[RC5] seti@home fraud!

Stephan Wonczak sws at sherlock.pc.uni-koeln.de
Thu Jun 10 13:16:06 EDT 1999

  Ooof, this has generated more responses than I expected in my wildest
dreams. Wow!

On Wed, 9 Jun 1999, Ben Ketteridge wrote:

> >                                       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.
> Probably true..., and probably true. ;-)
> >   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 separated 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 whether there is a solution. But this is all IMHO, of
> > course.
> While it is certainly true that conversations would be nigh on impossible,
> not only on a practical but also on a sociological basis (just consider how
> different the world was 40 years ago....) that is not to say that the
> confirmed discovery of life, intelligent or otherwise, should have no effect
> upon our daily lives. I don't want to get into any really deep philosophical
> /religious/political discussions on this list... it is not the right place
> for one. However, assuming there is life in the universe other than on the
> Earth, consider:
> 1) Should we put more resources into finding further examples/improving
> space
> technology/communications to find loopholes in the universal speed limit?

  As you may not be aware, we already found at least on loophole in the
universal speed limit. Prof. Nimtz of the University of Cologne (my home
University) showed that information can be transmitted with a speed
exceeding the speed of light. In his experiments he had a factor of about
3, other workgroups confirmed his results and got factors up to 20 with
their setups. Unfortunately (at least to my limited understanding of this
matter) this principle can not be used for transmission over stellar
distances. Nice try, I would say.

> 2) Should we re-examine what our philosophies of existence say about our
> position in the universe?

  Most of the non-religious types don't see humanity as the center of the
universe or even Earth. So I don't think these people will need to
re-adjust their philosophies. As for the rest ... well, the ice is getting
really thin and this discussion really does not belong on this list ...
I'll better shut up.

> 3) Does this give us hope that humankind will survive beyond the nuclear
> holocaust era?

  Goooood point! I never thought of it this way. 

> In the end, I guess that ETI may well not affect whether I get up at 7am or
> 8am, but will have serious implications for a surprisingly wide spread of
> aspects of life.
> As for being a wild goose chase.... well, we don't know if there are cures
> (not just life-extending treatments) for all cancers, but does that mean we
> should stop looking?

  Again, good points. You (and the other responses to my original post)
have led me to reevaluate my position on the seti at home-project. I am now
convinced that the project *is* worthwhile; it just is not for me (not
'geeky' enough, I guess *grin*). Thanks for enlighting me, y'all!
  As for the usefulness in participating *at this moment*, there really is
not much point as long there are no new work units. At most they could
test the security of their client by checking how many of the units were
returned unchecked. I seem to remeber a discussion about this topic a
while ago.

		C U, Stephan
   "I haven't lost my mind; I know exactly where I left it."
   "The meaning of my life is to make me crazy"

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