Friday, January 11, 2013

Volcanoes may be active on Venus

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 European Space Agency’s Venus Express has detected a sharp decline in sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations in the planet’s atmosphere following a spike in SO2 just after the probe arrived in 2006. The most plausible explanation, says lead author Emmanuel Marcq, is a volcanic eruption, caught in the act. See article.
g Cosmicus - Researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, have developed a life-sized hologram-like telepod that uses Microsoft's Kinect System and a cylindrical display for live, 3D videoconferencing. See article.
g Aftermath - The scientific discussion of the evolution of life in the universe raises some key philosophical and theological issues: Will life and intelligence be found throughout the universe, or will it turn out to be exceedingly rare? Will intelligent life be capable of both rationality and moral agency? Will evolutionary biology determine its moral content or will it merely bequeath intelligent life with moral capacity, leaving moral content to be determined independently of biology? If moral agency evolves, will these species inevitably exhibit moral failure, or is our generic human experience of moral failure strictly the result of our particular evolution, leaving us to expect there to be other civilizations that are entirely benign? The discussion of these issues, though largely hypothetical, can offer insight into the theological and cultural implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as well into a better understanding of the human condition. See article.

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