Month: August 2016

SETI Investigating Possible Extraterrestrial Signal From Deep Space

“An international team of scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is investigating mysterious signal spikes emitting from a 6.3-billion-year-old star in the constellation Hercules—95 light years away from Earth. The implications are extraordinary and point to the possibility of a civilization far more advanced than our own.

The unusual signal was originally detected on May 15, 2015, by the Russian Academy of Science-operated RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, but was kept secret from the international community. Interstellar space reporter Paul Gilster broke the story after the researchers quietly circulated a paper announcing the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595.”

The mysterious star’s designation is HD164595, and it’s considered to be sun-like in nature with a nearly identical metallic composition to our own star. So far, a single Neptune-like (but warmer) planet has been discovered in its orbit—HD 164595 b. But as Gilster explained, “There could, of course, be other planets still undetected in this system.”

Decorated Italian SETI researcher and mathematician Claudio Maccone along with Russia’s Nikolai Bursov of the Special Astrophysical Observatory are the principal scientists working on the apparent discovery. They claim that “permanent monitoring of this target is needed.”

The RATAN-600 Radio Telescope in Russia

The RATAN-600 Radio Telescope in Russia. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source,” said Alan Boyle, author of “The Case for Pluto” who reported the story for Geekwire. “In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”

The signal’s strength indicates that if it in fact came from a isotropic beacon, the power source would have to be built by a Kardashev Type II civilization. (The Kardashev scale is used to determine the progress of a civilization’s technological development by measuring how much energy was used to transmit an interstellar message.) An ‘Isotropic’ beacon means a communication source emitting a signal with equal power in all directions while promoting signal strength throughout travel.

In his acclaimed work “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations,” Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev explained that a Type II civilization would be able to harness the energy of their entire host star. The most common hypothetical example of this would be a Dyson Sphere—which is a massive artificial structure that could completely encapsulate a star and transfer the energy to a nearby planet.

A cut-away diagram of an idealized Dyson shell, a variant on Dyson's original concept

A cut-away diagram of an idealized Dyson shell, a variant on Dyson’s original concept.(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Basically, if the signal was beamed out into the galaxy without aim or direction, that would require an enormous amount of power to actually be detected. But what if the signal was beamed specifically at our solar system? Well, that would require less energy and could indicate the presence of a Kardashev Type I civilization—meaning that it could be a highly technological, contemporary society that harnesses the solar energy emitted by its local star, much like our planet does with solar panels. This particular civilization’s social structure is theorized to be completely globalized and interconnected.

“The signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target,” said Gilster. And that’s exactly what is transpiring. As of last night, the SETI institute is diverting its Allen Telescope Array in northern California to investigate while their counterparts at METI International (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will use Panama’s Boquete Optical Observatory.”

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Hillary Clinton listed as potential insider threat on leaked Army operational security brief

“Perhaps it was the ultimate Freudian slip.

On Monday, a leaked Army operational security brief showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus listed as two key examples of potential insider threats. As the Daily Caller reported at the time, admins of the Facebook page “U.S. Army W.T.F! moments” told The Daily Caller News Foundation this is the second time they’ve received a picture of this particular slide in the last six months. They posted the slide to their page Sunday.

The brief, marked unclassified, lists servicemembers Nidal Hassan, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis as examples of threats.  On the second row, the brief pictures Clinton and Petraeus. The text of “careless or disgruntled employees” echoes FBI Director James Comey’s description, “extremely careless,” of Clinton’s handling of top secret and classified information when she served as Secretary of State.

 

Following vocal public outcry, with some wondering if this was a joke, while others jumping on the army’s suggestion that Hillary is one of the bigger threats to nation’s security, moments ago the US Army said it was a mistake for a local unit to identify Hillary Clinton as a potential threat during a training presentation and has halted the practice.

“We have confirmed that the slide was developed 18 months ago and used locally as a part of a training presentation on best practices for handling classified material and maintaining operational security,” the US Army Training and Doctrine Command said in a statement cited by CNN. “As is common with Army training requirements, the local unit was given latitude to develop their own training products to accomplish the overall training objective.””

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