This is stupid.
I just read that the SETI telescopes have been turned off due to "budget cuts". This is ridiculous. Why not cut printing more money from the budget instead. Let SETI keep searching.
TrailHacker solution: They should just leave the telescopes on and write a simple batch script (or cron job) to log the information out to a web page. This would be unmanned. It would require a single computer to output the raw data and let others do the work for them. To me it seems that a $1.5 million / year operation get's simplified down to the cost of electricity to keep the batch job running (oh and the satellite array) and the annual domain expense of $15 / year. Right!? :) This would let all the SETI geeks in the world do the grunt work for them. I mean, every programmer has written at least 30 log parsers in their life. Transparency is the key here.
Man, if I were running things over there...
I agree, that's lame. Hopefully the ball will get picked back up.
Here is a little bit of additional information about it from a SETI@Home scientist.
A couple points to keep in mind: 1) This hibernation only concerns the Allen Telescope Array, 2) SETI@Home is still operating, its data comes from Arecibo in Puerto Rico.
I'm also betting that the $1.5m/yr is largely dedicated to non-personnel costs: telescope maintenance, computer maintenance, utilities (heating/cooling/electricity). The larger personnel cost is likely to be to the astronomers who are responsible for programming the telescope, deciding where it should be pointed, and for how long.
On top of that considering most professional astronomers know programming (they need to write the code to crunch the data after all), I'm betting they are already using a cronjob :)
And what about asking another grand from MS?
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