Hunting for Aliens with the Reality Sculptors Project

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To: salsbury at sculptors dot com
Subject: Hunting for Aliens with the Reality Sculptors Project
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 00:38:23 -0700
From: Patrick Salsbury <salsbury at bucky dot sculptors dot com>

(/begin shameless plug>

Got any spare cycles on your computer? (Unless it's turned off, the answer
is "yes". :-)  )

I've been participating in the SETI at Home project ( ) for a few months now, and it's very
cool. If you're not already familiar with it, go check it out. (If
you've seen the movie, "Contact", then you're familiar with it. It's what
Jodi Foster was doing in the movie, but we're all (more than 1 million
folks, as of this writing) doing it with the spare cycles on our computer.)

They can explain the whole concept in detail, but the basic gist is that
you set up a screensaver on your machine, and while you're not using it, it
analyzes radio telescope data to scan for possible signals from
extraterrestrial life forms. Seems like a worthy goal to me. :-) 

In any event, I've created a group for Reality Sculptors, so if you're
interested in donating some spare cycles to The Cause (and aren't already
in a group), please go to:
and register as part of the Reality Sculptors Elite Alien Hunting Team.
(Ok, so we're not that elite...oh well.) There's also a link from the main
Reality Sculptors page: 

I've been using this software for months on Windows 95, 98, and NT, as well
as Linux. I run it *all* the time, not just when the machine's in
screensaver mode. I can honestly say that I haven't noticed any real
performance degradation except when I've been trying to do extremely
CPU-intensive 3D graphics rendering. They wrote the software so that it
runs in the background, and gets out of the way when you have any real work
to do, so you don't have to worry about it bogging down your PC. 

Your machine also doesn't have to be connected to the Net full-time. It
will take ~1-2 minutes to download a data-chunk, then the computer will
take between 1-3 *days* while it chews through that chunk, looking for any
possible signals. So you can be offline for quite a while, and then just
grab another data chunk (and ship back any results) the next time you log
in to check your email. 

If your machine has spare cycles to burn, why not burn 'em in the name of
some far-out science? Sure beats downloading someone else's ads to your 
browser... ;^)

(/end shameless plug>

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