Saturday, August 30, 2008

Exploring other worlds’ polar caps and building a better creature for Spore

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 -A new method of exploring thick icy sheets and what lies below them has been devised. Combining a drill and a melting tip, this probe is particularly useful for exploring icy locations such as the polar caps of Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa. See article.
g Life -The odds are improving that life exists beyond Earth. See article.
g Intelligence -Scientists working in Brazil say they've found the remnants of several clusters of towns built as long as seven centuries ago. See article.
g Message -Although the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence has yet to detect a signal, the efforts continue because so little of the possible parameter space has been searched so far. See article.
g Learning -Few video games have been as eagerly anticipated as Spore, an evolution-inspired game and the latest creation of The Sims and SimCity creator Will Wright. See article.
g Imagining -With “Spore’s” highly anticipated release Sept. 7, the National Geographic Channel will be releasing a companion documentary called, “How to Build a Better Being.” Which delves deeper into the development of the game’s core mechanics and what they have to do with genetic research and bioengineering. See article.
g Aftermath - Picture Jodie Foster, her eyes closed and a mildly bored look on her face. She’s wearing earphones and listening to the dull roar of the cosmos. Now imagine Jodie 20 seconds later, when she hears something sounding like an unpleasant accident in the Boston Pops’ percussion section. Jodie knows she’s scored big: The aliens are on the air. Still, how can she be sure she’s picked up intelligence, and not just the cosmic gurgle of a completely natural object? How can she know she’s not merely harkening to the ticking beat of a pulsar, the whoosh of a quasar, or perhaps the lasing bray of a molecular gas cloud? See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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