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Arecibo SETI Project Draws a Blank

Project Phoenix, a 10-year project searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, found nothing, reports the BBC News.  The project used the world’s most powerful radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to scan 800 nearby stars for signals.  Project manager Peter Backus claims the team has learned a lot about searching for ETI, but concludes we […]

Much Ado About Nothing

How much can you say about nothing?  Some people can say quite a lot.  One astrobiologist just wrote a large book about it: Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life by David Grinspoon (Harper Collins, 2003).     Larry R. Nittler reviewed this new book in the March 12 issue of Science.1  Nittler describes […]

The Evolution of Omnipotence

With a headline like “New Theory: Universe Created by Intelligent Being,” one might think that National Geographic News has gone creationist and rediscovered Genesis 1.  The opposite would be true.  The article by John Roach explores the radical thinking of a lawyer/scientist named James Gardner, who has just published a book, Biocosm: The New Scientific […]

Questioning Earth’s Privileges

51; Two articles this week downplayed considerations that would make the Earth seem like a special place in the universe.  Both have ties to NASA.     Are life-friendly stars limited to a narrow band in the galaxy called the Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ)?  NASA-supported Astrobiology Magazine cast doubt on the idea.  Citing a study […]

SETI at 50: Onward with Style

51; It’s been fifty years since the first scientific paper suggested listening in on the stellar radio dial for signs of intelligence.1  Nature celebrated the occasion with two articles and an Editorial that said,2 “Despite the long odds against success, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has come a long way.”     SETI sure has […]

Define Pseudoscience

A couple of articles lately have lumped creationism in with astrology, ESP, space aliens and lucky numbers.  How valid is this grouping?     Randolph E. Schmid (Associated Press; see Live Science) conveyed statistics presented by Jon Miller (Michigan State U) and a panel of researchers at an AAAS meeting in San Francisco this past […]

SETI Sans ETI So Far

There’s “no din of alien chatter in our neighborhood,” writes Richard Kerr in the Feb. 20 issue of Science.1  “Early-generation searches for extraterrestrial intelligence are coming up empty-handed, but the SETI community is carrying on,” he writes.  Search pioneer Frank Drake admits “We found nothing” in the latest Project Phoenix, a survey of 700 nearby […]
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