Friday, February 13, 2009

Mars’ ancient springs and Darwin’s lasting genius

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 - Data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest the discovery of ancient springs in the Vernal Crater, sites where life forms may have evolved on Mars. See article.
g Life - More than a third of native California bird species could vanish from a wide swath of their current range by the end of the 21st century because of global warming, according to a new study by Audubon California. See article.
g Intelligence - Bosses may be an overbearing breed, but more often than not, you've got to admire their business chops. Wouldn't you love to have that same sense of competence and confidence, that ability to assess tough problems and reach smart solutions on the fly? Guess what? So would they. If you have ever suspected your boss might not actually be good enough at what he does to deserve the job in the first place, a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests you might be right. See article.
g Cosmicus - Additional safety features being added to the world's largest atom smasher will postpone its startup until the end of September, a year after the $10 billion machine was sidelined by a simple electrical fault. See article.
g Learning - This week is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and this year also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On The Origin of Species. It seems only fitting to reflect on the reasons why Darwin's conclusions about the origins and evolution of human - and all - life continue to trouble and challenge members of the human species in the 21st century. This lasting "disturber effect" may be one of the most convincing proofs of Darwin's genius. People don't get all riled up, 150 years after the fact, by bland, small, discredited ideas. See article.

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