Do you want to believe? X-Files, Treasuries, SETI...

Sunday, July 27, 2008
So after watching a tv blurb about the new X Files movie, I was inspired to put together an Etsy treasury of some very cool alien/ufo items. It can be found here - at least until it expires Tuesday morning :)

The new movie looks to be interesting, and possibly more intriguing for me than the first movie. I'm a fan of the show from way back - watched it when it first aired and loved it. It was witty and fun, intriguing and suspenseful, made you think sometimes, and it was just plain cool. But after the first few seasons it got too complicated for me to enjoy it anymore - delved so far into the whole conspiracy theory stuff it became "work" to try to follow along, and the final blow was changing the cast. The first movie was ok, but I thought relied a bit too much on people understanding the show to really get it. From what I've heard this new movie will be more enjoyable for everyone regardless of how much you know about the X-Files universe, so I'm hopeful I'll like this one better.

Speaking of aliens, some may find it surprising that I do think there is life elsewhere in the universe being a scientist and all. Or at least that seems to be the reaction I get when people find out, lol. But a lot of scientists do believe there is life elsewhere in the universe - in fact I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say the majority do so. See, the issue isn't so much whether there is life in the universe but 1. Is there intelligent life? and 2. Can we establish contact?

This is what SETI set out to figure out. SETI stands for the Search for ExtraTerrestial Intelligence, and there are a variety of SETI projects out there. The one many people have probably heard of thanks to movies such as Contact, has been an on-going project for many years at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This radio telescope was built in the 1960's, and is actually built inside a sinkhole! In addition to studies of our solar system and the universe, the telescope has been used as part of systematic SETI program to try to detect potential signals from extraterrestials. More info about the observatory can be found on the official site.

A cool project that anyone can participate in is the SETI@Home program - this program is set up to utilize unused computing time from home computers (often when you're computer is doing something as simple as running its screen saver). It sends little packets of data to your computer for analysis, which are then sent back to a main computer. Should anything interesting come up in the data that your computer processes, then they further investigate it. Its pretty easy to set up and run, and you can even watch the data as its processed. Just think, you could be part of one of the most important scientific endeavors in human history! Check it out here.

Sadly, the observatory is facing serious budget cuts from the US, which will threaten the continuation of the SETI program. You can help by contacting your congresspersons - it only takes a few minutes and a couple stamps, and there's even an easy to fill out form found here that you can use.

Why, some may ask, is this important? Why bother?

I personally believe there can be no more important thing we could ever possibly do both in the realm of science and for humanity, than to continue the search for life in the universe. This would be a life altering event for our entire planet and everyone on it. The thing is, I feel the journey is just as important. We need projects such as these, to better all of us. To bring inspiration and spark the imaginations of thousands of people - most importantly children. Potentially to bring us together, and give us insight and understanding of ourselves and fellow humans. I can think of no better pursuit for us as a whole to take on - can you?


Art By MAR said...

That is a cool idea for a Treasury, love your choices. I too think there has to be some sort of other life forms out there. We can't be the only one in this vast universe.

kim* said...

Great treasury.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Just wanted to say hi! Dropping by to check out your site. Thanks for visiting mine - hope to see you around!