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back to article Boffins fire up old dish to send interstellar SMS

In just under a week from now, Earth is going to start deliberately advertising itself to any ETs that might be out there, via the Lone Signal project. And if you've got 99 cents to spare, you can join in. Lone Signal will use retired-and-repurposed dish in California, originally built to support the Apollo 11 moon landing and …

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Coat

Seems legit

For 99c I think I'll send 'em a text saying 'hot aliens in your neighborhood want to meet you tonight'

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Silver badge

Re: Seems legit

...and a photo message... And soon our run-of-the-mill porn will be known as space porn across the universe.

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Except...

Aliens have a life expectancy of 200 years, meaning the 18-20yo earth porn starlets are underage and the alien receiving the message will get cuffed for paedo.

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Re: Seems legit

"Earth Porn - as approved by Eccentrica Galumbits."

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Re: Except...

> the 18-20yo earth porn starlets are underage

But they'll be 50+ by the time the message gets out & the reply back. Not sure if that'll work as a legal defence, though "It wasn't underage when I replied, M'lud"

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Coat

99c spent on smut

A.K.A. a buck rogered.

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Re: 99c spent on smut

@ Harvey Trowell - And a tip 'o the hat to you, Sir.

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Bronze badge

Re: Except...

-- will get cuffed for paedo --

Cuffed, stretched, leashed, rrngnged, splooed, pressed, dried or frozen, eh?

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It'd be a missed opportunity...

... to not send:

"Our records show that we have 5824 Galactic Credits waiting in our account for you. Reply CLAIM to get your money today"

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Happy

Hello-

Food speaking.

Come and take our women..

Thx.

Sol III.

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Stop

terrible idea

Have these people not seen Predator ? Arnie is too old to save us now.

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Happy

Re: terrible idea

Arnie is too old to save us now.

Not from 17.6 light-years away he isn't.....

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Paris Hilton

let me be the first to text that

i, for one, welcome our new gliesian overlords

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WTF?

Why the hell would they do that?

Why are we, as a species, so totally unable to learn from our mistakes?

Not even from our mistakes, after all, most of us are descended from tribes that wiped out the weaker tribes/species they encountered.

How the hell did such a stupid people with a racial death-wish manage to make to to the top of the food chain?

At least pidgins have some form of racial memory

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Re: Why the hell would they do that?

Do you have something against creoles too?

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Alert

Re: Why the hell would they do that?

Not even from our mistakes, after all, most of us are descended from tribes that wiped out the weaker tribes/species they encountered.

Which makes us the descendants of stronger/successful tribes which is a good thing. For us.

But you're right that if 'survival of the fittest' can be applied at the interplanetary level then announcing our presence could be asking for trouble. I suppose we have to hope that either:

a)They are planet-bound (or at least FTL limited) so can't do anything about us.

b)If they are advanced enough to have cracked FTL they have given up on natural ecosystems as being too limiting and vulnerable and will ignore us.

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Terminator

Re: Why the hell would they do that?

They don't need to have solved FTL travel. They just need to have a physiology more resistant to radiation damage than ours, and (probably these two characteristics go hand in hand) have a lifespan considerably longer than ours. Suddenly the universal speed-limit doesn't seem to be such a problem. We will be OK though, it is following generations that should be worried, but of-course, the aliens could arrive any day now, we have been broadcasting for a while...

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Alien

Re: Why the hell would they do that?

There are a lot of other problems that have to be solved to build a close-to-lightspeed starship, including an improbably large initial mass to payload ratio. Realistically, they'd need a MUCH longer lifespan, high radiation tolerance, and be happy to journey at 0.001c, so they're unlikely to be showing up for quite a few centuries yet.

But yes - the flaw in the strong anthropic principle is that the universe is NOT perfectly tuned for human beings, but rather for creatures that measure their lifespans in milennia. If such can exist ... otherwise it's not well-tuned for starfaring civilisations at all. We do have trees that have lived a few milennia, and funghi that have lived maybe twenty times longer ... and if the funghi were/are conscious, could we ever know it?

Then there's the possibilities for our Silicon AI children to clock slower than their parents rather than faster. At which point the Fermi paradox again kicks in. Where are the alien AIs?

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Re: Why the hell would they do that?

Good point. Where are the von Neumann probes, for that matter?

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Anonymous Coward

I hope they're modulating the polarisation...

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You mean realigning the polaron emitter on the deflector array, surely?

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But don't reverse the polarity!

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"In just under a week from now"?

I think fans of Guglielmo Marconi might argue that date ... His purposeful radio signals date to the mid 1890s, and are still traversing the Universe.

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Alert

If

the crowd sourced texts aren't moderated and are representative of the full range of human behaviour, then should we get a reply, I would expect it to arrive in the form of an alien HAZMAT team.

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Alien

99 cents well spent

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Not really

If they are sufficiently advanced to be able to "come and have a go" then I would postulate that the requisite to be "hard enough" goes without saying.

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Maxox

Everybody involved in this project should read Charles Stross's short story Maxos first.

Available here : http://www.concatenation.org/futures/maxo_lo.pdf

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Re: Maxox

That is a classic short piece. Well worth the read.

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in space no one can hear you sms

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Can you lend us £$€100,000,000,000,000,000,000.10 - Please

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g e
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Joke

Or maybe, unwittingly...

Abundant tasty free-range meaty snacks, while stocks last

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Bronze badge

While our American cousins seem quite happy to advertise our presence to all and sundry, I would caution some good old English reserve when dealing with Johnny Alien.

We really don't want to encourage visits from the wrong sort of extraterrestrial. After all, aliens cannot be expected to possess the high principles and excellent manners of the average Englishman gentleman. It could be socially awkward if the aliens were annoying oiks who latched on to you because you made the mistake of being vaguely nice to them once?

Even worse, what if the alien visitors were EWOKS!!

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Silver badge

>were annoying oiks who latched on to you because you made the mistake of being vaguely nice to them once?

Yeah last thing we need is to get the alien equivalent of Jim Carrey in the Cable Guy coming to visit.

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SMS?

"Our records show you have been involved in an intergallactic accident and you may have a claim. Please call on 0345 123 4567 to receive your free information pack"

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Hallo - My unkel inhairit - special fo you - pleaz anser

My unkel he die I inhairit 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 intergalax units, but no want pay tax to Gleez gavement. they good units, they not like crap dolgalax, you can buy lot nice staff wiv dem. Ineed to get de mani off Gleez, I look for a cunt on eath. You have bank a cunt? can you help? I give you haf. Pliz repli wiv discripshon of a cunt and you coodinets. Tanks

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Anonymous Coward

Won't reach....

Sorry people, the math doesn't work. When you compute the signal power they are pushing, the gain of the antenna, the 1/r^2 losses as the signal spreads over distance, and get the resulting power density at the target, no matter how whizzy the Gliesian tech would be, for that signal to be above the noise floor they would need an antenna the size of Earth's orbit, cooled below the cosmic microwave background temperature, and held to the correct shape to a tolerance of millimeters over that whole size.

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Re: Won't reach....

On the other hand, we ARE still communicating with at least one probe at/near/just beyond heliopause. Perhaps we should beam the signal in that direction and see if V'GER responds with "Gzus! STFU, willya? lulz"

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Re: Won't reach....

... or just be more advanced/adept than us at filtering out background noise... in which case I refer you back to...

"Why the hell would they do that?"

;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't reach....

No, you cannot filter out noise that is on frequency, and the thermal noise from the antenna will drown out the signal unless it is cooled (as stated in my first post).

Moreover, to get enough signal over the cosmic microwave background (again, you cannot filter out noise on frequency), you need the huge antenna (again, as posted).

There is not magical tech that can change that - it's a fundamental limit of the universe. As stated in my original post, no matter how whizzy the Gliesian tech is, there are limits on what it can do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't reach....

And the heliopause is only tens of light-hours away. Gielise is hundreds of thousands of times farther away.

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Childcatcher

Re: Won't reach....

Sir, I read your carefully thought out analysis with great dismay. Applying mathematical analysis and reason to a problem that clearly calls for wild flights of fancy simply will not do. Sir, I am convinced that your missive will bring sorrow to the hearts of all true believers. What will be next, proving that Santa couldn't possibly fit toys for all 500 million of Earth's children into a small, reindeer drawn sleigh, let along cover the globe or solve the necessary travelling salesman problem? For shame.

Won't anyone think of the children?

(serious note: great post-- love that the reg attracts comments with great insight like this. Makes me think about the scheme in an entirely different light.)

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Bronze badge

Re: Won't reach....

But (translation):

"Captain, Thing; we have received coordinates!"

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Gold badge
Meh

Re: Won't reach....

....they would need an antenna the size of Earth's orbit, cooled below the cosmic microwave background temperature, and held to the correct shape to a tolerance of millimeters over that whole size.

Or , to be more succinct, if they can hear us we are truly fucked.

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Hey, Petunias..

If you see the Dolphins, tell 'em there's still a few fish left!

..zzt.. [transmit] ..zzt..

Oh. Actually best forget it.

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transmits:

"I seem to be having this tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle"

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Testing SETI Message Designs

The orginal 2009 paper by Busch and Reddick was more on figuring out if ET could decipher the message http://arxiv.org/abs/0911.3976

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Anonymous Coward

In Gilese 526 news this morning, scientists have discovered the source of the radio wave interference that have been interfering with our emergency response communications network. The source is a planet in a far off solar system, a planet that is to be fried by their sun in time. Scientists have observed this planet over heating internally and are baffled, once thought to be a place that might supprt intelligent life, the internal over heating has proven that no such intelligence exists. A more immediate response is being launced today, a long range nuclear missle to obliterate the planet will be launched and should destroy the planet in the next 24 hours. There will be no fallout for us to this as it is in a different solar system, and all debris will rotate around their dying sun. So expect trouble free communications soon!

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Anonymous Coward

Do the SMSs include a read receipt request?

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Happy

Doh!

I agree with the consensus that sending out a message saying "here's a planet that is suitable for life" is an incredibly stupid idea when we have no idea how rare/valuable such planets are.

The only consolation is that stars of this type are incapable of supporting life for a period long enough for intelligent life to evolve. We have only got this far with Earth because our type of star gradually increases its heat output over time. As the CO2 is converted by algae to O2 thus decreasing the greenhouse effect, the sun's radiation increases. This does not happen with red dwarfs. Incidently this heating rate is about 1 degree centigrade per 10 million years so even with zero CO2 content we "only" have another 300 million years.

So one stupidity cancels out the other.

[The reason the heat increases - more helium "ash" in the core means that the thermonuclear rate of burning increases slightly]

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