Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
How will recent claims of 234 SETI signals in SDSS data be treated by the community?
The Breakthrough Listen project, together with SETI, is now investigating odd pulsating light signals observed by astronomers from Laval University, who suggest the signals may originate from extraterrestrial civilizations. Of the 2.5 million stars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the team claimed that 234 of them exhibit characteristics identical to that of the Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI) signal predicted by the same group in a previous publication in 2012.
Due to the study's controversial conclusions, many are criticizing their report, noting a high likelihood that the observed anomalies may be results of human error, rather than signals emitted by ET.
The claim of ETI detection, as an international protocol, requires an exhaustive evaluation of all other possible natural explanations before drawing any conclusions. Independent verifications are required with at least two or more telescopes.
The authors have not ruled out other potential explanations, and speculate that the mysterious signal could be due to "highly peculiar chemical compositions in a small fraction of galactic halo stars." But their data came from a small number of stars, centered around the Sun, which have a very narrow spectral range.
Currently, the discovery has, according to some commentators, a score of 0 to 1 on the Rio Scale, a ranking system used to evaluate the significance of any observed extraterrestrial phenomena, with 10 signifying a valid and important discovery.
Will Borra et al. paper get at least 10 citations in the coming months?
The Borra et al. paper was submitted on October 10th, 2016 to arXiv, and was published on October 14th, 2016 by Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP). There is one citation of it thus far, according to Google Scholar.
This question will resolve positively if, per Google Scholar, a minimum of 10 citations is listed by July 15th, 2017.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.