The Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has real and serious scientists on the job, but they "don't get any respect" sometimes:
Despite the accusations of my correspondents, I try to keep an open mind about our search for ET.(Space dot com). We imagine what intelligent life on a planet far away might do to contact us. We don't know, so we hypothesize and listen ... to silence so far.
That's not entirely trivial. Scientists, whose job description is to learn something wonderfully new, are just as human as the next haberdashed hominid. After pursuing an exploratory experiment for years or decades, they inevitably build up both a psychological and monetary investment in their strategy. They can easily become thoroughly marinated in their current approach, and dismiss other ideas with a sneer and a wave.
I try not to do that, and I credit my colleagues with the same.
A post on the Ecocosmology blog hypothesizes that the best time to listen might be before a star is going nova.
The theoretical intelligent life there, if they had passed The Test of Ecocosmology would be able to communicate and do space travel or they would cease to exist anyway.