Profile: Simon Zhou

Personal background
At daytime, I am a software developer working in a big company. Yeah, a foot soldier. At night, I am a graduate student in the University of Calgary. I have one baby boy, and another girl on her way. Life is so short. I try to enjoy it. The best part in my eyes is to get into the beautiful nature, far away from the city. We are lucky to have the best national parks close by in the Rockies. One thing I'd like to tell you is that one can actually see the Andromeda Galaxy with a good pair of binocular on a clear and dark night. I first saw it with my image-stabilizing binocular in the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in the Thunder Bay area. Hey, that's around 2.4 million light years away! Is there anyone on this planet when the light left its own galaxy? Probably not, at least with the modern standard of human being. But I can guarantee you that there were some in that galaxy of 500 billion stars. We may never find out though. In the latest Star Trek, the Voyager can travel from one side of our galaxy to another side in 80 years. Our Milky Way galaxy has a diameter of around 90,000 light years. Try to calculate how long it takes for the Voyager to reach the Andromeda. And that's 350 years later in the fiction, with lots of huge technical breakthroughs during the time. How large the universe is, & how tiny we are!
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Without any doubt, there are ETs. The only question is where they are and when we can contact them. Unfortunately, the physical existence doesn't necessarily mean that we can see or find them. In fact, I don't believe that we can find them very soon, due to both the limited science technology we have, and the reluctance of initiating any contact from ETs' side. It is very natural for any space travel capable ET to avoid contact with primitive species like us. First, the contact may cause "contamination" as described by the Prime Directive. Second, they must worry about what we are going to do, if they contact us. There is always possibility that someone on this planet will try to get advanced alien technology by all means, and then to do something bad with it. Just look back and you can see that all the new technology was first used on developing more efficient killing machines. Even purely commercial jet planes can be turned into lethal weapons once they fall in the wrong hands. My point is that, we have to keep looking by ourselves if we want to find any advanced alien species. They probably will never take any initiative. So this SETI program is really a good idea.
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