Saturday, December 18, 2010

Scientists respond to arsenic life criticism and how we might respond when we do discover ET

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 - Our view of the early universe may be full of mysterious circles — and even triangles — but that doesn't mean we're seeing evidence of events that took place before the Big Bang. So says a trio of papers taking aim at a recent claim that concentric rings of uniform temperature within the cosmic microwave background — the radiation left over from the Big Bang — might, in fact, be the signatures of black holes colliding in a previous cosmic “aeon” that existed before our universe. See article.
g Abodes - What is the MEarth project? See article.
g Life - Backlash from the “arsenic life” paper that was published on Dec. 2, is still ongoing. Some of the criticism has been about the science, while much more criticism has been about the coverage of the news and also how NASA introduced, or “teased” the public with news, using the words “astrobiology” and “extraterrestrial life” in their announcement of an upcoming press conference. Now the science team behind the discovery has released a statement and some FAQ’s about the science paper. See article.
g Intelligence - The digitization of books by Google Books has sparked controversy over issues of copyright and book sales, but for linguists and cultural historians this vast project could offer an unprecedented treasure trove. In a paper published today in Science1, researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and the Google Books team in Mountain View, Calif., herald a new discipline called culturomics, which sifts through this literary bounty for insights into trends in what cultures can and will talk about through the written word. See article.
g Message - Here’s a quick, easy to understand primer to SETI’s radio searches and the Fermi Paradox.
g Cosmicus - A NASA Pluto probe may be slumbering at the moment, but it's still tearing through space at a blistering pace, closing in on the orbit of Uranus. See article.
g Learning - Plans are moving forward for the display of two of NASA's soon-to-be-retired space shuttles at the Smithsonian and Florida's Kennedy Space Center. See article.
g Aftermath - Humans have searched for extraterrestrial life for more than a century. What will we do when we find it? See article.

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