Monday, April 02, 2007

Earth’s inner temperature, SETI from ET's perspective and clichéd alien vocabularies

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 have taken the temperature of Earth’s innards, more than a thousand miles beneath the surface, and found that the mercury there soars to about 6,650 degrees Fahrenheit. See
g Life - Pigs made a harrowing journey about 3,500 years ago to the most remote islands of the Pacific alongside their ancient human owners, and that partnership is revealing how the region was colonized. See
g Intelligence - An ancient member of the human family gets a digital makeover, revealing a mug that looks more apelike than previously thought. But not everyone is buying the result. See
g Message - Put yourself in the situation of the aliens, out there somewhere in the galaxy. They surmise that Earth looks promising for the emergence of intelligent life one day, but they have no idea when. There would be little point in beaming radio messages in this direction for eons in the vague hope that one day radio technology would be developed here and someone would decide to tune in, says one astrobiologist. See
. Note: this article is from 2004.
g Learning - Americans love science in their movies and TV shows, yet recent reports indicate we are losing our scientific dominance to the rest of the world. Can science-themed entertainment get Americans off the couch and into the lab? See http://www.astrobio.
g Imagining - Ever wondered how all those traditional space-opera and epic-fantasy races - the pig-faced warriors, the smug bumheads, and all the rest - came up with their wonderfully clichéd alien vocabularies? It's not difficult; once you've mastered these basic rules, you'll be able to produce names and phrases just as stereotypical as theirs. See
g Aftermath - For some provocative reading, pick up “Sharing the Universe,” by Seth Shostak, at your local bookstore. SETI scientist Shostak almost single-handedly is outlining social and political issues that will arise once we make contact with extraterrestrials. For reviews, see