NASA joins the hunt for aliens

In the last decade, we have devised amazing instruments to glare unflinchingly at the stars and discovered that other planets are common around them. These exoplanet discoveries have thrown gasoline on the fire of the astrobiology field, where scientists seek to explore whether life might exist beyond Earth. But they have also fueled SETI, or the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. If life does evolve on other worlds, then we may very well find more than just biosignatures like oxygen.

We might find technosignatures, too. These are things like radio signals, or even megastructures; that is, artificial objects on a gigantic scale such as hypothesized star-sized supercomputers. Now, Supercluster reported in an article this week, NASA has quietly begun to fund the search for such alien megastructures for the first time in the agency’s history…

The best news [to me] is that we’re moving well beyond the typical American cultural response to a new critical investigation of unusual phenomena. Breaking out of the historic mold of latching onto singular means of investigation – in expectation of an equally singular answer to the question, “What’s out there?”

RTFA for early days projections, the first rounds of investigative style.

5 (of 120) Women Photograpers


Consuelo Kanaga, by Annie Mae Merriweather, 1935

A new show opened July 2nd at the Metropolitan Museum of Art continuing recent efforts to reinsert women into the history of photography. Organized by Andrea Nelson and Mia Fineman with Virginia McBride, “The New Woman Behind the Camera” features 120 women photographers working during the 20th century. Its focus is not only Western artists who are already well-known, such as Dorothea Lange and Claude Cahun, but also under-recognized artists from other parts of the world whose work has been influential.

Look at five under-recognized artists included in the Met show, which is slated to travel to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. after its run in New York.

One of those rare moments when I regret leaving the metropolitan Northeast. Quite rare. But, I don’t travel well, anymore. Too much of that as part of earning a living much of my life. Perhaps someone will produce something in video or print recording the experience of wandering through this show.