Sunday, July 22, 2007

The first galaxies, manifestations of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations and using ‘Star Trek’ to explain the human mind

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 - Using natural "gravitational lenses," an international team of astronomers claim to have found the first traces of a population of the most distant galaxies yet seen-the light we see from them today left more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was just 500 million years old. See
g Message -What technological manifestations would make an advanced extraterrestrial civilization detectable? See Note: This paper was written in 1992.
g Cosmicus - The concept of solar power satellites, or SPS, first put forward in the 1960s, is still not widely known by the general public. For example at many public exhibitions about Energy, SPS is not even mentioned. This is mainly because very little funding has been spent on SPS research to date - about 1/1000 of 1 percent of the about $1 trillion that governments have spent subsidizing the development of nuclear power over the past 50 years. See For related story, see “SPS 2000” at (Note: this latter article is from the mid-1990s).
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 -Book alert: Of course, quality science fiction is really less about aliens than the human condition. That’s why you ought to scour some used bookstores for this rare edition: “Star Trek on the Brain: Alien Minds, Human Minds,” by Robert Sekuler and Randolph Blake. An educational and entertaining nonfiction work that uses Star Trek to explain the workings of the human mind, the authors (both psychology professors) have put together an excellent and highly readable neurology primer. Their two-pronged task is to give a Star Trek example and then link it to contemporary science of the nervous system. Do you want to better understand emotions, their cultural implications and universal expressions? Then this is the book. For reviews, see
g Aftermath -The structure of terrestrial music might provide clues to creating interstellar messages that could be understood by extraterrestrial intelligence. In the process, he suggests that music may provide a means of communicating "something of our consciousness that is essentially human, regardless of the civilization from which it emerges." See Note: This article is from 2002.