Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oldest preserved organic matter on Earth, solar activity linked to East African rain and potential of bases at the lunar poles

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 revealed a connection between solar activity and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. The findings show one way in which changes in the Solar System environment can directly affect life on Earth. See article.
g Life - Researchers have identified microbial remains in some of the oldest preserved organic matter on Earth, confirmed to be 3.5 billion years-old. The finding is teaching scientists about the development and evolution of life on ancient Earth. See article.
g Intelligence - Painful, emotional memories that people would most like to forget may be the toughest to leave behind, especially when memories are created through visual cues, according to a new study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See article.
g Message - Want to get a sense of SETI’s history and varying projects? Jodrell Bank Observatory offers an easy to follow yet informative primer at this site.
g Cosmicus - Book alert: If you want to read a book that delves into the potential of bases at the lunar poles, have a look at "Moonrush" by Dennis Wingo.
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of lessons, designed for at-risk students: “The Plausibility of Interstellar Communication and Related Phenomena Depicted in Science Fiction Literature and the Movies.” The curriculum has four major objectives: first, to educate students to develop concepts about the proximity of our solar system in relation to other probable solar systems in the Milky Way Galaxy; second, to give students the opportunity to use these concepts to evaluate the plausibility of interstellar communication depicted in science fiction literature and movies; third, to create an opportunity for students not only to look out on the universe but to turn it inward to look at the world, their own society, and themselves as individuals; and fourth, an objective that will be integrated with all of the others is to give students to opportunity to learn and/or sharpen skills in: using the scientific method, research, reading, writing, collaboration, discussion and in critical thinking. See article.
g Imagining -Can life ever be noncorporeal, as are Star Trek’s Organians? See article.
g Aftermath -Would dutiful American citizens trust the government to handle first contact with extraterrestrials and rush to get information to the public? See article. Note: This article is from 1999.