I'm an engineer at IB.. Oops Hitachi Global Storage Technologies helping to design disk drives. I'm an amateur visual astronomer who lives in San Jose, California, a tennis hacker, and I've ridden a bicycle to/from work almost every day for the last 25 years.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I can't believe that ET doesn't exist, but given the size of the universe it certainly will be hard to find them.
The jury is still out on whether intelligence is a true survival trait for a species. The ones smart enough to send signals we can recieve may not survive long enough for us to find them; probably because they will quickly consume all available resource. The same goes for us of course.
I don't think the discovery of signals from an ET will have much impact on most peoples thinking. Most people would have the ability to warp whatever we find into something which supported whichever theory we happen to subscribe to at the moment, or to simply claim its a hoax if we can't. We never went to the moon you know. It was just a movie.
I don't think we should spend the money to try to transmit anything until we first receive signals from an ET. I would rather the money go to projects to get a colony on the Moon or other "manned" space efforts. We beam plenty of signals into space already as a result of our daily living on this planet, and its all paid for by comercials.
I run seti@home because I do want to be a part of finding ET and it doesn't cost me much do participate. The feedback on how many work units I have computed gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride that I am helping. I did look at another project which was going to use my spare cpu cycles to do medical research, but they were a "for profit" organization who made donations to my local High School for my contributions. My kids are now out of school and I would rather spend my spare CPU cycles on general research like seti@home.