(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Aliens

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”*…



Astrobiology – the study of life on other planets – has grown from a fringe sub-discipline of biology, chemistry and astronomy to a leading interdisciplinary field, attracting researchers from top institutions across the globe, and large sums of money from both NASA and private funders. But what exactly is it that astrobiologists are looking for? How will we know when it’s time to pop the Champagne?…

Find out at “Proof of life: how would we recognize an alien if we saw one?

[Image above from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute]

* Carl Sagan


As we look for life, we might send inventive birthday greetings to William “Willy” A. Higinbotham; he was born on this date in 1910.  A physicist who was a member of the team that developed the first atomic bomb, he later became a leader in the nuclear non-proliferation movement.

But Higinbotham may be better remembered as the creator of Tennis for Two, the first interactive analog computer game and one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display, which he built for the 1958 visitor day at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  It used a small analogue computer with ten direct-connected operational amplifiers and output a side view of the curved flight of the tennis ball on an oscilloscope only five inches in diameter. Each player had a control knob and a button.


The 1958 Tennis for Two exhibit


Higinbotham source



Written by LW

October 25, 2018 at 1:01 am

“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth”*…



If the range of habitable radii is sufficiently broad, most inhabited planets are likely to be closer in size to Mars than the Earth. Furthermore, since population density is widely observed to decline with increasing body mass, we conclude that most intelligent species are expected to exceed 300kg…

From the summary of University of Barcelona cosmologist Fergus Simpson‘s paper, “The Nature of Inhabited Planets and their Inhabitants” (which can be downloaded as a PDF here).

* Stephen Hawking


As we phone home, we might recall that it was on this date in 1960 that the first weather satellite, TIROS I, was launched from Cape Kennedy (or Canaveral, as then it was) and sent back the first television pictures from space. The first in a long series of launches in the TIROS program (Television Infrared Observation Satellite), it was NASA’s initial step, at a time when the effectiveness of satellite observations was still unproven, in determining if satellites could be useful in the study of the Earth.  In the event, TIROS I and it successors proved extremely useful in weather forecasting.

TIROS I prototype at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum



Written by LW

April 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

Burying the lead…

source: Getty Images, via the Telegraph

Bulgarian government scientists are in communication with aliens, reports the (London) Telegraph.

Aliens from outer space are already among us on earth, say Bulgarian government scientists who claim they are already in contact with extraterrestrial life.

Work on deciphering a complex set of symbols sent to them is underway, scientists from the country’s Space Research Institute said.

They claim aliens are currently answering 30 questions posed to them.

Lachezar Filipov, deputy director of the Space Research Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, confirmed the research.

The story continues here, concluding,

The publication of the BAS researchers report concerning communicating with aliens comes in the midst of a controversy over the role, feasibility, and reform of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Last week it lead to a heated debate between Bulgaria’s Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, and President Georgi Parvanov.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

As consult the entry requirements for the Golden Fleece Awards, we might raise a glass to the end of one of the most costly failed experiments in enforced morality in U.S. history:  Prohibition.  On this date in 1933, Utah (!) became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, thus creating the three-fourths majority of states necessary to repeal the 18th Amendment (which had taken effect in 1920).  (Lest some perverse sort of jingoism lead us to think of Prohibition as an exclusively American phenomenon, we might note its history in other nations as well.)

A different kind of keg party: NY police dispose of bootlegged beer during Prohibition

Your correspondent is headed so far west as to be Far East, thus these missives will resume their regular rhythm on his return across the Dateline.

There are some places in the universe you don’t go alone…

Your correspondent is back, and bearing gifts…  Our furiously funny friends at Blogadilla (“The Tijuana of the Internet”) have shared a Sweded version of Aliens, James Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s singular original.  Created by Tim(botron), one of Blogadilla’s co-conspirators, it’s a complement to the “pre-makes” that (R)D considered just before the break– and a reminder that, in the right hands, $100 can go a long way…

In the time-honored tradition of re-gifting, here, Dear Readers, it is:

As we pass on the Gummi Bears, we might note that in Huichol, Mexico today is the Festival of Wawtsari (God of Deer Peyote)– that’s to say, the peyote mushroom festival.  And in Egypt, it’s the Feast of Khepera, The Beetle God… in whose honor we might enjoy:

Rootworm Beetle Dip

2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 1/2 tsp. Beau Monde
1 cup dry-roasted rootworm beetles

Blend first 3 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients & chill (out?).

Courtesy, Iowa State University Department of Entomology’s “Insect Recipes

Disclaimer: The Department of Entomology at Iowa State University is not responsible for gastric distress, allergic reactions, feelings of repulsion, or other problems resulting from the ingestion of foods represented on these pages.

Neither is your correspondent…

ISU master chefs Kathy Gee and Julie Stephens
(pictured above with Jay Leno) Photo: NBC

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by LW

September 28, 2009 at 12:01 am

%d bloggers like this: