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Blog | Radio signals from an alien civilization: this is how an informative boiata is prepared – Il Fatto Quotidiano

Blog |  Radio signals from an alien civilization: this is how an informative boiata is prepared – Il Fatto Quotidiano
Written by aquitodovale

Agree that you have to find news to be able to publish something and make ends meet. Okay, there is never enough time. But the whole thing does not justify writing nonsense. See the recent rants about the “respected scientist” on duty that he declares, in an article published on Natureto have detected extra-terrestrial radio signals of possible “alien” origin “. But please!

The classic recipe for packaging a cool information (somewhat free translation of fake news) was followed flawlessly.

Take a subject that can be defined as a “scientist”. If Chinese, the better. In this case it is the Professor Zhang Tongjie, head of the Chinese research group for the research of extraterrestrial civilizations at Beijing Normal University, who works with the FAST telescope, a technological marvel. The largest technology-based radio telescope in the world filled-aperture (i.e. it is a complete disc). FAST stands for Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope: spherical telescope of 500 meters (in diameter). Nicknamed Tianyan (天 眼, lit. “Eye of heavenly paradise).

Then declare that Nature – very respectable and very serious scientific journal – has published scientific communication of the aforementioned scientist where it is stated that, playing with the FAST, signals of possible origin have been recorded alien. According to other brilliant journalists, the news that two “suspicious” signals were recorded in 2020, while a third was collected during this year, was published on Science and Technology News. If you type in a search engine “Science and Technology News”, the name of the official newspaper of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology “, you end up on this site, which is quite another thing.

However, the boiata information is ready. Something real has been mixed with a lot of inventiveness. Everything is packaged in an elegant way and that’s it: we talk about it and many read. After Google grinds up its data, anyone who does a little research to verify the fake news finds it. Therefore it is true.

But no. Nature he has never published anything. On Science and Technology News if you go looking you will find nothing. Why removed. It follows that news has been given that it should not have been given. Which implies that it is true. Hence the government conspire. We are in the presence of a real touch of genius. Adds to the above recipe drama to taste. So everything, in addition to being fake news, feeds anonymous conspiracy theorists.

Another interpretation of the facts, more “serious”: the news has been released too much soon, before having been verified, checked and published by a recognized international scientific journal. There is very little about Professor Zhang Tongjie on the net. He is not mentioned. There isn’t even an article of him. No profile. His name can only be found on Chinese government sites. It is not his fault. He is serious people. It is a matter of habit censorship of the Middle Country. From the SETI center (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) which he directs at the Beijing Normal University nothing appears. Beijing Normal University exists and is more than serious. It is a pity that the Italian journalist translated it as “Normale di Peking”, suggesting that it is a similar university to the prestigious Normale di Pisa. But no. The name “normal” is traditionally assigned to Chinese universities that were responsible for the training of teachers in primary and secondary schools in the early part of the twentieth century.

The signal collected has nothing extra-terrestrial at all. It is not the techno-signature of an alien civilization. Meet Dan Werthimer, a researcher at SETI at the University of California at Berkeley (center of which there are thousands of citations, web pages, articles, publications, names, surnames, curricula vitae of those who work there), as well as co-author of an article in publication course where the results of the research activities at the FAST are reported. Werthimer said: “The signals we have collected so far are all interference radio, they are not extraterrestrials. They are all terrestrial ”. Professor Zhang, who works closely with Werthimer, confirmed this position. The conspiracy theorists obviously don’t believe it.

Radio interference (RFI Radio Frequency Interference) are a big deal. They are unavoidable when using very sensitive instruments to pick up very faint signals that come from far away installed on a very noisy planet like Earth. Television signals, radio transmissions, cellular telephones, radars, satellites generate a great racket in radio frequency.

In the scientific community, no one denies the possibility of detecting alien signals. An advanced alien civilization is capable of sending artificial radio signals into space for detection. We humans have already done it with the message of Arecibo 1974, interstellar radio signal that contained information about humanity and the Earth.

To date, no radio signals have ever been detected that can be considered certainly coming from one civilization alien. There are billions of planets and as many possible alien civilizations there in the universe, as described by Frank Drake’s 1961 equation. Yet they do not manifest. Which gave rise to the so-called Fermi’s paradox which describes the contradiction between mathematical predictions and observations. Of the two, one: Estimates like Drake’s are wrong, or our observation / understanding of the data is incomplete. Or we are overestimating how common intelligent life forms can be. Perhaps, if the life form is intelligent, it is to the point of decide not to manifest. It is not a good idea to go and wake the sleeping dog. Perhaps none of these civilizations has thought of launching the self-replicating probes proposed by Von Neumann… we’ll talk about it again.

A doubt assails us: you want to see who the most intelligent in the Universe we are?

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