Profile: Mentor397

Personal background
I'm from Wisconsin, and lived there all of my life - so far. I was born in 1975 and lived through almost all of the personal computer era, from our decrepit Atari 800xl to my current monster. I have been fascinated with computers all of my life and cherish the idea that my computer is doing something useful.

I'm into RPG's, mostly MERP and StarWars D6. I tend to read a lot as well.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I decided to run Seti@home primarily because I leave my computer on nearly all of the time. Screensavers
that flash my name or draw a pretty picture or neat design might be interesting, but aren't really worthwhile in the long run. That is what I'm interested in doing, both in my personal life, and for my computer's sake - to do something worthwhile most, if not all of the time. While it's possible (not likely)that this project might not find anything useful, and certainly probable that my little computer won't find anything, the possibility itself lends to the time spent being constructive.

I do think there is life throughout the universe. It would be a tremendous waste of space if all of the stars, galaxies, planets, and everything else throughout the universe was created for our benefit. Simply, there is no way that any of us will be able to visit them all - in our lifetimes or in the lifetime of our species.

The trick however, is being able to communicate with those other species. Much of the life that exists throughout the universe will be simple, single-celled organisms. There might only be plants on some planets or only simple creatures. Some civilizations greater than ours may have already met their cosmic fate through their own hand, the hands of others, or a cruel chance of the universe. It is possible that there simply is no life that we can detect from our little corner of the universe.

While I have never thought that life was unique on this planet, I wonder if perhaps we are going about the search the wrong way. Perhaps we shouldn't be looking at areas with more stars but rather to stars like our own, on the edge of the Milky Way. Life may be able to thrive under the most adverse conditions, but such conditions are not necessarily conducive for the development of intelligent life. More nearby stars increases the gravitational effects of nearby space thereby increasing the amount of stellar phenomenon in the local neighborhood. Such effects could be as small as increased asteroid frequency or as large as stellar collisions which would rip through nearby space filling it with toxic and harmful cosmic radiation. Life doesn't need to be fragile, but the conditions for intelligent life might involve such a narrow band of criteria that we miss it entirely.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't try. The flight of the Wright brothers' first plane was a long shot - but they still tried. We glean many important innovations from the search itself - regardless of the end result. If something should turn up in our searches, then those innovations could become far greater than we can imagine.

Edit: It is sad to see Seti@home go. I thought we were doing something useful. I thought it had meaning. Apparently, I thought wrong.

You want to know why we can't find ET? The universe is nearly fourteen billion years old. We get tired if we look for anyone else for more than twenty years. I understand - Seti@home is/was a significant part of my life, and I was just a user - a nobody. The search is bigger than a single person, bigger than a lifetime, probably. We gave up after a generation.
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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.