Sunday, November 3, 2013


SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver's electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.


I've been keeping abreast with my writing for NaNoWriMo. Which reminds me: Q: What is this? (besides a really bad joke, and an even worse drawing):

A: 2 Men Walking A Breast. I could riff on this, with "2 Men Walking a Brest," although how you'd walk a whole European city is beyond me, or "2 Men Walking a Beast," but living where I do I see this every day. "2 Men Walking a Beast," either of the 4-legged or the 2-legged variety a-lenty, so this is not a novel enough thing to disregard around here. This is Nebraska Ave., 33605, 33602, after all. So too are "2 Men Walking a Beat;" the law enforcement kind, or the hip-hop kind to be found here pretty regularly.

THIS IS THE CHECK IN PART. I WROTE ACTUAL WORDS AND SENTENCES, COHERENTLY, AND FORMED PARAGRAPHS, TOO! Anyway, I am 4,432 words into this year's NaNoWrimo for 2013, as of day 2 and today looms, No biggie. I have my outline, beat sheet, the next segment plotted in my head (sort of) and all of that happy-crappy. Once again, poor #ROW80 has taken a hit, once AGAIN (remember the A-to-Z blogging challenge last spring?) and I owe her so much. Without #ROW80, none of this would be happening. I'm going to be checking in for Alex J. Cavanaugh's #IWSG this Wednesday (why do we not pronounce that Wed-nes-day? Just askin') In spite of the fact that I have spent the week feeling great, I have the WORST ABSCESSED TOOTH EVER. My left front central incisor is so badly inflamed, the infection had pushed up into my nasal cavity and has warped the roof of my mouth. Penicillin has stopped that pain. No pain pills, 'cause I'm on so many other things, I'd probably go on some weird acid trip, and I have an exceedingly high threshold to pain. Now the pain is gone, so it won't ruin the fun of my eating everything in site, whilst I write. Yay! Thank you, rotten oranges or whatever you are, dear penicillin!

I go through all of my SETI stats about twice a year; once in late spring and once in the autumn. Usually, I just print out my certifications to see how I'm doing. I stay off of the forums, because there is an ├╝ber-bitch, who in the disguise of a helpful admin, delivers scathing lectures to the innocent lambs who want to know why their uploads failed. I'm a fairly adept practitioner of the Dark Arts, so I don't need any help, but I sure feel sorry for the poor unweaned, who start their posts with, "I just received a message that said Upload Failed..." The few times I read these threads, UB blasted back with something related to the user's fallibility as a computer user, insulted the user's children and also mentioned that the user's pets were ugly. Yikes! No help to be had there.

Anyway, after I printed my stats, which show I've process astronomical amounts of data received from the Arecebo Telescope in an attempt to find E. T.s. . . wait, what? Never mind. Which would make sense in the astronomical department, because it is after all, the universe we're scoping out. What a hash of sentences there. So, I printed my stats and then for grins, I went to the website that shows where my team fits in with all of the other teams. 

This is my team, highlighted in green. There are 64 members of my team, but only 10 of us are active. I guess the rest are out on missions. The standing joke is that everyone was once CIA, or DOD; some kind of spook for some alphabet agency or another. They're probably doing piece-work for the NSA. NASA is only 5 slots ahead of us. I love the randomness of "Get off my lawn!" This whole project is full of stuff like this. 

Even with all of their brain power, we're still ahead of UC Berkely, UC Davis and BooYah! This Man's USMC! Our team consists of people with cats who puke on keyboards, but can do some mean hacking and cyber-spying, so I was a natural fit.

Number 69 is Marquette University, one of my mom's alma maters and I like that University of Florida is number 52. Keep it up! Go Florida. Maybe we'll win the Inter-species Regionals this year!

The number one spot is held by Team USA *yawns* but I was thrilled to see that the U. S. Air Force is number three, behind the U. S. Navy (boo.) GAY USA is number 5, which is great, because the universe is not only about radio frequencies, it is about transmitting in the Ultraviolet all the way to the Infrared. So, we've got rainbows covered. SQUEE!

An explanation of how radio frequencies and the color spectrum fit can be found here.

Team number 4's team name is some kind of random code. Way to go. My next team name is going to be "dice = std::bind ( dist]" and then everyone will think I'm some kind of either great genius, or crackpot. Except for "Get off my lawn." That team will totally get it. O How I Hate Ohio State is at the 21 spot. I don't really hate 'em. it's just what Michiganders say. It's a knee-jerk reaction. Oh, and "The Pirate Float" at number 16, is going great guns. I bet they say, "Aargh! I'm a pirate!" a lot at String Theory and GUT (Grand Unified Theory) conferences. 

Rounding out the top 100, of over 500 teams, are University of Michigan and Michigan State (not shown,) and EMU in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I love the "Master Strategy Group." This is vague and sinister, yet kinda creepy. More spooks? To be a good spook, you have to have a great cover, like the Villages. The crazy cat people get overlooked every damned time, but you never know what we're gonna do. Number 94 are the University of Florida GATORS. I can damn-guarantee you that if they were number 94 in FOOTBALL, they would be rioting up in Gainesville. At number 95, we have "ShallowThought." What a great name for a team. 

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