I am a member of the medieval recreation group, the Society for Creative Anachronism. While my current love is for history and western martial arts, I feel the necessity to know what is beyond our current horizon. By using my computer's idle cycles, I feel I am able to provide a small bit of help in the discovery of life beyond our atmosphere.
Our current government and economy is using near space as a financial mechanism instead of seeking out life and advancing space exploration. I feel drawn to explore what we receive from space as the alternative to exploring it first hand. ETI is out there, probability requires it. We may never find it in our lifetime, but together we have a greater chance.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
It has to exist, probability dictates it. The discovery is dangerous. Just as all 'discovered' societies experienced danger from those that explored, so to will we be in danger if we are discovered by a civiliation beyond our level. By discovering ETI first, our society and science will be compelled to focus more strongly on invention, discovery, and innovation to meet this challenge.
I feel that we should not transmit a beacon any more than the Mayans or the ancient Gauls should have sent location information to the Spanish or the Romans. We need to know of the unknown intelligence before it knows of us. Additionally, limited by the SoL, our message will transmit so slowly, it would be generations before our beacon might reach ETI. Better would be to study chaos and string theory, dimensional distortion and 'faster than light' theories before sending a beacon. What is out there that can reach us would think of us as pets, in a best case scenario. Worst case, we have a source of raw materials.
I run SETI@home because I want our science to advance without the contraints of economic returns on investment. If we can discover ETI, the world will shift radically as we look at a new form of competition. I want to find ETI before it notice us :)
It would be nice if SETI@home used smaller packet sizes to analyze to give a better reinforcement of value to those of us processing packets. 26 hours of run time and I am 1/2 way through my first packet.