Thursday, October 15, 2009

SETI Without All That Fancy Equipment

Man, am I in the wrong profession. From an AP kid-in-the-balloon-not-in-the-balloon-no-really-it's-not-a-hoax-six-year-olds-do-
the-darnedest-things item on Thursday: "When the Heene family aren't chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm."

Scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials? DIY SETI? I think I saw a SETI kit at Costco once, and a cheaper one at Sam's Club, but I might have been imagining things. I have a better idea anyway. Put up a sign that say "UFO Landing Site" or "ETs Welcome" or something similar in my back yard, facing upward of course, and every day at (say) 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. check to see whether any spaceships have been attracted to the landing site. Make a note of the results each time.

I think there's some bits of scientific method to that -- testing a hypothesis, careful observation, reproducibility. Maybe there's some grant money out there for such studies. Wasn't that one of the phrases at the beginning of The X Files? -- "The Grant is Out There."

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