Profile: Barry Norris

Personal background
For many years, I was director of publications for an influential Toronto-based public policy think tank. I relocated to beautiful New Brunswick in 2002, where I work as a freelance copy editor. I've been fascinated by space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence ever since seeing Gagarin and Glenn and all the rest of those early spacemen go up when I was a child.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I'd love to think that our galaxy is swarming, Star Trek-style, with intelligent civilizations. But if that were so, why don't we see the evidence? Maybe species just a little more advanced than we are don't even use the electromagnetic spectrum to communicate across vast distances but some as yet unknown method. Or maybe intelligences are so separated from one another by both time and space that there are never more than two or three co-existing in any one galaxy at any one time. And perhaps no intelligent species lasts very long before it is wiped out either by its own technology or by a nearby cosmic cataclysm. If a species did manage to survive and was as aggressive in spreading out from its home world as humans are likely to be (if we discover the means to do so), I can well imagine such a species exploring and even settling the entire galaxy in a matter of a few hundred thousand years. Yet, on Earth, so far as we know a rare planet teeming with life and natural resources, we see no evidence that anything got here before us -- no veins of ore disturbed by alien mining operations from 5 million years ago, for example. So maybe we are the first intelligent species to evolve in our part of the galaxy, and that's why we haven't heard any signals yet. It's fun to speculate, and important that we keep looking.
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