Friday, November 24, 2006

Conditions in solar system’s earliest years, ‘tasting’ words and ‘The Starfarers Series’

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 Stars - Ever since astronauts returned from the moon, scientists have been mystified by some of the rocks they brought back. Now one of the mysteries has been solved, and the findings provide us with a better understanding of what conditions were like in the earliest years of our solar system. See http://www.astro
. For related story, see “Genesis findings solve Apollo lunar soil mystery” at
g Intelligence - A very small number of synesthetes can "taste" words. A new study finds that individuals with this last form of synesthesia — called "lexical-gustatory" synesthesia — can taste a word before they ever speak it, and that the word's meaning, not its sound or spelling, is what triggers this taste sensation. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Vonda N. McIntyre’s “The Starfarers Series”: “Starfarers” (1989), “Transition” (1990), “Metaphase” (1992) and “Nautilus” (1994). In the series, a ship staffed by an international crew goes out to contact alien life. It eventually discovers dying squidmoth, which leads them into further contacts.