http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -are-they/The key point is that for the first time in human history, we are only two or three decades away from being able to actually answer the “Are we alone?” question.
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An interesting piece, (and just about approachable, for me anyway), from Scientific American.
I knew I once read a really good explanation of this, and was wracking my brains trying to remember where and whose theory it was...then I got to the end of Tony's and realised it was his - I must have read it before....this bit I remembered:
See, somethings do managed to stay in my mind.imagine if a camera could have been sited over our galaxy, filming continuously for the last few billion years, and recording each ETC as a bright flash. Then replay the film in quick time. I think we would see a huge number of ETCs sparkling all over the galaxy, from two billion years ago to the present. But slow the film down, and we may see only one flash at a time, with long pauses between them. Occasionally we might see two or more flashes occurring simultaneously, but on average they would be so far apart that communication between them would be highly improbable.