Monday, April 24, 2006

Mutualist Economics of SETI

This is the market economy that my mutualist and free market anarchist comrades evoke as an example of what makes the market different from capitalism.

In this case SETI . Which has no hope of ever being profitable.

But which can raise funding and labour by volunteers for scientific projects. In this case a project organized along mutualist economics and cooperativism that even Kropotkin would see as an example of anarchist science.

I contribute to the SETI project along with the climate change project.

It takes up so little effort and time and space on your computer, you should to.

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The project is one small example of SETI's slowly growing respectability as a scientific enterprise. Where scientists once had to beg for time on radio and optical telescopes to conduct the hunt, they now build instruments dedicated to it full time.

The SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., for example, plans to flip the switch on 10 of its 30 new radio- telescope dishes at the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, Calif. later this month. By using off-the-shelf equipment to hold down costs, and developing some fancy processing techniques for incoming signals, the Allen Telescope Array team will be able to hunt for radio signals from ET at the same time astronomers use these antennas for more mainstream research.

Although scientists have given these efforts a broad nod through organizations such as the National Research Council, funding still comes largely from private donors. The Allen array is named for Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, who wrote the check for the observatory's initial installation. The money for Horowitz's telescope came from the Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif., and a private foundation.

So SETI needs YOU and if you sign up you will get a nice letter from Sir Arthur C.Clarke, yes the sci-fi author. Of course it is a begging letter. But this is a mutualist project.

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