Posts by Rich

1) Message boards : Nebula : Finding persistent non-barycentric signals (work in progress) (Message 2060650)
Posted 5 Nov 2020 by Profile Rich
Thanks very much for the update – that’s really interesting.

And... I have nothing useful to offer, so I won’t interrupt further. Please keep on sharing, when you can.
2) Message boards : News : SETI@home hibernation (Message 2048389)
Posted 7 May 2020 by Profile Rich
I had hoped to be finished long before now, but still chewing on some gristledata.

Does anybody know: why did the tasks sent out recently tend to have much higher initial replications?
3) Message boards : News : SETI@home hibernation (Message 2042343)
Posted 1 Apr 2020 by Profile Rich
I still have a lot of work units to chew through, not least because of all the sucky little Raspberry Pi’s that I’ve been using: final jobs complete in ten days or so, no doubt.

Meanwhile, by way of a sign-off... here’s the story of Ale-in Life Form, a beer fermented with waste heat from SETI@home calculations.

All the best!

4) Message boards : News : SETI@home hibernation (Message 2039106)
Posted 20 Mar 2020 by Profile Rich
Interesting point, private_citizen. I suggest we monitor (or at least Google) SETI@home once in a while to see if we are needed again, someday.

In the meantime, I appreciate their honesty: if we’re not adding value anymore, let’s save some electricity. It might only cost £0.13 per kilowatt hour, but it’s also causing the emission of a little over 250g of CO2 per kilowatt hour (DEFRA figure for UK grid electricity) and that’s bad news.

If evidence of ET isn’t going to be found by additional crunching in this way, at this time, let’s stand down.
5) Message boards : News : SETI@home hibernation (Message 2037476)
Posted 12 Mar 2020 by Profile Rich
The end of SETI@home was mentioned on this week’s Micah Hanks show. (Formerly, the Gralien Report, via KGRA.)
6) Message boards : News : Why do people run SETI@home? (Message 2033175)
Posted 20 Feb 2020 by Profile Rich
An interesting and well-written paper. Funny to think that my own profile will have gone into the analysis: I never anticipated such a usage. Strangely enough, the research makes me feel better about the scaling-back of my involvement in the project. There was a brief time when I wanted to crunch for the sake of crunching, in pursuit of arbitrary milestones (get a million; get this computer to a million, etc.). Nowadays I’m less bothered about that and I’m starting to think we won’t find E.T. anyway... but this paper shows that it’s OK: nobody said we signed on for life and as I learn more about computers I find other uses for them. Also, worries about climate change make me feel twice as bad about my electricity usage.
7) Message boards : Number crunching : Problem with BOINC and iTunes (Message 757198)
Posted 23 May 2008 by Profile Rich
Well, I solved my problem... kind of.

I recently got a new Mac Mini, to have a computer for (very occasional) running of Windows programs. When I'm not using it for that purpose, say 95+% of the time, I allow it to crunch for SETI@home.Turns out it's more effective in that role than all of my older Macs put together, plus it's completely silent and doesn't leave my office feeling like a sauna. (I must be saving a lot of electricity, too...)

So now I leave the business of entertainment and Internet to the other machines, and they run without stuttering as a result. Despite the higher volume of SETI traffic in my household, the wifi handles the load. Clearly, it was just that the BOINC software doesn't run as discretely as it ought to. The BOINC Manager is actually a pretty poor piece of software. Very un-Apple-like user interface, and it doesn't play fair when your computer is trying to do other tasks. Moving it onto the Mac Mini has really worked for me, though.
8) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Domestic bliss (Closed) (Message 749772)
Posted 8 May 2008 by Profile Rich
Er, not wishing to raise more problems at this stage, but...

What are the bride and groom choosing for their first dance? Or is that settled already?

As a friend said to me, "Get the bride between yourself and the audience, so her dress hides your feet. Then you can just sway." Seems like good advice, unless you regularly dance together of course! My wife and I had private lessons for about six months before the wedding... compared to which, married life seems simple!
9) Message boards : Number crunching : Problem with BOINC and iTunes (Message 749014)
Posted 6 May 2008 by Profile Rich
While I'm here I'll move this across to the number crunching forum where it may get more answers from those in the know.

Oops. Sorry for posting on the wrong 'channel'.

And yes... it seems that playing a DVD is high priority, but streaming music wirelessly is the lowest priority job. There must be a way to change that. A command line interface junkie will probably know...
10) Message boards : Number crunching : Problem with BOINC and iTunes (Message 748949)
Posted 6 May 2008 by Profile Rich

I'm running BOINC on some of my older Macs, although they're still used for light duties such as being printer servers and streaming music around the house wirelessly.

Since I started using SETI@home (my only BOINC project) I have found that I can't stream music properly. It has occasional cut-outs where (presumably) a buffer runs dry.

I have BOINC set up to use up to 100% of the processor, and I'd rather not cut that back, since these machines seldom do anything nowadays. The "do work after idle for x minutes" setting doesn't help, since playing music doesn't seem to count as 'work' - no keystrokes.

Curiously, playing DVDs is OK. It's just iTunes - which I would think is a less exacting job.

Hoping that future updates to either BOINC (to make its idle detection more sensitive), or iTunes (to make it more assertive) will solve matters in the future.

Meanwhile, is there a work-around? Thaks for any ideas...

Software: Tiger (10.4.11) and iTunes `(v7.6.2)
11) Message boards : SETI@home Science : Study: Alien life might be non-existent (Message 748082)
Posted 4 May 2008 by Profile Rich
The mention of tidal forces... reminded me of a radio programme I heard a couple of years ago, suggesting that out satellite is the reason we exist. (We as a self-aware species, anyway...)

Apparently, tides mean lagoons, mudflats and all the rest, which provide a stepping-stone from life in the sea to life on land. Without a moon, you might struggle to make landfall, because any land you (a primitive seadweller) found yourself on, would be a much harsher environment.

Can there be such a thing as an aquatic civilisation? Well... I'm trying to be careful about making generalisations. Still, balance of probability and all that.

Does the star type affect the probability of a planet in the habitable zone acquiring a moon-sized satellite? Might it not be captured by another body, or orbit the star itself, instead?

I have no idea... but our Earth is looking rarer all the time.
12) Message boards : SETI@home Science : Study: Alien life might be non-existent (Message 747314)
Posted 3 May 2008 by Profile Rich

...Furthermore, if life were found on Europa, it would suggest that our current notions of a "habitable zone" must be vastly and dramatically expanded and that surface water or even direct access to sunlight need not be present for life to evolve...

I think we need to take into account that galaxies may also have a "habitable zone"; it appears that conditions in the galactic core are much more hostile to the evolutionary process. (Many more opportunities for a neighbouring star to sterilise your infant plaet during the billions of years that we think it takes to establish life, and then civilisation.)
13) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Domestic bliss (Closed) (Message 746137)
Posted 30 Apr 2008 by Profile Rich
...Pachelbel's Canon is one classic tune under consideration, but I feel it's a little "Military Slow March"...

So it's slow. It's your day (and hers) and it'll be over in a flash. One minute you're nervously fiddling with your buttonhole, and the next, people start saying "Thanks for inviting us, it's been lovely, good night..."

Take time out. Pause and enjoy it as much as you can. It it takes a while for the bride (or you both) to walk down the aisle, so what? People won't mind. Watch your step.

And drink plenty of water, go easy on the booze, and whenever something awkward crops up, yell for an usher. It's what they're are there for.

Oh, and I don't believe anybody's mentioned 'The Entry of the Queen of Sheba' yet. Could be just what you're looking for.

Best wishes,


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