News earlier this week that The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence group, SETI, had found a signal from ET appears to have been over blown. Described by SETI's chief Scientist, Dr Wertheimer, as "hype and noise", he went on to say that it was "nothing that is unusual. It's all out of proportion."
SETI takes data from it's Arecibo Aerial Telescope and distributes it to its thousands of users world wide for analysis. The chunk that set off last Thursday's media frenzy is called SHGb02+14a and was found by computers running the SETI program in Germany and the US. In its 6 years of operation, SETI have found 150 chunks that are potentially signals from ET; these 150 are found by statistical techniques performed on the data, which ascertains the likelihood of it being legitimate. Of the 150, so far 0 have been real.
SETI commented that "With Seti@home having analysed some 50 trillion frequency bands, it is not surprising that a signal like this occurs purely due to chance." Looks like we'll see a 40th edition of ET before ET really does phone home.