Software engineer, working in aviation and internet applications, age 47(2003), private pilot, ham radio (N1CRZ).
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Q: Does extraterrestrial life exist?
A:Sometimes using reverse logic helps to better put things into perspective. If you ask that question from any other perspective in the entire vastness of the universe the answer would be yes, because it would be us. So I have a hard time believing that this is the only place in the universe you would have to answer "NO".
Q:If so, when and how will humans discover it?
A:I think we have a much better chance of discovering extinct life (micro fossils) first, purhaps even in our own solor system. As for more inteligent life, I think they will find us first.
Q:What are the possible benefits and dangers of such a discovery?
A:At this point in time humans (most of which are NOT scientifically
oriented) will have great fears and have their religious beliefs called
into question. Just like those who insisted on the flat earth, eventually
(and probably not soon) truths will prevail. The benefits probably
can't even be conceptualized at this point. Imagine trying to conceptualize a desktop PC from the perspective of someone living in 1901 instead of 2001, only a short 100 years ago.
Q:Should humans transmit a beacon for others to find?
A:Yes, but don't go overboard, keep a small sustained effort, after all we aren't looking for smoke signals from jungle tribes are we and what would it take for us to notice one.
Q:If so, what information should we send?
A:See Astronomy picture of the day Jan 9, 2001
Q:Why do you run SETI@home?
A:Because I think we should be looking and I like the concept of many volunteers efforts making a big impact (well as a compute resource anyway).