Life

Android technology may reveal the inner lives of simple and mysterious creatures, in disturbing fashion. Via New Scientist:

Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain.

A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food.

Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge “cell” containing all their nuclei.




There are many metaphors for what life really is, but foremost in the big smarty pants community is the idea that life is a computer simulation.  There happens to be a good amount…





Meet your new pets, via Wired: Three billion years after inanimate chemistry first became animate life, a newly synthesized laboratory compound is behaving in uncannily lifelike ways. The particles aren’t truly alive…


The trippy cartoon edition of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, a disturbing story used by the philosopher to point our the difficulties in comprehending the true nature of reality:





A compelling if fantastical vision of soft pod creatures floating on gas currents through the soupy atmospheres of exoplanets. Via India Today: Aliens may not actually resemble the little green creatures Hollywood…





Yet that is. As Ian O’Neill desribes on Discovery News:

SETI astronomers have eavesdropped on an alien star system thought to contain two “habitable” worlds in the hope of hearing a radio transmission from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Sadly, there appears to be no chatty aliens living around the red dwarf star Gliese 581.

In results announced last week by Australian SETI astronomers, of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at Curtin University in Perth, Gliese 581 was precisely targeted by Australian Long Baseline Array using three radio telescope facilities across Australia. This is the first time the technique of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) has been used to target a specific star in the hunt for extraterrestrials, so although it didn’t turn up any aliens, it is a proof of concept that may prove invaluable for future SETI projects…


EuropaALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.

Well after reading this story, enthusiasts will probably want to ignore the Monlith creators’ advice. As Robert T. Gonzalez writes on io9.com:

Remember that image from a few weeks back that showed Earth with all its water gathered up in a sphere beside it? Well here’s that image again, only this time, it also features Jupiter’s moon Europa, along with all of its water. Notice anything interesting?

Based on data acquired by NASA’s Galileo satellite, astronomers think the global oceans sloshing around beneath Europa’s icy exterior are likely 2 to 3 times more voluminous than the oceans here on Earth. Not 2 to 3 times more proportionally, 2 to 3 times more in total volume.

Yeah. That “little” moon is packing quite the supply of H2O—and with it, scientists think, a significant chance of harboring life…



Are we all mindless beings, mere products of chance born to consume, grind out a living chasing fulfillment in “things and then die?” 1 Monotheism teaches that Man’s purpose is to worship…



Viking LanderReports Irene Klotz on Discovery News:

New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.

Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.

“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said. “On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added. Miller’s confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA’s Viking Mars robots in 1976.


Lawrence M. Krauss writes in the LA Times: The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis. Everywhere…