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ET phone home

  1. Dec 3, 2012 #1


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    This paper 'Provocative radio transients and base rate bias: a Bayesian argument for conservatism', http://arxiv.org/abs/1211.7338, discusses transient radio signals as possible signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. I knew of the 'WOW' signal, but, was unaware of other similar detection events.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2012 #2


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    I thought the "Conclusions" section of the paper was most instructive:


    As SETI techniques begin to turn away from the search for purposefully Earth-directed signals of enduring duration and more toward finding the ephemeral leakage associated with the complex business of maintaining an interstellar civilization, large or small, then we must come to terms with the fact that most if not all of our detections will be one of a kind…never to repeat with exactly the same parametric characteristics or in the same position in the sky. With this in mind it becomes particularly important to collect a large data set of provocative (i.e., possibly indicative of extraterrestrial intelligence) radio transients through a long stare strategy in order to build up a compelling case that they cannot all be explained by natural phenomena in much the same way the dedicated scientists at CERN used their diligence and perseverance to recently claim the Higgs Boson exists to an extremely high degree of confidence. In consideration of this it is important to realize that the finest mathematical sieve will always gather up far more straw from the haystack than it does those very special needles."

    It seems that without dreamers like this we may be destined to only know life here on earth forever.

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
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