Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SETI Finds Funds For the Allen Telescope Array (For Now)

Comments Filter:
  • by Lanteran (1883836) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @02:24AM (#37012532) Homepage Journal

    At least there's still a significant number of people interested in space.

    • And yet, somehow, none of our political leaders are. Aren't out Congressional representatives supposed to, you know, represent us in some form or another?
      • by Arlet (29997)

        Are none of them interested in space, or just a minority ? In the latter case, it may be a correct reflection of the general population.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Uhhh...we're broke, it case you haven't heard. We have THREE wars going on now, an infrastructure falling apart, and at every turn you got the teabaggers, many of whom signed a "Never raise taxes, I don't give a fuck WHAT happens" pledge cockblocking at every turn.

        I mean sure it'd be nice if we could afford science, hell I'd like to cut the military budget a good 40%, bring our boys home, kill the F35, and use that money to fund R&D to bring us back on top INCLUDING space tech, but that ain't gonna happ

        • I doubt that they will stop the wars whilst people like Obama and others are in the White House and in charge of the nation with their own agendas that do not benefit the majority. Most people care more about Lady Gaga than space exploration.

          • by jo42 (227475)

            Lady Gaga

            A.K.A. less attractive, less talented, Madonna 2.

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Actually she is also a less talented less attractive Bette Midler, as Gaga even went so far as to rip off Midler's old "Mermaid in a wheelchair' bit. Gaga kinda reminds me of old Carlos Menstealia in that all she does is rip off other artists and does their bits for people that haven't heard the original, kinda like how Dennis Leary's first few years were nothing but "Bill Hicks greatest hits" right down to the Jim Fixx joke and of course Menstealia who rips off everybody..

              Meh, maybe this is just what we

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        That is not how the democracy in US works. There, you vote for the rich guy with the most agreeable politics.
    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Interested in space? This is communicating with space aliens, which is science fiction. It's slightly better than the army spending billions of dollars on remote viewing and other psychic nonsense, but it's still so far removed from science that I shudder to think of all the people wasting their talent on this. It's harmless, it's keeps idealistic dreamers busy, and there's the ever so slight chance that something interesting will turn up, so I'd say that it's probably not worth raising a stink over it.

      • by IrquiM (471313)

        Interested in space? This is communicating with space aliens, which is science fiction. It's slightly better than the army spending billions of dollars on remote viewing and other psychic nonsense, but it's still so far removed from science that I shudder to think of all the people wasting their talent on this.

        It is still science though - however useless it is, not science fiction.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          It is still science though - however useless it is, not science fiction.

          I wonder.. has SETI found anything at all that is the least bit scientifically interesting?

          You would think that it would be the Search for Extra Terrestrial Unexpecteds, instead of Intelligence.

          This:
          Noise, Noise, Quasar, Noise, M-Class Star, Noise, Unknown, Noise, ...

          Instead of:
          Not Intelligent, Not Intelligent, Not Intelligent, Not Intelligent, Not Intelligent, Not Intelligent, ...

          If you are going to analyze the data, then why on earth would you not try to classify and database as much as possib

          • by taxman_10m (41083)

            I think seti@home does do that.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astropulse [wikipedia.org]

          • It is still science though - however useless it is, not science fiction.

            I wonder.. has SETI found anything at all that is the least bit scientifically interesting?

            You would think that it would be the Search for Extra Terrestrial Unexpecteds, instead of Intelligence.

            They haven't found anything yet, and may never find anything at all. That certainly doesn't stop government agencies from spending millions and millions listening in on an undisclosed (yet presumably large) number of phone calls hoping to hear something besides Not Intelligent noise.

            Sometimes the possibility of finding something is the only motivation (or justification) for searching for something. Hoping to stumble across it is not good research.

          • by IrquiM (471313)
            Doing science is testing out "ideas" (theories are the wrong word when talking about science) - since they've not yet scanned the entire sky, they're still testing out the idea that there might be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, producing electromagnetic waves the Allen Telescope Array would be able to pick up.
      • Let's see... Whose opinion should I trust about the scientific validity and importance of SETI: some random guy on the internet, or Carl Sagan [youtube.com]?

      • by Lord Kano (13027)

        On the other hand, I'm glad that Obama is more concerned with practicality than idealism, because I find the idealism necessary to support SETI naive.

        WHAT???? Idealism was the center of his campaign and he hasn't come up with one practical solution since he got into office. And no, blaming Bush doesn't count as a solution.

        LK

    • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:57AM (#37013756) Journal

      Shouldn't the "invisible hand of the market" have fixed this?

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        It did.
        • All them people donating a small amount of money so that one project (potentially beneficial to the whole humanity) could continue...
          Feels a lot like *GASP!* [whisper] communism. [wikipedia.org][/whisper]

          • by rubycodez (864176)
            No, in communism as always practiced by any country in this world, the state would come and seize the wealth needed, telling everyone that we're building for the future day when we can have the pure true communism. The seizers would have better life and more wealth than average person. People who had other points of view would be rounded up and imprisoned, tortured or killed (e.g. China, Soviet Union, Viet Nam, North Korea). Or they would be preemptively killed (see Khmer Rouge)

            Always a lie, that bus
            • And here I thought that a community of individuals interested in a particular human endeavor, pooled their resources to keep that endeavor functioning AFTER it lost all support it had from any possible governing party - political, economical, educational etc.

              Communism has nothing to do with states - just like capitalism.
              It's just that certain states try to use it as a tool - just like capitalism.
              Neither is necessarily oppressive, but both can be used by an oppressive government.

              Problem is, there never was a

      • If this was intended to be a rhetorical question, I'll agree with the insightful moderation. Otherwise, this should be moderated "whoooooosh"
    • I think the SETI people are more interested in spacing-out.

  • Money (Score:5, Funny)

    by identity0 (77976) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @02:28AM (#37012536) Journal

    >Is crowdsourcing the long term future of pure research projects?"

    It is in the US if the current budget news is any indication....

    • Nice shitty little ad hominem attack there. SETI was defunded by the US government a long time ago because they're a bunch of slackjaws who couldn't write a decent grant proposal. Their amateur hour effort got laughed out of Congress.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, except the quote wasn't referring to SETI at all, but "the future of pure research projects". I work in science (completely different field, though) and from discussions with colleagues I know many are getting nervous about finding funding in the future. This doesn't apply just to the US, and didn't start just now - but obviously it doesn't appear to be getting much better, as GP pointed out.

      • by colinnwn (677715)
        The array construction costs had already been funded, so SETI must not be too bad at grant writing. All they needed was small amounts of operational funding. It was a novel design that allowed easy and cheap upgrades to the array performance, and had the side benefit of allowing concurrent SETI observations to reduce the marginal costs of those observations. It is specifically in their "charter" that hard science projects take observational priority, and SETI observations are secondary. It was retarded and
        • by Bost (1395581)
          You call it "Amazing advances of the space age". I call it "Spreading the problems from Earth to the outer space"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It certainly indicates that there is a very healthy support on the ground for scientific research endeavours such as this. Could the same thing be said for research projects that are a little dryer? Who can say...

    Despite that I am very happy for SETI to have received this funding and I am looking forward to seeing more fresh data coming from this project. Even more so that they did not need to shut down the cryogenic components.

  • ...about what SETI *hasn't* found

    • ...about what SETI *hasn't* found

      Um, ok ... Did you hear the one about SETI finding enough funding to do their research? No, that's OK, no one has. ;-)

  • I read this as "SETI Finds Funds For the Alien Telescope Array"...
    • by bluemonq (812827)

      That's all right, I read it as that three times, saw your comment, went back to the title, and still couldn't figure what was wrong until right now.

    • Same here. Little bit of dust was on my screen in just the right place. I was very disappointed when I moved the browser window and it became Allen.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    SETI is a wast. James Webb is a much better project.
    let the fight begin!

    • by djl4570 (801529)
      Not sure it was a waste but I think the assumptions need to be revisited before throwing more money at it. If ET were broadcasting in the EM spectrum SETI should have detected a signal by now. Either we are looking at the wrong frequencies, or the signals are beneath the SN ratio, or ET isn't broadcasting in the EM spectrum.
      • Re:James Webb (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 07, 2011 @05:12AM (#37012906) Journal

        Actually, and I can't remember who said this, maybe some here can, but I remember reading how the odds that SETI would find squat would be so low as to be non-existent simply because there is only a teeny tiny window if you use our world as a model because one progresses from "blasting EM everywhere" to highly localized signals that don't go anywhere so quickly.

        Look at how quickly we went from nothing to analog "blast EM everywhere" to tight digital sat signals. What 100 years? In space time that would be less time than a girl's little squeaky fart. So even if there were tens of thousands of races out there, and they all used the same EM bands we did the amount of time their signal was sent out into the cosmos was so damned tiny you would have to watch the entire sky simultaneously to have any hope at all and even then it would be teeny tiny odds. it is like a blind man trying to find a needle in Nebraska and the needle is moved randomly.

        So while I thought the golden records were fine, hell it didn't really cost much to throw those on a ship we were launching anyway, I have to wonder if our limited resources wouldn't be better spent in studying our own solar system instead of hunting for ET. Hell even if we found ET it isn't like we could do a damned thing about it, the distances are simply too great. But if folks are willing to put up the cash because they are looking for ET? More power to ya, free country and all that.

        • It's not just a question of blasting EM everywhere, it also has to be the kind of low frequency EM that will be distinguishable from noise at stellar distances. If there were another Earth-like civilisation around Alpha Centauri, at the same level of development, then we probably wouldn't spot them with SETI.
        • by djl4570 (801529)
          Technological civilizations will only broadcast high power radio signals for a limited period of time, probably less than two centuries. The total number of alien signals that we might detect can be approximated by the following: The number of civilizations predicted by the Drake Equation minus the sum of the following: Fraction extinct or no longer broadcasting due to natural causes (i.e. Extinction level event such as a GRB, supernova, impact etc.), Fraction extinct or no longer broadcasting due t
          • by sophanes (837600)
            Read the original SETI report (NASA SP-419) - from its inception, SETI didn't expect to overhear information-bearing signals. Instead, it was looking for deliberately generated 'beacons' - high-powered, spectrally dense transmissions. These should be detectable over distances of the order of several thousand light-years.
        • by toQDuj (806112)

          Well, even though the chances might be incredibly slim, I do not see the objection to looking for those signals. It's only futile until you find something.

          Besides that, the tech they're using and developing is advancing telescope tech, so something good comes of it regardless of actually finding the ET life signals..

        • It's a good telescope [wikipedia.org].

          "... the efficiency of the ATA will be increased by doing radio astronomy and SETI searches simultaneously."

          In fact only one of the science goals listed is actually related to SETI, and the rest are quite interesting even if you think SETI itself is useless.
        • SETI is unlikely to pick up the waste radio energies beamed out by an alien civilization, any more than an alien civilization is likely to pick up our wasted signals. TV signals may have been traveling from earth for the last 60 years, but they have been spreading out in inverse square fashion, so they will be amazingly weak. Gliese 876 is not going to be sitting down to this weeks 'I Love Lucy'.

          SETI might be able to pick up a transmission that is directly beamed at us. We can see planets of Jupiter size

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @03:56AM (#37012728) Homepage Journal

    Is crowdsourcing the long term future of pure research projects?"

    Why not? God knows funding from the government isn't safe anymore.

  • by pedantic bore (740196) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @04:07AM (#37012760)

    Finding the funding for an alien telescope array is the first step in actually finding the alien telescope array itself...

  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @04:22AM (#37012788) Journal
    Welcome to the libertarian viewpoint. We do away with income tax and you get to spend your money on things you care about. Put it to use where it's most efficient.

    Fund a telescope array, feed the needy, keep non-profit hospitals open, invest in the local electric car startups, go part time at work and volunteer at the local EFF. I'm willing to bet you can spend your money better than the government can. Crowdsourcing could be the way of the future of the government would just get off your backs.

    No more bridges to nowhere and tax refunds for G.E.
    No more occupations, murder and wars.

    • by deadcrow (946749)
      A great point. Because taxation is nothing but forced crowdsourcing. And inefficient croudsourcing at that, because the government only ever spends a small percentage of the take on projects.
    • by Arlet (29997) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @04:44AM (#37012832)

      I'm willing to bet you can spend your money better than the government can

      Yes, for some things. The free market is excellent at solving some problems. Government is good at solving other problems, and usually government programs are created after people notice that the free market isn't taking care of it.

    • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craigNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 07, 2011 @04:56AM (#37012854)

      Riiiight... and if we took your profound advice, every stretch of road would be owned by some corporation, there would be no "highway neutrality", and we'd wind up paying multiple tolls to drive anywhere... because the government wouldn't be allowed to tax anyone to collectively buy off the builders of the roads for the ownership (and CONTROL) of them. Who do you suppose paid for all the roads you traverse every single day for free? The government... WITH TAXES. Exactly how would you propose crowdsourcing our streets and national highway system?

      Why do you think we're having these endless debates about "network neutrality" now? It's precisely because the government - WE - didn't insist on retaining ownership of all the telegraph, telephone, and telecommunications wires that companies like AT&T have been laying for more than a century. It's shared infrastructure, just like highways, and it should have been our government - us - paying to retain ownership (and control) of those wires... with taxes If we had done that, we wouldn't be worrying about network neutrality now because the wires would be TRULY neutral.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by genjix (959457)

        And who says we need roads all over the planet? They're truly a scourge on the environment. Maybe we don't need roads to go right up to people's houses- they could drive and park to a spot and then walk 15 mins to their house. Either that or get public transport.

        The current mess with cities is due to government over-regulation. Urban planners agree that suburbanism (suburban means less than urban FYI) is ugly. It was Jane Jacobs who asked "Are we building cities for cars of for people?" If the free market d

        • by Anonymous Coward

          >People can lay their own wires
          Now you've gone full-retard

        • by tibman (623933)

          umm, i am NOT helping you move if we have to carry every couch, table, chair, and box 15 minutes each way. That parking area would also have to be a post office. How many mail boxes would have to be crammed into that space? Trash pickup? Oh! Cableman/electrician/plumber has to lug all their equipment and tools out to your house and back. ah, i know a better one; You are having a heart attack.. the ambulance is now a 4x4 monster truck with off-road capabilities so it can reach your house. Either that

        • by hawkfish (8978)

          Either that or get public transport.

          Are you sure you are a Libertarian?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No more bridges to nowhere

      No more bridges to anywhere

    • Crowdsourcing could be the way of the future of the government would just get off your backs.

      Your conclusion does not follow from your premise. Seems to me that the two are only marginally related.

    • "go part time at work and volunteer at the local EFF"

      Fire up the stake! We all know that there is no such thing as an income effect and that lower taxes will mean that you'll work MORE, not less! How dare you challenge libertarian orthodoxy!

      Disclaimer: I'm a classical liberal myself. I just couldn't resist pointing this out though ;-)

    • by cgomezr (1074699)

      So instead of everyone having to pay for public services, let only the generous pay, while the egoists also get the benefits but for free (with the added advantage of having more money to spend in themselves, i.e., a better position in the "free" market).

      Very efficient, yes. Maybe it's because I'm European, but I honestly can't understand how anyone but the super-rich can defend such an anarcho-capitalism. It's just beyond me.

      • by selven (1556643)

        So instead of everyone having to pay for public services, let only the generous pay, while the egoists also get the benefits but for free (with the added advantage of having more money to spend in themselves, i.e., a better position in the "free" market).

        1. Not all of these services are of the type that the benefit is too distributed for it to be worth it for a single solely materially self-interested party to contribute. Roads could be paid for by billboards (tolls for anything but interstate highways are impractical IMO) and on the lower level by individual businesses that want to be accessible by the public and might also want the public to drive by them. Higher education used to be paid for by employers as on-the-job training before the system got turne

    • by tgv (254536)

      Except no-one would pay for the scientists getting their education in the first place. The world would very, very quickly become a dumb and hard place, run by tribal war lords. What? You think people are good and are interested in what you care about? Forget it. They want to have your car, your house, and your wife. And without police, they'll have it.

      Wanna see how absence of government works? Go to Sudan.

      Welcome to libertarian heaven, a.k.a. humanitarian hell.

      • libertarianism != anarchy

        Libertarians believe in the rule of law and justice (police & courts). We just want people to freer in their choices.

        • by tgv (254536)

          So police is ok, but education and health is not? And libertarians are also know for their dislike of too many laws. Which of the current laws would you abolish?

          Anyway, in a normal democracy you are perfectly free to choose whatever you want. You just have to pay a bit of taxes for that service. Is that really so bad? Do you really want to send the poorest back to dying in the slums because you want all your money for yourself?

          And, mind you, you probably would be poor yourself. Unless you happen to come fro

    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
      Of course, the present mood is "I don't want to pay for anything."

      That will work well, won't it?

      And that is a big problem for the libertarian crowd. It works until we run out of money. Then well financed neighbors come in and take over and impose their form of government on the libertarians.

      "Oh, some country is attacking us with modern weapons - we better develop some. - Ooops- too late!"

      Even aside from extreme examples like that, a lot of people - most perhaps - are very short sighted. What future?

  • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Sunday August 07, 2011 @04:35AM (#37012814) Homepage Journal

    SETI, like all other religious endeavours, should be funded on donations by its adherents alone. The government has no business subsidising it.

    And yes, SETI is about as scientific as Intelligent Design. The whole fundament of SETI is a belief that something must be out there, with no better theoretical basis than the Drake Equation.

    Mart

    • by Anonymous Coward

      SETI is perfectly scientific. You have a hypothesis ("There is intelligent life in the universe trying to communicate with us."), and conduct an experiment to test it.

      Of course, there are a few cranks who have a religious belief that aliens exist ("They probed me three nights ago!") ... but a group of people capable of engineering a radio telescope must be a bit saner than that.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        and conduct an experiment to test it.

        Except that the likelihood of (a) some super advanced civilization existing (b) close enough that the EMF radiation didn't dissipate into unreadability and (c) that they'd actually have the foresight to know when and where we are listening is.. Z E R O.

        The mere existence of SETI, that "serious" scientists could even think that "someone else" is bathing the universe with encoded signals, and that so many people want to pay money to listen for these non-existent signals is -- IMNSHO -- an even bigger indicati

        • by Ragondux (2034126)

          I'm wondering how you calculated that probability of [b]ZERO[/b]. I have no idea about the number of advanced civilization out there, but the only one I know of did broadcast messages to potential neighbours. Granted, it did so for a very short time, so that probably wasn't very effective, but it tried, and it might try again.

          You probably mean that that probability is not zero, but is too low for us to spend money on it. That would be a bit more reasonable, wouldn't it?

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @05:56AM (#37013050) Journal

        SETI is perfectly scientific. You have a hypothesis ("There is intelligent life in the universe trying to communicate with us."), and conduct an experiment to test it.

        So, if SETI is scientific, what outcome of the experiment would falsify their hypothesis? It is equally scientific to hypothesise that God exists and is watching us and test it by the experiment of staring at the sky and trying to spot him.

        A real scientific theory makes predictions that can either be supported or contradicted by experiment. SETI makes no falsifiable predictions, and is therefore faith, not science.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, 2011 @07:02AM (#37013216)

          A real scientific theory makes predictions that can either be supported or contradicted by experiment. SETI makes no falsifiable predictions, and is therefore faith, not science.

          I think you have an overly black and white view of the way science works. It's rarely as simple as "we run experiment X and if we see (do not see) Y then we accept (reject) theory Z.". Often you can only make statements like "given assumptions A, B, C we can excluded this region of parameter space of theory Z at the 95% confidence level." That doesn't mean theory Z is unscientific or that the experiment is worthless.

        • They're testing the contrapositive proposition. Just as:

          non-human signals that are extremely unlikely to be natural -> extraterrestrial intelligence
          no extraterrestrial intelligence -> no non-human signals that are extremely unlikely to be natural

          The contrapositive is absolutely falsifiable, therefore the experiment is scientific.

          Falsifiable prediction: There is no intelligent life on other planets.

          Experiment: Listen for radio signals that are patterned in a way that is implausible to occur from nat

    • by Ragondux (2034126)

      SETI is about belief that something may be out there. You don't search for something if you don't believe it might exist, what a surprise. What's unscientific is believing, like you seem to do, that we are very special and that there can't be intelligent life on the other billions of planets in the vicinity.

      Once upon a time, SETI opponents relied on the fact that we didn't know if there were exoplanets. Now we discovered hundreds of them. What's your theoretical basis for claiming that life can only appear

      • by Nutria (679911)

        What's unscientific is believing, like you seem to do, that we are very special and that there can't be intelligent life on the other billions of planets in the vicinity.

        Nothing in OP's message indicates that we are unique in the galaxy. The point is that we don't broadcast all sorts of messy EM, why should anyone else?

        What would be a REAL scientific test would be to launch a large-antennae "Can you hear me now?" satellite with an ion engine aimed away from the orbital plane. Aim the antennae towards Earth. If it can't detect Earth signals at one Lunar orbital radius then SETI should close up shop and give the radio telescopes over to some worthwhile purpose. If it's st

        • by Ragondux (2034126)

          The OP's message claims it is unscientific to believe that there is "something out there", it says nothing about broadcasting EM, or likelyhood of detecting things that actually are out there. There are many good criticisms to SETI's approach, calling it religious or unscientific just isn't one of them.

          • by mvdwege (243851)

            And like all true believers confronted with uncomfortable truths, you just refuse to listen.

            I claimed it to be unscientific to believe in something out there with no better basis than the Drake Equation.

            Actually reading the argument and addressing it next time, instead of burning down a strawman, would help your case.

            • by Ragondux (2034126)

              I'm not part of SETI, never invested money in SETI and never will, because I don't believe they stand a chance of detecting anything. There goes your 'believer' ad hominem.

              I assumed you meant that it was unscientific to believe in ETI today, with our current knowledge, because we only had the Drake equation. Did you mean that we have other evidence that could make it scientific, but the SETI guys only rely on Drake, so they're not scientific? If so, I stand corrected. If not, I think I addressed your argume

        • by grumbel (592662)

          The point is that we don't broadcast all sorts of messy EM, why should anyone else?

          SETI isn't looking for random EM transmissions (which last I heard would be lost after some 50 lightyears in background radiation anyway), but for directed beacons aimed into our direction and in general simply ways of how interstellar communication might work. Why somebody would transmit them? Well, we don't know, but there isn't all that much reason to think that nobody ever would try it either. Can't know how much or how little is out there until you start looking and searching.

          What would be a REAL scientific test would be to launch a large-antennae "Can you hear me now?" satellite with an ion engine aimed away from the orbital plane

          That wouldn't be science,

          • by Nutria (679911)

            directed beacons aimed into our direction

            Why and how "on Earth" would any advanced ET have known hundreds of years ago to aim a directed beacon at not just Earth (if it were aimed at Saturn, we wouldn't detect it), but Earth now when we have the technology?

            Unless the thinking is that ET decided to continually blast directed EM beacons at every planet circling every star. Which is, of course, absurd.

            • by grumbel (592662)

              Why and how "on Earth" would any advanced ET have known hundreds of years ago to aim a directed beacon at not just Earth (if it were aimed at Saturn, we wouldn't detect it), but Earth now when we have the technology?

              For the very same reason why we "know" where to aim our antennas: Looking at the stars and planets around them gives you a very rough estimation for the likely hood of life. The hypothetical alien race likely has much better telescopes then us and thus more information about our planet, its atmosphere and composition (which in theory could let you detect things such as industrialization). Now of course that doesn't preclude all our assumption from being wrong, maybe an advanced alien race will consist of ro

              • by Nutria (679911)

                If anything, SETI is a hell of a lot closer to playing the lottery then it is to religion.

                Playing the lottery is a "tax on the mathematically challenged". Nothing that you or Ragondux wrote have convinced me that SETI is anything but a "tax on the reality challenged". Flat Earthers have a closer grip on reality [tufts.edu].

                • by Ragondux (2034126)

                  Playing the lottery is being called a tax on the mathematically challenged because we know the expected payoff is negative. We (reasonable people) don't know the expected payoff of SETI, so it's a bet, not a tax or a scam. Most research is a bet.

                  (Please note I'm not trying to convince you, as you made it clear with your flat-earther comparison that you can't be convinced. I'm just stating my opinion for the sake of other readers: http://xkcd.com/386/ [xkcd.com])

      • by Arlet (29997)

        What's unscientific is believing, like you seem to do, that we are very special and that there can't be intelligent life on the other billions of planets in the vicinity.

        There is a serious mismatch between:

        1) vicinity
        2) billions of planets
        3) SETI programs

        If ET emits random radio waves, similar like we do on earth, and we wish to detect them with our SETI program, the vicinity does not have billions of planets, but just 7, namely the ones in our solar system.

        Also, the Drake equation only estimates how many E

        • by Ragondux (2034126)

          First of all, the OP seemed to question de belief that "there is something out there", not the belief that SETI can detect anything. Wikipedia says our galaxy is supposed to contain about 50 billion planets, so the belief that more than one might be inhabited doesn't strike me as unscientific or religious (given that we know of one that is inhabited).

          I don't have much hope in SETI as it stands today, but I don't think they expect to catch random radio waves, I think they're hoping to catch a powerfully broa

          • by Arlet (29997)

            I'd call it religious if the Drake equation was used as a basis for the SETI experiment.

            If you fix the Drake equation, it should be clear that the SETI experiment is pointless.

    • by varargs (2260180)
      Yep. Hippie pseudo-science. Greenies everywhere should say a prayer to Al Gore for all the CPU cycles wasted on the so-called "Search for SETI." Jesus wept (or wiped).
    • by thue (121682)

      And the search for the Higgs is also religious, because we have a belief that something is there? Of course not; we search to validate (or repudiate) our hypothesis.

      It is a perfectly valid scientific hypothesis that intelligent life exists elsewhere, based on current scientific consensus. We are merely trying to confirm that hypothesis.

    • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:49AM (#37013736) Homepage

      And yes, SETI is about as scientific as Intelligent Design.

      That's bullshit. SETI does not proclaim that alien live exist, it doesn't proclaim anything. SETI is simply looking for it and they aren't exactly hiding the fact that they haven't found anything. In so far its not much different from a biologist or archaeologist running through a jungle or desert looking for interesting things, he might find something or not.

      Intelligent Design is vastly different, as they proclaim to already have the answer and then try to support it with fraudulent evidence, ignoring a far better theory that already explains everything they try to explain.

      The whole fundament of SETI is a belief that something must be out there, with no better theoretical basis than the Drake Equation.

      It's not a believe, its an assumption that there might be something out there and you can't know how false or true it is until you start looking. Also the Drake Equation isn't the theoretical basis for SETI, its not even a theory in the first place, its just a fancy why of saying "I wonder how likely intelligent live would be?". It was meant to foster discussion on a conference some decades ago, not hard science.

      • The assumption of only 1 lifebearing planet in the universe of hundreds of billions of stars is pretty damn silly. Whether the drake equation is right or wrong, its pretty safe to say something is out there. cryptozoology seems like flaky science until they find something like the Okapi or the Giant Squid then its no longer cryptozoology its just zoology.

    • GTFO of my Slashdot.
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
      Bloody Hell! Is space exploration religious? Is dipping a bucket in a pond or exploring the ocean to see if there are any creatures we don't presently know about religion? They are the same thing as SETI.
  • If they reach $200000 for a project which is a prominent as seti, then i can say: no.

  • Is there no end to the gimmick of inviting pop vox with a rhetorical question at the end of every posting?
    Could we ever see questions for which our informed readership could have material answers?
    Is there any purpose other than habit, or the quest for page views?
    Well?

  • OMG! I saw the words "SETI" and "Finds" and got immediately surprised! Was I the only one?

    I just don't expect SETI to find anything... ever...

    • by Xtense (1075847)

      Nobody expected to find a new continent by going around the planet to India.

      It's not a question of what we're looking for - it's a question of what we might find, and that, IMO, is what makes SETI worth keeping.

      • The way I see it is this: One of the way science and engineering advance, is when a difficult arbitrary goal is set with enough conviction. We try to reach to it, putting a lot of resources into it. Along the way, we are forced to solve difficult engineering problems and gain scientific insights. War is one way to achieve this (and certainly gets its share of resources) but trying to find life elsewhere or putting man on Mars, for example, is a much more pleasant way to do it.

Uncompensated overtime? Just Say No.

Working...