Monday, August 28, 2006

What If everybody is listening and nobody is transmitting, NASA’s future and comprehending an alien signal

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 Intelligence - Researchers have discovered that proteins that regulate brain-cell activity by controlling the flow of potassium ions behave more like volume controls on stereos rather than on/off power switches. See
g Message - Whenever the director of SETI research presents a public lecture, she can almost guarantee that “What If everybody is listening and nobody is transmitting?” will be one of the questions the audience asks. See article.
g Cosmicus - In an exclusive interview, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, spoke to prior to his kickoff speech at the 20th Annual Conference on Small Satellites being held at Utah State University. Griffin addressed a range of space topics, including entrepreneurial space groups, the CEV, and the vulnerability of the space shuttle fleet. See
g Learning - Here’s a module that provides introductory teaching lessons for classroom coverage of astrobiology and the origin of life that is suitable for use in both general and advanced high school biology courses. See
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Clifford Simak’s ”Way Station” (1963), which examines many different kinds of potential aliens.
g Aftermath - What are the challenges to comprehension in initiating and maintaining strategic dialogue in highly uncertain situations — such as with extraterrestrials? See
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