Monday, January 31, 2011

New metabolic pathway discovered and observational strategies for detecting ETI

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - The temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Greenland -- the warmest water in at least 2,000 years - are likely related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, says a new international study. See article.
g Life - Microbiologists have discovered a previously unknown central metabolic pathway in microorganisms. The life forms use this pathway to survive under extremely salty conditions, such as in the Dead Sea. See article.
g Intelligence - What sounds like science fiction is actually possible: thanks to magnetic stimulation, the activity of certain brain nerve cells can be deliberately influenced. What happens in the brain in this context has been unclear up to now. Medical experts have now shown that various stimulus patterns changed the activity of distinct neuronal cell types. In addition, certain stimulus patterns led to rats learning more easily. The knowledge obtained could contribute to cerebral stimulation being used more purposefully in future to treat functional disorders of the brain. See article.
g Message - "If we want to find evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, we must work out an observational strategy for detecting this evidence in order to establish the various physical quantities in which it involves,” according to the paper “Detectability of Extraterrestrial Technological Activities.” “This information must be carefully analyzed so that it is neither over-interpreted nor overlooked and can be checked by independent researchers.” Read the entire paper online. This paper is from 1992.
g Cosmicus - NASA unveiled new technology ideas for the future of space exploration in a series of panels last week that encourage the public to weigh in on where the space agency's limited funding should go. See article.

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