November 13, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

SETI Reinvades Oz

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first SETI search, astronomers from around the world are going to tune into the stars, listening for aliens.  Frank Drake named his first attempt in 1960 after the land of Oz: Project Ozma.  Today’s searchers, looking at promising candidates with much better resolution, are once again paying tribute to L. Frank Baum’s children’s tale by calling their search “Project Dorothy.”  Frank Drake is pleased, though disappointed at half a century of finding nothing.  “Over the past 50 years our searches have not yet produced the discovery we all hope for,” he said.  “This is understandable – in our vast and awesome universe it will take long, painstaking and comprehensive searches before we will have a good chance of success.”  The story can be found at

Frank Drake is the only scientist in the world famous for what he has not found, and for his Drake Equation that calculates any answer from a series of unknowable unknowns.  His celebrity shows there is still hope for those whose only skills are ignorance and talk.
    Remember when the Darwin funDOmentalists laughed and laughed at the Kansas school board for daring to allow alternatives to evolution with jokes about its members being wackos from the land of Oz (04/21/2005)?  Well, the SETI devotees (usually the same crowd) have no protection from the hole they just opened up for themselves.  Next they should start Project Wicked Witch, Project Scarecrow, and Project Munchkin.
    What Baum didn’t describe in detail was the religion of the munchkins.  Before Toto revealed the semi-intelligent cause behind their Wizard’s tricks, the munchkins maintained a sacred ritual, pointing their dishes to the sky and calling for wisdom that never came.

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Categories: SETI

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