Thursday, October 21, 2010

Evolution of hearing and how to blow up a neutron star

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 - A mind-bogglingly huge buildup of "vacuum energy," which would occur in just milliseconds, could lead the stellar remnants known as neutron stars to instantly collapse or explode, scientists now suggest. See article.
g Abodes - The oceans are critical to the survival of life on Earth, but climate change may be causing irreversible damage to these fragile systems. What role will acidification, ice melt and surface temperature increases play in the future habitability of our planet? See article.
g Life - The ordinary squid, best known until now as a kind of floating buffet for just about any fish in the sea, may be on the verge of becoming a scientific superstar, providing clues about the origin and evolution of the sense of hearing. See article.
g Message - The venerable Planetary Society hopes to take the search for extraterrestrial life to the stars with space-based platforms. See article. This column is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden went to Beijing earlier this month amid mixed congressional reaction to Bolden's plans to meet with Chinese officials to discuss the potential for cooperation in human spaceflight. See article.
g Imagining - Book alert: Browse the local used bookstores for this volume, which examined the scientific plausibility of many alien creatures in “Star Trek”: “To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek.” Published about four years ago, Athena Andreadis' book makes a good read, boosted by her background as a molecular biologist and neurosurgeon. See review.

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