Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stemming future epidemics via astrobiology and rapping about the search for ET

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 University of Colorado at Boulder team working at 16,400 feet in the Peruvian Andes has discovered how barren soils uncovered by retreating glacier ice can swiftly establish a thriving community of microbes, setting the table for lichens, mosses and alpine plants. See article.
g Life - Astrobiology might stem future epidemics, the medical director of the British Clinic Health System says. See article.
g Message -Previous radio messages for aliens, Arecibo 1974 and Evpatoria 1999 were the logical ones and represented the binary stream of FM information, which should be arranged into two-dimensional forms to perceive by eye-like sense-organ. And I guess the primary one-dimensional message is more understandable by unfamiliar aliens and the music is the most universal expression of intellectual activity by means of one-channel ear-like radio link. Further, the Theremin instrument is the most preferable for interstellar transmission since Theremin produces quasi-sinusoidal narrow-band signals with continuous phase under performance, which are easier for extraction from noise. Given this, one scientist suggests implementing the First Theremin Concert for Aliens from Arecibo or Evpatoria Radar facility. The Theremin virtuoso Lidia Kavina agrees to give such Concert with appropriate classic and cosmic repertoire either in on-line mode at observatory's concert-hall or off-line Concert in audio studio. The Theremin's signal lies at about (0-10) kHz, and it should be shifted by SSB mixer to radar band and transmitted into space toward any star cluster or Sun-like star. See article.
g Learning -NASA has commissioned a rapper to record a rhyme about astrobiology in an attempt to make science easier to understand. See article.
g Imagining -Is there life on other planets? If so, does it look like the monstrous thing Sigourney Weaver battled in the “Alien” movie blockbusters? Could you kiss it the way Captain Kirk was so fond of doing on “Star Trek”? Or, could it be related to your houseplant? See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Aftermath - What role will extraterrestrials play in humanity’s future? Here’s a paper by University of Toronto Professor Allen Tough. Though written almost 20 years ago, the paper contains plenty of useful ideas that are fresh (and ignored) today, especially those about extraterrestrial behavior and help.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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