3 August 2001 L factor: hope and fear in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence
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Abstract
The L factor in the Drake equation is widely understood to account for most of the variance in estimates of the number of extraterrestrial intelligences that might be contacted by the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). It is also among the hardest to quantify. An examination of discussions of the L factor in the popular and technical SETI literature suggests that attempts to estimate L involve a variety of potentially conflicting assumptions about civilizational lifespan that reflect hopes and fears about the human future.
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Charles T. Rubin, Charles T. Rubin, } "L factor: hope and fear in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence", Proc. SPIE 4273, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in the Optical Spectrum III, (3 August 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.435379; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.435379
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