Why I believe we’ll find aliens – leading expert on search for intelligent extra-terrestrial life

Photo credit: We come in peace. redgum, CC BY-NC-SA

The Conversation organised a public question-and-answer session on Reddit in which Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, explained why searching for intelligent life is so important and why we may soon find it.

Why are we continuing the search? For instance, isn’t it true that radio waves become almost indistinguishable from background noise just a few light years from their origin?

Health and Medicine

Six human parasites you definitely don’t want to host

Photo credit: Maybe not such a great place to go swimming. Phanatic

Parasites are fascinating. They are uniquely adapted to survive, in some cases through very complex life cycles. There’s also research to suggest that some may even change the behaviour of hosts to assist them in their quest to reproduce. But you wouldn’t want to get one. Here are six of the most gruesome.


The Brain

Brain images reveal how we distinguish real and fake laughter

Photo credit: Not that funny. Lynne Cameron/PA

It was Victor Borge, the famous Danish comedian, to whom we can attribute the quote: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”. And he was right, laughter is universal in human cultures and plays a very important social function. A form of laughter is also seen in other social species such as chimpanzees and bonobos, and even rats.

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