aliens are out there – all over the media…

Right now, there is a number of articles in English online-media about (more or less) scientific knowledge speculation about (intelligent) extraterrestrial life. What happened? Any new reports about humans meeting aliens? No, the royal society – a very well-established body of scientists – is holding a conference on extraterrestrial life, that is admittedly announced in a slightly sensational manner on their homepage. Does that mean they can be blamed for journalists turning this into

It is the classic sci-fi scenario: discovering aliens, not in outer space, but right here on Earth, sitting next to you in the workplace, serving food in your local restaurant, or, scariest of all, in your own home.

The premise might sound like the film Men in Black, but this week it will consume the great minds of science at a meeting of Britain’s most venerable institution, the Royal Society.

as happened in TimesOnline?
One of the theories to be discussed at the meeting is indeed that there may be life on earth that has extraterrestrial origin – however, as you find out by reading the rest of this times online article (which is quite informative), this refers to some hypothetical bacteria colonies that might be hidden away in volcanic environments, salt deserts or alike. Now, why would you introduce that topic with the above-cited paragraph? Is it the desperate need to multiply the number of hits on your articles or homepage? Or – that’s me being tempted by speculation now – did the times science author simply interview a scientist and then write a good article about that conference (what naive spirits like me may believe is her job) and the editor decided to give it a bis more thrill by adding that nonsense more lively introduction? Or is it just me thinking that you should not start an article with sensational-sounding claims that are the contrary of what you actually write because I am reading too many scientific papers?
As some media also relate the conference to the 50th anniversary of SETI (Search for extraterrestrial intelligence), which some of you may be familiar with due to the seti@home project (where you can give spare computer time to the search for signals in recordings from space) – my personal and academic bias suggests that climateprediction.net that uses your spare computer time for running climate models may be at least equally important and worth your support…

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