Profile: Tracy Lilly


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Personal background
If the Universe ends, what is on the other side of it? and on the other side of that? and so on. If it doesn\\'t end, well, I wish I could conceive it. However, both the above are the same thing anyway, right? I love to muse over the afore-mentioned teaser! If any one has any suggestions or descriptions, please post it.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I am 46 years old, single and live in Austin, Texas. I consider myself a writer, and I am in the process of getting my teaching certificate. I have a BA in Eng. Lit. from UT Austin and a JD in law from SMU, but I no longer practice law, I mean glorified paper pushing, and I do not want to. I love animals, and my father is a veterinarian. I collect fossils. I like to sail and scuba dive, and was once president of UT Austin Underwater Society. I also like to play darts, do number puzzles, and read, read and read some more - I read anything I can get my hands on. I especially love to learn about anything in science.

I traveled around the world for two years after college. I lived in Sweden and Hong Kong for approximately one year each, and I spent three months in China, three months in India, and one month in Sri Lanka. I have visited Europe, Russia, Mongolia, Thailand, Korea, Macao, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico, and I spent three weeks traversing the Sahara Desert in Mali and Algeria. You would not believe the stars in the night sky in the clear Sahara Desert. It is dizzying to look at. I have never seen so many stars anywhere on earth. Hopefully, once things finally calm down in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, in Northern Africa, I would highly recommend that amateur astronomers take their telescopes into the Sahara. Then you can say that you have been from here to Timbuktu!!

All my life, I wanted to be an astronaut and astronomer, however, although I am smart, I have trouble thinking spacially, or in three dimensions, and thus was unable to continue with this line of study. I am, however, still extremely interested in astronomy, including the sun, Hubble, SETI, GRBs, whatever the hell is at the center of our galaxy, etc. etc. I ran the classic SETI program on my prior computer when I lived in Houston, Texas, but I had to stop for several years due to various reasons. But, now I am back on line and eager to start helping SETI again. This is a great program, although their crazy labrinth of a web site (or, as another searcher described it on the boards- a black hole - once in, you cannot see where you are or where to go to get an account, etc.) could really use some work! Nevertheless, I am really excited to be back again contibuting to the search for proof. Thanks, SETI, for letting me have this opportunity!!

P.S. Please excuse any misspelled words, but I lost my aptitude for spelling once SpellCheck came into existence - similar to my becoming arithmatically challenged once modern calculators became a household item.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Using an army of smaller computers rather than fighting, in vain, for time on a large computer, was an idea born of genius, and whoever thought of this deserves the Nobel Prize. Especially as it has ended up helping so many organizations and people. Further, deciding to use it to analyze SETI data instead of letting SETI eventually fizzle out as it probably would have done, was another stroke of genius. In addition to keeping SETI alive, it allows the non-scientific community and/or really, really amateur astronomers, like myself, the chance to be involved in something incredibly important, groundbreaking, and interesting. I run SETI at home because I believe that there is life, including intelligent life, throughout the cosmos. Although I cannot explore outer space, except in my dreams, I can still participate in something astronomical, literally and figuratively. This is, for the time being, the closest I can get to realizing my lifelong dream of being an astronaut.

Thanks to this project, people from all over the world, who never got to tell NASA and the government how important and necessary SETI funding is, now get to tell the world the above by using their computers on behalf of the search. In other words, it allows our voices to be heard by close-minded politicians.

I can hardly wait for the search to yield some concrete results, and I hope that it is during my lifetime!

As far as suggestions for SETI, YOU NEED TO REDO and/or DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF AND THE ABILITY TO NAVIGATE WITHIN THIS WEBSITE!! As for navigating the site, not only did I almost give up after repeated fruitless attempts to create an account, read answers in and make a post to the message boards and the SETI Help Desk, but I could not even contact SETI personnel or the webmaster by telephone or by e-mail, because there is no listed way to contact you. Apparently, I am not the only one encountering such difficulties. HEY! SMART PEOPLE OF SETI! Here is a math problem for you to solve: the more user friendly a web site is = the more people can join = more computers to analyze data = keeping the search going = finally discovering proof of life in the cosmos!

I used to analyze data for SETI several years ago using the Classic system, and the web site then was far more user friendly, more accessible, and, unlike this time, I had absolutely no problems in getting set up.

As far as the appearance of the site is concerned....it looks like a page out of an outdated engineering textbook. Make it more interesting, yes, more pictures, and the less technically proficient public out there who has an interest in ETs and/or astronomy, can also join in the search, including schoolchildren, who should be able to easily fing out about and join SETI. I am about to receive my teaching certificate, and I would love to turn my students on to SETI, but there is no way that I could with the web site in its current condition. There are lots of creative Berkeley types out there that could make the site more interesting, eye-catching and easier to use. After all, part of your mission is to gain public and corporate funds and support, so think about how to use your own web site to accomplish this! If I knew how to create a web site, I would definitely submit suggestions and offer my time and effort, but unfortunately, I do not.

Nevertheless, keep up the good work and thank you for giving me this opportunity to help in the Search for Extraterrestial Life.
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