Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Life in Venus’ clouds and tube map for the Milky Way

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 planets in our Solar System rotate around the Sun more or less in a plane (the ecliptic) that is tilted some sixty degrees with relation to the galactic disk. It’s interesting to speculate that this could have ramifications in terms of the SETI hunt. See article.
g Life - A recent report by US scientists published in the Journal of Astrobiology, claims life may exist in Venus, high in the clouds as tiny bacteria-like microbes, which may have survived over millennia by adapting to its harsh environment. See article.
g Message - After five decades, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has failed to find any alien signals. SETI researchers are still optimistic that we will one day find evidence for intelligent life somewhere in our galaxy. A new book by SETI scientist, Seth Shostak, reviews the history, the controversies and the reasons for continuing the search. See article.
g Cosmicus - A map of the London Underground is a schematic diagram that has a beauty of its own, reducing a city beyond its topography to a sequence of formalized connections and zones. The fascination is in the abstraction of the familiar, rendering distance and space intelligible. Now look at what we might call a “tube map” of the Milky Way, as produced by Samuel Arbesman, a postdoc at Harvard with an interest in computational sociology and, obviously, big maps. See article.

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