[RC5] Re: rc5-digest V1 #292

Jacek Krzywicki jacek at jill.comtec.com
Wed Jun 9 15:08:40 EDT 1999


> ------------------------------
> 
> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 12:21:55 -0700 
> From: "Matt.Wilkie" <Matt.Wilkie at gov.yk.ca>
> Subject: RE: [RC5] seti at home fraud!
> 
> >possibly in our 'nearer' neighborhood), I don't think we stand 
> >a chance to find it with our present technology. 
> >  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? 
> 
> A conversation no, but research material yes. Assuming we do
> recieve a recognizably intelligent signal of some sort, before we
> even think of a conversation we have to figure out what their 
> signal is and contains. Which is decryption of another colour.
> 

I find that it is rather difficult for even SETI people to quantify exactly
what constitutes a "recognizable intelligent signal." If you take the case of
today's DSS (digital spread spectrum) communication scheme, it is nearly
impossible for an outside observer with no apriori information on the coding
(frequency hopping) scheme to make heads of tails of the message. The message
appears as white noise on the RF spectrum. White noise - how is it that you
extract a message from that?

Even though we may one day find an "intelligent" signal, it will probably take
us quite a period of time to figure out exactly what is contained therein, and
to use it. I am not a pessimist, but maybe I read _Contact_ just one too
many times... :^)

> >It has  absolutely no impact on our daily lives. 
> 
> Positive identification of an extra terrestrial presence will most
> definately have an impact on our daily lives. 
> 
> I'm not trying to say seti is more valuable than d.net. I think they 
> are both worthy endeavours and I participate in both, and when 
> Cosm hits the net I'll probably be there too. The internet is a 
> large place and there is room for variety.
> 
> - -matt
> 
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