Robert J. Bradbury (firstname.lastname@example.org):
>It is worth remembering, that the astronomers are *presuming* these
>objects are planets (because that is the only meme their minds currently
>hold). >They could be Borg cubes, collections of planetoids, etc. All we
>know about >them with current data are the minimum mass estimates, orbital
>periods and eccentricities.
In the early to mid 1980s, one of my previous supervisors at NASA-Ames, an infrared astronomer, did a small search for Dyson spheres using his infrared spectrometers attached to some large (60") telescopes. He didn't publish his results (they were null, but he didn't have a large search area either) on that particular topic- the data on the IR stars were used in some of his other work later on.
My experience from working with IR astronomers for about 7 years is that they _do_ know about things like Dyson spheres, but probably not about "giant brains". My opinion and experience is that IR astronomers are far more "open" than you described, about topics like finding intelligence in the Universe in the different forms.
About that "Bloated Stars" topic..
I didn't read the whole thread, but I thought some people might like to have some more information about this topic.
I did some small work with combining star catalogs and IRAS data in
the early 1990s, and wrote some things about IR excess stars that could be
useful to some of you interested.
(I don't have any discussions on my writeup about the search for other planets
during the last several years because those discoveries came along after I
finished my IR astronomy jobs.)
Amara Graps | Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik
Interplanetary Dust Group | Saupfercheckweg 1
+49-6221-516-543 | 69117 Heidelberg, GERMANY
Amara.Graps@mpi-hd.mpg.de * http://galileo.mpi-hd.mpg.de/~graps
(I don't have any discussions on my writeup about the search for other planets during the last several years because those discoveries came along after I finished my IR astronomy jobs.)
"Never fight an inanimate object." - P. J. O'Rourke