Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Composition of planet outside our solar system and the ET Meme

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 - The odds that scientists will someday be able to detect life elsewhere in the universe got a little better five years ago this month, when astronomers made the first measurement of the composition of a planet outside our solar system. See article.
g Message - Here’s a near article in which SETI supporter Larry Klaes discusses at the Allen Telescope Array. See article.
g Learning - The idea of extraterrestrial life was one of the most powerful concepts of the late 20th century. Richard Dawkins has hypothesized that such concepts may be thought of as "memes", i.e. ideas that are reproduced by imitation and migration through human intercourse. Here’s a paper that investigates the origin of the ET Meme as a cultural and societal phenomenon, focusing on the way the meme has manifested itself in representations of the quest for ET Life, including film, UFOs, the case for Mars, the Drake equation and its subsequent popularization in post-war British SF of influential writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and Fred Hoyle. There is evidence that the ET Meme has an autonomy from scientific practice allowing the meme to permeate different disciplinary approaches to the quest for ET life; and that the search for extraterrestrial life is as much driven by the ET Meme and its associated revolution of the imagination as by scientific practice and evidence. See article.

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