Profile: Bill Walker


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Personal background
I'm 50+, but on good days it feels more like about 18. Bad days are more like 100+. After 35 years of working for the Man, I took my most recent termination bonus and set up a small engineering consulting firm. Now I am the Man. On a small scale, anyway.

Main hobby is aircraft history, as you can tell from my web site http://www.ody.ca/~bwalker/. Secondary interest is anything techie or scientific. I was a techno-nerd before anybody invented the word.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I started doing SETI in 1999, out of a deep interest in the scientific and cultural implications, a long love of Sci Fi, and a general interest in messing around with computers. I've branched into other BOINC projects for all the same reasons, plus it eases my conscience a bit about all the electrons I use up on the PC.

As a rank amateur, I can't really offer any meaningful suggestions for how the project is run or what its intents are. But, since you asked....

I think SETI is currently looking for obviously artificial RF signals, that might be deliberately or accidentally released by another technological race. All well and good, but is anybody thinking about how a large scale (i.e. intra-star or inter-star) culture would communicate? Should we be looking in other wavelengths, like optical lasers or whatever? Are there other effects, on a larger scale, we could be looking for, like altered/controlled stars? I know there are a few bold souls researching (at least on a theoretical basis) alternative space ship drives using all the standard Sci Fi stuff like gravity manipulation, has anybody predicted what sort of wake or exhaust these would leave? Would it be easier to find an exhaust trail several AU long then to look for leakage from a poorly designed alien microwave oven or cell phone?
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