Fox News carries this pedestrian press release with no information for figuring out more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/05/at-least-88-billion-earth-size-just-right-planets-found-study-says/. It blabs about the latest observation-based estimate of the number of likely planets, around Sol-like stars, with, perhaps, potentially liquid water. The assertion is at least one of these planets will be within 70-trillion miles, or about 12 light years, which is a distance we will traverse eventually.

The article blubs, “And that’s just our galaxy. There are billions of other galaxies.” Of course, but we don’t have to worry about that. It is unreasonable to suppose that we will travel to other galaxies (or vis versa). No amount of time can overcome those distances from the perspective of humans. Not even Star Trek assumes so. Stargate does, but wormholes don’t work that way.

I managed to find reference from PNAS’ facebook to WaPo, http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/kepler-space-telescope-finds-earth-size-potentially-habitable-planets-are-common/2013/11/04/49d782b4-4555-11e3-bf0c-cebf37c6f484_story.html.

““Earth-sized planets having the temperature of a cup of tea are common around sunlike stars,” said planet hunter Geoff Marcy, a Berkeley astronomer and a ­co-author of the study.” Is it just me, or is the statement inane?

Reaching, “The analysis does not prove that any of these “habitable zone” planets resemble Earth. The report states only that they are roughly the size of our planet and are not too close or too far from the star for water — if it is present — to be liquid at the surface.”

“If the new estimate is correct, there should be about 25 billion Earth-size planets in habitable zones in our galaxy, by Borucki’s calculation.” 8.8 billion, 25 billion, whose counting?

Then there is some drivel about Drake and SETI. Oh well.

The WaPo article is just as devoid of useful information and references.

After some significant effort, I found the paper on the PNAS web site, here: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/31/1319909110.abstract?sid=2e11b5e2-b622-4ede-83b9-631aea93def8

The “Significance” statement sets off my skepticism warnings. They say they injected synthetic planets into Kepler to calibrate their findings. Go figure.

The articles indicate 22%. The abstract states 11%. WUWT?

There is this:

Freely available online through the PNAS open access option. [end quote]

I don’t know what freely available might mean, but when I try to get the article it wants me to pay. Truth in advertising? The information I’m finding is confusing and contradictory, both in the assertions and in access to the information. I found: http://www.pnas.org/site/subscriptions/open-access.xhtml, but it doesn’t seem to help. Perhaps it isn’t there yet.

Most of all, SETI is a waste. We simply cannot find anything by looking the way we are even if it is there. Second, if THEY are out there, where are they? If there should be a possible civilization out there no more than 12 million light-years away, why have they not yet wandered by?

No, they ain’t there. Quit worrying about it. Once we’ve built multigenerational ships capable of sustaining several thousand of us indefinitely, we will go. Then we will know for sure.

I’m confident we will find things we will call living when we walk on planets that have significant amounts of liquid water, but it is unreasonable to suppose we will ever call it intelligent.

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