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Stuff like this is why current SETI efforts seem at best provincial.

We aren't even beginning to understand how intelligent extra-solar beings would communicate with each other. Current efforts are like a colony of ants all by themselves on an island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific building a giant super-pheromone nose on top of a 3-inch anthill.

SETI is not aimed at listening in on communications between aliens, which would be impractical for the reason you mention and more. SETI's goal is to listen for deliberate "anybody out there?" transmissions, which one can expect to be much simpler, since they would be deliberately designed to be universal and easily understood.

We already know that we aren't going to accidentally eavesdrop on extraterrestrial communications. Those are almost certain to be very tightly focused and using some sort of transmission and modulation scheme that will make them impossible to decode or even perhaps to recognize as a signal with our technology (much as, say, modern DSSS technology would look like noise to humans even a few decades ago).

SETI has always been about the attempts to discover signals that are intentionally broadcast to civilizations with our level of technology.

You win the award for the best comment on HN ever.

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