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Profile melissas
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Message 771537 - Posted: 21 Jun 2008, 19:48:32 UTC

Newbie here. Wondered if anyone could suggest some books that would help a little with the high learning curve of SETI, astronomy in general, and the search. For instance, why radio waves? Who figured out which frequency, and why? Any guesses as to areas that look promising? What future projects that you're hopeful about? ARE you hopeful? To start, I need books that arent' too techinical, but I don't want "astronomy for dummies", either. And something up-to-date, the current state of research, etc. I can't really learn from reading on-line, so thus the book request...
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Message 772011 - Posted: 22 Jun 2008, 17:27:48 UTC



. . . 'Programming the Universe' by Seth Lloyd



> this book should 'peak' your interest - as a start perhaps . . .


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Message 772240 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 1:19:39 UTC - in response to Message 771537.
Last modified: 23 Jun 2008, 1:39:26 UTC

If I may be be so presumptuous as to try and answer some of those questions... ;)

"For instance, why radio waves?"
- This is a fairly "static-free" part of the electromagnetic spectrum, believe it or not. Although many natural, astronomical sources of regular emissions have been found over the last few decades (such as pulsars, etc), the relative sparsity of these objects makes even faint signals fairly easy to pick out from the noise of space.

"Who figured out which frequency, and why?"
- Anyone who is capable of radio astronomy (human or not) would know that there is an emission band in the radio spectrum throughout the entire universe at 1420mhz; this is the spectrum frequency for Hydrogen emission. Hydrogen is not only the most abundant element, but also the basic fundamental building block of the universe. It is possible that, knowing this, intelligent civilizations would transmit on this frequency. SETI@Home listens only for this frequency, while it is my understanding that the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array listens to a broader range of frequencies.

"Any guesses as to areas that look promising?"
- Most astrobiologists tend to believe that the most promising candidates for intelligent life are planets like our own orbiting stars like the Sun (G-Dwarfs). Intelligent life is not likely to develop on worlds orbiting volatile giants since those stars have lifespans which are much shorter than the time it took for intelligent life to evolve here. M-Dwarfs, the most populous stars in the galaxy, have recently bee reconsidered as possible hosts for life (and intelligent life) since they have extremely long, stable lifespans; there are some issues with the habitability of planets orbiting them, but recent atmospheric models suggest they could be suitable if not likely hosts for stable climates and life.

There are other factors:
Stars differ in metalicity ("metals" are any elements other than Hydrogen and Helium), and it is believed that many stars in the galaxy would lack the metalicity to host any planets at all; this view is just coming under question with a recent discovery of "super-earth" type planets orbiting stars which were supposed to lack the metalicity to harbor any planets at all. It's possible that *all* stars harbor planets...

There's also the fundamental issue of interstellar radiation and the effects of gravity. Stars too close to the galactic center would be subject to lethal radiation from supernovae and gamma ray bursts. They are also so close to each other, that their gravity might "bump" any orbiting worlds and eject them into interstellar space.

There's also the issue of debris disks; we know our star's debris disk as the "Kuiper Belt". It seems that these are left over from the protoplanetary disk in which a star and its planets originally form. Cometary bombardments from the Sun's debris disk have caused mass extinctions at regular intervals, including the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Here's the bad news: It seems that our Sun's debris disk is unusually small. The debris disks of every other Sun-like star that we can accurately measure are much denser than ours. From ten times the amount of cometary material to even 1000 times....this would almost certainly mean that any planets orbiting those stars would suffer constant bombardments that would prevent intelligent life or maybe even complex life from evolving. Fortunately, the number of stellar debris disks detected and accurately measured is very small (only 1000 or so), so maybe we just have an incomplete picture and maybe the Sun's small debris disk is more common than we realize....

"What future projects that you're hopeful about? ARE you hopeful?"
- Three words: Allen Telescope Array.
'Nuff said.

Even though the array is 1/3rd complete, it still constitutes the most powerful SETI search tool ever used, and will target more stars at more frequencies than all the accumulated SETI effort of the last four decades; and it will do it much faster too. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute is 100% convinced that the ATA will make a confirmed detection with the next 20 years.

On other fronts, we may actually detect alien life before we detect a signal from it. There are a few orbital telescopes that will be launched in the coming years that will be dedicated to the detection of Earth-like planets around orbiting stars. NASA and the European Space Agency both have projects lined up to launch soon, including the Kepler mission which will launch next year. The James Webb Space Telescope will be powerful enough to analyze the atmospheres of Earth-size alien worlds and detect their composition. If we find a world with an atmospheric composition like Earth's, with similar levels of oxygen, there would be only ONE natural way for such an atmosphere to exist: Life.

My personal opinion?
Microbial life is likely fairly common. Since life evolved here on Earth pretty quickly and in a very harsh environment, it seems to me that where life *can* arise, it probably *will* arise. I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually find microbial life or fossilized microbes in our own solar system on Mars, or the underground oceans of Europa and Titan.

But as for more than microbes, the problem is that for 80% of the history of life on Earth, the only form of life was microbial, and for most of that time, Earth was world covered in vast amounts of liquid water, right in the habitable zone; basically a "perfect" goldilocks world. That doesn't bode well for the likelihood of the evolution of complex animal organisms let alone intelligence.

It seems to me then, given all the factors, that *intelligent* life analogous to humanity is likely *breathtakingly rare*. Even so, there are between 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy; I have a hunch that there are at least a handful of other intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and that if they exist, they must already be well aware of the existence of a small terrestrial planet which hosts life orbiting a fairly young and active G-Dwarf star. That planet is Earth, and if ET really does exist, then they must have detected our planet and be well aware of the fact that it hosts life.

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Message 772436 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 14:06:13 UTC



. . . 'The Cosmic Landscape' by Leonard Suskind


Physicist Leonard Susskind, one of the fathers of string theory,
spoke about dark energy at the 2005 meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science




I doubt that physicists will see it that way. If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent - maybe for mathematical reasons,

or because it disagrees with observation - I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world. But I have to say

that if that happens, as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature's fine-tunings we will be hard pressed

to answer the ID critics . . .

Leonard Susskind



. . . quote: Stanford Report, February 25, 2005 - "There's no question that there are many things about the [universe] which if they were very much different,

even just a little bit different, life couldn't exist, intelligent life couldn't exist," Leonard Susskind, the Felix Bloch Professor in Physics, said during a recent

interview. "The [universe] is truly an incredibly fine-tuned place." Susskind is currently on sabbatical and writing a popular book titled 'The Cosmic Landscape'



. . . quote: Science Daily March 6, 2005 - In recent years, some physicists have suggested that rather than having one universe with one set of physical laws,

string theory may lay the foundation for the possibility of the existence of innumerable ``pocket universes,`` each with its own landscape of physical laws.


"The word 'universe' is obviously not intended to have a plural, but science has evolved in such a way that we need a plural noun for something similar to what we ordinarily

call our universe," Susskind explains. "Alan Guth coined the name 'pocket universe,' meaning a pocket of space, a region of space, over which the environment is uniform,

the laws of nature are uniform, the constants of nature are uniform, and that these pockets of space are more or less identifiable with the things that we used to call

the Universe, with a capital U. So we now need a plural for the concept if we believe that space is filled like a crazy quilt of environments with different properties

and different laws of physics."



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Message 772437 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 14:06:38 UTC

Thanks so much for the book recommendation and answers...this will be a good start.

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Message 772439 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 14:10:35 UTC - in response to Message 772437.


Thanks so much for the book recommendation and answers...this will be a good start.


. . . from mi - it's a pleasure - Enjoy and Welcome to The Project

< i 'ave quite a bit more - though when i get the opportunity to Post - asap (for You) . . .




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Message 772443 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 14:20:57 UTC - in response to Message 772436.
Last modified: 23 Jun 2008, 14:34:18 UTC


Leonard Susskind



No offense, but I think the website is a bit silly.

There's nothing "arrogant" about an "extreme" Copernican view of the universe; indeed, it's the only logical assumption one can conclude. Since we only have *ONE* verifiable example of carbon-based life orbiting one star among countless galaxies, it seems ridiculous on its face to assume that the universe was fine-tuned for its existence. This is the same kind of logic that assumes that an image of Jesus in a slice of toast *MUST* have been put there by an intelligent artist, when chance alone would dictate that of the billions of people toasting slices of bread, some seemingly identifiable pattern would eventually show up from time to time.

Isn't it arrogant to assume that the makers of bread and toasters didn't *specifically fine-tune* their products for the explicit purpose of inevitably forming such recognizable patterns as a face of Jesus?


Anyway, why can't that be applied to biological evolution?
This is the problem with the ridiculous double-talk and intentional ignorance of some astrophysicists. They sound just like opponents of biological natural selection.

If the structure of the universe suggests that it was fine-tuned for our existence, then why can't we also say that "natural selection" is unnecessary as a mechanism for biological evolution? Why can't we merely say that biological evolution was driven by an intelligent designer with the purposeful final goal of the existence of intelligent creatures posting on internet message boards?

Why bother to look for microbes on Mars or any other planet then? If we're the ultimate goal of a fine-tuned universe, the universe must not be very well fine-tuned if it produces worlds with nothing more complex than microbes that may even now be extinct.

The problem with the logic of these astrophysicists is that as little as 1 million years ago (just yesterday in the timescale of the universe), there existed no creature to ask this question (so far as we know, there may have existed no such creature in all the universse). Was the universe fine-tuned for the existence of complex but dumb multicelluar organisms 1 million years ago but intelligent multicellular organisms today?

For 80% of the history of life on this planet, it existed as nothing more than microbes. Why isn't it more plausable that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of microbes alone and that intelligence, let alone multicellular complexity, is a freak occurrence?

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Message 772446 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 14:28:51 UTC - in response to Message 772443.


. . . 'whatever' so go here - since there are virtually 1000's to visit - Leonardo Suskind neXt:



Leonard Susskind



No offense, but I think the website is a bit silly.

There's nothing "arrogant" about an "extreme" Copernican view of the universe; indeed, it's the only logical assumption one can conclude. Since we only have *ONE* verifiable example of carbon-based life orbiting one star among countless galaxies, it seems ridiculous on its face to assume that the universe was fine-tuned for its existence. This is the same kind of logic that assumes an the image of Jesus in a slice of toast *MUST* have been put there by an intelligent artist, when chance alone would dictate that of the billions of people toasting slices of bread, some seemingly identifiable pattern would eventually show up from time to time.

Isn't arrogant to assume that the makers of bread and toasters didn't *specifically fine-tune* their products for the explicit purpose of inevitably forming such recognizable patterns as a face of Jesus?


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Message 772455 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 14:51:11 UTC - in response to Message 772446.
Last modified: 23 Jun 2008, 14:53:11 UTC

"[The likelihood of the laws of physics that allow for our existence occurring by accident] is like a Boeing 747 aircraft being completely assembled as a result of a tornado striking a junkyard."
Michio Kaku, another contributor to String Theory
---

"The creation of life from nothing or the transformation of amoebas into human beings is about as likely as a tornado blowing through a junkyard and assembling a fully functional jumbo jet."
- James Perloff, author of "Tornado in a Junkyard: The Relentless Myth of Darwinisim"



Michio Kaku is a brilliant man, his contributions to string theory are considerable and I'm a great fan of his work as a popularizer of science. Sadly, he's fallen into the same trap that many brilliant astronomers and physicists fall into. Carl Sagan himself fell into the same trap, adamantly believing that there was an inherent fine-tuning behind the universe though he did not publicly state this often.

They failed to realize that they're unintentionally advocating the same kind of thing that creationists advocate, merely on a larger scale.
It's hypocrisy at its finest.

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Message 772508 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 17:25:18 UTC

Sadly, he's fallen into the same trap that many brilliant astronomers and physicists fall into. Carl Sagan himself fell into the same trap, adamantly believing that there was an inherent fine-tuning behind the universe

I'm glad this subject came up without any prompting from me, it answers yet another question I was hiding in my pocket. It's what lead me to study this subject in the first place: There was a huge controversy over an astronomy professor at I.S.U., a college near my home town, who was denied tenure due to his opinions about Intelligent design. I was surprised that an astronomer would arrive at an intelligent design conclusion, and was trying to research what lead him there. But now from what you folks are saying, this is not uncommon. (His tenure appeal was denied, but the way, if anyone was intersted.)

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Message 772537 - Posted: 23 Jun 2008, 18:11:42 UTC



~ CONTACT ~

. . .


. . .


. . . quote: "While we spin elaborate theories about the nature and distribution of alien intelligence, we generally ignore the presence of intelligent aliens on our own planet,

beings which preceded us in evolving a complex brain by over thirty million years
" - from: The Aliens In Our Oceans: Dolphins As Analogs by Bruce E. Fleury

> there are plenty of Related Links to Books / Publications you'll find @ the end of the afore-mentioned Link . . .


" . . . the compassionate frame of mind that may be a key factor in moving ahead toward understanding of minds, both human and extra-human"




John C. Lilly, M.D., was a consciousness pioneer, mind and brain researcher, author, trained psychoanalyst, neuroscientist, inventor, cetaceans and dolphin researcher.

His interspecies communication research inspired the film Day of the Dolphin. He worked extensively in biophysics, computer theory, and electronics.


He invented the isolation tank to understand how the brain works in sensory deprivation. He explores inner consciousness and psychoactive substances, and inspired the

film Altered States. He considered his book, Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer, his most original work.

He was a founding Director of the Association for Cultural Evolution.





. . . John Cunningham Lilly

. . . JOHN C. LILLY

. . . The Mind of the Dolphin: A Nonhuman Intelligence by John C. Lilly

. . . Scientific Briefs of Dr. John C. Lilly, M.D.

. . . Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer by John C. Lilly

. . . The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography



. . . Dolphin Research Program



. . . and, as a finale - of sorts - see Communication with ExtraTerrestrials



and you might want to read regarding Nikola Tesla - who had a 'Means of Communicating with ALiens'



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