[RC5] seti@home fraud!

Markus Landgren marla252 at student.liu.se
Tue Jun 8 23:51:56 EDT 1999


At 10:10 1999-06-08 +0200, someone wrote:

>  One last comment on seti at home: Several members of this mailinglist said
>that they felt the search for E.T. was more 'worthwhile',  'productive' or
>even more 'real world' than trying to break a commercial code that would
>not give in after more than one year. While I am sure there *is*
>intelligent extraterrestrial life somewhere in our universe (quite
>possibly in our 'nearer' neighborhood), I don't think we stand a chance to
>find it with our present technology. 

If ETI exists at one of the 1000 nearest stars visible from Arecibo,
and transmits electromagnetic radiation equivalent in power to our
cold war military radars, in our direction and in the right frequency
range, SETI at home can find it. SETI at home has little to no chance of
finding leaking TV broadcasts or something like that. If I have to
guess, I don't think SETI at home will be successful, but that doesn't
stop me from trying. At least not during the times of the day when I
can spare the 15 megs. I still do RC5 every now and then though.

>  Even if we did, where would we go from there? We can't visit, we can't
>communicate (just try to imagine holding a conversation with question and
>answer seperated by 40 years!), so what's the point? It has absolutely no
>impact on our daily lives. Encryption on the other hand is quite important
>for privacy, so it should have more priority than a wild-goose chase where
>we don't even know wether there is a solution. But this is all IMHO, of
>course.

It took more than 40 years to build the Great Wall of China or the
Egyptian pyramids. Mankind's attention span is longer than that. And
to compare with another research project: Pioneer 10, launched in
1972, is still alive today, gathering information about interstellar
space and the Sun's magnetic field. 40 years isn't so long, really. 

Of course, encryption is important too. But there's room for both RC5
and SETI on the world's idle computers. SETI at home has put distributed
computing in the spotlight. I think that will be good for d.net and
RC5 in the long run.


--
Markus Landgren
marla252 at student.liu.se


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