Friday, July 23, 2010

Cash-strapped alien scientists and SETIcon

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - Pioneering observations with the National Science Foundation's giant Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have given astronomers a new tool for mapping large cosmic structures. The new tool promises to provide valuable clues about the nature of the mysterious "dark energy" believed to constitute nearly three-fourths of the mass and energy of the universe. See article.
g Abodes - The thermosphere, the layer of Earth's atmosphere that meets space, recently collapsed and is now rebounding again ... and we don't know why. The thermosphere is important because it shields us from the Sun's extreme ultraviolet photons. See article.
g Life - New research has identified the stem cells that generate three critical classes of nerve cells - olfactory receptors (ORNs), vomeronasal (VRNs) and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons - that are responsible for enabling animals and humans, to eat, interact socially and reproduce. See article.
g Message - We know that the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is often strapped for cash. But what if the aliens out there trying to reach us, rather than being far superior technologically and beaming signals in all directions, are actually starving scientists, too? See article.
g Cosmicus - Veteran space industry observers say the manned space program is in deeper trouble and greater turmoil than at any time since the U.S. landed men on the moon more than 40 years ago. See article.
g Learning - SETIcon, “the first-ever public convention focused on the search for life in the universe in science fact and science fiction,” will take place Aug. 13–15 in Santa Clara, Calif. See article.
g Imagining - Here’s a neat site that examines aliens in science fiction films. While short on studying the evolution of those aliens, it does discuss how these villainous creatures are a manifestation of our own fears, a nice take on the anthropomorphic bias most people possess regarding alien life.
g Aftermath - Book alert: Here’s an interesting book for some astrobiological reading: “After Contact: The Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life” by Albert A. Harrison. See review.

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