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Fermi Paradox Reasserts Itself

Paul Davies, no stranger to facing difficult questions and proposing imaginative solutions, is coming out with a new book in April about SETI.  In it, he tackles the Fermi Paradox: if aliens are out there, why haven’t they dropped by yet?  Amazon.com lists some of the ideas to be presented in The Eerie Silence: Renewing […]

SETI Will Turn 50 in 2010

There hasn’t been much news about SETI lately, but expect more in the coming year.  In April 1960, 50 years ago, Frank Drake began the first SETI search with radio telescopes called Project Ozma (see SETI Institute description).  No undeniable signal of intelligent origin was found that year or in the 50 years since, despite […]

Is SETI Morphing Its Mission?

Look at the mission statement at the website of the SETI Institute: “The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature, and prevalence of life in the universe.”  What happened to the aliens?  The word “intelligence” is not found in their mission statement.  It sounds indistinguishable from the mission […]

Can SETI Be Quantified?

What is the probability of finding intelligent life on other planets?  In 1960, Frank Drake attempted to quantify that question with his famous Drake Equation (see MSNBC and NOVA, which allows you to estimate the probability with an interactive meter).  Trouble is, Stanley Miller and Leslie Orgel of primordial soup fame thought it was meaningless.  […]

Twitter the ET Bandwidth Wagon

If you have nothing better to do, send a message to an alien.  Leonard David reported on Space.com that a website in Australia is collecting messages to beam up to a planet named Gliese 581d that is 20.3 light-years away.  Even a Senator who is Australia’s Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research got involved.  […]

Aliens Are Not Bodybuilders

Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute is willing to bet “dollars to Devil Dogs that any extraterrestrials we detect won’t be muscular guys with deep voices and corrugated foreheads, or even big-eyed, hairless grays.”  It all has to do with the way evolution works.     In the weekly SETI column for Space.com, Shostak opined […]

Origin-of-Life Researchers Caught Playing With Toys

A “virtual primordial soup” cooks up life in a computer program in a “toy universe,” according to reporter Leslie Mullen at Space.com.  She wrote, “The power of computer processing could one day solve the riddle of life’s origin.”     EvoGrid is “a computer creation concept that would be a digital version of the primordial […]

“Social Brain Hypothesis” Discredited

According to evolutionary theory, the extra processing required for living in social groups should make brains bigger.  Not so, found a couple of scientists who looked into the question.  There’s no general correlation.     According to Live Science, John Finarelli (University of Michigan) and John Flynn (American Museum of Natural History in New York) […]

SETI Invites Alien Talk

They may not be saying much to us, but we can think about what to say to them – aliens, that is.  Space.com reported on the latest project from the SETI Institute: invite people all over the world to ponder, “What would you say to an extraterrestrial civilization?”     The SETI Institute is launching […]

Publish Your Kooky Idea

Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute has a solution for sorting science from pseudoscience: publish.  In the weekly SETI article for April 16 on Space.com, he said he gets lots of wacky theories in the mail and email.  What’s the best way to sift through claims and find the gems?  Publication.     Shostak acknowledged […]

Kepler On the Way to Search for Earth-Size Planets

The long-awaited launch of the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft was successful Friday night, announced the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Named for the 17th-century German astronomer-mathematician Johannes Kepler, the spacecraft will stare at 100,000 stars for over three years, looking for variations in their light that indicate the presence of planets.  Follow-up studies may determine if some of […]

Star Children for Darwin

Why should we be looking for alien intelligence around other stars when it is right behind your eyeballs?  You may not have known that you are a star child, but that’s what a leading astronomer called you.  As a good star child, you need to pay tribute to Charles Darwin.     In New Scientist, […]

SETI Has a Long History

Astrobiology Magazine provided a historical look at attempts to communicate with aliens.  Like the weather, people talked about life in outer space, but nobody did anything about it – at least till technology made such talk a little less crazy.  Michael Schirber’s survey includes some interesting characters – Kepler, Gauss, Tesla and Einstein – along […]

Merry SETI Holidays

How does the SETI Institute say happy holidays?  To find out, visit their year-end press release on Space.com.     SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson loaded his cheery year-end greeting with all kinds of moral terms.  In his short, upbeat article you can find references to gratitude, well-wishing, beauty, the human spirit, inventiveness, inquisitiveness, exploration, […]

Raise Money by Accomplishing Nothing

Frank Drake is being honored on Space.com by the SETI Institute as the “Father of SETI,”  His reputation is providing an opportunity for a fund raiser.  For a lot of money, you can spend time with a celebrity whose accomplishments are questionable. It’s not often you get the opportunity to hang out with a legend!  […]
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