Profile: Barry W. Eaton

Personal background
I am a 48 year old programmer by trade and a scientist at heart, dreaming about the universe at sub-quantum scales while living on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
To anyone who really thinks about it seriously (without the distraction of tradition), it should be obvious. Of course there is life in the universe other than ours. Intelligent? Of course. Will we ever communicate with them via radio or any other electromagnetic signals? No, of course not, unless you can handle a delay of no less than 9 years between responses (for the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, which is probably not the nearest star with advanced life).

Also, you need to remember... as life happens on Earth, so does extinction. And in a universe of over 13 billion years of violent evolution, a lot of extinction has been going on. We could receive signals from civilizations that perished millions of years ago (except that those signals would be too weak/garbled to detect due to their millions of years of dissipation). And don’t expect to decipher any alien signals, either. Detect them, maybe (ie: determine that they’re artificial); but decipher them, no. That's just wishful thinking. Detecting them will be big enough, without the need to decode the specific formatting of their transmissions (NTSC, PAL, HDTV, digital, analog, VHS, BETA, all combined from the same planet), then watch and understand them. Only if they are close enough to have physically visited Earth and learned how to play to OUR expectations, can we expect to receive what they intend.

And imagine a civilization existing for a million years (the reeeally smart ones), compared to our measly few thousand. If humans even survive one tenth of that, I don't doubt that we'll conquer at least nearby interstellar space in some form or another (and of course a few of the younger civilizations we encounter, depending on their probability of existence in those regions). How many species will call US gods by then, I wonder.

From merely walking on Earthly ground to walking on the Moon in 100 years. Wow! I can only imagine what we humans will do in the next 100. I see the stars getting closer, if only politics and religion can keep from impeding the advancement of human knowledge. We made it to the moon and then just sat on our hands for 35 years because of politics. We could have already had an outpost on Mars. If only.

The future has everything in it; we just have to get there.
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