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On Aug. 15, 1977, Dr. Jerry R. Ehman sat at what is known as the Big Ear telescope at Ohio State University, listening to the heavens for something, anything, that had a remotely organic ring to it.
Essentially a scientific radio that lets you dial into the cosmos instead of your local community radio station, the Big Ear would print out code explaining the signal it was zeroing in on.
Naturally, most of it was just random noise.
But then, on that particular day, the interstellar antennae picked up 72 seconds of sound from the sky above that had all the hallmarks of a signal that was more than just space noise made by heavenly bodies.
Running to the computer readout, Ehman wrote "Wow!" and today this signal, which some believe is extraterrestrial in nature, is known as the Wow! Signal.
It is 10 khz of speculation.
Was it really just a signal from Earth being bounced off of space junk and returning to the planet in a distorted form or was it something alien and, if so, what were they trying to tell us?
As a juxtoposition, 31 years later, we find ourselves and the nation locked in yet another federal election.
Just days into the campaign, the leaders of the political parties have little more to argue about than stating the environment is good, spending for it is bad and everybody is either weak in character or just an outright liar.
With that aside, we hear not much else short of mud flinging is expected to be brought up during the campaign before voters go to the polls on Oct. 14.
It's fair to say we may never know who or what was behind the Wow! Signal but it's safe to say, 31 years later, not just Canadians but the world, which will be watching us, expects something a little more sophisticated from our political sphere.
Something that makes us say "Wow."

Organizations: Ohio State University

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