Sunday, September 30, 2007

'Even weirder than black holes’, Pi GHz and extremophiles

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 - Researchers from Duke University and the University of Cambridge think there is a way to determine whether some black holes are not actually black. "It would show that nature has surprises even weirder than black holes," says one researcher. See article.
g Abodes - New studies on how gases are expelled from the Earth may change the way scientists view atmospheric formation on the Earth, Mars and Venus. Studying the dynamics of Earth's atmosphere is essential in understanding what makes our planet habitable today. See article.
g Message - Is there any good reason to look for intelligently generated extraterrestrial emissions in the spectrum at Pi GHz or 3.141... GHz. See article.
g Cosmicus - A small capsule the size of a beach ball was stranded in Earth orbit early Tuesday after an attempt to return the craft from space via a revolutionary technique using a nearly 20-mile-long tether. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site for science lovers: “Extremophiles: Can We Live Without Them?” Just 50 years ago tiny microorganisms were found living in environments that would kill all other microorganisms. The site provides an introduction to extremophiles and their unique qualities. See article.
g Imagining - Here’s a neat website that examines aliens in science fiction films. While short on studying the evolution of those aliens, it does discuss how these villainous creatures are a manifestation of our own fears, a nice take on the anthropomorphic bias most people possess regarding alien life.
g Aftermath - Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life - even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.

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