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Talking to Aliens
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A couple of interesting notes from the search for extraterrestrial intelligence...

There has been a repeat of an "interesting" signal:

Had it happened once, it would have been interesting. Twice would have been a bit of a coincidence. But scientists believe a strange radio signal from space spotted three times last year could be a message from another world.

The signal has only been observed for about a minute in total, not long enough to allow astronomers to analyse closely.

But it is unlikely to be the result of any radio interference or noise, and does not resemble an astronomical object.

Some say the signal could have been produced by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon, or a glitch in the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico that picked it up.

Those involved in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Seti) think otherwise.

Stay tuned.

And I heard a story on NPR last night about a new journal article to be published in Nature.

Here's what the guy at Rutgers University concludes:

Lobbing inscribed objects across the universe is more energy efficient than broadcasting into the void, computer science professor Christopher Rose contends in today's cover story for the journal Nature.

A couple of things bothered me about this story. I haven't seen their calculations, but it seems extremely strange to me that it would be more efficient to hurl shit into space rather than beam radio waves. Whatever planet they're on is going to have gravity to a greater or lesser degree (unless they're not living on a planet...), and that's going to have an escape velocity required to send matter into space. And at least here, that takes a whole hell of a lot of energy.

Secondly, one researcher on the NPR broadcast was talking about how difficult it would be to find such tiny packages of matter. And I was thinking, wouldn't they put some kind of beacon on the damn thing? Why would you go to all the trouble to shoot packages across space that are the size of Saltines that nobody in the universe is going to notice?

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