Saturday, October 20, 2007

Earth analog, alien life as dancing specks of dust and how the Drake Equation's numbers look today

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 - Just about every planet in the solar system that might harbor life has an analog on Earth — and that's the first place scientists thought to look. See article.
g Life - Could alien life exist in the form of dancing specks of dust? According to a new simulation, electrically charged dust can organise itself into DNA-like double helixes that behave in many ways like living organisms, reproducing and passing on information to one another. See article.
g Intelligence - Functional MRI scans have revealed a "biologically embedded" basis for altruistic behavior, with several characteristic regions of the brain being activated when players of a game called "Prisoner's Dilemma" decide to trust each other and cooperate, rather than betray each other for immediate gain, say researchers. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Cosmicus - What do you do when you’re afraid a volcano might be about to explode and you need to descend into the searing heat of its caldera to take a few geologic samples? You send a robot. See article.
g Learning - Here’s something neat: a series of educational pages that focus on terrestrial impact cratering and its environmental and biotic effects.
g Imagining - Are intelligent aliens trying to contact us? Are UFOs and crop circles signs of alien contact or just human pranks? Read the evidence for yourself and then cast your vote. See article.
g Aftermath - Add one more worry to the computerized world of the 21st century. Could a signal from the stars broadcast by an alien intelligence also carry harmful information, in the spirit of a computer virus? Could star folk launch a "disinformation" campaign - one that covers up aspects of their culture? Perhaps they might even mask the "real" intent of dispatching a message to other civilizations scattered throughout the Cosmos. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

No comments: