SETI Belief Doesn’t Need Evidence

first_imgNow they’re offering excuses for the silence, saying that it’s exactly what they expect.“We still haven’t heard from aliens – here’s why we might never.” That’s Leah Crane’s headline on New Scientist.THE most ambitious search so far for extraterrestrial intelligence has released its first data – and there are no aliens yet. The lack of success could be explained by the result of a new approach to calculating the likelihood of detecting alien signals. This calculation suggests we might never make contact, even if extraterrestrial life is common.A new effort called Breakthrough Listen, flush with $100 million to spend from a Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, “aims to be the largest, most comprehensive search ever,” she says. It’s hard to see him being happy with his investment with all the new excuses flying around. It’s not just the old needle-in-a-haystack problem everyone in SETI knows about; it’s worse. The probability of finding anything is so low, we may never find anyone out there. This negative assessment comes from Claudio Grimaldi at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.Grimaldi assumed that signals from an extraterrestrial emitter might get weaker or be blocked as they travel, so they would only cover a certain volume of space. It’s relatively simple to calculate the probability that Earth is within that space and so able to detect the signal. “Not all signals can be visible at the same time – only those that intersect with the Earth,” says Grimaldi.He found that even if half of our galaxy was full of alien noise, the average number of signals that we would be able to detect from Earth is less than one (Scientific Reports, doi.org/b562).This implies that, even if there are lots of aliens out there, we might never be able to hear from them.Other SETI enthusiasts take umbrage at Grimaldi’s pessimism. Seth Shostak (SETI Institute) and Avi Loeb (Harvard) question the assumptions he used. Shostak says,“You have to make some assumptions about what the aliens are doing in all these calculations, unfortunately, and the data set that we have with alien activity is fairly sparse,” says Shostak. Our only example of intelligent life is on Earth, and there’s little reason to expect that ET resembles us.But if ET doesn’t resemble us in some respect, such as intelligence and the desire and physical ability to communicate with strangers, how do we know they would signal us? That’s why some prefer eavesdropping on their inadvertent leaks. But Douglas Vakoch (SETI Institute) wants two-way communication; that’s why he is a champion of METI (Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and president of the METI International.He does leave room for a touch of realism. ““In SETI, theory is great, but observation is the gold standard,” Vakoch remarks. Frenetic search activity is not observation. Detection is. So far, detection remains futureware. If something doesn’t turn up in a reasonable time, some joker might say the “S” in SETI means “snipe hunt.”Update 5/02/17: Phys.org reports on the first results from Breakthrough Listen: no aliens found.Avi Loeb is a smart and perceptive guy, but he doesn’t seem to catch that SETI is an exercise in intelligent design detection. Here’s what he says in the article: “The question of whether you can detect a signal has nothing to do with whether it’s artificial or natural, and astronomers routinely detect lots of kinds of signals.” By this he implies that SETI is no harder to detect than a natural signal, like the clicks of a pulsar. But the whole rationale of SETI is that unnatural, intentional messages are being sent. Intelligence is a different kind of cause. It doesn’t follow unguided natural processes; it uses laws to encode information (radio signals, laser beacons, spacecraft). Despite Grimaldi’s calculation that the hope of detection approaches zero, the SETI folk will keep searching. For one, they don’t want to look their giant gift horse in the mouth. For another, it means job security. Finally, it’s a religious quest. It must succeed somewhere down the road, because otherwise those despised creationists will make sport of it. (Visited 571 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

World Cup concert line-up confirmed

first_img5 May 2010Five-time South African Music Award winners Freshlyground, legendary jazz musician Hugh Masekela and two-time Grammy Award winners the Soweto Gospel Choir are all among the local artists who have made the line-up for the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ opening concert.Fifa and Control Room, the company that organises the event, this week released a final line-up of African and South African artists for the inaugural concert to take place at Orlando Stadium on 10 June.Also in the line-up are popular rock band The Parlotones, the Soweto-based Mzansi Youth Choir, as well as African hip hop artist K’NAAN.The announcement followed lengthy discussions between local musicians and Fifa over the number of South African artists that should feature in the concert line up. A number of musicians were at loggerheads with Fifa and apparently felt left out of the event even though it was being held in their own country.But some, including Masekela have now been quoted as saying they were happy to be part of the event.“As South Africans we are proud to be hosting the first ever World Cup on African soil. I am very humbled and flattered to be part of this global event and am looking forward to the concert with great interest and excitement,” Masekela said.‘Eclectic, international mix’International artists will include popular names such as Alicia Keys, Amadou & Mariam, Angelique Kidjo, Black Eyed Peas, BLK JKS, John Legend, Juanes, Shakira,Tinariwen, Vieux Farka Toure in the concert that will be broadcast live worldwide, scheduled to begin at 8pm local time (GMT +2).“We wanted to have an eclectic, international mix of music genres to appeal to as many people as possible around the world whilst at the same time showcasing the immense home-grown talent of the host country,” said Fifa director of TV Niclas Ericson.Johannesburg executive mayor Amos Masondo said the concert presented a remarkable opportunity for South Africa as it would be broadcast to millions of homes across the globe.The national broadcaster, the SABC will transmit the event live.“The South African Broadcasting Corporation is proud to be the exclusive free to air broadcaster in South Africa and to be the technical co-producer to ensure this concert reaches millions of people through television and radio around the world,” said the SABC CEO Solly Mokoetle.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

FFA toy show this weekend

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Arlington FFA Alumni is hosting their 6th annual toy show on February 14 in the Arlington High School Gymnasium, located at 336 S. Main, Arlington. The event will run from 10 am to 3 pm with admission being $3 for adults, $2 for students and under school age children are free. There will be toy show vendors from around the state exhibiting as well as a craft and home show vendors with homemade crafts, home decor, jewelry and more!There are several additional activities planned for the event including a children’s tractor pedal pull contest, registration for this will start at noon and the pull will start at 12:30 pm. There will also be a tractor simulator sponsored by DNC Hydraulics where all ages can see the difference between driving a tractor with GPS navigation what it is like to drive a tractor without this technology. The Arlington FFA Alumni group also plans to hold a 50/50 drawing (winning ticket to be drawn at 2pm), have door prizes throughout the day, and a variety of refreshments will be available.The Arlington FFA Alumni uses funds generated from the toy show to help support the Arlington FFA chapter with chapter trips to the State and National FFA Conventions, classroom and shop supplies and equipment, and a College Scholarship for an Arlington FFA graduating senior.For additional information, call Larry Inbody at 419-722-8222 or Brad Beach at 419-722-2857.last_img read more

Your Name Is Priceless

first_imgA few years ago, I was asked to speak to a group of salespeople. They were running a boiler room, and when I researched the company before joining them for a phone call I discovered that they took money from their prospective clients without delivering the value they promised. There was enough evidence to make me believe that the practice was widespread, and what I found was credible enough to give me pause. As I looked more deeply into the company, I also found complaints about sexual harassment and poor treatment of women inside the company. There were too many of these complaints to ignore.On a phone call with the CEO, I suggested I wasn’t the right speaker for his group. I tried to leave it at that and bow out without having to explain my reasons. But I was pressed by the executive I was speaking to for an explanation of my lack of interest in speaking to his company. I shared with him what I found when searching for information about his company in preparation for the meeting. He didn’t do much to deny anything I said but instead said, “I am offering you money. I will pay you, and you will speak.” Politely, I again refused. He pushed back, insisting that money should be enough of the motivation for me to speak to his company. I told him that money wasn’t enough for me to change my deepest held values.This individual offered to double the money and double the work. Clearly, he believed that everyone has a price and that he merely hadn’t found mine. By doing so, I was even more convinced that what I discovered about the company was true. I refused his offer and hung up the phone, only to have one of his lieutenants call me to ask me how I could refuse his offer. Nothing I said made any impact, and I eventually hung up.I was not interested in helping them. I was not interested in helping this group of people to steal faster. Nothing I would have said would have changed the culture of the organization.It doesn’t make sense to possess a “whatever it takes” attitude towards making money. It doesn’t make sense to compromise your values, especially for something you can obtain without having to do so, even if it means you must work harder, and even if it will take longer. Your character is worth more than money, and in the long run, so is your name.last_img read more

Review: Volvo S60

first_imgVolvo has done the unthinkable. The Swedish automaker has upped the ante in the uber cool department by adding the much needed ‘oomph’ factor in the new S60 T6. The 2011 S60 T6 claims to be “naughty” and, going by the tagline, it is not just a tease. With 304 bhp, the S60 is responsive and downright quick. Combined with a turbocharger for additional performance, the 3-litre unit is loaded with urge. Maximum torque of 440 Nm kicks in from just 2000 rpm, so acceleration is brisk, with abundant power remaining on tap throughout the rev range.Another benefit of the turbocharged engine is that it doesn’t lose power at higher elevations, where naturally-aspirated engines easily run out of breath. In some ways the torque masks the less impressive six-speed transmission, which is often too eager to change into higher gears. The only error or omission we felt was that the sportiest Volvo ever made deserved paddle shifts. There’s a charismatic whirr under hard acceleration, but otherwise the engine is refined and quiet. The engine never protests even when you’re all the way up to its 6000 rpm redline. The S60 is not as sharp as its German counterparts as the steering still lacks quick response that lets you feel the road through your fingertips. Even though the wheel is a tad heavy it won’t dissuade you from trying to push the car to go where no Volvo has ever dreamt of before.The ride quality of the S60 is superb. Even with 18-inch runflats, the S60 does not crash into potholes ensuring it isn’t a tear-jerking experience. A hint of firmness, slight bouncing and jiggling is felt but the trade-off is a more surefooted feel at speed. Another plus is that the cabin is completely isolated from road and wind noise. Volvo’s latest pedestrian safety technology is a first in the S60. The “Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake” uses radar and a camera to spot pedestrians in the path of the car. At up to 35 kmph, the system will stop the car if it is about to hit a person. Frankly speaking, one has to get used to it for the car suddenly braking itself can be scary.At the end of the day, “stylish”, “modern” and “appealing” are the words that come to the mind when describing the all-wheel-drive S60. Its 3-litre engine produces the kind of torque that gives it surprisingly brisk acceleration while peak output is more than enough to pitch it against the sportiest of sedans and come out on top. Seating comfort is exceptional up front, thanks to Volvo’s orthopaedically correct seat design. The S60 holds appeal for those who take a shine to its trendy design and want an entry level luxury sedan with power aplenty, comfortable ride and tidy handling too. Not to forget state-of-the-art safety.Engine: 2953 ccMax power: 304 bhp@5600 rpmMax torque: 440 Nm@2000 rpmGearbox: 6-speed autoWheelbase (mm): 2776LxWxH (mm): 4628 x 2097 x 2776Top Speed: 250 kmph0-100 kmph: 6.1secPrice: Rs. 34 Lakh, ex-showroom, DelhiRating: ****Tour reportThe Volvo S60 has a 380-litre boot, which, though not the largest, will suffice for cargo space requirements of most people. The fact that the rear seats can be folded down in a 60:40 split ratio ensures that the boot can be used flexibly. The car should make for a decent vehicle to tour in, courtesy its comfortable seats, ride quality and powerful engine.Close upThe S60’s 3-litre engine develops a very healthy 440 Nm of peak torque at a low 2000 rpm, which makes it very driveable. The peak power output is a whopping 304 bhp.The S60 is made of fine materials and the plushness can be felt throughout the cabin. The controls also feel crisp and nice to operate, while ergonomics are top notch with every button, lever or switch falling into hand almost intuitively.A coupe-like roofline, aggressive haunches and stylistically treated cornering headlamps and bonnet up the good looks quotient of the Swedish sedan.A low loading lip height makes it easy to access the boot. Both rear seats fold down and there’s a separate ski pass-through as well for accessing the boot from inside the car.TVS Apache 180 ABSResearch shows that majority of motorcycle accidents happens when braking goes wrong. It can happen while avoiding an obstacle or when riding over poor roads or even changing road conditions like slippery roads thanks to the first drizzle or an oil spill. But, if you ride motorcycles, you probably know it already because, like me, you must have had numerous heart-stopping moments and a few crashes as well. The new TVS Apache 180 ABS now comes with a cure for this: ABS or Anti-Lock Braking System. Just like in cars, the system offers better control, especially in low grip conditions. Of course, we already have ABS on bikes in India, but those are all imports, and unquestionably, very expensive. So, the Apache not only becomes the first Indian-made motorcycle to sport one, but also the first one in the world for motorcycles under 200 cc. But, we are mainly excited because, ABS can actually allow you to ride faster, on both road and track. The ideal way to brake for a corner, you’d agree, is to get on the brakes hard initially and then get progressively lighter, making the bike stable at turn-in and through a corner. We start braking gingerly to get a feel of the road (to avoid lock-ups and skidding), then begin braking hard and end up slower, unsure, and twitchy.With the new Apache, no matter what, you can simply grab the brake lever really hard, feel the ABS working through the pulsating lever and then modulate it depending on how fast you want to enter the corner. Soon one tends to feel comfortable with hard braking and the control alongside that it becomes impossible to ride slowly! I seriously recommend that all should have a go at it because the benefits of ABS truly need to be felt to be believed. Price: Rs. 78,800 ex-showroom, Delhi.–Vikrant Singhadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more