Friday, November 17, 2006

Generation of cosmic rays, human-chimp differences and will it be safe to answer ET?

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 - New clues about the origins of cosmic rays, mysterious high-energy particles that bombard the Earth, have been revealed using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. An extraordinarily detailed image of the remains of an exploded star provides crucial insight into the generation of cosmic rays. See
g Abodes - A section of the Appalachian Mountains discovered in Mexico is forcing scientists to redraw their maps of ancient Earth. See
g Intelligence - Six million years ago, chimpanzees and humans diverged from a common ancestor and evolved into unique species. Now UCLA scientists have identified a new way to pinpoint the genes that separate us from our closest living relative and make us uniquely human. See
g Aftermath - It’s a quite old news story (8 years!), but the issues raised remain relevant and greatly underexamined: If E.T. phones our home, will it be safe to answer? See