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Ready, SETI, Go!

November 04, 2003

Recently I took up the cause of SETI (the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) once again and I am running the program on my computers. For those of you unfamiliar with SETI, it is a distributed computing program that runs in it's most basic form as a screensaver called SETI at home. If your computer is on, SETI downloads files from a server and begins processing signals received from space to see if any of them are of a source not from Earth.

I would be one of those people that feel there is intelligent life in the Universe. It's a very big place this Universe we live in. It is much bigger than we can imagine, but I tend to think that somewhere in this Universe has to be intelligent life. But without definitive proof, how can you be sure?

I'll use the example of Universal Studios. If you have ever been to Universal Studios, you get the feeling it is a very big place. In fact, both Universal Studios and the Universe itself is far larger than the tour at Universal Studios would lead you to believe. One of the main reasons to go to Universal Studios is of course to see movie stars. I have been to Universal Studios several times and I have never seen a movie star. Well, once I met Robert Blake, but that's another story and it was a planned meeting. I know movie stars exist, but I have no living proof. I have never bumped into one. I would guess that unless a movie star wanted to be mobbed by rabid people that want to touch you, probe you, molest you, take your wallet, shoes or belly button lint, you'd stay the hell away from the touristy part of Universal Studios.

Using this strange reverse kind of logic, I feel that the some of the best evidence indicating there is intelligent life in the Universe has to be the fact that Extra Terrestrial beings stay the hell away from us whenever possible. Most likely out of fear we'd want to touch them, probe them, molest them, take their wallet, shoes and belly button lint, or at least persuade them to become distributors for Amway, Herbal Life or Jesus.

Despite the fact that SETI is only checking the most infinitesimal spectrum or signals coming from space, I feel it is worthy of supporting. Someday, some Extra Terrestrial is bound to mess up and accidentally send a signal we can receive. It might be just a message like, "What the hell do you mean this is a restricted area? I can go wherever the heck I want! It's a free Universe!!"

The big question in many minds is how will Extra Terrestrial visitors contact the Earth? It's bound to happen one day. The question is going to be how. There's a part of me that wishes it might be some race similar to Vulcans that come in peace offering scientific solutions that helps unify mankind and introduces to the delightful effects of synthohol and holodeck sex.

Or will it be in the form of a big trading ship that pulls up and offers us a big bag of beads and some shiny baubles in exchange for the Earth?

The more I look at society as it relates to the Internet, I am beginning to suspect that first contact will come in a different way. One scenario is that some Intergalactic opportunist will figure out a way to link the Internet with Galacstream, the backbone for Intergalactic communications and suddenly we get bombarded with intergalactic ads for pyramid schemes and inter-species porn.

Or worse, some Intergalactic opportunist figures out a way to link the Internet with Galacstream and the first contact will be the form of Extraterrestrials asking us to come check out their Galacstream Diary, known more locally as their Web log.

The truly scary realization for the human race will not be that we are not alone, but that we are part of an interconnected Universe where we are all in essence one living biomass and given the powers of communication that can send messages instantly across vast distances that are nearly impossible for us to conceive because we have no way of appreciating the sheer scale of the distance. The one fact that will amaze us and scare us will not be the power to destroy a planet, but the fact that right now, in countless locations, people who have immense power and capabilities to do whatever they so desire are writing in their journals, "It snowed today. I had to walk to work. It's cold. I hope it warms up."

That my friends, will be the crowning moment when we realize technology is not the only answer to a better life and if you want to improve your life, you need to start with your own self and the community around you.

Damn, I can't get my mind off inter-species porn.

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