Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rising carbon dioxide’s effect on oceans, life living inside salt rock and brain spontaneously rewiring itself

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. You may notice that this and future entries are shorter than usual; Career, family and book deal commitments have forced me to cut back some of my projects. Now, here’s today’s news:
g Abodes - Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning are dramatically altering ocean chemistry and threatening marine organisms, including corals, that secrete skeletal structures and support oceanic biodiversity. A landmark report released July 5 summarizes the known effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on these organisms, known as marine calcifiers, and recommends future research for determining the extent of the impacts. See
g Life - After years of searching for evidence of microbial life in the driest region of Chile’s Atacama Desert, chemist Jacek Wierzchos finally found it. Living inside rocks made of salt. But how it manages to eke out a living there is still a bit of a mystery. See http://www.
g Intelligence - Doctors have their first proof that a man who was barely conscious for nearly 20 years regained speech and movement because his brain spontaneously rewired itself by growing tiny new nerve connections to replace the ones sheared apart in a car crash. See
g Cosmicus - The shuttle Discovery is closing in on the international space station today for a long-awaited linkup that will boost the lab's crew size to three, provide more than 5,000 pounds of equipment and supplies and give mission managers their first detailed view of the fragile heat shield tiles on the shuttle's belly. See