Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Science News blog is now in stasis

This blog along with several others will be placed in stasis until further notice. It is unfortunate that this needs to be done, but is necessary due to a lack of time and contributors.

Any future entries that would have been posted in this blog will be now be posted in the NWSFS Science And Science Fiction News Blog. The sidebar links and RSS feeds will be kept intact for now.

If you would like to contribute to this blog, then please drop us a line at NWSFSNews at GMail dot com. Membership in NWSFS is not a requirement, though living in the Pacfic NW or Cascadia region is. There are just a few simple guidelines to follow.

Hopefully some time in the future there will be more interest in this blog, and it will be taken out of stasis.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are We Alone for 11/16/09 - SETI: Now What?

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - SETI: Now What?

Hello! Is anyone out there? As the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence marks its 50th anniversary, there’s been no contact as yet with alien beings. But SETI researchers maintain that we are not alone. Find out why in a SETI retrospective that looks at the past and future of the search.

We remember the first scientific SETI search… Carl Sagan… how the SETI Institute began… the WOW signal…and the 1993 NASA budget cuts.

We’ll also hear from critics of the search… scientists involved in optical SETI and SETI@home. Plus, international collaborations… and where the search is headed.

Guests:
  • Frank Drake – Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute
  • Jill Tarter – Director of the Center for SETI Research, SETI Institute
  • Tom PiersonCEO, SETI Institute
  • Paul Horowitz – Physicist, electrical engineer, Harvard University
  • Dan Werthimer – Chief Scientist, SETI@home, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ben Zuckerman – Physicist, Astronomer, UCLA
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

PSC: AstroInfo: Debunking The 2012 Hoax

Posted on behalf of Pacific Science Center:

As we approach 2012, TV shows, new books - even a new movie - all sensationalize the idea of the world "ending" in 2012. In her latest AstroInfo post, Pacific Science Center Planetarium Specialist Alice Enevoldsen uses science to debunk any fears you may have about the end of the world: →Learn More

Are We Alone for 11/09/09 - Skeptic Check: Doomsday at the Movies

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - Skeptic Check: Doomsday at the Movies

ENCORE PRESENTATION: Hollywood has a few ideas of how the world will end: killer asteroids … lethal pandemics … deadly ice-ages. These themes have all played out on the big screen. But, hey, they’re only movies, right?

We’ll separate the science from the fiction in doomsday movies. From the 2012 prophesy of the Mayans … to colliding worlds … to abrupt climate change, find out which among this crowd of cinematic scares are for real, and which aren’t worth the price of popcorn.

Guests:
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are We Alone for 11/02/09 - Do Computers Byte?

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - Do Computers Byte?

The march of computer technology continues. But as silicon chips and search engines become faster and more productive – can the same be said for us?

The creator of Wolfram Alpha describes how his new “computational knowledge engine” is changing – and improving – how we process information. Meanwhile, suffering from data and distraction burnout? Find out what extremes some folks take to stop their search engines.

Also, the Singularity sensation of humans merging with machines… and, why for the ancient Greeks all of this is “been, there, done that.” A deep sea dive turns up a 2,000 year old computer!

Guests:

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are We Alone for 10/26/09 - Skeptic Check: Mind Your Body

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - Skeptic Check: Mind Your Body

Popping a pill may help when you’re sick… but maybe not for the reasons you think. Sugar pills – placebos – cure illness better than prescription pills in as many as half of all cases in clinical trials … and the placebo effect is getting stronger.

Plus, the safety – or otherwise – of electromagnetic waves, and the “electro-sensitive” refugees who have built a camp to protect themselves from waves they say are causing pain. Is it all in their minds?

And, New York Times reporter Dennis Overbye joins Phil Plait on the latest lapse in critically-thinking brains – a wild idea that may not be so loony: namely, could a cosmic censor from the future be thwarting efforts to find the Higgs boson?

It’s Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are We Alone for 10/19/09 - Seth's Storage Locker

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - Seth's Storage Locker

It’s always an adventure to go digging in Seth’s storage locker – who knows what we’ll find …

In this imposing pile of paraphernalia, tucked between boxes of socket wrenches and old 45s, we stumble upon the hunt for extrasolar planets, the evidence for water on moons of the solar system, theories of language, a controversial hypothesis for the peopling of the Americas, and a new dinosaur fossil.

Guests:
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are We Alone for 10/13/09 - Extreme Geology

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - Extreme Geology

We think of major geologic events as taking place a long time ago – but the Earth is just as active as it ever was. We’re a planet in motion. Discover why earthquakes might be increasing worldwide… descend into daring cave exploration… and take a trip to Hawaii where new volcanoes are gurgling up right now.

Plus – the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park… when might it erupt again?

Guests:
  • Robert Nadeau – Geologist, University of California, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
  • Joel Achenbach – Reporter, author of “When Yellowstone Explodes”, August 2009 National Geographic cover story
  • Jim Kauahikaua – Geologist, United States Geologic Survey Hawaii Volcano Observatory
  • Pat Kambesis – Geologist, Assistant Director of the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at Western Kentucky University
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Are We Alone for 10/05/09 - Say What?

Image for Are We Alone weekly radio show
Are We Alone - Say What?

There’s no escape from the chattering classes – they talk, squawk, squeal and sing all around us. Every animal communicates in some form – it’s essential for survival. They’ve evolved to understand each other … but do we understand them?

Find out what’s coded in humpback whale song and whether human-cetacean dialogue is possible… how information theory reveals communication patterns within the animal kingdom… how plants call out to animals to protect them… and why only humans evolved language.

Guests:
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, October 2, 2009

UW Astrobiology Public Lectures Autumn 2009

The UW Astrobiology Program is presenting a series of free public lectures celebrating Galileo and Darwin and their ideas.

The series begins October 6, and examines how these monumental ideas have led to the emerging interdisciplinary science of astrobiology.

The lectures are free but require a reservation.

Go to this URL for more information: http://depts.washington.edu/astrobio/PubLec_tickets.html