Profile: Chris S

Personal background
After very careful consideration over many months in the Spring of 2018, I have, sadly, decided to stop crunching any more work for Seti@home.

I believe that after 17 years of being involved and being active on the forums, and donating substantial money, that I at least owe people an explanation. Yes, some will call it a flounce, hopefully others won't see it that way, as it isn't intended to be, just a reason.

Last year DA wrote a report that said that Seti@home was simply an experiment, and like all experiments, it should have a beginning and an end, and a conclusion. His report said that after 19 years, they hadn't found anything, and were just collecting data and doing nothing with it. In his view the original experiment was over. I have to say that I agree with him.

The weekly backup is becoming longer and longer as the database is getting bigger and more unwieldy, and we have already hit many internal limitations of Informix that we didn't know about. In addition the hardware is getting older, even the latest servers are 3-4 years old now. Various short term patches are being tried.

Why haven't we found anything? Many possibilities.

1. There is nothing to find
2. ET doesn't want to be found
3. We are not looking in the right place
4. We aren't looking for the right type of signal
5. Our algorithms aren't up to the task.

Collecting data from different sources and dishes, and different parts of the sky makes no difference, if all we do is chuck the same front end at it. Particularly if as DA concludes, we have no effective back end either.

With the best will in the world I simply cannot justify spending any more time, effort, and money, on what seems to me to be a lost cause, if all we do is carry on in the same way. Yes of course as I have always said, if we don't look we will never find, but that means learning lessons and looking in a different way than hitherto. I see no hint of that happening.

Seti is supposed to be a scientific experiment, nothing less, but it is all too easy to get sucked into a daily way of life with like minded people, and lose sight of the original goal. That is what I believe that I did. If you want to chat to friends you have Facebook or Twitter, or email. My real friends know my private email address and snail mail.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Seti is a scientific project that should not be in competition with networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. And the demonstrations fuss at UCB in Spring 2017 should have no bearing on the Seti Project. But sadly Seti shoots itself in the foot. It's local management has decided to protect clearly mentally ill people, that should be in residential care. And to encourage them to live their self destructive lifestyle, by silencing and banning people that try to offer constructive help.

I find this disloyal to Seti Director Eric Korpela that has dedicated nearly 1/2 his professional life to the project, and which is also likely to bring UCB into disrepute. We have nothing less than a benign dictatorship where on the one hand free speech is censored, but on the other hand views are expressed in the politics threads that would not be allowed in the media or press. And reasons for this are closer to home than they should be. Changes need to be made.

The moderation team is substantially left wing in their views which gives them a one sided approach to everything. And it is perfectly clear that they live in a little cocoon of their own and are far removed from what the grass roots of the project are thinking in the real world. We used to have regular rotations of moderators but this hasn't happened for quite some time now, perhaps it should.

Although I have decided that the project is not for me any more, I would not discourage any others from supporting it, Over 17 years I can look back and say I did my bit, and more than most. The project goal is still laudable, it is just that the way it is being currently approached needs to be seriously looked at.

Last up but not least

I would like to apologise to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient. I will get round to you as soon as I can.
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SETI@home and Astropulse are funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and donations from SETI@home volunteers. AstroPulse is funded in part by the NSF through grant AST-0307956.