast so much stuff. The sheer amount of noise we're bashing out is what SETI is looking for in reverse.

        Unless we throw as many rocks as radio signals, I utterly

      • Re:DNA Over Signal (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shawnce (146129) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:55PM (#10134787) Homepage
        Actually the inverse square law holds for any thing with a initial fixed density that propagates from a point source.

        So say you throw 100 rocks (each with a placard saying "Eat at Joes") out in an even distribution across the night sky then the density of those rocks in a shell centered on and growing out from the earth will reduce in accordance with the inverse square law. The farther you get from the earth the bigger this shell gets and the farther the distance between the rocks in the shell.

        This increase in distance between the rocks means we have to get luckier and luckier that someone will actually see one or more of rocks and the little placard on it.

        So your statement is non sensical since the inverse square can affect a bunch of rocks or photons.

        Of course if we get lucky and someone happens to be inline with a rock they could get the message much better then a weak electromagnetic signal. Of course for every rock we send out we can send out trillions and trillions of photons in focused beams that can get their attention with enough signal strength to be useful. The beam can cover vastly larger areas then a rock ever could (now a rock with a say radio source could be interesting) and they travel just a wee bit faster ;-) then a rock.

        (I can see it now we launch a rock at a considerable fraction of light speed to get it out to a candidate world in a timely fashion only to get lucky and have a direct hit on their world... booom! Yeah they got the message alright.)
    • Re:DNA Over Signal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ThisNukes4u (752508) <tcoppiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:31PM (#10134141) Homepage
      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FlipmodePlaya (719010) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:31PM (#10134149) Journal
      Indeed. There's an outside chance [wikipedia.org] 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?
      • by Fishstick (150821) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @09:15PM (#10134909) Journal
        >Why bother?

        Well, it's a feel-good PR thing and it probably cost next-to-nothing relative to the overall project and it maybe it helped get the project through appropriations.

        "Look, here's our interplanetary probe, and oh, we've engraved our likeness on a plaque with a greeting in case anyone finds it! *wink*"

        "Remarkable! What do you think aliens would do if they found it?"

        "Oh, it's likely that an intelligent alien civilization will want to find the makers of this probe and pay us a visit to share their knowledge. Isn't that nice!?"

        meanwhile, just outside the orbit of Neptune...

        "Hey Glargh, look at this..."

        "Oh, how cute -- another one of those 'hey, we are here please come visit' things. What should we do?"

        "You know standing order #412,323.443!"

        "Oh, right -- let's make it look like an accident. Hey, here's a nice, big asteroid in a goofy orbit between the 4th and 5th planet -- just a little nudge... there. Now, in about 100 orbital rotations or so, they'll get a visit they'll never forget!"

        "Glargh, its moments like these when it all seems worthwhile."
    • Re:DNA Over Signal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gregmac (629064) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:45PM (#10134258) Homepage
      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 [slashdot.org]. 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.
      • Power supply (Score:4, Insightful)

        by spineboy (22918) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:13PM (#10134474) Journal
        I imagine that the opwer requirements for a probe to broadcast anything that could outshine earths would be formidable and probably not feasable. The Voyager(or Pioneer?) probe that recently escaped our solar system (past pluto) after 15-20 years was undetectable.

        We'd need something with a renewable energy source, like a bussard ramjet, to be able to broadcast a decent signal strength.

    • by ArcticCelt (660351) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:12PM (#10134471)
      "...better not to send radio transmission, when physical media like DNA on an asteroid can declare a terrestrial presence... ...like the entire information equivalent for our global genome fitting on a 100 pound laptop"

      They just forgot one little detail:

      If we want to cover as much space as with a radio signal we have to sent several billions times the amount of matter available on earth to multiple directions at the same time. Its similar as with radio signals. The farther you send, bigger is the amount of space to cover and bigger is the number of probes you have to send to cover it.

      Just a little detail. :)

  • by girouette (309616) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:26PM (#10134110)
    Voyager scientists attach a plaque on the outbound trip - aliens attach a plague on the return trip.

  • Every time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by keiferb (267153) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:26PM (#10134111) Homepage
    ...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... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mOoZik (698544) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:32PM (#10134155) Homepage
      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.

    • Re:Every time... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kainaw (676073) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:37PM (#10134202) Homepage Journal
      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.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:28PM (#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)
  • by SilentChris (452960) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:28PM (#10134121) Homepage
    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.
    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:40PM (#10134222) Homepage
      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.
  • by rasafras (637995) <tamas@pha.jhu. e d u> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:29PM (#10134125) Homepage
    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?
  • by snooo53 (663796) * on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:30PM (#10134137) Journal
    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! (Score:5, Funny)

    by GillBates0 (664202) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:31PM (#10134142) Homepage Journal
    Pardon me while I step out to light up my giant "WELCOME TO EARTH" sign.
  • Is it just me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Veridium (752431) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:31PM (#10134144) Homepage
    ...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.
  • Hopefully... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sploxx (622853) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:31PM (#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".
  • DAMNIT! (Score:3, Funny)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi@NOspam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:34PM (#10134170) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • Umm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by r00k123 (588214) <borenste@student. u m ass.edu> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:38PM (#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.

  • by Trespass (225077) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:40PM (#10134223) Homepage
    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.
  • Another article... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sploxx (622853) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:41PM (#10134231)
    is here on
    Scotsman.com [scotsman.com].
  • by smclean (521851) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:42PM (#10134239) Homepage
    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.
  • by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:44PM (#10134255)
    ...it read "PH1RST P0ST!!!"

    Don't worry, NASA scientists have already modded them down.
  • by another misanthrope (688068) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:45PM (#10134261)
    I sent in this article - very cool read and makes me wish for FTL travel!

    New Scientist [newscientist.com] 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.
  • by ArcticCelt (660351) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:52PM (#10134316)
    Ok, now if they can't decipher or get anything out of that signal I think they should made available a file with the data to anyone who want to try to poke and study the thing. They found it with the help of the collectivity so they should give to the collectivity the option of working on it. They should also give the exact coordinates of the signal.
  • by clintp (5169) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:54PM (#10134325)
    The canonical announcement for this kind of event is "Wow!" [bigear.org].
  • by OneOver137 (674481) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:03PM (#10134393) Journal
    Alien_mastermind "You see, it's actually quite simple. We make a signal appear at an 'empty' point in space and they'll just eat it up. They'll spend so much time theorizing and conjecturing that they'll miss our decceleration from hyperspace."

    Alien_sidekick"Hey boss, how we gonna do that without the latest hyperspace frequency propagator? All we have is the older Rev A."

    Alien_mastermind"Don't worry about a thing! They'll never pick up on that. It only drifts about 32 Hz--good enough for government work!"
  • by qengho (54305) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:29PM (#10134584)

    Hasn't anyone at SETI read The Forge of God [sfreviews.net]? We need to just STFU and listen, not broadcast where we are so the Destroyers can find us! (In a nutshell: a highly paranoid alien race listens for broadcasts from nascent technological civilizations and eradicates them before they can become a threat.)

    Seriously, we have no idea of the mindset and capabilities of alien civilizations. The novel's viewpoint is arguable, but caution dictates that we determine the intentions of outsiders before we announce our presence (cf. American Indians vs. Europeans).

  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @09:46PM (#10135063) Homepage Journal
    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Let me start by introducing myself. I am Sub-Commander Qulon Zarg, credit officer of the Trans Galactic Bank Ltd. I have a concealed business suggestion for you. Before the Pulson/Darius war our client Overlord Argus Vader who was with the Gandor Star Force and also business man made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of Twenty millions Five Hundred Thousand Zerglian Dollars only in my branch. Upon maturity several notice was sent to him, even during the war early this year. Again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later find out that the General and his family had been killed during the war in bomb blast that destroyed their entire planet. After further investigation it was also discovered that Overlord Argus Vader did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank.

    So, Twenty millions Five Hundred Thousand Zerglian Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that according to the to the laws of my country at the expiration 3 years the funds will revert to the ownership of the Episilon Prime Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Overlord Argus Vader so that you will be able to receive his funds.

    WHAT IS TO BE DONE:
    I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we shall come out successful. I have contacted an attorney that will prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin to Overlord Argus Vader, all that is required from you att his stage is for you to provide me with your Full Names and Address so that the attorney can commence his job. After you have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also fill in for claims on your behalf and secure the necessary approval and letter of probate in your favor for the move of the funds to an account that will be provided by you.There is no risk involved at all in the matter as weare going adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents. Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue. Once the funds
    have been transferred to your nominated bank account we shall share in the ratio of 70% for me, 25% for you and 5% for any expenses incurred during the course of this operation. Should you be interested please send me your private phone and fax numbers for easy communication and I will provide you with more details of this operation. Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.

    Kind Regards,
    Sub-Commander Qulon Zarg
  • Thanks guys.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jafiwam (310805) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @10:01PM (#10135122) Homepage Journal
    So here I am sitting around wondering when this will hit Slashdot, so I send the link to my buddies and stuff and go "damn, site's offline" and curse the script kiddies and go on with my day.

    But it was you guys all along! [StrongBad tear]

    Seriously. To your credit, I first found out about SETI@Home on Slashdot and ran it for years on spare computers.

    Now I have made SHGb02+14a my beeyotch.

    Then you guys Slashdotted the article before my mom could see it. :)
  • It doesn't matter. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) * on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @10:44PM (#10135311) Homepage Journal
    As Carl Sagan's pointed out in is book, Contact, no matter how complex or compelling the message from beyond, there will be people who will think it's a hoax.

    Or to put it another way, even if God himself this very day with his own hand placed a crucifix in orbit around the earth replacing the moon, science would explain it.
  • by dustpuppy_de (322556) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:35AM (#10136409) Homepage
    And, most probably, ist is nothing more than an artifact from the telescope.
    Nobody seems to have noticed this paragraph of the Article:
    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
    So, everytime they detected it it started at 1420 MHz and then started shifting? How could asignal from 1000 Lightyears away react in such a way? Do you think the aliens restart the signal every time we are looking?

    No, sorry, everyone. This looks pretty much. like a malfunction of the telescope in Arecibo.
  • by adeyadey (678765) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @05:27AM (#10136958) Journal
    Similar to what motivated Voyager scientists to attach a plaque for the outbound trip.

    That link in the header is for the Pioneer plaque, not the Voyager golden record..

    http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.h tml [nasa.gov]

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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