Sunday, October 26, 2008

Unique magnetic fossils and Fermi’s Paradox revisited

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 Life - Scientists have discovered microscopic, magnetic fossils unlike anything previously seen. The fossils were discovered in sediments along the Atlantic that were deposited during an ancient period of global-warming. See article.
g Message -Fermi’s Paradox, Part III: We seem to have the Galaxy to ourselves. At least, that’s the obvious conclusion from the apparent lack of aliens in the neighborhood. But this conclusion might be a bit too obvious, and possibly wrong. In previous articles, we’ve considered why extraterrestrial intelligence – even if common – would have restrained itself from spreading to every half-decent star system in the galaxy. It’s possible that the aliens have done cost-benefit analyses that show interstellar travel to be too costly or too dangerous to warrant ambitious colonization efforts. An alternative suggestion that would explain our apparent solitude is that the Galaxy is urbanized, and we’re in a dullsville suburb. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Cosmicus -In recent years "teamwork" and "team-building" have been catchphrases of the workplace environment. For most people, however, worrying about getting along with their co-workers and working together for the common good may occupy only a small amount of their time. But what if you and your co-workers were confined to a small space, together for 24 hours a day in an inherently dangerous workplace, and unable to get away from each other because you were orbiting more than 350 kilometers above Earth? See article.
g Learning - An article in Science magazine discussing why Spore flunks various kinds of science after close scrutiny by a variety of scientists reminds me of history buffs that get hysterical when a movie is historically inaccurate. While a couple of them had a few nice things to say, Spore in general got poor marks in organismic and evolutionary biology, squeaked by with barely sufficient grades in cultural anthropology, physics, and astrobiology, and was reasonably highly rated in sociology and galaxy structuring. See article.
g Aftermath - How might interested parties envisage the design of a human team to prepare for an encounter with aliens — and improve the operational guidelines for that eventuality? See article.

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