Thursday, December 31, 2009

Technological advances in searches for ETI and comparing human/chimp genomes

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Life - Evolution uses every chance it gets to try something new. Dutch researcher Anneke Rijpkema investigated how petunia flowers are formed and discovered that nature is even more varied than the naked eye can spot. The genes involved in flower formation can function differently in different species. Evolution has discovered a system that works, but within that system it continues to innovate. See article.
g Intelligence - Humans share at least 97 percent of their genes with chimpanzees, but, as a new study of transcription factors makes clear, what you have in your genome may be less important than how you use it. See article.
g Message - Searches for extraterrestrial intelligence are about to expand into new realms, thanks to new advances in technology — and new thinking. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Cosmicus - The sight of a cockroach scurrying for cover may be nauseating, but the insect is also a biological and engineering marvel, and is providing researchers at Oregon State University with what they call "bioinspiration" in a quest to build the world's first legged robot that is capable of running effortlessly over rough terrain. See article.
g Aftermath - How would proof of extraterrestrial intelligence affect humanity’s “world” view? Astronomer Steve Dick discusses the matter in this transcribed Smithsonian Institute lecture, from 1999.

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