Monday, October 15, 2007

Titan’s climate, ’Strangers in the Night’ and anthropocentric humans

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 are drawing unique comparisons between the climate of Saturn's moon Titan and the Earth. Titan has some of the same circulation processes that happen on Earth, only they occur with completely different substances and at much colder temperatures. See article.
g Life - Extraterrestrial life is life originating outside of the Earth. It is the subject of astrobiology, and its existence remains theoretical. There is no evidence of extraterrestrial life that has been widely accepted by the scientific community. See article.
g Intelligence - Smiles may take a while, but a horrified expression is a sure-fire attention getter, U.S. researchers said on Sunday, based on a study of how fast people process facial expressions. See article.
g Message - Book alert: The father-son team of David E. Fisher and Marshall Jon Fisher brings the study of extraterrestrial life down to earth in “Strangers in the Night: Brief History of Life on Other Worlds,” an informative and entertaining book. In the anecdotal style that is their hallmark, the Fishers trace humankind’s attempts to discover life on other worlds. This informative and entertaining book tells the story of humankind’s attempts throughout history to discover extraterrestrial life. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “Human destiny lies in exploring the galaxy and finding our roots, biologically and chemically, out among the stars.” — Geoffrey W. Marcy and R. Paul Butler
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 article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Murray Leinster’s short story "The Castaway,” published in the June 1953 edition of Universe magazine.
g Aftermath - The more anthropocentric a person is, the less likely he is to believe that life exists beyond Earth. See article.