Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pristine supernova grains, the Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts and growing flowers on the Moon

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 - NASA and University of Arizona researchers have found pristine mineral grains that formed in an ancient supernova explosion. See article.
g Abodes - A researcher at Yale's Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale has mapped the first detailed history of atmospheric carbon dioxide between 45 million and 25 million years ago based on stable isotopes of carbon in a National Science Foundation study reported in Science Express. See article.
g Life - Japanese scientists say that DNA tests have shown that the prehistoric woolly mammoth is more closely related to Asian elephants than to their African counterparts, settling a long-running debate over the lineage of the giant animals that went extinct 10,000 years ago. See article.
g Intelligence - The human brain struggles to simultaneously look and listen, a new study suggests. See article.
g Message - The Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts, or SETA, is about delineating between the artificial and the real. In the case of radio detection from other stellar systems, the artificial is what is labeled the real signal that intelligent communications are on-air. See article. Note: This article is a couple of years old.
g Cosmicus - Bernard Foing, project scientist for the lunar satellite SMART-1, discusses the steps we need to take to develop bases on the Moon. Growing flowers is one step towards making the lunar desert an oasis for human life. See article.
g Learning - How are key concepts of astrobiology treated in science fiction? See article. Note: This article is from 2001 and intended to be used as part of a classroom lesson.
g Imagining - Book alert: “Intelligent Life in the Universe,” by Peter Ulmschneider, concentrates on planet formation and the characteristics needed for the development of life, the timetable of evolution, and the effects on our planet and others of life becoming intelligent. A lecturer could build an intriguing general science module around this book. New in this book is the argument that, by thinking carefully about the future development of mankind, one can gain insight into the nature of extraterrestrial civilizations. It’s an interesting book for what concerns the scientific chapters, and also the speculative part will definitely interest a great number of readers. See reviews.
g Aftermath - As we look toward exploring other worlds, and perhaps even bringing samples back to Earth for testing, astrobiologists have to wonder: could there be alien pathogens in those samples that will wreak havoc on our world? See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

Read this blogger’s books

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Extrasolar planets, facial geometry and marketing to alien civilizations

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 – Which came first, galaxies or the supermassive black holes at their center? Most cosmologists now think the two are inextricably linked, each depending on the other. And according to researchers, including famed astronomer Sir Martin J Rees, these supermassive black holes got big, fast. By reviewing quasar data in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the team has calculated that many supermassive black holes had reached 1 billion times the mass of our Sun in a very short period of time. Even for the largest, most voracious black holes in the universe, that's an amazing feat. See article.
g Abodes – What have scientists learned in a decade of searching for extrasolar planets? Are there other solar systems just like our own waiting to be discovered, or are our Sun and its contingent of planets in some way unique? In this interview with Astrobiology Magazine, Professor of Astronomy Geoff Marcy, one of the world's leading planet-hunters, reflects on recent otherworldly discoveries and speculates on what surprises may lay in store. See article.
g Life – Birds squawk and chirp to attract mates and warn of danger. But much of their intelligent chatter has until now eluded human comprehension. See article.
gIntelligence – A person's prior knowledge of the geometry of faces affects his or her ability to estimate distance and complete visually guided reaching tasks according to a study published in the June issue of Journal of Vision, an online, free access publication of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. See article.
g Message – Most people see the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence as a project for merely listening for signals from other stars, but Yvan Dutil and Stephane Dumas from the Defense Research Establishment Valcartier in Canada had other ideas in mind when they recently composed a message sent to the stars. See article.
g Cosmicus – The welcome sign is up at Mojave, Calif. — the proud home of SpaceShipOne, the piloted craft that achieved the first privately bankrolled suborbital flight. Last year’s notable suite of runs to the edge of space by the rocket plane has raised expectations of a money-making, booming market for passenger-carrying spaceliners. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat Web site: Solar System Live. It allows you to observe the locations of planets at various (modern) dates. See article.
g Imagining – The latest movie incarnation of H.G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” hits theaters today. In Wells' story, Martians invaded the Earth — only to be brought down by a virus. Mars was once thought to be the most likely of the planets to harbor life, and so was a great source of inspiration for filmmakers. This review examines Mars in the history of the cinema. See article.
g Aftermath – It is sometimes said that the best form of advertising is education. But what products would our global marketplace tolerate at the borders of an encounter with another, perhaps far different civilization? To get some perspective, an expert entertains the question of how to advertise our presence to a more universal demographic. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Planetary construction zone, Innovation Triangle Initiative and alien feelings

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 – Interstellar travelers might want to detour around the star system TW Hydrae to avoid a messy planetary construction site. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomers have discovered that the gaseous protoplanetary disk surrounding TW Hydrae holds vast swaths of pebbles extending outward for at least 1 billion miles. These rocky chunks should continue to grow in size as they collide and stick together until they eventually form planets. See article.
g Abodes – Does life exist on other planets? An atmosphere rich in oxygen is the most likely source of energy for complex life to exist anywhere in the universe. See article.
g Life – From feathered carnivores that resemble T. rex to amazing four-winged flyers, paleontologists have built a case for birds descending from dinosaurs. See article.
g Intelligence – The ability to take in visual cues and basically fill in the blanks allows humans to process information very quickly, but new research shows that it also can lead to misperceptions – like seeing things that are not there. See article.
g Message – Looking for life elsewhere is a tough task for human or robot. The good news is that the scientific skill and tools to search for, detect and inspect extraterrestrial life are advancing rapidly. See article.
g Cosmicus – Drilling holes on other planets and inventing novel textiles to secure large structures in space are just two of the 27 challenges that expert teams have been working on in the first year of ESA’s Innovation Triangle Initiative. See article.
g Learning – What is an astrobiologist, and can you become one? See article.
g Imagining – While science fiction can prove remarkably accurate on technological development, it falls well short of reality when it comes to biology and behavior. Many of the bug-eyed monsters we see depicted in movies, books and comics are not only very unlikely but also completely unfeasible. And aliens all too often are charmingly naive about such things as violence and love. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Aftermath – A 1998 report by the National Research Council Space Studies Board Task Group on Sample Return from Small Solar System Bodies assesses the potential for a living entity to be present in or on samples returned from small solar system bodies such as planetary satellites, asteroids and comets. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Monday, June 27, 2005

Fomalhaut’s dust ring, disappearing Earth and why aliens wouldn’t look like us

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 - British astronomers last week saw the first images from an ambitious new program of discovery, the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey. The survey will scour the sky with the world's most powerful infrared survey camera to find some of the dimmest and most distant objects in the universe. See article.
g Abodes - A dust ring around the bright star Fomalhaut is off-center, suggesting a planet may be orbiting the star. Visible images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope show details of this dust ring staring back at us from space. See article.
g Life - Hummingbirds are masters of the air - unique among birds for their ability to hover for long periods of time. Using a sophisticated digital imaging technique, scientists have now determined the aerodynamics of hummingbird flight. These latest data disprove conclusions from numerous earlier studies that hummingbirds hovered like insects despite their profound muscle and skeletal differences. See article.
g Intelligence - Brain sizes can be estimated from the internal volume of fossil skulls. When a corrective formula for body size is used, average brain size is a good indicator of relative intelligence. The overall brain body ratio of non-human primates is above that of vertebrates as a whole. The brain body ratio of Homo compared to that of the non-human primates is even greater. The following graph shows that all primates brain/body ratios lie on or above the regression line. New World monkeys, such as marmosets, are much less intelligent than Old World monkeys, such as macaques and baboons. Chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and early hominids (Australopithecus afarensis) have about the same brain/body ratio. Homo ergaster and Homo sapiens lead the crowd. See article.
g Message - A pioneer of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has warned that for any intelligent aliens trying to search for us, "the Earth is going to disappear" very soon. Frank Drake's point, made at a SETI workshop at Harvard University, is that television services are increasingly being delivered by technologies that do not leak radio frequencies into space. But he added that in some ways the observation is good news for SETI, as it means that the failure of Earth-based observers to detect aliens so far may be less worrisome than it would otherwise seem. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered a tiny biological structure that is highly electrically conductive. This breakthrough helps describe how microorganisms can clean up groundwater and produce electricity from renewable resources. It may also have applications in the emerging field of nanotechnology, which develops advanced materials and devices in extremely small dimensions. See article.
g Learning - Looking for an overview of the astrobiological field? Try "Introduction to Exobiology", which explores the field from a lay perspective and includes a self-test. It's part of the Cruising Chemistry project at Duke.
g Imagining - Would extraterrestrials look like us? Why not? In sci-fi movies, aliens are often basically humanoid in size and shape, like the Klingons in “Star Trek,” or various characters in the “Star Wars” films. Even the robots are built on anthropomorphic lines, because there's an actor inside that suit, whether it's furry, scaly or metallic. The advent of computer-generated imagery means this limitation might be left aside, but alien monsters still tend to be given broad similarities to our own form: bilateral symmetry, and something that looks like a head. See article.
g Aftermath - While formal principles have been adopted for the eventuality of detecting intelligent life in our galaxy (SETI Principles), no such guidelines exist for the discovery of non-intelligent extraterrestrial life within the solar system. Current scientifically based planetary protection policies for solar system exploration address how to undertake exploration, but do not provide clear guidance on what to do if and when life is detected. Considering that Martian life could be detected under several different robotic and human exploration scenarios in the coming decades, it is appropriate to anticipate how detection of non-intelligent, microbial life could impact future exploration missions and activities, especially on Mars. This paper discusses a proposed set of interim guidelines based loosely on the SETI Principles and addresses issues extending from the time of discovery through future handling and treatment of extraterrestrial life on Mars or elsewhere. Based on an analysis of both scientific and ethical considerations, there is a clear need for developing operating protocols applicable at the time of discovery and a decision making framework that anticipates future missions and activities, both robotic and human. There is growing scientific confidence that the discovery of extraterrestrial life in some form is nearly inevitable. If and when life is discovered beyond Earth, non-scientific dimensions may strongly influence decisions about the nature andscope of future missions and activities. It is appropriate to encourage international discussion and consideration of the issues prior to an event of such historical significance. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bok globules, life sciences in space symposium and Mars on radio

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 - Named after Harvard University astronomer Bart Bok, Bok globules may not be the most romantic sounding phrase in astronomy, but they are widely accepted as an important step in the formation of new stars. Now a team of astronomers reports examining ten globules to determine how many of them are stars in the making. See article.
g Abodes - Intriguing and often-examined gullies on Mars might not be created by water seeping out from underground springs. Rather, they are likely caused by trickling water from melting snowpacks, an active process that could sustain biology on the Red Planet. See article.
g Life - Today the 9th European Symposium on Life Sciences Research in Space will commence its proceedings at the Maternushaus in Cologne, Germany. During the four-day gathering, biologists and medical researchers will present the latest results of their current space research. See article.
g Intelligence - The small songbirds, which are common throughout much of North America, use their signature calls in a wide variety of social interactions including warning of predators. And it turns out that those alarms are far more subtle and information-packed than scientists previously imagined. Does one of the most sophisticated signaling systems discovered among animals tell us anything about the evolution of intelligence, on Earth or elsewhere? See article.
g Message - Tired of the alien-of-the-week as depicted by "Star Trek"? Jar-Jar Binks bugging you? Are you wondering where the real space sentients are, and if they are weirder than we can even imagine? You are not alone – and in all probability, we are not alone either. At least, that’s what the folks at SETI – the Search for Extra- Terrestrial Intelligence – are betting. See article.
g Cosmicus - A bed-rest study with female participants will help scientists understand changes to the immune response and decreased resistance to infection in space. See article.
g Learning - Everyone should the day off on a positive note. That's why I recommend setting "Astronomy Picture of the Day" as your homepage. Every day NASA posts a new, high-resolution photo of some space phenomenon. There's an extensive archive, too. See article.
g Imagining - Historically, Mars was thought to be the most likely of the planets to harbor life. Popular culture in the form of literature, and then later radio and film, reflected such beliefs. This review examines Mars in the history of radio. See article.
g Aftermath - Humans live and die by approximations. We are seldom as perfect or as accurate as we would like to be. And as we contemplate what we might say to an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, maybe that's a point we should emphasize. See article.

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Life on Venus, jumping genes and superfluid matter

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 - When a binary star system starts to transfer mass, one of the twins may well win out, leaving its companion to occupy a strange region half way between a star and a planet. A new star-type of this sort has been found, which resembles the infrared ash of a stillborn star. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Abodes - Microbes may be riding high in the atmosphere of Earth's sister planet, Venus. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Life - Could there have been more than one biogenesis event on Earth? See article.
g Intelligence - Scientists have now found a connection between the variety in the brain's neurons and certain genes that can change their position in the genetic code. These so-called "jumping genes" may gently scramble the blueprints for the brain. See article.
g Message - As far as we know, humanity is alone in the Universe: there is no definite evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life, let alone extraterrestrial civilizations capable of communicating or traveling over interstellar distances. Yet popular speculation about the existence of ETCs abounds, including reports of alien visitations either now or in the past. But there is a middle way. It is now possible to put limits on the existence of ETCs of varying capabilities, within arbitrary distances from the Solar System, and conceive of real-world strategies whereby we might communicate with ETCs, or they with us. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Cosmicus - NASA-funded researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., have created a new form of superfluid matter. This research may lead to improved superconducting materials, useful for energy-efficient electricity transport and better medical diagnostic tools. See article.
g Learning - What are university students learning about astrobiology? Check out "An Introduction to Astrobiology." Compiled by a team of experts, this textbook has been designed for elementary university courses in astrobiology. It begins with an examination of how life may have arisen on Earth and then reviews the evidence for possible life on Mars, Europa and Titan. The potential for life in exoplanetary systems and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence are also discussed. The text contains numerous useful learning features such as boxed summaries, student exercises with full solutions, and a glossary of terms. It is also supported by a Web site hosting further teaching materials. Written in an accessible style that avoids complex mathematics, this book is suitable for self-study and will appeal to amateur enthusiasts as well as undergraduate students. It contains numerous helpful learning features such as boxed summaries, student exercises with full solutions, and a glossary of terms. The book is also supported by a Website hosting further teaching materials. See article.
g Imagining - Why is it that people tend to talk of "Martians," rather than, say, "Saturnians" or "Jovians," when the topic of extraterrestrial life is broached? Historically, Mars was thought to be the most likely of the planets to harbor life. Popular culture in the form of literature, and then later radio and film, reflected such beliefs. This review examines Mars in the history of literature. See article.
g Aftermath - Hundreds of astronomers yesterday learned that life in outer space is likely to lack green eyes and be far more prosaic, tiny and, quite possibly, completely unlike life as we know it. This blunt appraisal came from the University of Washington's Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution, one of the first programs in the country to give an advanced degree in astrobiology. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Friday, June 24, 2005

Heavy metal planets, bigger brains and Allen Telescope Array

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 - To see the afterglow of the Big Bang is to know the age of the universe: 13.7 billion years within a remarkable 1 percent error. But in just the first 200 million years, the embryonic stars ignited their fusion of light elements towards heavier ones, according to the most recent NASA microwave measurements. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Abodes - Planets like the Earth cannot form unless elements heavier than helium are available. These heavy elements, or “metals,” were not produced in the Big Bang. They result from fusion inside stars and have been gradually building up over the lifetime of the universe. Recent observations indicate that the presence of giant extrasolar planets at small distances from their host stars is strongly correlated with high metallicity of the host stars. The presence of these close-orbiting giants is incompatible with the existence of Earth-like planets. Thus, there may be a Goldilocks selection effect: with too little metallicity, earths are unable to form for lack of material, with too much metallicity giant planets destroy earths. See article.
g Life - Cornell University entomologist Anthony Shelton finds when engineered crops containing just one Bacillus thuringiensis toxin grow near modified plants with two toxins, insects may more rapidly develop resistance to all the engineered plants. The soil bacterium, whose genes are inserted into crop plants such as maize and cotton, creates these toxins that are deadly to insects but harmless to humans. See article.
g Intelligence - People with bigger brains are smarter than their smaller-brained counterparts, according to a study, conducted by a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher, published in the journal Intelligence. See article.
g Message - As SETI researchers are quick and keen to point out, the Allen Telescope Array, currently under construction about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, is the first professional radio telescope designed from the get-go to speedily search for extraterrestrial signals. When completed, it will comprise 350 antennas, spread over roughly 150 acres of lava-riven real estate. See article.
g Cosmicus - Ben Bova writes in his book, "Faint Echoes, Distant Stars" about the science and politics of finding life beyond Earth. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Learning - Need a magazine to read? Subscribe to Astrobiology. The peer-reviewed explores the secrets of life's origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny in the universe. This multidisciplinary journal covers: astrophysics; astropaleontology, bioastronomy, cosmochemistry, ecogenomics, exobiology, extremophiles, geomicrobiology, gravitational biology, life detection technology, meteoritics, origins of life, planetary geoscience, planetary protection, prebiotic chemistry, space exploration technology, terraforming, and much more. See article.
g Imagining - In nearly all popular science fiction dramatizations on television, most of the alien protagonists look remarkably like humans. In "Star Trek," if you forgave the Vulcan's their ears (and their hair-styles), the Klingons their foreheads and the Bajorans their ridged noses you'd think that they were all human. After all, they have two legs, two arms, 10 fingers and toes, two ears, two eyes and a nose. And while arms and eyes are universals, two arms and two legs are parochial. See article.
g Aftermath - The search for extraterrestrial life grips the human imagination because it tells us about ourselves. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

Read this blogger’s books

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Silicate stardust, alien message in DNA and planetary protection

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 – For the first time, scientists have identified and analyzed single grains of silicate stardust in the laboratory. How they collected and analyzed the dust grains, provides a new way to study the history of the universe. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Abodes – The most exciting idea for finding liquid water on Mars may in fact be - boring. Deep drilling on the Red Planet offers both geological and biological promise, both in the search for evidence of life, as well as sustaining future human explorers of the planet. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Life – The moa, a large extinct bird from New Zealand, apparently had a decade-long adolescence. This is unheard of in birds, but it may help explain how early hunters were able to wipe out the giant birds. See article.
g Intelligence – New research has shown that the manipulation of a single gene in female fruit flies can make their sexual behavior resemble that of males, in a study that demonstrates the power of individual genes and the profound impact of genetics on complex sexual behavior. See article.
g Message – Forget waiting for ET to call — the most likely place to find an alien message is in our DNA, according to an expert in Australia. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus – The Arizona Board of Regents has approved the creation of a center for the study of astrobiology at The University of Arizona. The center, called the Life and Planets Astrobiology Center, will bring more campus researchers from various fields together to study the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. See article.
g Learning – “Teacher, why do I need to learn this?" "What’s it good for?" Students ask these questions when faced with content that seems unrelated to their lives. Motivating students is fundamental to promoting achievement in any classroom, even in science, which encompasses the entire natural world, the whole universe. Good questions and quality experiences support science learning for all students, not just those who are already science-friendly. The relatively new discipline of astrobiology asks great questions, however. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Imagining – There is a tendency for science fiction authors to and toes, two ears, two eyes and a nose, anthropomorphize - that is, to imagine that aliens are going to look and act in exactly the same way as humans would. But why would they? Aside from the broadest of physical and behavioral characteristics, aliens are not likely to be very similar to us. See article.
g Aftermath – In order to retrieve samples from another place in the solar system that might harbor life, careful planning is required to ensure that mission designs incorporate measures to safeguard both the Earth and other solar system bodies from cross contamination. These measures, collectively known as planetary protection measures, are actually tied to international law. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

Read this blogger’s books

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Milky Way’s age, the dynamic continuum in each of us and ‘Sharing the Universe’

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 Chicago professor has developed a new way to calculate the age of the Milky Way that is free of the unvalidated assumptions that have plagued previous methods. The method, which is examined in the latest issue of the journal Nature, can now be used to tackle other mysteries of the cosmos that have remained unsolved for decades. See article.
g Abodes - With the latest discovery of a "Super-Earth" around a dim, red star 15 light years from Earth, SETI scientists have been pondering the implications for their search for intelligence on other worlds article. "This planet answers an ancient question," said Geoffrey Marcy, professor of astronomy at the University of California-Berkeley and leader of the team that discovered the planet, which is seven to eight times the mass of Earth. "Over 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Epicurus argued about whether there were other Earth-like planets. Now, for the first time, we have evidence for a rocky planet around a normal star." See article.
g Life - At a recent meeting of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, molecular evolutionist Mitch Sogin explained how understanding the diversity of microbial life on Earth could help scientists in the search for life on other worlds. See article.
g Intelligence - The mind doesn't work like a computer but more like a biological organism: Not in distinct stages but as a dynamic continuum, cascading through shades of gray, concludes a new study that looked at language processing by Michael Spivey of Cornell University, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See article.
g Message - It's possible to split up the methods of finding extraterrestrial life into two categories; humans trying to discover extraterrestrial life, and humans trying to be discovered by extraterrestrial life. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Cosmicus - On Mars, water ice may be both biological buried treasure and a rich resource for future Mars explorers. See article.
g Learning - The National Science Teachers Association publication for middle school teachers, Science Scope (9/04) features the article "Astrobiology in the Classroom" and a pullout activity guide. The article describes the scope of astrobiology and how astrobiology might fit into science education. The activity guide is designed to help you introduce astrobiology in your regular science curriculum. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with the NOVA Origins TV show, a four-part PBS series, which aired in 2004. See article and activity guide.
g Imagining - In our current cultural fascination with the idea of alien beings from other worlds, most of it hokey at best and just plain wrong at worst, there is a definite need for some popular-level literature which helps to sort the rational wheat from the pseudoscience and Hollywood chaff. SETI scientist Seth Shostak wrote such a book, “Sharing the Universe,” in 1998. Shostak gives a comprehensive and most readable survey of what we do (and especially do not) know about life beyond the planet Earth, and how we are going about searching for our fellow inhabitants of the universe. See article.
g Aftermath - How to predict reactions to receipt of evidence for an otherworldly intelligence? Some scientists argue that any unpredictable outcomes can only be judged against our own history. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Terraforming, laser pulses and micro spacecraft

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 – Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison once said that the most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. See article.
g Abodes – Say the word “terraforming” amid a gathering of space enthusiasts, and it’s a bit like upending your beer mug in an Australian pub. It means you’re ready to duke it out with anybody in the joint. And the fight usually breaks out along these lines: One team sees the quest to replicate the biosphere of Earth on other planets as a moral imperative, an inevitable destiny or both. Others — equally passionate — recoil at such pretension, proclaiming with surety that humans have no right to interfere with nature as writ large upon the face of other worlds. Both viewpoints are, of course, so fraught with self-defeating conflicts as to be, well, flat out wrong. See article.
g Life – USDA Forest Service research suggests that a decline in the abundance of freshwater mussels about 1,000 years ago may have been caused by Native Americans’ large-scale cultivation of maize. See article.
g Intelligence – Archaeologists have returned to a dig near the Colorado-Kansas border for a third summer, but this year's work has taken on new importance. Radiocarbon dating results completed in February showed that mammoth and prehistoric camel bones found at a rural site near Kanorado, about a mile from the Colorado border, dated back to 12,200 years ago. That would mean people who once camped at the site might have arrived in the Great Plains 700 years before historians previously thought. See article.
g Message – In 2001, California astronomers broadened the search for extraterrestrial intelligence with a new experiment to look for powerful light pulses beamed our way from other star systems. Scientists from the University of California's Lick Observatory, the SETI Institute, UC-Santa Cruz, and UC-Berkeley used the Lick Observatory's 40-inch Nickel Telescope with a new pulse-detection system capable of finding laser beacons from civilizations many light-years distant. Unlike other optical SETI searches, this new experiment is largely immune to false alarms that slow the reconnaissance of target stars. See article.
g Cosmicus – NASA and The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, Calif., are preparing to flight test “micro spacecraft” as early as next year. The first versions would be attached to larger space vehicles as “black box” flight recorders to provide an independent monitor of conditions as standard-sized craft attempt to land on other planets. See article.
g Learning – For those new to astrobiology, here’s a nice basic primer on “the science of star life”.
g Imagining – Could alien life evolve on the nearest Sun-like star, Tau Ceti, as is suspected it will in many science fiction tales? See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Aftermath – With humanity now on the verge of being capable to leave its home world, Earth, scientists have begun to wrestle with the consequences of this next great journey; of the social impact humanity will have upon discovering life elsewhere, be it fossil, bacterial or an intelligent civilization. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Extrasolar planets, melted asteroids and Dyson Spheres

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 – These days, planets outside of our solar system are being discovered at a rate of about two a week. How to keep up? Try the “Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia,” a comprehensive collection of information and many links. See
g Abodes – Many of the Earth's volcanic rocks might have come from melted asteroids, according to researchers from the United Kingdom's Open University. The scientists have discovered that many early asteroids were quite volcanic and would have had large magma oceans. These asteroids would have become layered with lighter rock forming near the surface while denser rocks remained deeper inside. The Earth probably grew from the accumulation of these melted asteroids. See article.
g Life – Scientists at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have constructed a computer simulation that allows them to study the relationship between biochemical fluctuations within a single cell and the cell's behavior as it interacts with other cells and its environment. See article.
g Intelligence – Standing still when a threat is detected is a defensive, protective reaction. This ancestral and automatic behavior allows the prey to stay unnoticed by a potential predator. A new study published in Psychophysiology finds that humans, like many other complex animals, freeze when encountering a threat. See article.
g Message – Could intelligent beings in another solar system have hidden their sun by knocking their planets apart and using the pieces to build a hollow ball around their sun? For more on “Dyson Spheres,” see article.
g Cosmicus – “Martian bread and green tomato jam,” “spirulina gnocchis” and “potato and tomato mille-feuilles” are three delicious recipes that two French companies have created for ESA and future space explorers to Mars and other planets. The challenge for the chefs was to offer astronauts well-flavored food, made with only a few ingredients that could be grown on Mars. The result was 11 tasty recipes that could be used on future ESA long-duration space missions. See article.
g Learning – New to astronomy? Try “Astronomy 101”, a free online course introducing you to the stars. You get a cool certificate at the course’s end.
g Imagining – So, you want to design your own alien species for a science fiction story. The guidelines at this Web site describe some of the general thought processes that went into the creation process, and apply to both sapient and non-sapient life forms. First and foremost, always remember to use our own wonderfully weird earth for inspiration. Insects and deep-marine life forms both provide examples body types and lifestyles that seem very alien indeed. See article.
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.

Read this blogger’s books

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Complex life, brain shrinkage and the Kansas State Board of Education

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 – The stars surround you. At night they are everywhere, dotting the sky; in the daytime, one, our Sun, dominates, its brilliant light washing the others away until twilight yields to darkness. They are the givers of light and life. "To know ourselves, we must know the stars." See article.
g Abodes – NASA's Deep Impact mission is about to smash into comet 9P/Tempel 1 to excavate a crater and probe the comet's internal structure. It's possible, however, that the comet will break into fragments, creating a cloud of meteoroids. That, say astronomers, may not be unnatural. See article.
g Life – Does complex life exist elsewhere in the universe? “Is there life in our stellar neighborhood?” is part 1 of Astrobiology magazine’s six-part series on the question of complex life; there are links to the other five parts at that site.
g Intelligence – Brain shrinkage, a common symptom of aging, appears to have no impact on an individual's capacity to think or learn, Australian researchers find. See article.
g Message – In 2001, a group of Russian teens from Moscow, Kaluga, Voronezh and Zheleznogorsk participated directly and via the Internet in composing a Teen-Age Message to extraterrestrial intelligence, and in the selection of target stars. Their message was transmitted in the autumn of that year, from the Evpatoria Deep Space Center. See article.
g Cosmicus – A Russian space official said his country will be able to develop the International Space Station even if U.S. participation is withdrawn. See article.
g Learning – Three State Board of Education members who drafted proposed science standards contend they're not taking a position on intelligent design, but some Kansas scientists think they're pushing it as an alternative to evolution. See article.
g Imagining – Here’s a neat Web site that examines the life cycle of the Alien — the extraterrestrial from said movie. It’s a little light on evolutionary speculation and discussing plausibility, but the life cycle is thoroughly described.
g Aftermath – Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life — even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Proplyds, distribution of life and METI vs. SETI

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 – Astronomers using the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have confirmed that many of the objects termed "proplyds" found in the Orion Nebula do have sufficient material to form new planetary systems like our own. It now appears that these protoplanetary disks are quite tenacious, bringing new grounds for optimism in the search for planetary systems. See article.
g Abodes – Desertification threatens to drive millions of people from their homes in coming decades while vast dust storms can damage the health of people continents away, an international report said. See article.
g Life – How might scientists obtain preliminary insights into the question of the distribution of life in the universe? Is the universal evolution of intelligent behavior is just a matter of time and preservation of steady planetary conditions? See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Intelligence – Scientists know that our brains shrink with aging, but does less gray matter really matter? Apparently not, according to a new study of 446 people in Australia. See article.
g Message – There are two interconnected, inverse and direct, problems in concept of extraterrestrial intelligence – Search for ETI by terrestrial intelligence and Messages to ETI from terrestrial intelligence. The key element of SETI is the Object of search, namely Universe, where we hope to detect the ETI and then to decode theirs Messages, and so the essence of SETI is Space Science. In turn, the key element of METI is the intellectual Subject, who creates new messages for potential ETI and hope that They will detect and perceive these Messages, and so the essence of METI is Space Art. Of course, both SETI and METI have both scientific and art components, but it’s important to underline that dominant of SETI is Science, and dominant of METI is Art. Also, the Messages for ETI might content both terrestrial knowledge and art, however scientific objective laws, known to terrestrials probably similar to ETI one, in turn the terrestrial subjective Art is unique and definitely unknown to ETI. See article.
g Cosmicus – In early July, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft will deploy a tiny impactor to smash into the nucleus of a small comet. The idea is to excavate a sizable crater and provide valuable insight into the true nature of comets. For skywatchers here on Earth, it should also produce a large cloud of ejected material that should cause the comet to significantly brighten enough to become visible with binoculars and perhaps even with the unaided eye. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity: “Moons of Jupiter.” In this lesson plan, students build model rovers to learn about engineering and evidence of alien life. See article.
g Imagining – Are there any alternatives to DNA or RNA, as an “X-Files” episode said there was? See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Friday, June 17, 2005

Super-Earth, Jodrell Bank and trusting the government

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 – SETI scientists are taking notice of the latest discovery of a "Super-Earth" beyond the solar system as they fine-tune their list of stars to target in their search for extraterrestrial intelligence. With the recent announcement of a planet seven to eight times the Earth’s mass circling an M dwarf star, the chances for habitable worlds seem greater than ever. "It may well be that there are far more habitable planets orbiting M dwarfs than orbiting all other types of stars combined," explained Frank Drake, the Director of the SETI Institute’s Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. See article.
g Abodes – Hidden deep inside the Earth are rare pockets of exotic materials, the likes of which scientists have detected only once. These materials may be "roots" that anchor mantle plumes – narrow pipes that bridge the gap between the Earth’s crust and its super hot core. They may also be responsible for forming volcanic islands like Hawaii. See article.
g Life – Scientists have discovered giant sinking mucus "houses" that double the amount of food on the sea floor. Tadpole-like animals not much bigger than your index finger produce the mucus houses, or “sinkers.” As sinkers drop to the sea floor, small sea critters and other food particles get stuck to the mucus and end up on the bottom of the ocean. See article.
g Intelligence – Our brains hold many of the mysteries of who we are and why we do what we do. Unlocking the mystery of how exposure to violent media affects our brains is the focus of Indiana University School of Medicine research published in the May/June issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography. See article.
g Message – A while back, the BBC interviewed Ian Morison, coordinator of the Jodrell Bank SETI observations — whose job is to search for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligent life. Read his interview.
g Cosmicus – ”I propose to assert that near some star rather like our sun there now exists a civilization with scientific interests and with technical possibilities much greater than those now available to us.” So began astronomer and SETI founder Philip Morrison’s famous speech, “Interstellar Communication,” before the Philosophical Society of Washington. Read the speech’s full text.
g Learning – Here’s a great book for fourth- through sixth-grade kids: “Is Anybody Out There?” by Heather Couper, Nigel Henbest and Luciano Corbella. Of the book, one reviewer wrote: “Does intelligent life exist beyond our planet? This visually exciting examination looks at both the myth and the science related to the question. The authors, both British science writers, describe what alien lifeforms might look like, how we might communicate with them, and the impact the discovery of extrasolar planets has had on the development of scientific equipment. The book is organized into 17 appealing photo-spreads, comprising color photographs, detailed captions and boxed insets that contain information about a scientist or about a historic scientific event, or suggested activities for would-be scientists. The inclusion of a "count the alien civilizations" foldout board game is a bonus.” See article.
g Imagining – If alien lifeforms did arrive on Earth, what might they look like? Contemporary images of alien lifeforms differ significantly from previous ones. See article.
g Aftermath – Would dutiful American citizens trust the government to handle first contact with extraterrestrials and rush to get information to the public? See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

Read this blogger’s books

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Missing star dust, burning hunk of rock and Devils Hole pupfish

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 Minnesota team of astronomers has studied the Crab Nebula, a filamentous remnant of a star that exploded in A.D. 1054 in the constellation Taurus. Using the new Spitzer Space Telescope, which operates at infrared wavelengths, the team found that a crucial type of dust has gone missing. See article.
g Abodes – In the land rush known as extrasolar planet hunting, the most prized real estate is advertised as "Earth-like." On Monday, scientists raced to plant their flag on a burning hunk of rock orbiting a red star. See article.
g Life – Scientists trying to study the endangered Devils Hole pupfish near Death Valley inadvertently nudged the endangered fish closer to extinction. See article.
g Intelligence – Video games, which reveal disconnects between a set of young television addicts and their elders, could bridge a generation gap. While Mortal Combat, Grand Theft Auto, or Halo may be foreign to aging generations, a new study out of Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Toronto suggests that video games like these promote a kind of mental "expertise" that could prove to be useful in the non-virtual world — potentially in rehabilitation and for the elderly. See article.
g Message – In July 2003, an international science team, led by Alexander Zaitsev of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Richard Braastad of Team Encounter, LLC, broadcast scientific and personal messages in “Cosmic Call 2003” to five, sun-like stars. Here’s a brief description of the preparation and implementation of CC-2003. See article.
g Cosmicus – A public meeting was held June 14 in Van Horn, Texas as part of a series of steps to gain a governmental OK for Blue Origin to launch its rockets. Blue Origin is the Seattle-based company bankrolled by Jeff Bezos, founder of, to create and launch passenger-carrying spacecraft. See article.
g Learning – In a spectacular, comprehensive presentation “The Planets” video series draws on consultations with over a thousand leading astronomers, engineers, scientists and astronauts. Featuring seldom-seen NASA archival footage, awe-inspiring imagery from instruments like the Hubble space telescope, and stunning computer graphics and special effects, this unprecedented series explores both the alien beauty of our local space environment and the extraordinary technology that enables us to unlock its secrets. See article.
g Imagining – Science fiction authors produce a lot of very strange critters. In the desperate dash to be different, many go way overboard to invent fantastic, outlandish species unlike anything anyone has ever seen. It’s an admirable expression of their artistic abilities, but there’s an inherent problem: they almost always lose the reader along the way. Sure, it sounds ultra-cool to have a whole herd of 80-foot quasi-limbed orb-stasis beings, but unless you draw me a picture of these things, the reader often has no idea what you’re talking about. However, if you write that your alien has four wings, 10 eyes and looks a little like a kangaroo, the reader is right there with you. Most readers need at least something familiar to draw on for their imagination, or they get lost. See article.
g Aftermath – What should we say to an extraterrestrial? Try the World Wide Web. SETI astronomer Seth Shostak opines at article.

Read this blogger’s books

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rocky exoplanet discovered, Interstellar Messaging and micro spacecraft

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 – Astronomers have launched the most highly sensitive telescope of its kind to be carried by balloon. The balloon-borne Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope - or BLAST - will take a five- to nine-day journey along the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere. BLAST will collect images of objects in our solar system as well as the distant light that details the formation of stars and the evolution of whole galaxies. See article.
g Abodes – Taking a major step forward in the search for Earth-like planets beyond our own solar system, a team of astronomers has announced the discovery of the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected. About seven-and-a-half times as massive as Earth, with about twice the radius, it may be the first rocky planet ever found orbiting a normal star not much different from our Sun. "This is the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected, and the first of a new class of rocky terrestrial planets," said team member Paul Butler. See article.
g Life - Determining friend or foe in the ant world is a touchy subject. New research reveals how carpenter ants screen nest-mates from non-mates with special chemical sensors on their antennae. See article.
g Intelligence – Most women are less forgiving of other women who lack comforting skills than of men who lack such skills, according to a new Purdue University research on interpersonal relationships. Researchers found just the opposite reaction for the few women who identify themselves as the most feminine. See article.
g Message – Here’s a neat Web site: “Interstellar Messaging.” You’ll find discussion, history and real-world examples of mankind's methods and ongoing attempts to communicate with extraterrestrials. See article.
g Cosmicus – A ballerina gracefully dances on a small stage. She is followed not by a male partner, but by a robotic arm manipulator that seems to sense her every move. For NASA Goddard technologist Vladimir Lumelsky, the performance shows the future of robotics. See article.
g Learning – Are you thinking of a career in SETI? Get the low-down at here. Note: This article is from 1998.
g Imagining – Could the legendary dragons of Pern from Anne McCaffrey’s famous science fiction novels actually exist? Welcome to the theoretical science of dracogenetics. See article.
g Aftermath – In a cross-cultural study conducted several years ago, to scientists looked at the attitudes of college students towards the possibility that extraterrestrial life might exist, and if it does, what it might be like for people to learn that it exists. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.

Read this blogger’s books

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lonely galaxies turning blue, “Lonely Planets” and “Star Wars” aliens

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 – There are galaxies that inhabit the nearly empty deserts of space. Unexpectedly, these "void galaxies" are still forming hot, blue stars – even more than the average galaxy in the more populated regions of the universe. See article.
g Abodes – Volcanic eruptions may be an agent of rapid and long-term climate change, according to new research by British scientists. See article.
g Life – Ancient DNA confirms that Malagasy primates share a single origin. See article. For related story, see “Genetic time travel: Scientists decode DNA of extinct animal”.
g Intelligence – A newborn baby moves, breathes and cries in part because a network of nerves, called motor neurons, carry signals from the infant's brain and spinal cord to muscles throughout its body. See articler.
g Message – Astronomer Michael M. Davis checked his computer. One of the antennas on the state-of-the-art radio telescope being built in the valley outside his office was picking up an unusual pulse from beyond the Earth. A signal from another intelligent civilization? Not today. It was the Rosetta Satellite, en route to study a comet. See article.
g Cosmicus – Although Boeing and Lockheed Martin plan to combine production of their respective Delta 4 and Atlas 5 rockets in the near future, for now the companies are pushing separate solutions based on those vehicles to help NASA achieve its goal of returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat set of interviews that Astrobiology magazine did in 2003 with planetary scientist David Grinspoon, in which he discusses his then new book, “Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life.” The topics ranged from which planets are best candidates for harboring life to speculative topics about levels of advancement a civilization must pass through to manage its biosphere. It’s a great introduction to astrobiology and the issues scientists in the field are trying to resolve. Read the introduction here. Follow-up articles include: part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; encore.
g Imagining – Everyone knows the “Star Wars” galaxy is located "far, far away." But how realistic are the alien worlds described in the science fiction saga? See article.
g Aftermath – Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life - even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Monday, June 13, 2005

Where aliens would reside, life’s potential false positives and exopsychology

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 – Scientists say a ring-shaped region in the disc of the Milky Way shows the highest potential for life in our galaxy. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Abodes – If alien life had visited the Earth in the past, its mark still might be identifiable today, an Australian scientist says. See article.
g Life – Some hardy Earth microbes could survive long enough on Mars to complicate the search for alien life. The intense ultraviolet rays that bombard the Martian surface are quickly fatal to most Earth microbes. However, the new study shows that at least one tough Earth species, a type of blue-green algae, could live just long enough to leave a biological trace in the Martian soil — creating a potential false positive. See article.
g Intelligence – If you want your baby to be a country star, bounce it to the two-step right off the bat. If a waltz is more your preference, then rock it to sleep on every third beat. A new study finds that hearing and feeling different beats is an early step in a baby's appreciation and perception of music. See article.
g Message – While some scientists cautiously plan for ways to reply to extraterrestrial transmissions, others haven't waited for a signal to start talking. Sending messages from Earth into space to announce the existence of the human race is somewhat rare and controversial. Digital transmissions have been beamed into space from radio telescopes, and four spacecraft currently leaving the solar system bear messages for anyone who finds them. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Cosmicus – NASA Administrator Michael Griffin plans to oust about 20 space agency officials by mid-August, including two leaders of the program making final preparations for the space shuttle's first trip in more than two years, the Washington Post reported in Saturday's edition. See article.
g Learning – No matter how many books you read or how you try and think about the distances involved, you can never quite picture the scale of our solar system until you go outside a build your own one. Now you can, using the “Computer of the Gods.” See article.
g Imagining – Could the Pak of Larry Niven's Ringworld universe possibly evolve? They've got a homepage to discuss that and other questions about the intriguing fiction alien race. See article.
g Aftermath – The next social science to be created might be "exopsychology" — the study of behavior, attitudes, personalities and thoughts of alien beings. Although necessarily speculative, exopsychology might eventually be a critical link between humans and aliens. In the meantime, such a study could also provide the additional benefit of informing us about earthbound prejudices. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Short gamma ray bursts, you’re an alien and first contact’s effect on science fiction

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 – Astronomers have uncovered tantalizing insights into the origin of short gamma-ray bursts - mysterious, split-second high-energy flashes that have eluded detailed study until now. Unlike their long-duration cousins, which are known to arise when massive young stars die, short bursts are thought to occur when old, dense neutron stars collide. See article.
g Abodes – NASA successfully tested a new instrument that will provide scientists with unprecedented measurements to further the agency's understanding of climate change. See article.
g Life – A new hypothesis suggests that modern crocodilians are descended from warm-blooded (endothermic) animals and secondarily re-evolved ectothermy. See article.
g Intelligence – Imagine a shiny new BMW sitting in your driveway. Now, imagine a shiny new Hyundai. Now, come up with one reason why you should drive that BMW. How about 10 reasons? What about the Hyundai? A little bit harder, isn't it? An article in the June 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research explores how and why consumers use prior information to decide to buy a BMW or a Hyundai. See article.
g Message – What happens if the next signal turns out to be the real thing? What happens if the sender wants to talk? Will we know what to say? See astrobiology primer.
g Cosmicus – It might surprise you to know that legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who wrote about traveling to Mars decades before NASA's Spirit rover got there in the past year, thinks you're an alien. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Learning – The National Center for Science Education is a nationally recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and "scientific creationism" out. NCSE is the only national organization to specialize in this issue. It provides: reviews of current anti-evolution activity in the United States and around the world; background to the fundamentally creationist and anti-evolution movement known as "Intelligent Design"; detailed information on the Creation/Evolution controversy from 1859 to the present; resources for parents, teachers, school boards and the general public. Contact NCSE if you need advice, information or help in defending the teaching of evolution. We also work to increase public understanding of evolution and of the nature of scientific knowledge.
g Imagining – One of the creepiest concepts in science-fiction horror has been transformed into a huggable soft and cuddly toy. See article.
g Aftermath – What affect would the discovery of alien life have on the story-telling genre that inspires the search for it — science fiction? See article.

Read this blogger’s books