Experience Music Project

“Are you ready?  Ready for the playoffs?”*

…Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen is — in a big way.  His “first love”*1, the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that he’s owned for the past 21 years,  has made it into the Playoffs, and no one is more excited than the owner.   One of the most devoted owners in the NBA, Paul Allen has always been his team’s biggest fan.   

Allen attends a majority of the Blazers games, bought the team’s game stadium twice and weighs in enthusiastically on every decision, often splurging on players and expenses.  He installed equipment aboard his ships that lets him watch Blazers games when he is away from home.  And when Allen was asked to give the commencement speech to the graduating class at WSU in 1999, he graciously agreed, but gave it long distance via satellite uplink, speaking to Washington graduates from the Portland Rose Garden Arena so he wouldn’t miss a Playoff game.

So his Trail Blazers’ entry this year into yet another Playoffs series is a thrill—still a major thrill— to a guy who has had more than a few thrilling moments in his lifetime.  Blazermania is back and no one is more caught up in the wave of excitement than the owner himself.

Current adventure, Trail Blazers. Past adventures?  This guy’s had a few.  Hopefully he’ll tell us more about all of them in his upcoming memoirs.  http://www.businessinsider.com/paul-allens-newest-venture-a-memoir-2009-3   Don’t hold back, Paul—we want to know EVERYTHING !!!!! 🙂

In the meantime, here is a sampling of Paul Allen’s ideas about — Paul Allen, of course — from his statements to the press through the years.  So, here you go….Part Three of Paul Allen: In His Own Words:

The projects you have funded so far cover a wide range of fields. What are the criteria you look for?

“I ask myself: What are the great questions in science, the knowledge that we are just scratching the surface of?  The chance that we are going to pick up the phone and an alien is going to be on the other end is small, but it is certainly worth—on a modest scale, for me—seeing if we can enable some of that research.  There are these greenfield areas like the human brain, systems biology, ­understanding how cells work internally, and how the proteins interact inside the cell. That’s an area I’m thinking about. Then there are the global issues we have today: global warming, the environment, and disease. I don’t know that I could make a difference in theoretical physics; that’s basically a bunch of mathematical and theoretical geniuses at different places. I’m not sure how anyone could make them work any faster than they are.” http://discovermagazine.com/2007/apr/the-discover-interview-paul-allen/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=
The Discover Interview, Evan Ratliff

On Advice to Young People
If you are starting any new venture, try to find people who share your
dreams with the same enthusiasm that you do and that can complement your
strengths and bolster your weaknesses.  Start with small but achievable
dreams and under the right circumstances, these small dreams can lead to
bigger ones. Remember that you have all of the open-mindedness,
fearlessness and enthusiasm of youth.  Believe in the possibility of success.
From Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to graduating class via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden Arena upon receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award—1999

Quote from the paulallen.com website (years ago):
  “What is the best advice, business or otherwise, you’ve had and from whom?
The best advice I’ve received came many years ago from my father.  He told me that you should love whatever work you do, you should try to find something you truly enjoy.  And I’ve been lucky through the years that the work I’ve been involved with has been challenging and for the most part, fun.”

On Trying New Things:

 You have to find and appreciate the joy and beauty of the world.  And
many times that comes if you force yourself to try things that you
otherwise might be skeptical of beginning.  In my case I discovered
scuba diving, but any kind of adventure that takes you totally out of
your normal life and into a different environment or meeting different
people can be very rewarding. Also, if you force yourself to be more
adventurous, the more ideas and different types of people you will meet
and the richer your life will become intellectually and otherwise…….
 From Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to graduating class via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden Arena upon receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award–1999

On His Childhood in Seattle:
From “Paul Allen Unplugged” Dec. 2003 Columns UW Magazine
Tom Griffin
 While many of our alumni know of your generous contributions to the University, most don’t know of the UW connections going back to your childhood. Your father Ken Allen began his career with the University libraries in 1951, two years before you were born, and was Associate Director of the libraries from 1960-1982. Did your Dad open the resources of the UW  libraries to you when you were a child?
A. I spent many weekends in Suzzallo Library as I was growing up. I remember spending hours just combing through the stacks of musty books, including early books about computers. Books about science and aviation in particular were some of my favorites.
Did your family have season tickets to Husky games?
A. Yes, my father had season tickets for the Huskies for my whole childhood and I remember going to many Husky games with him. One of the reasons that I really wanted to have an open-air stadium for SeahawksStadium is that I have fond memories of wandering around Husky Stadium with my Dad, eating hot dogs and being able to watch the Huskies play outdoors in the elements—I think it’s one of the best parts about football!
Do you recall attending any open houses or science fairs at the UW that might have sparked your interest in computers?
I went to science fairs many times and had a lot of fun. More than anything it enhanced my love of science— and I carry that excitement with me today. I am particularly interested in how the brain works, and what we might be able to learn by looking at the role of the human genome in the function and anatomy of the brain. 

On His Eclectic Interests

“Allen says his business success is partly a result of his wide range of interests, which he thinks allows him to see connections between disparate areas that others may miss. His credits his parents, who gave him an open-minded start, dragging  Paul and his sister Jody to galleries, the opera, science museums, dance concerts and aviation exhibits. “Even as a kid, every year I was interested in something different,” Allen says, “whether it was chemistry or cards or physics or electronics or space travel or music.”    (Over the Horizon with Paul Allen: Another Microsoft Billionaire Speaks. Fortune: 7/11/1994 by David Kirkpatrick.)


From The Discover Interview with Paul Allen (by Evan Ratliff )   http://discovermagazine.com/2007/apr/the-discover-interview-paul-allen
What do you think are the chances of SETI’s succeeding—in other words, of finding intelligent life beyond our world?
“The scientists are optimistic because they think that if they have better instruments that look deeper or on more frequencies, there should be civilizations out there broadcasting. I think everybody would admit it’s a long shot, but if that long shot comes in… wow.”
If they do get the signal, will you be the first person they call?
“Actually, first they call the White House. At one point they told me I was third or fourth on the list. So I guess that’s one of the benefits of funding the project. But the phone hasn’t rung yet.”
What would that kind of discovery mean to you?
“That would be such a life-changing thing, for us all to know that there are other beings out there who we could potentially communicate with, or maybe we are listening to a signal that they transmitted hundreds of millennia ago. And then we’d say, “Well, what was in the message? Can we decode the message, and can we communicate back? What are they really like? Are they oxygen-breathing bipeds, or are they a gas cloud on some gas-giant planet?”

On Music

 http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/emp/allen.shtml   Gene Stout Seattle P-I
June 22, 2000   The Visionary: Jimi Hendrix set off a spark in Paul Allen’s Imagination  (On Jimi Hendrix, music and the Experience Music Project Music Museum):
I think Jimi expressed in some of his interviews, and in his songs, the idea that music serves as a magic carpet that can take you to different places,” Allen says. “There’s a churchlike feeling there, and great music makes the spirit soar.”  …..

“………..”It was really a challenge to come up with things that were hands-on, yet robust enough to stand up to thousands of people using them and still allow a level of instruction for someone who hasn’t had much experience playing an instrument,” Allen says. 
“We just want to get them excited about music and think, ‘Hey, here’s a door I can go through.’ There’s a lot of fun and excitement in self-expression.” 


 On Football:

“Hail From the Chief” by Brian Davis from the Seahawks’ website:   http://www.seahawks.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1002
“My experience with football goes back to watching Husky games with my father when I was under the age of 10—outdoors, eating a hot dog and cracking open some peanuts and seeing a game played out in the elements. That’s real football to me, so that was my dream and I think we’re delivering on that.”

On Science Fiction and  the Science Fiction Museum

  “The Microsoft billionaire, whose personal collection inspired the idea for a museum, hopes the facility attracts droves of sci-fi fans from around the galaxy.
“I was exposed to science fiction at an early age,” Allen says. “I think… it’s actually about science and where science is going to take humanity and culture in the future.”

On The Allen Institute for Brain Science

From “Piece of Mind” The Economist  http://www.economist.com/theworldin/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12494720&d=2009 
   “The scientists used state-of-the-art technology to dissect a mouse brain, photographed it sliver section by section, then reassembled it in a computer database that would allow easy access. But it was the speed at which the project was accomplished and what they did with it afterwards that changed the game.
They released it to the public. Over the Internet. Free.
When we first put the mouse-brain atlas online free, it was met by the research world with suspicion. People wondered what the catch was. Scientific research has long been a solitary endeavour—one researcher, one microscope. Findings are protected so that discovery credit can be clearly defined and awarded. This is a successful model and will continue to be.
However, the Human Genome Project demonstrated a different path: multiple teams working collaboratively towards a common goal. I believe a real acceleration in progress and innovation comes from the open sharing of ideas and collaboration. We wanted the mouse atlas to be free and available for all to use as the basis for foundational research and discovery.
A new generation of implantable pacemakers for the brain will be widely used to treat everything from depression to addiction and Parkinson’s disease
If we thought it would be a hit right out of the gate, we were slightly wrong. It took a while for people to trust that it really was free to use. No one believed in a free lunch.
Now, things have changed. Today we have many scientists using the atlas for their research into Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorders, Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s, fragile x mental retardation and epilepsy. The atlas is also giving scientists insight into alcoholism, obesity, sleep, hearing and memory.”

And from a recent Wired Article:

In March 2002, Paul Allen—co-founder of Microsoft and 41st-richest person in the world—brought together a dozen neuroscientists for a three-day meeting aboard his 300-foot yacht, Tatoosh, which was anchored in Nassau, Bahamas. At the time, Allen’s philanthropic work consisted of an eclectic (some say frivolous) set of endeavors. There was the Experience Music Project in Seattle, a rock-and-roll museum designed by Frank Gehry; the Allen Telescope Array, 350 radio telescopes dedicated to deep-space observation and the search for extraterrestrial life; and SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded plane developed to put a human in space. But Allen was eager to start something new: a project involving neuroscience. He was excited by the sheer uncharted mystery of the mind—one of the last, great scientific frontiers—hoping a single large-scale endeavor could transform the field.
“I first got interested in the brain through computers,” Allen says. “There’s a long history of artificial intelligence programs that try to mimic what the brain is doing, but they’ve all fallen short. Here’s this incredible computer, a really astonishing piece of engineering, and we have no idea how it works.”
Over several days, Allen asked the neuroscientists to imagine a way to move their field forward dramatically. “I wanted them to think big,” he says. “Like the Human Genome Project, only for the brain.”

http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/17-04/ff_brainatlas (Jonah Lehrer 3/23/09)

and from The Discover Interview: Paul Allen by Evan Ratliff  

Your interest in the workings of the brain seems like a logical step for someone who started out writing software.
“Yeah, if you are involved in computers, at some point you end up being fascinated by the idea of the human brain. The human brain works in a completely different fashion from a computer and does some things so much better than a computer, and this may remain true for the next 100, 200 years. How can that be? So I brought a bunch of neuroscientists together and asked, “What can I do that would be interesting and different that would potentially help the field of neuroscience move forward?” The answer was a genetic database of the mouse brain.”

On Space Travel:


Paul G. Allen
Remarks on Winning ‘The Robert J. Collier Trophy’
National Air and Space Museum
Washington, DC
April 19, 2005
from www.paulallen.com website

  “I feel I’ve been lucky to be part of three great waves of change—the personal computer, the Internet, and now private space travel.  All were extraordinary, but for sheer adrenaline, nothing will ever top that day last June when we first sent Mike Melvill to the edge of space in SpaceShipOne. 
I was always interested in flight and growing up in Seattle in the 1950s and ’60s was a great place to explore those interests. We had the World’s Fair, a strong local aeronautics industry, and I loved going to the library with my mother where I found books like Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo,” or Willy Ley’s “Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel.” 
Science fiction was great back then, but it was amazing how much trouble it had keeping up with the reality of actual space travel. Like millions of American kids, I followed the Mercury suborbital flights, then Gemini, and then the Apollo lunar missions. I remember how exciting it was to watch those events on our grainy black and white TV set. Like many kids back then, I built scores of airplane and rocket models, and naturally, I had a plastic Air Force helmet with a flip-down visor. I even had hopes to become an astronaut one day. But after my 5th grade teacher realized I was sitting in the front row of class and squinting—it became apparent that I was nearsighted and I realized that becoming an astronaut was not in the cards for me. 
I have no doubt that these formative early experiences with space exploration helped fuel my desire to build and program computers. That same spirit of invention was always in the air in the early days of Microsoft. With SpaceShipOne, the work we did with Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled reminded me in many ways of the work Bill Gates and I were doing when we were just starting out. There aren’t that many times in your life you get to work on a project that is challenging, groundbreaking, and just plain fun.”

Recently on space travel, while watching friend Charles Simonyi blast off into space for a trip to the International Space Station:

“It’s fantastic to see a launch, but when it’s one of your friends it’s just something so special,”  Allen told Associated Press.   Allen said he would not be interested into getting into orbit using Russian technology, but is hoping to using his own spacecraft. He is a major investor in SpaceShipOne, the first commercial space operation.
http://www.personalspaceflight.info/2009/03/27/paul-allen-future-space-tourist/     http://content.usatoday.com/topics/photo/People/Business,+Science+and+Technology+Figures/Paul+Allen/0dnL0857t8gym/4 )
 On SpaceShipOne:

” As an engineer, I’ve learned to avoid words like “awesome” or “amazing” that don’t describe things specifically; but I can’t think of any other way to describe Burt’s team and what they have achieved. With only 20-odd people, working out of a simple hangar in the Mojave Desert, they reinvented, for all time, the way we view space exploration—that we can accomplish it in new and cost-effective ways as private enterprise, and that soon it will be a possibility for a great many of us.

I’d also like to say a word about courage. Never in my career have I put my own life on the line to advance knowledge. Our pilots did just that. I can’t say enough to convey my thanks to Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie and their families for their commitment to SpaceShipOne. Without them, none of us would be here today. The early aircraft pioneer Otto Lilienthal once said, “To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.”…………………..
…………..But I hope SpaceShipOne does more than just bring people to the edge of space. I hope it helps to rekindle a passion for aviation, rocketry and exploration among kids. And I hope it motivates educators to lay the important foundation of making science and math really engaging to a new generation of students. ” (Collier speech as posted on paulallen.com)
On the Biggest Thrill: 

 “I feel I’ve been lucky to be part of three great waves of change—the personal computer, the Internet, and now private space travel. All were extraordinary, but for sheer adrenaline, nothing will ever top that day last June when we first sent Mike Melvill to the edge of space in SpaceShipOne.” (Collier)
On what he wants to be his legacy:

 “You just try to create things or look for opportunities to do things for the world at large that are going to make the world a better place.”

On The Future:

 “I was always thinking about the future as a kid,” he says. “When you’re
a kid, you think anything is possible. You don’t know about constraints.”

  Living: Sunday, June 14, 1998  A Wealth Of Interests — The Big-Idea Billionaire — Paul Allen Is Into
Sports, Technology, Music, Real Estate, Movies – And He’s Not Done Yet”  by Richard Seven
  (He still does think anything is possible, or at least he seems to….)
 “From technology to science to music to art, I’m inspired by those who’ve blurred the boundaries, who’ve looked at the possibilities, and said, “What if…? 
 In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way. Challenges inspire me, whether it’s pushing further into space than any private citizen ever has, as with SpaceShipOne or into the inner reaches of the human mind, as with the Allen Brain Atlas initiative. The varied possibilities of the universe have dazzled me since I was a child, and they continue to drive my work, my investments, and my philanthropy.”
 I hope you believe, as I do, in the inexhaustible ability of human beings to find answers to problems, to create works of beauty and originality, and to craft vital new ideas inspired by those who’ve gone before. The possible is constantly being redefined, and I care deeply about helping humanity move forward. “
(From Paul Allen’s website www.paulallen.com)
 And as he said a couple of years ago, in Paul Allen’s own words…..

  “I’m not near the end of the story.” 

 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2005-01-17-paul-allen_x.htm  (Microsoft Co-founder’s Dreams Funded into Reality  by Allison Linn   1/17/05)
I can’t wait to hear more…..looking forward to hearing the rest of the story in your memoirs, Paul!!!!…. 🙂


*From Jason Quick of the Oregonian: (http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindblazersbeat/2009/04/behind_the_blazers_locker_room_13.html)

“A scene that shows how fired up owner Paul Allen is: As the media was waiting to get inside the postgamelocker room, Allen emerged from his private suite. As he walked through the gauntlet of reporters he looked at me and smiled. “Are you ready? Ready for the playoffs?” And with that, he extended a fist for a fist-bump. I think it’s safe to say Paul is ready for the playoffs. And I think it’s safe to say Paul is glad he didn’t sell the team a couple of years ago. I still contend he is one of the best owners in sports.”

*1 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2009076872_blazers18.html


So what is Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen’s connection to Life, the Universe and Everything?  

Well, to begin with, it’s not through “Life Itself” although he is linked to the author of a book by that name.*1 See…http://www.amazon.com/Life-Itself-Touchstone-Books-Paperback/dp/0671255630  
And it’s not through the Universe, although Paul Allen built a spaceship (and launched an industry) in order to traverse it.   http://www.scaled.com/projects/tierone/041004_spaceshipone_x-prize_flight_2.html *2

    And it’s not even through “Everything,” although Alanis Morissette was one of the artists who opened Paul Allen’s music museum, the Experience Music Project in June of 2000.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEKYPe7yrYQ   

So what’s the connection? Perhaps the best way to answer the second question is to start with the first. So:  Q: What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?  A:  (To quote Google Calculator:) 


The answer to life, the universe and everything = 42

    More about calculator.



 42—-The answer to life, the universe and everything—comes from Douglas Adam’s series, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In the story, a “simple answer” to the Ultimate Question is requested from the computer “Deep Thought,” which was specially designed for this very purpose.  After 7 ½ million years and much anticipation, the computer arrives at its disappointing conclusion— “42.”

See…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GUV7zz-8Oc

“Forty two!” yelled Loonquawl. “Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.” [2] ( from Wikipedia)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_(number)    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0371724/  

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy began as a BBC Radio 4 series which first aired in March of 1978. The story has since been transformed into a series of best selling novels, a TV series, a record album and computer game and several stage adaptations, including a movie which was released in 2005.   

So what is Paul Allen’s connection to Life, the Universe and Everything?

Let’s start with Allen’s connection to the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.  Paul Allen is connected to writer Douglas Adams, who was sometimes affectionately referred to as “DNA,” because Adams and Allen were both portrayed in the movie “Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires.” See… http://www.nba.com/blazers/features/Six_Degrees_Paul_Allen-109576-41.html   and  http://www.pbs.org/nerds/part1.html  and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0010930/bio   

Douglas Adams also worked on Monte Python’s Flying Circus with Eric Idle, who has been a guest at Paul Allen’s parties. See… https://within6degrees.wordpress.com/category/john-cleese/ 

And through the Hitchhiker movie, Paul Allen is also connected to Kevin Bacon—-

(through John Malkovich, who starred in Hitchhiker as well as “Queen’s Logic” with Kevin Bacon)


to Scarlett Johansson, of  The Perfect Score—–

 (through Hitchhiker’s Zooey Deschanel).

See this Gap commercial:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le6QrkyvHaU 

 Finally, “Deep Thought,” the computer that took 7 ½ million years to come up with the answer “42” from the movie, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” has an IBM counterpart by the same name that plays a mean game of chess. 

See.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Thought  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_characters_from_The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy#Deep_Thought  http://www.chessgames.com/player/deep_thought.html

  According to Wikipedia,   IBM’s “Deep Thought” was named after Douglas Adam’s fictional AI computer.   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Thought_%28chess_computer%29    (And IBM is linked to Paul Allen because IBM played a key role in the history of Microsoft’s rise to fame. See… http://www.thocp.net/companies/microsoft/microsoft_company.htm )   

Paul Allen has invested in his own kind of “Deep Thought” computer—the  “Digital Aristotle” — “an application capable of answering novel questions and solving advanced problems in a wide range of scientific disciplines.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Halo   http://www.projecthalo.com/    http://www.projecthalo.com/halotempl.asp?cid=04&newsid=4 

Whether Allen’s Digital Aristotle will come up with a better answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything” than “Deep Thought” did remains to be seen. J *2.5  

But since “the answer” is 42, then maybe the real question is this: 

How is Paul Allen connected to the number 42?   

Well, let’s see… 

Star Trek, Production #42  “The Trouble with Tribbles,” was written by David Gerrold, an award-winning science fiction writer who started his career in 1966 as a college student by submitting an unsolicited story outline for the television series, Star Trek. He was invited to submit several premises, and the one chosen by Star Trek was filmed as “The Trouble with Tribbles.” (from Wikipedia)     Gerrold is a featured sci fi writer at Paul Allen’s Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, Washington.  http://www.empsfm.org/education/index.asp?articleID=982 

Jupiter 42  Paul Allen’s friend, Gina Gershon, starred in the little known animated series “Tripping the Rift” about 5 misfits who live on the starship Jupiter 42. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315081/  


Vertigo 42   And Vertigo42, in the building Tower 42 in London, England (pictured on an episode of the BBC Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy) http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A21605915   is an exclusive London hotspot. Equally hot and exclusive is Paul Allen and Dave Stewart’s Hospital, which opened in Covent Garden in the same city just a few years ago.  The Hospital website   http://www.thehospitalclub.com/TheHospital/app   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hospital_(club)     Tower 42 (Vertigo 42)   www.tower42.co.uk   www.vertigo42.co.uk

  42 years ago,     In 1965, Paul Allen’s parents enrolled him in the seventh grade at Lakeside school, where he met lifelong friend and future business partner, Bill Gates and began his life-changing fascination with computers.    http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=80668   http://www.answers.com/topic/paul-allen 

42 Canines:    Allen’s family show dog, Keira, had 42 teeth.

(No, I didn’t count….. 🙂   See.. http://www.faqs.org/qa/qa-15477.html    http://www.cwalker.net/manchestersOld/Owners.htm 


BTW, why 42?

All sorts of theories have been floating around about it, but according to Douglas Adams himself,

           The answer to this is very simple.  It was a joke.  It had to be
        a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that
        one.  Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are
        all complete nonsense.  I sat at my desk, stared into the
        garden and thought `42 will do'.  I typed it out.  End of



So those are the answers……but, while we’re on the subject, what about Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen’s connection to Life IN the Universe (and everything…)? 

Funny you should ask, because a week or so ago, Allen and SETI unveiled the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, California.  The ATA is a giant array of telescopes designed to explore the heavens in search of natural and unnatural phenomena in the universe.

From The New York Times:*3

”When the Allen Telescope Array, as it is known, is complete, it will consist of 350 antennas, each 20 feet, or 6 meters, in diameter. Using the separate antennas as if they were one giant dish, radio astronomers will be able to map vast regions of the sky cheaply and efficiently. The array will help search for new phenomena like black holes eating each other and so-called dark galaxies without stars, as well as extend the search for extraterrestrial radio signals a thousandfold, to include a million nearby stars over the next two decades. On Thursday, 42 of the antennas, mass-produced from molds and employing inexpensive telecommunications technology, were to go into operation.    “It’s like cutting the ribbon on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria,” said Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the Seti Institute in Mountain View, California, who pointed out that this was the first radio telescope ever designed specifically for the extraterrestrial quest. The telescope, named for Paul Allen, who provided $25 million in seed money, is a joint project of the Radio Astronomy Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Seti Institute.

“If they do find something, they’re going to call me up first and say we have a signal,” Allen said in an interview, adding, “So far the phone hasn’t rung.” Describing himself as “a child of the ’50s, the golden age of space exploration and science fiction,” Allen, a founder of Microsoft, said he first got interested in supporting the search for extraterrestrial intelligence after a conversation 12 years ago with Carl Sagan, the Cornell University astronomer and exuberant proponent of cosmic wonder. When the idea later arose to build a telescope array on the cheap, using off-the-shelf satellite dish technology and advanced digital signal processing, Allen was intrigued. “If you know anything about me,” he said, “you know I’m a real enthusiast for new unconventional approaches to things.” *3


Over and over again you can see that Paul Allen has a soft spot for the impossible dream, the quixotic quest, the science project that crosses the boundaries of current possibility.

Whether it’s saving a football team or an old theater where he used to see 2001 A Space Odyssey, or building a space ship to reach the stars, Allen rescues the underdog, tilts at windmills and sometimes ends up with the last laugh on projects that started out with a giggle factor. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6459.html


 Inspired by his love of science fiction (Allen also founded a Science Fiction Museum in Seattle) and SETI enthusiasts such as Arthur C. Clarke, Allen became involved in supporting SETI when his friend Carl Sagan asked him to help keep the SETI program alive after the Government decided to stop funding it. In 2001 he joined with the University of California, Berkeley, and the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute to install a set of 42 dish antennas in Hat Creek, California.    On October 11, the first phase of the ATA was put into operation.


From Time Magazine:*4

“The so-called Allen Telescope Array (ATA), which was scheduled to go live on Oct. 11, does what conventional radio telescopes do.  That is to say, it listens to the faint whisper of radio signals from celestial objects like quasars, which make up the collective voice of the universe.  But the ATA can listen on a private line too—the one on which suspiciously regular pulses emanating from the vicinity of sunlike stars would be carried. That’s how our broadcasts would sound to beings out there, and that’s how their broadcasts—if they exist—would sound to us.”*4

   Which leaves us with the question…. Is there really intelligent life out there in the Universe?  

 According to Paul Allen….  “It’s the longshot of longshots, but if we did hear a signal from another civilization, that would be world-changing.” *5 

  In any case, if there isn’t life somewhere out there in the incredibly vast, seemingly illimitable universe, then, to quote Ellie Arroway from the movie, “Contact,”   “…it’s an awful waste of space.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118884/taglines



One final thing——

In case you missed it, when Paul Allen flipped the switch on the Allen Telescope Array on October 11, 2007, guess how many of the 350  20ft radio telescopes were activated?

 42, of course…… J

Stay tuned for more 6 degrees connections…. 



Footnotes:*1 Sir Francis Crick, author of “Life Itself.” co-discovered the Double Helix
in 1953, (the year Paul Allen was born), with scientist James Watson.

Watson  is a friend of Paul Allen’s.   Not only was he a guest at Allen’s St. Petersburg party, but he is also currently a Senior Advisor for Paul Allen’s Institute for Brain Science.  http://www.alleninstitute.org/content/people.htm

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1962/watson-bio.html , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_D._Watson
https://within6degrees.wordpress.com/category/dna/   https://within6degrees.wordpress.com/category/monte-python/  

* 2. NASA is asking the same questions… http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7458.html   (NASA Seeks Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything June 2, 05, NewScientist.com news service Jeff Hecht)

*2.25 Adams, who died unexpectedly in 2001, was well-loved by his fans.   See…  http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3790659  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115398/ http://www.douglasadams.com/  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Adams   http://www.sfsite.com/02b/hh146.htm  Htichhiker’s guide review   

*2.5 Perhaps some of Allen’s latest web intelligence Ventures, including Twine or Hypertext Solutions, could do better as well ….:-)

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/19/twine-launches-a-smarter-way-to-organize-your-online-life/   http://www.hypertextsolutions.net/   http://nwvc.blogs.com/northwest_vc/

  *3 “New telescope array to listen to the universe for signs of life”
By Dennis Overbye The New York Times
Thursday, October 11, 2007

*4.   Time Magazine online  “Looking Up” by Jeffrey Kluger and Michael D. Lemonick           http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1670525,00.html

Excerpt from Time article:  “I’m someone who likes to invent what the future of science and technology looks like,” Allen says. Grandiose maybe, except that he and a Seattle school pal did that once before. The ATA could grow to 350 dishes, but it may not have to. If it gets us asking questions that go beyond the usual noise of the news, it has done its job even before its switch is thrown.”

*5.  Seattle Times “Allen’s Newest Venture for a Galaxy Far, Far Away”




Everything you wanted to know about SETI but were afraid to ask….  

 Paul Allen’s Interview last week with Boing Boing……. http://tv.boingboing.net/2007/10/10/paul-allenshow-and-t.html

SETI webcam:   http://atacam.seti.org/index.html

SETI webcam, Alternate View:


 (Just kidding—this is a clip from the movie, “Contact.” J)


Youtube Tutorial on SETI—great 6 part video 

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFX52qjN6VU  Edna Devore (2) Space Suits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oicr5mH4ViI Space Craft Images (3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwhHChD-pS8  Thomas Pierson (4) (CEO–SETI) Jill Tartar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdZCEYMe3mM  Frank Drake (5) Darwin and Orchids http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA_8_LDKfhw  The Drake Equation (6)_  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPrEBLmClFA   


 SETI History:
http://www.planetary.org/news/2005/1216_Society_Marks_Passing_of_SETI_Critic.html  `Hello, Is Anyone Out There?’ Congress Thinks Not
Source: Morning Edition (NPR)
Date: 2/25/1994

Allen Telescope Array (early stages)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcC5I-hnQpg  


From a 2004 Space.com article about SETI: The ATA will be a general-purpose radio telescope that will provide fundamentally new measurements and insights into the density of the very early universe, the formation of stars, the magnetic fields in the interstellar medium, and a host of other applications of deep interest to astronomers. At the same time, this 21st Century radio telescope will also have the capability to search for possible signals from technologically advanced civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy.    Paul Allen: “I am very excited to be supporting one of the world’s most visionary efforts to seek basic answers to some of the fundamental questions about our universe and what other civilizations may exist elsewhere,” said Allen. “I am a big proponent of leveraging revolutionary technology and design and applying it to important problems in science. The developments taking place with this new instrument will not only enables us to realize a lot of bang for our research and development buck, but it will also change the landscape of how telescopes will be built in the future. An instrument of this magnitude, which will result in the expansion of our understanding of how the universe was formed, and how it has evolved, and our place therein, is the reason I am the primary supporter of its development, design and construction.”  


Some Great Links on the ATA: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/11/healthscience/alien.php   http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_ata_040325.html  http://www.redding.com/news/2007/oct/11/cosmos-gets-closer/    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view_article.php?article_id=93997    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1670525,00.html   http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/10/11_ata.shtml  http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/10/12/409784.aspx  http://www.space.com/searchforlife/071011-seti-ata-inauguration.html  http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/10/12/tech-ata-aliens.htmlwww.seti.org  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003941324_aliens11m.html

 Miscellaneous: Carl Sagan on Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ozdwdlNVpQ   Search for Life on other planets DYI channel  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRvRfFkHGRI
Hat Creek home video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieCS-lQalqQ

What do artists Claude Monet and Willem De Kooning; Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Roy Lichtenstein, Vincent Van Gogh and Max Ernst have in common?

You have until January 1st, 2007 to find out:-).

All of the above can be seen at “Double Take: From Monet to Lichtenstein, ” an unusual art exhibit currently displayed at Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen’s music museum, The Experience Music Project, located in Seattle, Washington. The priceless paintings come from Allen’s own personal collection of art.

The exhibit has been so popular with the public that its closing date was postponed from September to January. But I think they mean it this time, and so it may be your last chance to see it.

O.k., so this is another one of those “hurry up before you miss it” kinds of posts!:)

But listen–some of these paintings have not been viewed by the public in nearly 50 years, and who knows when you’ll get another chance to see them? There is a rumor that the show may go on the road in the near future, but I haven’t heard of any definite plans, and there are some obvious problems involved in transporting 28 priceless works of art all over the country.



The exhibit pairs works from Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists—masters such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Vincent Van Gogh with the modern works of artists such as Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein.

The eclectic selection of paintings were paired together by Curator Paul Hayes Tucker in order to try to get people to see familiar works of art in a new light.  Some of the pieces were even taken out of their original frames in order to achieve this purpose.

Other paintings on display include the works of Edouard Manet, Georges Suerat, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gaugin.





It is also kind of a cheap date. The price is right–only $8 for the art exhibit alone, which is less than the cost of a movie.


The exhibit ends on January 1st, 2007, so if you are anywhere near the vicinity of Seattle, Washington and want something interesting to do this week, you might want to stop by.

I’m just saying……:-)