About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "life"

Basic Space

Could life arise around a dying star?

White dwarf star Sirius B is roughly the same size as Earth but has a mass 98% that of the sun. Credit: {link url=""}ESA and NASA{/link}

In five billion years the sun is going to blow up into a red giant, then collapse back down again into a white dwarf – a dying star roughly the same size as Earth itself. All of the solar system planets up to, and including, Earth will probably be vaporised during this stellar ballooning. We’ll [...]

Keep reading »

Why Life Does Not Really Exist

native bee

I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals. Some of my friends and I would sneak up on bees as they pollinated flowers and trap them in Ziploc bags so we could get a close look at [...]

Keep reading »

Counting Fish: Wrap Up and Conclusion

Since July 2012, I’ve been posting about a study of artificial reefs along the Texas coast. Scientists at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Corpus Christi conducted the research, funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, to determine whether these structures increase fish populations, and whether their location, type and [...]

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

More Tales of Life

It's all about origins...

Another couple of episodes in Bishop Sands’ outstanding Sift podcast series on origins and life are now up. You can catch my verbal contribution on interstellar chemistry at about the 11 minute mark in this one (below) on Origin Stories, but I encourage you to listen to the whole thing.

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

Defining Life: Scientists Squirm, Chickens Carry On

It's a rubber chicken, in space, really (Credit: Earth-to-Sky, Bishop Union High School, CA)

What is life? Simple question, thousands of years of human intellectual torture trying to answer it. The truth is that ‘life’ really does seem to defy easy definition. We can say that it’s a natural phenomenon – yes, OK. Actually it might be better thought of as a number of deeply connected natural phenomenae, OK, [...]

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

Life in liquid carbon dioxide

Liquid CO2 bubbles at Champagne vent

Well, ok, perhaps it’s not life really in liquid carbon dioxide, but as you’ll see it’s pretty close. The study of extreme environments on Earth plays a big role in our expanding knowledge about places that support life but are radically different from the sunny, temperate, beer swilling, tea drinking surroundings we find ourselves in. [...]

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

Bad Aliens, Meme Armor, and Intelligence in the Universe


These are two posts from the Life, Unbounded archives. They were written in April and May 2010. Around that time there was a lot of media noise about aliens – brought on in part by Stephen Hawking’s comments about fearsome “nomadic” lifeforms that might roam the universe. I’ve merged the posts here. As far as [...]

Keep reading »

New Extremophile Breathes Rocket Fuel


The energetic molecule perchlorate is rocket fuel and, it turns out, food for ancient microbes. Given that deposits of the stuff have been found wherever robots look on Mars, could the chlorine compound—poisonous to the development of humans—be serving as Martian life’s lunch? A team of Dutch researchers show in the April 5 edition of [...]

Keep reading »

The Race to Catalogue Living Species before They Go Extinct


The U.S. has spent several billion dollars looking for life on other planets. Shouldn’t we spend at least that much finding and identifying life on Earth? That is the argument behind a taxonomy analysis by a trio of scientists in Science, published on January 25. They argue just $500 million to $1 billion a year [...]

Keep reading »

My Morning Cup of Coffee Kills Monkeys


My coffee habit is killing the black-handed spider monkey, a cute New World simian (my favorite kind) that thrives in the canopy of Central American forests with tall trees. That’s pretty much the opposite of the kinds of forests that still exist where the spider monkey lives, because for decades we’ve been cutting down those [...]

Keep reading »

This Skittered Across My Thanksgiving Table…


A rare alignment of calendars brought an even rarer convergence of events at many Thanksgiving tables this week: Channukah gifts before Thanksgiving pie. And as such, this skittered across my table: This delightful critter is the brainchild of Theo Jansen, an artist in Holland who has been working for 60+ years on creating what he [...]

Keep reading »
The Countdown

5 Signs of Life on Mars – The Countdown, Episode 37


Could Mars support life? In this episode of The Countdown, we run through five intriguing lines of evidence that the red planet was not always as desolate as it appears, and may even be habitable today. More to explore: New Signs of Water on Mars Ramp Up Search for Life (Scientific American) A River Runs [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>


Email this Article