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I'm a business journalist and a fiction author. My novel Mute is available now from Silver Leaf Books.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NASA scientist's discovery of aliens sprouts amazing possibilities

Scientists and novelists have long dreamed of extraterrestrial life. Thanks to NASA scientist Richard Hoover, we now have good evidence that there is such a thing.

See the story in Reuters and looked up the Journal of Cosmology is you're a die-hard: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/06/meteorites-life-idUSN0627219120110306

Summing it up, Hoover examined meteorites and found fossils of bacteria that almost certainly aren't found on earth. I know this isn't exciting as ET flying a bicycle over the moon. Yet, it proves a point that could lead to greater possibilities. Earth isn't the only place that has life.

How advanced is extraterrestrial life? Should we be afraid of it? Those are themes you'll see explored in my novels, including The Centauri Generation and Mute. Samples available on www.authonomy.com.

There's a big difference between the aliens dreamed up by writers and what Hoover found. Bacteria is very resilient. It can live in acid, in Arctic ice, in sulfur deposits and in frozen soil. In fact, the bacteria that Hoover discovered were on meteorites that likely came from a comet. Seriously, comets are flying around with microscopic aliens hitching a ride. Think about that next time you see one streaking through the sky.

Bacteria is resilient, but animals are not. They are slower to adapt to extreme climate conditions, which can be found on many planets. Because they are larger, it's harder to live sheltered from the radiation in space. Animals need stable conditions to survive. We know there are millions upon millions of planets and moons out there, but it's hard to say which ones have conditions that would support not just life, but large, complex organisms.

As for intelligent life, it's an even bigger mystery why that forms. I say it's in God's hands. That's the only way I can explain why so many things about Earth are perfect for humans, like it was designed for us.

Evidence of extraterrestrial beings is a message. Life has few limitations. If life can exist on a comet looping from deep space to the sun, why can't we recognize how fortunate we are and make this big rock a more pleasurable ride?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When 'Journalists' Cross the Line

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been catching flak in the media for his anti-union statements in a secretly recorded phone conversation with a man he thought was David Koch. The person who should be getting the most heat from this is Ian Murphy the self-proclaimed "journalist" for the Buffalo Beast who deceived the governor to get the story.

Murphy makes no effort to conceal that he called Governor Walker posing as businessman Koch, a supporter of his campaign. Regardless of what Walker said, where is the condemnation of Murphy's conduct by the media? Are we telling the public that we support lying to sources and airing their private conversations to the public? I hope that's not the message here because it's the wrong one.

The credibility of the media is near an all-time low. It's not that every journalist stoops to these tactics, but when we see misbehavior and fail to condemn it then we're guilty by association. I don't care that it's an online news site with an agenda. That's a growing segment of the new media. Professional journalists should draw a line in the sand and make it clear that we have a higher standard of conduct.

What Murphy did wasn't "going undercover" like the old days of muckraking. It was entrapment. There's a difference. Undercover means that a journalist is posing as an average citizen, such as a home buyer or a shopper, and that doesn't require assuming a false identity. But Murphy assumed the identity of a person that Governor Walker confided in and then asked him loaded questions. What's next - hacking into his mother's email and sending him fake messages to see how he responds?

We're headed to a dark place if we accept Murphy's conduct as journalism. I call on journalism organizations to stand up for honesty and integrity by condemning his actions.