I was a proponent of SETI - but I have since upgraded to BOINC, and will write a bit about that project sometime in the (hopefully not-too-distant) future. You should update too! While searching for ET had its charm in the beginning, the guys at Berkeley have grown beyond the childhood fantasy of finding little green men. So I was pleasantly surprised when I read about BOINC - you can now choose from a growing list of projects to donate PC time to! I am currently working on the more humanitarian-helpful projects like Climate Prediction (is it really getting warmer?), Predictor (protein-related disease research) and Rosetta (cures for human diseases). You can slice your computing time between the projects, so if you think it is getting hotter, go ahead and give 75% of your time to Climate Prediction and prove your Republican friend wrong once and for all! If you are more adventurous than me, you might try downloading the Japanese nonstandard software required to do Cell Computing for biomedical research. I wanted to add that one to my list, but I am timid - it has nothing to do with WWII, I can assure my fellow Japanese friends! So, there really is a chance now that I am helping myself! You have to love that! Hopefully some others will come into the fold. I once downloaded a Prime Calculator, but soon tired of it, primarily due to its poor graphics (not that I could come up with some spiffy graphics for Prime Calculations), but the new graphics in BOINC are pretty nice - specially Climate Prediction! You can also keep an eye on the Alpha/Beta list to see what is coming soon. Anyway, now it is REALLY important for you to download these programs and help science more forward faster than ever!
I am the first person to say that there cannot be life on other planets in our universe. However, I do devote my computers' free time to helping with the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Gee, what a guy I am, right? Well, you know, you really hate to tell those boys over there at Berkeley that they are just wasting their time, but you know, they are in education, so they are mostly unaware of what real life is like. But that is okay, they generally get drunk on Fridays and generally don't do nearly as much long-term damage as some other groups in our society, so I feel that humoring them is not so bad! The last I looked, the SETI project is only analyzing like 10% or so of the available information that they are able to watch right now, and they are in need of some spare CPU to analyze all this data. Hey, my machine spends the bulk of its time watching for the mouse to move or one of the keys to get pressed, so I might as well let science borrow those wasted cycles. (I leave my machines on 24/7 anyway.) Who knows, maybe I will be wrong about life on another planet (very low probability) and maybe I will be the one who crunches the data that has THE signal from a distant civilization (super very low probability), but then again, I also might get attacked by a shark (Yeah, I live in Kansas), or struck by lightning, or win the lottery (which I never play), so I figure "what the heck." Besides, once you download the little program, you will spend the first several days watching the cool graphics, just like Bryon and I did. You can admit it, we are all adults here (mostly).
Mark Vick's SETI results
Bryon Frick's SETI results
I invite you to join the program, specially if you have a fast machine, or do leave it on all the time, and who knows, maybe you will stumble on something. Also, send me an e-mail, and I will add your results here (if you are somebody that I know, of course).