Monday, August 29, 2005

Humpback whales, gambling monkeys and Starship Daedelus

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 - Amateur astronomers are being asked to help a constellation of observatories unravel the mysteries of a puzzling binary star system. See article.
g Abodes - British researchers have hit on a clever way to search for ancient ozone holes and their relationship to mass extinctions: measure the remains of ultraviolet-B absorbing pigments ancient plants left in their fossilized spores and pollen. See article.
g Life - SETI scientists studying the humpback whales’ social and working vocalizations say the creatures’ behaviors may be the most complex in the animal kingdom. See article.
g Intelligence - ASU researcher Ana Pinto is shedding some light on an age-old mystery in anthropology: What was the relationship between Neanderthals and early humans? See article.
g Message - We often assume extraterrestrials will be smart enough to contact us. But what if they aren't? How do we find them then? See article. Note: this article is from 2001; it contains a good overview of the Drake Equation, which the format of this blog is based upon.
g Cosmicus - There’s a neat catalog and collection of links about extrasolar planets that we’ve discovered online at “Other Worlds, Distant Suns.” See article.
g Learning - An outstanding editorial appeared in the New Jersey newspaper The Record on Sunday. “Intelligent design is not science; it's not even a theory,” the editorial rightly states. “It's just a sneaky way to get religion into the classroom by ‘teaching the controversy’ that evolution can't explain all of life's complexities.” See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Brian Stableford’s Daedelus Series: “The Florians” (1976), “Critical Threshold” (1977), “Wildeblood's Empire” (1977), “City of the Sun” (1978), “Balance of Power” (1979) and “Paradox of the Sets” (1979). In the series, the Starship Daedelus recontacts lost colonies with biological mysteries.
g Aftermath To create interstellar messages that have a realistic chance of being understood across interstellar distances, we need to identify some information shared by humans and extraterrestrials. We need to identify a foundation for establishing a universal language that will let us bridge the gap between our world and theirs, all without the convenience of face-to-face contact. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.

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