I am a UNIX systems administrator by trade and a satirist/video producer by choice. I am in my mid 30's and am an advocate of doing something with one's life beyond what pays the bills and entertains us. I believe everyone should try to do a little something extra to benefit the human race - even a drop in the bucket is better than nothing. So... "Do Something".
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Yes, I believe extraterrestrial intelligence exists, but I don't expect we will discover it in my lifetime. As a species, we are infants in the ability to communicate beyond our own world, we've only been able to do so for the last half century. I predict that our terrestrial communications will become more efficient in the next century, to the point that we'll no longer be sending out the vast amounts of noise we do today. It seems reasonable that other civilizations would also go through a period of noise for a similar 100 years or so and then become quiet as I believe we will. It would be too great a coincidence for another civilization to reach this noisy period at the same time we have (actually a little earlier taking in to account the distance in light years the noise has to travel) for it to be likely that will we learn of extraterrestrial life before we have the ability to travel to distant solar systems. If we do make the discovery before then, it will be because they wanted us to know of them - and they will have known of us first. No, I believe it to be too risky at this time to transmit a beacon, despite the lure of what a peaceful contact could bring. The potential rewards of such a contact would be lavish beyond our dreams, but the potential dangers are equally as lavish. We are very young - we must learn to walk before we can run. A peaceful ET will realize this and withhold technology from us. A harmful ET will enslave or destroy us. We wont meet a less advanced intelligence for centurys at best, so for now we should quietly look and listen. And that is why I run SETI@home. If by chance another civilization is inviting us to join a galactic community, the least we can to is listen for the invitation.