Friday, October 20, 2006

When microbes adapted to oxygen, evolutionary advantage of sucking up to the boss and space elevator research

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 - Scientists at the Carnegie Institution and Penn State University have discovered evidence showing that microbes adapted to living with oxygen 2.72 billion years ago, at least 300 million years before the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere. See article.
g Life - Sucking up to win the support of the boss dates back to our furry ancestors. The motivation, for monkeys, is life and death. See
g Intelligence - If you’ve ever wondered how you recognize your mother’s voice without seeing her face or how you discern your cell phone’s ring in a crowded room, researchers may have another piece of the answer. See
g Cosmicus - How, exactly, does one handicap a race for something that’s rarely been done before, like building an elevator to go into space? Right now, the materials to support an elevator capable of traveling all the way to geosynchronous orbit are not available. However, it is believed that super-strong materials like carbon nanotubes, could open up a whole new means of space travel, one that could eliminate the need for expensive rockets with dangerous propellants. The technology, therefore, is worth researching. See