Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Exotic biology on Venus, SETI at Home and conversation by changing colors

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - A University of Michigan-led research team has discovered that for the first time in history, scientists will be able to observe how the Earth's gravity will disrupt a massive asteroid's spin. See article.
g Abodes - Thick Venusian clouds mask a dense greenhouse atmosphere that is inhospitably hot. But 30 miles up from the surface, conditions suggest a more temperate zone. Some scientists wonder what strange equilibrium sustains a reactive gas mixture that shouldn't co-exist there: exotic biology or not? See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Life - Scientists trying to figure out the origin of life on Earth are getting nearer to their goal, but they concede that they may never solve this profound mystery. See article.
g Intelligence - Intelligence - A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but tilt it at an unexpected angle and it may still be easy to smell, just not recognize. That is, unless you saw another object — even an unrelated one — presented at the same angle. See article.
g Message - Want to help SETI discover alien life? If you haven’t already done so, download the free SETI at Home software. Using Internet-connected computers, the program downloads and analyzes radio telescope data on your desktop when it is idle. The program has been so successful in plowing through data that other scientific researchers, especially in medicine, are adopting it to their fields. Click here for the program.
g Cosmicus - As stunning Martian panoramas captivate the world's attention, some interplanetary scientists are also glancing back over time to other surface landers on exotic horizons. Visiting Venus up-close however is not something to do without a camera and flame-retardant gear handy. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Learning - Set your VCR to record “CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Is Anybody Out There?” when it airs commercial-free on August 22, from 4-5 a.m. on CNN. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about communicating with aliens? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Michael Bishop’s “Transfigurations” (1979), in which ET converses by changing colors.
g Aftermath - Here’s an intriguing essay that discusses what might happen if we do too little to contact extraterrestrials; as the authors argue, “…skepticism regarding SETI is at best unfounded and at worst can seriously damage the long-term prospects of humanity. If ETIs exist, no matter whether friendly or adversarial (or even beyond such simple distinctions), they are relevant for our future. To neglect this is contraryy to the basic tenets of transhumanism. To appreciate this, it is only sufficient to imagine the consequences of SETI success for any aspect of transhumanist interests, and then to affirm that such a success can only be achieved without trying if they come to us, which would obviously mean that we are hopelessly lagging in the race for galactic colonization.” See article.

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