Friday, February 11, 2005

Shostak in the news -- again . . .

It must be very nice to have an intellectual monopoly on the question of ET intelligence.

Scientists are willing to wager that ET will call

"Given that astronomer Frank Drake launched the first SETI search about 40 years ago and nobody has thus far been heard from, when will Shostak and his colleagues make contact? 'The answer is some time close to the year 2025,' he says. 'I'll bet you a flat white on that!'"

What to tell the aliens

"[Shostak] laid out yet another potential strategy for interstellar contact: The aliens might set up their transmitters so that they shoot out tightly focused signals, in a direction exactly opposite from that of an interesting cosmic object such as a pulsar. That way, another civilization studying the pulsar would pick up E.T.'s signal as well.

"For that reason, pulsars could be among the first targets for observation when the initial group of antennas in the Allen Telescope Array begins operations later this year, Shostak said. 'You know that the aliens will be studying pulsars, too,' Shostak said."

No, Seth, I don't "know" that. ETs might find pulsars consummately uninteresting; they might have bigger fish to fry.