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Thread: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

  1. #21
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sceiron View Post
    From the article i understand that the signals are getting weaker due to use of digital communication instead of analog signaling.
    It's not really a digital/analogue thing. It's more about the fact that we're sending a lot more stuff down wires instead of transmitting it.

    However, analogue signals, RF-transmissions, eventually also dies out over time because of solar storms, magnetic field influens, particle obstruction. So the result will over time become just noice that is already present in space, and not possible to interpret.
    Another related issue that touches on this is the question of how to identify an artificial signal. The more advanced communication gets, the more compressed it is. You're unlikely to be able to spot obviously artificial things like repetition in a signal, because the compression will deliberately remove it.

    Nobody ever said finding another civilisation was going to be easy, after all.

  2. #22
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    I had my machine crunching SETI packets for a few years, but now I've switched to more prosaic stuff like cancer research, protein folding and so on.

    I was doing SETI until they dropped their client software and went BOINC I don't know how many years ago. That's when I saw all the other stuff going on with distributed computing and that's when I decided that I was chasing phantasms and that it was more worth while to help solve the very real and known problems right here in the one and only place we know life to exist.

    [sorry for that last sentence - I couldn't resist ]

  3. #23
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    Yes, it is a waste of time. Switch to folding@home, which is more useful and will actually advance science in some way.

    http://folding.stanford.edu/

  4. #24
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    I also think that there are move valuable distributed computing projects, but we don't all have the same priorities. If we did, the world wouldn't be as wonderfully diverse as it is.

  5. #25
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by leandromartinez98 View Post
    folding@home, which is more useful and will actually advance science in some way.
    Hmm, which is better? Definitely contributing to a small but concrete scientific advance, or a slim chance of contributing to the biggest scientific breakthrough of all time?


  6. #26
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    Hmm, which is better? Definitely contributing to a small but concrete scientific advance, or a slim chance of contributing to the biggest scientific breakthrough of all time?

    That of course depends on how slim. In this case the slimness is such that the former is better. Furthermore, except for Hollywood and end-of-the-world fanatics, the discovery of the mechanisms of protein folding is probably a greater discovery. Unless, of course, that the other civilization is much more developed than ours and is sending very smart pieces of knowledge to help us solve our problems, but in that case probably they will find us first.

  7. #27
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    I have been doing Seti@Home almost since it began. I have a firm belief that is intelligent life on other plants and whilst the Seti project continues I will continue to process their data packets.
    Live in Cornwall? Got a Raspberry PI?
    Cornwall Raspberry Pi Users Group

  8. #28
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by leandromartinez98 View Post
    In this case the slimness is such that the former is better.
    I'd say that in the light of the lack of hard data on that one, it's really just a matter of opinion. The Drake equation still contains a lot of guesstimates (although we're starting to see some really interesting data about the relative ubiquity of exoplanets)

  9. #29
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    Re: Is SETI@Home a waste of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    I'd say that in the light of the lack of hard data on that one, it's really just a matter of opinion.
    Yeah, this is the kind of opinion that in science is called good sense. If I was to chose (actually I do) to research one thing or the other, my choice would be clear. Of course everybody can choose which science to help using these tools. But, really, if your wiliness to help knowledge and science development is greater than your science-fiction curiosity, help the projects on the folding@home site, there are various. Just check the publications of both sites to see which one is doing real research progress.

    By the way, I'm not involved on either project.

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