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

Google Proposes to Extend DNS Protocol, Optimize Speed of Browsing

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Today, Google, along with a group of DNS and content providers, including Neustar/UltraDNS, published a proposal to extend the DNS (domain name server) protocol. DNS is the system that translates URLs for humans (e.g., ReadWriteWeb.com) into numeric IP addresses used by all computers for online communication.To be perfectly explicit, Google is proposing “to allow Authoritative Nameservers to return varying replies based upon the network address of the client that initiated the query rather than of the client’s Recursive Resolver.” If that made no sense to you, read on for a plain-English discussion of the issue at hand and what it means for users.Last month, when Google launched a public DNS service, they described DNS protocols simply, saying, “Most of us aren’t familiar with DNS because it’s often handled automatically by our Internet Service Provider (ISP), but it provides an essential function for the web. You could think of it as the switchboard of the Internet, converting easy-to-remember domain names – e.g., www.google.com – into the unique Internet Protocol (IP) numbers – e.g., 74.125.45.100 – that computers use to communicate with one another.”What Google’s proposing is that enough information be sent during these machine/network communications to optimize browsing speed by creating connections with topologically close servers, but not so much information as to violate users’ privacy. In other words, by gathering enough data about a user’s location in a network, the system can then optimize that connection to have as few degrees of separation as possible between the user and the host.Wilmer van der Gaast and Carlo Contavalli wrote on behalf of the Google Public DNS team, “Our proposed DNS protocol extension lets recursive DNS resolvers include part of your IP address in the request sent to authoritative nameservers. Only the first three octets, or top 24 bits, are sent providing enough information to the authoritative nameserver to determine your network location, without affecting your privacy.”The proposal was posted today and might be accepted as an official Internet standard within the next few months. “We plan to continue working with all interested parties on implementing this solution and are looking forward to a healthy discussion on the dnsext mailing list,” the team concluded.This relates pretty closely to the stated goals of Google’s Speed project, which aims to make users’ browsing experience faster overall. Internet protocols have been part of the Speed plan from its inception more than six months ago. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Tags:#Google#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market jolie odelllast_img read more

Wrangling in Congress, govt points to state of disarray

first_imgFor the past year or so, observers have been remarking on just how dysfunctional the United Progressive Alliance government has become. It has been hit by a succession of corruption charges and, more recently, its supreme leader, Sonia Gandhi, has gone through a serious illness.As a result, all that it has been able to do is to undertake fire-fighting operations where, to the consternation of their well wishers, they have actually ended up adding fuel to the fire, as in the case of the handling of the Anna Hazare and Swami Ramdev incidents.But of late, there is something more distressing happening- an unrestrained free for all among senior party functionaries and government ministers.The most serious “war”, that between P Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee, can only be detected in its undercurrents. There is the matter of the note on the former’s failure to stop the 2G licence sale in January 2008 which is in the news these days.Earlier, there was the curious episode of the discovery of some adhesive substance which may have held listening devices and the letter of protest sent, not to the Home Ministry, which may have known something about the issue, but to the Prime Minister.On Friday Congress party general secretary Digvijay Singh made an extensive critique of the country’s handling of its internal security challenges, wondering, tongue in cheek perhaps, as to who was in- charge of the country’s internal security system.There are a host of smaller public spats- Jairam Ramesh questioning the Montek Singh Ahluwalia- led Planning Commission’s definition of poverty, Mani Shankar Aiyar picking quarrels with Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken and Mr Ahluwalia and Salman Khurshid taking issue over the minority status of Jamia Millia with Kapil Sibal.advertisementlast_img read more

London Olympics: Indian wrestlers Amit Kumar, Narsingh Yadav out

first_imgYoung Indian wrestler Amit Kumar was done in by bad luck as he was at the receiving end in repachage from Bulgarian Radoslav Marinov Velikov in the 55kg category at the London Olympics on Friday.After losing his quarter-final to a strong Georgian Vladimer Khinchegashvili, Amit Kumar was kept waiting. However, as the Georgian won, Amit got a fresh lease of life.Earlier, 19-year-old Amit had defeated Iran’s in the pre-quarterfinals.The repachage bout was much awaited as it was being held in an action packed evening in between the semi-finals.Amit versus Radoslav had all the trappings of a thriller as both the grapplers were not in a mood to give up.However, as luck would have it, Amit did not enjoy a good time at the end of each round. As per the rules, at the end of each round if neither wrestler has scored a point, then the referee does a small lottery as to which person gets a chance to do a “clinch.”In clinch, the wrestler gets the chance to go on the offensive. And in two successive rounds, despite fans egging on Amit at the Excel centre, he lost the “clinch” to Radoslav. And as a result it left Amit out of the competition.”I am overall happy with my performance. Earlier wrestlers used to lose in the first round and now in repachage I have fought with seasoned wrestlers” said Amit later.Disastrous campaign for Narisngh Yadav Earlier in the day, in the 74kg weight category, Narisngh Pancham Yadav’s campaign turned out to be a disastrous one as he lost in the first round to Mattthew Judah Gentry of Canada.advertisementIf Narsingh was hoping his opponent would progress to the final so that he could get a chance for the repechage, which is like an elimination, he had no such luck.Earlier on, Amit was simply not good enough for the Georgian opponent Vladimer Khinchegashvili. Vladimer won the first match 4-0, despite some doubts over the referee’s decision.The Indian did get a “clinch” in the first round but could not make use of it.In the second round, Amit tried hard but was done in by a stronger opponent.All eyes will now be on Yogeshwar Dutt in the 60kg category and Sushil on Sunday.These are the last chances for India to win another medal at the London Olympics.last_img read more