I'm a California native in my 52nd year. I've worked in the child support field for 28 years. I'm a big NASCAR and science fiction fan.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I DO believe extraterrestrial life exists. It's like Jodie Foster's character says in "Contact:" "If we're alone here, isn't that a big waste of space?" It's preposterous for humankind to think it's the only intelligent life that exists; waaay to egocentric. I think proof of E.T. life will be found (if it hasn't been already; I don't completely trust our government) when we are visited by extraterrestrials as we will not have the capability soon to do any serious exploring. As for benefits and dangers, that will depend upon the nature of the E.T. life we find. It could be the beginning of a whole new enlightenment for humankind, or it could be our end.
I don't think there is any need for us to transmit a beacon for others to find...we've already been doing it for almost 80 years. As first impressions are so important, what could be send that would overcome Amos 'n Andy radio shows or the airing of the 1936 Olympic opening ceremonies?
I run SETI@home because it is the one thing I can do to possibly advance science. I think this project is just the sort of thing that can bring humans together to work for a common goal.