A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘extraterrestrial intelligence

[NEWS] Five science links: Ukraine in space, Archean Earth, oceans of Mars, looking for life, Icarus

  • Ukraine is interested in funding spaceport developments in Australia. Transitions Online reports.
  • National Geographic notes evidence that the influx of oxygen into the Archean atmosphere more than two billion years ago was–geologically, at least–quite sudden.
  • Universe Today notes that volcanism on early Mars may have helped fill that planet’s primordial oceans.
  • National Geographic takes a look at the various strategies hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations could adopt to find life–even us–from a great distance.
  • The discovery of Icarus, a discrete blue supergiant star detected nine billion light-years away, is a triumph of modern astronomy. VICE reports.
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[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers methods for detecting early life telescopically on exoplanets.
  • Crooked Timber considers how legislators bear personal responsibility, morally at least, for consequences of the legislations that they pass.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports that the new TESS telescope may well be capable of spotting dense clouds of satellites in geosynchronous orbit of exoplanets as distant as 100 light years.
  • Far Outliers considers how in Iran, the veil worn by a woman was a status symbol, for her husband and family as much as for the woman.
  • Language Hat reports on the strange survival of the classical manuscript Alexandra.
  • Language Log suggests that the Confucius Institute network set up by China does not seem to spread Chinese language so much as Chinese culture.
  • As the Mueller investigation continues, Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests many of the players in the Trump Administration are facing a real-life version of the prisoner’s dilemma.
  • The Map Room Blog notes how maps of London’s Chiswick have been compiled into a public mural.
  • The NYR Daily has an amusing sketched review of the Michaelangelo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. (My pictures will be coming!)
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at some of the fashion unveiled by Gucci in their recent Milan show.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how cosmic inflation means that, despite the speed of light and the universe’s age of 13.8 billion years, we can see things now 46 billion light years away.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little looks at some of the social factors going into nuclear accidents.
  • Window on Eurasia reports a familiar sort of pattern, of Central Asian migrants held in Russian prisons spreading Islam among their fellow detainees.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait tells us what tantalizing little is known about Proxima Centauri and its worlds.
  • Centauri Dreams imagines that, for advanced civilizations based on energy-intensive computing, their most comfortable homes may be in the cool dark of space, intergalactic space even.
  • D-Brief notes an effort to predict the evolution of stick insects that went in interesting, if substantially wrong, directions.
  • Mark Graham notes that, in the developing world, the supply of people willing to perform digital work far outweighs the actual availability of jobs.
  • Mathew Ingram announces that he is now chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review.
  • JSTOR Daily explores how consumerism was used, by the United States, to sell democracy to post-war West Germany.
  • Language Hat explores the script of the Naxi, a group in the Chinese Himalayas.
  • Paul Campos considers at Lawyers, Guns and Money the importance of JK Galbraith’s The Affluent Society. If we are richer than ever before and yet our living standards are disappointing, is this not the sort of political failure imagined?
  • Russell Darnley takes a look at how the death of a community’s language can lead to the death of that community’s ecosystem.
  • Jason Davis at the Planetary Society Blog considers the possibility of the ISS being replaced by privately-owned space stations.
  • Dmitry Ermakov at Roads and Kingdoms shares some photos from his ventures among the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a black-and-white photo of Charlottetown harbour covered in ice.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes the point that cancelling NASA’s WFIRST telescope would kneecap NASA science.

[NEWS] Five links on life and intelligence both near and far: ‘Oumuamua, ET, blue whales, orangutans

  • Craig Welch at National Geographic notes how scientists, by carefully decoding the songs of blue whales, are figuring out how they are leading their lives.
  • Sarah Gibbens at National Geographic notes a new study suggesting that, since 1999, hunting and environmental devastation has reduced the orangutan population of Borneo by almost half, by 150 thousand individuals. This sounds almost like genocide.
  • Universe Today notes evidence that ‘Oumuamua had a very violent past.
  • Nadia Drake at National Geographic explores the recent study suggesting that, unless there were signs of menace, most people actually would react well to news of extraterrestrial life.
  • Vikram Zutshi at Open Democracy recently suggested that contact with extraterrestrial intelligence could be good for the Earth, might even help us save it. Certainly this civilization would have survived the Great Filter; certainly it’s a corrective to lazy assumptions of automatic menace.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Caitlin Kelly at the Broadside Blog offers some advice as to how to cope with rejection.
  • Centauri Dreams shares Robert Zubrin’s take on the Drake Equation, and on ways it is lacking and could be improved.
  • Crooked Timber looks at a book examining (among other things) the interactions of libertarian economists with racism and racist polities.
  • D-Brief notes a study suggesting that, actually, people would react positively and with a minimum of panic to the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
  • Dangerous Minds takes a look at Chandra Oppenheim, an artist who at the age of 12 in 1980 released an amazing post-punk album.
  • Gizmodo responds to the news that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are roughly the same mass.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the effects of the dingo fence in Australia on native wildlife there.
  • Language Hat notes a new statistical analysis of literature that has found one of the sources of Shakespeare’s language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Trump’s many affairs make him eminently blackmailable.
  • The LRB Blog reports on why academic workers in the United Kingdom are getting ready to strike on behalf of their pension rights, starting next week.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the sharp ongoing decline in the population of Bulgaria, and wonders what can be done. What need be done, in fact, if Bulgarians as individuals are happy?
  • Anastasia Edel writes about the Russian-American community, and what it is like being Russian-American in the era of Trump, over at the NYR Daily.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that there seems to be no periodicity in extinction events, that there is no evidence of a cycle.

[NEWS] Five sci-tech links: cometary disasters, ET malware, Kepler, bird language, Canadian rockets

  • Universe Today notes that, 12.8 thousand years ago, a disintegrating comet set a tenth of the Earth’s surface area on fire.
  • Should messages from extraterrestrial civilizations be automatically deleted on reception, for fear of their malware? Universe Today reports.
  • 14 different worlds detected by Kepler have been scanned for technological signatures of advanced civilizations. Universe Today reports.
  • Brandom Keim at National Geographic describes a fascinating study suggesting some birds–here, Japanese tits–have human-like rules for language and can picture in their mind’s eye the subjects of their communication.
  • CBC asks the perfectly sensible question why Canada does not have any indigenous rocket program.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Buzz recommends twenty-four different novels for Valentine’s Day, drawing on the recommendations of employees of the Toronto Public Library.
  • Centauri Dreams links to a new paper suggesting there are thousands of objects of extrasolar origin, some tens of kilometres in size, in our planetary system right now.
  • D-Brief notes that cryptocurrency is hindering the search for extraterrestrial life, as miners buy up the graphics cards SETI researchers need.
  • Lyman Stone at In A State of Migration notes how unbalanced the marriage market can be for professional women in the United States interested in similar partners, especially for African-American women.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how deeply the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. for racial equality in the United States were driven by anti-colonial nationalism in Africa.
  • The LRB Blog notes how the life and writing of Penelope Fitzgerald was influenced by two decades of living on the English coast, suspended between land and water.
  • At the NYR Daily, Melissa Chadburn tells of what she learned from counting, and queueing, and perservering in routines.
  • At The Numerati, Stephen Baker shares an excerpt from his new book, Dark Site, describing a teenager’s attempts to control a cognitive implant.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer takes issue with elements of the timing of Lyman Stone’s schedule for immigration controls imposed in the United Kingdom on Caribbean migrants.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla explains how scientists are keeping the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in good stead despite its age.
  • At Roads and Kingdoms, Timi Siytangco explains the history of the Philippines through nine Filipino foods.
  • Drew Rowsome is impressed by the power of The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
  • Ethan Siegel at Starts With A Bang explains why black holes have to contain singularities, not merely superdense normal matter.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the rather misogynistic essay of ideologue Vladimir Surkin about women and power, timed for Valentine’s Day.